Speaking at MVUUF this Sunday

I – along with my partner in abortion advocacy, Niki – have been invited to speak at the Minnesota Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship church this Sunday. According to their website, we’re actually doing a sermon!


Well I’ll be.

As the sermon description implies, we’ll be talking about our experiences as clinic escorts and how to support access to abortion (although what happens on the sidewalk is not a picket line, and we escort for Whole Women’s Health, not Planned Parenthood…but close enough!) This is the second time that we’ll be doing this talk together; the first was for Minnesota Atheists and it appeared to be well received.

So I guess this weekend I’ll be putting on some Sunday finery and heading down to church to spread the good word. Whodathunk?

Writing for Fun

Tonight I went to Barnes and Noble and brought home quite the diverse haul: a collection of Lovecraft stories, a SparkChart on the Bible, a book of origami paper, one of them trendy “adult” coloring books, Carl Zimmer’s Science Ink. And this:

A simple red book entitled "500 WRITING PROMPTS"

I’ve recently attended several fiction-focused conventions and have been talking about writing and thinking about writing and social media-ing about writing. And so maybe I’ll do some writing.

[Read more…]

Book Review: Suicide is for Mortals

Suicide is for Mortals is a recently published book written by Alyson Miers, an author who you might recognize as a commenter on some of the FtB sites, and a participant in the atheosphere. When I learned that she had a new book out, I decided to give it a read.

Book Cover for Suicide is for Mortals. Subtext "Do not take death for granted." Alyson Myers.  Cover art is a nebulous pink, blue and white shapeThe story weaves together the lives of three beings: the ghost of an ex-US President, a talented human artist who can see her, and an undead journalist who spent much of his mortal life exposing the links between vampires and organized crime. They live in a country that has magic and a complicated relationship between the magical and the mundane.

Let’s get the worst out of the way: I picked up Suicide is for Mortals (After Rezata Book 1) about two weeks ago, and it took me about that long to chug through the first half of the book. The story started out slow and I set it down many times over that period. Miers takes a long time to set up her world. With that said, it is a unique world, and I do think that it will pay off in future books in the series. The story picked up in the later half; I was glued to the pages and found time to finish it in two evenings (and one of those evenings involved a UHaul and moving out of my old place into a new house in Minneapolis!). [Read more…]

No You Can’t Refuse Service

Hey everybodyyyyyy!

I was jumping online to do a blog post about this convention that I’m attending this weekend, but it has to wait because I have to tell you about This Other Thing That Is Really Awesome!

H/T to Niki for pointing me in the direction of Michael Stone’s article Appeals Court Rules Pharmacies Cannot Cite Religion To Deny Medication

In Washington state it is no longer legal for pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception based on the justification that to do so would violate their deeply held religious belief that slutty women should literally bear the consequences of their sluttiness. Well, a clarification: These pharmacists can refuse to fill prescriptions… as long as they are on duty with a coworker who acknowledges that women are sentient life forms capable of making medical decisions about their own bodies, and who will fill the prescriptions.

This is huge! Not just for reproductive rights, but for putting a slight damper on the creep (tidal wave) of religion into public life and government.

Stone cites a statement by The Washington, D.C.-based Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty: “The government has no business punishing citizens solely because of their religious beliefs.”

No. If you refuse to provide professional assistance to someone because they don’t share your political beliefs, then you are the one who is doing the punishing.

And thanks to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this kind of petty-minded punishment is not going to be tolerated. Pharmacists no longer get to decide that they know better than the doctors who prescribe emergency contraception and the people who are choosing to take it. They no longer get to use their professional status as an opportunity to prostelytize and pass moral judgments that have very real consequences to their clients. They no longer get to be the gatekeepers of this type of medical care.

You know, at least in Washington state.

I Am Not Your Tool

“I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

I am a white woman and I do not consent to your use of me as a tool to oppress black men and women.

You didn’t kill nine people for me, you selfish, hate-filled human being.

I am overwhelmed with grief that yet another white man has decided that at he can treat black people however he likes. That he can treat his black neighbors as Other. That he has decided that he has the right to choose whether they live or die.

I remember these names, these people who are no longer here:

Sharonda Coleman-Singleton

Cynthia Hurd

Susie Jackson

Ethel Lee Lance

Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor

Reverend Clementa Pinckney

Tywanza Sanders

Daniel L. Simmons

Myra Thompson


I’m so sorry they are gone, that their lives were stolen from them by a racist ideology of which we can not seem to rid ourselves. I keep their families, friends and community in my thoughts.

Update: Also see Stephanie Zvan’s “Not Yours, Not Ever” for a more eloquent denouncement of the killer’s claim to be protecting white women.

Jenny Bandage and the Unpronounceable A.K.R.O.N.Y.M

On Saturday night I attended a showing of a new play presented by Twin Cities-based Fearless Comedy Productions called Jenny Bandage and the Unpronounceable A.K.R.O.N.Y.M. It was very silly. There were NERF guns, over-the-top loud mad scientist laughs and groan-inducing jokes.

Tim Wick, local writer and entertainer, has created a show that calls out bad science and bemoans the harsh realities of doing “good” science: mingling with donors, writing grants and flying coach. The show is a send up of traditional spy movies such as James Bond – but think more along the lines of Spy Hard. There is one part where a waiter asks Scientist Spy Jenny Bandage if she’d like her margarita “shaken or stirred,” to which she scoffs and replies, “Why would I care?”

[Read more…]

Cross-Country Connections: Scent

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork (mostly) weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Scent.

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

A small brown pot made of an organic material - a seed pod or gourd of some type? A cork is pressed into the top of the pot.

I found these scent pots all over Australian tourist shops when I was there in October. Eight months later, I can still smell the original eucalyptus oil drops that were poured inside. 

From Erin in Rockville, Maryland:

Two well-ripped bananas.

Yeah its time to make some banana bread. I can small these across the kitchen.

From Mom in Hagerstown, Maryland:

Close-up of some sort of catfish or other "whiskered" fish.

The scent of the aquarium: is it different for him than me?

Suffragette Movie

Wow. Have you seen the trailers for this movie?

Here’s the UK Trailer from YouTube:

The other trailer that I’ve seen is from Huffpo, which you can see here (redirects to Facebook).

I’ve almost not managed to sob after watching them through four or five times. Each.

Have you heard of it? Looking forward to it? Any thoughts or concerns?