Virge's blog

Fire ants in your pants

Cross-posted from PhaWRONGula: Wasmannia auropunctata. Those fire ants sure do have interesting ways to pass on their genes. Read Pharyngula: Clone war of the sexes first.

Diploid queen fire ants
Clone themselves daughters to
Be the next queens,

Giving them life via
No need for males to get
Into their genes.


Haploid male fire ants
Stoically cope with a
Karma to spurn,

Living their history of
Roots—a glass ceiling but
One that won't burn.

A "Love" Sonnet

Ask, "Is this love?" I'll ask you what you mean
By love—some silver screen that makes you blind
To faults, or some fantastic pact between
Imagined gods who've had your fate designed?
Perhaps four little letters are a key
To probe the private—password to the pants—
But used again, describe the wrath of she
Whose cubs are threatened by a pervert's glance.
This many-splendored word's a whore who sleeps
With sycophantic shallow flawless skin
And gloms the sinner's soul in haste but keeps
The way they are at bay because it's sin.
So tell me, why is such respect conferred
On one old overloaded worn-out word?

What trauma?

Over on Pharyngula, a fundie troll has been trying to assert that godlessness is related to family problems during childhood. e.g.

Well, I just can't help but notice that the people who espouse atheism, evolution, anti-Christian viewpoints, wild and cra-zee promiscuity, and aberrant sex of all kinds, all had some really tough stuff happen to them when they were young, usually involving big problems with their fathers, which I firmly believe is why they have a hard time establishing a relationship with their Heavenly Father.

Of course, the troll goes on to employ the time-honoured "proof by selective example" to show the "strength" of her argument. She lists a few prominent figures who've expressed views she hates and points to their family problems, and hopes to thereby denigrate their views. You can read the easy refutations of her assertions in the Pharyngula comment thread.

So, there's a fundie troll commenting on PZ Myers's blog. What's new?

A coincidental encounter with another fundie who clings to a similar opinion. That's what's new.

Last night a man, after talking to me for five minutes and finding out of my apostasy (the subject was inevitable since we met at a party of a mutual Christian friend), convinced himself that I must have suffered some life-changing negative event to cause me to reevaluate my faith. As became apparent during the conversation, this "perceptive" man was an only-a-theory, all-scientists-have-been-duped, not-a-clue-about-science fundamentalist.

I have lived a fortunate life. Abuse free. Trauma free. Happily married for over 23 years. Well balanced kids. Stable employment. What led me away from faith was learning—finding out about the history of the church, finding out how a council of ordinary men decided what books to include in their canon, examining the claims that had been taught to me and reinforced by Christian friends, understanding how religious memes survive and propagate.

It seems to me that the idea that learning leads away from the church is uncomfortable for fundamentalists. Any other excuse (e.g., traumatic experience) is a rationalization to cling to. Counter examples must be relegated as exceptions. 

I won't try to generalize to all Christian fundamentalists, but when you meet a fundie, it's wise to be prepared for the preconceptions they may have about your life, the way you think, and the way you've been duped by the world-wide conspiracy to marginalize (their interpretation of) God.

Scam vs scam

Teresa at Making Light "actually managed to come up with a poem so bad that the International Library of Poetry ... neither declared it to be a semifinalist in one of their contests, nor offered to publish it in one of their pricey yet unreadable anthologies."

How? By sending one example of spammy scam as a poetry submission to the scammers. I know it's possible that it was automatic spam blocking that blocked her submission, and that her poem could have otherwise won critical acclaim and been featured in one of their prestigious publications, but to manage to get any verse rejected in any way is an achievement.

Inspired by Teresa's efforts I wondered if I could summarize her "poem" in a double-dactyl.

Miriam Abacha,
Widow of former
Nigerian chief,

Seeks your assistance to
Hold thirty mil for her
Family's relief.

June 2005

Lord of the Flies

Cross-posted from PhaWRONGula: Learning to Fly.

Pharyngula: Well, maybe another catch is if getting up close and personal with flies makes you squeamish…

You want Dipteran smut? Here's the website, uncut:
Anatomical Atlas of Flies.
You'll need, for inspection, a broadband connection
Because of its gigabyte size.
So shrug off your shyness and feast on the flyness
Expressed in high-res for your eye.
Come hug the homology, munch the morphology;
Have to agree, "Pretty fly!"


I picked up a word I didn't know from a Pharyngula commenter.

From Merriam-Webster:

flyting:  a dispute or exchange of personal abuse in verse form.

From Wikipedia:

In Norse and Germanic cultures, flyting is a contest of insults, either as a prelude to battle or as a form of combat in its own right. The exchange is regular, if not ritualized, and the insults usually center on accusations of cowardice or sexual impropriety or perversion.

I like the word. It reminds me of old limerick battles.

Fat Fluffy Fiends

A mischievous master lurks under my bed
With lint for a body and hair for a head.
His diet is dust so he's very well fed
Like all of his fat fluffy fiends.

He's planning a party to rage through the night.
He'll sniff my wet socks and get high as a kite
And scoff on dried skin-flakes and toenail delight--
Just him and his fat fluffy fiends.

He'll fall about laughing at lewd people-puns,
Make fun of our feet (big warped knobbly ones),
And dream about dandruff cascading in tons
To build up more fat fluffy fiends.

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