Tony Could Use Some Help

Trying to survive while unemployed in this country is awful. Cantina friend and fellow blogger Tony is still out of a job, and this month, he’s falling short on being able to meet his expenses. If you can spare a few dollars, please give him a hand. Thank you!

Image is a sepia-tone photo of Tony. He's still bald, but he has a snazzy goatee now!

Our Tony with his snazzy new goatee. Image courtesy Tony Thompson via Facebook.

“Coming Undone” – Escape Chapter 10: Cathleen and Tammy Marry Merril

Welcome back to our ongoing Escape review! If you need to catch up, the complete series is here. We’re about to finish Chapter 10: you can find the first half here if you want to refresh your memory. I know it’s been a long time!

CN: Mental illness, ableism, domestic violence, abuse and neglect.

Merril Jessop has two new wives. Tammy has to personally turf one of his daughters out of a bedroom so that she has a room in the same house as her unlawfully-wedded husband. Cathleen, gentle-natured one, is installed in the younger boys’ room, forcing them to squeeze in with other brothers. Lest you think Merril gave her a room because he actually likes her, note that he immediately skedaddled with his favorite wife, Barbara, leaving Cathleen to care for 28 children pretty much by herself. Ruth and Faunita are too consumed by psychosis and depression to help, Carolyn’s at college, and Tammy could give two shits about other people’s children.

So yeah, Merril married Cathleen for political power, and then moved her in because he needed a nanny. Proper Prince Charming, ain’t he just.

And when she finally confronts Merril about it, he tells her to learn how to do stuff from his elder daughters (who are completely MIA) and that she needs to take a nap.

Husband of the fucking Year material right here, yo.

Meanwhile, Tammy’s only concern is how she can get moved into the house and persuade her new hubby to fuck her rather than fuck her over. Yep. He married her, but he still hasn’t slept with her.

When Merril gets home from his post-wedding business trip, he chooses to deal with Ruth’s psychotic behavior by ignoring it. Cathleen about loses her shit, because the man of the family is falling down on his job:

In the FLDS culture, people believe that the mentally ill have invited evil spirits into themselves. Cathleen could not fathom why Merril would allow a wife who’d been taken over by an evil spirit to be running around his home and scaring his children with her bizarre behavior.

Such a healthy attitude towards mental illness. *fatal eyeroll* [Read more…]

New at Rosetta Stones: Potential Disasters!

You’re all in the mood for some mayhem, right? Head on over to Rosetta Stones and check out the fine selection of fine potential geology-related disasters I’ve chosen for you. Included:

  • The reason why even evil dictators need geologists
  • The definitive answer as to whether Yellowstone is about to kill us all right now
  • And ten volcanoes that should leave you in a cold sweat.

Enjoy!

Post-MLK Day Reminder: The Good Rev. Dr. Would Be Pissing People Off

There’s some stuff the status-quo folks don’t like you to know about Martin Luther King Jr. I surely didn’t get taught anything about his anti-war stance, or his arguments against capitalism, or even the stuff he said about civil rights that Regan Republican conservative white people such as my parents didn’t want to acknowledge. My school, although located in a liberal college town, was a product of the Arizona state conservatism. I got a sanitized MLK, a black dude that racist-but-didn’t-want-to-admit-it people felt good about supporting, because damn, didn’t that mean they were enlightened and shit? They’re totally behind civil rights, yo. Just, y’know, not for affirmative action and dismantling the entire system of white supremacy. Let’s don’t go too far here. Be moderate, like Dr. King! And don’t you dare support affirmative action, cuz Dr. King said we were supposed to be judging character, not skin!

He’s the lullaby the status-quo folks use to try to sing us back to sleep. And they can get away with it only because he was killed for being far too revolutionary.

So yesterday, I’m sure there were plenty of people appropriating his dream to make themselves feel all good about themselves, and convince themselves that black people these days would be scolded by the Great Man, and all that usual shit. But I went out and collected the articles that prove their version of Dr. King is a lie. And now, we’re going to have a Day-After-MLK-Day in which we enjoy the fact that if we could bring him here in the TARDIS, he’d be more likely to roll up his sleeves and get to work with the Black Lives Matter folks than he would go on talk shows claiming that #AllLivesMatter.

Let’s hear it in his own words, then, shall we? [Read more…]

If Your Feminism Requires a Vagina, It Is Bullshit

I’ve been seeing some supposed feminists engage in an awful lot of transmisogyny for people who claim to give a shit about trans people. And I’ve seen entirely too many feminists claim or act like they’re intersectional, then go off the rails when it comes to trans women. Ophelia Benson is the prime example of late, but there have been others. Far too many others. And I am bloody tired of it. So we’re going to have some real talk today.

This is not how you go about intersectional feminism. And it makes me really fucking uncomfortable when someone claims to give a shit about women and does a little public posturing about how much they care for trans people, too – and then goes off on a trans woman. In one recent episode, I saw a self-righteous feminist argue with a trans woman (who is also a biologist) about the trans-misogynist term “female-bodied.” When you run roughshod over another woman because she does not have the same genitals you do, you are fucking up badly. When you argue that there is such a thing as biologically female with a biologist who is telling you it’s more complicated than that, you are fucking up spectacularly. And there are far too many cis women who are doing shit like this.

So, as a cis woman, I’d like to say this to all y’all who think that being “biologically female” or “female-bodied” – meaning having a vagina and a uterus – is crucial to the experience of being a woman: [Read more…]

Adventures in ACE XVI: Holy Hydrosphere, Bibleman!

Can you believe it’s been six months since we last deconstructed the dreck that is Accelerated Christian Education? I’ve been preoccupied with A Beka and BJU, because they’re more challenging. But ACE brings a unique je ne sais WTF that no other Christian textbook company can even approach, so let us return to ACE PACE 1087, and stare agape at the ways they mangle science for the Lord.

They’re on about Areas of the Hydrosphere now. The ACE writers think it’s more interesting if they have absurd characters babbling to each other, so they’re feeding us what one might loosely refer to as facts via a father-son babblefest. Little Ace is eager to show off his knowledge to dear old Dad, but he leaves out the fact that all water, including the frozen and subsurface stuff, is part of Earth’s hydrosphere. So while he gets points for mentioning oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers as major components thereof, I’m docking him for neglecting groundwater and glaciers, which account for enormous amounts of the planet’s water. In fact, if you only want to cover “major” water bodies, you’d best be leaving lakes and rivers out, as they account for only about 3% of the earth’s fresh water. Groundwater is 30.8%, while glaciers are a whopping 68.9%. And yeah, groundwater pumping and anthropogenic climate change are shrinking both sources fast, but a) not that fast and b) the Real True Christians™ behind ACE probably don’t believe humans have any impact on God’s Perfect Creation anyway. So we’ll chalk that failure to mention important bits up to incompetence. [Read more…]

Put Up Your Organs or Shut Up

Just when I think Republicans have reached peak horrid, they get worse. Now they’re shitting all over Black Lives Matter by not only trotting out All Lives Matter bullshit rhetoric, but using it to also try to force pregnant people to carry unwanted pregnancies.

HB 1794, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove), would establish the All Lives Matter Act, an example of what activists view as anti-choice legislators using the Black Lives Matter movement for their own restrictive agenda. It would amend state law to define a fertilized egg as “a person” and life as beginning at conception.

These people are fucking rancid.

But fine. Whatevs. They’re going to keep doing this, so we need a law of our own. I’m gonna call it the “Your Life First” law.

If you’re going to propose pregnant people be forced to give birth no matter the circumstances, if you’re going to claim that “all lives matter,” and that includes little blobs of brainless fetal tissue (but obviously not the living, breathing, brain-possessing person they’re riding in, because if that life mattered to you, we wouldn’t even be discussing this), then here’s the deal: [Read more…]

SF Snippet #5: Three Phrases

Our civil war of words continues! Alas, this is the final installment – the story pauses here. Someday, when the poetry overflows from the depths of my not-usually-poetic brain again, I’ll finish it. I know how it ends. But I’m not sure what’s between here and the end. Not yet.

Someday…

Part One. Part Two. Part Three. Part Four.

No one ever heard Disahnahle’s original three phrases. They had only themselves to blame.

The outcry started as a disgruntled rumbling and turned into a volcano. Plains Cousins crowed, seeing those three phrases as a tacit admission of their superiority, while Mountain Cousins trooped up to Disahnahle over the ensuing weeks to complain, at some length, of his betrayal. How can you envy a people too foolish to come in out of the rain? they asked. Why that ill-considered verse? Our reputation rested with you, and you trampled it. And other words to this effect.

Disahnahle stood in the entrance to his cave and listened gravely, head tipped to one side, one ear forward and the other back in an attitude of utmost consideration, until the last group (including some of the most respected members of the community) finished their tirade. He shifted his weight from his off to his near side. They waited. “It is the glory and the curse of poets,” he said finally, “to have meaning invested in our works that we never intended.”

Then he turned and went inside, leaving them alone in a sharp spring wind. The next group that tried to express their opinion were met with the flat of his horn. Further visitors decided it was prudent not to venture into a cave entrance that contained a sharp horn and forehooves with no room for flanking maneuvers.

The Plains Cousins proclaimed Nahkorah victorious. Disahnahle, they said, had as much as conceded defeat. The contest was over. Had she heard? He had retreated to his cave and refused to come out. She had destroyed him.

Nahkorah gazed out over the plains. It was high summer now, just before the rains, and the grass wilted under the blaze of the sun. There were no clouds, except where a fire sent smoke boiling up to the stratosphere some miles distant. Even the snow-fed rivers were shriveling, limping and wincing in the center of muddy channels between their banks. “I envy him his daylight shadows,” she said.

A little later, she ventured up into the mountains, and squeezed herself into a cave entrance that had no consideration for the dimensions of a Plains Cousin. The cavern blessedly widened after several feet. There was a small stream in the center of it, a freshening breeze from somewhere at the back, and stocky hindquarters planted firmly opposite, swaying with the motions of his work. He had propped a slab of mudstone on a ledge and was carving it with short, certain strokes of his horn. Other slabs lay propped all over the cave. She stood in the center of a vortex of words.

She drank from the stream, wandered around and sampled phrases, captured forever in lovely angular script. It certainly seemed easier than etching one’s words on living minds, and entrusting them to endure.

By the time he finished chipping the last phrase, she was standing stone-still in the middle of the cave, beside the stream. And then she began to move, without thought:

Nothing lasts, eternal

Unchanged

Yesterday long past

Someone cooled their hooves in the mud of a stream

Where today you carve a line

Which holds greater worth:

That moment of coolness

Those lasting words?

I know what each of you would say

Nothing lasts

Things become separate

That side of the stream or this

This elevation or that

Mountains rise, plains fall

And it is often forgotten

That this mountain was a plain once

That this plain washed down from a peak

Things separate

Not really separate

Need for divisions

Divides us

Without boundaries we would be no different

We need divisions

Remember the places between

Disahnahle stood there facing her for a moment, tail swishing. He wiped rock dust from his horn onto his shoulder. She waited for him to remark on the symmetry of right side and left side, front and back words, which she felt was this poem’s greatest strength. Had he caught the echo of his first poem to her? He had said they were many surrounding the same center, after all, and she had spoken directly to it in her last phrase. But he said nothing.

“Well?” she said after a long silence.

“Oh, you were done. I thought you were just resting. Usually when there is a trickle of water during a storm, a flood follows.” He turned away, blowing rock dust from his most recent work.

Nahkorah stamped her feet. “You ungracious lout.”

His head swung around, staring at her past his hindquarters, and then she saw his left rear hoof pivoting on its toe. He was right – she had fallen for his tease. “It was very kind of you to come up here and apologize for the fear of my kin,” he said, turning away again.

“Fear?”

“Of course. What else would make them so angry?” Disahnahle had taken down the finished slab and was raising another. She had expected his speech to change when transmitted directly with te’i’ahne, but it was just as clipped as his physical speech. “They fear such admissions as mine. They think that wanting something you are says that we no longer want to be ourselves, that we concede your superiority.”

“Your poem was nothing like that.”

“Of course not. But you are more visible, down there on the plains.”

She had never quite thought of it that way. She pondered it now, as Disahnahle lowered his head and began chipping. “You do realize that what I said about Mountain Cousin poetry was just an observation? That I never meant that one was superior to another, but so different that one could never appreciate the other?”

“You appreciated my three phrases.”

She ground her teeth. The sound harmonized well with the grate of his horn against mudstone. “And I can admit when I was wrong.”

“Never. If you do, I have nothing to strive for. Now hush.”

She hushed. She watched him work, carving one torturously slow character after another, and thought she understood why Mountain Cousins kept their verses so short and simple. If they did not, they would spend a year giving a poem that a Plains Cousin could trip out in moments, and likely forget where the verse had begun before it ended. How could he think, with that noise? How could he keep the phrases in his mind, even short as they were?

He finally stepped back, cocked his head to study his lines, and seemed satisfied. He moved aside so she could come read them.

While you recite,

We speak in pages of stone.

Flowers fallen in swift streams.

Nahkorah had to read it several times before she realized the truth. “That is what I just said.”

“Do you have anywhere to keep it?” he asked. “I doubt you could dance it.”

She kicked him, but not hard. “We have places for our things. Not that you would know that, lurker in caves.”

He planted his forelegs apart, head twisted in a grin that nearly ruined the last of her dignity as she gathered up his gift. She meant to depart in icy silence, majestic, unshakable, but he pricked her flank with his parting words as she left his cave, the poem bounding behind her in its net of te’i’ahne: “The next salvo is yours, Nahkorah. Give me notice so I can free a month to hear it.”

She threw a withering glance over her shoulder. “I once respected you, a minute ago.”

It would have made a far better retort had she not hit her horn on the cave wall turning back.

Image shows a white unicorn standing in front of a huge moon at the end of a rocky path.

Image courtesy Kasamy-Design (CC BY 3.0)

Copyright 2016 by Dana Hunter. All rights reserved.

OHAI! I’m Back!

I’ve returned from my brief blogcation, my darlings! Sorry about that hiatus. I got to writing stuff by hand and suddenly felt like not touching a computer at all. Hence, no posts.

Image shows a gray and white cat with huge sunglasses on. Caption says, "Another Pina Colada plz, and teh pool boy's phone #."

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I’ve been productive, though! I’ve written several installments in our Escape review and a couple of ACE posts for our Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education series. I’m a third of the way through our next Really Terrible Bible Stories volume. I’ve at least busted out the notes for our next Cataclysm post, and will write that up as soon as my brain stops cowering at the complexity of it. (Seriously, brain, it’s not that bad!)

I also wrote some fiction, and daydreamed about my story world a lot, and then took an actual day off in which I didn’t write anything more than a few Facebook status updates. Misha and I cuddled, napped, and read a lovely sporking of the third Fifty Shades of Shit book. We caught up on other book recaps, too. And napped. Did I mention the napping? [Read more…]