Really? ಠ_ಠ

Rob Sherman is an atheist activist in Illinois most well known for trying to get “Under God” removed from the pledge of allegiance. He also just wrote a post that made me facepalm so hard that it’s going to leave a mark (emphasis mine):

The lovely Hooters Girls of Springfield, Illinois, provided Dawn and Rob Sherman with a free car wash, on Thursday, to thank us for asking the State Board of Education to not force school districts around the State to implement the unconstitutional Student Prayer Act “Moment of Silence” law. The girls had asked us what had brought us to Springfield. When I told them, they all said that they agreed with Dawn and me on that subject. They then offered to wash our car for free to demonstrate their appreciation, proving that there are certain rewards to this job that you just don’t get with every other line of work.

[…]Dawn and I went to the Springfield Hooters for lunch after making our presentation, that morning, at the June monthly meeting of the State Board of Education. I often eat at Hooters, either in Springfield or Bloomington, after conducting business at the Capitol. The food and service, at both locations, are always fabulous. Obviously, a sign of great management by Eric and Mike. The fact that the
food and service come with a generous helping of eye candy is merely a convenient and pleasant bonus.
Haley and Tara discuss strategy on how to wash a convertible while the top is down. Haley is the girl speaking to me. Tara is the girl with the big sponge. (What did you think I was going to say?)

That’s his high school daughter Dawn in the car with him.

Sometimes it just boggles my mind how atheist activists don’t realize that maybe, just maybe, they shouldn’t write a whole blog post about objectifying women.

Our Flying Spaghetti Monster parade float

Today was the Fremont Solstice Parade, and the Seattle Atheists walked with their Flying Spaghetti Monster float. And I was one of the pirates operating his noodley appendage! Here are some fun photos from the event.

Photo by LeeLeFever

Photo by Philaros

Photo by decidedlyodd

And the cutest pirate of the day was:
Other than marching, the best part of the event was the naked bikeride, with all the people riding by in creative body paint. The two people painted up like Mormon missionaries (NSFW) were my favorite.

70 year old man stoned to death for “homosexuality”


“I killed a man,” Thomas allegedly told the witness. He then described how he placed batteries and rocks in a sock, and hit Seidman in the head at least 10 times. Thomas then returned to Seidman’s apartment several days later and called police, saying he had discovered the body, according to court documents.

When police interviewed Thomas on Wednesday he said Seidman had been making advances toward him over a period of time. Thomas said he read in the Old Testament that homosexuals should be stoned in certain situations.

Yet another example of the terrible hatred that’s found in the Bible, and what happens when it falls into the hands of the wrong people. The twisted thing is that anyone who claims to be a Biblical literalist and doesn’t do stuff like this is a hypocrite. Thankfully.

The few cool places in Northwest Indiana

After that crabby last post, I feel compelled to post something positive about my trip. I really did enjoy myself. I had a great time visiting family and friends and playing lots and lots of golf. But other than that, Northwest Indiana is notoriously boring. If you ever find yourself stuck there, here are a couple places to check out:

Three Floyds Brewpub. Great beer and even better French fries (I’m probably going to be lynched for saying that). Plus I love the quirky décor. Awesome murals and artwork everywhere, and always a bizarre B movie playing on one of the walls.

Beer Geeks. Not as cool as Three Floyds, but still worth going if you can look past the hipster-y name and sign (broken nerdy glasses, really?). Good selection of beer, reasonable price, and murals of people like Darwin, Stephen Hawking, Spock, and Doc Brown all enjoying beer together. Randomly ran into a Secular Student Alliance affiliate leader there who I met once at last year’s conference. Smaaaaaall world.

Aurelio’s Pizza. I live in a Chicago suburb, so there’s great pizza everywhere. I’m sure Aurelio’s isn’t the best you can find, but I like it. They have a bunch of places around Chicago, but one really close to my house. It’s thin crust and has a sweet sauce that makes it really unique, which I love but not everyone does. I always make sure to get some when I come home.

…Yes, it is a very short list. We don’t even have our miniature golf/go-kart place anymore. It was bulldozed to make way for a strip mall that never went up, thanks to the economy.

I hate American Airlines

I want to preemptively state: #firstworldproblems

Now that that’s out of the way…I hate American Airlines.

My flight from Chicago to Seattle was supposed to leave at 8:35 pm. We boarded the plane at the right time – and then sat at the gate for an hour and a half. We had no idea what was going on for the first hour, until finally someone made an announcement that the maintenance crew was checking something on the plane before we could go. At 10pm they said we flunked the maintenance check, and had us all get off the plane and head to another gate for a new plane. We finally took off at 11pm.

Now, I understand that shit happens. I’d rather be on a functioning plane then shuffled out on a malfunctioning one. And I won’t bitch about the three hour delay in my flight from Seattle to Chicago, since that was due to weather and out of the airline’s control.

But you’d think American would try to do something to make us a little less cranky, right? I mean, people are missing connections and getting home in the middle of the night. I had to shell out $58 for a taxi because all of the public transportation ($0 for me) was closed by the time we finally landed. I’m easy to placate. Maybe a free drink, or some pretzels. Maybe a coupon code for the ridiculously overpriced in-flight internet ($12? Really, gogoinflight? Fuck you, I don’t need to blog that badly).

We got complimentary head phones if we wanted them. Whoop-didoo. Who doesn’t have their own headphones already?

Oh well. I made it back to Seattle in one piece eventually. And I sat next to the Mayor of Tukwila on the plane, which was kind of neat. At least this happened when I was just coming home and not in a particular rush, instead of when I’m running off to speak somewhere. …And good thing I don’t believe in jinxing things.

A new godless comic book

Blag Hag reader Marjee Chmiel is working on a fantastic comic called Luci’s Let Down.

Written by Marjee Chmiel and illustrated by Sandra Lanz, *Luci’s Let Down* is about the alienation that creative and skilled professionals face in corporate culture, a culture that too often devalues craftsmanship and holds profits over principles. It’s also about the creation of the universe, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the other side of the canonical dispute between God and Lucifer.
As art director for God, Luci has found herself let down again and again with the tasks entrusted to her: creating life is tough stuff, and for a boss as critical and unappreciative as the Big Man himself, it’s particularly difficult to remain in the spotlight for long. Yet with this latest project, she intends to realize her vision, and ensure her place in the echelon of time-honored creators. Witty, funny, and certainly touching, *Luci’s Let Down* is a familiar story told before, but never like this.

The art is great, and I love the subtle nerdiness. There are some preview pages here.

Marjee is looking for help to pay for the printing so she can present the book at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MA and the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco this year. They’re over half way to their goal – if you like the comic, you can help out here!

The little mathematician

Nephew (almost 4 years old): What’s the first number in ninety?
Me: Nine. That’s why it’s nine-ty.
Nephew: What’s the first number in eight?
Me: There’s only one number in eight, that’s eight.
Nephew: What is one?
Me: …Is that a philosophical question?

You know you’ve been in science too long when answering questions asked by 4 year olds becomes hard. “Why is the sky blue? Well…..”

I have rotten timing

I’m going to miss seeing this rotten-smelling flower:

The corpse flower unfurled its stately bloom at the UW Botany greenhouse tonight and was in full splendor by 10 p.m.

The stench was just starting to stoke up — the flower attracts pollinating insects by smelling like carrion — and had not yet reached its full power. Said to make the eyes water, it should reach full power in the middle of the night tonight. The greenhouse is open til 11 tonight, and reopens for visitors at 8 a.m. tomorrow, when the flower will still be stinky. The scent will fade, but the bloom still be well worth a visit all week.

And is it ever. A line of admirers snaked out the door to see the flower, with people waiting half and hour and longer for their chance to come in the steamy greenhouse, and climb a step ladder to peer inside the depths of the flower’s giant bloom. It’s that big.

Its outlandish, Alice in Wonderland appearance is the draw, figures Doug Ewing, who with a team of greenhouse techs at the greenhouse coaxed the flower into bloom after two and a half years of dormancy.

It could be years before the flower blooms again, so see it now!

Boooooooo! I literally work right next to this greenhouse, but I’m out of town for a week! Curse my timing. And opportunity to be a geeky biologist, lost.

I’m alive!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Tuesday was my big end of the quarter research presentation, which means Tuesday night was my post-presentation celebration, and Wednesday was my recovery from my post-presentation celebration.
And right now I’m sitting in the Seattle airport, attempting to go back home to Indiana for a week. I say attempting because my flight is already delayed two hours thanks to thunderstorms in Chicago. Ahh, the midwest.
So…posts may be a little filler-y while I’m decompressing. My brain needs to be turned off for a bit before starting up summer research. Seriously, I know I’m stressed when I’m looking forward to going back to Indiana.

Consider this an open thread. What are you up to? What neat things have you read on the internet? Is there anything that could defeat a velociraptor with machine gun arms?