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.

Gaining a daughter!

That’s good news, right? I can’t be sure because the one we’ve had is an independent-minded troublemaker. Anyway, #2 Son Connlann has announced his engagement to Ted Bear. No date has been set yet — there are a few hurdles to leap over before an American serviceman can marry a Korean citizen, but eventually…and then Mary and I are planning to fly over and visit South Korea for the wedding.


Maybe they’ll schedule it to fall during the Chicken and Beer Festival?

On my way to Skepticon

I’m at the airport, soon to rise up into the sky and spend a few hours hurtling along at several hundred miles an hour, which is awesome, except for the part where I land in Missouri, which is not so awesome, except for Skepticon.

I’ll be looking for you there, and will be very disappointed if I don’t find you.

Giant pile done


I’ve been grading. Grading grading grading. I’ve been crankily making illegible red scrawls with lots of exclamation points on lab reports, and it’s been a stressful couple of days. The pile is cleared now, though, but much as it would be appropriate to immediately down a couple of pints of whisky, I still have a lecture to give, and two lab sections to crack a whip over, before I am free of immediate obligations.

I have brilliantly managed to clear the deck before I fly off to Skepticon tomorrow, at least. And I shall return these bloodily reddened reports to the students today, and they will spend their weekend making corrections while I mingle happily with a crowd of interesting people for a few days.

And then they get their revenge when I return and they re-inflict their papers on me next week for re-grading. But they will be perfect papers then, after all of my suggestions/demands are implemented, and instead of red slashes I’ll be drawing little green happy faces on their papers, and we shall all be full of joy and contentment.

Maybe I should stock up on heart and smiley face stickers for the next round. We can still give those out in college, right?

You’re all going to die!

And we can estimate statistically how it’s going to happen!


It’s odd, but all the human experiences that are genuinely universal are also things that we have difficulty discussing. Birth is something you do when you’re an illiterate ignoramus of a baby, and you can’t talk; and death is something nobody can discuss after they’ve experienced it, so we’ve got this little industry of people who make up stories about an afterlife. We need more people who are willing to talk honestly about the facts of death — so here’s an interview with Sarah Troop, one of those people willing to do just that.

Sarah Troop is a museum curator and historian who writes and recreates historical and cultural recipes for her blog, Nourishing Death, which examines the relationship between food and death in rituals, culture, religion, and society. She is also co-founder of Death & the Maiden, which explores the relationship between women and death by sharing ideas and creating a platform for discussion and feminist narratives. She is the executive director of The Order of the Good Death and serves as the Social Media Editor for Death Salon. Sarah is also an author and advocate for improved care and support of families experiencing infant and child death and was a contributing author to the companion book for the Emmy nominated film, Return to Zero.

It’s exactly the kind of thing you need to read first thing in the morning. It woke me up, anyway!