Signs of the Cephalopod Underground

A reader discovered this fascinating graffiti in downtown Minneapolis, near the transit center on Hennepin Avenue.


In Minneapolis! So far from the sea, but I’m not alone in pining for it.

I may have to look this up. This is a travel week for me, as I have to run around taking care of some essential pre-school year duties—I’m actually sitting in the St Cloud mall right now, watching the senior citizens do their laps, while waiting for our car to get some minor repairs and maintenance—and tomorrow I have to run in to the university to attend a meeting and to the airport to dispose of one of my kids for a few weeks. I might have some time to cruise the squid-haunted streets of the Big City for a while.

The Rapture Index just went up a point…

…because Pam Spaulding at Pandagon had a kind word to say about James Lileks. Not his Bleat or Screed blog, fortunately, or for his regular column in the Strib which I find tediously twee, but for his masterful book, Interior Desecrations. You have to have lived through the 1970s to be able to understand how tacky things got for a while there—someday I’m going to have to dig up that old photo of myself in a polyester paisley print shirt and bell bottoms just to put the younger generation of readers here into shock.

While I’m in a “what were they thinking?” mood, I’ll mention one shock we had in this otherwise nice 1950s era house we own. The upstairs is carpeted bright red…no, scarlet, a flaming crimson color, which was discombobulating enough. In addition, though, one of the upstairs bedrooms was wallpapered in bright ♣ green shamrocks ♣ .

It was one of the selling points, actually. I figured if we ever had trouble making the mortgage payments, I already had the decor to open a bordello for leprechauns.

Camp Quest

The Strib has an article on Camp Quest of Minnesota, the secular summer camp that is starting up this week. It’s a fairly good story, although it’s unfortunate to see it overwhelmed by the gigantic rah-rah story on crazy Pentacostalism spread over the next two pages of the paper, by the same reporter.

By the way, I’ll be volunteering at Camp Quest on Friday, to show the kids how to deal with creationists.

Lunch with PZ

I’m going to be giving a talk tomorrow and Tuesday in St Paul and Minneapolis—if you’re free at the noon hour, stop on by! The title of the talk is “Science and Secularism in a Demon-Haunted World,” and it’s sponsored by the Atheists for Human Rights.

On Monday at noon I’ll be at the St Paul Landmark Center, 75 West Fifth Street, in the Ramsey County Room.

On Tuesday at noon I’ll be in the Minneapolis Downtown Public Library, in the Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi Room.

If you aren’t in the Twin Cities area, be patient…I just agreed to do an interview with the Infidel Guy sometime in August, so you might be able to hear me over your computer then.

Dire warnings

Reading some of my favorite blogs today, I can’t help but feel the looming hand of fate preparing to destroy us all.

  • Jon Voisey is praising a director of the Oklahoma ACLU, Joanne Bell. You’re in Kansas, Jon. It’s not that far from Oklahoma. What happened to Bell could happen to you.
  • Ophelia Benson is saying harsh words about Mother Theresa. An uppity woman criticizing an icon of Christian charity? Someday, you could be in a hospital with a hatchet-faced nun looming over you, contemplating how best to chastise your body before your immortal soul meets the god who will fling you into the flames of Hell.
  • General JC Christian dares to mock those who would sic Jew-haters on the home of the Dobrich family. You’re anonymous, old boy—wouldn’t it be a fine coup for some winger somewhere to publish your home address and phone number? Let’s see how funny you are when a manly Christian fellow shows up at your door with a demand to give your inner Frenchman a workout.
  • Cream Pickle Pups? Oh, no—it’s fair time in the Midwest, when the most obscene foods appear in greasy carts on dirt paths in places that reek of farm animals. We’re all gonna die.

Despite the horrible possibilities, though, I can’t help but hope that everyone keeps it up. Well, except for Diablo Cody—no one really needs to OD on fried fats in grease, do they?

Morris in the news

Seeing ourselves as others do can be a strange experience. Here’s an article in the Humboldt County Times Standard that discusses Morris, Minnesota, and pretty much exclusively praises us.

Recently I was listening to Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” I had to pull my car over to the side of the road after he said that Morris — a city located in Stevens County in his home state of Minnesota — had a high school dropout rate of less than 1 percent. In addition, 95 percent of the high school graduates in that city and county go on to some kind of postsecondary education.

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