Help Me Track Down this Book!

This is going to drive me mad… there was a book I read as a kid that was about a Navajo boy who was ripped away from his family and culture and sent to a residential school. I’d swear they called him Leo, but of course I could be wrong. I remember them trying to basically turn him white, and one of the major battles was making him wear underwear with his jeans. There were a lot of other struggles and confusion as they tried to remove the Indian parts of himself and he tried to hold on to his identity. I think it was set in either Arizona or New Mexico. There were illustrations, and I know it wasn’t a long book, but I don’t remember if it was a picture book or not. Anybody remember it?

Sneak Peeks from Frenchman Coulee

Waterfall, petrified wood, bighorn sheep, and stunning sunset, oh my! S’s friend R is visiting, and we took advantage of a nice weather break to head over to Frenchman Coulee. Twas glorious! I’m too exhausted to do much of anything but drool over some photos, but I think you’ll very much enjoy drooling with me.

Image shows the peak of Mount Stuart, which is a fan-shaped, rugged mountain. It has a coating of bright white new snow.

Mount Stuart showing off a beautiful new coat of snow.

As we drove through the Cascades, we saw the peaks dusted with snow so new it was still clinging to tree branches. So lovely! [Read more…]

Paranormal Experiences? Yeah, I’ve Had ‘Em. Still A Skeptic

One thing about being in this house: I get to encounter a variety of people. Not that my life is an echo chamber – I certainly run into plenty of people with opinions different from mine online, but in real life, I can’t just groan and click away when my woo-quotient for the day has been met. This leads to me having to explain things. Or flee back to my fortress of solitude when a proper conversation can’t be had. There’s always that option. S is pretty good at warning guests that I’m a hermit, so I don’t have to hurt any feelings by running away.

I’m not sure if he warns them that I’m a skeptic and atheist, but they surely do find out when they make the mistake of asking me for my opinion on certain subjects.

Most of them are quite able to accept the fact that I think their nonsense is nonsense. I’m direct, but I try not to be mean about it. If they’re happy and not harming themselves, they’re welcome to their woo, just so long as they don’t try to convert me. Most of them either drop the subject, or we kind of talk past each other a bit before moving on to other things.

What amuses me, though, is how many of them are surprised by my history. They assume I’ve always been a skeptical atheist. When I tell them I used to be a Christian, they’re shocked. When I share the fact I was in to UFOs and all sorts of paranormal bollocks, they’re amazed. I don’t think it ever occurs to them how much people can change.

Many of them say, “Well, I’ve had experiences, and that’s why I believe in x.”

They’re absolutely astounded when I say, “Oh, I’ve had those experiences, too.”

I mean, honestly, people, why else did you think I’ve been a member of a doomsday cult? [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 15, Part Two!


God’s Extensive, Expensive Interior Décor Requirements for Homeless Refugees

(Exodus 25-27)


First half of Chapter 15 is here.


Having gotten the furniture out of the way, God starts in on curtains. He wants ten of ’em, done up in the finest linen with the most costly blue, purple, and scarlet dyes – remember, kids, those colors were hella expensive to achieve back then. He wants each curtain to have cherubim embroidered on it. And he doesn’t want a few simple drapes, no. He’s asking for enormous, heavy panels that are 28 cubits (about 42 feet) long and 4 cubits (about 6 feet) wide. Then the curtains must be joined in two sets of 5, and 50 blue loops put on the edge of each outer curtain; God’s really particular about that. Then you’ve gotta have 50 solid-gold clasps to put through the loops. (Ex. 26:1-6)

If you want to get an idea of how fun this stuff was to shlep around the desert, go to a fabric store, find the biggest bolt of upholstery fabric you can, and carry it around the store for eight hours. Then, as you lay dying, ponder the fact that you had the benefit of air conditioning, and the folks wandering the Sinai did not. [Read more…]

Hi again! It’s Karen! And I’m thinking about teachers…

Hi all, it’s Karen, back after a long hiatus. I’m up to my ears in projects, and haven’t had time to even think about posting in ages; sorry!

Dana saw a Facebook post of mine, and suggested it would be a suitable blog post. Since Dana can be very persuasive, I will share the gist of it with you all. [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 15, Part One!


God’s Extensive, Expensive Interior Décor Requirements for Homeless Refugees

(Exodus 25-27)



The next time someone who considers Exodus to be holy writ snarks at me about gay guys being into interior decorating, I shall have to request they turn to chapters 25 thru 27 in their Holy Bible. God has put some really serious thought into how he wants his living space set up and decorated. I mean, it’s verging on the pathological. It’s not the sort of thing you’d expect the creator of the universe to get hung up on. You’d expect him to DIY if he’s that bloody picky. And even if he chooses to delegate, you’d hope he’d hire an established firm, rather than a ragtag band of freed slaves lost in the desert. But no. He’s got some particularly detailed requirements, and he expects the Israelites to fulfill them.

He starts by demanding people bring him stuff. See, the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe doesn’t know if you really really truly love him enough unless you give him lots of expensive gifts. But, y’know, only if you want to. Not like he’d withhold his favor from you if you didn’t, or anything like that.

Oh, wait. Yes he would.

Anyway, God wants stuff for the tabernacle he’s been dreaming of. Sure, he could create it himself. Don’t be ridiculous! Of course he could! He’s absolutely not imaginary at all, and he totally did make the earth, heavens, and everything else in existence in six days. This tabernacle project would take him maybe a few minutes in the morning, tops. But then it wouldn’t be special. (Ex. 25:1-2)

So he tells Moses to ask the people for their (completely voluntary!) offerings of: [Read more…]

Is the West Coast Toast? Let’s Talk Cascadia!

I can stare into the mouth of Mount St. Helens without flinching, begging her to erupt. I can hike up river valleys draining Mount Rainier, and just make a mental note to scramble uphill if it sounds like a mudslide’s coming. I’ve tramped around Mount Baker without once worrying about the fact it’s active. Volcanoes don’t scare me a bit. Okay, I lie, they scare me a wee bit, just enough that I have a healthy respect for their power and refuse to buy property in their hazard zones.

Where I go all white-knuckle and stark terror is on Seattle’s few double-decker roads. Whenever I have to take the southbound I-5 express lanes, I’m staring up at the freeway above, and out toward the Cascadia subduction zone off the coast, and begging it to please oh please not choose this particular instant to rip. Whenever I’m on the coast, the first thing I’m looking for is the quickest route to high ground. See, I know that the Cascadia subduction zone is prone to enormous earthquakes, much like the one that devastated an appreciable chunk of Japan in 2011, and I also know that earthquakes don’t give any warning before they hit. One instant, you’re going about life as usual. The next, the ground is shaking, things are falling, and there’s nothing you can do but ride it out. Well, there’s plenty of safety tips you can follow. But I much prefer volcanoes, which generally give more notice. Also, those generally don’t sink the coastline several feet.

Image shows Lockwood, a man with white hair and beard wearing plaid and denim, standing in the hollow center of a low stump, roots radiating around him through the sand and pools of saltwater.

Lockwood stands on the stump of a gigantic spruce tree at Sunset Bay, Oregon. It was killed more than 1,000 years ago when a massive subduction zone quake dropped the coastline and drowned the forest.

Cascadia terrifies me, people. The idea of it reduces me to a quivering mass of gibbering dread if I allow my thoughts to dwell upon it too long. So I’m glad it’s other people’s jobs to dwell. And they’ve got great news for us! The west coast won’t quite be toast. Our emergency planners are all, we’ve got this. [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 13, Part Two!


How to Buy Slaves (and Other Tips for Godly Living)

(Exodus 21)

(In our last edition, God gave the rules for owning slaves. In the conclusion of this chapter, we will learn how to beat them – among other things.)

But first, God would like to discuss penalties for violence.

  1. Murder always earns the death penalty – unless the poor murderer was minding his own business when, one fine day, God just up and foisted some random victim on him and was all like, “Oh, here – kill this schmuck.” In cases where God instigated the crime, the poor bastard is just to be exiled to a sanctuary city, where he can live the rest of his days away from his friends and family and familiar places, all because God was feeling like inciting a little manslaughter.
  2. Hey, kids! If you hit your mommy or your daddy, you’re gonna be put to death! Now, there’s no age limit on how old you are – the way this is written, even dear little infant babbies could be executed. No, there’s no, “But it was an accident!” defense. No, there’s no forgiveness for children whose brains haven’t developed fine motor control yet. No, there’s no “self-defense!” defense either. If you hit Mom or Dad at any time, for any reason, it’s execution for you, little tyke.

[Read more…]

Halo or No Halo, That is the Question

So, based on feedback, I’m coming out with a clean version of Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 1: Genesis. It’ll have all the naughty words replaced with ones suitable for delicate ears, so that it can be safely recommended to anti-cursing fundie types. I’ve whipped up a new cover for it, and would like to get your impressions, my darlings.

What do you think, halo?

Image shows the cover of RTBS vol. 1: Genesis (Clean Version). The background is a pale creme yellow. The painting is Francis Denaby's The Deluge, which shows a lot of people trying to swim and crawl onto a high black rock in a dark blue tumultuous flood. Lettering is in gold and red. There is a halo over the C in Clean Version.

Avec halo

Or no halo?

Image is same as previous, with the halo removed.

Sans halo

Hope you like one or both!

And no, I probably didn’t need to change the cover illustration, but I stumbled across this Francis Denaby painting when I was looking for something else, and fell in love. I had to have it! So I changed everything up.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go back to watching Steven Universe while I put fig leaves on all the naughty bits in the interior illustrations.

Tell Me About Your Favorite Books!

It’s getting to be that time of year when it’s time for me to update our gargantuan book guides for the gift-giving season. So you know what this is a great opportunity for you to do? Tell me all about your favorite books! They don’t have to be new this year, although it would be outstanding to get some new releases on the list. They just have to meet the following criteria: [Read more…]