Two Acts of Terrorism in One Day

So, we’ve had two acts of homegrown terrorism while I’ve been off doing meatspace stuff. I see some jackass tried to torch a Planned Parenthood, and some shitstain with a gun shot up a community college, killing at least ten people. But of course, this will all have nothing to do with the right-wing war on reproductive health care and this country’s refusal to engage in some sensible gun control. And they won’t be called terrorists. Just lone wolves. And I haven’t read much more than headlines so far, but I’m sure someone’s already busted out their imaginary copy of the DSM and their non-existent psychiatric degree and called at least one of them mentally ill.

I have only a few things to say at this time: [Read more…]

“I Was Just Another Piece of Property” – Escape Chapter 8: Newlywed

Content note for physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of adults; physical abuse and neglect of children; attempted suicide.

Carolyn Jessop has gone from single college student to subservient wife in a polygamous arranged marriage in just a few days. Now, on her “honeymoon,” she’s enduring repeated sexual assaults from her new husband at night. She’s just grateful she doesn’t have to speak to him during the day, as he shows no interest in her outside of trying to fuck her. She’s reeling, and the fact that her father and stepmother are thrilled by her marriage perplexes her: “If they loved me, how could they have let me go through anything so hateful?”

In a word: religion [Read more…]

Mobbed by Adorable Baby Birdies!

So one of the things I’ll miss the most about living in Bothell is having baby duckies within walking distance. This spring was the best. There were lots and lots of babies, and most of them had absolutely no fear. When they saw a human with food, they were all over that. B and I got completely mobbed several times, and it was completely delightful.

Image shows me squatting down hand-feeding a crowd of brown baby ducks. They're eating right out of my hand.

Moi being mobbed by baby duckies.

The parents would keep an eye on us, but they weren’t really concerned. Apparently everybody who comes through there is fairly kind to the waterfowl. They don’t even mind the noise and chaos of the ballgame crowds. They’ll go right on up and beg from the spectators. [Read more…]

Here’s Some of What You’ve Missed if You Don’t Follow Me on Facebook

And, of course, with the way Facebook delivers stuff to your timeline, you may have missed it even if you do follow me on Facebook. Since I’m behind in the 10,001 things I need to do this week, I’m going to just stick some of my posts from Facebook right here. There’s some good readin’!

Let’s get to it! [Read more…]

Reveal That Metazoan! Frenchman Coulee Fuzzy Critter Edition

Let me tear you away from the slopes and Silver Lakes of Mount St. Helens for just a moment here, and take you back in time to the previous trip, when B and I headed to the dry side. We saw some pretty super-awesome things on that journey. One of them was barely visible. I’d never have noticed it, but B’s brain is really good with the something’s-not-like-the-others game. Let’s see if you can spot it.

Image shows a rocky slope, a few sage bushes, and a barely-visible animal that is probably in the Sciuridae family.

Mystery Metazoan I

C wut evolution did thar? No? Okay, I’ll give you some hints: [Read more…]

Bad News for Hollywood

So, you know those disaster movies where volcanoes explode like St. Helens but also spew fountains of really runny lava like Kilauea on laxatives?

I have really bad news for them, courtesy of Edward Wolfe and Thomas Pierson in Volcanic-Hazard Zonation for Mount St. Helens, Washington, 1995.

Lava flows are destructive but generally not life-threatening because they normally advance so slowly that people can walk or run away from them.


Of course, it’s never about realism anyway, which is why I avoid any disaster movie with a volcano in it – I know I’d end up ruining everyone’s movie experience by howling, “That doesn’t happen!” every ten seconds or so. (And no, I sure as shit am not going to see San Andreas – that looks even worse than the volcano flicks, and I’m not interested in dying from apoplexy at my tender age. I will probably eventually watch Pompeii because some of you asked me to years ago, and I can now watch it here at home, where I can scream into a pillow so as not to disturb the neighbors.) I’m not a fan, is what I’m trying to say. Some people enjoy disaster films despite (or because of) the absurdity. I have a lot more fun with reality. I mean, this is the greatest shit ever!

Did you hear that crackling?! Did you see the little pieces of volcanic glass popping up like popcorn kernels in a hot pan? Did you seem them cook burritos and marshmallows on a bloody pahoehoe flow? And hear the squeals of pure science-geek joy? Oh, yes. That’s my kinda flick! You can see the whole video here.

So yeah, those of you who like your volcano disaster flicks can enjoy the ridiculously-funny lava and the volcanic bombs that set off huge gasoline explosions wherever they land and stuff. I’m just gonna enjoy watching geologists amble around the edges of active lava fields.

Image shows a steaming black lava flow oozing onto a grassy field. It appears to have eaten a fence.. A geologist in a red shirt and a backpack skirts close to the edge.

A USGS geologist maps the margin of the active lava flow in an open field west of the town of Pāhoa on Oct. 26, 2014. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

I mean, that is so ridiculously epically awesome – except for the people of Pāhoa: I’m so sorry Kilauea ate your town.

And now Ima go watch my favorite lava lake video of all time.

Maddow’s Mount St. Helens Metaphor for the Iraq War

A lot of you pointed me toward Rachel Maddow’s segment wherein she compares the aftermath of the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens with the aftermath of the Iraq War. Even if you hate politics and are sick to death of all mention of the war, watch the beginning. She did a marvelous job narrating the eruption. I tend to avoid talking heads on teevee, but Maddow is an artist as well as a kick-ass-take-names-and-pwn-them-all pundit, so she’s more than a bit of all right.

I love the way she begins the piece:

It started as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake, and a large earthquake is almost never a good thing. But when it happens one mile beneath a huge, active volcano, it can be the start of something that feels a little bit like the end of the world.

And really, it did. All of us who watched that ash cloud consume the sky and swallow the day, whether in person or on our television screens, felt that. There are few things more ominous than an eruption cloud.

Now, some of you speculated that she was getting her facts from my posts, but I can assure you she didn’t. [Read more…]

How a Cult Programs You to Stay in the Trap: Escape Chapter 1 (Part Two)

In our last installment of Escape by Carolyn Jessop, we got a taste of the depression, despair, and abuse Carolyn lived with in her FLDS community. Today, we’ll see how her childhood conditioned her to fear the outside world, and accept her lot as an abused wife pumping out endless babies in a loveless plural marriage.

Colorado City, AZ and Hildale, UT are communities where children literally run screaming away from strangers. It isn’t because of stranger-danger or regular, if exaggerated, fears. Carolyn tells us she and the other kids [Read more…]

The Little Lost Umbrella

Once upon a time, there was a natty black umbrella. It was born in a factory with thousands of others much like it, assembled by sweatshop workers who were desperate to feed their families. Practical hands packaged it, stuffed it in a box with dozens of its siblings, and then it went on a long ride in trucks and ships and possibly on railways until it reached a department store. It lived in the shelves for a while, where children used it as a sword. It felt this gave it character. It loved its swash-buckling days.

It watched a few of its siblings be sold. Their places were taken by close cousins. They all speculated after store closing, wondering what sort of hands they would end up in, and what the rain and wet were they were made to protect people from. [Read more…]

I Shall Now MALL NINJA!! Your Sunday

This is one of the most epic trolls I’ve ever read. It says something about our unhinged gun culture that I wasn’t sure it was a troll at first, rather than a man with a very rich fantasy life. Content note for the usual kind of sexism, fat-shaming, toxic masculinity and so forth you’d expect to find in forums full of gun-obsessed people.

Before we get to the excerpt proper, let our host ‘splain what a Mall Ninja is: [Read more…]