It’s been a family day

I’m neglecting the blog because I’m hanging out with my mother and sisters, which means…getting all sentimental and going through the old photo albums. I’ve now got a whole series of photos illustrating the evolution of the beard. I thought you might be amused to see what I looked like in my teens going on twenties.


I used to be adorable before I got all grizzled and homely.

Shhh. It’s secret. A Seattle secret.

I’m heading off to Seattle today, and I’ll be speaking at Town Hall on Thursday. I’m also planning on a get-together with Ophelia and other interested parties on Friday evening, somewhere in the city, but I’m not announcing where in public — intrusive trolls are even worse in the world of meat than they are in the world of the internet. If you’re in the area and interested in joining us, you’ll have to email me, say a little about yourself, and maybe I’ll reply with the top secret location. Maybe. If you sound nice.

Or if you know Ophelia, you can talk to her. We’re being cautious because I’m expecting a quiet evening of friendly conversation, and there actually are assholes in Seattle, as nice a city as it is otherwise, and they’re not invited. And if they show up, we’ll just be ignoring them.

I don’t even know where it is, but I’m going to be there!

Right after my fun weekend at the World Humanist Congress, I’m heading off to Hebden Bridge. It’s somewhere in England, I hear.


I just looked it up: north of Manchester, about a 4.5 hour train ride from Oxford. And Edinburgh is 4 hours north of that; I’m hoping to pop in there, too.

I expect you all to show up, except for that one goofy English wackadoodle on twitter who always calls for everyone to boycott my talks. There’s the remotest chance he could show up, so his personal boycott might actually mean something, for a change.

Let me just leave you with this quote…it’s a busy day

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was on the craptastic Sunday pundit shows, and broke through the pretentious backpatting to say something interesting.

Well, this is a problem. I did a little bit of research, more whites believe in ghosts than believe in racism. That’s why we don’t have — that [sic] why we have shows like Ghostbusters and don’t have shows like Racistbuster. You know, it’s something that’s still part of our culture and people hold on to some of these ideas and practices just out of habit and saying that well that’s the way it always was. But things have to change.

Posting will be light today. This is the start of finals week, and lucky me, I get them all out of the way today, on the very first day — so shortly I head off to torment my poor students with tricksy questions, and then I’m going to sit down and do all the grading. With any luck, I’ll put down this semester by this evening, and then maybe go celebrate by watching the new Spider-man movie. Even though it probably sucks.

Mystery engagement tonight

I’m heading in to the Twin Cities tonight, to join a panel on approaches to science education for the public. I haven’t seen any advertising for it, I was told that there were some other panelists, but that their involvement was tentative. I was asked by the Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists to do this, and trusting fool that I am, I agreed, so off I go.

It’s in Folwell Hall 112, at 7pm. I need you all to go and check it out: if the room is eerily empty, it was a trap, and I’ve been abducted. Contact the FBI, the NSA, NASA, and Interpol! Tell them my last contact was with Chelsea Du Fresne! Mount a rescue! Run around in circles and shout!

Otherwise, well, you’ll get to attend an interesting discussion about an important topic. Not quite as exciting as a cunningly planned kidnapping, but you know, sometimes life just cruises along pleasantly.

What happens when you accuse racists of being racist?

You get mail. Nicely written, printed letters in the mail. And they confirm everything I said.

So a lot of Fox News viewers have been writing to me lately, expressing their outrage that I would dare to suggest that racist newspapers out to be thrown off campus. And a great many of them have another odd, common thread, something that wasn’t in the Fox News report, but apparently all these rabid tea-baggers have inferred it, and they’re pretty darned insistent that it must be true.

I must be Jewish.

Take it away, Bob in Boca:


“Myers” is not a Jewish name. I wouldn’t be at all put out if I’d had some Jewish ancestry, but I’m afraid that my father’s ancestry has been traced back to the 16th century (mostly Scots/Irish/English ne’er-do-wells living marginal lives along the western American frontier), and my mother’s back to the 14th (Scandinavian peasants who never wandered far from their village), and I’m afraid there’s no evidence of any Jewish family. I’ve never hinted that I might be Jewish. People who know me have never made the assumption that I might be a cultural Jew.

The only people who call me Jewish are right-wingers who write to me to chew me out for some great liberal evil I’ve committed, and a surprising number of them do so. They never speculate that I’m Lithuanian, or tell me that my name sounds suspiciously Belgian, or sneer at my obvious Sinhalese bias — it’s always this bizarre insinuation that I’m a wicked anti-American liberal, therefore…Jew.

It says a lot about them. Not much about me. Why are so many teabaggers implicitly anti-semitic?