A fabulous feast

Like many of you, we just finished a fine vegan meal assembled by my daughter, Skatje. Except most of you didn’t have the vegan part. And really, no one else had my daughter cooking for them. So we just have the meal part in common, but that’s enough, right?


I tried to start up that other fine Thanksgiving tradition, the fight over politics or religion at the dinner table, but was completely stymied by the fact that my entire family agrees on everything. No grace, and ugh Trump ick talk about anything else OK we hate him but this pumpkin pie is delicious.

I thought we’d avoid that other Thanksgiving tradition of the football game in the background, but for some reason, Skatje has gotten into handegg and has told me we must watch Green Bay vs. Chicago tonight. So that’s ahead of us.

Thank you all for the nice present!


Oh, you didn’t know you got me a present? You did! I’m in the Amazon Affiliate program, you see, and occasionally I include a link to that evil empire in my blog entries, and you click on it, and maybe you buy something, and then I get a tiny cut of what you spent. Once a month I get a little gift certificate from Amazon. I’ve been saving them up for about 8 months so I could splurge on a toy, and last week the total finally reached what I needed to cover all of the costs, so you got me an early Christmas present. It’s very nice.

I got myself a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter Drone, because every mad scientist needs devious surveillance equipment. Also, when I was a kid I used to lust for RC airplanes that I could never afford, and now I can get something even better.

It’s slick and easy to fly, and the software is reasonably sophisticated. I did have a bit of concern when I first set it up and it told me I needed to update the firmware…and the stupid installation procedure failed utterly. I thought for a while I was doomed to have a plastic brick that could sit on the table and buzz, because DJI has a notoriously terrible reputation for customer service, but fortunately they released a brand new software update the day after I got it that worked perfectly.

So that’s how I spent Thanksgiving morning: I took it up for a couple of flights and went spying out the local neighborhood.

Here’s an ugly example. I just went across the street to the UMM parking lot and zoomed it up to a 100 meters and fumbled about with the controls. It was fun! It’s hard to get smooth movies that show what I want — partly because there were a few times I was wiggling the wrong joystick, and because when it was high and drifted away on this blustery day, I sometimes lost track of the orientation and had to scan around to figure out where I was and what way I was pointing. Don’t feel obligated to watch it — it’s just me noodling about in the sky.

Practice makes perfect, though, unless on one of these practice flights I crash it and then have to save up gift certificates for another 8 months to get a new one.

Now I just have to figure out how to mount lasers or a missile launcher on it, and I’ll have everything a boy could want, a real stress-reliever.

I get email, Sam Harris edition

I should go back to desecrating communion wafers. That’s less aggravating than pissing off a pack of uber-“rational” atheists. Quoting Sam Harris directly is an act of such disrespectful temerity that I’ve been flooded with messages that are mostly about how feminine I am, or how I possess a female reproductive tract, or my social status as a cuckold.

But I also get messages trying to explain how, in very polite terms, I am totally wrong on everything, and Harris is totally right, and here is the math to prove it. Here’s one example; the highlighting is all mine.

[Read more…]

Stop me if you heard this one before

Trump is arguing with historians. He’s claiming that some golf course he owns is also the site of a historic Civil War battle (if so, good job of historical preservation, guy); real historians are saying he’s wrong, the battle he’s talking about took place miles away. But Trump has a rebuttal!

Trump waved off the historians’ criticisms in his own interview with The New York Times Tuesday.

How would they know that? he asked of regional experts. Were they there?

Maybe this particular battle is written up in the Bible. I don’t know how we could know anything about it, otherwise.

Botanical Wednesday: Plants for dinner

I’m hearing occasional gasps of disbelief at the notion of a vegan Thanksgiving, so clearly I need to show you something to make you salivate.

That’s just an example — we’re having something different — but honestly, you can have a tremendous variety of textures and flavors, all delicious, without killing an animal.

Also not shown: Lefse is vegetarian, don’t you know.

A vegan Thanksgiving

Surprise! My daughter Skatje decided to join us for Thanksgiving on the spur of the moment, so she’s in town with plans for dinner tomorrow, which makes this cartoon particularly appropriate.

Except, unlike Lio’s dad, I’m not at all glum about this — vegetarian food is really good, and she mentioned a few of the things she’s planning to fix, so I’m looking forward to it.

She also promised to conjure up Ol’ Scratch, Satan, himself. Or was it that she was going to show us how to make saitan, from scratch? Either way, it works.

It’s never a good day to read about Doug Wilson

Remember Doug Wilson? I’ve never met him, but I met a few of his creationist acolytes when I visited the Palouse a few years ago, and they were a remarkably slimy bunch. I couldn’t even imagine how slimy, though. Doug Wilson is known for founding a particularly regressive church in Idaho, and also for a debate tour he did with Christopher Hitchens (they made a documentary about it), which was a total mystery to me. I don’t know whether Hitchens wanted to give Wilson a platform for his conservative ideology, or whether he thought Wilson was an obliging punching bag.

Here, though, is a brief introduction to Wilson’s version of Christianity.

In addition to his role as pastor, Wilson is also a co-founder of New St. Andrew’s College and Grayfriars Hall, a vocational seminary for young men. He has developed a reputation for being a harsh and constant critic, spilling tons of digital ink on issues from LGBT inclusion in the church (he’s against it) to his favorite topic, the implausibility of Christian feminism. Wilson makes his reputation as a shock-jock theologian; in his tendency to bloviate, he brings to mind a certain presidential candidate: “Make Christianity great again!”

Wilson is one of the figureheads of a set of beliefs known as Biblical Patriarchy, devoted to the idea that “father rule”—the literal meaning of patriarchy—is a guiding principle for the Christian life. He is convinced the Bible teaches that a woman’s primary domain is in the home, and only after her responsibilities are satisfied there can she think about going out to get some volunteer work or, perhaps, a part-time job. Female preachers are, naturally, out of the question. “Christian women ought to be domestic,” he once said. “Everything is directed toward home and family and kids.”

You may not want to read further into the article, because it gets even uglier. One of the cheap tricks of Wilson’s seminary is that he gets community members to house his budding seminarians for him. So picture this: this predatory, misogynistic church attracts predatory, misogynistic students, who are then housed with the trusting faithful of his congregation and their families, and then…well, this isn’t a sitcom, so I can’t cheerfully say that mirthful hijinks ensue. It’s more like sexual abuse of minors, stalking, and destruction of families. Or, in other words, typical Christian family life.

And, you will not be surprised to learn, the kicker is that Doug Wilson defends his students who are molesting 13 year old girls, and blames the parents in those households. He has a point: you are a bad parent if you let a Wilson-endorsed student anywhere near your children.