George Hrab at House on the Rock!

I originally posted this at Minnesota Skeptics

 Skeptical musician/humorist George Hrab will be performing at House on the Rock Resort March 31st. The Chicago Skeptics have set up this special concert, and skeptics from all over the midwest are invited. Earlier in the day a lot of people are going to tour the nearby amazingly cool House on the Rock. I cannot do justice to how incredibly bizarre, eclectic and fascinating the House on the Rock is. I visited this past summer for the first time and cannot wait to go back.

Jennifer Newport from Chicago Skeptics has this to say about the George Hrab concert: “While the ticket price is $20, if this seems out of your range, feel free to contact me…sliding scale/grants available. This is all about trying to get a bunch of midwestern skeptics together for a fun event!” More details about the concert, HOTR visitor information and lodging options can be found at (this is also where you buy concert tickets) or at the Facebook event page.

Please note: The HOTR tour and the concert are separate events. If you head down that way you can do one or the other or both (or neither).

One of the (IMHO awesomest!!!!) rooms at HOTR.

So start planning your car pools, load up your mp3 players with skeptical podcasting and music, and get ready to rock at the Rock! (I apologize for that. It’s been a long day and it’s late).

George Hrab at House on the Rock!

Why Are You Atheists So Angry?

I have a new book to read on the plane ride to Reason Rally on Friday!

Greta Christina is the author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things that Piss of the Godless. The first part of the title is funny because it plays off the common misconception that atheists are angry all the time because we don’t know God, or don’t have God’s peace, or something like that. Greta Christina steps up and makes the argument that while we’re often very happy people, we ARE angry about some things, and we have very good reason to be angry about them! As she mentions in the upcoming documentary Scarlet Letter, “Anger isn’t necessarily a sign that there’s something wrong with you. Sometimes anger is a sign that there’s something wrong with the world.”

You can read Greta’s blog about her new book, and you can order it for Kindle from Amazon. Why Are You Atheists So Angry should also be up for Nook and Smashwords in a week or so, and a paper edition is slated for April.

Why Are You Atheists So Angry?

Bristol Palin is Blogging

At Patheos.

Incidentally, this is the same place that Hemant Mehta writes his Friendly Atheist blog. Patheos is an interfaith blog network which bears the tag line “Balanced Views of Religion and Spirituality”. They have a large contingent of Christian writers, so it’s not like Bristol will be out of place there. I just wonder what she’ll bring to the blogosphere (if it’s actually her doing the writing). Hey, today she wrote about Dancing With the Stars. And if she gets bored she can always talk about how that abstinence-only education she’s so fond of worked out for her.

Bristol Palin is Blogging

Marry Thy Rapist

A Moroccan law, and likely societal pressure, was recently used to force Amina Filali, a 16 year-old girl, to marry her rapist. The LA Times is reporting that on Saturday Amina swallowed rat poison and died to escape her situation:

The suicide of a Moroccan teenager who reportedly had been forced to marry her rapist has spurred calls from around the world to change criminal laws long lamented by Moroccan feminists.

Human rights groups complain that Moroccan law has been interpreted to allow someone who rapes a minor to escape punishment if he marries the victim. Moroccan media reported that was what happened to Amina Filali, a 16-year-old who reportedly swallowed rat poison Saturday.


The Moroccan government has argued that the law applies only if the victim agrees to marry, but activists say young women can be pressured into marriage to protect family honor. Her father told a Moroccan news website that the courts had pushed the idea, the Associated Press reported.

Read the full story.

The idea behind allowing rapists to avoid legal prosecution by marrying their victims is a disgusting example of a women being treated as property, a woman’s worth being measured by her purity, and a warped societal agreement of what constitutes “honor”. The law and society is telling the rapist, “You break it, you buy it.”

Marry Thy Rapist

Cross-Country Connections: Tricky

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Tricky.

From Erin in Bellingham, Washington:

Growing plants is hard!! This tricky little bastard started out with beautiful blooms, which died one by one and then just as I was about to give up, these bright green leaves started growing.  Any ideas/suggestions for a healthy plant?

From Mom in Carbondale, Illinois:

Sometimes I think Calliope herself is messin’ with my interfaces just to get me to hunker down and write.  It is damned tricky to actually get connected to the games; trickier still to stay connected.  

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Playing Jenga with cats is tricky.

Cross-Country Connections: Tricky

I Did This Today

This was just a typical day for me, hanging out with Phil Ferguson (Skeptic Money), Greg Laden (X Blog), Jen McCreight (Blag Hag) – that’s me next – and Stephanie Zvan (Almost Diamonds). 

Back story: The Atheists Talk radio show had Jen in the studio for a live interview. Greg, Stephanie, Jen and myself chatted about our blogging, our activism and Freethought Blogs. Phil Freaking Ferguson – which is how he introduces himself* – from Skeptic Money happened to be in town, so he stopped by the studio to watch the show and ended up letting us drag him on the air for a few moments. And we took this snazy photo afterwards.

And then this afternoon I attended the Minnesota Atheists monthly meeting. Jen was the guest speaker; she gave a talk called “God’s Lady Problem”. By my estimation the talk had major three parts: Religion-based discrimination against women and a thought-provoking God-as-abuser analogy, the current War On Women that we’ve been fighting against in the US in recent months (the Catholic church birth control hubaloo, transvaginal ultrasounds, Terry England’s “women-slash-livestock” speech, etc), and lastly the lady problems that we run into in our own atheist communities. It was a solid, engaging, well-attended talk and the Q&A took up all of the allotted time and then some. Jen will be in Indiana for three more speaking engagements in this next week leading up to the Reason Rally. If you’re in the area, I’d recommend stopping by.

So this was a pretty dandy way to spend a Sunday, right?


*Not intended to be a factual statement.

I Did This Today

Dark Shadows Trailer

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Insert your [gee, another Tim Burton-Johnny Depp-Helena Bonham Carter gothic movie?] joke here, you philistines! This trailer made my morning. The campiness oozed from the screen and rolled right into my brain, giving me a disco high jolt that I’m going to ride all day. I may even listen to ABBA on the way in to work this morning.

If the trailer gets pulled from YouTube, it’s also available on

Dark Shadows Trailer