Mystery Flora/Cryptopod Double-Header: Dragonfly Flowers

We’ve not had a mystery about here for some time! Let’s remedy that with a double-header. I’ve been busily editing photos from the summer whilst I watch Jessica Jones, and I have some lovelies for you.

Image shows some water flowers from above. They are long, thin clusters of tiny, pale pink flowers, with long, narrow green leaves.

Mystery Flora I

As you can see, these tiny buds were barely opening. But the bees were already busy with them.

Image shows a few stems of the flowers standing vertically. A bee is wrapped around one of them.

Mystery Flora II

These lovely flowers filled the wetlands around Juanita Bay last July. They definitely seem to like to keep their feet wet. [Read more…]

Books on Atheism for Children?

I’ve got entire lists filled with excellent books about atheism for adults, but the list for children is still rather thin on the ground. I’d like to remedy that ASAP. If you know of any good books for children and teens that explain atheism, help children become skeptical thinkers, and explain religion from a comparative or anthropological viewpoint, let me know about them! I’ll compile a handy list we can keep around for birthdays and holidays.

Thank you, my darlings!

Image shows a kitten lying in front of an open book, looking at the pages. Caption says, "Bok, y u no has kittehs?"

Sunday Songs: Highly Irregular!

Everyone seemed to enjoy our last music post quite a lot, so I figured we’ll start making this a regular feature and see what happens. Like last time, I’ll give you a theme, you give me a song (or a couple), and I’ll make a playlist from our results.

Most of us have a particular genre or general style we love most. For me, it’s symphonic, black and death metal with a bit of old-school power metal on the side. I was that person running around in high school wearing the ripped-up jeans and studded jackets. I adore corpse paint and death grunts accompanying ethereal sopranos. That’s the stuff!

I’m not much of an alternative music fan, really. And I wasn’t much in to the alt music scene of the 90s. Most of that stuff leaves me shuddering and reaching for Emperor or Epica. But every once in a while, the right song will hit at the right time in just the right way, and I’ll end up adoring something you’d never expect to hear in my rotation.

That’s what happened with 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up?”. This is so not my type of song. And yet, when it came up in Sense8 and worked so perfectly, I fell deeply and forever in love with it. Now it makes me happy right down to my toes whenever I hear it.

You can see the scene it was in here.

Image shows Kala, a young Indian woman, sitting on top of a building at night, with a city skyline behind her. She's singing into the sky, where a semi-transparent image of Riley, a blonde Icelander, is singing back to her.

Kala (right) and Riley (left) from Sense8. Image created from screenshots from the episode where they’re all singing together.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: what’s one of your favorite songs that’s completely out of character for you?

A Magnificent Acapella Version of Hotel California

January 2016 continued its wholesale slaughter of famous musicians and actors by claiming the Eagles’ Glen Frey. January 2016, what are you doing? January 2016, stahp.

Anyway. One of my friends posted this absolutely incredible video of a group called Cubanos Acapella singing Hotel California. And if you haven’t heard this, you need to set aside some time and a quiet space and listen. I was impressed when Jimmy and the Wazoo Peach Pitters managed to do Helter Skelter acapella,* but damn.

Took me a while to collect my jaw from the floor after that.

I have a particular fondness for this song. I have memories of my dad trying to explain it to me. I was probably about 9 or 10, and he was introducing me to his generation’s music, and we were discovering we had a mutual fondness for much of it. But of course, I was super-young, and had no idea what the 70s even were, much less what young adults had done with them, so most of this song went wooshing right over my head despite his patient explanations. And I never asked him to clear up some of the lingering mysteries for me: I had no idea why ghosts had anything to do with wine, or why a spirit might have left the hotel in 1969, never to return. Dad did a reasonable job trying to explain what “of our own device” meant, but it was still a pretty vague concept. I am only just now finding out he fibbed when he said colitas was a type of flower (buds, Dad, very funny). But we both had fun singing it together, and ultimately that was the only thing that mattered. [Read more…]

Are You Interested in the Cascadia 1700 Earthquake?

So, Tuesday is the anniversary of the 1700 Cascadia Earthquake and tsunami. Would you lot be interested in me writing up a little something about it? Let me know! If I get a good response, I shall do some research this weekend and write you something fun and interesting.

In other blogkeeping news, I am basically out of the office until Monday. I have posts scheduled to go, but I’m not cleaning out the moderation queues or responding to much until then. A few monitors will alert me if things get out of hand, and I’ll release deserving souls from moderation purgatory on Monday. I’ve set aside time for fiction writing, y’see, so I’ve told the real world to bugger off. Facebook is the only exception, so if you’re dying for more Dana, follow me there.

In other other news, it’s been so long since I’ve thought of anything related to words sounding like soul outside of the soles of shoes that I temporarily forgot how to spell the word meaning “spirit” or whatever. LOL.

See you soon, my darlings!

Image is a hand-drawing of the Juan de Fuca Ridge (spreading center), the Olympic Mountains (accretionary prism), Puget Sound, and the Cascade Mountains (magmatic arc).

A rough diagram of our subduction zone. Don’t laugh. I had to draw it by hand. Definitely not to scale, but you get the idea.

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…]