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Oct 09 2011

Rain

This used to happen every time I visited the Oregon high desert, too: walk into a place that is reliably dry, and it would start raining on me. I come to Houston, Texas, in a drought, and the deluge comes.

So yes, it’s pouring here, and Texans don’t know what to do with this strange wet stuff falling out of the sky. My plane is greatly delayed. All planes are delayed. It’s a snarled up mess.

I’m trying to get through to my wife, who’s on the way to pick me up, and of course she’s not answering the phone. in case she sees this, GET A HOTEL ROOM IN MINNEAPOLIS, I won’t be home until the wee hours.

My students will be devastated. I won’t make it in time for my 8am class, and they’ll have to sleep in.

65 comments

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  1. 1
    TV200

    “And as he drove on, the rain clouds dragged down the sky after him for, though he did not know it, Rob McKenna P.Z. Myers was a Rain God. All he knew was that his working days were miserable and he had a succession of lousy holidays. All the clouds knew was that they loved him and wanted to be near him, to cherish him and water him.”

  2. 2
    'Tis Himself

    My students will be devastated. I won’t make it in time for my 8am class, and they’ll have to sleep in.

    They’ll still have to get up. They won’t know you’re not coming until you don’t walk in the door.

  3. 3
    PZ Myers

    Next time there’s a drought, forget the prayer meetin’, I’ll fly in for a weekend for a mere $50,000.

  4. 4
    zackoz

    The rain has come!

    It just shows the power of prayer!

    /snark

  5. 5
    PZ Myers

    I also posted a note on the class web site. Surely, they all check that the night before lecture?

  6. 6
    blindrobin

    I also posted a note on the class web site. Surely, they all check that the night before lecture?
    talk about delusions… heh heh

  7. 7
    Nice Ogress

    Obviously the Great State of Texas loves you and Mr. Hitchens SO MUCH it refuses to let you go.

    The next plane delay will be a rain of frogs, rattlesnakes and locusts. After that it’ll get ugly.

  8. 8
    blindrobin

    Oh and thanks for the precip…

  9. 9
    'Tis Himself

    I also posted a note on the class web site.

    It’s been a few decades since I was in school. We not only didn’t have class websites, I had a grad school professor who hated papers printed on dot-matrix printers. He claimed “computers stifle the creative process.” He got quite annoyed when, after I’d finished taking his class, I referred to him as Professor Ludd.

    Surely, they all check that the night before lecture?

    What time do the bars close in Morris on Sunday night?

  10. 10
    Grammar Merchant

    Texans, take note. Your prayers to Invisibuddy will avail you nothing. If you really want rain, invite a noted atheist to your dry-ass state. There may not be a causal connection, I grant you, but the correlation feels mighty refreshing.

  11. 11
    Glen Davidson

    No problem, they’ll just say that it was God’s doing at last, “working in mysterious ways.”

    It’s Bob Enyart all over again, evidence either supports their religious prejudices, or it counts for nothing. It’s their version of epistemology.

    Glen Davidson

  12. 12
    David Marjanović, OM

    Texans don’t know what to do with this strange wet stuff falling out of the sky

    The Egyptians used to call it “a Nile from sky/heaven”.

  13. 13
    azportsider

    You suppose you could talk the airline into routing you home via Phoenix, PZ? A bit of rain sure wouldn’t go amiss here.

  14. 14
    Enkidu

    @ TV200

    Reminds me of a short story by Isaac Azimov?, a man who was plagued by fies, was unkowingly the actual Beelzebub (Baal z’vhuv) Lord of the Flies.

  15. 15
    Michelle R

    Apparently, God only answers to rain prayers when there’s atheists around.

  16. 16
    TV200

    @#14 Enkidu

    Perhaps, but I”m not familiar with the story in question. I am, however much more familiar with the works of Douglas Adams, from which I stole the quote.

  17. 17
    WhiteHatLurker

    @Enkidu

    You’re right.

    @PZ

    Stay dry. And about the students? They have read your message, I just know it.

  18. 18
    Becca Stareyes

    Reminds me of the old amateur astronomy joke — the bigger the telescope, the more rain it can hold. (Dad used to call my old 6″ Dobsonian a rain bucket, because any time we made plans to use it past midnight, we’d get rained out. Never mind the dampest camping weekend ever, where the Dob spent the entire trip in the back of the Jeep. I suspect if I ever tried to do a Messier Marathon, we’d get early tornados.)

  19. 19
    Eric Houg

    Praise be to Allah, the rain has finally come.

    And thanks PZ for the assist.

  20. 20
    ogremk5

    The clouds didn’t see him as a rain God, they just followed him wherever they went.

    You mind moving to Texas for about 6 months so at least we’ll catch up to the year?

  21. 21
    ogremk5

    My Irony meter just exploded. Rick Perry prays for rain for months and jack all happens. An atheist convention starts this weekend and Houston and we more rain in 3 days than we have the entire 12 months previously. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  22. 22
    Stefan

    Just out of curiosity: Can you mail your students? Or rather, would you if you could?

  23. 23
    shripathikamath

    PZ answers Perry’s prayer?

  24. 24
    astrobiologiste

    It took a bunch of atheists to achieve what Perry could not do trough prayer…

  25. 25
    Zeno

    At my college the staff posts a notice on the classroom door announcing that class has been cancelled if the instructor is sick or delayed. Half the students will walk past it and sit down, waiting several minutes before realizing that something is wrong.

  26. 26
    Hazuki

    So let me get this straight: Perry spends over a year praying for rain and the drought gets worse. Then one of the loudest, most outspoken atheists in the country pops into Texas for the express purpose of dumping on people like Perry, and the skies open up?

    If there is a God, it has an impressive sense of humor.

  27. 27
    robro

    Who says irony is dead?

  28. 28
    Putting On The Foil

    It only rained a little when I went to Dallas a month or two ago. It must be related to the amount and quality of material one contributes here. Someone who only adds infrequent comments of low relevance (like this) can only rate an isolated thunderstorm.

  29. 29
    dorght

    That giant sucking sound is the parched earth pulling water out of the clouds.

  30. 30
    Snowshoe the Canuck

    Prayer does work, just immediately. A godbotherer once told me gawd’s clock runs differently than people because of Einstein’s theory.

    My theory is that FSM wanted to inconvenience as many people as possible: Perry because rain didn’t come on request, you, your wife and all your dedicated students. The only people not inconvenienced are your loyal minions because you still have an Internet conne

  31. 31
    Roxane

    So you have some sort of a woo connection with rain? Please come to New Mexico!

  32. 32
    Roxane

    My daughter in Minneapolis has enough rain, but we really could use some more here. You should travel more as a public service.

  33. 33
    AlanMac

    The Universe wasn’t created by a god/s, but by an advanced race of cephalopods who possess Type IV technology and a wicked sense of humour.

  34. 34
    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu

    In Dallas it stared raining about the time that Tim Minchin’s show started. Clearly we need more atheists in Texas.

    Hope you get home safe PZ.

  35. 35
    DaveDodo007

    TZ200:

    The first thing I thought of when reading PZ’s blog:-)

  36. 36
    Trebuchet

    @TV200: I didn’t remember Rob McKenna from Hitchhiker’s so all I could come up with was the Republican Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate from the state of Washington. I was VERY puzzled for a couple of minutes.

  37. 37
    roxchix

    You might as well just stay in Minneapolis.

    Come to GSA- you might like this talk:

    http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2011AM/finalprogram/abstract_197227.htm
    KRAKEN! Monday afternoon

    And you can join us in laughing at the creationists:

    gsa.confex.com/gsa/2011AM/finalprogram/abstract_193657.htm
    gsa.confex.com/gsa/2011AM/finalprogram/abstract_191286.htm
    gsa.confex.com/gsa/2011AM/finalprogram/abstract_193663.htm
    gsa.confex.com/gsa/2011AM/finalprogram/abstract_193638.htm

  38. 38
    Shiva

    There is an old Tamil saying that it rains only because of the few good people in the town.

    Obviously the critical mass of good people was reached only when PZ and his cohorts landed up. Wonder what it says about the various mega churches in TX….

  39. 39
    joearnold

    I guess Perry should have been praying to PZ!

  40. 40
    Revyloution

    Reminds me of the Rain God from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series. I always loved that bit.

  41. 41
    Revyloution

    HAHA! Love it TV200, that was my first thought too.

  42. 42
    Hazuki

    The rain falls upon the just and the unjust alike. But not the Texans; there are some things even rain won’t fall on.

  43. 43
    mythusmage

    Isn’t Monday a Federal holiday?

  44. 44
    jacobblock

    Maybe God had a layover in Alpha Centauri?

  45. 45
    Francisco Bacopa

    I totally hated I could not attend the Texas Freethought Convention. It was just a thirty minute bus ride away, but I am one of the 99% just one bad month away from disaster and I am now three months into the one bad month. I knew there was no way of getting out of working this weekend.

    Still, I loved the rain today.

    Perry prayed. But when Dawkins, PZ, and The Hitch showed up, we got our usual October torrents.

  46. 46
    Kel

    Wait, you have students that attend an 8am lecture?

  47. 47
    rictusgate

    Seems like a gathering of atheists, contrarians, freethinkers and secularists is more pleasing to the Lard than a rally of ranting, emotionally high-strung, lunatic theists . . . makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

  48. 48
    Icaarus

    Well PZ

    Happy Canadian thanks-giving. Hope all your travel woes work out. Up here all students are quite happy about sleeping in tomorrow.

  49. 49
    Aquaria

    So yes, it’s pouring here, and Texans don’t know what to do with this strange wet stuff falling out of the sky. My plane is greatly delayed. All planes are delayed. It’s a snarled up mess.

    I know you’re teasing, but, if Houston was getting the rain San Antonio had earlier, then I would expect the planes to be grounded. I had to take my husband to work while we were getting hammered with rain, and I had to pull over because I simply couldn’t see, even at 40 mph on the freeway. Imagine trying to fly at 200+ mph in rain that heavy.

    Now if you’re wanting to be all Buddy Holly or Patsy Cline on us, that’s a different story. Otherwise, it’s better to be delayed a few hours than incinerating in a ball of fire out in dumbfuckistan.

  50. 50
    Art

    Rain in Texas … soooo … the moral of this story is that Texas, and Perry, were supplicating themselves to the wrong higher power. They could have saved a lot of time and wasted effort spent praying to the great sky daddy by just dropping a line to the unholy PZ. He works cheap, compared to setting up a prayer rally in a stadium, and he delivers.

  51. 51
    armillary

    And how can this be? For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!

    (My brain is conjuring up visions as PZ as a worm-rider)

  52. 52
    James Rook

    WOOHOO! No class! We may not check the website but we do check here. Do we still need to hand in the test by eight?

  53. 53
    Kagehi

    Not sure where the current “endless thread” is, so, since this is about things happening, in spite of the crazy ideas of people that prayed them to happen before:

    In other idiocy. Everyone seen the new “Decoded” bullshit faux history show on the Non-History channel. Think this was a rerun, but it was the whole, “How do we know if Fort Knox has gold in it, and if not, what would happen.”

    I think I need to replace my desk again, its now got a head shaped dent in it for some reason. There seems to be similar logic with “gold standard” as with “libertarian free markets”. The idea that gold has some intrinsic value, other than as used to make things that render it useless in further trade as currency, like computer processors, which makes it “better” than trusting… oh, I don’t know, any other damn thing that is rare, hard to replicate, and at least semi-movable, that everyone *generally* agrees possesses some set value. I go back, again to Aristotle’s description of money (since I am still in the middle of that book), in stating that if you agree that the value of a house is the same as three beds, it is irrelevant if you trade them three beds, or something that everyone agrees is equal to the *value* of three beds, to buy the house.

    The only thing gold does is make it damn hard to pay someone a million for a business, what with it being a lot damn easier to hand them a check that “says” its worth 50,000 gold bars, each bar worth $20, than 50,000 bloody gold bars. If someone decided that they **absolutely** will not take 50,000 gold bars, even if you have them, then guess what, they are all now worth $0 dollars. All a “gold” standard does is trade one convenient, trust based, currency, for a lot less bloody convenient one. Its still only worth something if someone is bloody willing to accept it, and you both agree that its worth a *known* amount.

    The only conditions where this is not the case is when a) its the *only* currency (you know, like for every century/time during which paper money was easy to forge, and/or there wasn’t any), b) the most convenient one, c) its easy enough to carry around that you can do something useful with it, and/or d) the people defining the “value” have absolute control over how, and even if, any of it is traded. When none of these things are true, you might as well be watching one of those stupid, “Can I pay you in gum?”, commercials.

    Sadly, people “think” there is some sort of difference, so… it actually would matter if the damn vault had some, none, or more, than what its supposed to. In fact, it should “only” matter, to what ever third world countries still think, “shiny yellow metal, I am rich!”, instead of, “What does everyone else thing this crap is worth, so I can spend it like, oh, I don’t know, paper money?”

    Or am I somehow missing something?

    Because, to me, it makes just about as much sense, logically, as the gibberish from that anarchist comic someone linked to in the other thread. Gold only has the value we “trust” it to. Which makes it, fundamentally, no different than *any* other currency, and as such, to me, the argument that we need it, makes about as much sense as claiming that getting rid of pennies will result in a loss in the “trust” in every other denomination of money, because its no longer backed by copper plated nickel.

  54. 54
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    In terms of the arrival of Teh Ebil Oberlawd in Texas, it would appear that it is not so much to do with the time of the year. (Link: Gaisma-Houston) After that sciencytiffic study I can only conclude He has a hotline to Gawd.

    {sings}: “All mah exes live in Texas, tha’s why aahm livin’ in Tennessseeee…”

  55. 55
    Olav

    PZ:

    I’m trying to get through to my wife, who’s on the way to pick me up, and of course she’s not answering the phone.

    I sense just a tiny bit of spousal irritation there… I have the same thing with my girlfriend (of 20 years), who switches off her phone whenever she feels like it: “saves the battery and besides, I have it only for emergencies anyway”. Well, yes, how about someone else’s emergency when they need to be able to reach you.

  56. 56
    Olav

    Kel:

    Wait, you have students that attend an 8am lecture?

    On mondays?

  57. 57
    Birger Johansson

    Damn! TV200 and Revyloution beat me to it! Between Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and The Simpsons, every good idea has already been covered at least once.

    Another solution to the drought: Open an inter-dimensional portal between North Europe and South/Central USA. Since the distance to the world’s axis differs, you would have to balance the torque carefully when swapping chunks of air. Same reason why trolls teleported from the Hub of Discworld to Ankh-Morpork get seriously messed up (not to mention furious).

  58. 58
    Matt Penfold

    Wait, you have students that attend an 8am lecture?

    When I was at university our course tutor was also in charge of departmental timetabling. As a result for the years 2 and 3 we never had a lecture before noon on Mondays, or after 1am on Fridays. And nothing before 10am anyday.

  59. 59
    Phlegm

    You have it all wrong; Rick Perry was never praying to Jesus, he was praying to PeZus.

  60. 60
    Jim Mauch

    Behold all mighty rain god!

  61. 61
    Daniel R

    God sent an atheist to Texans to tell them to listen to atheists, so that they understand that he does not exist.

  62. 62
    otrame

    I thought the reason it hadn’t rained was that my daughter-in-law and son haven’t had the money for both of them to visit, so my son has had to come by himself to visit his daughter for the last year (they live in the UK). Every time she comes here it rains like hell.

    But she is still in Birmingham, so I guess that hypothesis is wrong. Back to the drawing board.

  63. 63
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    For the record, we received more rain in Houston yesterday than any day since July 7, 2010.

    Take that, goddists!

  64. 64
    Matt G

    Clearly god loves atheists more than Christians!

  65. 65
    Holms

    Check out the ‘Gore effect’…

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