For a long time now I’ve been contemplating making and selling jewellery. And now I have finally started! I have a shop now at Beautiful Bangles on Zibbet, and I’m having a great time with all the creativity and crafting.
Time and again, the religious right use the words “natural” and “unnatural” to support their views on homosexuality, marriage, birth control, adoption, and a host of other sensitive issues. Every single time I see it used, I can think of at least one animal which habitually behaves in the way whichever specific group this time considers “unnatural”. People making these claims clearly have no idea at all about what actually goes on in nature. I’ve got a 500 page textbook on animal homosexuality, if you need a really quick idea of how common it is.
Male-male and female-female pairings have been commonly observed in species very closely related to us, especially “Old World” monkeys, including macaques, baboons, mandrills, and talapoins. Baboons are notably promiscuous (a very value-laden human word), engaging in sexual activity for a variety of social purposes. Partners may be of either gender, and sometimes these encounters are not limited to two individuals.
A pair of male penguins in a zoo in New York formed a long-term, exclusive relationship. When given an egg, they cared for it lovingly until it hatched. The chick, a female, grew up to enter into her own exclusive homosexual relationship.
When a male lion takes over a pride, he may find females caring for cubs sired by the previous dominant male. Like in humans, egg production usually ceases in lions for the duration of rearing offspring. An incoming or arising dominant male often kills the existing cubs in order to force the lionesses into heat so that he can produce his own offspring with them.
The dunnock, a small brown bird, sometimes enters into what looks like a monogamous relationship. However closer observation reveals that a great many of these birds are often in polyandrous (one female, multiple males) and polygynous (one male, multiple females) relationships. The precise configuration of relationships depends very greatly on the control of territory and the availability of resources.
Smaller individuals among giant cuttlefish (yes, small giants) disguise themselves as females. This allows them to get closer to actual females to mate with them without being challenged by larger males. However sometimes the larger males mistake the smaller ones for females, and attempt to mate with them.
Females of many insect and arachnid species will often mate with multiple males for a variety of reasons. In times of poor food availability, the male may be cannibalised after mating to provide the female with important nutrients. This is common in praying mantids. In many species the male will provide a “nuptial gift” to convince the female to mate with him even if she has already mated with a previous male; in human terms he is essentially paying for sex.
I could potentially come up with many many more examples of “immoral” behaviour among animals. I didn’t even tell you about the necrophiliac homosexual mallard. This, this is nature. This is natural. So the next time you want to tell somebody that they can’t do something because it’s “unnatural”, you might want to re-think your argument.
I make no moral judgements on the actions of the below people; I simply point out that they say one thing and do another. Lies and hypocrisy are what I am judging.
Josh Duggar, of 19 Kids and Counting fame, has recently been outed as a child molester. It has also been revealed that he had two paid accounts with Ashley Madison, a website specifically for people seeking extramarital affairs.
Well-known South Florida pastor Tullian Tchividjian stepped down in June after it was revealed he’d been having an affair. He claims he was seeking solace after discovering his wife’s prior affair.
L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, was convicted in 1978 for making false claims about his ability to cure sick people.
Catholic Priest Gerald Ridsdale has been convicted of a number of child sex abuse and indecent assault charges against children as young as four. Cardinal George Pell has been accused of knowing about these incidents and making attempts to cover them up and protect Ridsdale.
Peter Popoff, popular evangelist, has been exposed using secret radio transmitters to gather information about audience members, while claiming to be receiving information directly from God.
Televangelist Jim Bakker has been convicted of fraud after keeping $3.4 billion raised supposedly for his ministry. He was also accused of rape, and allegedly paid Jessica Hahn nearly $300,000 to keep her allegation secret.
Baptist Bishop Eddie Long has been accused by four separate men of using his position and influence to coerce them into sexual relationships with him. The lawsuits were settled out of court.
Ted Haggard, once named one of Time magazine’s most influential evangelicals in America, has admitted to having a three-year affair with male escort Mike Jones.
I could continue, but this is depressing. Christians wonder why Atheists are so often bitter!
My poor blog often gets neglected in favour of Facebook, and a lot of what I post there is obviously missed by my readers here. If I have any left. So I would like to present a small collection of the things my children have said and done over the past months for your entertainment!
I told Ellie that everyone’s naked under their clothes. She goes, “I’m not; I usually wear three layers!”
Evie just came up to me and said, “I smell horrible because I farted. Have a smell of my bottom!”
11th May 2015
Ellie’s teacher tells me that Ellie’s work and improvements often get used as examples for the rest of the class. She’s getting level 16 readers sent home now.
8th May 2015
Me: *wakes Evie up from her nap*
Evie: Hi mum. *yawn*
Me: You’ll have to get up soon so we can go get Ellie from school.
7th May 2015
Apropos of nothing, Evie just said to me, “Mum, I love you too much to flush you away in the toilet!’
4th May 2015
Ellie’s been learning about symmetry at school; she asked me this morning if her bottom was symmetrical.
30th April 2015
Elspeth hit Evelyn with a bangle, breaking the bangle, and now she’s having conniptions because I said I won’t buy her a new one.
28th April 2015
The girls are playing shop, and their economy is totally screwed. Ellie charged Evie “twenty hundred dollars” for a little foam sticker, and then “a single hair” for a wooden building block.
27th April 2015
Evie: If I step in coffee I will get coffee on my shoes and then daddy will have to drink my shoes and that will be funny.
22nd April 2015
Playing doctors with Evie, and she assures me that there is a lion living in my throat and that’s why my leg is sore.
21st April 2015
Ellie saw me taking my anti-depressant this morning and asked me what it was for. I told her it was medicine to stop me being sad and cranky, so she started pouting and stomping her foot and saying she needed some too!
15th April 2015
Ellie just said to me, “My tummy is really really really sick, I must be having a baby.”
11th April 2015
Evie: My finger hurts when I touch people.
Me: So don’t touch people.
Evie: But I have hands.
Ellie was trying to get Evie interested in various toys and games, and Evie said, “All I want to do is make a mess!” Ellie replied enthusiastically, “Okay!”
I read Ellie the little bit from the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy about how to fly. Now she’s jumping off the couch trying to miss the floor.
22nd March 2015
Evie: I did two poos! Not four or three, or five or eighteen.
19th March 2015
The girls have started calling themselves Science Princesses. I have no idea exactly what that means, but it’s awesome.
14th March 2015
Evie was in the bath when she decided she needed to wee. She told Aidan, “I want you to dry my bum so the wee doesn’t get wet!”
3rd March 2015
Elspeth has been getting quite upset lately, telling me, “I want to be a grown up NOW!!!” When asked why, she says, “I want to have a chicken farm and have fresh eggs for breakfast every morning.”
I’ve decided to add a new category to this blog: Calling Out Bullshit. I see enough bogus claims online to want to set people straight, so I’m going to start here.
Some of you might remember the 90s, specifically the fad of using “laundry balls” instead of detergents to wash your clothes. I’m sure we had some in our home when I was a kid. I didn’t know much about them then, but seeing them re-emerge in the form of this Kickstarter project prompted me to investigate.
The Crystal Wash is a plastic device filled with little ceramic balls. The theory is that these balls somehow change the chemical make-up as they swoosh around in the wash and turn your water to hydrogen peroxide. They can thereby clean and disinfect your clothes without the use of harmful detergents!
The problem is, the whole idea of restructuring water like that is a well known scam and has been thoroughly debunked. Science simply does not support this claim. Studies have also shown that using laundry balls gives virtually identical results as using conventional detergents on your clothes, and sometimes even worse results.
The makers of Crystal Wash 2.0 also claim that this product can save you energy and water: less rinsing is required in the absence of detergents, assuming you have a setting on your washing machine to accommodate this; and cold water is more energy efficient, but their own pamphlets – and their precursors’ from the 90s – advise using hot water.
If you want to be more environmentally friendly with your clothes washing, your best bet is to use less detergent, and wash in cold water. Don’t support the woo.
About a month ago, Elspeth started school and Evelyn started kindergarten.
Evelyn spent last year sitting in on classes at kindergarten with her big sister, so she’s an old hand at this. Her teacher describes her as “perfect” and “a model student”. No surprises there, she’s a sweet and obliging little person when she wants to be! She’s very happy and having a great time.
I was worried about Elspeth; she tooks months to settle into kindergarten last year and I don’t think she was ever really happy there. I anticipated similar problems with beginning school. However, with the help of some people in her class who she knew from kindergarten, and a fantastic teacher, she’s actually doing really well. I think the tighter structure of school suits her, she’s gaining confidence and doing really well. I knew she could read pretty well, but she’s further ahead than I thought, and she’s found it in herself to stand up and read books aloud to her class, so I’m very proud.
Of course, all these new activities result in tired kids, which often means grumpy kids, but I think I can put up with that! I’m really pleased with both of them.