“The Family Scapegoat” – Escape Chapter 8: Newlywed

So, imagine that the only way you can go to college is by having a sister-wife so jealous of you that she’ll talk your husband into sending you away. No one’s going to let you go just because it’s the right decision for you and your family. No one cares that you want to complete your education. It’s only because your sister-wife can’t stand you that you get the chance to go at all. And your new stepdaughters, asked by your husband to spy on you at college, are all clamoring for the chance to watch your every move. It’s the only way they’ll have a shot at college themselves. Their father certainly wouldn’t give mere girls an education just because they want one.

Welcome to Carolyn Jessop’s dysfunctional new family. This is what passes for sensible in the FLDS. [Read more…]

Proof of the Rapture!

Look, it really happened! Just like the Real True Christians said it would!

Image shows a pair of orange children's flip-flops in the sand. Each sandal is pointing in an opposite direction.

Evidence of the Rapture, my friends! The end times are upon us!

These shoes, sans owner, were lying forlorn upon the sand at Richmond Beach on September 28th. It can only mean one thing! God has raptured one (possibly nude) child and left the rest of us behind!! You know it’s the Tribulation now because we’re stuck with RTCs for at least the next seven years. If that’s not a trial and tribulation, I don’t know what is.

Super Blood Moon Eclipse Mania! Definitely the End of the World! Woo!

I know the world is ending today, my darlings. You see, last night was a once-in-a-long-time astronomical event, in the fall, and it wasn’t cloudy or raining in Seattle. We had cloudless skies. That is a sure sign of the apocalypse right there.

S, his friend P, and I went down to Magnuson Park to view the thing. I mean, how could we not? Perfect view over Lake Washington! We got there right at dusk, and the next sign of the apocalypse happened: despite it being a hugely popular destination for super blood moon eclipse madness viewing, we found an actual parking space in the main lot.

There is an utterly lovely view of Mount Rainier from there. So of course I got you a photo! [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 6!


Foolin’ with Pharaoh

(Exodus 10)

God is a nasty, small-minded jerk.

This is not a difficult claim to prove. One need only to turn to the 10th chapter of Exodus and read the first two verses. God straight up admits he’s a petty asshole playing power games.

Recall all of the suffering and death dealt to the Egyptian people so far – people whose only crime, mind you, was to be born in a country ruled by the Pharaoh. Recall the countless animals he’s tortured and killed just to show off his power. Recall that God keeps demanding Pharaoh release the Israelites, then laying a disproportionate smackdown on innocent people when he doesn’t.

And now, God tells Moses why all this is happening: [Read more…]

Mystery Flora: Pretty Sure You’re Not A Crocus, Buddy

I did a double-take when I saw these in the neighborhood! They look like gigantic crocuses to me, and it’s entirely the wrong time of year for those.

Image shows two pale purple flowers that look like very large crocuses springing from the ground by a rock. There are no leaves. They have six broad petals that taper to a rounded tip.

Mystery Flora I

I have since come to find out that there are autumn crocuses, too, but I remain skeptical. Perhaps you’ll be able to pin down the answer: are these crocuses, or a similar-appearing flower? [Read more…]

Made Small by the Mountain

Whilst I was photographing Mount St. Helens, Suzanne was photographing me photographing the mountain. She got a great shot!

Image shows Mount St. Helens, rays of sunshine striking it from low in the west and a thick white cloud over its summit. I'm standing on a grassy ridge to the right, almost invisible due to shadows and my black trench coat. I look very small in comparison to the enormous mountain many miles away.

Mount St. Helens et moi. Image courtesy Suzanne.

Perspective makes the grass look almost as tall as me – I don’t remember it being so high! Then again, I was completely entranced by the mountain, so maybe I just didn’t notice.

It’s not just perspective that makes Mount St. Helens look so huge. It is so huge! To give you an idea of how huge, even with nearly two thousand feet of its summit missing, check this out: [Read more…]

Our Mount St. Helens Epic Adventure: The End of a Quest!

Suzanne and I went up to Mount St. Helens yesterday on a rather spur-of-the-moment whim. The weather wasn’t as clear as we’d have liked, but the clouds stayed just high enough to make things interesting without obscuring the vital bits, so that was a little bit of all right. And at the end of the day, we had a most spectacular moment of success, one that brought a years-long quest to a close. Come join me for a whirlwind overview before I go pass out!

[Read more…]

New at Rosetta Stones: What’s the 2015 Illapel Earthquake Got to Do With Charles Darwin?

As Chile recovers from its monster 2015 Illapel Earthquake, I got to thinking about another Chilean earthquake and a rather famous geologist-turned-biologist. Charles Darwin experienced a very similar quake in Chile during his voyage with the Beagle, and left an exquisite account of it. I bring you that story, plus some useful links about the modern quake. You’ll see that Chile’s had earthquake preparedness down for centuries, and that Darwin is top-notch at earthquake reporting. Enjoy!

Image is a grayscale engraving showing the toppled walls of a cathedral. Nothing is recognizable. Rutted streets pass by it.

“Remains of the Cathedral of Concepción” by John Clements Wickham.

So a Muslim Kid Builds a Clock, and Atheist “Leaders” Lose Their Shit

The freakout over Ahmed Mohamed’s innocent clock-building project is an excellent example of Islamophobia in action. Iris Vander Pluym has an excellent post showing how too many people in this country freak the fuck out over black Muslim kids doing safe, simple science, while having nothing but praise for white boys who create literal nuclear reactors. Had Nuclear Kid been brown, black, Muslim, or some combination? Poor child probably would’ve been in Guantanamo by the end of the school day. [Read more…]

New at Rosetta Stones: It’s the Eve of Destruction

Our third edition of In the Path of Destruction live-blogging is up! This one takes us right up to the seconds before the eruption. Some of the things that happened will leave you sputtering. Some of it will leave you wishing for a TARDIS so you can get people the heck outta Dodge.

Image shows a bearded Dave Johnston sitting in a camp chair with his feet up, smiling at the camera. A forest stands behind him.

David Johnston at Coldwater II on May 17th, 1980. Image courtesy Harry Glicken/USGS.