Fundraising, stories, and a new video

It’s true, we’re still digging out from under our legal debt and begging for donations. Check out our Fundraising page! There’s new stuff there!

Also, very importantly, Kris Wager is matching donations, up to a thousand dollars total. This is the perfect time to kick in a little bit to our our paypal account.

My contribution this time is a video about a science paper — a case study of an XY woman who gave birth to a child.

You can read the original paper right here, or a transcript of my remarks below the fold.

[Read more…]

Less a day’s work and $350, plus one pissed off cat…

She’s fine. The Evil Cat’s bloodwork all came back totally normal, and the vet has survived unscarred. The cat’s kind of mad at me right now, but she got doped up with a painkiller and is stumbling around drunk, so I’m safe, for now.

I have to keep an eye on her for a few days and see that she doesn’t get worse, and if she does I have to walk across town, pick up the sedative, come back, dope her up again, and then bring her back to the vet, because they don’t want to deal with the shrieking clawing hell-beast again. I don’t blame them.

The Evil Cat is doing better!

I was worried last night. I spent some time stroking this poor lethargic cat last night before I went to bed, and she was…purring. This is not a normal response for a Myers cat. She’s usually more of a snarler, although she will purr for Mary. For a moment I thought this was grounds for declaring an emergency and rushing her to the vet, but then I realized that in the mundane world having a cat that purrs is not usually considered a medical crisis.

I got up around 3am and checked on her (No! I’m not worried! My sleep cycle is just chaotic right now) and she was sleeping peacefully in the same spot, so I didn’t disturb her.

When I got up for real this morning at 5:30, she didn’t get up to ogle me as I used the bathroom, again out of character. She was still on that chair. So I brought out the heavy guns: cat treats. Shrimp, crab, and tuna flavored cat treats. She perked right up at that, and ate several out of my hand. Then she hopped up and followed me out to the kitchen, where I put out fresh wet food and dry food, and filled up her water bowl.

She did not eat her regular cat food. She sniffed at it, but didn’t seem enthused. I might end up taking her to the vet today anyway, but at least she’s showing signs of improvement.

Either this is a nefarious scheme, or the Evil Cat is very sick

This morning, I followed the Sacrament of the Cat, which is that first I must use the bathroom and allow our cat to watch, and then I go to the kitchen and give her a nice big spoonful of Fancy Feast. This is a ritual that has been followed for time immemorial. She gets very cranky if I don’t follow it, and if I do, she gives constant yowling commentary.

I was alone in the bathroom. It was very strange.

I walked to the kitchen alone. She heard me open the tin of cat food and walked in quietly. When I served it on her plate, she sniffed at it, and then sadly walked into the living room and hopped up onto her easy chair. Here she is:

I opened the door to the sun room, where she has a blanket laid out for bird watching. The birds were making their usual racket. The cat didn’t budge.

I scratched her behind the ears, which usually triggers a paw swipe and a twist around to try and bite me. Not this time. She closed her eyes and didn’t move.


I let her be. She hasn’t left that chair all day. Tonight, I opened a can of tuna, which usually has her coiling around my ankles and demanding a taste. Nope. She didn’t leave her chair. She hasn’t eaten all day.

If she hasn’t bounced back tomorrow I guess I’ll be walking to the vet with a cat in her carrier, which she hates, and would normally have her snarling and hissing and spitting. I’m not even sure I’ll get that reaction out of her. She failed the tuna test! This is very ominous.

I’m outta here!

This past month has been something else — overworked, trapped in my office all day long, stressed out to the point where I’m severely lacking in sleep. I’m a physical and mental wreck. But that all changes shortly. I’ve been meeting with students all day, trying to coach them through their last few assignments, and my last appointment of the semester is at about 1:00…and then I’m done. They’re all on their own at that point. They’ve got their final exams in hand, they do them and turn them in on Tuesday, and it’s one last surge of grading, but I’m free until then. Days of freedom. I won’t know what to do with myself.

Well, actually, I kind of do.

By 1:30 I’ll have finished my last meeting. Then I’m bolting outta here. It’s a warm sunny day, I’m going for a nice refreshing walk. I might stop at the coffee shop — I can do that, I’m vaccinated — which I haven’t visited in over a year. I might just breathe fresh air for a while. I’ll try to avoid getting hit by a bus, which would be a terribly ironic end to a long painful year.

Then I’m coming home to sit out in the sun room and work on our Mother’s Day Fundraiser. See the link over there on the left? It’s empty at this point, but only because I’ve been too swamped to fill it in. The other good people here at FtB have been making plans, I’ll be consolidating those and putting them on the page, and then we just have to do it all, while begging you for donations to cover our legal expenses. I’m making a video about an intersex mother — it turns out you don’t have to have XX chromosomes to be a good mom, surprise, surprise — and we’ve got stories about mothers on various blogs to be unveiled. But all that isn’t work, it’s a change of pace, and fun.

But first, leg-stretching and lung-filling and pretending I’m human again for a while. Maybe I’ll sleep through the night tonight, too.

I think my theme for the day will be, “Look, mom! I’m still alive!”

There’s nothing like a divorce to spill the tea

Bill and Melinda Gates are divorcing, news that does not interest me at all. A pair of meddling incompetent billionaires are splitting their fortune? Whoop-te-doo, as we say down here in the holler, does that mean they’ll stop trying to interfere in healthcare and education? Probably not.

But what does make me sit up and listen is that Melinda is letting all her resentments hang out. Oh boy! I am not at all surprised that Bill was suckered by Jeffrey Epstein.

Melinda Gates met with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein alongside her husband Bill in New York City and soon after said she was furious at the relationship between the two men, according to people familiar with the situation.

The previously unreported meeting occurred at Epstein’s Upper East Side Mansion in September 2013, on the same day the couple accepted the Lasker Bloomberg Public Service Award at the Pierre Hotel and were photographed alongside then-mayor Mike Bloomberg.

The meeting would prove a turning point for Gates’ relationship with Epstein, the people familiar with the matter say, as Melinda told friends after the encounter how uncomfortable she was in the company of the wealthy sex offender and how she wanted nothing to do with him.

This is what I don’t get about these people who willingly associated with Epstein. As the article says, Epstein was rude and arrogant and was constantly name-dropping, so why would anyone with billions of dollars want to hang out with him?

The ties between Gates and Epstein ran much deeper than the tech mogul first admitted. As The New York Times reported, starting in 2011, Gates met with Epstein on numerous occasions. This was three years after Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting an underage girl in Florida; by then, accusations that Epstein exploited girls and young women were widely reported in the press.

Oh, and this is fun: catch Gates lying about his relationship.

Indeed, the Times reported Gates visited Epstein multiple times from 2011 to 2013, and that Epstein had tried pitching a new charitable fund to JPMorgan honchos and to the Gates foundation. In 2013, Gates also took a ride on Epstein’s private jet (christened by tabloids as the Lolita Express), from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida, according to flight records reviewed by the Times. CNBC also reported that Gates rendezvoused with Epstein in New York in 2013.

When Gates first met Epstein, he was still Microsoft’s chairman and the second richest person in the world with a net worth of $56 billion.

“I met him. I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him,” Gates said in September 2019, as media coverage into his connections with Epstein were heating up. “I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that. There were people around him who were saying, ‘Hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people.’

Oh, yeah? What were you doing in Palm Beach, Florida in 2013 that you now want to hide, Bill?

The evil cat’s new torment

She has decided to pursue a new career as a mouser. That wouldn’t be so bad — every time the weather fluctuates and cools, the local mouse population decides to move indoors until it warms up again — except for a few small problems.

  • The mouse hunting hour begins at 3am. It can then go on for a few hours.
  • She is not a stealthy feline making swift, silent pounces. No, she’s a klutz. Hunting involves much bouncing off of furniture and knocking things off tables or just generally over.
  • She’s a sadist. One mouse is good for hours of bumbling, brutal torture.
  • She is finally succeeding at her profession. She used to just bat her prey around like a toy, but now she eventually actually kills. This is not for me, at all — she doesn’t proudly present me with a trophy. Nope, she leaves the sad little corpse where ever it eventually succumbs, and then it is my job to find it before it rots and stinks up the house.

It’s not just the classwork that is turning me into the shambling undead. It’s also my roommate.

Last…day…of cla…AAAaaaaaaughhhhh

I might make it. I may be crawling over the finish line, but the end is in sight. One more class today, in which I give them a deadline for turning in the final lab report (Saturday), give them their take-home final exam (due on Tuesday), and go over the answer key for the previous exam, and then I … do some more grading today, wrapping up a backlog of other assignments.

Obviously, then, I’m not done done, but at least there’s the firm definition of a final boundary and I’m not stuffing any more information in their heads. I might survive this hell year after all (he says, as the flaming meteor enters the atmosphere, on target for his head).

I can haz break now?

Please? I have finished grading my nightmarish genetics essay exam (do not ever assign essay exams to bright, ambitious, literate students without setting an upper page length — I had over 400 pages to read. Will not do that ever again. Ever.) and finished the first wave of lab reports. Oh god my eyeballs are about to explode. I think I deserve to take a little walk in the sunshine, don’t I? Don’t make me sit here in my office any longer.

Really, just a short walk, maybe look for a few spiders, then I promise to get back to work.

I have two more sets of exams to finish — but they are much more sensibly designed with short calculations to read, and they either get them wrong or they don’t. And then I have to write two final exams.

There is another lab report and the answers to the final exams to read, but they don’t come in until Friday and next week. Please don’t punish me if I go outside for a little bit. Maybe I can just go feed the spiders? I’ll be right back to buckle down again.