New at Rosetta Stones: Happy Birfdai, Parícutin!

Parícutin is 70 years old today! Go celebrate by reading its birth story. Well, part of its birth story. We’re through labor, not quite finished with delivery. I promise not to leave you in suspense for too long. You all know how this ends, at least: with a bouncing baby cinder cone, not to mention one very upset farmer and five rather distraught villages.

Geology, much like a newborn, is completely insensible of others’ needs and desires. But we deal.

Enjoy!

Mystery Flora: First Flower

Almost March, warm winter… I suppose I should have expected a wildflower, but I didn’t. These little delights took me quite by surprise. There I was, dodging through the hail, focused on getting home before the clouds stopped spitting ice and began dumping water in earnest, eyes on the ground so I wouldn’t take a hailstone to the eyeball. And there they were, in the weedy grass: flashes of brilliant white, standing too tall to be fallen ice.

Mystery Flora I

Mystery Flora I

Though if you look close, there’s a bit o’ hail on the big leaf, there.

Now, I’m relatively sure these aren’t cultivated flowers. In fact, I believe I remember seeing mugshots of them on the big least-wanted weeds poster we had at the landscaping company I spent a summer working for. I’ve never really understood the antipathy. Granted, the grass gets edged out. But weeds round here have lovely little flowers in all sorts of colors, and their foliage stays green and hearty while the grass around it dies in the summer heat, and the leaves are much more interesting than blades of grass.

Mystery Flora II

Mystery Flora II

Also, did I mention the flowers? These were so tiny that they weren’t any more than bright white clusters until I knelt on the sidewalk to photograph them. Then they revealed a delicate folded beauty.

Mystery Flora III

Mystery Flora III

So small and yet so perfect. And they’re set in these circles of radiating leaves, which end up reminding me a bit of Mandelbrot sets. Well, to a degree.

Mystery Flora IV

Mystery Flora IV

If these showed up in my lawn, if I had a lawn, they’d be welcome to stay. In fact, my idea of the ideal lawn is a mossy mass filled with wild and wonderful weeds. I suppose I’d have to take the mower to it occasionally so as to maintain the illusion of an actual lawn, but that’s okay – these precious little things seem to survive the experience just fine. You can see the bits that have been hacked off by the blades, yet it’s flourishing.

Mystery Flora V

Mystery Flora V

Speaking of moss, you can see a bit growing right there with it.

Mystery Flora VI

Mystery Flora VI

And the fallen leaves. No one’s raked this ground in some time – it’s rather out of the way, where the most someone will give it is a lick and a promise with a mower. And that’s outstanding. It leaves a little pocket of beauty where there might have been nothing more than a boring strip of homogeneous old grass.

Mystery Flora VII

Mystery Flora VII

This was mostly a green-and-white world with a bit of purple stem thrown in, but one additional plant wished to contribute a splash of scarlet, and made the scene sublime.

Mystery Flora VIII

Mystery Flora VIII

Now, back in the day, I could’ve told you what these lovely little plants were called. But it’s been many years since the short stint with folks who called these beauties weeds and did their best to extinguish their brief lives. So I’ll have to rely upon you, my darlings. Please, please tell me this is a flourishing and defiant native, and not some interloper. We all know my unfortunate fondness for what turn out to be invasive species, however, so I’m holding my hope in check.

I’ll still love them if you tell me they’re horrid, nasty things that ruin the natives as well as immaculate lawns, though.

Stormlight

Seattle does this wonderful thing with light, sometimes. Part of the sky will be dark and stormy, exceedingly grim, threatening a downpour. Another part has the white fluffy clouds and patches of blue sky that let the sun through. The effect is extraordinary. And it’s generally dry enough to enjoy it. Temporarily.

Stormlight I

Stormlight I

When the sun popped out briefly, so did I. Over the drumlin, along the transmission lines, which were made beautiful by the stormlight.

Stormlight II

Stormlight II

Thing about winter is, the leaves are off, and that reveals things unseen in summer. I got to see some interesting drainage, which I’ll hopefully puzzle a post out of someday, and then crossed the road through a screen of small trees that would have been impassible in a different season. Beyond them, there’s a stand of very tall trees in a very swampy area, where one has to tread carefully but can see spectacular views. Especially looking straight up.

Stormlight III

Stormlight III

Amazing, aren’t they? Tall, stark, look like they’re holding up the sky. Note the fluffy white clouds and patches of blue sky. Turn round, and you’d see the heavy blue-black clouds that promise winter ain’t half over yet. But it’s on its way out, according to the budding trees, and the sprouting grass. We should have lots of flowers soon, perhaps earlier than normal.

But not yet. Now, we have a beautiful broken light, lowering clouds, and our old erratic friend.

Stormlight IV

Stormlight IV

And the skeletons of trees loom over the road, gleaming against the storm-dark skies.

Stormlight V

Stormlight V

Turn round, and the skies are benign. Well, Seattle-benign.

Stormlight VI

Stormlight VI

So there it was, just over an hour of ethereal light. But when there are dark clouds in the west, you know what’s going to happen next. And I lingered far too long in that slightly swampy grove, for reasons I will explain later (but have to do with some delightfully abundant wood mushrooms and a wee metallic green beetle). By the time I’d begun wandering through the park on the way home, the clouds led off with some hail, then a bit of rain. A few minutes after I arrived home, drizzle turned to downpour, and the meterologists earned their plaudits. Yup. Back to the Gray. But I appreciate it, because the rarity of those sun-broken hours makes them all the more precious.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin to introduce you to more of the delights along the way. Put on your detective hats and get out your guides, because we have mysteries in abundance to solve. Serious work can wait just a bit. Sometimes, it’s necessary to pause and revel in the beauties abounding around us before we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and tackle the other stuff.

Seriously Sensational Sunshine

Do you need some sunshine? Of course you do: it’s winter for us northern hemisphere types, and as for you southern hemisphere types, you may be getting lots and lots of sunshine already, but it’s not winter sunshine, which is completely different from summer sunshine. Rarer, for one. At least here. It’s been gray for weeks. Weeks and weeks, nothing more than a brief peek of sunlight, usually when we’re trapped indoors at work. This used to not bother me, as I’d gotten topped up on sunshine after thirty years in Arizona, but after nearly six years here, it appears I’ve burnt through my reserves. So on Friday, when the clouds went completely away and the sun burst out, something within me broke. I watched the sunshine blaze for hours whilst being cooped inside, and saw on the weather report that the Gray would be returning within twenty-four hours, and nearly went mad. So I scarpered. Definite mental-health half day.

Almost burst into song as I skipped up the road after birds’ nests I’d been wanting to photograph for weeks. You’ll be getting a medley of those soon. But first, glorious sunshine beaming down all over the place, and other wonderful things.

It being so clear, I figured we’d get a good view of Mount Rainier from the drumlin, and indeed it was so:

Mount Rainier on a warm winter's day.

Mount Rainier on a warm winter’s day.

That was a lovely rare sight. I’m always afraid that when Mount Rainier decides to erupt again, it’ll do it in winter, and I’ll be standing forlornly on the drumlin knowing I could’ve watched geology in action if only the damned meteorology had cooperated.

So, the sun shone, the birds sang, and it would’ve been a nice hop over the drumlin if I hadn’t forgot my charged camera battery. It’s all right. If I hadn’t had to go back, I would’ve not decided to go up the street instead, and wouldn’t have seen this lovely gentlecrow.

Crow in winter tree.

Crow in winter tree.

We have scads of corvids round here. And sometimes they like to look all artistic and interesting.

So there’s this thing that happens when you haven’t seen blue skies in many weeks, and that is developing a tendency to stand with your head flung back, looking up and giggling. No one in Seattle mistakes this for madness.

Winter branches against clear blue sky.

Winter branches against clear blue sky.

If you’re standing at an intersection waiting for your light to turn green, you might even stare up at the other direction’s green light and go, “Wowsa. That looks purty!”

Green light, blue sky.

Green light, blue sky.

Yes, I’m a dweeb.

Botany looks rather different in the winter, mostly because it’s nekkid, and it looks even more different still when the sun shines upon it.

Bare nekkid winter botany.

Bare nekkid winter botany.

When the botany is nekkid, it’s easier to see the little streamlets that abound absolutely everywhere. I love the patterns in the water here as it begins to fall down a tiny little waterfall.

Water patterns.

Water patterns.

The early-blooming shrubbery is doing the early-blooming thing, and I saw my first bee and spider of the season, but couldn’t get them photographed to save my life. So here. Have some flowers. They have the decency to hold still and be appropriately contrasty..

Tiny early flowers on a shrubbery.

Tiny early flowers on a shrubbery.

That’s civilization for you. Always breeding things to do things convenient to people. These don’t seem to mind.  On down the way, by the creek, things are all natural and not-yet-blooming. Some remnants of reproduction cling on to bare stalks, and look very artistic in the light of a dying day.

Remains of reproduction.

Remains of reproduction.

At that spot on the trail, the sun was already behind a ridge. Further down, the ridge peters out, and the skies were bright. So was the moon.

Moon and winter branches.

Moon and winter branches.

That cloudless sky made a wonderful backdrop to aged rose hips.

Rose hips.

Rose hips.

Got a very lucky shot near the pond.

Plane, moon, crow.

Plane, moon, crow.

And when I reached the pond, the sinking sun gleaming off the water, turning bare trees to gold and then reflecting them, was striking.

Gold light on water.

Gold light on water.

And that light in the trees – magnificent backdrop for our Bullock’s Oriole nest.

Our favorite hangy-downy nest.

Our favorite hangy-downy nest.

So of course I had to catch it from more than one angle, and there’s a point where the gold light just glows. Lovely.

Oriole and oro.

Oriole and oro.

Amazing what sunshine can do with low angles and bare branches, innit? And then there was the part of the sky to the north, where twilight was setting in, and wow.

Oriole, oro and azure.

Oriole, oro and azure.

So I didn’t know which would be your favorite, so I selected all three.

By the time I’d reached the stream that flows behind the Brightwater facility, the sun was almost completely down, and the crows were gathering to roost. They always gather in the trees round there, trying to look like extras in a Hitchcock film, and they also confab on the ball fields. Wave after wave of them flew through the sunset sky.

Crows coming home.

Crows coming home.

And they flew round the moon. Would’ve gotten you a good video, too, only my one charged battery packed it in.

Crows over the Moon.

Crows over the Moon.

We had just enough residual power left to catch the sunset.

Sunset.

Sunset.

Note the clouds coming from the west, just in time to lend some interest to the darkening sky. Those bastards ended up inviting all their friends, and the Gray was back by Saturday morning – but we had some interesting breaks and I’ve got a whole ‘nother set of adventures to show you after this. It’s been an excellent weekend for photographs. Not so much for serious research and posting. Hell, I haven’t even finished collecting links on the Siberian meteor.  I mean, that was amazing and enthralling and all, but let’s face it, people – the sun was out in Seattle. That trumps rocks from outer space. There will be plenty of time to catch up on the news when the Gray comes back in earnest. Which it will do starting about… now.

Friday Freethought: “The Church Cannot Be Afflicted With the Same Idiot Forever”

I have to admit I sniggered upon hearing the news that Pope Ratzinger was on his way out the door. I won’t miss him. And I can hardly wait to see what the Catholic Church will inflict upon us next.

In the meantime, I figured we’d do a few quotes from Robert Ingersoll for the blessed occasion of the first retirement of a pope in 600 years. Two in two thousand years retiring rather than dying or being forced out means that Robert’s observation on ecclesiastical power remains pretty much spot-on:

Vol. 2:

You can hardly expect a bishop to leave his palace, or the pope to vacate the Vatican. As long as people want popes, plenty of hypocrites will be found to take the place. And as long as labor fatigues, there will be found a good many men willing to preach once a week, if other folks will work and give them bread. In other words, while the demand lasts, the supply will never fail.

If the people were a little more ignorant, astrology would flourish—if a little more enlightened, religion would perish!

Ah, for that great day….

As for the crimes of Pope Ratzinger, namely the crime of shuffling pedophiliac priests off to new pastures, where people weren’t aware that their spiritual head was all about raping children: if you’re surprised a man o’ god could be so evil, have a dose of reality.

Vol. 3:

Let it be remembered that the popes have committed every crime of which human nature is capable, and that not one of them was the friend of intellectual liberty—that not one of them ever shed one ray of light.

But this, of all, I believe is my favorite quote. I laugh every time I come across it, and it remains funny because it’s so damned true. Keeping in mind that “capable of” doesn’t mean “is in favor of” when it comes to the intellectual advancement stuff.

Vol. 5:

The Catholics have a pope. Protestants laugh at them, and yet the pope is capable of intellectual advancement. In addition to this, the pope is mortal, and the church cannot be afflicted with the same idiot forever.

Here’s looking forward to a new idiot as we wave goodbye to the old. Adios, Benny.

Please avail yourself of the nearest exit at the earliest available opportunity, and ensure your egress is not marred by a sharp contact between door and rear. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Please avail yourself of the nearest exit at the earliest available opportunity, and ensure your egress is not marred by a sharp contact between door and rear. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

New at Rosetta Stones: Things Get Heated

In this issue, scientists play with plastic. Betcha didn’t know that subjecting plastics to high heat can tell you a lot about what a volcano was up to during its paroxysmal eruption. Even if you already did: awesome pictures! I think the USGS geologists liked demolished cars as much as most of you do.

Destroyed signal light on heavily damaged vehicle by May 18 eruption, near Meta Lake 13 km northeast of Mount St. Helens. Skamania County, Washington. June 18, 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

Destroyed signal light on heavily damaged vehicle by May 18 eruption, near Meta Lake 13 km northeast of Mount St. Helens. Skamania County, Washington. June 18, 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

If you’re fond of forests, take the next week to stock up on liquid courage and steel your backbone, sort of thing. You might notice, in this lovely side view of a battered truck, that there is no forest.

Another view of truck caught in and damaged by Mount St. Helens eruption of May 18, 1980. Cowlitz County, Washington. June 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

Another view of truck caught in and damaged by Mount St. Helens eruption of May 18, 1980. Cowlitz County, Washington. June 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

There’s a good reason for that…

Los Links: I Laughed, I Cried, They Became a Part of Me

Some of you will remember Los Links from back in the day when I could spend two days out of every week reading blogs, and then share the linky goodness with you. Life’s been too busy for a while for that, unfortunately. It should have been too busy tonight, but my brain said, “You know what? Fuck you. I’ve been thinking all day.” War at work, y’see: fighting to make things the best they can possibly be at an American megacorporation. It’s fun, and fulfilling, but taxing.

Thankfully, I had posts written (longhand) in advance, but my wrists said, “You know what? Fuck you. We’ve been typing most of the day.” So today ended with me lying about catching up on some freethought reading. If this continues tomorrow, I can bring you a roundup of recent geology posts. I suppose that won’t be so bad, now, will it? And then, on Wednesday, you will be guaranteed an original post of near-epic proportions, because we’re going to talk about why Mount St. Helens melted some bits but not all the bits on the cars. If we’re very fortunate, we’ll end up on Boing Boing again (thank you, Maggie Koerth-Baker!). I say we, because I wouldn’t have written up cars if it hadn’t been for you lot liking things like that, and as it turns out, you’re not the only ones. So, thank you, my darlings!

It’s not all happy fun times, alas. The thing with frequenting the freethought and skeptic blogs that I do is that Things That Are Not Happy get discussed, and if it weren’t for the bloggers and commenters restoring my hope for humanity, I’d have crawled off to a cave and become an official misanthrope by now. Between all of you, though, I am not willing to declare the vast majority of human kind irredeemable arseholes. Only a subset of it. Sigh.

There will be a humorous intermission, and loving comfort at the end. Stay with me.

Almost Diamonds: When You Already Are the Middle Ground. An important read, this, reminding us that people who are screeching for some “middle ground” between “the two extremes” haven’t quite noticed that one of those “extremes” is already the middle ground they’re howling for.

Being out of patience with the whole make-peace-with-the-howling-bigots sanctimonious shits, I’d like to recommend, in a calm and even voice, that they read the above post, and then please, if it’s not too much trouble, take their sanctimonious faux-peacemaking shit and stuff it in the orifice of their choice.

Love, Joy, Feminism: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Abortion Wars. I am inspired by Libby Anne’s post about her first experience as an abortion clinic escort. I’m inspired to start walking in to abortion clinics on days when protesters are present, just so I can shout at them, “Wow, thanks! I was just coming in for an ultrasound, but your signs featuring fake dead baby parts and your religious howling has inspired me to abort instead, because I don’t want to raise my child in a world featuring you assholes!” I’d love to see their dear little faces as they tried to compute that, and whilst we were facing off, some women could hopefully walk unmolested into the clinic for their procedures.

Skepchick: Ain’t I A Skeptic? This is just… I don’t even… I’m ashamed of humanity and any feminist who would complain that a woman isn’t a good enough feminist because she chooses to stay home with her kids. This is a reminder that feminism is about a woman’s choice, not about forcing her into a different set of narrow boxes. It’s also a reminder to white feminists such as myself that there are feminists of color whose experiences are different from our own, and we cannot shut them out. Why the fuck is it so hard for people to realize that mileage varies with varying degrees of privilege?

Blag Hag: Indiana high schoolers want to ban gays from prom. And just when the clueless gits within the skeptic/atheist communities have just about turned me off from speaking out against religion, because their toxic bullshit seems more or less equally toxic, along comes religion to remind me that, no, while people can be toxic bullshit-spewing arseholes no matter their creed, religion makes people just that much more likely to spew disgusting, hateful, poisonous shit. So, um, thanks for reminding me that religion is still a force worth fighting… and if you’ll excuse me, I wish to crawl into a corner and weep for humanity before I don my fighting trousers (thank you, Avi, for a memorable phrase).

Mah new battle standard.

Mah new battle standard.

I promised you a humorous interlude, and a humorous interlude you shall have.

Butterflies and Wheels: The wot is feminism chart. Funny-sad or sad-funny that anti-feminist tropes can be made into such a humorous and apropos chart? I think we should establish a drinking game based upon it.

Daylight Atheism: Why Atheists Should Care More About Education. We already do care, of course, and not just when creationists get frisky. But there’s so much poverty, and so many lost opportunities, and so many kids who need better chances. Give a child a bible, and they can be stuffed full o’ falsehoods. Give a child a good education and a bible, and they can say, “Wait. Just. A. Minute. WTF???”

Choice in Dying: Wafa Sultan and the Position of Women in Islam. Warning: contains women-as-property, pedophilia, little boys being taught that women are nothing but property that should remain silent, animal cruelty, and a charming hadith about the kinds of nasal secretions a wife is expected to lick off her husband’s face with her tongue. I’m sure I missed some trigger warnings for various forms of horrible misogyny, cruelty and sexual violence – but hey, Islam’s totes the religion of peace, amirite?

(Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Find a happy place… ah, here we go. I hope.)

WWJTD: Boggle on mental illness and “a cry for help”. I like this muchly. Makes me want to go handing out sticks.

As originally seen somewhere on Skepchick.

As originally seen somewhere on Skepchick.

And if you’re still needing something warm and fuzzy after all that, might I suggest Cats Hugging Things? Because it’s pretty damned hard not to squee at this.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to avoiding absolutely everything by re-reading Marriage, a History and sniggering at all the “traditional” marriages therein.

Cryptopod: A Grasshopper That Doesn’t Take Pebbles from Hands

It may not be quite fair or exciting to present to you a grasshopper to identify, but here’s a couple from Chip Ross Park anyway.

Cryptopod I

Cryptopod I

The problem is manyfold, you see: dreary weekend that has left me uninspired, a cat who has decided for the second weekend in a row that the appropriate place for her servant is lying trapped with said cat on lap (which is less dreary, but completely non-conducive to productivity), and the fact that Foyle’s War is interesting. Also, I’m planning to write something about Parícutin on its anniversary, which means taking notes, which is difficult with the winter blahs compounded by cat-on-lap and Foyle-on-teevee, not to mention screaming at one scientific paper, “But the paper you’re saying said that didn’t say that!” About all I’m equal to is grasshoppers.

Cryptopod II

Cryptopod II

Grasshoppers make me feel vaguely guilty. They were ubiquitous where I grew up as a child – Flagstaff sometimes looked like the Biblical Egypt during the plague of locusts, only they were grasshoppers, not locusts. They were easy to catch, and you know what kids do when they catch insects: they experiment. We’d hold them by one leg to find out how powerful their kick was, and squeeze them a bit until they dribbled juice that looked like tobacco at us, and that sort of thing. I tried not to be too cruel, because I didn’t want to be like those children who pulled wings off flies, but there was a fascination about grasshoppers, staring into their buggy faces and wondering just how they work, and curiosity is cruel.

Cryptopod III

Cryptopod III

They did get their own back. The bastards ate my Tropicana rose. I loved that rose. It was a graduation gift, and it was a magnificent color that reminded one of tropical sunsets, and the fuckers ate it right down to the ground. There was only a single leaf left when they were done, and I think they left it there to grind salt into the wound. Well, I suppose I deserved it, ultimately. I’d not precisely been kind to their compatriots.

Cryptopod IV

Cryptopod IV

I never did like them much, and bore them a grudge for that rose, but given enough years away and the proper amount of homesickness, and you can become nostalgic for almost anything. Which is how I ended up very nearly delighted when it turned out the open spaces in the oak savannah at Chip Ross Park was hopping with them. It was just like home: open forest, dead brown grasses, brown grasshoppers leaping every-which-way with every step. And they were some of the only cryptopods about. So there were a few times, up there with all of Corvallis and its lovely geology spread before me, when I was down on my knees trying to persuade a grasshopper to hold still whilst Lockwood looked on in bemusement.

If you know the species, you may enlighten us. If you don’t, you can share your own grasshopper stories. Don’t worry. We won’t hold them against you, even if they involve horrible childhood experiments, or sniggering references to the teevee show Kung Fu.

Sunday Song: The Origin

Winter songs will have to wait, seeing as how it’s Darwin Day. Happy Darwin Day! And I have just the musical accompaniment for today: Richard Einhorn’s oratorio The Origin.

I wrote about it back when he was just finishing it up, and though I’ve never got to see it performed, happily YouTube allows us to live the experience vicariously. Well, part of the experience. Alas, the whole experience isn’t up, but at least we get a little something.

I love the idea of Darwin on stage. I love the concept of taking the book that revolutionized biology and turning its words into song. Quite lovely.

Here’s my favorite song from it so far:


It doesn’t surprise me that Richard was able to turn Darwin’s words into music – The Origin is beautifully written. Have you read it? Go read it. And remember that Darwin was a geologist, first, and wrote several books on geology, which may not be as gripping a read to those who like soft squishy things but will fascinate those who like nice hard things. Here are his books, free to all. Take a moment to dip in and see how The Origin originated.

And have yourself a most excellent Darwin Day, my darlings.

Charles Darwin. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Charles Darwin. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Friday Freethought: “We Are Not Safe”

So here we have Lucy Colman: abolitionist, infidel, freethinker, and firebrand. Eloquent writer and difference-maker. Yet somehow she doesn’t merit a Wikipedia page.

I wish I could say much has changed since her time. In ways it has: slavery is no longer officially sanctioned, women aren’t formally kept out of careers, and hey, blacks and women have the vote now, so that’s something. But just a few paragraphs of her Reminisces suffice to remind me how far we have yet to come. Christianity still demands “entire subordination.” It still forces the Bible into public schools. And we are still not safe.

Lucy N. Colman. Image courtesy Philosopedia.

Lucy N. Colman. Image courtesy Philosopedia.

Reminisces

Lucy N. Colman

About this time (from 1824 to 1830) there swept over New England what was called a revival of religion. As I look back upon it, it seems like some scourge or plague, so great was the sorrow that followed in its wake. Protracted meetings were everywhere the order of the day; sensational ministers were sought for and employed to preach, with all the effect possible, the coming of the day of judgment, and the sure doom of the impenitent. Here was another problem to be solved. Of what use was preaching, or praying, for those who were elected from the foundation of the world to be saved, and how worse than useless to try, by any means, to avert the doom of those who were fore-ordained to destruction?

My queries, no matter to whom addressed, always received the same answer, “Child, Satan desires to have you, and so he is putting such questions into your head; answer him as did the Saviour, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan!’ and remember it is very wicked to reason on the ways of God; you have the Holy Bible, read that, and accept it, it is God’s word.” At last, in despair, I began to read the bible, consecutively, chapter by chapter, but alas, I found it wholly inexplicable, and when I went to my good Christian aunt (who was in the place of mother to me), and begged her to tell me what such things meant, and why God used such filthy words, and what was the good of such laws, and why woman was required to do things that were wrong in the nature of things, the only answer that she could give me was, “I don’t know; put away the bible till you are older; read the Psalms and the New Testament.” Such was the food that was given to children to mentally digest sixty and seventy years ago. Is it better to-day? Liberalism has so permeated thought that, like homeopathy in medicine – all pathies are more or less affected by it, so that no respectable physician to-day salivates with calomel, or bleeds, or denies to patients burning up with fever cold water – the Protestant religion, in all its different creeds, is a mild mixture compared to what it was seventy years ago. And perhaps for the reason that its hideousness is so nicely covered, there is more need that Liberals be on the alert. Christianity is the more dangerous when it gives its attention to this life. Christianity demands entire subordination to its edicts, no matter that it keeps out of sight the damnation of infants in another world, if it subjugates all children to its decrees by teaching them, not only in Sunday-schools but in public schools supported by the public at large, the doctrines taught in the bible. Until the majority of the people are emancipated from authority over their minds, we are not safe.