A mostly pleasant day

I took off from work early today! My wickedness knows no bounds. My wife and I took a nice walk downtown, in the bizarrely spring-like February day — warm, sunny — to the public library, where our Republican congressvermin, Jeff Backer and Torrey Westrom, were doing a town hall. Our local indivisible group had prepared ahead of time with a set of questions.

You may have heard a while back that our Democratic governor, Mark Dayton, had collapsed while giving a speech. He’s being treated for cancer. Backer opened the meeting by making jokes about Dayton’s health, the ratfucking asshole. Let’s hope that costs him a few votes. There were a number of topics discussed: our group focused on environmental issues. So one concern was that Backer had voted against a bill that encouraged more ‘made in Minnesota’ solar and renewable initiatives — his complaint was that too much of it was made in China and shipped to Minnesota where we “put a bolt on it”. It was pointed out that that was fine, you could make a better bill, but do that before you discard the existing law.

Another hot issue out here is a buffer zone bill: our water quality sucks because of the massive amounts of agricultural runoff, so this law would require buffer strips near streams that would not be plowed and would slow erosion and runoff. Westrom and Backer both oppose it, and have voted to delay it; some farmers there also complained that it was their land and how dare the government tell them how to use it. I just wanted to mention that it was our water and how dare they poison it?

It was generally an annoying meeting, but about 60 people showed up, so the main point was to demonstrate that we’re agin’ ’em, and that we’re organizing, so start sweating.

Afterwards we cooled off by continuing our walk, popping by the coffee shop for a little while, and then having dinner at the American Legion hall. It was Indian Taco night, to benefit the Circle of Nations Indigenous Association, so of course we had to indulge. With extra fry bread on the side. Mmmmm. Fry bread.


We have walked home, and are digesting briefly before heading out to the Morris Theater for La La Land.

Gosh, I’m feeling relaxed already. This and Cougar Con tomorrow, my blood pressure may have dropped a few points.

I find out about these things at the last minute…

There’s a convention going on this weekend, right here on the Morris campus? I may swing by, briefly. Briefly only because I hate to intrude on student events…but it sounds fun.

Cougar Con

Cougar Con is the Morris Fan Convention where we invite students to come and share their love of TV shows, movies, books, video games, and the list goes on. We have some games ready for you to play and show off your knowledge of popular fandoms. There will be a few showings of some movies and there will be a dance.

Apparently they had one last year and I missed it completely.

Sometimes, justice is served

See this guy? His name is Michael Aaron Strickland.


He’s pulling out a gun that he then pointed at a group of Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland, Oregon. He claimed he was feeling “threatened” by unarmed and peaceful protesters because they called him a racist, the poor little snowflake. He was arrested and charged on a slew of offenses.

The good news: He was actually convicted. I know, hard to believe.

The funny news: he exploded his own defense.

Jackson said Strickland’s contention that he was in grave danger isn’t believable, pointing out that Stickland reholstered his gun and stepped off the street and onto the sidewalk to give an interview in front of a TV camera just steps away from the scene of the confrontation.

Oh, man. These people are stupid. Stupid and armed.

I have concluded that I am a natural BOOB MAGNET

No other conclusion is possible. I got this weird self-promotional message from a guy named jeffreydavidmorris, and I replied to let him know his approach was a bit off-putting.

That was it! I swear! Then he sent me an angry comment and I blocked him. But you know what comes next: the ragegasm. He has now sent me 30 or 40 emails — I lost track because I just selected the whole batch and hit delete before setting a gmail filter. Most of them were short ranty religious things, but a few were humongous. I’ll include one example below the fold.

[Read more…]

Too cheesy for K-Mart and Sears?

Oooh, that’s got to sting. K-Mart and Sears are dropping the Trump brand from their lineup, once again citing declining sales. The Trump brand isn’t good enough for K-Mart? Wow.


I can’t understand the problem, though. I mean, what K-Mart shopper wouldn’t want a $567.45 Trump Lamp? Look how classy it is. That is the best lamp. The greatest! Definitely worth half a grand. Donald probably has one exactly like it, except that his is covered in gold.

We haven’t done a poll in so long

Sorry. I used to post links to online polls all the time, just to mock their worthlessness, but I sort of stopped as it sunk in that people were still taking them way too seriously. Here’s one that’s sort of interesting, though: Fox News has a series of online poll questions asking what you think of Trump’s performance on various issues. And the respondents are generally hammering> him!

Did I say this was a Fox News poll? I did. It’s just really weird. The votes are in the tens of thousands right now, and it’s a landslide against Trump.

Where were these people on election day?

I get email, spam edition

I get so much spam. Because my name is on the about page for Freethoughtblogs as some kind of official leader (really, I’m not — I keep telling everyone it’s total anarchy here, with all these writers going their own way), I get all this email from commercial outfits that want free advertising — they tell me they have written an article that is just perfect for our site, and they’re willing to let me publish it for free (sometimes they even offer to pay me for the privilege). It’s often clear that they have no idea what they’re doing, they’re just looking at traffic rankings and trying to get their site injected into the stream. They’re pathetic. Like Patrick here:

Hi there,

My name is Patrick, I am the main editor at redacted.com

Hi, Patrick. Did you know that redacted.com is a shit site selling worthless or dangerous diet pills? Aren’t you a little embarrassed to be a shill for such patent garbage?

While browsing your site, I noticed you have an amazing article from this page:


Yes. It’s a good post. She writes lots of interesting things, I’m glad you noticed. But did you actually read what she wrote, or, Patrick, were you just randomly requesting attention on sites that used certain keywords? It’s all about how you shouldn’t judge people based on their bodies.

My team actually just published a comprehensive article on 44 Quick Effective Weight Loss, Body Shape Exercises for Women which I think your visitors would truly appreciate and add value to your awesome article.

You can check it out here: http://redacted.com/weight-loss-body-exercises-women/

Gosh, Patrick, it looks like you didn’t even glance at Yemmy’s article. You just saw the magic phrase “losing weight” in the URL.

If you were willing to add our link to that page, I would be more than happy to share it to thousands of our social followers to help you gain some visibility in exchange.

Ummm, no. We gain nothing by shilling for your crap page. You’re not looking to help us out at all — you want to tap into our readership to get more traffic to your worthless site.

I’m doing you a favor by not posting a link, because I don’t think our readers would like you very much.

Let me know what you think and thank you for your consideration!



What do I think? Fuck you, Patrick.

And then there’s Sam.

Hey PZ,

It’s disappointing to see that we have not been able to (re)connect in the last several months even after so much outreach.

We thought this would be an easy win-win considering the success we’ve seen in the past with publishers like yourself. We’ve been able to utilize the scale of our network to generate a higher ROI and much more.

If you can spare a few minutes I would appreciate knowing what your priorities are so I can reach back out should we develop new offerings that are relevant to you.



You’re disappointed, Sam? You’re trying to play the guilt card? You’ve been working so hard to be my profitable friend?

Fuck you too, Sam. Better yet, how about if you and Patrick get together and fuck each other for me.

I know, you don’t have to tell me. I’m a terrible CEO for FtB. I’m just not diplomatic at all.

Immigrants everywhere

All this talk about immigrants lately had me wondering about my European roots, so I did a little bit of digging.

My father’s side of the family is hopeless. I think they came over to the Americas from England and the Netherlands in the bilge, along with the rats, and almost immediately lit out for the frontier, where ever it was, probably because they were all ruffians and scalawags who got chased out of any civilized settlement. They were immigrants, all right, but I don’t know of any reliable records. They’ve been here since the 17th century, I think, and probably up to no good.

My mother’s side is easier: all Scandinavian farmers. I knew my great grandparents with their strong accents and their house decorated with Swedish and Norwegian accents, and that’s where I learned to recite the Lord’s Prayer in Norwegian (don’t ask me now, I’ve completely forgotten).

My great grandfather, Peter Westad, was born in 1880, in Minnesota. He was American by birth! My great-great-grandfather, Jens Westad, was also born in America in 1850, also in Minnesota. It clearly took them several generations to acculturate. My great-great-grandfather, Dyre Westad, was apparently born in Norway, but that’s all I know about him.

The surprise, to me, was that it was the women who were all more recent immigrants. I guess those Norwegian bachelor farmers who were living the hard farming life in frigid Minnesota had to write off to the old country for their brides.

So, my great-grandmother, Christina Stephenson, was born in 1884 in Transtrand, Sweden, and came over to the US in her early 20s to marry Peter. I had to look up Transtrand: current population is 386, so I guess it wasn’t too great of a shock to move to northern Minnesota.

My great-great-grandmother, Marit Olsdatter, was also an import, born in Flesberg, Norway in 1849, and brought to the US to marry Jens. Flesberg seems a bit more cosmopolitan now, with a population of 2500.

I hadn’t realized what a lovely example of chain migration was in my family history, where one or a few pioneers establish a foothold and then bring in friends and family at later dates to build up a community. It’s also an example of how immigrant families adapt over time, where time is several generations.

It’s also what’s going on with families from Somalia and Syria and all those other countries our government wants to ban — which is nothing less than an effort to disrupt that pattern of chain migration which is so important to accommodating people to a new country. There’s no difference in the general pattern between a Scandinavian family in the 1850s and a Somali family in the 2000s — let ’em live and grow and they will be a productive part of the American culture.

What part of your family would have been wrecked by current policies?

I had another thought: those radical immigrants, coming in and challenging the established order, are one of the concerns of the powers-that-be. The Scandinavians had them, too, like Joel Emmanuel Hägglund from Gävle, Sweden, better known as Joe Hill. A labor activist and songwriter, he was killed by The Man in 1915.

We need more Joe Hills. Maybe they’ll come from those Muslim countries this time around.