And then…the monster leapt out and surprised me!

If this were a horror movie scenario, I’d be doomed. There I am, puttering around in the lab, feeding my pretties, when I notice that one of the egg sacs from Texas has hatched out, and there in the container was a small swarm of babies. “Oooh,” I cooed, and took them over to a clear spot on the bench so I could sort them out. I took the lid off and set it to the side — no worries with these little guys, they’re slow and content to just rest there on their web, and I took a few baby pictures.

Then…little did I know but this container also held the mama spider. She had been lurking, hanging from the lid, and I hadn’t even realized that there was a large adult in the container.

On the lid…that I had just mindlessly set aside without even looking at it. She crept out and pounced, leaping upon my exposed right hand, racing across it, probably looking for a good vein to rip into! That was the first I noticed her, an unexpected tickling across the back of my hand. She’s a big one, too, so I just scooped her into a handy plastic box. And there she is, looking a bit pissed off.

I named her Texanne, Texanne of the Texas triangulosas, and this was the best photo I could get while she was furiously skittering about. I’ve now moved her into a spacious cage with some flies to nibble on. Once she has calmed down, I’ll try to get some good photos of her abdominal pattern.

But yeah, now I’ve got a lot of Steatoda triangulosa, unexpectedly. That’s fine, they’re pretty and elegant, and seem to be doing well in the lab.

Hey, John Oliver, do Richard Carrier next

This is painfully familiar.

You know what hurt the most? When Oliver mentioned how much HBO and their insurance company had to pay to defend themselves against Bob Murray’s vindictive SLAPP suit…and I realized our legal costs are right now approaching that same value. Except we aren’t a major corporation.

If you can, donate to our fundraiser.

If you can’t do that, join me in saying, “Eat shit, Richard Carrier.”

I would pay good money to see a cage match with Nick Fuentes and Charlie Kirk

In this corner, the man with the shrinking face, the demagogue of Turning Point USA, money man for Libertarian sophomores everywhere, Charlie Kirk!

And here in this corner, the up-and-coming racist with the Hispanic name, Nick Fuentes, founder of America First, who doesn’t even realize the historical taint of that name!

We can always hope for a Kilkenny Cats resolution to the combat.

Anyway, what triggered this fantasy is learning that a book event for Donald Trump Jr.’s new work of fiction was met with a hostile audience, and Junior was booed by the crowd. It opened with some smug snideness about the left.

At the Sunday event, Trump Jr. appeared to think the first shouts of dissent had come from left-leaning counterprotesters.

“Name a time when conservatives have disrupted even the furthest leftist on a college campus,” he said to the crowd. “It doesn’t happen that way. We’re willing to listen.”

Only, as it turns out, it wasn’t a riotous mob of antifa/Sanders supporters screaming at the event.

Fuentes, 21, appeared to take credit for the protests on Sunday evening, tweeting that he and his followers don’t disagree with Trump Jr. Instead, he said their complaint was with Turning Point USA. On Sunday, he shared dozens of tweets celebrating the event’s shutdown and denigrating Turning Point USA.

“Our problem is not with [Trump Jr.] who is a patriot — We are supporters of his father!” he tweeted. “Our problem is with Charlie Kirk’s TPUSA organization that SHUTS DOWN and SMEARS socially conservative Christians and supporters of President Trump’s agenda. We are AMERICA FIRST!”

The host of an ultraconservative podcast and YouTube show called “America First,” Fuentes has appeared on YouTube with bloggers who advocate for a white ethnostate. He has used slurs and promoted anti-Semitism in his broadcasts, which has put him at odds with Daily Wire editor Ben Shapiro. Fuentes marched in Charlottesville with white supremacists during the deadly Unite the Right rally in 2017, the Boston Globe reported.

For weeks, Fuentes has been railing against Turning Point USA, which once invited him to speak at Iowa State University, and the more mainstream wing of the pro-Trump movement. On Nov. 4, he directed his fans to show up to Turning Point USA events and heckle speakers during question-and-answer segments. The 21-year-old’s fans have been harassing Kirk at several recent Turning Point USA events on college campuses.

Oh, yeah. Charlie Kirk and Nick Fuentes hate each other with an abiding passion. FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT! These two horrible people are nearly totally indistinguishable to me, and they deserve each other. Please, please, please, can all the Trump supporters annihilate each other in a savage battle over who loves the Donald the bestest and who is the truest conservative?

You heard the man, up your game

Milo Yiannopoulos and Gavin McInnes were having lunch together — now there’s a lunch date from hell — when someone recognized their villainy, yelled at them, and poured water on them, as one righteously does. The two scumbags just laughed it off, though.

Mr Yiannopoulos said it was only with water which is so lame.

Well, gosh, I guess there are standards. Next time, use salad oil, or soy sauce, or mayonnaise — those are often handy in restaurants. Raw eggs or an open tin of surströmming would be even better, but you’d have to come prepared. One can always fall back on the old standby of simply puking on them.

I can imagine even worse things, but you have to leave room to escalate for when you encounter Henry Kissinger or Dick Cheney in public.

Garbage in, garbage all over the place

I just bumped into this 2 year old article in Forbes. Forbes is all sober, serious, conservative bullshit, right? This piece isn’t sober at all. It’s about post-apocalyptic visions of the future and how billionaires are buying up vast tracts of land far away from the coast because they know what’s going to happen. Normally, I wouldn’t put it past billionaires to pull off all kinds of perfidious schemes, but in this case, I suspect it’s more that lots of acreage is available and cheap far inland, rather than that they’re preparing for doomsday.

You just have to look at the sources.

In the early 1980’s, spiritual visionaries and futurists provided clues to our changing planet. Often dismissed as crazy prophets, their thoughts for a new world were quickly ignored and laughed at. Gordon-Michael Scallion was a futurist, teacher of consciousness studies and metaphysics and a spiritual visionary. In the 80’s he claims to have had a spiritual awakening that helped him create very detailed maps of future world, all stemming from a cataclysmic pole shift. The result, while not based on any science, nonetheless provides a vivid and compelling picture of an Earth ravaged by flooding.

My emphasis. Note also that Gordon-Michael Scallion was a co-host on Coast to Coast AM, that pioneering talk radio show that let the conservative world know you could get away with saying anything you wanted on radio.

So, in the event of a post asteroid apocalypse, where are the safest territories in the world? According to several prognosticators and much criticized theorists, here is the detailed list of predicted land changes based on geological positioning. All post polar shift predictions are based on theories from Gordon-Michael Scallion, Edgar Cayce and others, and should not be construed as fact.

I haven’t heard the name of Edgar Cayce invoked seriously in decades. I wonder if people have forgotten who he was? He was called the “sleeping prophet”, because he’d do clairvoyant readings while pretending to be asleep, and made all kinds of goofy predictions and claims of past history (he was big on Atlantis stories and reincarnation). But that’s enough to tell you about the quality of the pile of maps which are published. In Forbes. With an author admitting that they’re not science-based.

Gosh. I’m going to have to buy me some ocean-front property in Nebraska while it’s cheap. I am a bit baffled about how so much of Florida remains above the waves while a big chunk of Colorado is flooded, though. And if you’re going to include Atlantis and Lemuria, you ought to also mark the location of R’lyeh.

In case you ever doubted that Uber was evil

I never doubted it, but now the CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, confirms it for us all. He was asked about the fact that Saudi Arabia was the 5th largest shareholder and that a Saudi representative has a seat on their board, and then asked whether that was appropriate, since they’d murdered an American reporter, Jamal Khashoggi. Khosrowshahi made an amazing excuse.

I think that that government said that they made a mistake. It’s a serious mistake. We’ve made mistakes, too, with self-driving and we stopped driving and we’re recovering from that mistake. People make mistakes. It doesn’t mean that they can never be forgiven. I think they’ve taken it seriously.

If you’ve forgotten, Jamal Khashoggi was a dissident who was murdered by agents of crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman. He was tortured and dismembered and murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul about a year ago.

Whoopsie. Just a little mistake.

I don’t know whether Uber is trying to confess that their “mistake” with self-driving cars that killed a pedestrian was equivalent to willfully sending thugs with bone-saws to hack someone to death, or whether he thinks that team of 15 Saudi hit-men who dragged Khashoggi into a room accidentally tortured him, accidentally slipped with a saw and accidentally chopped off his arms and legs, accidentally cleaned up the resultant mess, and accidentally lied for weeks about what had happened. I wonder if he thinks their atrocities in Yemen are also accidents?

That Uber has such a flexible definition of “accident” would worry me if I relied on their service.

Don’t worry, though. Khosrowshahi afterwards called up the reporters to say he misspoke, he didn’t mean to reveal what he really thought of Saudi assassins. It was an accident.

#SpiderSunday: Pinin’ for Texas

I got these new spiders from Texas last week, and they aren’t adjusting very well. Usually what the new gals do when I put them in a nice big roomy empty cage is that they start filling the space with webbing, pick a nice spot somewhere in the middle, and hang upside down, waiting for it to start raining flies. Not these spiders. There a few short patches of cobweb here and there, but mainly they sit huddled in a corner and don’t bother coming out. Compare Lantana today with Lantana last week — she seems to have scarcely moved.

I guess I can’t blame her. How would you feel if I picked you up in Texas and hauled you all the way up to Minnesota in November? It sounds cruel, even to me, and I prefer my northern state.

Yes, it’s snowing right now. But that’s outside! These spiders are all in a nice warm lab with a 14/10 light dark cycle!

Overcoming entomophobia

The kid hosting this YouTube video is rather annoying, but Gwen Pearson is wonderful, as always.

I wish I had a bug zoo, but my lab is focusing on a limited number of related species of spider, and they aren’t particularly huge. I did host a tour group of prospective students the other day, though, and 3 out of 4 seemed to like seeing my babies.