1. Portia, walking stress ball says

    birgerjohannsen –

    Thanks for that tidbit! I like it.

    I did mention microevolution last time we talked about it, and she conceded its existence. Then I used it too much and she insisted on calling it “adaptation” from then on, as if my arguments were less strong without the E-word.

    Her name even begins with P! Perfect!
    I love Alliteration…my gubmint name is alliterative, and I had two best friends in college who were also alliterative…we couldn’t come up with a better title than “Alliteration Trio”

  2. rq says

    Close enough… Obviously, your sense of timing isn’t yet as developed and practiced as chigau’s. ;)

  3. Hekuni Cat, MQG says

    Obviously, your sense of timing isn’t yet as developed and practiced as chigau’s.

    Not everyone can be gifted with a superpower.

  4. says

    Still locked out. Looks like it was WordPress’s fault: they do automatic updates without regard for any customized changes, and they upgraded us to 3.8.1 in the middle of the night, without informing us, and broke everything.

    The few people who can still post are superadmins with extra privileges. I’m not one of them. Dammit, another thing I have to add to my list of goals in my quest for world domination.

  5. rq says

    PZ isn’t even a super-admin?? Why am I even a part of this movement?
    Oh, hello, Lounge.

    Not everyone can be gifted with a superpower.

    Sadly, I think you’re right. *pouncehug*!!! (Gotcha!)

  6. Portia, walking stress ball says

    Sorry for the technical difficulties, PZ. But I’m not sorry it has forced you into this corner of Pharyngula ^_^ muahahah we sucked you into the Lounge vortex

  7. says

    Kind of ‘rupt still
    I can’t recall if I’ve congratulated you and Fiancée yet, so congratulations to you both. I happen to know/be married to a wedding planner, but he only does that locally. :) OTOH if you’re looking for some nice outfits…

    Good news about TAA being taken seriously.
    Also, your link in 512 is broken.

    *Hugs* and chocolates and needed/desired.

  8. yazikus says

    Technical difficulties are the worst. I think about how I feel when netflix glitches (I feel angry, very angry) and am sympathetic, because netflix glitches are inconsequential in comparison.

    I very much enjoyed the panels I was able to watch! I missed the last FTBCon because I was out of town, so I was pretty tickled to be able to participate this time.

    I thought I would share some advice about something I learned this last weekend. While team colored deviled eggs might sound like a good idea for a hand egg bowl party, (blue whites, bright green yolks), they are in fact quite horrific. Even if they taste delicious. You will be afraid.

  9. says

    Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan] supports abortion rights for women. The leading GOP contenders want to make abortion illegal. Three of the Republican candidates go even further, arguing to outlaw abortion even in cases of rape and incest. The only exception, they say, is to protect the mother’s life.

    The Republican candidates also say the state has the authority to ban contraceptives and favor a “personhood” constitutional amendment that would grant legal protections to a fertilized human egg and possibly ban some forms of birth control. News Observer link.

    Specifically, of the five leading Republican candidates hoping to take on Hagan in November, all five said states have the right to ban contraceptives if state policymakers chose to do so.

    You knew a lot of Republicans wanted to ban contraception. Now they are saying so out loud and in public.

    Maddow Blog link.

  10. says

    Nasty Republican fundraising tactics in Florida:

    Ray Bellamy said he wanted to make a political contribution to Alex Sink a Google search landed him at “”

    “It looked legitimate and had a smiling face of Sink and all the trappings of a legitimate site,” Bellamy, a doctor from Tallahassee who follows Florida politics, wrote in an email to the [Times].

    What Bellamy overlooked was that the site is designed to raise money against Sink. “I failed to notice the smaller print: Under “Alex Sink Congress” was the sentence ‘Make a contribution today to help defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her,’ ” he said. Tampa Bay Times link.

    Once Democratic supporters make their contribution, they’re directed to a new page on the NRCC’s website thanking them for donating to defeat Democrats.

    In other words, the Republican campaign committee seems to be trying to trick people — and in at least some instances, it’s having the desired effect. […]

    Theses tactics are not limited to Florida. This is a national disgrace, with Republicans tricking Democrats into donating funds for Republican candidates in other states. The Maddow Blog link provides a link to seven other examples, one involving Domenic Recchia in New York.
    Maddow Blog link.

    For their part, officials at the Republicans’ campaign committee insist the trick is technically legal and the NRCC is willing to return contributions to those who believe they were deceived.

  11. says

    Here’s an update on Utah’s fight against same-sex marriage. This update just came out today, but is sounds like more of the same-old-same-old from the mormon team of lawyers:

    […]Utah has chosen a definition of marriage that is “principally a child-centered institution, one focused first and foremost on the welfare of children rather than the emotional interests of adults,” the state said. “And by reinforcing that understanding, the state gently encourages parents to routinely sacrifice their own interests to the legitimate needs and interests of their children.”

    That definition is not designed to demean other family structures “any more than giving an ‘A’ to some students demeans others,” the state said.

    But redefining marriage in “genderless” terms likely would result in lower reproductive rates and fewer children being raised in the ideal environment provided by biological, opposite-sex parents, the state said. […]

    Yeah. That last bit about lower reproductive rates and the “ideal environment” sound very much like boilerplate lifted from recent speeches given by mormon apostles. Of course, the same boilerplate comes from pro-life/anti-gay groups who have other religious underpinnings. You can feel the fear from mormon leaders who see their crops of children being brought up in the LDS church diminishing. Maybe they’ll put more emphasis on adoptions of children.

    The lawyers fighting against same-sex marriage gestured toward a non-religious foundation for their arguments, and then immediately shot themselves in the foot with religious bullets:

    […]The attorneys said that while the state endorses no religious beliefs about marriage, its laws are supported by approximately 20 of the 25 largest faith communities in Utah who “understand marriage and sexuality as gifts from God” and primarily designed to bear and raise children.

    “These beliefs are tied not only to theology but also to religious and family practices, deeply and sincerely held personal beliefs, and entire ways of life,” the state said. “They are not less integral to the dignity and identities of millions of Utah citizens than plaintiffs’ sexual orientation is to them.”

    Upending that understanding of marriage would create potential for “religion-related strife,” it said, impacting rights of religious organizations or members to carry out faith-based or business activities. […]

  12. says

    From the comments on the Salt Lake Tribune site:

    I’ve been “real married” to a man for almost 6 years, and been together for 19 years. Our relationship has lasted longer than most opposite-sex relationships. The idea that Rush Limbaugh’s fourth non-procreative marriage, or Newt Gingrich’s second-adulterous marriage is superior to mine just because they happen to have a penis and their partner has a vagina is ludicrous. Marriage is about love and commitment to another human being.

  13. says

    Also from the comments on the SL Trib site (link in comment #530):

    The Supreme Court is going to send in a seventh grade debate team to give the official response.
    A lower reproductive rate would be a GOOD THING, especially in this state!

  14. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says


    knowing who you are racially, culturally, in relationship to your sexuality, gender and your class- is a source of your power. You define that for you. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you who you are.

    This is new. >.>

  15. says

    Moments of Mormon Madness being fought in court in the United Kingdom:

    The Prophet of the LDS Church, Thomas S. Monson has been ordered to attend court and face allegations of fraud.

    A court in London, England has issued Thomas Spencer Monson with 2 summons (see below) containing allegations of seven offences in contravention of Section 1 Fraud Act 2006.

    Mr. Monson is required to attend the court, Westminster Magistrates’ Court, on 14th March 2014. The court will then almost certainly refer the case to Southwark Crown Court for further proceedings.

    Failure of Mr. Monson to attend the Court on 14th March may result in a warrant being issued for his arrest. [excerpt from post by ex-mormon “anointed one”],1156964

  16. blf says

    Poopyhead locked out of his own blog? I suppose that might another mildly deranged penguin diversionary tactic, but just what she is trying to distract everyone’s attention from — or, for that matter, where she is — remains a puzzle to me.

    We did finally coax down the Giant Squid who has been on top of the belltower since the new orbit started and screaming “Not the penguin again!” It’s now undergoing trauma consoling. This also means the rains of fish have stopped, since there is no longer any need to toss fish up to the squid. Squid are not very good at catching surface-to-air fish…

  17. Nutmeg says

    Congrats, Kevin and Fiancee! I hope you will be very happy together!


    I’m trying to think of a term for a particular type of situation. There must be a word for it.

    You know when, for whatever reason, a person or group of people decides that you are [undesirable characteristic]? Even when you’re not, or not as strongly as they think. But then, when you’re around them, you can’t help but act that way, and it just perpetuates the situation. What’s that called?

    I’ve seen a couple of examples of this lately:

    1. Most of the people I share lab space with seem to think that I am awkward and slightly crazy. (True, but not to the extent that they seem to think.) It doesn’t bother me too much, because I have friends elsewhere and I’m hoping to move on within a few months. But when I’m around these people, I get nervous, and then I’m awkward and crazy.

    2. My friend finished her thesis almost a year ago, but remained involved in the lab and their social life for a while as she was wrapping up loose ends. Some of her labmates seemed to interpret this as, I don’t know, neediness or trying too hard? She’s aware that these people didn’t treat her well, and she’s scaled back her involvement a lot. But when I saw that lab at a party recently, they treated her with a bit of contempt, which made her try harder to fit in, which made them more contemptuous.

    Both of these situations will eventually be resolved by changing life circumstances. But I wonder how you would break this cycle, if you had to stay in the situation?

  18. says

    So Scotland just legalized same sex marriage yay! Weddings(at least officially legal ones) expected to start around October or so.

    I wonder what my great grandmother would think, though. She’s the only immigrant ancestor of mine that I was lucky enough to know, she was born in Glasgow in 1896.

  19. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    You know when, for whatever reason, a person or group of people decides that you are [undesirable characteristic]? Even when you’re not, or not as strongly as they think. But then, when you’re around them, you can’t help but act that way, and it just perpetuates the situation. What’s that called?

    I don’t know, but it seems to be the defining element of my relationship with my family. It resembles “stereotype threat” but I’m sure using that more broadly than to refer to the experiences of specific systemically oppressed populations will be objected to. >.>

  20. rq says

    I seem to have a talent for causing mischief with the furnace. This is strike 3. And I’ve been so proud of my fire-making and -maintaining abilities!

  21. says


    Specifically, of the five leading Republican candidates hoping to take on Hagan in November, all five said states have the right to ban contraceptives if state policymakers chose to do so.

    “We want smaller government. Stay out of our lives unless it’s to keep women at home, making babies and sammiches or to keep Teh Gays from marrying.”


    “Condoms? What are those?”

  22. rq says

    The fuck is up with these comparisons of romantic partners to parents and/or siblings??? Newest version (loose translation) for men: “Find a woman who will care for you like a mother and listen to you like a sister.”
    Yeah, because my ultimate dream in my romantic relationship is to imagine my father/brother in the role of Husband/Partner… Like that list How to Please a Man (6 items) and How to Please a Woman (a lot more items, one of which involves being a brother to her, and another of which involves being a father to her, and another of which involves being a good father to her…).

  23. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    NSAIDs = Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatories. It is a class of drugs. Classic example is ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Anadin, and many other brand names. Salicylates (e.g. aspirin) are also NSAIDs, as are the COX-2 inhibitors (Vioxx, Celebrex) that there was all that hoopla over several years ago.
    The basic shorthand is that of the painkillers, there are narcotics (morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, etc), there are the NSAIDs, and there is paracetamol/acetaminophen (yes, this is not an NSAID). Aside from a few random rarely-used things, that’s pretty much all there is.

  24. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    *sticks a close-parenthesis sign in the appropriate position*

  25. Portia, walking stress ball says

    I’ve always favored Nancy Sinatra :) These boots are made for walkin’!

  26. rq says

    Eek! I’m so sorry all I can offer are *hugs* (and internet ones at that!), be safe, stay safe, keep checking in as possible (I worry otherwise), and be safe…
    Fuck people who ruin the peace of ordinary lives. (Not that you’re ordinary-ordinary, you lawyerly firefighting social justice warrior… but you know what I mean.) I’ll be here, being angry and supportive on your behalf


  27. rq says

    And thanks for the song suggestions, the more the better – Friend needs some cheering up beyond those sexist ‘feel good’ women’s captioned photos with words like “Every woman needs a good man to love and care for” and “woman: I’ll be strong and I’ll take care of it; man: Let me be strong, just be gentle and love me…” and “Spent two hours watching him online, wondering who he was chatting to all that time, since he wasn’t talking to me” and etc. I mean, there’s wallowing, and then there’s wallowing…

    Anyway, Portia, be well, I’m glad you’re pulling in some humour to help, *supportive reinforced steel hugs* (to help keep it together!), and good night to the rest of you!

  28. Portia, walking stress ball says

    Thanks rq :) I will check in for sure.

    I wouldn’t argue with a little more ordinary in my life right now haha

  29. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I need an empowering break-up song for a woman friend, please. Suggestions?

    Assuming non-amicable…hmm, I listened to this quite a bit.

  30. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Hello, everyone!

    First the good news: Mom’s money should be in hand within the next two weeks.

    But there’s a problem. Isn’t there always?

    My daughter’s school switched to uniforms this year and we couldn’t get any help from the school to get some. So we scraped to get a few. Well, guess what just got ripped to shit biking back home yesterday? (She’s fine, she jumped right back up and kicked the bike for messing up lol) I can’t sew, the only one who could was Mom’s Ex-husband. It’s her only pair of pants that fit (she literally grew inches since the start of school) and it’s too cold for anything else. She wore tights under them today to get through today but oh, boy…I can delay her teacher by saying we’re waiting for payday but two whole weeks? She’s already looking at me funny.

    And because it’s never just one thing: the contract with our internet provider ended, jacking up the rate. I was never called, never got a bill and we’re screwed. Any “extra” money after rent for household items has to go towards that now. Which also includes Roomies money towards cigs. Guess we’re involuntarily quitting for awhile. My safelink phone broke and I’m waiting on the replacement. (no need for money there, just an inconvenience.)

    If anyone can spare just a few dollars til we get the money, it would be so, so appreciated. The next several weeks will suck but once Mom gets her money we’re free. Free to move, not only apartment but states. States.

    I can’t fucking wait.

  31. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    I don’t know what that’s called, but I experience it every time I interact with people from high school. I suddenly turn into my 17-year-old self. And I’m pretty sure it happens to them too, because I can’t believe every one of us changed so little since then.

    Break-up song:
    I enthusiastically second These boots are made for walkin’
    After the Nancy Sinatre version, put her in a better frame of mind with this one:
    yes, of course I’m linking to that awesome performance from Blackpool, with David Tennant


    Take care!

  32. says

    This sounds like yet another very bad idea from Republicans:

    Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said Tuesday that he plans to introduce a bill that would allow states to opt-out of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on power plants.

    Inhofe said his Electricity Reliability and Affordability Act would allow states to determine which old power plants should be shutdown rather than the federal government.[…]

    The Hill link.

  33. cicely says

    Happy birthday, gworroll!
    Once again, it is too cold for *ice cream*

    Tony!, D obviously saw the same Awesome that we see in you.

    rq, depending on the circumstances of the break-up, maybe Mariah Carey’s Some Day?

    *hugs* for JAL.
    If I had it to give, you would have it.

  34. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    From the comments on Ed’s blog:

    “God’s really pissed off at us for doing things he doesn’t like.”
    Well fuck Him if he can’t take a joke!


  35. ck says

    It’s not related to anything anyone has said here today or atheism or anything, but I ran across this strange and wonderful video by St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) and felt compelled to share it: Digital Witness
    Probably won’t appeal to everyone, though.

  36. says

    bluentx @566:


    Just read the live blogging thread. Just reading the comments made me glad I didn’t watch the “debate”. I’m glad that Bill Nye had such a good showing. Hopefully something he said will plant seeds of doubt in listeners.


    Portia @555:
    The fuck?
    Death threats??!!
    I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this shit.


    Is anyone able to collect for JAL? Josh used to do it, and I think Esteleth has as well. I can contribute.

  37. says

    I found a mystery bruise on my left side. I haven’t a clue how I got it, it’s not overly painful, and I’m assuming I obtained it attempting to climb into the car this last weekend.

    It’s a really impressive shade of purple. Daaamn.

  38. rq says

    What’s with the giant quotes on blockquotes these days? Is that the extent of the Amazing WordPress Lock-Out-Our-Authors Update?? hahaha… Ew.

    And a take on traditional gender rolls (not a typo).

    A short series of videos on how to spot ASD in toddlers. Someone more knowledgeable than me will have to comment on the actual usefulness/accuracy of the information, but it’s easier to understand with the visual and not just the usual written checklist.

    Putting a spotlight on Canada’s oil industry – because that’s where it needs to be. Except not in such a flattering manner. Can we say ‘oil sands’ together? Or maybe ‘pipeline’? Sometimes I hate people.

    Today’s CUTE: small puppy tries to howl. A good attempt at loon call.

  39. birgerjohansson says

    Chigau deserves a temple pyramid/ziggurat (with a platform for human sacrifices)

    New technique makes ‘biogasoline’ from plant waste
    Because the process does not rely on fermentation, the cellulose does not have to be converted to sugars first. The feedstock for the new process is levulinic acid, which can be produced by chemical processing of materials such as straw, corn stalks or even municipal green waste. It’s a cheap and practical starting point that can be produced from raw biomass with high yield.

    (OT) Unearthing the history of the Naracoorte Caves Good for archaeologists, where no organic remains of humans can be found, getting a better idea of the fossil assemblages above and below the artefacts would make a big difference.

    Conservatives to Boehner: Avoid ‘theater’

    Sri Lanka bars U.S. women’s rights official entry into country Assholes with a guilty conscience.

  40. Portia, walking stress ball says

    In case you want a pithy, punchy recap of the Nye/Ham debate, Wonkette has a nice little run-down.

    I made S and children watch/listen during dinner, and I’ve found out that an smart 8th grader can poke some of the same holes as Bill Nye can. I was so proud. She yelled at the screen in frustration even more than I did! Catholic school hasn’t done too much damage!

  41. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    rq: Tris will be fighting people with her butt. It’s the only explanation.

  42. rq says

    The Mellow Monkey
    Well, either she needs a far skinnier butt in order to make it dangerous as a sharp object, or else she has perfected a move called The Squeeze… But I’m pretty sure there was no mention of that in the book.

    Robed or naked? The prancing-around-in-moonlight gets a bit chilly without at least a sheet ’round hereabouts, just so you know, but I want to get this right. As a prophet, you deserve all due respect and obeisance.

  43. chigau (違う) says

    In the movie The Wicker Man (1973, there was no remake) it is pointed out that it’s far too dangerous to leap over a fire whilst wearing clothes.

  44. says

    Kevin – all the *hugs*, by the way, about people being obnoxious jerks to you and carlie and others in that creationist thread – I wanted to say congratulations on your engagement. I did see your comment about it elsewhere, but didn’t want to make a big deal of it there, so I’m glad you mentioned it here too and I can remember to say congratulations. I’m really glad it’s going so well for you both, and wish you all the happiness there is.

    Portia: eeps! Scary abusive asshole. I hope you can stay safe.

    I’ll put some extra hugs on the pile. All kinds of sore, had to lift the car out of the deep snow this morning to get to a doctor’s appt. Thankfully it’s just a wee Honda Fit, but I’m still one Very Sore Kitty this afternoon.

    My doctor gave me a Yoda moment today. She was saying I need to get out to get more exercise, and I was pointing out that in the current weather, without a car, this is tricksy at best, but that I would try.

    “I don’t want to hear ‘try’, I want to hear, ‘yes, Doctor, I will do that because it is a wise choice!'”

    I said I’d work on it, thanks Doctor Yoda. She laughed. I love my doctor. :)

  45. rq says

    I’m going to double up with CaitieCat and add a whole lot of *hugs* for carlie and Kevin. I never had a fundamentalist christian education, but I had enough of a moral indoctrination that it kept me from actually acting at a time when I needed to act (nope, praying doesn’t count as action!), and it makes me angry – and I believe that your anger is at least several magnitudes larger than mine. And neither one of you – or anyone else in similar circumstances, for that matter – deserves to be shamed for your upbringing. I’m glad you got out of it. I’m glad you’re here.

    Your doctor is awesome.
    I hope the muscle aches are bearable, and I hope the car appreciates your efforts. ;) Not that it wanted out of hibernation yet…

  46. says

    On Thursday, Minnesota state lawmakers unveiled the “Women’s Economic Security Act of 2014,” a legislative package “designed to break down barriers to economic progress facing women – and all Minnesotans,” according to the release. Among the pieces of the package are paid sick leave, a raise in the minimum wage to $9.50, and expanding access to high-quality, affordable childcare.

    “The Women’s Economic Security Act aims to break down barriers to economic progress so that women — and all Minnesotans — have a fair opportunity to succeed,” Paul Thissen (D), speaker of the Minnesota House, said of the package. It also includes other measures aimed a helping working women. Private companies contracted by the state would be required to report on pay equity among their workers. The state’s Parental Leave Act, which guarantees workers six unpaid weeks off for the arrival of a new child, would be expanded. It would encourage women to enter non-traditional, high-wage occupations and boost small businesses owned by women. And it would bolster existing protections for victims of domestic violence. State Sen. Sandy Pappas (D) and Rep. Carly Melin (D) will be the chief authors of the package.

  47. says

    This is a follow up to my comment #535, regarding the case in the U.K. against mormon prophet Thomas S. Monson for fraud:

    The leader of the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has been summoned to appear before a UK magistrate on fraud charges relating to seven crucial tenets of the LDS faith.

    LDS Church president Thomas Monson allegedly made misleading representations of the Mormon faith to two British men – Stephen Bloor and Christopher Ralph – to induce them to pay annual tithe money to the church, according to complaints made by ex-Mormon Thomas Phillips.

    According to the Arizona Republic, Phillips alleged that the Mormon Church in the UK has received $257m (£157.5m, €190m) in member donations since 2007, and that these donations were “mandatory” for good standing in the church.

    District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe ordered Monson to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 14 March to answer the charges. If Monson, who is based in Utah, does not show up a warrant will be issued for his arrest. […]

  48. says

    Wow. I hope this spreads.

    CVS is announcing today that it’s going to stop selling cigarettes as part of a strategic pivot to a deeper involvement in the health care sector. CVS operates a network of Minute Clinics that provide health care services in a more convenient setting than a traditional doctor’s office, and expanding that business is involving them in contracts with health insurers. In the short-term, not selling tobacco products is going to hurt their business. But in the longer term it opens the door to those deeper ties—you can try to make money by selling cigarettes to addicts or you can try to make money by being part of a health strategy, but it’s hard to do both simultaneously.

  49. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I broke the shading on the lamp on my beside table years ago, but didn’t bother replacing it. Just left it that way.

    Now I have an imprint of the top of the light bulb on my arm and, knowing the way my skin handles burns, it’s going to stay there. Forever.


    It hurts a bit. Gah, I’m clumsy. Does that look like second degree? Ugh, I think it is, but there’s no way in hell I’m googling to check.

  50. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Oh, hai!

    Do I only come here to complain or brag? Sorry about that. A bit short on time during workdays and you all run away on weekends.

  51. says

    The Vatican has failed to acknowledge the huge scale of clerical sex abuse and has implemented policies that have led to “the continuation of the abuse and the impunity of the perpetrators”, a UN panel said on Wednesday in a scathing rebuke of the Holy See’s handling of the global scandal.

    In grimly worded findings released by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the watchdog urged the Holy See to “immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers” from their posts in the church and hand over the cases to law enforcement authorities in the countries concerned.

    The pope’s so-called “outreach” to homosexuals and atheists, is of course empty. He’s not going to change church doctrine. He’s not advocating an end to discrimination against homosexuals (let alone the ‘BTQ’ part of LGBTQ). He’s not having a sincere dialogue with atheists about the problems within the church hierarchy and how to fix them.

    So his “outreach” is, in effect, meaningless.

    Unfortunately, his PR campaign has another effect: it’s shifting the focus away from the problems in the church. It’s an attempt to paint the church in a better light. But not only is it obvious (to some) what he’s doing, he’s NOT making the changes the church needs to make. I don’t think he’s going to either.

    I’m not gullible enough to fall for “What sex abuse scandal? Look, squirrel I said I won’t judge homosexuals!” It’s sad that many people do.

  52. says

    Chris Kluwe is a true ally:

    The Olympic Games in Sochi begin Friday. Controversy and doubt swirl around these games, this abysmal excuse of “Olympic Spirit” we seem determined to celebrate this year, despite all the hate and stupidity and human rights violations they represent. Vladimir Putin, dictator of Russia in all but name, appears content to ignore the lessons of history — namely, that you cannot oppress a group of your own citizenry forever without them eventually rising up against you. Unfortunately, the corporate sponsors of the games appear content to ignore it along with him.

    “Today’s refreshing anti-gay beating brought to you by Coca-Cola!”

    “Visa goes everywhere you want to be, and takes you places you don’t want to be, like a gulag in Siberia if you support LBGTQ rights!”

    “Watch all the colors of the action on your Panasonic or Samsung TV, but please don’t ask us about rainbow flags!”

    “GE, we don’t just make your washers and dryers, we also wash our hands of the truth about bigotry and ignorance!”

    I’m sitting at home listening to the radio, and I’ve heard commercials for the Sochi Olympics several times now. Each time the announcer talks about “uniting the world”. I think there many LGBTQ individuals and their allies aren’t feeling very united right now.

  53. says

    Chris Hayes debunks the right-wing claim that Obamacare offers a bailout for insurance companies:

    Chris Hayes reveals the lack of logic behind southern states refusing the Medicaid expansion:

    Chris Hayes put a pin in Bill O’Reilly’s claim, made during his lecture/interview of President Obama, that young Bill did not get any help from government as he was growing up. This piece is great.

  54. says

    I’m reading up on the statuses of several Facebook friends and one of them watched the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate. Her comments (as well as those people responding to her) are rather hopeful that people weren’t fooled by Ham’s bullshit.

  55. carlie says

    Now I have an imprint of the top of the light bulb on my arm and, knowing the way my skin handles burns, it’s going to stay there. Forever.

    Ouch! If there are blisters, it’s 2nd degree. 3rd degree is if it’s white and charred.
    I hope you feel better soon.
    I had a very identifiable imprint of the top half of an iron (steam holes and all) on my calf through most of a year of college. I feel your pain.

  56. says

    This sounds quirky and interesting. I rather like the hook:

    Most fans will know James Tynion IV for his work in the DC Universe’s Batman family, but this year, he branches out to his first original ongoing, creator-owned title. Tynion and artist Michael Dialynas launch “The Woods” through BOOM! Studios this May, presenting a serialized, character-driven story centered around a Midwestern American high school which was mysteriously transported to an alien planet on October 16, 2013.

    “The Woods” follows the 437 students, 52 teacher and 24 additional staff from Milwaukee, Wisconson’s Bay Point Preparatory High School far outside the reaches of our solar system as they explore an alien wilderness and attempt to discover where exactly they are and how they got there

  57. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Are we re-starting the Hordefund for JAL? If so, I volunteer myself to be the conduit.

    People who have paypal can send stuff to my nym at the google mail service.

    JAL, how much are you in need of?

  58. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Had an appointment with the orthopedist today.

    Orthopedist says that the sling can come off this weekend and has given me stretches and exercises to do.

    I go back in 4 weeks, by which point everything should be hunky-dory.

  59. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The weather news on the radio while driving home indicated that the winter storm that put a few inches over the Chiwaukee are, was also responsible for an ice-storm in Pennsylvania/parts of New York, with large traffic/power disruptions. Oggie, please say you are OK.

  60. says

    The Sochi link from rq (#601) is awesome, gives you the real picture. Funny if you are not the one trying to be a hotshot media person in Sochi.

  61. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    The snow here (in upstate NY) is currently hiding the fact that there is a (one-step) stoop leading to my apartment. It is supposed to keep snowing all night, with a total accumulation (from when it started snowing early this morning) of 33 cm.

    I am skeptical, as there’s nearly that much already and it’s 7 pm.

    But yes, please check in Oggie, Carlie, SallyStrange, Audley, others I’m forgetting.

  62. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Acknowledged and received, Tony. :D

  63. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m finally thawed out from getting the snow off my driveway and sidewalks after work. We had a neighbor trying to us a favor by clearing our driveway with his small snowthrower. I can do a better job in a third of the time with my “more power” larger snowthrower. Male quandary, how do you say thanks for your help, but my larger equipment did the job with a lot less effort…

  64. says


    But yes, please check in Oggie, Carlie, SallyStrange, Audley, others I’m forgetting.

    I passed that along (via FB) to SallyStrange and Audley (I still find myself referring to her by that nym sometimes. Same as the much loved, but infrequently seen Brownian.)

  65. says

    Ugh. This ode to the pope makes me want to puke:

    Particularly in his interview with La Civiltà Cattolica, Pope Francis has indicated that he is thinking along similar lines, and that is not surprising. He has called the church “a field hospital” doing triage and treatment to a wounded world, and he seems intent on advancing the medicine of the Holy Eucharist to its patients:

    The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness.

    Those Catholics whose first marriages were doomed by reasons of coercion, ignorance or immaturity have been in the waiting room for a long time. They have been hoping their wounds can be treated with something penitential and effective (yet less onerous than the thorough, exacting and complicated surgery that has been our annulment process) so they, and their children, can come home and receive the powerful healing that is inherent in the Eucharist and in the fullness of community.

    We are in hopeful days.

    The church is a field hospital?
    Yeah, the church has been so helpful in healing LGBT people.
    The church has assisted in healing the wounds of those who were sexually abused as children.
    And of course the church has been right there, helping to empower women.

    Oh, wait, no the fuck they haven’t!.

  66. says

    I have a question with regard to being able bodied (crap, I don’t even know if I phrased the preceding sentence right. It feels wrong, but I’m not sure how to reword it).

    A few months ago, a woman came into the restaurant to pick up a to go order. She was using some sort of mobility aid (I think it was a device similar to this one). For a short time after she paid, it appeared as if she was having difficulty carrying the bag of food and using her crutches. Initially I wanted to offer her assistance, but I thought she might perceive that as me thinking she couldn’t handle it herself. I also thought that if she wanted assistance then she would have asked. But then I thought that society isn’t kind to people with disabilities, so she may not have felt comfortable asking for help. In the end, she was able to carry her bag with what appeared to me little difficulty. Again, this was only over the course of *maybe* 30-40 seconds.
    I’m uncertain the best way to deal with this situation if and when it crops up again.
    Any advice would be most welcome.

  67. says

    Hello my lovelies!
    Just got a message from Tony!. The Kiddo and I are here, warm & secure. So far, we’ve got about 16″ of snow (give or take) and it’s supposed to continue on to morning (although it’s lightened up a bit).

    The Kiddo got a chance to play in the snow a bit (we’ve moved recently and have a yard now!) and besides that, we haven’t gone anywhere today. I have some errands to run tomorrow, but that shouldn’t be a problem (I drive an all-wheel drive vehicle with brand new (seriously, as of yesterday) tires).

  68. says

    More than 200 prominent international authors, including Günter Grass, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Jonathan Franzen, have joined forces to denounce the “chokehold” they say Russia’s anti-gay and blasphemy laws place on the freedom of expression, amid a growing swell of protest on the eve of the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

    The authors’ open letter, published in the Guardian on Thursday, comes as athletes and journalists from around the world descend on the Black Sea resort before the lavish opening ceremony at a specially built stadium on Friday evening. President Vladimir Putin has spoken of the Games as a personal project to show the world Russia’s greatness and its ability to host such major events, but the build-up has been marred by controversy over corruption and rights abuses in Russia.


    The 217 authors who signed the open letter are urging the Russian authorities to repeal these laws, which they say “strangle free speech”.

    They also want Russia to recognise its obligation under the international covenant on civil and political rights “to respect freedom of opinion, expression and belief – including the right not to believe – and to commit itself to creating an environment in which all citizens can experience the benefit of the free exchange of opinion”. The letter adds: “A healthy democracy must hear the independent voices of all its citizens; the global community needs to hear, and be enriched by, the diversity of Russian opinion.”

    (bolding mine)
    Good to see more pressure put on the Russian government. Extra kudos for including the freedom to not believe.

  69. says

    Y’know, I dislike winter. I hate being cold, especially my feet, fingers, nose, ears, and generally any other part of my body. I haven’t found much to challenge my opinion on winter. Until now:

    Each winter, Christensen and a full team of sculptors start by producing more than 5,000 icicles that are then collected and arranged together as the scaffolding of the structures. The large frame is then drenched in water twice a day for a few weeks until the ice is thick enough to carve. Each castle includes unexpected frozen formations caused by natural interactions like temperatures and wind combined with hand-carved towers and passageways. The adventurous constructions are made completely out of 20,000 pounds of ice and snow that are prime for exploration!

    So totally awesome. I want to go there.

    (I still don’t like winter though)

  70. cicely says

    I’m going to be a grandmother!!!

    rq, the puppy is very cute, indeed! And I shamelessly nicked the linky to the Gender Rolls.

    And why isn’t she carrying a gun?

    Silly rabbit! Gunz are for menz!
    (Unless they’re pink.)
    (The gunz. Not the menz.)
    (Mind you, it is every man’z right to be pink, if he so chooses.)

    Portia, hurrah for the smart 8th grader!

    chigau, what kind of incense do you favor for Your pagan rites? Cones? Sticks? Loose? And are robes allowed if participants are dancing (okay, so, hobbling; my heart is in the right place (and it’s staying there, too, so don’t nobody go gettin’ any funny ideas!) but my knees took a left turn at Albuquerque) around oak trees, rather than jumping over bonfires?
    Re sacrificial knives; I know obsidian is traditional, but how’s about something in a nice jade?

    Hai, Beatrice!
    That sounds painful…and familiar. In fact, I’d go so far as to say painfully familiar.
    In my case, it involved melting crayons. And missing.

    I have officially flabberd my gast with one of those tweets: “Please don’t throw toilet paper in the toilet.” ????

    I’ve heard of this tissue issue elsewhere. I’m guessing that the plumbing system isn’t robust enough to handle it…or that it’s a recycling problem.


  71. says

    Congrats on impending grandmotherhood!
    Here’s a present.

    For cosmologists (actually, I think a great many people here would appreciate it):
    The Big Bang House.

    Casa Faustino is a unique home designed by Portuguese architect Didier Faustino that is meant to reference the energetic image of an explosion, specifically the Big Bang. Located in Spain, the unique residence offers multiple viewpoints. Large windows face out in all directions, allowing anyone indoors to get a scenic view of the natural surroundings

    The elephant in the room.

  72. says


    Disability Etiquette. Man, someone needs to start a guide. (Wait… why don’t I?)

    It’s not okay to swoop in and just try to “help”. We know how to manage with our disabilities, even if it takes a little bit longer. (And thank you so much for not assuming and swooping — people have gotten hurt by overly-“helpful” individuals knocking them off balance.)

    Asking or offering — “Can I help you with that?” — is always the polite way to go, really, regardless of (dis)ability.

  73. cicely says

    Tony!: “The water horse would encourage people to ride on its back, and once its victims fell into its trap, the water horse’s skin would become adhesive and the horse would bear the victim into the river, dragging them to the bottom of the water and devouring them—except the heart or liver.”
    From the Wikipedia entry on kelpies.
    Horses, without the pretense of Good Intent.
    Can’t help but wonder…why not the heart or liver?

    Nutmeg, as far as I am aware, everyone involved is happy about it.
    I was prepared to support Son in his decision either to spawn, or not to spawn…but is it wrong of me to be so very happy to support his decision to spawn? I swear that my mother’s endless harping (and suggestions that I “apply a little pressure”, translation, “serve him a guilt trip”) has no input on it.
    But I am very pleased.

  74. says


    I was prepared to support Son in his decision either to spawn, or not to spawn…but is it wrong of me to be so very happy to support his decision to spawn?

    If, in essence, you’re asking “is it wrong to want grandchildren” (or some variation), I don’t think so. I think it’s wrong to guilt your children into having kids (or not), but absent that, I can’t see anything wrong with you being happy to support his decision.

  75. cicely says

    Possible. Or just distaste at the flavor or texture?
    Although, if I were the one DMing it, the reason would be far more sinister than that, and more in keeping with Their general Evilness.

  76. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Asking or offering — “Can I help you with that?” — is always the polite way to go, really, regardless of (dis)ability.

    I would assume, with limited experiential support, that “would you like help” is likely to be received better than “do you need help,” too.

  77. says

    The heart and liver had magical properties in that mythos, although I can’t recall exactly what. IIRC the heart was the seat of one’s strength and the liver of courage, both of which could be acquired by a human enemy who ate the organs in question, but that might be someone else.
    Congrats on the impending grandlet.

    Ugh, that sounds painful. Hopefully it heals soon.

    Otherwise ‘rupt; that old Black Dog has been prowling around my bed and I am spoonless.

  78. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    …wait, so burns leaving skin marks that last for months even though they’ve otherwise “healed” and aren’t painful is a thing? They wouldn’t happen to look like slightly empinkened, possibly very slightly swollen normal skin would they?

  79. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Hmm. Two ounces Bombay Sapphire. Ten ounces lemonade. I need to remember this one. ^.^

  80. carlie says

    Congrats, cicely!

    All is quieted down here, for now. Got close to a foot or so today, schools were all closed, had to shovel three times. I’m not sure what’s coming tomorrow, but I was under the impression it wouldn’t be too much more.

    Sure, burns can last a long time. On me it’s not slightly pink, but deep brickish red. Kind of dry, leathery texture. Only swelling/pinkness around the very edges, if at all. But I would think it depends a lot on what one’s skin looks like normally.

  81. says

    Anyone live near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Northern Wisconsin?

    Sandstone caves filled with thousands of icicles. Frozen branches hanging over cliffs, clamoring in the breeze like wind chimes. Blue ice, orange ice, white ice.

    Winter is not without its gifts, and this year, it has built a cathedral along the shore of Lake Superior.

    For the first time in five years, the mainland sea caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore have opened to foot traffic, thanks to a cold winter that has made the lake ice thick enough for travel. It’s a sight many in the Upper Midwest likely have never seen, yet it’s one not to be missed.

    “These formations are fabulous all year long but especially now that they’re frosted over with ice,” said Neil Howk with the National Park Service.

    (still don’t like winter, even if the caves are 110% awesome)

  82. chigau (違う) says

    I’d offer rum but I’m afeared *gulp* that it’s gone.
    Incense is acceptable in any form.
    All robes are made of fire-proof materials.
    Dancing is as dancing does.
    No new snow here but it is -22°C.
    GrandSpawn … cool.
    Why, Hello Alexandra.

  83. says

    I stumbled upon this column at the Telegraph on elephants:

    The other challenge is drinking, as kneeling down makes even a large animal vulnerable to attack. Elephants evolved the perfect solution: a 7ft, 28st (2m, 178kg) nose that contains 100 times more muscles than we have in our entire bodies. Not only can a trunk suck up eight pints of water, it also functions as an arm, hand, snorkel and weapon. It is powerful enough to kill a lion with a single blow, yet the finger-like lobes at the end can pick up a grain of rice.

    I had no idea an elephants trunk could be so deadly.

    This column seems kinda neato. Ooooh, they have one on dolphins! In which there was much to learn:

    Dolphins’ genitals are internal, in both sexes. The females have a built-in system of contraception: their organs contain two chambers – one for fun, the other for reproduction (the name “dolphin” comes from the Greek delphos meaning “womb”). Sex (including same-sex sex) is an important part of dolphin life, used for socialising and recreation, and they don’t form lasting pair-bonds. It’s not always cuddly. For all the foreplay and nuzzling, females are frequently coerced into sex by groups of males. Schools of dolphins batter porpoises to death for no obvious reason, and occasionally practise infanticide.

  84. rq says

    Congratulations to cicely and the impending New Parents! *fireworks&noisemakers* It’ll be awesome, and I’m glad you’re thrilled.

    Tony re: the toilet paper
    It’s quite a common thing here, and probably elsewhere in Europe, where sometimes they’ve built modern toilets and bathrooms inside ancient buildings that have really inadequate plumbing systems. Why this should be an issue in Sochi, I have no idea, but it’s probably less of a shock to European journalists than it is to those from other continents.

    Here’s the Toronto Star‘s most right-wing reporter’s view of the complaining about conditions in journalist hotels. I think she tries to paint Putin in a favourable light (as in, he stopped things before they got too expensive)… Weird.

    For some light-hearted entertainment (based on a true story), see some crying children.

    Former bully apologizes to gay former classmate.

    Sequels always terrify me, but more dragons and vikings? Sure! (*ahem* So the woman viking is the one rescuing all the dragons…)

    Annnnd 42 ways to type laughter. Most are accurate. I’m sure they’re missing a few.

  85. rq says

    All robes are made of fire-proof materials.
    Oh, goody. This new information contradicts but supercedes previously assumed guidelines on my attire while jumping over fires/dancing around oak trees in the giving of respect towards chigau the Prophet. What else should be written down 100+ years from now?

  86. rq says

    It’s not just the weekends where everyone disappears… They hide out during the day, too!!

  87. Portia, walking stress ball says


    Congratulations! That’s so very exciting!


    Did you receive an email notification from me?

    That list leaves out the most important one: LLOL. :D

  88. says

    All quiet? I’m traveling. Zipped out to St Paul after my classes yesterday, gave a talk, passed out in a hotel room, zipping back to Morris now to arrive just in time for today’s classes.

  89. birgerjohansson says

    Isn’t Gimlet a dwarf who lives in Ankh-Morpork? I recall that once an undead magician was described as “his eyes were like gimlets”, triggering the response “you mean like that dwarf?”

  90. birgerjohansson says

    if you are a Republican “big tent” self-contradicting beliefs are a requirement.

  91. chigau (違う) says

    I am Canadian.
    We don’t do Republicans, we have our own problems.

  92. says

    Here’s my little tiny whiny complaint about winter: I’ve been outside shoveling snow in such cold weather that the skin around the nails on both of my thumbs has cracked. I wear really good gloves, but still have some damage.

  93. Portia, walking stress ball says

    A work thing just blew up in a big way. I’m listening to this to calm my nerves and my racing heartbeat. The ragemonster in my chest is slowly stopping its backflips.

  94. opposablethumbs says

    Conga rats, cicely! Best wishes to the whole family!

    Sorry about the arm, Beatrice :-( hope you’re ok soon … you have something for the pain?

    Tony, I was going to say … but then WMDKitty said it much better and from experience (glad to take it from her that I was somewhere on the right lines). If my own hands are empty, I generally ask anyone I see might be struggling with an awkward object. (I mean, as WMDK says – I ask, without assuming, in a very self-effacing and British fashion ;-) )

    Occasionally people ask for help … like the time two blokes asked me to help push their van to get it started in the snow. They were really taken aback when I crossed the street over to them (middle of winter, all bundled up, jeans, boots, anorak hood up etc.) and only then they realised I was (gasp!!!) not a bloke … it was quite funny, they were really embarrassed for some reason :-\

  95. says

    West Virginians are melting snow to bathe their children. That’s one way to get around using the water tainted by the chemical spill.

    In other news, conspiracy theorists in Southern USA are promoting another anti-government whackadoodle concept: the big bad government is creating fake snow to … well, I don’t know what, but I’m sure it is bad. This not-real snow idea is showing up all over, documenting the military attack from President Obama on the south.

    This is just one awesome segment. It includes scientific debunking of the fake snow propaganda.

  96. rq says


    they were really embarrassed for some reason

    I’m sitting here wondering what that reason could possibly be!!!
    (I hope you gave them a good shove right where it was needed. ;) )

  97. Portia, walking stress ball says


    Here, have some sweet almond oil for those poor fingers. I feel your pain.

  98. rq says

    Åh, harassment! You’re so hilarious! (It’s an old post, but it came up on my FB again, with the caption that it would be fun to work with this guy. And I just bet it would.)

  99. birgerjohansson says

    Chigau, If I find a selective Harper antidote, I will let you know. The virii I am weaponizing now tend to go all “Twelve Monkeys” on infected people (not a bad outcome, but I want more options).

  100. rq says

    A selective Harper antidote? If you find one, let me know. I just may go back to Canada.

  101. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Åh, harassment! You’re so hilarious! (It’s an old post, but it came up on my FB again, with the caption that it would be fun to work with this guy. And I just bet it would.)

    Saw that. How the fuck was the subject of those still employed, by the last one?!

  102. ajb47 says

    rq @673

    Stargate. At least, that’s always my first thought when I see that. As for the harassment, I couldn’t read past the second one. I am very happy I haven’t had to deal with anyone like that since 8th grade.

  103. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    Even if the company didn’t care about one of their employees harassing another, some of that shit could make them look bad in front of the clients. I would hope they got rid of the harasser out of selfishness, if nothing else.

  104. cicely says

    I’m putting this here largely so I can find it again later, but it still may be of interest here, as well: Camel Bones and Jerusalem: Archeology Shows Bible written Late, Full of Errors

    Thanks, all, for the cong(a)rats!
    :) :) :)

    Tony!: Horse force?

    Isn’t Gimlet a dwarf who lives in Ankh-Morpork?

    Or “Gimlet, son of Groin” from Bored of the Rings.

    Re the work memos thing, it came from here. Specifically, this one.
    I suspect it of being A Bit.

  105. says

    Moments of Mormon Madness, Idaho legislation and anti-gay categories:

    Idaho’s Capitol on Wednesday was again the focus of frustration among gay rights activists as lawmakers kept alive a bill that Republican religious conservatives argue is necessary to protect businesses from being forced to serve customers whose lifestyles offend their faith traditions.

    The House State Affairs Committee’s 11-5 vote to send the bill to the floor came two days after 44 gay rights activists were arrested for barring entry to the state Senate. More than 500 people, nearly all foes of the bill, showed up.

    Dozens who testified during the 3 ½ hour hearing said they wanted it killed on the grounds that it enshrines discrimination in Idaho law.

    However, Republican lawmakers on the panel said they favored the bill to expand an existing 14-year-old Idaho law, making it tougher to sue people who cite their religious faith for not serving, among others, gay and lesbian customers.

    “If a person is being burdened in their free exercise of religion… they should have the ability to raise that as a defense,” said Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise and the sponsor. […]

    All 11 lawmakers behind Luker’s bill were from the majority GOP. […]

    Rep. Lynn Luker is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and his fellow mormon Republicans have pushed this bill before. Now they are back at it. When it comes to being anti-gay, they never give up.

  106. says

    A follow up to my post @ 683:

    […] One Republican on the Idaho committee, Rep. Ken Andrus from Lava Hot Springs, questioned why gays would want to be served by an anti-gay baker, anyway.

    “Do you think the cake would be as good if he did it against his will, rather than if he did it of his own free will?” Andrus wondered aloud to Monica Hopkins, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho. […]

    Ken Andrus is also a mormon. And a Republican.

  107. rq says


    I should say that had anyone attempted to give me a pink soldering iron when I was designing circuit boards, they would have found my use of it not at all in accordance with their health and safety.

    :D Oh, how I laughed!!