time to eat the dog by digital cuttlefish analysis

That was the search term that led to my site today… and which, along with similar searches, has led to my site many times over the past few years, since “Time To Eat The Dog?” was included in a textbook in India.

So I googled the phrase, myself, and found… A Paper That Is Full Of Rubbish. No, really, that’s its title. Of course, all of it that I can read without paying is stuff that I wrote, myself. My post continues, for some 830 words, and the buyable paper claims to be 869 words, so maybe it’s just my post and the concluding remarks “This paper is full of rubbish!”

But hey, it got 4 1/2 stars, on 86 school views. I hope the author, Radha Acharya, is proud.

Hey, students… do your own work!

Dumb Question For You

Does anyone know what font it is that my banner is in? The “The Digital Cuttlefish” part, not the verse. It is not one I have seen anywhere but here, and I’m not the one who put my banner together, either here or at the old place.

It is not in any way an urgent question; I’m not planning to use it on anything. I’m just curious, and have wondered, off and on, for years.

See, This Is Why You Pay Professionals

…cos when you try to do it yourself, you get stuck.

I’m actually happy with my cover (don’t judge me!). But I can’t, yet, export it in 300 dpi so I can use it at Lulu.

It’s ok–this is only day two and a half of knowing of GIMP’s existence. I’m just frustrated that something that I know my nephew could do in his sleep is taking me so long. Screen shot 2013-11-04 at 9.57.58 PM
It will be done. In time for the cephalopodmas shopping rush.

I hope.

(yes, there is a back cover, too, with the cuttlefish sigil in black, facing the other direction, at the top of the page–there is room for a blurb or author’s description or whatever at the bottom, along with the required barcode. Oh, and “ink” was the working title until I found a better one. So if you have a better one, speak up.)

(I love the fact that it is a visual illusion–“The Digital Cuttlefish” looks like it is in a lighter gray than “ink”, but that’s all because the background is different. Yes, I’m a bit of a geek.)

Make It Stop!

It was such a simple project,
But I had no way of knowing
Cos it should have been a simple piece of cake
Once you give them some attention
Little projects get to growing
And they multiply the messes that they make
And they only gain momentum
So it shows no signs of slowing
And I’ll have to hit a tree if I can’t brake

So, yeah, the book. Looks like it might be in final form, ready to send off, but of course I have said that before. And it has grown since then. I really need to trim it down, cos it is currently at 403 pages. And that is without simply dumping everything into it–I was trying to be selective!

Anyway, I need help. Yes, that kind, too, but mostly I am looking for a graphics program to do the cover art. I have the elements I need, and it’s a really simple design, but I haven’t had a graphics program on my computer since SuperPaint, some two decades ago. Advice? Is there something simple online? Something inexpensive I can and should buy?

(It occurs to me that I did the cover layout for the last book, and I have absolutely no recollection of how I did it. Might even have done it in Word, for all that.)

But The Ads Are The Best Part!

There’s a psychic with an offer that is gonna change your life
And a site where Christians mingle if they’re looking for a wife
Politicians with petitions make you miss the “hanging chad”
But you’d never know that they exist, unless you read the ad

There’s a college in Virginia where they follow Jesus first
(Evolution is the enemy, and Darwin is the worst)
Where for several thousand dollars, you can claim that you’re a grad
But you’d never know it’s possible, unless you read the ad

You can tell the folks in Washington you’d like to fire them all
And replace them with a plumber, and a dancer, and Ron Paul
You can send Glenn Beck your money, just to make Obama mad
But you’d never know you’re not alone, unless you read the ad

There’s a T-shirt with a slogan that’s offensive to the right
And another that’s amusing, and exceptionally tight
You can decorate your clothing, matching every passing fad
But you’d never know it’s possible, unless you read the ad

There’s a pill to shape your body—add the muscle, lose the fat
Sure, it’s only a placebo, but there’s nothing wrong with that
You can jump-start your libido and revitalize your nads
But you’d never know it’s possible, unless you read the ads

You could make the pop-ups vanish, and there’s nothing you would miss
You could read your favorite writers in a quiet, ad-less bliss
Go ahead—you know you want to—it will really make you glad
They can do their best to irk you, but you’ll never see the ad!

In other words, our subscription, ad-free version of FtB is now up and running. Currently it’s Paypal only, but we (read: Jason) are working on opening it up for other methods.

Questionable Judgment

It’s not that I question your judgment—I do,
But for now this is all I am saying:
Why would you want someone writing for you
Whom you don’t seem to think is worth paying?

So she turns down your offer (completely expected)
With “thanks but no thanks”, and no more…
Just act like professionals do when rejected,
And ask if she’s some kind of wh–wait, what? Really?

Today I Am Six Years Old

The Digital Cuttlefish Blog, that is. 10/10/07 marked my first four posts on the olde blogge, including one that was probably the comment that earned my Molly award that month. Come to think of it, that first month also has a verse that was in the book of best science blogging for that year. Not a bad month, all in all.

It’s also World Cuttlefish & Squid Day (10/10, for us ten-appendaged critters, like the 8th was World Octopus Day). So what better day to spend exploring the archives, and looking for forgotten gems and well-forgotten detritus.

Happy blogoversary to mee.. happy blogoversary to meeeeee….

Looking back those six long years, to the verses that commenced it,
Who would have thought I’d still be here? I would have bet against it.
So, to my muses–the politicians, creationists, and cranks–
And to, of course, my readers… I am humbled. Really, thanks!

How Could Anyone Disagree?

I have grown quite accustomed
To freethinking sorts
So I’m used to the things that we say
The atheist angle
On latest reports
Or our spin on the news of the day;
A breadth of opinion
(It’s quite a broad mix)
And a thorough review of the laws
With proper attention
To article six
And of course, the establishment clause
When political figures
(The folks we’ve elected)
Are shown to be pandering fools
And it’s clear they don’t care
That all rights are protected
When Christian majority rules
…And I think to myself,
“It’s so blatant; so clear;
How could any clear mind disagree?”
But a couple of clicks
And reality’s here:
It’s depressing and grim. Look and see.

So, yeah. You’ve likely seen coverage of the struggle for atheist chaplains around the atheist blogosphere. I’ve written about it a number of times, as have others on FtB and Patheos, and on unaffiliated atheist and legal blogs. It has also been covered, a bit less well, by the major media outlets–the comments there are fascinating, because they are so broad; you see people who argue with their hearts or their tribes first, those who don’t care what the law is, but what is right (this goes for people on both sides of the issue), and people who really know their constitutional law (and a small minority who know their right-wing talking points version of constitutional law; these are easily identified by their cries of “separation of church and state is not found in the constitution!” and “it’s freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion!”).

Even the Blaze, clearly opposed to atheist chaplains, has a handful of commenters who doggedly argue that true patriots and constitutional conservatives must accept that the government has no right to side with religion on this issue, that the constitution is clear–no religious test, and no establishment of religion.

My reading habits kept me in this bubble–I guess I thought that, maybe, Fox News or the Blaze were as concentrated populations of social conservatives as you might get. I was wrong. This is why I use an aggregator–to expose me to stuff I would not seek out on my own. Whereas the atheist blogosphere was admiring the courage of the young man who confronted Representative Burgess at an event in Texas, the good people at The Right Scoop title their story “GOP Rep. smacks down atheist college student who thinks the Army should have secular chaplains“. Ok, it’s not actually a story, but just the video you have probably already seen. These folks got it via the Blaze. But the story is not the important part–the comments are. I don’t know whether these people delete comments that disagree… but there aren’t any. It takes a lot to make the Blaze look reasonable, but these folks do it.

I know how easy it is to fall into the echo chamber trap–to read and watch only the sources that you agree with, and that support your views. Thing is, if you don’t subject your views to scrutiny, how do you know how they hold up against the real world? It is, at least in theory, every bit as easy for me to hear only what I want to, as it is for the Right Scoop commenters to stay in their echo chamber (the sites linked in their sidebar are a further demonstration). But it’s not good for your thinking.

There are arguments claims in their comments that are quite simply counterfactual, flimsy straw-people that would disintegrate in the slightest breeze… so that community invests quite a bit of effort in hermetically sealing their views. (And yes, I have seen similarly poor arguments on our side–but as a general rule, we also have people who really seem to enjoy tearing apart fallacies and skewering straw-men, even when they agree with the writers.)

Anyway, sorry for rambling–as Pascal said, I lacked the time to make it short. Classes start soon, and I must prioritize other things than this blog. Your take-away? Don’t just read the stuff you already agree with… or you’ll end up as ignorant as The Right Scoop.

Happy Birthday, FTB!

I was waiting… but with less than ten minutes to go (East Coast Time), no one has said it. Today, August 1st, marks the second anniversary of Freethought Blogs!

Two years ago today, we went live… and promptly crashed the server. These things happen.

I am so very happy to have spent 2 years with these people (and with those who have come and gone). So, Happy Birthday, FTB!

Here’s to many, many more!


Three hundred sixty nine. That’s the current number, as of when I got caught up with the present, a moment or two ago. I mentioned, last post, that I’m gathering up my verses in preparation for another book. This 369 verses represents the quick-and-dirty sort–anything that I just hated didn’t make the cut; muse of the week limericks did not make the cut, stuff that was clearly crap, that anyone in their right mind would have binned and been done with, but which I posted because that’s what I do, did not make the cut.

In other words, the easy bit is done.

The last volume (still available, up there in the “cuttlestuff” tab) held some 244 verses (342 pages); I expect that the next volume will be slimmer. Which means I expect to be cutting the current crop by at least a third. Which will be difficult, but maybe in the opposite direction than you might think: It is exceedingly easy for me to say “oh, that one is horrible”. If I held to the standards of my staunchest inner critic, I could easily cut the verses down to a nice round number… the roundest of numbers, in fact. It is in defiance of that inner critic that I publish the “clearly crap”… but that critic did have a point. The nature of this blog requires that my inner critic be kept in irons most of the time, exercised only rarely and briefly. This editing will be difficult, in determining which ones to keep, not which to cull.

And so the tug-of-war begins. At present, I have no idea what the final book will look like. What categories? With or without commentary? Art? (I have an idea for the cover, though, which is a big step.) Or even a title. And I especially don’t have a target date. I keep intending to have something ready for Cephalopodmas season, but that hasn’t happened in years. But… who knows?

Wish me luck?