When it comes to the Republican merry-go-round of candidates, I'm getting pretty tired of hearing "THIS is the best that the Conservatives have to run against Obama?!?" And, yes, I'm as guilty as everybody else. It's a natural reaction to the buckets of crazy that the GOP has been pouring over the American populace as they attempt to get somebody elected president in November.
The reason I'm getting tired is that the answer is already very obvious. "No, this is NOT the best that the Conservatives have to run against Obama, they're just the only players willing to do so." And it's true. All the smart, powerful, respectable potential candidates didn't want to throw away millions of dollars for a loss when they'd have much better odds in 2016 once President Obama is out of the picture. They know that an Obama victory in 2012 is pretty much assured, so why bother? Besides, it just gives the Obama-disillusioned Independent populace (like me) four more years to rage over the stupid crap that clings to his presidency like a pair of Tiberian bats.
And so now the second-tier candidates (like Huntsman, Gingrich, and Paul) are starting to fall away just as the tenth-tier loser candidates (like Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum) are starting to drop... paving the way for Romney to take the nomination. Like what was supposed to happen all along.
And here's the point where all the Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum supporters start banging out emails to me saying "TENTH-TIER LOSER?!? RICK SANTORUM CAME IN A VERY CLOSE SECOND IN IOWA, YOU DUMBASS!"
To which I'd have to respond "What did you expect?" Every waking moment that Santorum hasn't been fantasizing over the cock sandwich he obviously wants so badly, he's been campaigning in Iowa. He's gone to every county in the State. He's practically gone door-to-door to every house begging for votes. He's put all his eggs in one Iowa basket, so of course he's done well. But he still lost. And now? IOWA IS OVER! Santorum has to move on to places where he's invested no time and very little money. Places where he has no real chance of winning.
Which, of course, brings us to Michele Bachmann.
I am so ready for a woman to be president. I am not lying or even exaggerating here. But I have to be given somebody to vote for who is worth a crap. That person was not Hilary Clinton. It couldn't be Sarah Palin. And it sure the fuck isn't Michele "Batshit Crazy" Bachmann. Or I guess I should say it wasn't Bachmann, because she's now suspended her campaign. For all intents and purposes, she's out of the race.
Which is a darn shame, because her being certifiably insane made the rest of the Republican candidates seem far less crazy by comparison. No matter how much Romney, Gingrich, or Paul screwed up, they could always point over at Bachmann and say "Sure, but at least I'm not THAT hot mess over there!" But not any more. I suppose they could point at Santorum, but he's (hopefully) not going to be around long enough to be worth it.
And so now I am left with one burning question...
When people like Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann who tell everybody that "GOD CALLED ON ME TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT!" end up getting dismissed in disgrace or utterly pummeled before the race even truly begins... how do they reconcile this?
Did God set them up just to watch them fall? Do they now believe that God was lying to them all along? Did they do something wrong in the eyes of The Lord to make them lose His favor?
Wouldn't it be ironic if it was their lack of support for Same-Sex Marriage that made "God" displeased with them?
The scenarios I come up with, approaching things as best I am able from theological standpoint, are as follows...
You can probably guess which of these makes the most sense to me.
Despite studying The Bible more thoroughly than most Christians ever will, I am not a Christian. But I still have strong ties to the Christian Faith because there are many people I cherish and love who are Christians. Just as there are people I cherish who are Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, and other religions you might name.
For this reason, you will understand my disgust and frustration with people like Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum who make a mockery of Christianity by speaking for God. They force THEIR ideals onto other people with persecution and hate, say it comes from GOD, then use their interpretation of The Bible to justify it in a way that makes me wonder if they ever actually read The Bible in the first place.
As an outsider looking in, I can honestly say that this doesn't seem very "Christian" to me at all. My opinion is entirely supported by empirical evidence when I see Michele Bachmann giving up on her bid for president. And... until Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum is elected president in a landslide, then goes on to lead this country to its greatest period of peace and prosperity ever... well, it will probably continue to be my opinion.
As always, I reserve my admiration and respect for those who use their Faith as a way to enrich their lives and be happy while allowing others to do the same with whatever Faith they hold true. Sadly, more and more I see Faith being used as a weapon. For this reason alone, I won't be shedding any tears now that Michele "batshit crazy" Bachmann and her Jesus Sword won't be our president... despite the avalanche of material it would give to The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live.
I guess we'll just have to wait for her FOX "News" contributor gig to happen for that.
It's Bullet Sunday in the middle of Winter... except the sunny days and complete lack of snow makes if feel a lot more like Spring. I'm seriously starting to wonder if we're ever going to get a winter. Hope everybody in the Valley is fond of water shortages come Summer.
• Doodle! The "Google Doodles" are always interesting, but the Charles Addams birthday doodle from yesterday hit it out of the park...
The original cartoons were genius. Still are. And this was the perfect tribute. If your only experience with The Addams Family is the old television show and the Barry Sonnenfeld movies, then you owe it to yourself to check out the original cartoon collections. Not only are they funny as hell, but the artwork is absolutely beautiful. Even the most simple drawings have lush details and textures...
Besides, who doesn't love Uncle Fester?
• Taco! As the Doritos flavors keep getting more and more "extreme" I find myself liking them less and less. Nacho Cheese Doritos are so caked with cheese powder that you can barely taste the corn anymore. Which is why I'm such a big fan of the "retro" re-release of the original-flavor 1960's Taco Doritos. I thought they were going to be a temporary thing, but they keep showing up at the grocery store...
The flavor is nicely "taco-like" but not at all overwhelming. You can still taste the corn chip. They also make an incredible topper to a veggie taco salad. I have my fingers crossed that they continue to be popular so Frito-Lay will keep making them.
• Ojo! I've worn glasses for what seems like forever... but it's the "vitreous floaters" that are the real problem with my eyes. For those lucky enough not to know what "vitreous floaters" are, they're tiny particles floating around in the goo that's in the middle of your eyeball. They cast shadows on your retina which makes little blurry spots that move around your field of vision. Most of the time I don't notice them. But, as I get older, more and more of them are forming. This makes them more noticeable more often.
Every once in a while, I do an internet search to see if there's any new technology for dealing with the problem. Maybe they've found a laser than can vaporize the floaters. Or maybe there's a new medicine that can disintegrate them. But, alas, no. The only solution seems to be to suck the goo out of the middle of my eye and completely replace it with saline water. It sounds horrific. And dangerous. And I'm not nearly desperate enough to let somebody suck goo out of my eyeball. At least not yet.
But now the reality is setting in that one day I may actually be that desperate.
• Firm! I'm a fan of nearly all the early John Grisham books. They're not deep by any means, but they are darn good entertainment. The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Runaway Jury... all good fun. But it's The Firm (the first Grisham book I read) that I like the best. It was a really good story that had some genuine suspense built-in. Sure the Tom Cruise movie fucked all that up, but I still always wondered what happened to the characters in the book. Instead of that, I got this...
NBC Television has a new series called The Firm which picks up ten years after the FILM ended (not the book). And, despite starring the talented Josh Lucas, it's kind of a mess in the way it bounces around. Mitch McDeere is no longer on the run... he's just a lawyer with a sketchy past doing regular lawyer stuff (like most every other lawyer show on TV). In other words The Firm has become boring and unoriginal. Sure there's hints that things are going to ramp up, but in a totally redundant way. Mitch is involved with yet another evil law firm! Not enough of a retread? Oh yeah... here comes the mob. Again. What the hell? Oh well. It's not like I had time to fit a new show in my television-watching schedule anyway.
• Debate! The Republican Debate last night was... interesting. You get the sense that the candidates reeeeeally don't like each other. At all. Indeed the only thing they seem to hate more than each other is President Obama. I guess this is understandable, but they blow it way out of proportion. I'm not Obama's biggest fan by a longshot, but the level of blame they lay at his doorstep is categorically absurd. In many respects, President Obama is practically a Republican, so it's kind of senseless too. But I guess they gotta play to their voter base however they can, and demonizing Obama is a quick and easy way to do that.
The debate itself was pretty lame... but also a bit enlightening. Mitt Romney comes across as a huge dick when he fails at being clever, which is often. Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum bounces between being a disgruntled idiot and a whiny baby. Newt Gingrich is just plain bitter all the time. Rick Perry is just fucking stupid. Ron Paul is entertaining, but not always in a good way.
And then there's Jon Huntsman. The only current Republican candidate I can even fathom voting for. He's got Conservative sensibilities. He's got loads of experience in the international arena. He's personable and inspiring. He's smart, quick on his feet, and not overly-reactionary. In short... I honestly believe that he's the only GOP candidate that could move independent voters in a race against Obama. And yet... his own party seems to hate him. Probably because he's not Conservative to crazy enough extremes. It's a real shame too, because nobody else on that stage is going to woo the much-needed middle ground. If things keep going like they are, I guess we're getting four more years of ObamaNation.
Annnnd... I'm spent. Sometimes bullets can really take it out of a guy.
And so this happened...
Now that Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum has come in a pathetic fifth place after Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, and Newt Gingrich, is it too much to hope that he drops out of the race?
Because please, Rick, please drop out of the race.
I am just done with your stupid fucked-up racist, homophobic, sexophobic, anti-woman, anti-college, anti-poor, anti-environment, anti-gay, anti-diversity, anti-American bullshit, and there's no place in this country for your disgusting hate-filled rhetoric.
Just be content that you took a big ol' dump on the USA and move on.
Then never show your face in public again. The only thing I ever want to see of you is the giant shit stain that's left once you've been scraped off the face of America and tossed in the garbage where you belong.
Oh, and before I forget... fuck you for shitting all over my country. That stain is not going to be an easy thing to get out. Even with some Oxi-Clean and a bottle of Clorox.
I was kinda raised Catholic. And while I had already started pulling away from the church by the time Pope John Paul II came along, I was a big fan. He spoke dozens of languages and worked tirelessly to travel the world to use those skills to build good relationships with other faiths. He had respect for all people and believed strongly in the basic concepts of dignity and human rights. And while I may not have agreed with some of his more antiquated, traditional, and fundamental views, I always admired his attempts to find common ground in the face of disagreement. He was a remarkable man and I'm still a fan today...
Which is why I am so disheartened with his successor, Pope Benedict XVI...
He's systematically destroyed much of the good will that Pope John Paul II had built up between Catholics and the rest of the world. And while I have respect for Pope Benedict's position as Supreme Pontiff, the way he's hurt the church with the crazy-ass shit he says has been heartbreaking. He lays the groundwork for abhorrent Catholic radicals to have the power they do. Even though their hateful crap contradict polls which show that most Catholics are fairly progressive on issues like same-sex marriage.
So what benefit is it to everyday Catholics when these extremists decide to force their faith-based interpretation of "morality" on the rest of the world?
When I see the news of kids committing suicide because they are ruthlessly persecuted and victimized by the environment created by the likes of Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum and Maggie "Repugnant Hypocrite" Gallagher ... my view of Catholicism is badly tarnished.
And when I see the continuous stream of shocking headlines associated with the church, I have to wonder if these hateful morons shouldn't be casting a judgmental eye on their own house before condemning the houses of others.
Headlines like this one...
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH'S PEDOPHILE INVESTIGATOR JAILED FOR POSSESSING THOUSANDS OF CHILD PORN IMAGES
The Catholics Come Home television commercial I just saw (which caused me to write all this in the first place) is supposed to be reaching out to former Catholics by letting them know that their church is waiting for them. That they are wanting to help them return to a faith-based journey of true peace, happiness, and purpose in life.
They are speaking to people like me...
...who is someone that would never in a million years return to the Catholic Church as it exists today. Not when the people who so prominently represent the church are people who repulse me.
Well... not all of them repulse me.
There is at least one prominent Catholic today I admire quite a lot: Stephen Colbert. More on him in tomorrow's entry.
Picking up from where I left off in my last entry where I started talking about Stephen Colbert...
Yesterday morning I went to the Colbert Nation website so I could take another look at a particularly outrageous video showing just how huge a piece of shit Rush Limbaugh is. The footage hadn't been posted yet, but I did find something equally interesting. All of the heroes who donated money to the Colbert Super PAC could type in their name and see a video clip where Stephen Colbert thanked them on his show. Sweet! Here's me...
Oh... and last night I checked again and the video I wanted to watch again had been posted...
Yes! Such is the irrefutable integrity of FOX "News" and Rush Limbaugh. And do you think they'll even consider issuing a retraction? Or even a clarification? I suppose it depends on how big of a fallout there is from a fucking COMEDY NETWORK SHOW fact-checking the Conservative agenda at FOX. As I've said a dozen times, I don't give a shit where anybody chooses to get their news. But be honest about it. Anybody watching FOX "News" (or any network, really) who believes that they're getting a "Fair and Balanced" look at politics and current events is hopelessly deluded. Go sell that bullshit somewhere else.
In any event... I, for one, am thrilled to see that my tax dollars are actually going to a good cause for once...
Trick-or-Treat! — Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Ever since we first had a White House, our presidents have held extravagant events for all kinds of reasons. President Reagan once held a massively pricey State Dinner for Princess Diana (and invited John Travolta for heavens sake). But because this is President Obama we're talking about, first he gets eviscerated for throwing some military families a Halloween party, then gets accused with lies of having covered it up?
Spending crazy amounts of money on a visiting princess from a foreign country doesn't register outrage, but spending money to treat American heroes who have sacrificed so much for our country... well... they're just not worth it.
But regardless, you'd think that Fox "News" would have brought up some of the expensive White House events from the past in the interest of being "Fair and Balanced"... but no. And it's not like anybody would expect that sack of shit Rush Limbaugh to ever utter a single fucking word that wasn't in some way attacking this country's president. His listeners would probably have an embolism if he were to tell them that Ronald Reagan also threw expensive parties at the White House during a time of economic crisis. Even if he didn't relate LIES that the government then covered it up. Because you can make up whatever outrageous crap you want about President Obama, but don't you dare say anything even remotely disparaging about President Reagan! He was a Founding Father of this great nation and a True Christian... not some kind of Secret Muslim Socialist like Obama!
I swear, sometimes the dumbfuckery of the gullible American public is so overwhelming I have to sit back and marvel at the fact that half the populace has the brain power to even breath... let alone think for themselves. And why should they do that? There's a bloated asshole on the radio manipulating them with bullshit and lies they're too fucking stupid to ever question. Because thinking is hard.
GAH! It's enough to drive you crazy.
I really need to start drinking more.
Lately I've been looking at some of the "Voter Guides" that are put out by various organizations. They are meant to dissect the candidates on the issues so you can be "an informed voter." Some of them are kind of funny. Some of them are kind of sad. A few of them are kind of disgusting. But most all of them seem to be more "instructions" than "guides." These organizations have an agenda, and they slant everything towards their candidate of choice... all while claiming to be "presenting the facts." But whatever. If it helps like-minded individuals figure out their vote, I guess that's better than voting with no information at all.
But, thanks to the internet, there are also "Voter Guides" that are actually trying to be guides. They allow the voter to input how they feel about various issues, then calculates candidate scores based on how they have campaigned on those same issues. Assuming that the data used for the calculations is faithful to the candidates' views, it's a really helpful tool.
Like this one from Voting Aid, where you move sliders based on how you agree (or disagree) with a statement, and it finds your candidate...
Unfortunately, they show the scores as you answer the questions which is kind of defeating the purpose. This allows the user to adjust answers based on any predisposition they might have towards the candidates. I know I was certainly tempted to try and adjust my answers so that Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum got the lowest score possible.
But it turns out I didn't have to bother. Even when answering the questions as honestly and accurately as I could, the asshole still came in dead-last...
The surprising thing here is not that Jon Huntsman is the candidate who is most compatible with my views. That was totally expected. The surprise was that Ron Paul ranked so low. I'd have thought he would have come in much higher. Certainly higher than Rick Perry if I were ranking them manually. Probably higher than Mitt Romney.
My results were accurate from the standpoint that the only candidate I would consider voting for in a race with President Obama would be Jon Huntsman.
But, alas, it looks like I won't have to worry about that contest.
And since none of the other candidates have a chance of wooing the independent voters needed to defeat Obama, I'm kind of pulling for Gingrich to win over Romney because at least then we'd have some good debates.
But, alas, it looks like I won't have to worry about that either.
In all likelihood we're getting Mittens as a candidate followed by four more years of President Obama.
It's Bullet Sunday and I'm so happy I could crap my pants!
• That Dog Won't Hunt! So Jon Huntsman, the only Republican candidate that I might have voted for, is dropping out of the race. And since the remaining candidates will be hard pressed to sway independent voters to their respective agendas, I guess that we're in for four more years of President Obama. Unless he punches Betty White in the face while wiping his ass with the American flag during a televised White House press conference or something.
Now, if you will excuse me, I shall now go and mourn the loss of what could have been our three First Daughters...
Sadly, Mitt Romney has no hot daughters (that he knows of, I'm sure). Though I'm starting to wonder if he'll even be a factor now that Stephen Colbert has entered the race in South Carolina and these wicked attack ads are airing...
Genius. And it's funny because it's true!
• It's a Fucking Frog! Just when I think that it's impossible for nature to shock me more than it already has... along comes The World's Tiniest Frog...
Photograph by Christopher Austin, Louisiana State University
How in the hell is this even possible? That's a DIME! And that's an actual frog sitting on top... not even half the size of the coin. How does its lungs function when they must barely be the size of the air molecules they breathe in? Unbelievable. And cute. Lookat da iddybitty froggy!
• ZOMFG it's Music! After one of my favorite bands, The Shins, kind of imploded... I worried that we'd never hear from them again. Shins mastermind James Mercer appeared to move on to a new collaboration called Broken Bells with DJ Danger Mouse, so I figured that was the end of it. But lo and behold this last week I got an iTunes pre-sale notice for a new band line-up and a new album called Port of Morrow...
My expectations are high. Fortunately, the preview track Simple Song didn't disappoint. Can't wait until I get to hear the rest of the album in March. You can pre-order your own copy at the iTunes Music Store here.
• Eggxactly Right! Because groceries are so stupid-expensive, I find myself buying foodstuffs not because I necessarily want them, but because they're on sale for cheap. Most of the time, this comes back to bite me in the ass, but every once in a while I stumble across something so delicious that I wonder how I ever survived without it. Such was the case with Crystal Farms' "Three Cheese Chef's Omlet" from the freezer case...
Holy cow. It's the perfect omelet. Light, fluffy, and loaded with quality, flavorful cheese... from a frickin' microwave! When served on buttered toast with a little ground pepper... it's a quick and easy breakfast that's so good. Which means that it's probably being discontinued and the reason it was on sale was because they were clearing out their inventory. Crap.
• Well I'll Be! And so Washington State is dangerously close to passing Marriage Equality legislation. Color me pleasantly surprised. Despite the fact that "The Coast" is decidedly liberal... the view from Redneckistan here on the other side of the mountains is often cloudy when it comes to gay marriage. Oh I'm sure there are many people here who have no problem with everybody getting their fair shot at happiness (as promised when our country was founded). And there's undoubtedly a growing number of people here who are tired of their gay friends and family being relegated to second class citizens. And it's certain that more and more heterosexual couples are realizing that same-sex marriage has
It just comes down to whether enough politicians will do the right thing and move forward in a way that an increasing majority of Americans want to have happen. Here's hoping.
And now I have to get back to work. And Dune, which is playing as background noise here in my living room. THE SPICE MUST FLOW!
Today my blog has joined with thousands of other sites that are going dark in protest of SOPA & PIPA legislation, both of which have the scary possibility of destroying freedom of expression on the internet.
Of course since my site is dark you can't read this... but, if you're in the future now, you can take a look at what Blogography looked like today by clicking on this link (thanks to Zachary Johnson for the awesome code!).
If you are so inclined, you can read more about SOPA & PIPA here.
If you would prefer not to get into the gory details, suffice to say that SOPA & PIPA are trying to do a good thing (crack down on internet piracy) badly (by destroying the internet). It basically boils down to politicians sucking up to lobbyists at the expense of the people they are supposed to be serving.
I absolutely support fighting piracy. I work with industries which have been damaged by people stealing their property, and I know the havoc it causes. So when idiot politicians who have been duped (or bought) to defend SOPA & PIPA are saying "we're fighting to save American jobs!"... they're actually talking about people like me. But they're not speaking for people like me. Because I would never support this kind of stupid shit which would do nothing to actually stop piracy. Ultimately SOPA & PIPA are more about censorship than justice, and I'll have no part of it.
The only internet that matters is a free and open internet.
Anything less, for better or worse, is unacceptable, and nobody should be given the power to change that.
What a freaky-ass day.
I can only guess that this has something to do with the Chinese New Year beginning. It's The Year of the Dragon, after all. And while I don't put much stock into the Chinese Zodiac, I do think it's a pretty entertaining and well-thought-out concept. Especially since Dragons have Rats and Monkeys as bestest friends, which is kind of cool if you ask me...
My day started when I went to get into my car and drive to work. And found that I couldn't. There was a sheet of ice a quarter-inch thick covering everything... including the door. This meant fifteen minutes of scraping ice out of the door seams with the bottle opener on my keychain. Then another ten minutes chipping ice off the rest of my car with an ice scraper before my vehicle was fit to drive. It wouldn't have been all that bad if not for the fact that my bottle opener broke, giving up its life so I could go to work. I've had it for over a decade and used it often, but don't think I ever actually opened a bottle with it.
Once I finally made it to work, I was plagued with a series of inexplicably bizarre phone calls (and here I was just saying how much I hated talking on the phone!). The bad news is that it wasted entirely too much of my time. The good news is that I got to alleviate my boredom by getting caught up on Facebook and Twitter.
I also got caught up with entertainment news and learned that Seal and Heidi Klum were breaking up their marriage after seven years. I dunno why, but I was pretty sad to hear it.
And speaking of marriage... I then got caught up on news news and learned that Washington State's Legislature has enough votes to pass marriage equality. Whether this actually happens remains to be seen, but I am really happy that my gay and lesbian friends here in The Evergreen State are one step closer to being able to celebrate their relationships in marriage just like opposite-sex couples can!
Of course, all is not big gay smiles here in The Pacific Northwest...
This is Pastor Ken Hutcherson who is heading up some backwards anti-equality organization had this to say about Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire... "She might as well change her name to John Wilkes Booth because what she’s doing now is trying to put a bullet in the head of one of the greatest traditions that has ever existed and has built our society, and that is marriage between one man and one woman."
Far be it for me to speak ill of a man of the cloth... but what a fucking idiot.
What "puts a bullet in the head of marriage" is DIVORCE you dumbass. And why drag President Lincoln into this? Perhaps you hadn't heard, but the man eventually ended up fighting for equality of peoples in kind of a big way. Not really the best example you could have used.
What's important is that dinosaurs like Pastor Ken are slowly and steadily becoming a thing of the past as new generations of Americans understand that FREEDOM means that you sometimes have to accept shit you don't want to. Don't believe in same-sex marriage? Then how about you don't fucking marry somebody of the same sex?
But I guess I should know better than to try and apply logic to situations like these. To entirely too many people, it's only "freedom" when everything goes your way.
Newt Gingrich is a moron and let me tell you why.
At a campaign stop at Florida's Space Coast, he promised that there will be a permanent American lunar colony within eight years if he is elected president. As if that weren't bad enough, people seem to be crazy in love with the idea.
Putting aside where we're going to get the money to pay for all this when taxes are going to be cut to the bone under a Gingrich presidency, I have to say that this is one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard.
HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING FROM SPACE:1999?!?
For those not in the know, SPACE: 1999 was a 1970's science fiction show that told the cautionary tale of what happens when you build a lunar colony on the moon.
In the series, the founding of Moonbase Alpha leads to earth storing their nuclear waste on the far side of the moon. One day, a strange magnetic radiation causes the waste to go into meltdown and a massive thermonuclear explosion ensues...
And do you know what happens next?
THE MOON IS BLASTED OUT OF EARTH ORBIT AND HURLED INTO SPACE, that's what!
Never mind that having our moon gone missing would be devastating for all life on earth because of it fucking up the weather and tides and stuff... that's not even the worst part. No, the worst part is that the humans stuck on the moon will eventually encounter freaky-ass space monsters... freaky-ass space bitches... AND freaky-ass space bitches that turn into freaky-ass space monsters!
And there you have it. Vote for Newt Gingrich if you must, but only if you want to lose our moon and have American citizens face space bitches that turn into space monsters (which, admittedly, would be a terrific candidate for the fourth Mrs. Gingrich... COINCIDENCE?!?).
As for me? I choose to REMEMBER MOONBASE ALPHA! SAY NO LUNAR COLONIZATION! SAY NO TO NEWT GINGRICH!
It's at times like these that I truly fear for this country. Spread the word. Save us all.
Buckle up and strap in, another edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Fight! As Florida's Republican Primary draws near, the battle between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney is really getting nasty. Partly because the attack ads flying back and forth are pretty harsh... but mostly because nasty-ass Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum is still hanging on the election like a nasty-ass used condom stuck on the side of a nasty-ass trash can...
Heeeeeeere's Santorum! — Photos by Scott Olson/Getty and ABC
I wonder how Gingrich and Romney are going to get rid of him? Maybe they could look into how to get shit stains out of underwear and give that a try.
• Hobbits! LEGO announced that they have a license for new sets based on The Lord of The Rings. I dare say that I am actually more excited about this than I was when they got the Batman license (if such a thing is possible)...
Photo taken from Brickset!
When the LEGO Lord of the Rings video game comes out, I will be deliriously happy.
• Noooooo! It's not all good news in the world of LEGO though... the incredible LEGO UNIVERSE massive multi-player online game is shutting down at the end of the month...
The game is really well done and a lot of fun but, unfortunately, I rarely had time to play it. I wish that they would take all the game assets and release it as an offline adventure game, because there was a lot of good stuff in there.
• Mode! A friend sent me this video of a guy and his two kids performing Depeche Mode's awesome song Everything Counts. So epic it hurts...
Here's hoping that they take on People are People as a follow-up.
• Render! My work requires that I be able to render 3-D images from time to time. 3-D itself is fairly easy, and there are apps that make it dead simple to do basic stuff. Where the challenge comes is doing 3-D rendering well. This requires some very good tools that usually come with a steep learning curve. I started out with a program called Electric Image Animation System to render, because that's what Industrial Light and Magic used when they re-did the special effects for the Star Wars films. I needed a 3-D modeler, so I had to learn Form-Z. Eventually EIAS got its own modeler, so I learned that. After a while EIAS dropped their modeler. This pissed me off, so I dumped EIAS and learned Cinema 4D. But Cinema 4D didn't render as nicely as EIAS, so I went back to EIAS and learned how to use modo for my modeling. Eventually I got sick and tired of jumping back and forth between EIAS and modo and dumped both of them for NewTek's all-in-one package called Lightwave 3D. Lightwave was moving to a cool new technology called CORE, and I wanted in. But then NewTek dumped CORE so I dumped Lightwave 3D. Not wanting to start all over again, I went back to EIAS and modo. But then modo started adding its own rendering and animation tools that were really sweet, so I dumped EIAS. Now I use modo for everything and love it.
Except... in the background there has always been Maya, a hideously cool 3D package that I've always lusted after but could never afford. For even a basic Maya setup, you're paying $3500 minimum (and the license upkeep is equally pricey). But yesterday I was offered a Maya license for a project that's coming up. So now I'm torn. Do I really want to take the time to learn a new program all over again? The answer to that is ABSOLUTELY! I have never shied away from learning something new, and this is a dream come true. The problem is that I don't have time to take the time to learn Maya, so I had to decline this most generous offer.
Nothing quite like watching Reality walk into the room and crush a dream right in front of you.
And on that happy note, the weekend is over.
I thought I lost my passport, so I'm recovering from a total meltdown right now. I hate it when I misplace important stuff like that.
But enough about me.
And so, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, Mitt Romney won the Florida Primary in a cake-walk. Congratulations, Republicans! You might as well have selected President Obama to be your candidate...
In all seriousness, Hello Kitty would have a better chance of winning against Obama than Romney...
The only way Romney is going to win would be if President Obama punched Betty White in the face while crapping on a bald eagle and then wiping his ass with an American flag during the Super Bowl half-time show as he denounces NASCAR and declares himself an atheist.
And with that mental picture firmly implanted in my brain, I'm off to bed. I probably won't sleep much (as usual), but I've got an incredibly busy day tomorrow, so I might as well pretend to get some rest.
Right after I make sure my passport is still where I think I left it...
I live in a small rural community which, from all appearances, is a throwback to simpler times. Visitors passing through town undoubtedly describe it as "quaint" or "idyllic" when they get home to their friends. In many ways, I'd have to agree. This is classic small-town Americana, and living here is quite different from life in the big city. Sometimes in a good way. Sometimes in a bad way.
And tonight after Fringe was over, Seattle's Q13 News from over the mountains informed me that a student from our local Middle School committed suicide after being ruthlessly and relentlessly persecuted and bullied.
Because he was gay.
Which only reinforces what everybody already knows: no community is immune from this vile poison that's killing our youth. Including my community. And now yet another child is dead...
All because killing himself was the only way this young man felt he could find peace from a society so filled with hate that there was no place in it for him to live...
To say I am horrified and disgusted is an understatement beyond measure.
His school is two minutes from my home.
And now I have to live with the fact that two minutes from my home, a kid was being brutally abused day-in and day-out. And it was so bad that death was considered to be the only way to escape it.
So congratulations to Rick Santorum's vision for a gay-free society!
Job well done to Michele Bachmann's war on gay teens!
Praise the Lord for Pat Robertson's slaying of gay abominations!
And a hearty round of applause to everybody who got their wish when yet another "filthy homosexual" was purged from this earth! Your never-ending quest to create a society that is savagely hostile for anybody different from yourselves is working better than you could have ever dreamed! I'm sure that this freedom-filled American utopia you're working so hard to build for your children will be a paradise unequalled!
Unless your children turn out to be gay, of course.
Or if people just think they're gay.
Or if they happen to wander into the line of fire being taken by another kid who is gay.
Then I guess your kids will have to take their chances just like everybody else. I mean, it's a pity that innocent
One day... hopefully one day very soon... we will look back at this period of history with a shame and horror that is woefully missing today. In the meanwhile, all I can do is say that I'm deeply sorry that we as a society failed you, Rafael Morelos. You deserved far better by our hands. I truly hope you've found the peace you couldn't find in life.
And so it goes...
I woke up with a massive headache. Things only went downhill from there. For one thing, it snowed last night. For another thing, I got an email that made me want to slam my already-aching head into a wall. There really should be some kind of law which forbids being assaulted by dumbassery before 9:00am.
Especially on Wednesday, because that's New Comic Book Day!
Though I'm a lot more excited by the Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum victories in the Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado Republican primaries. Do I even dare hope that he'll actually win the nomination? Because that would be the single most mind-blowingly awesome entertainment America could hope for. Time to take a look a the top contenders...
What happens if he wins? The presidential contest will be relatively boring. Other than breaking out in song with America the Beautiful and trash-talking President Obama, Mittens doesn't have much else to actually campaign with. The guy has flip-flopped on just about everything you could possibly flip-flop on, and President Obama will use that to positively massacre him in any debate. Not that he has to... Romney is legendary for sabotaging himself with the stupid-ass crap that flies out of his mouth. All Obama really has to do is stand back and watch Romney hang himself with his own words.
What happens if he wins? We will have quite possibly the most lively and interesting debate in the history of presidential politics. Speaker Gingrich may be a raging hypocrite when it comes to integrity and family values, but he will unapologetically rip into each and every one of President Obama's failings like a honey badger, putting Obama on the defensive in any debate. He can't win the election, of course. His past scandals are tied to his ass like a boat anchor. But for people like me who have reservations about another four years of Obama, Gingrichh is the only one who can make our president actually work for his re-election.
RICK "PIECE OF SHIT" SANTORUM
What happens if he wins? Oh so many wonderful things. The guy is so astoundingly misguided on so many topics that he'll be like a one-legged mouse that cool cat President Obama will bat around and play with for weeks before finally ripping his fool head off. It will be the Super Bowl of presidential elections where the only position Santorum is fit to play is towel boy. Or maybe tight-end, if his homophobic over-compensation is any indication. In any event, you can't buy entertainment this good, which actually has me contemplating a donation to Santorum's campaign.
What happens if he wins? I have no clue. A Ron Paul nomination is so far outside the realm of possibility that I can only guess that the Apocalypse shifts into full gear and the world ends. Kind of a shame, because I think the unpredictability of such a contest against President Obama would be worth watching. Some of Ron Paul's ideas are very good. Others are bat-shit crazy. It's entirely possible that Obama would have no defense against that, which could be extremely interesting. Or pathetically mundane. Either way, I think the presidential race would evolve into something entirely different than we've ever seen before.
And there you have it. I never thought the "Not Romneys" would get this far against the wishes of party heads who clearly want a Mittens nomination. But it's somehow fitting that Romney is going to have to pay big... massively big... money to secure his party victory before he gets anywhere near President Obama. He's got money to burn, so why not?
Holy crap, dude.
It doesn't matter who wins big come the November elections, there's going to be a lot of unhappy people. It's unavoidable because the level of venom being volleyed back-and-forth between Republicans and Democrats has reached critical mass. We're mere seconds away from a full-on thermonuclear explosion of hate, and you just can't come back from that.
And every time I watch the news or catch up with current political events on the internet, a part of me wonders if we should just carve up North America in a way that will keep us from destroying each other.
I'm talking about the establishment of Jesusland and The United States of Canada...
This has been a joke and internet meme for a long time. But the thing is... there's a very serious truth beneath it all. Why not create political divisions that make sense? Wouldn't people be a lot happier if their government more closely represented their beliefs and values?
And while I don't know that Canada would agree to be dragged into this mess, I'm thinking that the majority of Americans might actually go for it. The hatred is just so overwhelming, relentless, and balls-nasty that I'd do just about anything to make it stop.
Here in my home-state of Washington, we've got a scary level of hatred all our own to deal with. And now that same-sex-marriage is going to be signed into law next week, I can only imagine that it's going to get even worse...
Though I really do hope my fellow Washingtonians over here in Redneckistan will do the right thing and help same-sex-marriage pass if it ends up being put to a vote. With acceptance of gay marriage reaching new heights every day, you just never know.
But that's just one issue out of hundreds.
In the end, even if we were to establish Jesusland and The United States of Canada, Washington would still be divided. I'm sure other states would have similar lines of separation. So while the majority of people would probably be happier eventually... there's still going to be a large segment of the population who are angry, bitter, and unhappy.
So what to do?
A pity we can't just all cling to the things we have in common and work from there...
But, alas, those things are getting to be few and far between.
Remember the good ol' days when being "Americans" was enough to unite us?
Sweet! Today my home state of Washington passed marriage equality into law!
Now it's a waiting game to see whether the anti-equality brigade can get the signatures they need to force a ballot vote. Because it's totally appropriate to put equality to a vote, right?
Argh. I don't even want to think about it.
Because it's not like I've already got some things I'm trying not to think about today.
A friend sent me a video that had an interesting take on political issues from a purely humanitarian point of view. Some of the thinking seemed grossly simplistic and unrealistic but, taken as a whole, it was a fascinating look at how political policy doesn't change as much as you'd think from administration to administration.
In the video there were links to other videos. Which had links to other videos. Which had links to even more videos.
But it was the comment threads that were where the addiction lays. Most times they're so incredibly awful that you're compelled to read them. And just when you think you've read the most horrific thing that somebody could possibly say on the subject, you go to the next comment and it gets even worse. The bigotry, ignorance, racism, lies, and raw hatred sucks you into a vortex of stupidity from which not even light can escape...
And if you don't let go before the Point of No Return, you become just as stupid as the animals who are commenting and are compelled to comment yourself. From there you cross over the event horizon and are doomed to destruction.
Don't believe me? It's SCIENCE, people!
Though I don't know that even science can explain why so many people think that the road to destruction is the best course to follow. Maybe if more effort when into studying stupidity, we could find out why they just can't seem to let it go.
Or why there are people who think that the freedoms this country were founded upon demands equality for its citizens be put to a vote.
I should know better than to keep watching the Republican debates.
But like the glutton for punishment I am, I tune in with the faint hope that I'll hear something new... or interesting... or inspiring... or even just a tiny bit smart. This country has big problems, and I'm still waiting to hear from somebody who can figure it all out.
But that person sure ain't one of the Republican candidates for president. So not only am I wasting my time, I'm also exposing myself to near-fatal levels of bullshit.
Like listening to Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum once again vomit up some of his outrageous crap...
President Barack Obama actually went to France a year or so ago and was with Nicolas Sarkozy and said that, "Here I am with the French Prime Minister, our best ally in the world." Now think about this. Name one time in the last 20 years that the French stood by us with anything. But in Barack Obama's eyes, that makes them our best ally, because they fought what was in the best interest of our country.
The levels of stupid here are just too legion to even contemplate. Fortunately, I don't have to, as Politifact did an excellent job of debunking this fucked-up statement. The truth is that France has been a true ally to this country for a very long time. They deserve a lot better than to be diminished and dismissed by a piece of shit politician looking to score cheap points.
In a time when the USA has too many enemies in too many places, we need to remember who our friends are...
Despite my loathing of Santorum's never-ending hypocrisy, hate, exaggeration, and outright lies, a part of me still wants to believe that a candidate for President of the United States of America surely must want what's best for this country in their heart. But how can I in this case?
Either Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum is so evil that he would purposely damage our relationship with a long-time ally just to get votes out of people too fucking stupid to question his lies... or... he himself is so fucking stupid that he doesn't even know when he's lying any more...
Photo taken from Reuters
If you want to find somebody fighting what is in the best interest of our country, Rick, all you have to do is look in a mirror. Everything that's wrong with America is staring back at you.
This morning when I woke up I reached for my iPhone... remembered it was gone... then burst into tears.
Well, okay, I didn't actually burst into tears. But I felt like I should have. iPhone is always with me no matter where I go, and to not have him by my side felt like a part of me was missing. Dejected and alone, I headed off to work... trying my best to face a cruel future while cut-off from the world.
But then my repaired iPhone was delivered and everything was okay again.
Until I found out that Washington State has introduced a bill to add even more fucking taxes to our cell phone bills. Never mind that our state already pays the second-highest mobile phone tax in the nation, our legislators have decided that we should pay even more to cover their budget shortfall.
This stupid shit is getting out of hand.
It would be different if we had taxes lower than the national average or something... but increasing taxes on the second highest rate in the nation?!? How can these asshole politicians think that this is a rational solution to their problem? Though I suppose it's only slightly less stupid than the non-candy candy tax bullshit they tried last year.
Look, I appreciate that we need to meet our budget obligations and be fiscally responsible and stuff... but why shift the burden to people's cell phone bills when they're already paying through the ass? It's not like my iPhone is causing the budget shortfall... so stop punishing me as if it is.
Maybe cutting the salary of the dumbfuck politicians who keep attacking us instead of balancing the budget in a way that makes sense is the solution. Where do I vote on that?
Don't touch that mouse, Bullet Sunday starts... now.
• Higgs Boson. For science geeks like myself, Saturday was kind of a special day, as we were granted an audience with Professor Peter Higgs via a rare interview in The Scotsman. Fresh off of winning the Edinburgh Award, he made the bold prediction that the stupidly nicknamed "God Particle" that bears his name will finally be found this summer after 48 years. Bring on the Nobel Prize.
• Joke. Really? Attacking President Kennedy now? I gotta hand it to Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum, he's got balls the size of watermelons to be trash-talking one of this country's most beloved presidents. Especially when Santorum is so petty and insignificant in the grand scheme of things...
Santorum's tiny, insignificant, flea-like body from Ambro
How embarrassing. At some point even the craziest of crazies who are supporting this moron are going to wake up and say "What the fuck?!?"
• Astronomical. Apparently there was a spectacular alignment of planets happening in the heavens this weekend. Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon are all lining up to some kind of cool visual. I wouldn't know, of course, as the sky was totally overcast...
I swear, no astronomical events ever happen here. I get screwed by the weather every time.
• Finally. One of my favorite actors ever, James Earl Jones, was finally given his due with a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award...
Photo from Luke Macgregor/Reuters
Can you imagine any of his movie appearances with somebody else in the role? Field of Dreams? The Lion King? Sneakers? The voice of CNN? THE VOICE OF DARTH VADER?!? No. No you can't. He's and incredible talent, and seeing him get an Oscar makes the award almost relevant again.
• Oscar. I am not a fan of the Academy Awards. They so rarely get it right when it comes to those deserving of a win. Case in point?
Captain America: The First Avenger — Best Picture.
Robert Downey Jr — Best Actor for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
David Fincher — Best Director for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Stanley Tucci — Best Supporting Actor for Captain America: The First Avenger.
Meryl Streep — Best Actress for The Iron Lady.
Jennifer Aniston — Best Supporting Actress for Horrible Bosses.
And how many of those trophies were correctly awarded? One. Congratulations Meryl. You're amazing as always.
And now... I've got to pack a suitcase...
And now that I've driven home (again) my vacation from my vacation is officially over. Sadly, I am in more of a need of a vacation now than when I got back from my first vacation. So validate your passport, my permanent vacation (and Bullet Sunday) starts... now.
• Thrice Four. When RW and I started THRICE Fiction magazine, I honestly thought that we'd be lucky if we got our friends and family to read it. Which is why once our first issue passed 100 downloads, I was walking on air. Eventually that number climbed to over 300, which exceeded my every expectation. Subsequent issues dropped a bit as the buzz died down, but we were still getting hundreds of downloads. I remain shocked to this day.
The newest issue just passed 2500 downloads only two days after release. It's kind of difficult to know how to react to that...
The cover for THRICE No. 4 is something I worked up while I was on vacation, though I had the idea months earlier. For some reason I always think of forks as being "evil" because they violently stab food, while spoons are "good" because they gently scoop food. After watching the amazing video for Rendezvous' The Murf where one culture rises to worship a squid and another a whale, I had an image of one culture rising to worship a fork and another a spoon. And now I finally had an outlet for it... composing them to be mirror-images of each other. For being a last-minute creation, I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. Though I still prefer the original idea. Let's face it... that video is nothing short of genius...
As always, you can download the latest issue of THRICE Fiction for free at our official website. Apparently we'll be sticking around a while. From the bottom of my heart, thanks to my partner in crime and everybody who has supported us these four issues.
• Trayvon Martin. As I've been on vacation, I haven't been keeping up with the news. Or blogs. Or much of anything. I tend to ignore everything and everyone when vacationing because that's what makes it a vacation. But it was impossible not to hear about the horrific death of Trayvon Martin...
Welcome to "Post-Racist America" where you can kill a black child just because you consider him "suspicious," and not even notorious "crusader for justice" and ratings whore Nancy Grace seems to give a shit. Now if somebody can just explain to me how a person can claim "self-defense" when they fucking profiled and stalked the victim... I'd appreciate it. That would go a long way towards explaining why no arrest was made and how a thorough investigation apparently wasn't worth the effort.
The word "disgusted" is so severely inadequate to describe my feelings here that I am disgusted with myself for even alluding that it could. Will there ever be justice for Trayvon Martin? I suppose that depends on whether people ultimately decide that gunning down a child because he was wearing a hoodie while being black is something worth getting upset about.
• Worship. While I do not consider myself to be a Buddhist, it is Buddhist teachings that form the basis of my belief structure. After decades of wandering when it came to matters of faith, it was Buddhism that "spoke true" to me, and integrating it into my life has done amazing things to contribute to my happiness and understanding of the world. I fully accept that it's not a "religion" for everybody, but that's perfectly fine. It doesn't mean we can't all get along. I respect the religions of others in the hopes that they will respect mine.
Unfortunately, this is increasingly not the case...
And he has ties to presidential hopeful Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum. Shocking.
And, just like Santorum, this vile piece of crap has -zero- interest in respecting the beliefs of other persons. If you're not Christian like him, you can just get the fuck out of America, and that's all there is to it.
But it's not his intolerance that bothers me.
It's at the one-minute mark where he says "We don't worship Buddha! I say we don't worship Buddha! We don't worship Muhammad! We don't worship Allah! We worship God!" Well, whatever, asshole. Nobody is telling you that you have to worship anything. America was, in fact, founded on the idea of freedom of religion so you can worship whatever the hell you want. But you don't get to speak out of ignorance about an entire faith you stupid fuck.
BUDDHISTS DON'T WORSHIP BUDDHA! THEY DON'T "WORSHIP" ANYTHING.
Buddha was not a saint or a prophet or a god or somebody to be worshipped. He was a teacher. He discovered a way to find enlightenment and happiness, and chose to share it with people. And that's all. So when you see statues of Buddha and people bowing before them, it's not out of worship. It's merely a way of showing respect to a great teacher.
And now you know why I can never be a true Buddhist. Buddhists don't believe in "wrong-speaking." But I can't help but call an ignorant asshole an ignorant fucking asshole, so that's the way it's going to have to be. In any event, morons like this glory-seeking piece of shit are the ones that can get the hell out of America. You are betraying everything we are.
• Blueberry. One of my artistic inspirations, Jean Giraud (better known as Moebius), passed away on March 10th. His stories and artwork remain a triumph of the imagination, and I cherished everything he wrote and drew...
Goodbye Mr. Giraud. You've left us a beautiful legacy.
• Prometheus. Holy. Shit.
Looks like Ridley Scott hasn't lost his touch. To say I'm hyped to see this film come June 8th is a gross understatement.
• LEGO BATMAN!!! And as if Prometheus wasn't enough to get excited about. The sequel to one of my favorite video games of all time is coming later this year...
This looks incredible. If it's even half the game that the original LEGO Batman game was, I'll be very happy.
And now I suppose I should try and get some sleep since I didn't bother this weekend. Such is the peril of going on vacation.
30 DAYS DRAWING CHALLENGE: Draw Scenery...
Already done, man. Already done.
So... I'm guessing we're a step closer to Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum getting caught in a gay sex scandal. I mean, if you can't even be photographed next to a guy holding a pink bowling ball, you've gotta be dangerously close to having some kind of repressed gay meltdown (which is probably the most fabulous, glitter-induced meltdown you can have). The only questions remaining are A) Where will Santorum get caught putting his pink balls, and B) Will it happen before or after the Republican presidential nominee has been decided?
For maximum comedic effect, I'm hoping it's A) In Rush Limbaugh's mouth, and B) After he wins the presidential election.
Because I'm pretty sure that's what would make Jesus laugh.
30 DAYS DRAWING CHALLENGE: Draw Anything You'd Like...
This drawing actually goes seven levels deep... even though you can only really see four of them. At one point I was going to try and animate this in a zooming endless loop, but decided my sanity couldn't handle it.
It's been a tough day. It's been a tough series of days.
And everybody knows that when the going gets tough, the tough get going... so I'm going to get going on this bottle of Jägermeister.
But before we start drinking:
Am I the only one who thinks that President Obama should consider himself very, very lucky that he met up with the Regular Universe Uhura instead of the Evil Mirror Universe Uhura?
She would cut a bitch for reals.
I have to admit... I love having a cool guy as president. Regardless of how I feel about Obama's politics, the idea of going back to having a wooden, tense, socially awkward president fills me with dread.
And I suppose that's my cue.
Drink Jäger and Prosper my friends.
Some people are smarter than others... whether it's genetics, environment, conditioning, education, or whatever. That's just the way it is, which means that some people don't have the brain-power that others do. And, just like other traits that are intrinsic to a person, you can't really fault people for something outside their control. So long as they're trying their best with what smarts they have, they're doing right by themselves and their society. That being said, I deplore it when people of limited intelligence are called "stupid." That they lack the ability to understand something simply means that it's outside their skills,... they don't deserve derogative labels because of it.
The same cannot be said for ignorance.
If you are smart enough to speak about a subject, you are smart enough to make sure that you have your facts straight.
But, even more importantly, you have to be smart enough to accept when you are wrong... and be ashamed enough over being wrong that you to try not to be wrong again.
Alas, this is getting increasingly rare. Too many people are saying too much stupid crap not because they are, in fact, "stupid"... but because they're ignorant. They don't give a crap about accuracy, validity, authenticity, or truthfulness... they just talk out of their ass and don't give a flying fuck what might come of it.
Case in point: my recent trip through the Panama Canal, which went something like this...
The ship traveled from the Caribbean into the Gatun Locks (1). After going through the locks, it anchors in Lake Gatun to let some of us off, where we take a tender to shore (2). From there, we take a bus trip to Gamboa (3). It's at Gamboa where we hop on a boat and continue our journey through the Panama Canal (4), including the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks, before taking a bus to Colón where our ship is waiting for us to continue to Costa Rica (6).
It was while waiting to go through these locks that a guy from a group of people next to me started going off on an ego trip. He was great. He was a successful businessman. He was going to continue to be a successful businessman because his customers were forced to deal with him and him only. Nobody is as smart as he is. Etc. Etc. Etc.
I tried to ignore him, but then he piped up with this little gem to thrill his audience with how smart he is: "We have to go through all these locks because the Pacific and Atlantic oceans are different heights."
What I should have done was mind my own business and stay silent. But, I think we all know that's not what happened. Instead I explained that the oceans are at the same height... which we call SEA LEVEL, and the reason we go through the locks is because Panama is not flat. Gatun Lake is 85 feet above sea level, so we climb locks up to it... sail across... then descend locks back to the ocean. Like this...
Now, it's pretty apparent that I know what I'm talking about here. The land we're sailing through is obviously not flat... just look around. And the concept of "sea level" is pretty basic knowledge that just about everybody has at least heard of before. So there shouldn't have been any room for debate, right?
Of course not. This is where that ignorance problem comes in. Not wanting to look "stupid" in front of his friends, he decided to pitch me some shit instead.
"HA HA HA! YOU'RE WRONG. IF THE OCEANS ARE THE SAME LEVEL, THEN WHY DIDN'T THEY JUST CUT A PATH BETWEEN THEM? WHY ARE WE GOING UP AND DOWN, HUH? YOU'RE NOT MAKING ANY SENSE."
I didn't feel like trying to explain the insanity of blasting a channel 51 miles long so you could remove up to 85-feet of earth... so I said the same thing I always say in situations like this... "Uhhh...yeah. You might want to fact-check that when you have a chance."
Which, when I'm proven correct, will make him look ten times more idiotic than if had he just accepted that he didn't know what he was talking about, had no facts to back-up his outrageous bullshit, and should be smart enough to accept when he's wrong.
But some people are just too damn stupid to do something about their ignorance, so the rest of us have to put up with their dumbassery (and any consequences that come out of it).
And I'm getting really sick of it.
But not half as sick as I am of politicians manipulating ignorant citizens with their outrageous bullshit (either through lies or their own ignorance). And, before anybody starts going all partisan, this is a serious problem on both sides of the political spectrum...as one can easily ascertain at PolitiFact.
Now, I'd hardly say that PolitiFact is a bastion of impartial scrutiny when it comes to the "facts" they investigate. Republican candidates tend to get only their more outrageous statements investigated, while Democrat candidates seem to get equal attention paid to all their statements ( thoughprobably the opposite is true when there's a Republican in The White House). But, party affiliation aside, you can still gleen an interesting picture when analyzing the data. For each of our candidates I attributed +2 points for every "true"... +1 point for "mostly true"... 0 points for "half true"... -1 point for "mostly false"... -2 points for "false"... and -3 points for "pants on fire." This means a perfect score would be 2x the number of statements investigated. I then added a "truthiness" rating which divides their actual score by their perfect score. Here's how that shakes out (click on a name to see their page)...
Remember, this can hardly be considered an impartial comparison because PolitiFact can't possibly investigate every single statement made (they certainly make mistakes as well). And, even if it was perfect and impartial, don't be getting all excited about President Obama's apparent victory in truthiness. 12 out of 100 points is still complete crap. The bigger picture here is that all our politicians are full of shit. Which everybody already knows. No big surprise there. We've pretty much come to expect it, right?
And I'm getting really sick of it.
Ignorant and/or dishonest politicians are shoveling bullshit and telling lies all the time. And the populace at large doesn't seem to care unless it's a candidate they don't like. And even then, it's hardly outrage if you turn the other cheek when it's a candidate you DO like whose doing the lying.
I don't get outraged anymore. I just can't sustain the non-stop 24/7 anger that would require.
But I do get embarrassed by the complete lack of shame that all these asshole politicians have for propagating ignorance... whether intentional or not. I no more understand how we allowed things to get to this point than I understand how somebody can deny sea level.
Apparently ignorance truly is bliss, and everybody is just too happy to be ashamed.
Or to care.
Today is usually the day that I post some kind of DaveToon showing solidarity with those students taking part in the National Day of Silence. It's a worthwhile demonstration (in its seventeenth year) which calls attention to those who would silence the effects of anti-LGBT bullying in schools.
But I'm just too saddened to stay silent this year.
Maybe it's because the epidemic of gay youth suicide hit very close to home earlier this year when a guy going to my high school alma mater killed himself as a result of bullying.
Maybe it's because I learned that friends of mine have a brilliant, funny, amazing child who is being so badly bullied at school that they're only option is to home-school him because they are starting to fear for his life.
But probably it's because I came back from vacation and one of the first news stories I read is how 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. comes out as gay, immediately became a target of unrelenting bullying, and is dead a month later by his own hand...
I look at this photo and my heart breaks at the thought of him waking up each morning trying to find the courage to get through just one more day. I look at this photo and try to fathom just how bad his life was that killing himself was the best solution he could think of to escape it. I look at this photo and wonder for the millionth time how somebody could be so cruel as to torture somebody over something that's not their fault, something they cannot change, and something that shouldn't matter. I look at this photo and die a little bit more inside because we live in a society where kids are killing themselves because they're different.
Was there nobody who would stand up for this poor kid?
If not for hearing this same story play out dozens of times before, it would be inconceivable.
New videos are being added to the It Gets Better Project all the time, and yet telling these kids over and over again that they're lives will be okay if they will "just hang in there" doesn't seem to be enough. In some cases, it doesn't matter how great things will be in the future, life is just too difficult for them to go on right now. And never was this made more clear than when looking at Kenneth's "When I Get Married" Pinterest page. He lived in Iowa where same-sex marriage was legal, had envisioned a bright future for himself where he would be married and happy, but didn't survive long enough to see it.
Which means that things need to BE better right now.
Kids need to know that they are accepted and valued right now.
Which is tough to get across when every time you turn around there's yet another attack on LGBT persons. Religious leaders screaming that being gay is an abomination... politicians saying that gays getting married will doom society... news pundits saying that gay soldiers will ruin our military... hate groups saying that if kids see gay people in public they'll turn gay... the dumbassery never seems to stop. It's all fucking bullshit, of course, but that's the kind of environment which is corrupting today's youth and turning them into bullying hate machines. It's horrifying how something so grotesque could ever become acceptable to society, but history is replete with examples of this kind of hatred going "mainstream." We just never seem to learn from it.
And yet... in small steps, things are moving in the right direction.
And more steps are being taken every day. Sadly, some of them are steps backwards, but ultimately we are inching ahead. Which means we're making progress. Which means things are getting to be better for school kids right now. But not nearly fast enough. Because Kenneth Weishuhn deserved to live to see the future he saw for himself, and any society which would deny him that doesn't deserve any future at all.
Rest in peace, Kenneth. And forgive me for not being able to stay silent on a day where silence is meant to improve things for people just like you... innocent kids who deserve far better by our hands.
Are you American? Have a computer? Congratulations! Your elected officials are working overtime to make sure you have no privacy and no rights... all in the name of your security! The House of Representatives just passed CISPA, affording the government horrendously invasive powers over its citizens. And it gets better... the bill that was passed ended up being far worse than originally thought.
The Obama administration has threatened to veto CISPA (apparently the Special Interest groups they suck up to don't have a problem with it)... but forgive me for failing to be shocked if this ends up getting turned into law anyway. In an election year, President Obama can be only be counted on for doing only one thing... doing whatever he has to do to get re-elected. If that means CISPA gets passed, I'm sure CISPA is going to get passed.
Look, I fully support tracking down cyber criminals, cyber terrorists, cyber pedophiles, and cyber stalkers. Criminals should be brought to justice, end of story. But not by completely trashing the privacy, security, and freedom of American citizens! CISPA gives the government a grotesque amount of power over its people. Power that's just begging to be abused. Because if history has taught us anything, it's that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely... no matter what the original intent. The fact that 248 politicians in the House of Representatives were either too fucking stupid to learn from history or too fucking evil to care speaks volumes about where we're at as a country. Forget about whether its Obama or Romney that's going to destroy America... THIS is where we start to fall, and it's a bipartisan effort!
Though what passes for "freedom" these days has me wondering if I should bother being this upset.
It's been tough for me to keep up with my online life this week as I've been dealing with crushing headaches, but Anissa (one of my favorite people on earth) mentioned a YouTube video where a guy with family ties to a Catholic high school was asked to speak at graduation... but got subsequently un-invited when they found out he's gay. In his video response, the guy mentions that he was "found out" because people at the school saw photos on his Facebook page.
And so I tracked down Dominic Sheahan-Stahl's page where I was expecting to see images of him having gay sex in the middle of an elementary school playground during recess. But instead I found this...
Oh yes. We just gotta protect society from that.
We simply cannot have two happy people in a relationship. What kind of example would that be for the children?
I tell you what... most days I find myself thinking that dying at age 50 would be just about perfect. I've done more in my life than most people ever will, so that should be enough for me, shouldn't it?
But then I hear about stupid bullshit like this and find myself hoping I live to be 100 years old so I can look back at this period in history and just laugh my ass off at how stupid and backwards society was. I mean, seriously, who gives a shit whether this guy finds his happiness in life with sausage or taco? The only people who should care are people interested in his sausage.
While everybody else should just be concerning themselves with is what's in his heart...
What a shame. Sounds like this is exactly the kind of person you want speaking to a graduating class.
Anybody who has ever said "FREEDOM ISN'T FREE!" is absolutely right. We paid for our freedoms dearly, and continue to pay for them every day. Which is why it's always shocking to me how people can be so quick to just piss them away. Whether it's by supporting a society where people are not allowed to speak because of what genitals are on the person they love... or by supporting a government that would steal their freedoms away in plain sight.
I just don't get it.
Which is why I'm no going to exercise my freedom to post this blog entry... while I still can.
Time to check your bandwidth, because a special All Video Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Punisher! President Obama once again killed it at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. I didn't think he could top his awesome performance last year, but he came really close. Except... was I the only one who kept seeing a skull shape when his shirt was eclipsed by the microphones? At first I thought that it was proof positive that he was, in fact, not a Secret Muslim... but instead a Secret Satan Worshipper! And then... then... it came to me. it's not Satan... it's The Punisher!
I may not always agree with his politics, but I really do like our president. He's a good guy doing a tough job the best way he knows how... all while under constant attack by people who have no respect for his office or our country. If you haven't seen his speech, it's pretty damn funny and well worth watching...
• Election! I don't think there's any question that Mitt Romney will most definitely not be getting my vote. What is in question is whether or not President Obama will get my vote. Right now, I honestly don't know. If he starts caving on things like CISPA and equality, I have no problem with a write-in vote like I've done before when both candidates suck. Otherwise, it's kind of his vote to lose. All that being said, I am kind of enjoying Obama's latest round of ads: "Mitt Romney vs. Reality" where he takes his old footage to address Romney's bullshit pandering. Genius. Romney comes off looking either uninformed or a liar, while Obama dings him without going negative...
It will be interesting to see where Romney's campaign goes now that he's running for president instead of candidacy. Because, I gotta say, his ads always seem more embarrassing than informative or compelling. The guy is so awkward and detached that his every appearance seems to be a reason why he shouldn't be president. He needs an ad team that can work this out... fast.
• Houdini! I stopped watching MTV a long time ago. They used to be all about music, but now all they give a crap about is stupid shit like Jersey Shore which I wouldn't watch if my life depended on it. The upshot being that I don't see many music videos anymore. Not that it's a big loss... most music videos suck ass these days. But I do follow Foster the People, and their latest video for my favorite song (Houdini) off their last album (Torches) is really good...
Creative, funny, well-executed, and fitting to the song. Doesn't get much better than that.
• Old! A year ago, somebody asked a question that has been burning up the internet this past week... "What are the Windows A: and B: drives used for?" Since I was around when computers went consumer mainstream, I remember all too well about things like modems, data cassettes, BBSs, and yes... floppy disks for your A: and/or B: drive. I also remember VHS tape, Pong, record players, and... heaven help me... rotary telephones...>
It's not that I feel particularly old over it all... the technological advances over the past 30 years have been astoundingly fast... it's what we're in for over the next 30 years. Just as the iPhone bears -zero- resemblance to the rotary phone, I'd imagine the "phone" of the future will be an even bigger departure from iPhone. It's at that point that I really start to feel my age. Oh well. I honestly think that the limitations that my generation had to put up with from technology made it more fun than the sheer magic we get from technology today, so there's that*.
• Ridley! When it comes to movies this year, I'd have thought it would be impossible to top my excitement for The Avengers, but Ridley Scott's offering, Prometheus, does exactly that. The new international trailer has me aching for a good science fiction movie...
June 8th can't get here fast enough.
And now I suppose it's time to put away YouTube so I can get some real work done.
*Oh who am I kidding? I would have killed to have had an iPhone back in the 80's, and everybody knows it.
This is one of those times where every cent of my paycheck was already spoken for.
Which would usually be upsetting, but it's a direct result of spending a week goofing off in Europe after having just gotten back from two weeks vacation, so I'm perfectly okay with it.
Even so, you can imagine my excitement as I was rearranging books on my shelves only to have a 1000 Korean Won note fell to the floor. It had apparently been used as a bookmark. Or maybe I just stuck it between some books because it was pretty and I wanted to flatten it out for a souvenir...
However it got there, the only thing running through my mind now was... MONEY!
But how much? Maybe $20... probably more like $10... but wouldn't it be cool if it was $100? I had no idea, so I rushed to fire up a currency conversion app on my iPhone.
Only to discover that 1000 Won is 89¢ in US money. Which, coincidentally enough, is almost exactly the same as when I was last in Seoul back in September 2004. That's not as good as the $1.10 I would have gotten in November of 2007... but certainly not as bad as the 64¢ I would have got back in March of 2009.
In any event, whether it's $1.10 or 89¢ or 64¢, that doesn't do much for my cash on hand. Especially once exchange fees are paid.
Thank heavens for credit cards, because it's time to shop.
With the exception of grocery stores, it's getting to the point where I rarely shop at brick-n-mortar stores any more. Everything I need to buy is purchased off the internets. But I got a $10 coupon back when I paid for my eye exam at Shopko (where everything is always on sale!) and it's expiring today, so I decided to stop in and see if I could spend the $50 required to use my coupon. Sure I'm poor just now, but you gotta spend money to save money!
I ended up buying new bed sheets (on sale!) and a PUR water filtration pitcher (on sale!). This was just enough to get my $10 savings, so I was pretty happy.
Just for kicks, I checked pricing when I got home... only to find that even with the $10 coupon, I ended up paying $1.30 more than if I had bought online (and that includes shipping!). Add in money for gas and my time and I definitely lost-out on the deal.
Oh well. Live and learn.
But I'm pretty sure I learned that already.
I've always liked The Hulk, because I think that he's a character everybody can relate to. Many-a-times while reading Incredible Hulk comics I thought about the rage monster inside of every one of us that's barely contained and ready to burst out at a moment's notice.
Then I have to wonder what it would take to push me over the edge and unleash the beast.
Watching FOX "News" and their near-continuous stream of exaggerations, half-truths, and outright lies to push their agenda would come close. Not so much because they do it... they're hardly unique amongst news organizations for that... it's more because they claim to be "fair and balanced" when clearly they're full of shit...
I mean, WTF?!?
Hulk not mad. Hulk confused...
A fucking COMEDY CHANNEL is having to fact-check one of the most popular news organizations on the planet?
Something has gone very, very wrong. And that makes Hulk angry...
And you won't like Hulk when he's angry.
UNLESS... you are watching The Avengers movie, which opens nation-wide on Friday! I mean, seriously, with the exception of a few douchebags writing negative reviews so they can get some attention, everybody is LOVING this film!
If only DC Comics could get their shit together. Because, with the exception of an awesome-looking finale to the Batman trilogy with the upcoming Dark Knight Rises, they got nuthin'. To think that they could have built on the success of Batman and unleashed amazing Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Flash films... culminating in a frickin' JUSTICE LEAGUE movie... well, it's almost heartbreaking. Green Lantern was lame, and what little I've seen of Man of Steel is looking awful.
Oh well. Between Marvel Comics movies and FOX "News" I guess we've got enough popular fiction to keep us occupied for a while.
Remember back in 1999 when religious leader Jerry Falwell declared that the purple member of The Teletubbies was a homosexual role model for children because he was carrying that red handbag everywhere? Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but he was totally serious about it.
Since that time, other religious leaders and groups have been in an uproar over things they consider to be bad role models for children... and, more often than not, it's because they are gay (e.g. Chris Coffer on Glee) or assumed to be gay (e.g. Tinky Winky and SpongeBob SquarePants)...
Whatever the case, these morons honestly believe that even the mere sight of something they perceive to be gay will causes kids to embrace homosexuality.
And what can parents do when their child has been infected by The Gayness? According to Pastor Sean Harris of the Barean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., you beat the gay out of them, of course!
"So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, 'Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,' you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed."
"Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch, okay? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male. And when your daughter starts acting too butch you reign her in. And you say, 'Oh no, sweetheart. You can play sports... play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.'"
Who is this sadistic moron?
And we wonder why gay youth are committing suicide in record numbers.
I'm straight, but heaven only knows I'm not the most masculine guy in the world. I most certainly wasn't the most masculine kid in school. And because of that, I should have been abused and beaten just to be sure any non-masculine behavior wasn't a sign that I might be "turning gay?"
When the furor over Pastor Sean's remarks hit earlier this week, I started writing a long rant about how we're quickly becoming a society that is hostile... sometimes fatal... to children who are even a little different than what is considered "normal." But as I was re-reading it, I decided that it would do more harm than good, and tossed it.
Then today I read where Pastor Sean is retracting his statements of persecution and violence, but not really. He still feels totally justified in telling people to beat their kids based on scripture that he obviously doesn't understand.
And now I'm wishing I hadn't tossed out my rant, because I concluded it by calling Pastor Sean "a fucking asshole that should be arrested for child endangerment who then gets the shit beaten out of him in prison so he can fully understand the violence he is advocating."
Some would say that such a wish for violence against Pastor Sean makes me no better than the asshole himself. They would be right.
But then I think back to the child I was. The child who wasn't good at sports, who didn't like hiking or fishing, who wasn't popular with girls, who loved art and music, who wasn't like most of the boys... and I say "fuck it." He would have advocated my getting beaten, so it's only right that he be on the receiving end of the same sentiment. Eye for an eye and all that.
And since I'm pretty sure I read that in The Bible somewhere, it's totally justified, right?
"I don't hate gay people, I'm just supporting the sanctity of marriage."
And while I don't think I will ever understand how two people with the same genitals getting married affects anybody else's marriage, I admit to being a bit puzzled that President Obama picks now to come out of the equality closet. While I'd like to think that he's doing it because it's the Right Thing, I harbor no illusions that it's politically motivated in one way or another.
Still... it's a start. And it is the Right Thing.
This video that's been burning up the internet explains why...
And here's where the whole tired excuse of "I don't hate gay people, I'm just supporting the sanctity of marriage" completely falls apart.
Regardless of a person's beliefs (religious or otherwise), the only "attack" on "traditional marriage" that cannot be denied or argued is divorce. Using same-sex marriage as a scapegoat for any matrimonial failures is just an excuse to discriminate.
And a poor one at that.
Put down those eclipse specs, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Goodbye. I was sad to learn that Robin Gibb passed away. Make fun of me all you want, but I always thought The BeeGees were musical geniuses. So many of their unique songs couldn't have been made by anybody else, and it's a testament to this talent that they were so successful for so long. And as if the idea of not getting any more BeeGees music wasn't bad enough, I'm betting we won't be seeing any more Barry Gibb Talk Show skits on Saturday Night Live either...
Rest in peace, Mr. Gibb, and thanks for the music.
• SNL. Surprisingly, Mick Jagger made for a funny guest-host on the season finale of Saturday Night Live. The episode itself was a farewell to Kristen Wiig and her seven seasons with the show. I had read somewhere that Andy Samberg and Jason Sudeikis were also leaving, but you'd never know it, because it wasn't even hinted at. What's most disappointing is that we didn't get a final "Two A-Holes..." sketch with Wiig and Sudeikis, which I was absolutely expecting. As close as we got was them dancing together while everybody sang their goodbyes...
Oh well. I suppose it could happen upon Kristen Wiig's inevitable return hosting engagement. Until then, I guess there's always Hulu clips...
• TED. Despite being almost painfully obvious, I've never heard this argument presented in such a compelling way...
Apparently there was some controversy over this clip. TED originally thought it too partisan to unleash upon an unsuspecting world... or something like that... but I'm not seeing it. Furthermore, how can you hope to solve a problem without approaching it from every conceivable angle? Even if Hanauer's belief is entirely wrong, discussing it may lead to worthwhile conversation. When you're desperate, nothing should be off the table, and I hope to see more of this kind of talk from all sides in the future.
• Avengers. I had purchased The Art of Marvel's Thor after seeing the movie. Production design on the Asgard sets and costumes were really well done, and I wanted to see how they were developed. The book was pretty amazing, which made me regret that I hadn't purchased the two Iron Man books. They were out of print and cost a fortune on the secondary market, so I gave up on getting them. Fast forward to the The Avengers, which was production design on an entirely new level, and I simply had to own The Art of Marvel's The Avengers. It did not disappoint. The book is a stunning chronicle of bringing the comic book to the big screen. Then I discovered something very cool... Marvel had assembled books for the previous four Avengers movies (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America, and Thor) in a boxed set... The Art of Marvel Studios. SCORE! All the books are fantastic...
If you wanna take a look inside, JamesTalkALot has a video on YouTube for the Art of Marvel Studios set. He also has a separate video for The Art of Marvel's The Avengers. If you have even a passing interest in these movies, all the books are highly recommended.
Annnnnd... I'm spent. Did I black out some time this weekend? Because it doesn't really feel like I got a weekend at all. Such a bummer. I should probably get my crap together so I can go to work in the morning. If there's any justice, I'll black out again through the entire work week so I can have a real weekend.
Put down that barbecue fork, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Fresh. Three Bullet Sundays ago I was lamenting how crappy it is that the bagged lettuce I buy goes bad after just one day. Abigail then left a comment telling me about the "Salad in a Jar Method" of keeping salad fresh (using a hand-food-vacuum). It looked like a good plan, so I ordered me a FrashSaver handheld Vacuum. And, since it comes with a deli container, I didn't even have to buy a jar topper. It arrived a couple weeks ago and I've been trying it out not just with salad, but Oreos, crackers, cheese, and all kids of stuff. Miracles of miracles, the thing actually works...
It worked so well that I ended up buying more deli containers! Two complaints though... 1) The deli containers are kind of tough to close... and 2) You have to use an attachment to turn the round vacuum head into an oval vacuum head in order for the unit to be able to suck the air out of the deli containers, which is fucking stupid. Why not just make the valve on the deli containers round? With the attachment on, you can't fit the unit into the charger, and I can see the stupid thing getting lost eventually. Stupid, stupid, STUPID.
• Innocence. Back in April the New York blogosphere was blowing up because the police tracked down the "well-dressed guy" who was groping women on the subway...
Except they didn't.
The guy was completely innocent. Karl Vanderwoude had alibis for when gropings were taking place. Which means the vague resemblance he had to some security footage as well as being picked out of a lineup didn't meant shit. An innocent man was hauled off in handcuffs.
But that wasn't even the worst part. The worst part would be having his photo plastered all over the internet with headlines like "Finance creep arrested for groping women in Manhattan!" and "Cops Say Finance Worker Karl Vanderwoude Is 'Well-Dressed' Groper!" And, naturally, those stories aren't updated or revised or amended to explain he was totally innocent... nope, they will live on forever and haunt him until the day he dies. Somebody years in the future could Google his name, click on an outdated story, and easily be led to believe he was the perpetrator. EXCEPT HE WASN'T!
This is equal parts horrifying and disgusting. The first thought that runs through my head is "Holy crap, could I be next?" followed by "How in the hell could this happen?"
He had alibis, for heaven sakes! But nobody gave a shit until his attorney bothered to ask the guy where he was when the incidents took place! I'm no police detective... but should that be JOB ONE before you fucking arrest somebody? Especially knowing that arresting an innocent man WILL RUIN HIS LIFE?
I feel so horribly bad for this poor guy that my mind can't even grasp what he went through. Surely I can't be the only one? Surely all the people who wrote the headlines that crucified Karl Vanderwoude on the internet feel bad for him too?
Apparently not. None of these "journalists" seem to be rushing to update their original stories... they just print a new story and forget about the old one. But the internet never forgets, those old stories are still there. Innocent Karl Vanderwoude may be, but in all those online archives he's guilty for eternity. He deserves better than that... we all do.
• Prohibition? Thanks to Marty for letting me know that my home town was in the New York Times today! Washington State is in the process of switching from government-regulated alcohol distribution to private company distribution, and this has created a booze shortage throughout the State as government shops try to clear out their inventory. Not a popular situation with Memorial Day Weekend partiers. And apparently my small city was the perfect way to dramatize this point to NYT readers. Heh.
Oh well. If there's one thing we love here in Redneckistan, it's our alcohol, so it's not like I can get upset about it.
And... it's been a long day. I suppose I should at least try to get some rest before an even tougher day hits in the morning. I'd tell y'all to be good and obey the law during the holiday tomorrow, but Karl Vanderwoude has shown us that this doesn't necessarily guarantee a clean criminal record now-a-days, so I don't know what to say now.
Except "good night."
When I shop for home furnishings, clothing, or luggage now-a-days, my first stop is JC Penney. I support companies which embrace equality and fairness for everybody, and JC Penney is leading the way when it comes to being inclusive.
And they're not being subtle about it. Their recent advertising campaigns celebrate diversity in a very obvious way. Which is causing no end of drama with bigoted organizations like "One Million Moms" who seems to think that showing "non-traditional families" in an ad is the end of the world.
Sorry, but I don't see the end of the world.
I see a happy family with a couple of kids that are lucky to have two dads who love them...
Father's Day ad from JC Penney • First Pals... What makes Dad so cool?
He's the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver—all rolled into one.
Or two. Real-life dads Todd Koch and Cooper Smith with their children Claire and Mason.
And somewhere out there, a gay kid who is being ruthlessly persecuted day-in and day-out for something he has no control over, will see this ad and realize that he has a future. That the hurt and despair he's feeling is temporary and he has a shot at happiness just like everybody else. That even though he's labeled as "different," he can have a normal life if he just hangs in there long enough. That the world is changing and there's a place for him in it where he will be valued and embraced for who he is.
And maybe this will be the light he needs to keep from doing something tragic in a world that has more than enough tragedy in it already.
And I seriously don't give a fuck if a million bigoted bitches have their panties in a bunch just because they don't want to talk to their kids...
"It doesn't have any effect on your life. What do you care? People try to talk about it like it's a social issue. Like when you see someone stand up on a talk show and say "How am I supposed to explain to my child that two men are getting married? I dunno, it's your shitty kid, you fucking tell them. Why is that anyone else's problem? Two guys are in love but they can't get married because you don't want to talk to your ugly child for fucking five minutes?"
— The ever brilliant Louis CK
JC Penney is setting an example with their advertising that is helping to make this country a better place. And not just for gay kids... for everybody. They aren't sitting on the sidelines of this so-called "culture war," they're in the game fighting the good fight.
And I'm supporting them with my business whenever I can because it's a fight that needs to be won.
Years ago (I forget how many) there was a gas crisis which caused fuel prices to skyrocket. Nothing like what we're going through today, but it was enough to really put a dent in my wallet. At the time, I had to drive 25 miles roundtrip each day for work, which ended up being around 550 miles a month, 6,600 miles a year. When I sat down to calculate my car's gas mileage, it ended up being around 28-31 mpg for my daily commute. That works out to my buying 200+ gallons of gas each year just to get to work and back (give or take). Factor in that I was also driving to work on many weekends... and sometimes making the trip twice in a day when I had an appointment or something... and it was a lot of money being spent.
So I made the decision to move closer to work.
Now I drive 2-1/2 miles roundtrip, which is a tenth of the gas being burned and the money being spent. Even when gas prices (eventually) returned to normal, I was thankful to be saving so much bank. Now that gas prices are astronomically high again, I'm even more thankful that my commute is so blissfully short. The time saved is just icing on the cake. I wish that I didn't have to drag so much crap back-and-forth, because I'd love to start riding a bike to work and using -zero- gallons of gas. But I'll take what I can get.
For the longest time, I was kind of an asshole whenever people would lament how much money they wasted driving to work each day. "Why don't you move closer to work or get a different job?" I'd say. This would usually result in excuses like "I can't afford the housing near where I work!" or "I love my home!" or "My wife doesn't want to move!" or "I don't want to quit my job!" or whatever. I was pretty unsympathetic, and would always say something along the lines of "Well, then it's your choice to spend the money on gas, so don't cry about it!" And though I was saying it as a joke, deep-down I really meant it. Don't like spending money on gas? Then move closer to work. If it's more expensive to live there, then you have to decide where you'd rather have your money being spent. Granted, our public transportation options here in Redneckistan suck, so there's not a lot of alternatives to driving... but, still, don't whine to others about what you've chosen from the options available.
Now-a-days, however, things have changed.
Gas prices are high and the job market is horrible and the bottom dropped out of the housing market. Those who may want to move cannot do so because there are no other jobs or their home's value has dropped so badly. Even if they managed to sell it, they'd have to pay the bank to get out from under the loan they took out. People are in the horrible position of owing more on their home than their home is worth. They have no choice but to ride it out... no choice but to keep their expensive commute.
And so now there's really nothing I can say to people who complain except "I'm sorry."
I'm saying that a lot now-a-days. Somebody loses their job... loses their house... complains about the cost of their commute... it's always "I'm sorry"... "I'm sorry"... "I'm sorry"...
And the words feel completely inadequate, because these have all become devastating blows that end marriages... destroy careers... ruin lives... and otherwise makes a lot of very good, honest, decent, hard-working people end up miserable, alone, and afraid. And then, just when things can't get any worse, they get used as a toilet in a political pissing match between asshole candidates who don't give a flying fuck about anything except getting elected and burying their opponents in the process.
Somehow we let this become our new normal.
It's no longer about how we can come together and build something that's great, it's all about how we can divide people and let hatred mire us in something that's failing. We've bought into a system that's more interested in destroying than creating, and now all of us are paying the price.
And I'm just tired of it. I'm tired of having to say "I'm sorry" because there's nothing else I can say.
Fortunately, this is a system which is ultimately unsustainable, and that's what gives me hope to carry on.
It's only a question of when.
And if I'll be lucky enough to see it happen in my lifetime.
It's an interesting time to be living in Washington State.
For one thing, you can walk into a store and buy hard liquor. Tequila at Safeway... Vodka at Wal-Mart... Rum at Costco... when it comes to buying alcohol, our choices are overwhelming now. This is a radical change from the old days when only government liquor stores were allowed to sell such beverages. And by "old days" I mean "last month." It's going to take a while before I get over the shock of walking into the grocery store and seeing booze for sale. Of course, having such easy access to said booze will probably help.
But the bigger change is yet to come.
Back in February, Washington lawmakers passed a marriage equality bill which legalized same-sex marriage. This mobilized the anti-equality brigade, because some people feel that basic human rights and freedoms should be put to a vote. Signatures against equality were collected... enough to force a ballot measure... so now we wait until November to see if an entire group of tax-paying citizens get the same right to marry that everybody else has.
Current polling shows marriage equality winning out, but I'll believe it when I see it. Sadly, you can never underestimate the power of disinformation, fear, lies, and ignorance when it comes to the public at large. And I'm sure that we're going to be seeing plenty of that in the coming months.
Which is really disheartening when you consider the consequences for people whose lives are affected.
Last month I shared an incredibly moving video which explained why marriage equality is so important. Today that video is now a Kickstarter project to become an actual film BY LINDA BLOODWORTH-THOMPSON (of Designing Women fame)...
If you can spare a few bucks to help counter the disinformation, fear, lies, and ignorance, head over to Kickstarter and donate, won't you?
So... I worked straight through all day and have been completely out of touch with the world. Anything happen while I was gone?
Well, other than Olive Garden's 2 for $25 Italian Dinner Special... WITH UNLIMITED SALAD AND BREADSTICKS!
I just wish they didn't mandate that you have to pay for the dinner in order to get the unlimited salad and breadsticks. Why should I be forced to pay for something I don't want just to be able to get unlimited free access to something I do? I mean, it's nice they made it cheaper and easier to get, but who knows when I'm going to eat that breadstick... I may end up never eating it! And that means I was forced to pay for dinner for nothing!
Sure, I still get all the benefits of dinner that will get me all the salad and breadsticks I need if I ever end up needing some... and, yeah, it wouldn't be fair to just wander into Olive Garden and demand unlimited salad and breadsticks when I didn't pay for any dinner... and, certainly, it's the money that's coming in from the dinners that allows Olive Garden to provide the unlimited salad and breadsticks in the first place... but forcing people to buy something is totally un-American! It's like a socialist plot invented by... oh, dunno... the Italians or something!
I should be able to refuse to buy dinner and instead fucking starve to death because I can't afford to pay the $200,000 for a salad and breadstick emergency... which is how much something like that costs when you didn't purchase the dinner plan. I mean, it's my right as an American to gamble my life away! That's why we're the best country on earth and leaders of the free world!
And it's also my right to decide I don't want to die... and to change my mind at the last minute if an unexpected salad and breadsticks emergency happens... and to then shame this country for killing its citizens just because they made the mistake of not getting dinner when they had the chance. Would Jesus allow a man to die just because he had no dinner and couldn't afford emergency salad and breadsticks? I think not!
I dunno. I just don't get it. What's next... is Olive Garden going to force me to buy Justin Bieber albums? Or force me to do some other random thing that sounds crazy but has absolutely no bearing what-so-ever on Americans' access to unlimited salad and breadsticks?
Bad enough that I am forced to buy dinner... but the fact that some of my dinner money is going to provide salad and breadsticks for the poor is what really pisses me off. Because they're poor. They should just be allowed to starve to death because feeding the poor is socialist. I'm pretty sure that's in The Bible.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat AT TACO BELL. Where real Americans eat American food like American Nacho Burrito Supremes... just like our American Founding Fathers did.
U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!
Here in the wilds of Redneckistan in Eastern Washington, nice surprises do happen.
Though, in the political arena, this is quite rare. We are the Red half of the state by a wide margin, and Conservative politics dominate the region. Heck, I usually end up voting Republican locally, because it's nice to have some representation in the state I live in. Otherwise, we would be completely forgotten as the Democratic-dominated politicians over on "The Coast" pander to their mostly-liberal voters...
My biggest problem with political representatives in this country is that a good chunk of them don't actually represent all all the people they are supposed to represent. They choose to represent only those people who think and believe the same as they do. A lot of the time, that's what got them elected, that's what is going to get them re-elected, and they don't really give a crap about anybody else. You can't really blame them for their attitude since it keeps them alive politically... except I most definitely do because that's NOT the way it should be.
And yet, as I said, there are surprises.
Like when Representative Maureen Walsh, a Republican from Walla Walla in Washington's very Conservative 16th District, made a rather touching speech in support of our state voting to legalize marriage equality...
Unsurprisingly, her support (fueled largely by her daughter, I'm sure), put her on a political hit-list here in Redneckistan. She's now running against an opponent whose opposition to marriage equality is the cornerstone of their campaign.
And then something interesting happened. Rep. Walsh started getting contributions to her campaign from gay donors that were not only out of her district, but out of the state. This has sparked strong criticism from her opponent, Ruth Edwards, who says taking money from out-of-staters shows that Walsh is out of touch with her district. A district who reelected Walsh after she supported extending benefits to domestic partners in 2009, even though the measure itself failed miserably in that same district. Surprise!
I guess we'll see if Edwards stands on the same principles if an organization like the equality-haters from "National Organization for Marriage" decide to dump money on her campaign.
In any event, even though I don't agree with all her politics, I just made a contribution to Walsh's re-election bid. She seems to be one of those rare politicians who makes representing the rights of all the people in her district a priority... even if supporting their right to equality may not be politically in her best interest. Because, with all due respect to Ruth Edwards, it's not just people out-of-state that want to see Washington on the right side of history.
First of all... Matlock? NNNNOOOoooooo!
Cool images courtesy of CERN
Anybody with any respect for particle physics who still thinks referring to the Higgs boson as "The God Particle" should read this. Oh how I loathe that incredibly stupid nickname...
And now... onward...
There's a moment at the end of every episode of the Perry Mason television show where defense attorney Perry has the real killer on the witness stand and starts hammering away with the Horrible Truth of what actually happened. With unrelenting escalation, he details the murderer's dirty deeds step by step and concludes with angry words that lash out at their lies like a bullwhip... "Isn't it true? Isn't it all true?"
Then the murderer breaks down as Perry thunders "I have no more questions! The defense rests!"
I am so sick and frickin' tired of the non-stop LYING that I am being bombarded with in all these damn political attack ads that I'm about ready to vomit.
I honestly feel that every time that a candidate LIES in one of their ads, they should have to defend their bullshit to a Perry-Mason-type-honesty-advocate so he can can get to the truth. Then, after they are exposed as being filthy LIARS, the polticians have to issue a new ad with a full retraction that airs on every channel the lie was told on, and double the number of times that the original LIE had aired.
Maybe with a punishment that severe, all these filthy, disgusting, scumbag, asshole LYING politicians would think twice about running ads they know to be false.
Then we should then move on to doing the same thing for LIES told in interviews and at campaign stops. Every damn time a politician goes somewhere and tells a LIE, they have to go back to that place, apologize, then admit to everybody that they are nothing but a piece of shit LIAR.
Of course, if Perry Mason was chasing down these LYING LIARS, we'd be hip-deep in apology ads well into October.
But, alas, there don't seem to be any consequences for being a douchebag LIAR politician, so I guess that's what we're stuck with from here on out. Oh happy day.
UPDATE! And here, two days later, is exactly what I was talking about...
Genius. And right on the money.
Friday, February 12, 2010. 7:20pm.
"So... for the first time in a very long time, those of us living on the West Coast of these United States of America are in the SAME TIME ZONE as the Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Finally, we get to watch events LIVE and see competition outcomes AS THEY HAPPEN. How cool that we won't have medal results spoiled on the internet hours... or even days... before we get to actually see them taking place! Sweet!"
— David Simmer II, getting ready to watch the last Winter Olympics
Friday, February 12, 2010. 7:35pm.
"FUCK YOU, NBC! FUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU!"
— David Simmer II, after realizing NBC time-delayed their Pacific Coast broadcast anyway
Saturday, July 28, 2012. 12:05am.
I am not a huge sports fan, but I admit to being a fan of the Olympic Games because there's just something wonderful about the way the world comes together to participate in them. And nowhere is this more evident than the Opening Ceremonies, where all the athletes are full of hope and dreaming of gold.
This year the task of planning the start of the games fell to one of my favorite directors, Danny Boyle, who is responsible for one of my favorite movies, Millions. He had the daunting task of following China's widely-praised and celebrated Opening Ceremonies, which would be enough to break most men. But Boyle decided that since nobody would expect him to top China's spectacle, he would just "do his own thing" and try to entertain people.
And entertain people he did.
The show was a wholly bizarre affair, but not in a bad way. I actually really enjoyed it. So congratulations, Mr. Boyle, on rising to the occasion with creativity and wonderment.
AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool
And congratulations to NBC for fully living up to expectations and CRAPPING ALL OVER THE OLYMPIC OPENING CEREMONIES WITH YOUR HORRENDOUSLY SHITTY COVERAGE!
I'm guessing the rest of the world's news organizations paid proper respect to the ceremonies and covered the opening in a dignified and complete presentation. This was not, of course, the way that NBC decided to go. "Dignified" and "Complete" are just not words that enter into their fucking heads.
No, we Americans go to see a butchered presentation that was fucking time-delayed (again) then interrupted by constant commercial breaks and laughably bad commentary from Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, and (heaven help us) Bob Costas. The commentary was so bad that I wanted to turn the sound off, but then I would have missed out on the music, which was excellent. Except I couldn't really enjoy it because Lauer, Vieira, and Costas kept TALKING OVER IT ALL! And this brings me to the big question... WHAT THE BLOODY HELL?!?? I realize that your typical American television audience is about as intelligent as a box of rocks, but do they really need to be talked through a performance? And if you simply must open your stupid fucking mouths, did you really have to shit all over the spirit of the games by pointing out embarrassing, controversial, or otherwise derogatory things about the participating countries? What assholes.
And here I thought the pre-show interview where Bob Costas Ryan Seacrest embarrassed one of the gymnasts over her love of Justin Beiber was going to be the lowlight of the evening. Not even close. First Mitt Romney humiliates the USA with his non-stop parade of stupid fucking comments... then, because we haven't insulted the Brits enough, we decimate their Opening Ceremonies with NBC's profoundly bad coverage. But why stop there? Let's insult the whole world during the Parade of Nations! USA! USA! USA!
I realize that NBC has to pay the bills with advertising and be sure to pander to the lowest common denominator of their viewers... but that in NO WAY excuses what American Olympic fans had to suffer through tonight.
Saturday, July 28, 2010. 12:20am.
"FUCK YOU, NBC! FUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU!"
— David Simmer II, realizing nothing has changed since last time
Yesterday I returned home only to find that the air conditioner stopped working while I was in Portland. A day later and it's still not working. Which means I'm typing this in 94° heat. Which wouldn't bother me so much if I were lounging by a pool or getting ready to swim in the ocean... but at home? Teh suck.
So continue at your own risk, because I may be suffering from heatstroke and unable to form coherent sentences. Guess that's as good excuse as any to talk about politics.
And so this happened...
Bwah! Ha! Ha! We're rich and white... how can we lose? — Photo by Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo - EPA/Landov
If you're into the news, Mitt Romney choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate is being hailed as a "bold choice."
Which could be true, if all you're wanting to do is make a bold statement. But, if you are actually wanting to win the presidency, I'd be more likely to hail it as a "crazy choice." But wait wait wait... before anybody starts stepping up to defend Ryan and call me nasty names... I am talking about perception here. I fully admit that I don't know much about Ryan yet (other than he voted for massive government spending under Bush, then changed his mind and now hates government spending under Obama) so I'm not going to comment on what he's about until I actually know what he's about.
Fortunately, internet memes popped up almost immediately after the announcement, so it should be easy to get a handle on Ryan's politics...
Yeah, I know that the conservative-leaning crowd have the same kind of thing for President Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, et al... but they are usually humorous commentary on known quantities or old gossip (Obama is a secret Muslim!). But this? This is commentary of a different kind. Issues like the economy are a toss-up because they're such a big mess that, deep down, everybody knows there's no magical fix, and it doesn't matter whether the candidate is Republican or Democrat. Politicians are politicians on both sides of the fence, and Americans are used to getting screwed over by politicians. We are conditioned to expect that we will get screwed over by politicians. So whatever, because it's all the same.
But start telling women how Paul Ryan is going to take away their birth control and right to choose? Tell seniors that Paul Ryan is going to take away their medicare and social security? Tell gays that Paul Ryan is going to take away (even more) of their rights? Tell the middle class that Paul Ryan is going to take away affordable health care? Tell the poor that Paul Ryan is going to take away the programs they need to survive so he can give tax breaks to the wealthy? Oog. Nothing mobilizes voters faster than telling them that a politician is going to take something away that matters to them. Just ask the gun lobby when they told everybody that Obama was going to take away their guns.
Ryan's problem (which is now Romney's problem) is that he's quickly emerging as the guy who is going to take away that thing you like. This is going to be exploited by every single political opponent the Republican presidential ticket has, because it's just too easy. This is not some esoteric thing that people can't really wrap their heads around (like the budget)... this is real.
When it comes to politics, perception becoming reality is nothing new.
Now we get to see if Paul Ryan is a strong enough politician to shift the perception people have to create the reality he wants. In the end, that's all that ever seems to matter any more.
So let me get this straight. A young girl who gets pregnant because she was raped at... oh, let's say NINE YEARS OLD... cannot be considered to have been "legitimately raped" because rape victims are somehow incapable of getting pregnant? Wow. And here I was thinking that a little girl of NINE YEARS OLD wouldn't even understand what "CONSENSUAL RAPE SEX" means considering she's UNDER THE AGE OF CONSENT.
Who could possibly come up with the phrase "Legitimate rape" while spouting such absurd bullshit? Oh... it's this guy... Representative Todd Akin from the great state of Missouri...
I contemplated writing a long-ass blog entry which attempts to explore Akin's religious convictions concerning the sanctity of life... you know, make a real effort to understand him and such. It would be an interesting topic for a blog entry, because my personal beliefs on the sanctity of life and how abortion fits into those beliefs is a difficult and controversial topic... even when it's just me discussing my views with myself.
But I keep running into a road block whenever I try to reconcile how somebody can use the phrase "legitimate rape" when talking about women who have been violated and victimized. I jump from there... directly to a conclusion of WHAT A PIECE OF SHIT!... and just can't go any further.
People like this are abhorrent to me.
And he can recant his idiocy and apologize for "misspeaking" all he wants, but it's not going to change the fact that he honestly feels that there's science which justifies forcing his personal beliefs on other people... even when it's all a load of crap.
I wonder what the political trigger will be that finally pushes women too far. Will it be defunding family planning centers? Will it be eliminating women's health services? Will it be outlawing abortion? Will it be outlawing birth control? Or will it be a bunch of old men telling them that THEY will be the ones to determine if a woman has been raped or not?
I honestly don't know.
But with each passing day I fully expect women to start marching in the streets in response to how they're being treated by those who are elected to "represent" them...
UPDATE: And, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, crazy-ass Pat Robertson has come out to support Akin...
It's astounding how these stupid assholes keep missing the point completely. The phrase "legitimate rape" is just an indicator of Akin's underlaying belief in "magic vaginas" that can reject sperm when a woman is a victim of a sexual attack. This is a belief that is categorically false, and the kind of thing that a FUCKING RAPIST would say to justify their actions. THIS is why Akin is a douchebag that is unfit to hold public office. Categorically STUPID people have no business representing anybody.
Being a woman-bashing sexist piece of shit that uses the phrase "legitimate rape" (even when "misspeaking") to describe such an act of terror and extreme violence is just the cherry on top of your ignorance sundae.
Sometimes sensationalistic headlines are justified.
It's both horrifying and fascinating to me that something like this exists. I just spent the past two hours going down the Wikipedia rabbit hole over all the crazy crap that can kill us humans horribly... and it's all stuff that we can't even see (well, without a microscope anyways).
We are such astoundingly fragile creatures. We really are.
I've never felt more alive.
One shitty wank-fest of a political convention down, one to go.
I just hope that the Democrats don't end up with Clint Eastwood acting like he dropped acid before talking to a chair on their last day. How nuts was that? I mean, I know the Republicans felt they had to do something to top Sarah Palin, but this?
Though, I have to admit, President Obama's response was frickin' hilarious...
But his real response will come five days later at the next shitty wank-fest of a political convention.
I sure wish that the people who schedule these things would give me at least a month between events. It would be nice to recover a few sanity points before jumping straight into the next one.
Well Michelle Obama sure knocked it out of the park with her speech.
How do I vote for her?
Because, unlike her husband, I can actually envision Michelle Obama personally kicking the piece of shit lobbyists out of the fucking White House. Unlike her husband, I can actually picture Michelle Obama demanding that fucked up bullshit like ACTA be hauled out from behind closed doors and be made public and transparent. Unlike her husband, I'd like to think that Michelle Obama would tell people to go fuck themselves before she caves into opposition pressure and moves her address.
Michelle Obama is a woman who doesn't take shit and gets stuff done!
Or so I'd like to imagine...
Photo from the Associated Press
Maybe it's just wishful thinking because I'm not thrilled with the idea of re-electing President Obama... and I'm even less thrilled with the idea of having Mitt Romney in the White House for four years.
Or maybe I'm just tired.
Sick and tired of politics in this country.
But I watched all of the Republican National Convention... so I guess I'll watch the rest of the Democratic National Convention just to be fair.
If nothing else, it gives me an excuse to put off packing my suitcase for a while longer.
It was a night of performance art tonight. Here are some of my favorites...
• Gabrielle Giffords "The Pledge of Allegiance" at the DNC. Tell me this isn't one of the most amazing things you've ever seen. The woman survives a frickin' assassination attempt... a gunshot to the head... says "fuck you" to the bullet, and is on-stage leading the DNC in the Pledge of Allegiance a year-and-a-half later. I don't care what your politics are, this kind of raw courage demands respect. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, making Gabrielle Giffords the performance to beat tonight.
• Pink "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" at the MTV VMAs. I have yet to see Pink in concert so every time I see one of her beautifully orchestrated live performances, I'm a little pissed-off. Tonight's VMA blow-out has her singing yet another amazing track from a string of amazing tracks... "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" and it was fantastic. Once I got past her dopey hair-do, Pink had me completely captivated as she did her whole "Cirque du Soleil" act better than Cirque du Soleil.
• President Obama "Acceptance Speech" at the DNC. My candidate for the upcoming election was Jon Huntsman. I thought he was smart in all the right ways, and the person most likely to bridge the icy divide between Republicans and Democrats to fix our fucked-up country. But Republicans seemed to truly hate the guy because he wasn't bat-shit-crazy-Right, and you can't get anywhere when your own party doesn't support you. So Huntsman was shoved off the stage and we got... Mitt Romney. Who has the personality of a wooden board wrapped in a wet blanket. He does not inspire me in the least, and I abhor most of his politics when it comes to personal liberties... an area TRUE Conservatives should be getting the fuck out of in the name of less-invasive government. Oh well. So Barack Obama it is then. His acceptance speech was good. Very good. And as the consummate politician, our president delivered it in a way Romney can only dream about. He makes me forget that he wasn't my first choice. He makes me forget that he did some things I am really upset about. He makes me remember that he is a good man, a true patriot, and a decent president who is doing his best to get us out of a horrible situation. And while Obama is not my dream candidate, his speech makes me feel better about voting for him in November, which is what it's really all about.
• Jennifer Granholm at the DNC. Talk about your rousing performances... Granholm descended on the DNC like a tsunami and belted out a speech that was so unabashedly pro-Obama that it made other speakers look like they lacked support for the president. And I'm including Barack Obama. She waxed so poetically about the president's auto-bailout that it almost made me forget that it was President Bush who got the ball rolling by approving monies that would keep our auto-makers in business until Obama got in office. Granted, this was probably at least partially inspired by the Obama transition team laying groundwork for the new president... but it's still a glaring omission in giving credit where credit is due. Whatever. Granholm was there to rally for the president, and she got the job done by delivering a wake-up to the convention that was a much-needed slap in the face.
• Taylor Swift "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" at the MTV VMAs. In stark contrast to some of her previous televised live performances which were, for lack of a better word, "bad"... Taylor had a terrific (and impossibly cute) performance of her latest hit that brought down the house.
• Zach Wahls at the DNC. Zach is a great kid with a great story and a speaking presence that is really going to take him places. When I first saw his speech in defense of marriage equality at the Iowa House of Representatives, I was blown away. The guy is 19, but connects with an audience like a seasoned pro. The only problem is that all his speeches and talk show appearances are starting to sound the exact same. He's got two moms. His family is as normal as any other. Yadda yadda yadda. I know that's why he was at the convention, but Zach needs to mix it up a bit. Still, he did a great job, and you really have to admire his tireless efforts to get people onboard the equality bandwagon.
• Eva Longoria at the DNC. Seriously... who knew?
Annnnnd... after traveling all day, it's time to unwind and prep for a busy day tomorrow.
The story burning up the internets today is about a letter written by Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe in support of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (who is vocal advocate of marriage equality).
Making a long story short, Maryland Democratic politician Emmett C. Burns asked the Baltimore Ravens football organization to make Ayanbadejo shut up about marriage. Kluwe (also a supporter of marriage equality) thought this was bullshit, and decided to write an open letter to Burns to tell him how he felt.
The letter is sheer genius. Go read it immediately.
I'm guessing this image of Kluwe is a team photo, courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings?
As you might have noticed, the letter is filled with colorful language which has raised some criticism of Kluwe's choice of words.
This really hit home with me, because I struggle with whether or not I should use swear words most every time I write in this blog. When I first started blogging I swore constantly and didn't think anything about dropping
It was a practice that was destined to be short-lived. I use swear-words in real life when I'm fired up. So it's unavoidable that I'm going to use swear-words on my blog when I'm fired up. For a while I tried to disguise it... typing out things like "F#@%!" and "B#LL$H!T!," but comedian Suzy Soro commented that this is kind of stupid. Since absolutely everybody knows what you're trying to say anyway... why not just come out and say it?
She was absolutely right, and I've been cursing in my blog ever since.
Though I admit that most times I do regret it.
Somebody once told me that swearing is a sign that the writer is unintelligent. They don't know how to express themselves properly, so they foolishly have to resort to curse words to make their point. In some respects, I agree with this assessment.
In other respects, I'd argue that there's no word that can adequately take the place of "fuck."
And so I use it. Probably more often than I should... but definitely not as often as I want to. "Fuck" (and dozens of words like it) are forms of expression that I find helpful in communicating exactly what I'm feeling in a way that "shucky darn" doesn't quite reach.
Today I managed to get in my essential visit to America's Dog so I could get my Veggie Chicago Dog...
It was, as always, delicious.
Oh... and speaking of delicious food... I never check a bag when flying into O'Hare so I can grab a veggie burger at Johnny Rocket's before I exit through security. But yesterday as I approached the restaurant, I was horrified to see that IT WASN'T THERE!
WHAT THE FUCK?! Shucky darn!
I hate it when that happens.
Current polling shows that Washington's Referendum 74 is running 15 points ahead for approval. If this holds up come voting day, Washington State's marriage equality law will be upheld and it will be legal for two consenting adults to marry... even if they both have a penis or both have a vagina.
This would make me happy for friends of mine who have been wanting to get married... but can't because the person they love has the same genitals. Apparently this is reason enough for a couple to be deemed unworthy of marriage, which feels kind of petty considering that Washington State has one of the highest divorce rates in the nation (we're #15!). But, whatever. It would seem that some people feel the way to "save marriage" is not to work on keeping their own straight marriages from failing at such an alarming rate... but to instead prevent others from getting married.
The mind boggles.
All I know is that there will be much bitching and crying in Redneckistan if Referendum 74 passes.
Which is good enough reason for me, so here's hoping.
And so here I am in Atlanta. Again. Just a week ago I was passing through the airport, but this time I'm going to stick around... for one whole day!
It's the start of a little four-day "mini vacation," which means I have nobody but myself to blame that I'm stuck traveling all weekend. And, as happy as I am to be flying to two really cool events, a small part of me is just tired of traveling. Tired and wanting to stay home.
In other news, Representative Paul Ryan did a photo shoot for Time Magazine which included workout photos. And who could blame him? He's in fantastic shape. If I was in that good of shape, I'd have gone to tonight's debate shirtless. Hell, I'd go everywhere shirtless. So it's kind of lame to see all the nasty comments being sent Ryan's direction when he's probably just being himself. Give the guy a break. He obviously works out, so who cares?
Which is not to say that the whole backwards cap thing isn't douchey. It's 100% douchey. All he needs is a soul patch and some sunglasses... and he's Poochie...
My contribution to the Photoshop mashups exploding on the internet. You are welcome!
And now I can't look at Paul Ryan without thinking back to a joke that Demetri Martin drew up...
Oh well. That wouldn't be the worst thing we've had take office in American politics.
And now... sweet surrender to some sleep at last...
Time to deal with that hangover... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Flip! While I was trying to come up with things to do to kill time before the Matt & Kim concert last Friday, I found out that The Muskrat was flying into ATL that same day, so we decided to meet up for lunch. He took me to "Flip" which is an upscale burger "boutique" restaurant created by Top Chef: All-Stars winner Richard Blais. Their vegetarian choice was a "Fauxlafel Burger"... which is a kind of falafel patty topped with marinated vegetables. I fucking hate burgers with non-burger crap on them, so I asked to have a "Classic Burger" but substitute the "Fauxlafel" patty. They were happy to accommodate me, and the resulting burger was fantastic! Wished the bun was a little bigger... but other than that it was really flavorful and delicious. Flip's claim to fame is their "Krispy Kreme Shake" which has a doughnut blended into it...
Absolutely amazing. It really did taste like a Krispy Kreme, and I was definitely left wanting more. Overall, a great experience at Flip, and I would absolutely go back.
• Pre✓ And so there's a new program from the TSA which gives frequent fliers the ability to receive "Trusted Traveler" status. I had never heard of it before today, but am happy that it exists. I'm even more happy that Delta Airlines opted me into the program...
Going through the Pre✓ line meant that I didn't have to take off my shoes. I didn't have to take off my light jacket. I didn't have to take off my belt. I didn't have to remove my baggie of liquids & gels from my bag. I didn't even have to remove my computer from my backpack!
Well... if I didn't have a big block of cheese given to me by The DutchBitch, I wouldn't have had to remove my computer. Turns out that cheese looks like organic explosives or something, so they actually did have to remove my laptop for a second scan.
In any event, this is an awesome perk for people who have to fly a lot. It's a much better program than the stupid "Regular/Family/Experienced" lanes that they had tried earlier... those programs were doomed to fail because everybody piled in whatever lane was shortest. Many, many times I got behind somebody in the "Experienced" lane who didn't know what the hell they were doing. With Pre✓, it's invitation only to "experienced" travelers, so newbies can't get in to fuck everything up.
In all honesty, I don't know how effective all the crazy security stuff is that the TSA has in effect. What I do know is that Pre✓ goes a long way towards making me not mind it so much.
• Holy Crap! I've been skydiving. And, even though I have a fear of heights, I didn't have any problems because there's a point where the scale of the height is so big that you don't really recognize it as something to fear. But then there's this...
Photo by Felix Baumgartner himself
I'm pretty sure that I would lose my frickin' mind if ever I faced a jump of 28,000 feet. That's 24 frickin' miles! And yet... Felix Baumgartner took it on like a boss. Kind of makes skydiving look like a walk in the park. Next up? Lunar jumps!
• Frothy! It would appear that everybody's favorite gay-sex obsessed piece of shit, Rick Santorum, is still in Washington State drumming up hate against equality...
It used to be the only reason I wanted marriage equality for my home state was so that my friends here who want to be married but are unable to will finally be able to fulfill their dreams. But more and more I want it to pass so that ridiculous, bigoted, homophobic idiots like Rick Santorum will fail utterly... thus sending a message to other ridiculous, bigoted, homophobic idiots that their time has passed. And good riddance.
• Lawdy! And, speaking of ridiculous, bigoted, homophobic idiots... I think this one is my favorite one of all...
Oh horrors! The law will apply to everyone... not just the well-adjusted, well-educated, sophisticated, wholesome, gays... it'll also apply to the gays with drug problems and who are mentally unstable! Well, shit! We simply cannot have that! Can you imagine if there were straight couples with drug and mental problems having families? What would we do then? Clearly, this is the strongest argument against marriage equality ever.
• Nemo! Please tell me you saw the wonderful Google Doodle celebrating the 107th anniversary of Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland...
Absolutely brilliant... just like Little Nemo, which remains one of the most imaginative things to come out of human history.
And... I suppose now that it's 2:00am I should see if I can get some sleep. It's been a long day.
Washington State is vote-by-mail, so I was able to get that out of the way when my ballot arrived today.
As I do every time I vote in a general election, I go back through my ballot and tally up how many Democrats and how many Republicans I voted for (not including unopposed races, where I don't vote). This year surprised me a little bit because it was right down the middle, 50% Democrat to 50% Republican. Last time it was more like 75% Democrat to 25% Republican.
Either I'm getting even more Conservative in my old age... or the Democratic candidates weren't very impressive this time around.
I won't go into the boring details, but I will elaborate on how I voted on the two most controversial items on the ballot...
Referendum 74, AKA "Marriage Equality" — APPROVE!
The government has no fucking business telling two consenting adults that they can or cannot get married based solely on what genitals they have (or don't have). In a country built on personal freedoms, the very notion of it is absurd. I fully support my gay and lesbian friends who want to get married and form families that are every bit the equal of their fellow straight citizens. Furthermore, I strongly believe in standing up and showing Washington's gay youth that their state fully supports who they are. When you finally find that one person who completes you after having searched your whole life, you should be able to share that bond with the world in marriage. Anything less is un-American.
Initiative 502, AKA "Marijuana Reform — YES!
I don't use marijuana. Legalizing marijuana isn't going to suddenly make me want to use it. But, for those responsible adults who do want to use it... I think it should be legal for personal consumption and TAXED! Let's stop wasting horrendous amounts of taxpayer money and resources fighting a recreational activity that shouldn't be illegal in the first place. I-502 isn't perfect by a long shot, but it is a step in the right direction. The much-needed tax revenue is just icing on the cake.
And now it's time to take my aching, coughing, sneezing, feverish, stuffy-headed body to bed in a futile attempt at getting a little sleep.
Not a lot of differences on foreign policy in tonights debate. It seems that Romney mostly agrees with the President's handling of foreign affairs... he just thinks that he would make the US look "stronger" than President Obama while doing it. Or something like that.
I try to put myself in the mindset of an undecided voter to understand exactly what it is that each candidate was trying to say to them. Those are, after all, the only viewers of the debate that matter. Romney seemed to be bringing absolutely everything back to our flailing economy, which was probably a smart move. Obama seemed to be doing his best to paint Romney as somebody who it naive and out of touch with how the world works, which is also a smart move... except I have to wonder how much it matters to the majority of American voters, who have a very hard time thinking outside our borders.
Surveying the media landscape, it would seem that most people felt the debate was a clear win for President Obama. He decimated Mitt Romney at every corner using concise arguments and carefully prepared crowd-pleasing rebuttals. But the problem with relying on cleverly prepared statements on foreign policy means that the President was pretty weak when it came to addressing Romney's economic claims. When Mitt Romney talked about being a good businessman who saved the Olympics in Utah... Obama never brought up that he only managed to do it because of a massive government bail-out. Nor did he talk about how the business talents and ethics which Romney touts have been reported to be fiction. Obama should have been more flexible a debater when it came to talking about subjects outside of foreign policy... especially since the domestic economy is the topic which will most likely swing the undecideds. But he didn't. All we got was "the math don't add up," so Romney got the last word on a critical topic. This is bordering on disastrous when it comes to what Obama needed to accomplish, so I am not so quick to call the debate for the President.
If you ask me to summarize the debate over what I most remember from it, this is what you'd get...
OBAMA: “I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mention the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets. Because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater—nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships, it’s what are our capabilities.”
ROMNEY: "WAH! STOP ATTACKING MEEEEEEEE!!!"
And I'm betting I'm not the only one.
Governor Romney sure talks about how strong and tough he'll be for the country, but he was a complete pussy in the debate. This is made worse when you factor in how he comes across as an out-of-touch Stepford Wives robot with zero personality. I'm not a huge Obama fan because he lied about things that were important to me when it comes to government transparency. No surprise there. He's a politician, which means he's a liar. But the reason I am not a huge Romney fan is because he's a creepy liar (who doesn't believe in personal liberties for people... just corporations).
Ultimately I ended up voting to reelect President Obama because he was the lesser of two evils. At least to me. I can't feel really great about it though, because the lesser of two evils is still evil. So no matter what "huge secret" Donald Trump comes up with to slam President Obama this week, I'm sure it's just par for the course. Because Romney's closet is undoubtedly full of skeletons too. You just don't get to be a candidate for president without skeletons... it's the very nature of politics.
Oh well. For me the election is done. My ballot was sent in days ago and there's no way I can change it now... even if we find out that President Obama is a secret space alien sent here to destroy the earth.
Which, sadly, would actually make me feel better about voting for the guy.
In happier news... The Iron Man 3 trailer is out...
Holy crap does that look awesome!
And I see that Shane Black continues with his raw hatred of cliff-side houses that began in Lethal Weapon 2.
I'm just glad that the events in The Avengers look to be having lasting repercussions, as it should be.
May 3rd can't come soon enough.
There's nothing quite like staring at weather satellite data during a hurricane all day long to make you feel utterly helpless. With each passing hour I find myself thinking of all my friends in the path of armageddon, knowing full well that I have nothing to offer them except my frantic hopes for their safety.
As I type this, "Hurricane Sandy" has made landfall and is ravaging New England with a surge of floods, 90-mile-an-hour winds, and resulting power outages. The photos being released are horrific, with many places I know ending up under water.
A lot of which will clear up after the surge has passed, though the damage will have been done, I'm sure.
But what about all the water that's collected below ground in tunnels and subways and the like? It's all going to have to be pumped out... and that's something that's going to take a lot of time (and a lot of money) to make happen. For a city like New York which relies so heavily on their subways for transportation, this is a frightening prospect.
But New York City is nothing if not a symbol for endurance under pressure, so I have no doubt they will prevail tonight... and in the future.
All my wishes for a speedy recovery to everyone who weathers this storm.
My Fellow Americans,
No matter how things turn out tomorrow... here's hoping that we remember that we are all Americans first, Republicans or Democrats (or whatever) second, and we're all in this together in the end. There are far more things that unite us than divide us as a country... if only we would choose to remember that more often.
Good luck to all the candidates, and may the least worst politicians win!
I called the presidential election the minute Mitt Romney emerged as the Republican candidate.
Unless President Obama strangled a puppy while kicking Betty White in the face after wiping his ass with the American flag during an episode of Dancing with the Stars, the election was his to lose. Sure it was a little closer than I had first imagined... but I just couldn't come up with a scenario where Romney got 270 votes out of the electoral college. My best-guess as of yesterday was this...
I started with the 2008 election map and took Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida from President Obama. I waffled on Colorado, but ultimately gave it to him.
In the end, the President managed to keep Virginia. That surprised me. He may even (eventually) keep Florida. I wasn't counting on that. It also looks like he may win the Popular Vote, which was something else I wasn't sure he'd do. So... a bigger victory than I projected... but not the runaway success he enjoyed for his first term.
It will be an interesting four years. Again.
But what I am really waiting for is news on Washington State's Referendum 74 for marriage equality. It is currently winning approval at 52% vs. 48% with just half of the votes counted. Whether this trend continues and puts my home state on the right side of history... or whether we continue to rail against the inevitable... is unknown.
Oh well. We just legalized marijuana, so I guess anything is possible.
Kind of a good day for Washington State.
Neither measure benefits me personally... but any time equality, freedom, and personal liberty gain a foothold, it's a victory for all of us.
And so President Barrack Obama has been reelected for another term. To all his supporters, I offer my congratulations. I guess I can kind of congratulate myself here, though I am more of a reluctant supporter. In my mind, the president was merely the "least worst" candidate, which is how I seem to cast all my votes now-a-days.
To Mitt Romney supporters, I offer my condolences. How you are feeling right now is how I felt when President Bush got a second term. And I sympathize, I really do. Because I know exactly what it's like. I thought (and continue to feel) that George W. Bush was the worst president in the history of this country. He was horrendously inept at all facets of the job. He was supposed to be a Conservative, but did stupid shit like passing the prescription drug entitlement and doubling spending, which sent us on the road to bankruptcy. He was a terrible Commander in Chief, getting us into wars with no planning (and no financing)... even worse, he sent our brave soldiers into battle, then turned around and made a joke of it. Bush was laughably bad at foreign policy, and managed to reverse the entire world's support after 9/11 into a seething hatred of America by even some of our most dedicated allies. His leadership was woefully lacking, with him coming across as more of a puppet with Karl Rove's hand up his ass than a president... and his constant caving to special interest and far-right rhetoric only confirmed it. He would pander to most anything that had even a hint of political up-side, and I lost track of the number of subsidy programs he financed with hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. And don't get me started on his crazy-ass delusions that convinced him God was telling him what to do. The list goes on and on. With each passing day of the Bush administration, I grew more embarrassed for his clueless presidency, and increasingly fearful for the fate of this country.
So yeah, I get it.
But, in truth, Republicans really have nobody to blame but themselves that Obama got a second term. Mitt Romney was an abysmal choice for a presidential candidate, even by their own standards (don't take my word for it, listen to what his fellow Republican candidates had to say about him during the primaries... it's brutal). And if you can't get your own party base to get excited for your candidate, you're fucked no matter how you slice it. I mean, seriously, how can you get people excited about Romney when it's impossible to know where he stands? He condemned ObamaCare, but he also created the blueprint for it (RomneyCare!). He said humans contributed to global warming, but also said nobody knows what's causing climate change. He says he supports guns, but also passed significant gun-control legislation. He's voraciously anti-abortion in all cases, but also said he was pro-choice. He pandered to both the Tea Party crazies and moderates, then ended up pissing them both off. His non-stop parade of mind-boggling flip-flops and outrageous lies made him a complete joke (though I'd argue Obama wasn't much better). Pile it all up, and Mitt Romney was a disaster waiting to happen.
But, to many people, he was their least-worst choice, so he got a lot of votes.
Just not enough votes.
And it didn't help Romney that there were so many dumbass Republican politicians driving people away from the party. Idiots like Todd "Legitimate Rape" Aikin. And Richard "Rape is a Gift from God" Mourdock. And Bob "Governor Ultrasound" McDonald. All these dipshits (and so many more) seem to forget that Republicans are supposed to aspire to Conservative ideals... such as smaller, less intrusive government. Which brings me to this...
HELPFUL NOTE TO REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP: Give us a presidential candidate that a rapidly growing number of party-indifferent people like me can actually vote for. Give us somebody that's going to balance the budget, keep us safe, be mindful of our place in the global community, represent all citizens fairly and equally, AND SUPPORT PERSONAL LIBERTIES LIKE A GOOD CONSERVATIVE SHOULD! Stop condemning Americans for wanting personal choice when it comes to things like religion, abortion, and marriage. Because clinging to the belief that it's your business to dictate the most personal aspects of a person's life is going to motivate people alright. Motivate them to vote for Democrats like they did in this election.
It certainly motivated me.
And, yes, I realize this is a simplistic assessment, but it's not exactly a bad start. Because if the Republicans don't ditch the extremist Tea Party nutjobs and make some critical changes real soon, they're going to become increasingly irrelevant to a growing number of people who might like to vote Republican for a bit more fiscal responsibility and less government dependency in this country... but can't do so because they want control over their own damn lives.
If the Republican Party is to have a future, they need to embrace the future.
And if you need a role model for your survival, look no further than Maureen Walsh from my great state of Washington.
You probably recognize the name because of this...
Talk about motivation. She's not even in my district and I donated to her reelection campaign (she's a class act too... I got a handwritten thank-you note!).
And boy how I hope she aspires to State office one day.
The question is whether or not she'd be able to run as a Republican. Because if the party stays mired in the backwards-thinking past it would be like hitching her campaign to a boat anchor, and that would be a shame. This is one Republican that wants to sail free.
And if this year's election results are any indication, so do the majority of Americans.
Despite the fact that blogs are kind of dying now that Facebook and Twitter have takeover, Blogography still gets a considerable amount of traffic. And a good chunk of that is thanks to Google searches. My blog has been around so long and has built up so much content that I guess people can't help but run across it. And since I update every day, search engines tend to toss a lot of results my way.
As I was sitting at the airport waiting for my flight to Atlanta this afternoon, I was bored enough to check my web stats... only to find out that my visitor counts have gone through the roof. Turns out that people are Googling to find out about "gay marriage" (or, as I now like to call it, "marriage") in Washington, and being directed to an entry I wrote back in 2008.
Something tells me that what they find there is not quite what people have in mind when they click through...
Yes, I was being a smartass about marriage equality leading to the end of the universe, but now that same-sex marriage is actually happening, there are people who seem to honestly believe it's true. This blows my mind on a number of levels. Not the least of which being that TWO DUDES OR TWO GALS GETTING MARRIED DOESN'T AFFECT YOU. And if you think it does, then that's your problem. The rest of us well-adjusted straight people will be standing over here not giving a shit about your insecurities. And I guarantee you that the people who have been waiting all their lives for the right to celebrate their love in marriage aren't giving a crap either...
Some people fall in love with someone that has the same genitals they do. Get over it. Contrary to cartoons you might find on the internet, it's not the end of the universe.
While Americans from coast to coast are gorging themselves on turkey and pumpkin pie, I feel it's important to remember those who risk their lives so we can enjoy this privilege. My most heartfelt thanks to all our brave men and women in uniform... especially those whose military service takes them far away from home on this day of thanksgiving.
I feel it is also important to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country. And from a grateful nation to those families and friends who have sacrificed with them, know that your loss has not been forgotten...
As always, I recommend a visit to AnySoldier.com as a way to reach out and say "thank you" to a soldier during the holidays (or any time, really).
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
I hardly ever just plop down somebody else's stuff on my blog... but after I saw a photo on Facebook this morning, it has been all I can think about all day long.
So many times I find myself thinking that the job our police think they have is to "Harass and Humiliate" rather than "Serve and Protect" as their motto claims. Getting bullshit tickets... or seeing people in peaceful protest getting pepper-sprayed... or watching yet another "excessive force" dash-cam video on the news... it all contributes to this ongoing terrible image we form in our heads when the word "POLICE" is uttered.
But we know that's not true. Not for some police. Undoubtedly not for most police. I'm betting the vast majority of police officers truly want to help serve and protect the community they work in. They must, because it's a fairly thankless job. And yes, there are some rotten apples in the barrel, but that shouldn't define police officers as a whole.
Especially when wonderful things like this come to light...
Jennifer Foster of Florence, AZ was visiting Times Square with her husband Nov. 14 when they saw a shoeless man asking for change. She writes, “Right when I was about to approach, one of your officers came up behind him. The officer said, ‘I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let’s put them on and take care of you.’ The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man. The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching*. I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life. I did not get the officer’s name. It is important, I think, for all of us to remember the real reason we are in this line of work. The reminder this officer gave to our profession in his presentation of human kindness has not been lost on myself or any of the Arizona law enforcement officials with whom this story has been shared."
*image cropped from the distance at which it was taken
I cannot adequately express what this story means to me.
Because moments like this mean everything to me.
This police officer and kind-hearted people like him are a gift to all humanity. And acts of compassion like this inspire others to open their own hearts and make this world a better place. This is how we survive as a species.
And we need it so badly right now.
So thank you, officer, for giving shoes to someone in need.
And by "shoes" I mean "hope" and by "someone" I mean "everyone."
I started writing an entry for today, then realized what I had written back in 2008 still holds true and sums up what I feel perfectly. And so, a repeat, of sorts...
Today is World AIDS Day.
Back when I was in high school, there was talk going around about the "disease that kills faggots dead," and I remember very well listening to some insane bitch on television spout off about how God's retribution against the homosexuals was at hand. Of course, for the homophobic masses, it was too good to be true. Or too good to last. Because AIDS soon moved on to heterosexuals, which was still okay because they obviously did something to incur God's wrath, right? But then children started getting AIDS and, since nobody wants to think that God would give a child AIDS, attitudes towards the disease started to change.
But not fast enough.
Because I also remember the widespread panic that hit in the late 80's as there was serious concerns that the AIDS crisis was going to wipe out a massive chunk of the population before anything could be done to stop it. This eventually proved to be true, but not to the genocidal levels that were originally projected by some of the more alarmist "specialists" in the field.
I've known exactly four people who have died of AIDS.
To me this seems like a tragic number to have died from anything, but it's barely a blip on the radar to some people I know. People who tell horror stories of how they did nothing but go to funerals in the late 80's and early 90's, and how most everybody they knew who wasn't already dead was dying. An unfathomable situation that would test the resolve of anybody.
Yet the human condition prevails. The survivors pick up the pieces and move on as best they can...
AIDS is not over.
AIDS is happening right now.
AIDS is still killing people around the globe.
And now a new generation is reaching sexual maturity. A generation which has no memory of the rampant destruction that AIDS is capable of unleashing... not in some far away country, but right here at home.
Somebody has to educate them
And that's why today we remember.
And so today is the first day that Washingtonians can get a marriage license if the person they want to marry happens to be the same sex as they are.
It's all the sweeter knowing that their fellow Washingtonians voted to make it so. 53.7% of us feel that love is love, and our laws have no fucking business telling people who they should fall in love with. And this number has nowhere to go but up. Especially now that backwards-thinking straight people will see that two dudes getting married or two ladies getting married has absolutely no fucking effect on their lives.
The pictures rolling in are heartwarming.
Some of these people have been waiting decades for the opportunity to get married...
Photo ©2012 from Meryl Schenker's beautiful set
Photo ©2012 from Meryl Schenker's beautiful set
And even here in Redneckistan, happy couples came to get licenses...
Photo © 2012 The Wenatchee World by Mike Bonnicksen
You have to be one cynical bastard not to be happy for such happy people being so happy.
But, of course, cynical bastards are everywhere.
The bigoted pieces of shit over at the hate group "One Million Moms" apparently feel that gay people shouldn't even be allowed on television. Even when they're not doing anything "gay." Their latest in a long line of absurd targets is this cute ad for JC Penny with Ellen and some elves in it...
What the fuck?
Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK?!??
It's a commercial featuring one of the sweetest, kindest, most caring people on television talking to some elves. I mean, holy shit... I could understand if Ellen was eating out the entire Dallas Cowboys cheerleader squad and the ad was airing during Saturday morning cartoons... but this?!? THIS is what's being protested?
I guess these morons think that seeing Ellen in a television commercial is going to turn girls into lesbians or something, so hold on to your vaginas, ladies.
But even more disgusting than a group of repugnant bitches wanting to eradicate gay people from television is that these repugnant bitches ARE MOMS! They are raising children! Children who may very well end up being gay in one of the most hostile environments imaginable... their own parents want them eradicated.
Which is how teenagers end up putting a gun to their head and pulling the trigger.
I can only hope that the fact that gay people are on television... and gay people are in the news being happy... and gay people are getting married... only serves to show these kids that there is life outside the horrendous environment their own homophobic parents create for them. That one day they can escape from these million idiots and be happy. That life gets better.
And so, on behalf of the 53.7% of the people in Washington who want to create a better life for all kids out there... fuck you, "One Million Moms." Fuck you up your ignorant, bigoted asses. If there's any justice you'll have to pay for the blood on your hands. I just hope your children aren't going to be forced to pay with you.
And to all the happy couples out there... congratulations!
-> Click here to see the complete Blogography archives!