Bits and Pieces

First – whadaya think of the new theme? After spending a few days with it, I have to say that it’s growing on me. I think it looks more sleek and modern than the old primary blue and yellow that this replaced. If you haven’t had a chance to report bugs on other FtB blogs, put ‘em in the comments and I’ll pass them up the chain.

Second – the radio show I work with, Atheists Talk, recently put up a new Facebook page and Twitter account. Pretty please consider liking us on FB and following us on Twitter because more numbers help make us look awesome to potential sponsors and guests. Oh yeah – and because you’ll get the occasional sweet update about show guests and photos from the studio and stuff like that :D

Third – Someone wrote an article that I really disagree with on western attitudes about female genital mutilation. I really, really disagree with it. Really. A lot. Essentially it’s a cultural relativism argument, and all I’m hearing is “cutting up girl parts isn’t really so bad because they want to do it so quit being all judgmental ” But the early comments on the article give me hope for the human race (if you get over there quickly you might get to read them before the ZOMGWhatAboutMaleCircumcision!? derailing starts!) and Zinnia Jones has done an analysis of the article here that picks apart why the author’s arguments fall short.

FourthProlife advertisements on coat hangers. Oh hell no.

FifthAnti-abortion Christian reality TV show featuring women who regret their abortions. Repeat: Oh hell no.

Sixth – Kitty is back from dental surgery. Poor thing had to have three teeth extracted. It’s my own damn fault for not bringing her in more often, and I feel really shitty about it. I have to force feed her painkiller drops for the next three days, and what appears from her reaction to be nasty-tasting antibiotics for the next 10 days. She’s a little dizzy and confused right now, but she’s managed to eat some soft food and use the litter box, so there’s that.

Chasing the dragon – kitty in a buprenorphine daze.

Prada is 13 years old and I had somehow worked myself into a tizzy that she was going to die in surgery because surely she’s too old to survive general anesthesia!!! Thanks, asshole brain. Way to put that non-existent veterinary license to good use. At some point I caught myself thinking about how it sucks that I don’t believe in an afterlife, how I don’t have the comfort of thinking that she might die but-at-least-she’ll-be-in-a-better-place. Actually, that was a turning point in the emotional roller coaster that was my morning while I waited for the vet to call with an update on the surgery. The fact that there is only this one life, that there is no better place that she’ll go when she dies, that I won’t get to see her again in heaven, that there are no do-overs…those thoughts made me more determined that I would do what I could to get her home and healthy again. Even the life of a little cat seems more significant when I remember that this is the only one she gets, and the only one I get to share with her.

Read ALL the FTB Blogs!

Some of you read Biodork because you’re my friends and family, and you read me uncaring of the fact that I’m on a larger, atheist blog network. This post is not for you. I’m writing this for those of you who want to read blogs that are about atheism or which are written from an atheist perspective. This is for those of you who read some, but not all, of the FTB writings.

You may have noticed that we recently had two new bloggers join Freethought Blogs: Non-Stamp Collector (oh my FSM – sweeeeet!) and Avicenna (love A Million Gods, been reading it for several months). I was scanning the comments on NSC’s intro post, and this one made me pause:

Another FTBer to add to the rss feed. Aaaarrrrgggggg.

To which I say: Do you mean to tell me that you’re not reading ALL the FTB blogs???

Okay, okay. I get it: There are currently over 30 blogs on FTB, we’re growing all the time, and many of us post at least one new entry every single day, if not more. That’s a lot of new material to read.

Or is it?

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t read everything that is published here. But what I do manage to do is scan through every new article on Google Reader using the FTB RSS Feed. Right now this is one screen-width of FTB feed for me (click to enlarge):

Represented above are articles by Duncan Deacon (Althenian Worldview), Kylie Sturgess (Token Skeptic), Avicenna (A Million Gods), Jason Thibeault (Lousy Canuck), Ophelia Benson (Butterflies and Wheels), PZ Myers (Pharyngula), Stephanie Zvan (Almost Diamonds), Mano Singham (Mano Singham), Cuttlefish (The Digital Cuttlefish) and Ian Cromwell (The Crommunist Manifesto)

That’s a lot of variety in both author and subject matter, and they’re all under the same feed! I can quickly scan through the articles in Google Reader and choose to stop or not. Sometimes there’s fluff piece or an administrative update that I don’t want to read. Sometimes there will be an in-depth analysis of some minutia of something I don’t care about. Sometimes I’ll not want to get involved in a post topic. *click* Aaaaaand it’s gone. Easy-peasy.

“But Brianne,” someone says, “some of those people make me really angry or bore me nigh unto death and I don’t wanna read them!”

Click right past ‘em. Just keep going. Seriously, you can see a name that you don’t like to see and just fly on by. Because seeing and skipping a post in order to potentially find something else that’s new and exciting is very much worth it. There are such different focuses and interests among the bloggers here at FTB, something that I mentioned in my “I’m moving over to FTB” post back in February:

… we’re all atheists of one stripe or another, and we tend to blog either a little or a lot about atheism, infringements of church and state, humanism, and other related topics. Some of the blogs on the network are devoted primarily to exploring religion or atheism, some have a focus on politics or civil liberties, or diversity, or are more personal (like mine). They are all unique and owned by their authors.

I thought that back when I joined. Nine months after I started, I know it.

I love the diversity of ideas here at FTBs, and not only between bloggers but in the ideas of a single blogger (interblogger vs. intrablogger, if you will). On a fairly frequent basis, a blogger who has a style that I think I know will post something completely unexpected, either because they’ve created something completely different (this is one of the great beauties of blogs; they can change and fluctuate with their authors’ moods, beliefs, and new experiences), or because I’m getting to see or know a new side of a blogger because I’ve been following their work.

As an example of a blogger throwing me for a loop, I offer up yesterday’s post by Crommunist. Here’s an excerpt that made me laugh out loud at work, to many puzzled looks:

Adam: Snake! Right. It was a snake. And it talked. To her (pointing at Eve). And she ate the fruit from the tree. And then she made me do it.

Eve: Okay that’s totally not what happened. Adam came to me with this fruit that had a bite of out it and…

Adam: (Interrupting again) Shut it, rib! (To YAHWEH, laughing, gesturing with his thumb) Look at her, thinking that she can talk. (To Eve) Ribs can’t talk, stupid.

Eve: Oh, but snakes can? (Adam glares at her, she rolls her eyes)

So, my humble suggestion, dear readers: If you like to read blogs by atheists or about atheism, freethought, or lives lived without the influence of belief in the supernatural – follow the full FTB RSS feed. Scanning the new content takes seconds, and you never know when you’re going to find something that really connects.

Welcome Zinnia Jones and Ashley Miller!

I am very excited to announce that I’m not the baby any more! Freethought Blogs has added two new bloggers to our cadre of heathen writers! Please welcome Zinnia Jones and Ashley F. Miller to our ranks.

Here’s Zinnia’s write-up:

Zinnia Jones is an atheist activist, writer and videoblogger focusing on the impact of religious belief, political follies and LGBTQ rights. Since 2008, her videos have been viewed over 7 million times and her articles have been featured in the Huffington Post, The New Civil Rights Movement, and The Fight magazine in LA. Originally from Chicago, she’s currently living in Florida with her partner Heather and their two children. She is still insufferably Midwestern. Her pleasures include picking apart everyone’s arguments, rationality, feminism, philosophy, transhumanism and pet rats. You can reach her at zjemptv@gmail.com or on Twitter at @ZJemptv, and her YouTube channel is at www.zinniajones.com.

And here’s some information about Ashley:

Ashley is a passionate writer and general smartass who focuses too much of her attention on atheism, feminism, gay rights, mass media, culture, the oxford comma, and the ukulele. Her speaking engagements have included spots at The Amazing Meeting, Dragon*Con, and The Unite Against the War on Women Rally. She is working on a PhD in Mass Communications from the University of South Carolina, graduated cum laude from Emory with a BA in Film Studies, and has an MFA from FSU’s Film Conservatory, where she focused on writing and editing. In other lives, she has been an accountant, a banker, a reality television editor, and pretty much everything on a film set you can imagine. She has lived in Pawleys Island, SC; Greenville, SC; Columbia, SC; Atlanta, GA; Tallahassee, FL; and Los Angeles, CA.

Don’t they sound wonderful? If you’re so inclined you can visit Zinnia’s blog and Ashley’s blog and leave ‘em some welcoming comments!

 

6 O’Clock BS – SSA Week! Wait, I’m doing WHAT?

I’m off my rocker.

Today marks the start of SSA Week, which is really exciting! SSA stands for Secular Student Alliance. From their website:

The mission of the Secular Student Alliance is to organize, unite, educate, and serve students and student communities that promote the ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human-based ethics. We envision a future in which nontheistic students are respected voices in public discourse and vital partners in the secular movement’s charge against irrationality and dogma.

SSA = good. Fundraising for SSA = good. Therefore 24 hour blogathon for fundraising for SSA = good, right?

Wait, WHAT?

I’ve volunteered to do a blogathon. Yikes! A 24 hour blogathon. Eep! With a new post every 30 minutes during that time. WTF am I thinking?!

But it’s all good because I like blogging and being a part of crazy events like this, and fundraising for a group that supports student atheists, so it’s a big win all around. And I’m going to be in some excellent company. A large number of FtBloggers are participating sometime over the next week, as well as some awesome non-FtBlogs.

I’ll have to think of some gimmicks or contests or other special things to help me pull through. Will you keep me company? :D

Hank Fox Departs FtBs To Be Home Home On The Range

When I joined Freethought Blogs, I was contacted by one of the other bloggers, Hank Fox. He sent me a very nice email welcoming me to FtBs, and he sent me a copy of his book, Red Neck Blue Collar Atheist. He even signed it! Isn’t that awesome?

The wise man with his Good Book at the manger.

Last weekend I was pretty stoked because Hank and I were both going to be at the Reason Rally, so we made plans to meet in person.

I don’t want what I’m going to say next to sound jerkish, but I need to give you a little background.

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