Remembering Dr. Tiller

Today marks the second year since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, a pro-choice advocate and provider of reproductive health services, including late-term abortions. On May 31st, 2009 an anti-choice extremist named Scott Roeder shot and killed Dr. Tiller. Roeder was convicted by a jury of his peers on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault, and was sentenced to life without parole.

The stiff penalty for killing an abortion provider doesn’t seem to be detering other would-be murders. Last Thursday Ralph Lang, a 63-year old anti-abortion extremist was arrested in Madison, Wisconsin when he told police that he had driven in from Marshfield, WI to shoot  the doctor and nurses at a Madison Planned Parenthood.

There is a long history of persecution, harassment and violence against those who provide abortions or who work to ensure access to abortion. In 1995, David J. Garrow of the New York Times wrote that this type of extremism “is the death throes of an anti-abortion movement in which almost every remaining participant realizes that the war to overturn Roe v. Wade has been irretrievably lost.” Would that he had been right, but 16 years after that article was published our abortion providers still have to wear bulletproof vests to work. Clinics still need enhanced security and volunteers to ensure that patients can get to their appointments. Legislators are still introducing new bills that would restrict women’s access to abortion.

Pro-choice advocates often do not receive the positive recognition, support and accolades that they so richly deserve. There is a lovely post over at Almost Diamonds which urges all of us on this Memorial Day to recognize not only the veterans of US wars and military engagements, but those who have fought to ensure our freedom in other areas of our lives.

I recognize Dr. George Tiller, Dr. Barnett Slepian, Officer Robert Sanderson and Nurse Emily Lyons, Dr. Jack Fainman, Dr. Hugh Short and Dr. Garson Romalis, Shannon Lowney and Leanne NicholsDr. John Bayard Britton, James H. Barrett and June Barrett, Dr. David Gunn. I recognize all of the employees and volunteers of clinics who support or provide abortion, who work to keep clinics open and serving their communities despite the potential for harrassment, violence and even death that is, frustratingly, just part of the job. This Memorial Day I remember their courage and their sacrifices.

A Lake Monster In Minnesota!

I have a new article up over at the Minnesota Skeptics’ blog!

A Lake Monster In Minnesota!

We love our lake monsters, don’t we? Everyone is familiar with Nessie, but here are a few you might not know:

Brosno Dragon – Lake Brosno, West Russia. Said to resemble a dragon or dinosaur, with potential sightings going back to the 13th century.

Lagarfljóts Worm – Lagarfljót, Iceland. Otherwise known as the Iceland Worm Monster. Walks on land and swims in the water, spits poison. Mean beastie, but that may be because it was thrown in a cold lake when it was just a baby monster.

Morag – Loch Morar, Scotland. Nessie may be Scotland’s best known monster, but it certainly isn’t…

To read the rest of this piece, which includes my own real-life lake monster sighting in Richfield, MN – and a picture of the beast! – please visit my full article at Minnesota Skeptics’ blog.

Happy Geek Pride Day!

Omigod, it’s Geek Pride Day Again!!!!!!!

Today is the day that we nerds, dork and geeks wear our chosen badges with honor and pride!

Seen at Once Upon A Geek

It’s a four-fecta of geekiness:

  1. Geek Pride Day – Fly your geek flag high, you geeky mcgeekersons!
  2. Star Wars Day – The other Star Wars Day, Star Wars was released 34 years ago on May 25th, 1977
  3. Towel Day – Every year on May 25th fans of Douglas Adams and his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy commemorate the author and his works by carrying a towel around. Not that a hoopy frood doesn’t always have a towel with him.
  4. Glorious 25th of May – A celebratory day for Terry Pratchett’s Discworld fans. It’s all about Truth, Justice, Freedom, Reasonably Priced Love, and a Hard-Boiled Egg!

And I found this Manifesto over at Wikipedia – did you know we had a manifesto!?

Rights:

  1. The right to be even geekier.
  2. The right to not leave your house.
  3. The right to not like football or any other sport.
  4. The right to associate with other nerds.
  5. The right to have few friends (or none at all).
  6. The right to have as many geeky friends as you want.
  7. The right to be out of style.
  8. The right to show off your geekiness.
  9. The right to take over the world.

Responsibilities:

  1. Be a geek, no matter what.
  2. Try to be nerdier than anyone else.
  3. If there is a discussion about something geeky, you must give your opinion.
  4. To save and protect all geeky material.
  5. Do everything you can to show off geeky stuff as a “museum of geekiness.”
  6. Don’t be a generalized geek. You must specialize in something.
  7. Attend every nerdy movie on opening night and buy every geeky book before anyone else.
  8. Wait in line on every opening night. If you can go in costume or at least with a related T-shirt, all the better.
  9. Don’t waste your time on anything not related to geekdom.
  10. Try to take over the world!

I don’t know that I live up to all of the responsibilities on the list, but I sure hit a number of them. Ah well, room to grow.

Geek confession time!

I gotta say, my geekiest moment ever is probably when I was LARPing. LARP is one of the hardest things for me to explain to non-geeks. They understand specialized geekiness with science, movie trivia, sports stats and things like that. They get video games, and comics, and most people have heard of sci-fi conventions and D&D, but Live Action Role Playing?

“You see…you dress up like a character, then you act like them – you know, like a character in a play? – and sometimes you have battles, but because you can’t really have battles, all fights are conducted with rock-paper-scissors. And then when…”

That’s about when I start losing people.

I would love to hear about your glorious geekiness if you’re willing to share. What is your favorite geeky/nerdy/dorky thing to do, read or play? Or…what is the geekiest/nerdiest/dorkiest think you have ever done?

Minnesota Skeptics’ Blog

Guess what?

I was invited to participate in a group blog for the Minnesota Skeptics’ meetup group! I’ll be writing with at least nine other members, so I anticipate that we’ll have a wide range of skeptical topics to blog about. Do  you wanna see my first article? Do ya? Ohboyohboyohboy!

9/11 Truther Sighting and a MN Skeptics Win

In the Heart of the Beast Theater (HOBT) hosts an annual May Day Parade in Minneapolis. The first part of the parade consists of HOBT-chosen themes and elaborate masks and puppetry, and the second part is reserved for “Free Speech”. Anyone can present any message (as long as it is delivered in a peaceful manner and is appropriate for an audience that has young children present), and this May these guys marched:

Dude’s poster reads:

Read the rest of what I have to say about 9/11 conspiracy theories over at the MN Skeptics’ Blog!

CUP #15 Winner

The original CUP #15 submission was this:

Congratulations to NOELLE (graysintheshade) for another win with  her guess “a brick”

I thought this was a toughie, but apparently I haven’t looked at a lot of bricks up close! You guys absolutely TROUNCED me on this week’s CUP, so I’m going to give everyone who participated an extra 10 points.

So!

Noelle gets 100 points for being the first to correctly guess.

Heidi, Vicki, Ellie, Erin and Madeline each get 25 points for also guessing bricks. I’m awarding Vicki an extra 20 POINTS for correctly guessing that these particular bricks are from the side of my apartment building. Well done!

Judi and Cate! get 10 points for participation but no points for their guesses.

And remember – everyone gets 10 additional points on top of their base score.

Well played, everyone! Here’s the updated rankings, but stop on by the CUP Winners page for detailed scoring and lame-o prize information. Also, next week’s CUP is going to have to be much, much trickier. Y’all are just too good at this!

Top 5 Ranking Players

There's been an upset: Vicki has booted Jeremy from his long-held first place ranking!

How to Tell If You’ll Be Raptured Tomorrow

The Rapture is this weekend! Use this handy flowchart to figure out if you’re going to be one of the lucky ones this weekend. And by lucky ones, I mean those of us left here to enjoy the Earth and all of the available parking spaces, easy restaurant reservations and short lines at the checkout. Unfortunately, according to the figure below not many of us stand a chance of being Raptured, so it’ll still be a pretty crowded place down here.

click image to make readable

Seen on The Things I’ve Missed, A Growing List. Original source Peas and Cougars.

CUP Contest #15

Here we go again – the fifteenth Close-Up Photo contest!

Guess what this is:

Fame! Fortune! Fake internet points! When you play the CUP contest you could win any one of these! Okay, really you’ll only win one of these. Unless you have an improbability drive in your back pocket. And you might.

All guesses submitted via the comments or by Facebook will be accepted.  The first person to guess correctly wins 100 internet points.  Anyone who also guesses correctly after that will get some amount of points. As always, extra points may or may not be awarded for amusing answers. The contest is over when I post the answer and announce points, which usually 24-36 hours after the contest goes up. You can see who’s in the lead over at the CUP Winners page.

Enjoy, good luck, see you soon.

Married People Conversations

We’re doing the morning routine in our little apartment’s single bathroom. The Hubby is drying his hair and I’m styling mine. I grab a bottle of  mouse and spray a little in the palm of my hand. For some reason I decide to move my hand and the spraying can right next to the Hubby’s face. He doesn’t even flinch.

Me: You didn’t even flinch

Hubby: Nope, I didn’t did I?

Me: You’re just kind of resigned, huh? Either I was going to do it and you’d deal, or you guessed I probably wouldn’t spray it?

Hubby: It was the second one.

Me: Really? You don’t think I would have done it? After all these years?

Hubby: Well, I figured you wouldn’t put mousse in my eye.

Me: Yeah, but I totally would have sprayed your cheek or forehead or something.

Hubby: *considers* Yeah, you’d do that.

Me: But I think it’s sweet that you still trust me so much. It’s like you have a really bad memory.

Hubby: *completely deadpan* How do you think we stay married?