Freezing in a Storm?

On Tuesday night I attended a talk by the author and rancher John Erickson. He’s best known by most people as the creator of Hank the Cowdog, a growing and very popular series of children’s books about, well, Hank, a cowdog, and his associates and human family. However, Erickson’s first books were non-fiction histories and discussions of ranching and the Texas Panhandle. His book, Through Time and the Valley is one of the things that re-kindled my interest in regional history. He was reading from and talking about his latest non-fiction, Prairie Gothic, based on his family’s history.

During the Q and A after his main talk, someone asked him how he could keep going after the horrible fire last year that burned up his home and all the fences and grazing on the ranch. “If I were in that kind of [life]storm, I’d freeze,” the questioner explained. Continue reading


A Gentle Reminder…

1. Please leave reviews for books/stories/stuff you buy at Amazon and other retail sites that allow reviews.

2. Please do not drink so much today that you start to see all the snakes that St. Patrick drove OUT of Ireland.

Please Don’t Bring the Snakes Back.

And remember, St. Patrick is the patron saint of souls in Purgatory, NOT of hangovers.


Light Content This Week

Spring Break has arrived. Little Bit (Aka Red 2.0) and her parents will also be arriving. Blogging – and probably anything else requiring long periods of quiet contemplation – will be light this week.

Are you done, Aunt Dragon? Can we play? Can we go to the park now? Now? Now?

Overheard in the Halls: Part Ten

Mrs. Botanica (life sciences teacher): Arrgh. That’s the fourth jam this morning!

Miss Red: I’ll help. [Crouches down, goes through all twelve jam points and un-scrambles everything, opens paper drawer and ruffles paper stacks, closes everything]

Mrs. Botanica re-loaded her special paper and tried a test run. All was well. She loaded the main run. I started to leave the work-room.

Mrs. Botanica: Oh no you don’t! [Grabs me by the arm] You are good luck.

Miss Red [standing beside copier, stroking it]: Good copier, that’s a good copier.

Copier: Whrrrrrr thip. Whrrrrrr thip. Whrrrrr thip [25 copies on custom paper come out perfectly] Chirp chirp!

Mrs. Botanica: OK, you can go. Continue reading

Pick One!

So which one is it? Women don’t go into STEM because there aren’t enough female role models, because we don’t like “geek culture” stuff, or because we aren’t smart enough. Pick one, dang it, and stick with it.

What? You didn’t know that Star Trek, Star Wars, and other sci-fi things were sexist and off-putting to women? That’s according to a librarian at MIT, so it must be true. Especially since there is an academic study to support the assertion (“Ambient Belonging: How Stereotypical Cues Impact Gender Participation in Computer Science” by Cheryan et al in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2009, Vol. 97, No. 6, 1045–1060) Continue reading

Women, Firearms, Skirts, and TV Follies

So, according to a pundit on CNN, women don’t (or can’t) carry concealed firearms because we wear skirts and dresses, and we’d have to wear a jacket all the time over a dedicated belt-n-holster rig like police officers and sheriffs wear. And ladies just don’t want to do that.

*Waits for guffaws and howls of laughter to finish*

I’ll grant that if you have to wear a knee-length, fitted, sleeveless sheath dress, your attire does present some technical difficulties. But what if you don’t work for Fox News? Continue reading

If so, then Why Tell Stories?

In the comments on an article The Passive Voice linked to about automation and if it is what defines humans from non-human creatures, a discussion got started about what separates humans from other critters, if anything.

I stayed out of it because I have some very, very strong thoughts on that topic but don’t have the philosophy and biology chops to argue my case. When someone begins by saying “humans are no different from other animals…” what follows often tends towards either an anti-people statement, or a justification for something that society frowns on for good reason. I would argue that humans are different because we have souls, because we seek for something greater than we are greater than we can be, but keep searching and striving anyway. Continue reading