Today can just go away now. My thoughts are with Gabrielle Giffords, her family, and everybody affected by the terrible events in Arizona.
And so, as promised, here I am commenting on the tragedy in Arizona after a day off from thinking about anything. I suppose I should preface this entry with a disclaimer in the hopes that my comments and email inbox won't explode with hate, which is about the last thing I need right now...
This blog post is in no way an attempt to tell people what to think. I am not trying to change anybody's mind. I'm not trying to get people riled up. I'm not trying to send a political message. I'm not trying to do anything except write down my thoughts in the hope that it will help me to move past this dreadful act of violence that has broken my heart and put me in a state of despair that I haven't felt in quite a while. I ache inside when I think of a little nine-year old girl being gunned down before she's even had a chance at life. I know that this isn't new... I know that unspeakable violence against children happens all over the world every day. But every once in a while an event like this brings all the pain forward and suddenly you're overwhelmed by something you try to forget... something you try to deny even exists. Then the reality of it all beats you down until you don't want to exist in a world where something so senseless and stupid can happen to somebody so innocent...
The shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, is clearly a seriously disturbed individual. Even a cursory look at his writings and YouTube videos reveal that he is mentally unstable with a tenuous grip on reality, perhaps even full-on schizophrenia, (as if gunning down a child wasn't proof enough that something is wrong). It's not in the scope of a simple blog entry to go into the peticulars of mental illness and my experience with those inflicted by it... except to say that trying to explain why they do the things they do and what causes them to do the things they do will make you crazy. I don't pretend to know what punishment is fitting for someone so clearly disturbed but, thankfully, it's not my job to decide that.
A lot has been written blaming Sarah Palin's "target list" (which clearly names Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as a political enemy) as a contributing factor to what happened...
Coupled with her Twitter comments telling her followers "Don't retreat, RELOAD!" it understandably paints her in a bad light. And, since everybody is always looking for a villain whenever something terrible happens, she's a very easy person to blame.
Except... I don't for a single second believe that Sarah Palin honestly wished that somebody would pick up a gun and kill these people. Like me, she comes from a place and a culture where guns and gun terminology are just a way of life. I know this because I have been around guns all my life. Many, many people where I live own guns for hunting, for sport, and for protection (yes, we have a police department, but that's not going to be much help if you live ten miles up a canyon somewhere and somebody is breaking into your home or you're being attacked by a bear). When I was young I got my firearm safety card. I know how to use a gun. I've shot guns in the past. And even though my beliefs forbid me from handling a gun today, I could certainly do so if I had to. It's just part of the culture where I live and grew up.
As is the gun-based terminology that Sarah Palin is currently being crucified for.
But I'll get back to that in a minute.
First I want to go a bit deeper into "gun culture" and what that actually means. Because, whether or not it's prevalent in the area you're at, if you live in the United States of America, you're a part of it. And it starts from an early age.
If you're anything like me, a very early age...
This is the kind of stuff I grew up watching. If you're my age (or Sarah Palin's age) odds are, you did too. And for me to say that it affected her and not me would be pretty hypocritical. Here is a panel from a DaveToon from 2004...
And here's a full DaveToon strip from 2006...
And, just to show that I'm not above gun violence to myself...
Heck, I use guns ALL THE TIME in my DaveToons. And it's not always Daffy-Duck-style blasts to the face either. In a DaveToon from two years ago there were actual bullets involved...
Now, granted, the vast majority of times nobody actually gets hurt in my DaveToons. Just like with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoons, in context the guns are used for comedic effect, not to actually kill somebody. Even when I finally used bullets in my gun, the worst I could manage would be to shoot off somebody's hat. And yet, I have occasionally shown somebody riddled with bullet-holes. Like the time I tried to show the results of somebody "Happy Slapping" a random person in Britain vs. somebody "Happy Slapping" a random person in the USA...
And, of course, registering my displeasure with George Lucas over his stupid Star Wars prequels and screwing up the Indiana Jones franchise...
In context things like this are mere fantasy ramblings. Even though I don't use guns in real life and think that the world would be better off without them, I'm not above using them for entertainment in a cartoon on a blog meant for adults. Or enjoying them for entertainment value either. I regularly watch all kinds of action movies where people are getting shot left and right. In the context of entertainment, I don't find anything wrong with that. And neither should George Lucas... he has "Indiana Jones" shoot a lot of people in his movies. Heck, he even massacred a bunch of kids in Revenge of the Sith!
All that being said, I'm not against people owning guns in our gun-based culture. That ship has sailed. In the USA the guns are here and they're here to stay. If we were to all of a sudden ban guns, it would have very little net effect. Since the majority of people mis-using guns are criminals anyway, you'd be removing the ability for non-criminals to protect themselves against them. For better or worse, we have a gun culture and that isn't going to change.
But, given the seemingly never-ending tragedy involving insane people with guns, it's not like we shouldn't at least attempt to figure out a way to keep things like this from happening. The problem is that nothing we try seems to work. Things like "waiting periods" and "background checks" may stop some senseless tragedies from happening where they exist, but the shootings are still going on. Because the crazy people always seem to find a way. Just like when an alcoholic gets behind the wheel of a car while drunk and ends up mowing down innocent people in a sidewalk somewhere. It's illegal, we have laws against it, we have court-mandated rehab to try and prevent it, and yet it keeps happening. This doesn't mean we shouldn't keep trying, but there doesn't seem to be a foolproof solution at hand. At least not here in the United States where guns are everywhere. Just like prohibition with alcohol, there will always be a way for people to get their hands on something... even when it's been made illegal.
The perils of people having of guns is an issue that requires a lot more thought. And I'm not going to claim to know how that chestnut can be cracked.
But what about the perils of people talking guns in their language, communication, and entertainment?
Is somebody like me who draws cartoons glorifying gun violence for entertainment partly responsible for escalating gun-based violence in this country? What about cartoons, video games, television shows, comic books, movies, YouTube videos, websites, and all the rest?
And yet... not really.
Taken in context, someone would have to be insane to look at one of my DaveToon rants or a Daffy Duck cartoon and think that they're being instructed to go get a gun and shoot somebody.
Unfortunately, as we are sadly aware, these people actually exist.
So, like I said... probably.
And yet... not really.
Even though I loathe Sarah Palin, abhor her politics, despise her lies, deplore her half-truths, and find her messages of hate and bigotry to be disgusting on every possible level... even though I find her partisan hackery and unfounded attacks to be reprehensible... even though I think she has a lot to answer for when it comes to her irresponsible manipulation of people with fear, uncertainty, and doubt... even though she is one of the most useless, incomprehensibly stupid people I have ever seen in the political arena... even though she disgusts me in ways I can barely enunciate... her saying "Don't retreat, RELOAD" and drawing targets on her political rivals is just a part of our gun-based culture. Sarah Palin is being strung up for something most of us are guilty of in some way.
Even Daffy Duck.
When I was in high school I remember a pep rally poster where gun targets were painted over drawings of mascots from other school's sports teams. Above that, something like "WE'VE GOT YOU IN OUR SIGHTS" was painted. Did our school literally want to hunt down rival schools with guns? Of course not. Was our intent to incite others to hunt down these rival schools with guns? Of course not. But that's the culture where I come from. No sane person would attach heinous acts of violence to something like this because In context it's simply communicating team spirit in words and images everybody here understands.
In the wilds of Alaska where Sarah Palin is off shooting moose and clubbing fish, I'm sure it's much the same. Words like "RELOAD" are just colloquial parts of speech where she comes from, and a means of expressing her seriousness in the idea of confronting opposition head-on. I totally get that. The USA is filled with violent imagery just about everywhere you look, and she's just latching onto that as a way of stating her opinions. In that respect, she's no different than Quentin Tarantino making violent films like Reservoir Dogs or the people at Rockstar Games who make the Grand Theft Auto video games.
Except... as a political leader, Sarah Palin should know better. She should act better. She should be a better example. She should inspire better. And she should lead by a higher standard. But she never has, and I don't expect her to start now. When your message is one of division and hatred, there's very little room to maneuver. Sudden pleas for respectful debate and intelligent compromise would be seen as a huge weakness by her fan-base, and an implausible reversal by everybody else. She's trapped in a prison of her own making, and though she may temporarily tone down her rhetoric, it's only a matter of time before she's back to form or else she knows that she's finished.
And that means we ALL have a problem.
Because while I have every confidence that Sarah Palin never in a million years intended for anybody to be shot because of her gun-speak and infographics... when taken in context she should not be the least bit surprise that the accusations are being laid at her doorstep. You can't viciously attack your political rivals with such unbridled vitriol and expect nobody is going to take your extremes to an extreme.
Whether that's what happened here, we may never know. As I said, trying to understand the mindset of a disturbed person like Jared Lee Loughner will drive you crazy. But... so long as Sarah Palin continues down the road she's on, she should expect to be taking more heat down the line.
Hopefully you can now understand why I choose to forgive... even defend... Sarah Palin using language and imagery that's a part of America's gun culture to communicate. It would be hypocritical of me not to.
But I hope you can also understand why I choose to believe that context is everything when it comes to something like this, and hers is hardly a message or method I can support. Respectful debate has been replaced with vicious attacks when it comes to political discourse in this country... on both sides of the political spectrum. That this will lead to violence is not surprising. That people in this country will stand for it is surprising.
Or not. I mean, you've got kids watching Elmer Fudd blow off Daffy Duck's head seventeen times for heaven's sake.
w00t! The Seattle Seahawks have made the Divisional Playoffs in the race for the SuperBowl!
Which is kind of crazy given their losing record of 7-9, but who am I to argue with the wacky rules of the NFL?
Anyway, Tacoma's Truman Middle School here in Washington State was having a "Seahawks Spirit Day" today, where students were allowed an exception from their mandatory dress code in order to wear a Seahawks jersey. If a student didn't wish to participate in the "Seahawks Spirit Day" festivities, they could just wear the regular school uniform.
One kid, who is a Pittsburgh fan, asked if he could wear a Steeler's jersey instead. He was told no, but did it anyway, then got sent home because of it.
And rightfully so.
I mean, you break the rules, you pay the price. That's the way life goes.
Even if it's a rule that's monumentally fucking stupid.
Let's break this down...
Let's say your choice is the same one given to the students at Truman. You can stick with the school uniform you wear every other day, OR you can wear a Seahawks jersey...
Well, if you're a Seahawks fan, then this is a no-brainer. Not only do you choose to wear the jersey, you do so gladly and with a smile on your face. If you're not a Seahawks fan... or not a football fan... or not a fan of team the colors... or whatever... you may or may not choose to wear the Seahawks jersey, depending on how much you hate the school uniform option.
But what if you are not a Seahawks fan?
What if you hate the Seattle Seahawks?
Well, then the choice is a no-brainer too. You don't wear the jersey no matter how much you dislike the school uniform, because the idea of supporting the Seahawks fills you with disgust. You'd rather die.
Let me try to put this in terms that non-fans can understand.
Giving a Seahawks-hater the choice between a school uniform and a Seahawks jersey is the same thing as giving somebody the choice between a school uniform and a pink bear hat with pink shoes, pink pants, and a pink shirt that says "I (heart) Pink"...
Unless wearing something like that appeals to you, in which case it would be like giving somebody the choice between a school uniform and a hat with a giant penis on top with no pants and T-shirt which says "JUICY!" on it...
In other words, no choice at all.*
And that's why the rule was so stupid. It was presented as if the students had a choice... but some of them weren't actually getting a choice. Not really.
If you're going to have a "Spirit Day" for NFL playoffs at school, then the students should be able to wear a jersey from ANY of the teams that are in the playoffs. It's just that simple. If football is "America's game" then anything less is pretty un-American when you stop and think about it.
And that just ain't right.
* If BOTH the pink bear hat uniform AND the penis hat uniform appeal to you, then there's really nothing I can do to explain this to you. Carry on.
"Dude, that's pretty fucked up. She's the worst person ever."
Ordinarily, I tend to ignore hyperbole. Exaggeration is such a huge part of everybody's vocabulary now-a-days that you pretty much have to. Not that you can really blame people. When you're inundated by sensationalism in movies, television, music, advertising, and the news, it's only natural that it's going to migrate to everyday conversation. This can sometimes make it difficult to accurately gauge the severity of a situation, but it certainly makes a phone call a heck of a lot more entertaining.
And yet there are some people who are not prone to hyperbole at all.
Like my friend Sam.
So when he declares that somebody is "the worst person ever" it gets my attention.
And who is this woman who has become the subject of his ire? Sarah Palin? Judge Judy? Ann Coulter? Hillary Clinton? Nancy Grace? Michelle Malkin? Elisabeth Hasselbeck? Paula Deen? Tyra Banks? Martha Stewart? Paula Abdul?
No. None of the obvious suspects. Turns out it was Cathy Cruz Marrero.
"Who the fuck is Cathy Cruz Marrero?" I ask.
"She's that dumbass that fell into a fountain while texting," Sam says, his words dripping with a loathing usually reserved for telemarketers, mimes, and serial-murderers. "She's hiring an attorney because she feels humiliated that the surveillance video of her was put on YouTube..."
"Soooo... she was a dumbass, and now she wants to get paid for it?" I inquire, trying to use a tone that won't escalate the conversation.
"YES!! NOBODY EVEN KNEW WHO SHE WAS UNTIL SHE STARTED TALKING TO THE PRESS!" Sam screams. "Why can't she just laugh it off like any normal person would and consider it a lesson learned? Why is she fucking suing people for her stupidity? Worst person ever."
"Yeah, I can see where tha--"
"WORST PERSON EVER! EHHHHHHVEEEEEEERRRR!!!" I hear Sam screech into the phone. "She DESERVES to feel humiliated!"
And so she does.
It's things like this that make me wonder if there's no limit to people's shame or lack of personal responsibility. This woman claims that mall security should have dropped everything and come running to make sure she was okay when she fell into the fountain (instead of standing around laughing). Well, WATCH THE VIDEO, MORON! You hopped out of that fountain almost immediately, then walked off. Obviously you were okay, so there was nothing more to do except stand around and laugh at your stupid ass. I'm sure if you laid there unmoving face-down in the water, their reaction would have been completely different. But that didn't happen. Your ridiculous antics were entirely your own fault, the mall doesn't owe you a damn thing for being a dumbass, and your humiliation is entirely your own fault. So suck it up and stop being the worst person ever.
Because if Sam says it from the bottom of his hyperbole-free heart, that's exactly who you are*
*Hitler and sharks notwithstanding, I'm sure.
I'm a little depressed tonight because Hannah Montana is over. I'm also a little stressed because I'm leaving the country later this week. I'm also a little hungry because a slice of toast doesn't make for a very fulfilling dinner. And I'm also a little tired because I've been sleeping even less than usual. Life can be so hard.
• Forever? After putting it off as long as I could, I finally decided to watch the very last final forever episode of Hannah Montana. I fully maintain that it's one of the funniest shows on television, and always enjoyed it as an entertaining distraction from life. Though it definitely lost something in the last season (especially after Miley retired Hannah and revealed her secret to the world)... I think they wrapped it up on a high note. The cameo appearances by Amber & Ashley and Jesse & Oliver were a nice touch. Jackson and Rico had a great moment. Miley and Lilly had a terrific send-off. I honestly can't think of a way they could have ended the show any better. Good bye, Hannah...
• Incomprehensible. When it comes to organizations like The Trevor Project which was created to prevent suicides among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth... I never know how to feel. Part of me is saddened to the point of despair that such organizations have to exist. Part of me is angry to the point of blind fury that such organizations need to be formed at all. Part of me is relieved to the point of anguish that such organizations do exist for youth who desperately need their help. Because when I read about all the violence against kids who are different and just trying to get through life one more day... and when I read about yet another suicide from some poor teenager who couldn't take the abuse any longer... and when I remember back to when one of these kids reached out to me for help because he had nowhere else to turn... there is no emotion inside of me that is not affected. I simply cannot fathom how anybody could torture a young life to the point where The Trevor Project needs to be there to talk them out of taking their own life. Even more incomprehensible is how we live in a society which would allow such a thing.
But it gets worse. Entirely too many people are happy to write this off as "a gay problem" and ignore it. But anybody paying attention knows that this just isn't true. Bullying knows no boundaries. Earlier this week a young girl in Pennsylvania may have committed suicide because of bullying... and there's nothing to indicate it had anything to do with her sexuality. At some point people are going to have to stop treating youth suicide as "a gay problem" and start treating is as everybody's problem. Thinking your kid is excluded is the first mistake. Get involved.
• Olbermann. I never watched Keith Olbermann's Countdown for the same reason I never watch anything on FOX News... it's all just destructive partisan bullshit rhetoric designed to tear this country apart. What kills me is the outbreak of sheer joy by Conservatives across the blogosphere now that Olbermann and MSNBC have retired Countdown. I mean, who gives a shit? It's not like any of them watched his show. Keith Olbermann was just somebody to hate. As usual, the venom being unleashed by the hardcore Right is baffling. The general consensus seems to be something like "HA HA! I'M SO HAPPY OLBERMANN'S DISGUSTING LIBERAL TRASH IS OFF THE AIR!" which is ironic on so many levels. I mean, as opposed to what?!? The disgusting CONSERVATIVE trash that's being unleashed daily from shows like The O'Reilly Factor and The Sean Hannity Show and The Glenn Beck Program?
If FOX News is where somebody chooses to get their information, more power to them. This is a free country, and people can believe what they wish (at least for the time being). But saying FOX News is some kind of "fair and balanced news source" instead of the partisan propaganda machine it obviously is... then crucifying Olbermann for doing the same thing on the opposite side of the fence... it's just plain stupid. All any of these people ever do is keep Americans at each other's throats because it makes them money. I choose to repudiate such reprehensible, anti-American behavior in the hopes that we can all be respectful of each other's opinions and beliefs and work together to make this a great country FOR ALL OF US. Granted, this is even more delusional than somebody believing FOX News isn't partisan hackery, but at least I don't go around hating people because somebody tells me to. I hate people because of their actions... just like our Founding Fathers intended.
• Limbaugh. And one of the people I choose to hate for their actions is Rush Limbaugh. This absurdly stupid pile of shit apparently has an amazing talent to make people turn off their brains when they listen to him. Unbelievable, I know, but it's the only explanation that makes any sense when you hear the vile bullshit he spews every time he opens his mouth. His latest racist rant against the Chinese offends me on so many levels that I couldn't even listen to his fucked-up crap until Steven Colbert injected jokes into it...
I mean, seriously. What the fuck?
How could anybody listen to such utter idiocy and take Rush Limbaugh seriously? Who could hear this bullshit and think Rush Limbaugh is not a complete dumbass? He doesn't comprehend how anybody could possibly communicate in any language except English? He doesn't understand that waiting until a somebody finishes speaking to a live audience before interrupting with a translation is just extending respect and courtesy due a WORLD LEADER? He doesn't think that if there was a major mis-translation of the speech that anybody would notice? He thinks making fun of a language spoken by over a BILLION people with "ching chong chung ching chang" isn't offensive? He honestly feels that President Obama being polite by paying attention to Chinese Paramount Leader Hu Jintao is stupid because Obama doesn't understand Chinese? (what the fuck would Rush Limbaugh do? Take out a Q-Tip swab and clean his ears?). What am I missing? How do people not see that Rush Limbaugh is nothing more than a moron with a severely diminished mental capacity and a microphone?
It's one thing to be upset over China's sad record on human rights. Or to be upset that the USA owes China such a staggering sum of money. Or to be confused by the customs, languages, and laws of foreign countries. But it's another thing entirely to think that being a self-important, xenophobic, rude asshole to a visiting foreign leader is how we should be conducting foreign diplomacy. It is painfully obvious that the people of this nation desperately need to travel outside our borders (not necessarily physically) and see more of the world so that disgusting voices like Rush Limbaugh's don't define our ignorance. Sadly, it may already be too late.
And, on that sour note, I think it's time for bed. Just maybe I'll actually be able to get some sleep tonight.
They're just words.
Whether you support President Obama, don't support President Obama, love President Obama, loathe President Obama, agree with President Obama, disagree with President Obama... in the end they're just words.
And yet... words can be very powerful things. Words can inspire. Words can bring comfort. Words can bring hope.
Words can also bring pain, fear, and discord.
And while I don't agree with everything President Obama says or does when it comes to his presidential politics, in the end I think that his words paint him as a true patriot. A patriot who is trying his best to inspire, comfort, and bring hope to a desperate nation in difficult times. He believes that the ideals of his administration are the best hope for this country and the citizens who call it home. And even though there are those of us who may disagree with his politics, I think it is a mistake to paint him as anything except a man trying his best to do what he feels is the right thing for our country.
That being said, I am neither inspired, nor comforted, nor given hope by President Obama's State of the Union address this evening.
Because I know... I know... that right after President Obama's speech... and after Representative Paul Ryan's response to his speech... and after wack-job, dumbass, crazy-ass, bat-shit insane Representative Michele Bachmann's response to Paul Ryan's response to President Obama's speech...
... it's back to politics as usual.
Because there is simply too much money to be made on both sides of the political spectrum in keeping pain, fear, and discord alive in this country.
Money that the vast majority of us will never see.
It's not a Republican thing. It's not a Democratic thing. It's not a Liberal thing or a Conservative thing. It's not Right or Left or Blue or Red thing.
It's a money thing.
That used to be a people thing.
And really needs to be a people thing once again.
Hopefully sooner rather than later.
But those are just words too.
When I was visiting Tunisia last year, our tour stopped at a parking lot in Carthage where our guide had us exit the bus and look in one direction... towards a Islamic mosque. Then he had us look the opposite direction... towards a Christian church. He proudly told us that while Tunisia was predominantly Muslim, other faiths were welcome to worship there, and everybody gets along with their neighbors just fine even though they may worship in different ways. He then went on to say how Tunisians welcome and even encourages those of the Jewish faith to make an annual pilgrimage to their island of Djerba, where there's a famous synagogue housing one of the oldest handwritten copies of the Torah in existence. He was intent on getting across that Jews and Muslims aren't always enemies, and mutual respect goes a long ways towards a peaceful coexistence between faiths in Tunisia...
Looking one way... El Abidine Mosque
Looking the other... La cathédrale Saint-Louis de Carthage
It reminded me of when I was visiting Istanbul (in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country) and the guide there remarked that it was not uncommon to have a mosque, church, and synagogue all within a short walking distance, with people of different faiths all living together peacefully in the same neighborhood.
Which in turn reminded me of when I was in Bali (in Indonesia, another predominantly Muslim country) and noted that a mosque, church, synagogue, and even a Buddhist temple could literally be built side-by-side with nobody thinking anything odd about it at all. The Balinese people may worship differently, but they can work, live, and play together just the same.
Not to say that some hateful morons don't occasionally come along and try to fuck up the peace for everybody. It seems there's always sad news about religious violence happening somewhere. Whether it be radical gangs torching a synagogue... or a mosque getting burned down by religious extremists... or a government committing violent acts in the name of a religion and a people they don't truly represent... or some other tragic event that undermines peaceful coexistence. But this is an unfortunate element that's present in all societies, and is contrary to the vast majority of people who simply want to live and worship in peace, regardless of what religion they adhere to.
Turns out that people are people wherever you go and, despite fundamental differences in our beliefs, it's an underlying desire to coexist in peace which unites us as humans...
Click to embiggen Scarboro Missions' excellent Golden Rule poster.
And that just reminded me of how Egyptian Muslims formed a human shield so Egyptian Coptic Christians could worship in peace at Christmas Mass after a recent bombing... just as Egyptian Christians formed a human shield so Egyptian Muslim protestors could perform their daily prayers without fear of attack during the recent uprising. In the end, these people have decided that they are all Egyptians, and banding together in unity despite their differences was their strength...
Christians form a human shield in Egypt... photo copyright Nevine Zaki
Which brings me to the entire point of this blog entry and how it relates to my country.
Because I find it alternately amusing and disgusting that the same people who feel that the USA is a "Christian Nation" and should be governed by "Christian principles" are completely losing their shit over the idea that "Islamic Nations" like Tunisia and Egypt may form new governments where "Islamic principles" play a part. As if freedom is only freedom and democracy is only democracy if they are governed by "Christian beliefs" at their core.
Personally, I think governments should be free of religious dogma and let religion function as an independent entity of personal choice (sound familiar?) but the hypocrisy of some Conservatives in the USA dictating that groups like The Muslim Brotherhood should have no voice in the government of Islamic nations is laughable. It's like if Muslims in Turkey suddenly dictated that Christian Conservatives should have no voice in the US government. Americans would lose their minds. Rush Limbaugh would fucking explode. And then he'd probably say we have to eat chicken at Thanksgiving because Turkey is anti-American or some stupid shit like that (you laugh... but remember Freedom Fries?).
And people wonder why The Middle East is so unstable. I don't want to get overly-political or analytical here, but from what I've seen with my own eyes, experienced in my own travels, and have confirmed by making Muslim friends both around the world and here at home... Islam having a voice in politics is not the problem. Forcing a country to adopt a system of leadership and government that is not representative of its peoples or serving their best interests, however, is a very big problem.
So let these countries find their own way. Encourage them to find their own way.
Because that's real democracy in action. Because that's what's going to produce a stable, prosperous country. Because that's what's going to make an ally not only for the United States of America, but for the world. People, at their heart, just want to worship as they choose and live in peace. Let this be the guiding force that rebuilds these countries. It worked pretty well for the USA.
At least in the beginning.
Yes, this may result in a government which is not in step with America's interests. Yes, there's no way of knowing where it will lead. Yes, there's a risk that some radical group might commandeer the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia and get their peoples into a bigger mess than they are already in... but give the people a chance. Trust that in their heart they just want to worship as they choose and live in peace.
Just like most everybody else on this planet.
It's a tale as old as time, really.Against all odds two people find each other. They fall in love. They get married. They want to start a family but, for one reason or another, they can't have children. But their hearts are full and they have much to offer and so they find a way. Maybe they hire a surrogate to bear them the child they want so badly. There's much to do. Diapers to buy. Clothes to find. A nursery to build. Then all that's left to do is wait.
Nine months later, a son is born.
The happiest day of their lives has finally come.
Except in this case the happy couple in question is two Belgian guys living in France, the surrogate mother is in the Ukraine, and homophobic red tape has left a nursery empty for two years while the child is stuck in an orphanage...
In the above photo the biological father, Laurent Ghilain, is on the left. His husband, Peter Meurrens, is on the right. The empty crib in the middle is where their son, Samuel Ghilain, should have been.
A while back I read about their struggle to get a passport issued for their son so they could bring him home. I made a comment about how fucked up it was that a baby was in an orphanage when he had two perfectly good parents who were waiting for him. Literally begging for him. But nobody would hear their plea.
Then today I was emailed a link to a follow-up story.
Little Samuel is home at last...
And despite the fact that such insanity is nothing new, I watched this footage and wondered all over again how anybody could be so fucked up as to believe this child belonged anywhere except with his father. Later on, there was one part of the story that caught my attention. It was a set of still-photos showing Laurent and Peter visiting Laurent's newborn son...
And that's when it kind of hits you.
Breaking the situation down to its base elements, you end up with this...
Two images of fatherhood that would tug at the heartstrings of just about anyone, anywhere.
But put the two together, and a segment of the population inexplicably loses their fucking mind...
A child lucky enough to have two daddies who will love and cherish him forever is unacceptable. But a child who is orphaned, unwanted, or unloved is somehow better off.
A kid in a loving home is a bad thing when his parents are gay. But shoving that same kid in an orphanage somewhere is what's "best for the child."
How can anybody think this way and not be seen as anything less than a monster?
How can we tolerate a society that justifies such heinous treatment of children?
How can we live knowing that anybody could look at an image like this...
...and not see it as anything but a joyous and wonderful event?
Sometimes the people on this world we live in fill me with such depression and despair that my heart feels as though it can't take it any more. I get to the point where all I can see is the hatred that plagues humanity day after day and the weight of it crushes me so I can barely breath. All the pain, the suffering, the sadness, the death, the destruction... so many senseless horrors... they wear on my mind so heavily that I don't even want to exist anymore.
But then I watch something beautiful like this and it's all forgotten...
I like to think that one day all the bigoted assholes of this earth will be dead and forgotten to the betterment of all humanity. Indeed, some days it's the only thing that keeps me going.
In the meanwhile, welcome home, Samuel.
It's now 2:00am. As I have dozens of friends in Japan, I've been staying awake scouring the internet for information on what might be happening. Since communications have been interrupted or cut-off, only a handful have gotten the word out that they are okay. The news makes it sound as though Tokyo is just shaken, but eyewitness reports from the city tell another story. Some buildings are badly damaged or even collapsing. Traffic is at a standstill. People have been seriously hurt from falling furniture or debris.
And then there's the Miyagi prefecture north of Tokyo which is under siege by tsunami. The images are horrific and heartbreaking. I know of a family living in a small city south of Sendai, where the damage has been extensive. I have no idea what's happening with them. All I can do is hope that they are okay.
I sit here waiting, and the dread is starting to pile up.
Partly because I know that a lot of people have lost their lives today. Partly because tens of thousands of people are most certainly unaccounted for. Partly because my friends undoubtedly have family and friends they can't reach. Partly because people are going to be rebuilding their lives during a world-wide recession. Partly because the effects from such tragic events will take years... if not decades... to recover from.
But my dread mostly comes from wondering how the evil fucking people on this earth are going to take advantage of this terrible situation.
Is Pat Robertson or some other opportunistic piece of shit asshole going to go on television and say that the earthquake is the fault of the Japanese people because they're not Christian enough? Because they don't condemn homosexuality strongly enough? Because they have temples built by faiths that don't have Jesus in them?
Given Robertson's reprehensible remarks about Haiti, New Orleans, and a multitude of other people and places, I suppose it's inevitable that he attack the Japanese as well. I guess this is how he makes his "followers" feel superior so they'll send him money for his "ministry." Send Pat Robertson money to do "God's work" and God will spare you from a fate worse than the evil people being punished in the news today.
People suffering in the midst of great tragedy deserve more than to be vilified and crucified by some crazy-ass piece of shit with a false-prophet complex who claims he speaks for God. This evil, manipulative, disgusting, vile, lying bastard can't die and go to his "hell" fast enough.
So we can move on to an even more evil, manipulative, disgusting, vile, lying bastard.
Because the opportunity to exploit tragedy for money never seems to go out of style.
UPDATE: Now this is how a religious leader should react... as a voice of compassion...
Dharamsala, H.P., India, 12 March 2011 - In a letter sent on 12 March to H.E. Naoto Kan, the Prime Minister of Japan, His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his shock and sadness on hearing the news of yesterday's earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan. His Holiness offered his prayers for those who have lost their lives and offered his sympathy and condolences to their families and others affected by it. He expressed that we must all be grateful that the Japanese Government's disaster preparedness measures have prevented the death and destruction from being much worse. Finally, as a Buddhist monk who daily recites the Heart Sutra, His Holiness felt it would be very good if Japanese Buddhists were to recite the Heart Sutra on this occasion. Such recitation may not only be helpful for those who have lost their precious lives, but may also help prevent further disasters in the future. Prayers to recite the Heart Sutra one hundred thousand times were being organized in Dharamsala for this purpose.
More crazy Pat Robertson crap on Blogography...
August 23, 2005. I try to figure out why Pat Robertson is such a fucking moron.
January 6, 2006. I tell Pat Robertson to shut the fuck up.
June 25, 2007. I surmise that it's actually Pat Robertson who is a tool of the devil.
January 10, 2010. I wonder how people allow themselves to be manipulated by the clinically insane.
December 23, 2010. I consider therapy because Pat Robertson actually said something lucid and intelligent.
You may remember me writing about the plight of a man and his husband to get their child a passport so he could come home. Happily, after two years of fighting, it was all sorted and Samuel is now where he belongs.
I just got an email that an update has been posted (you can turn on English subtitles in the Flash (original) Player if they're not on already)...
Yeah, how horrible. The kid really looks like he's suffering.
And yet I'm sure there are people who still think he's better off in an orphanage somewhere than in a family with two fathers. Because everybody knows that having gay parents will hopelessly ruin a child's life...
I wonder how long it will be before all these people up in arms over "protecting families" and "protecting marriage" finally get a clue. They are the ones causing problems for families. Everybody else is doing just fine...
I shudder to think how many kids around the world are stuck in orphanages and foster care waiting for a loving home. And yet we continue to debate the worthiness of families to adopt them based on the ratio of penises to vaginas in the home. Didn't we get past this crap in kindergarten? If we didn't, shouldn't we have?
Graphic design is one of those fields that makes almost no sense to those outside of the practice. On the surface, it sounds simple... graphic design is the process of using images and/or words to communicate a message or story in an engaging manner. But the reality of it is far more complex. Often times, the true role of a graphic designer is that of mediator... finding a way to combine very different elements by very different people into a single cohesive piece. Sometimes you get lucky and everybody involved is on the same page. All the pieces of the project come together effortlessly, and everybody walks away happy.
But not always.
Sometimes its a battle from start to finish to just find a solution that pisses off the fewest number of people.
Projects like these are incredibly stressful because at some point you have to accept that not everybody is going to walk away happy. And since it's your job to make everybody happy, you can't help but feel like a failure even when the project ends up a success.
One time I was called in on a project which had been dragging on for months because the two previous graphic designers couldn't come up with an acceptable compromise. The client was a large-ish company which had a president, a board of directors, an art director, and an advisory committee... all of which had to be appeased before any design could be signed off on. On top of that, there was also a photographer and an artist involved, and they too needed to have a voice in the project. All told, there were fourteen people I had to work with. Fourteen people who each had opinions as to how the project should be handled.
No wonder all previous efforts had failed. Getting fourteen people to agree on something as arbitrary as a design concept is nigh impossible. I certainly had my work cut out for me this time.
The first thing I did was hold meetings with all the entities to find out their goals for the project.
Secondly I met with the creative people to find out what they felt would reach those goals.
Thirdly I reviewed the rejected works that the two previous designers had done.
Unfortunately, there was no clear direction for me to follow. So I decided to do something a little crazy. Instead of coming up with a single design that addressed everybody's goals, I decided to come up with five different designs that specifically addressed individual goals. I then made five separate presentations and got the five approvals I needed.
I then created a new design by carefully combining elements from all five projects which I had crafted to work together from the very start. Then I went around to everybody to present the finished design. At each stop, I placed emphasis on the pieces that they had contributed while de-emphasizing everything else. In this way, everybody felt as though their part was the most important.
And that was the key to getting approval on the project. NOT by trying to make everybody feel as though they were equally represented... but instead by making everybody feel as though their part was the dominant, most critical piece of the puzzle. Human nature dictates that everybody wants to feel more important... more special... than everybody else. I was just providing the illusion that this was the case, even though the reality was that everybody played an equal part.
Obviously, I am more talented a negotiator than the politicians in charge of the US budget.
MAKE YOUR FUCKING COMPROMISES TO PASS A BUDGET, THEN CONVINCE EVERYBODY THAT THEIR CONCERNS WERE THE DOMINANT, MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF THE PUZZLE! YOU'RE POLITICIANS, THAT'S WHAT YOU DO!
For crying out loud. Democrats want a 30 billion dollar cut. Republicans want a 60 billion dollar cut. Just call it a 45 billion dollar cut and declare victory already! All this stupid shit about shutting down the government makes me want to nuke Congress. Yo! Dumbfucks... it doesn't matter what you do... it's how you sell it. Any politician worth their salt can spin shit to sound like victory no matter what happens. But the egos here are massive, so declaring victory is apparently not good enough.
Which leaves us with name-calling and finger-pointing.
And a potential government shut-down.
I say put Tim Gunn in charge...
Photo by Bravo TV
Make it work, people. Make it work...
There's so much horror in the world today that we're pretty much conditioned to accept it as normal.
The problem being that it isn't normal, and I'm growing more and more despondent over the fact that people seem perfectly content to let it slide. We've become a society ruled by hatred and fear, and any joy we feel is tempered by the knowledge that somebody, somewhere hates us for what we think... for what we believe... for who we are. Even worse, we're constantly reminded of it. Keeping everybody in a perpetual state of fear is apparently the easiest way to control them.
This was made painfully clear to me earlier in the evening when I got a call from the National Rifle Association...
"I'M CALLING WITH A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE NRA WHO WANTS YOU TO LISTEN TO A SHORT ONE-MINUTE MESSAGE AND ANSWER A QUESTION ABOUT HOW CONGRESS IS TRYING TO STRIP US OF OUR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS AND--
"I'm not interested."
"IT WILL ONLY TAKE A MINUTE OF YOUR TIME AND--"
"I support gun ownership, and am disgusted that you are trying to scare the crap out of people with absurd threats like this. Nobody is taking our guns away. So no thanks."
= click! =
Now, he could have called and said "I'm with the NRA, and I'm calling to ask for your support as we work to ensure Second Amendment rights are protected for all Americans." But oh no... the asshole had to call and say "THEY'RE COMING TO TAKE YOUR GUNS AND STRIP YOU OF YOUR RIGHTS! BOOGAH BOOGAH BOOGA!!!"
Well fuck that. And fuck the NRA for being such fear-mongering dicks. While the particulars surrounding gun ownership will always be debated, there's not going to be a repeal of the Second Amendment when the majority of Americans support it. And how do I know the majority of American's support it? Oh... IT'S ON THE NRA'S FUCKING WEBSITE!
I suppose now I'm going to get a call from the anti-gun lobby saying "THE NRA WANTS TO FORCE YOUR KIDS TO CARRY GUNS IN SCHOOL!" or some other fear-encrusted bullshit.
It never ends.
And here I thought somebody telling me my handwriting was "stupid" because I don't drop the descenders on my p's and g's and y's and q's was the worst thing that could happen today...
... but instead I had to be reminded that the world sucks ass.
And that sucks ass.
P.S. My handwriting is terrible because I don't hand-write a lot. I mostly type on a computer. And when I do write, it's usually in all-caps. Sometimes I have to use lower-case letters, but I still like everything to fit between the lines on a paper so I move up all the letters that have descenders on them. Is that so wrong?
In all seriousness here, I don't know whether to laugh or cry anymore...
Don't get me wrong... if he can prove that President Obama was not born in the USA, REGARDLESS OF THE OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY, then more power to him. That would be a massive lie that deserves to be exposed, and "The Donald" would truly be doing our country a service by exposing it (even though I don't really give a shit).
Until there is some ACTUAL FUCKING EVIDENCE and all Trump has is a BUNCH OF FUCKING LIES then he should probably SHUT THE FUCK UP! Because if he CAN'T produce any ACTUAL FUCKING EVIDENCE then all he's doing is TRASHING THE PRESIDENT FOR PERSONAL GAIN WITH NO CONSEQUENCES FOR HIS LIES! I mean, come on... HE'S RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT!
Of course, all the birther pigfuckers are defending him by saying "Donald Trump is only asking questions! " But this is a load of shit. His "questions" are just lies masquerading as questions. It would be like Bill Gates popping up on every fucking news program in existence and saying "DONALD TRUMP HAS PROVIDED NO PROOF THAT HE'S NOT A CARD-CARRYING MEMBER OF NAMBLA AND HAS SEX WITH UNDERAGE BOYS!" Or perhaps "I AM SPENDING TWO MILLION DOLLARS TO FIND OUT THE TRUTH AS TO WHETHER DONALD TRUMP IS A PEDOPHILE THAT FUCKS CHILDREN!!" Or something like "THERE CONTINUES TO BE NO EVIDENCE THAT DONALD TRUMP IS NOT A CHILD RAPIST!"
People hear that shit... conclude that somebody with millions of dollars like Bill Gates must know what he's talking about... and suddenly people are believing that Donald Trump is having sex with their children. It's a lie (or so I would hope), but people are too fucking lazy to find out the truth, so they just roll over and believe what they think they're being told.
Look, I can't say for definite sure that President Obama was born in Hawaii like all the evidence says. I wasn't there. Maybe Trump is actually on to something. Maybe all the birther pigfuckers are right. Maybe it's all true. But I also wasn't there when Donald Trump allegedly had sex with all those young boys, so maybe that's true too.
I mean, it could be.
It's not like you need any evidence or hard facts anymore.
Just millions of dollars and an agenda to baselessly discredit somebody.
Or a blog. Same difference! It's all good!
This is what I look like watching the news on television...
I cannot believe how fucking insane this world is right now. The vast, unfathomable amount of dumbassery unleashed in a single day on this planet makes my brain melt. The vortex of stupid is so dense that it's like a black hole from which even light (and sanity) cannot escape. And just when you think it can't get any worse, a politician will pop up and prove you wrong.
At this point, I think it's time to accept the fact that we're all doomed.
If the world is ending, I'm having an extra serving of Snack-Pack with dinner.
Every time you turn around, something is responsible for turning everybody gay.
Show gay characters kissing on television, it turns people gay. Play gay lyrics on the radio, it turns people gay. Allow two dudes to get married, it turns people gay. Let gays serve in the military, it turns people gay. Anything that's gay is turning people gay. "Experts" say that this is because "validating the homosexual lifestyle" makes people think "it's okay to be gay" and, as a result, "kids turn gay because they think it's acceptable behavior."
Well okay then.
This would explain the drama unfolding over a J. Crew advertisement where a mother is having weekend fun with her young son by painting his toenails pink...
This caused a contributor over at (wait for it) FOX News, "Doctor" Keith Ablow, to declare that this kind "gender identity" confusion will require "psychotherapy for the kid." In other words, painting his toenails pink is turning him gay. Or, best case scenario, causing him to be confused about being straight.
Apparently whether he ends up liking vagina or penis is inconsequential to his sexual identity. It's the color of his toenails for one day when he's five years old that determines whether he's into clam or sausage.
Well okay then.
I guess it was a mistake to put Bad Monkey is charge of makeup around here...
Now, I'm no expert but maybe... just maybe... all this stuff isn't turning people gay at all. Perhaps they were gay all along, and seeing that "it's okay to be gay" on television and in music and in the military and in marriage just means that they can be honest with everybody about who they've always been.
Or... or... all their mothers painted their toenails pink for a day when they were five years old.
Because who am I to argue with a "doctor?"
But hold on a second...
If homosexuality is a product of gender confusion and pink nail polish, then how do you explain somebody like Gareth Thomas? He grew up in working-class Wales. He didn't have any gay influences and felt alone and different in his environment. He's a total badass in one of the toughest, most "masculine" sports on earth. He even got married because that's what was expected of him. And yet... he's gay?
Um. Yeah. Something tells me that he never got his toenails painted pink or wore a dress or played with dolls or did any of the "girlie" things that would make some poor, young, impressionable kid turn gay. On the contrary, his environment should have been enough to insure that any gay demons he had were duly excised.
So what the fuck happened?
And what about those kids who grow up in liberal hippie communes like Portland, Oregon where being gay is not only "okay"... it's embraced as an essential character trait and roundly encouraged by society? How the fuck does anybody growing up in that gay-friendly utopia ever turn out straight? What about straight kids who grew up with gay parents? Holy crap... those kids are around people being gay EVERY DAY!
Well, I'm no expert but maybe... just maybe...
Seriously. Am I the only one who goes insane when I see this stupid crap? Does logic play absolutely no part in our thinking anymore? Are people so poorly conditioned to believe the fucked up shit they see in the "news" that they will believe something no matter how outrageous and unlikely it sounds? I know I've been harping on this very subject all week... but WHAT THE FUCK?!?
I'm not going to lie. Continuous bombardment by teh stupid is really starting to mess with my head. But there's no escaping it. This is all I see anymore. At some point, I'm going to have to take a break from the news, the internet, and society in general.
Or just stay the course and end up in an asylum for the criminally insane.
Which might not be so bad, because I'll finally be isolated from the news, the internet, and society in general.
This morning after my daily toast and jam, I checked my email and saw a new one pop up with the subject line "How does it feel?" which came from an email address I didn't recognize. Naturally, I thought this was some kind of creepy spam that was advertising male "enhancement drugs" or some other crap, but I was also curious because usually one of my two spam filters manages to intercept stuff like this. So I opened it.
Much to my surprise, it wasn't spam. It was a reader(?) who was overjoyed to be telling me that "Your hero Steve Jobs is spying on you" and was asking "How does it feel to have your privacy raped by Apple?" Then there was a link to a website for an application called iPhone Tracker.
Apparently, your iPhone is constantly keeping track of everywhere you go and "secretly" saving this data. Then, when you sync your iPhone with your computer, iPhone transfers this information to your backup file. It also transfers the data when you migrate to a new iPhone or restore your data for some reason. Two guys names Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden stumbled across it and decided to write a program that allows you to display the data on a map, like so...
Everywhere in the USA I've been for the past ten months.
The tracking is surprisingly deep. This is a drive I made out of Chicago last July.
Three or four trips to Europe, all tracked!
The dots are obviously not actual locations in Corsica I visited... probably just cell towers iPhone signaled.
A drive down the Amalfi Coast in Italy.
Now, my first reaction when I opened the program on my Mac was THIS IS SO AWESOME!! I mean, heck, I actually bought an iPhone app called "Trip Journal" to track my travels... I could have saved some money if I had known the feature was built-in! My only disappointment was that the data only goes back to June 30th, 2010 and I wish it went back further.
But then the implications began to sink it.
The iPhone Tracker developers don't believe that this data is transmitted to Apple in any form, but that doesn't mean that Apple couldn't take a look at it in the future. This alone doesn't scare me much since AT&T already has a record of everywhere I go (they log call locations for billing purposes). What does concern me is that Apple doesn't disclose that this data is being collected. If somebody were to steal my laptop, they could potentially see everywhere I've been and I'd be none the wiser because nobody told me it was there when I bought my iPhone. Not that I really care... I always blog where I'm at and log my every move with Gowalla anyway, but still... this is not a good thing.
Mostly because this data could be used in devious ways now that everybody knows about it. Want to know if your wife is cheating on you? Pull up iPhone Tracker and you can see exactly where she's been at any point in time. Want to know what your kids are up to? Run iPhone Tracker and know everywhere they go. Want to stalk somebody? Break into their house and run iPhone Tracker on their computer so you can track their movement patterns. The list goes on and on.
Obviously I don't think there's any evil motive behind Apple logging this information. They're probably working on some cool new feature for iDevices which will use the data in an interesting way. But they really, really should have warned people that their location is being tracked and definitely give people the option to turn this "feature" off if they should so desire. At the very least they should be encrypting it so that it's not so ridiculously easy to view.
I'm not very paranoid by nature, but every time something like this pops up, I can't help but wonder what other aspects of my life are being analyzed and collected. Then I conclude there's probably no part of my life that isn't on a computer somewhere, and just accept the fact that very little of what we do or say is private.
If you want to spy on yourself, you can download the Mac app to view your iPhone tracking data here.
A fucking piece of shit named Meredith Attwell Baker took a job with our government as an FCC Commissioner. In this position, she was trusted to make decisions that were in the best interest of the American citizens she represented.
One of the decisions she made was to not impose any restrictions while approving the massive merger of Comcast and NBC. This was a somewhat shocking stance to take considering that the resulting mega-corp would have unprecedented control over what information people have access to on the internet and television. Critics said that this merger would have no benefit for consumers, and would likely result in nothing but bad things. But Attwell Baker shoved it through anyway.
And after the Comcast/NBC merger went through, what did this fine public servant do?
She quit her position at the FCC to take a job as a political lobbyist for Comcast/NBC! And why not? Mission accomplished! There's no reason to pretend she gives a flying fuck about us anymore, she's off to cash in on services rendered!
This grotesque mockery of government service has me once again wondering why American citizens aren't rioting in the streets.
I don't care which side of the political spectrum you're on, what Meredith Attwell Baker did was fucking disgraceful and disgusting. This is such a thorough betrayal of public trust that she should be thrown in prison. But that's not going to happen. This is what America has become. And American citizens have become so accustomed to this bullshit that they're just numb to it all. So things just keep getting worse and worse. Our government is bought and sold every day, and we all pay the price for it.
Yet nobody seems to care.
So fuck it.
I'm going to get a government job approving dumping sites for nuclear waste... in the public water supply.
Then I'm going to quit and get a high-paying lobbyist job with Exelon, the largest nuclear power producer in the USA. Because, hey, they'll owe me one.
What a fucking joke.
Anarchy... it's only a matter of time.
THE END IS NIGH?
The Rapture isn't one of those things I believe in, per se. I mean, I believe that it's something that many people believe in, but that's as far as it goes. Which means that I'm going to be one of the people left behind if it ends up being the real deal, I guess.
And it all happens tomorrow, if you believe the wacky secret Bible code that Harold Camping claims to have uncovered. There are different interpretations of what actually happens in The Rapture, but I'd like to believe it involves Blondie, a big party, and plenty of champagne...
Though none of those things appear in Scripture when it comes to what is supposed to happen.
THAT is something entirely different. Though just how different is difficult to interpret, even for people like me who spent years studying The Bible. The most common belief is that millions of Christ's followers will disappear from the face of the earth, then a timeline starts which has oceans turning to blood, mountains burning, the Antichrist popping up, the ultimate return of Jesus to rule for 1000 years, followed by the eventual end of everything we know... replaced by a new heaven and a new earth.
Presumably an earth that's nowhere near as messed-up as the one we have now.
Of course there are other Christian scholars who have an entirely different opinion as to what happens. Some believe that nobody literally disappears during The Rapture. Others believe that The Rapture is just a teaching tool, and not an actual event that happens in real life. Still others believe that The Rapture has already happened. Harold Camping believes that after The Rapture happens tomorrow, the earth will be destroyed five months later on October 21st. He doesn't specify a time zone (that I know of) so I have no idea when we're supposed to start drinking...
In the end, nobody has a definitive answer, just something they believe is correct.
Personally, my studies lead me to believe that The Rapture can't take place until after Oprah airs her final show on the 25th. After that, it's anybody's guess.
Anybody except Harold Camping. This will be the second time he screwed-up when picking a date (September of 1994 was the first)... so he can just go fuck off and die now. NO RAPTURE FOR YOU!
Sometimes my many years of theological studies can be more a burden than a blessing. I'll see some person proclaiming to be of a certain faith in one breath... then turn around and say or do something that violates that faith in the next. And though they don't realize their hypocrisy, I do.
And it burns.
I see this crap and my brain feels like its on fire.
As I mentioned in a previous entry, The Bible is quite clear that nobody but God knows when the end of the world is coming. Furthermore, it is my interpretation that by claiming to know for dead-certain a Rapture date, Harold Camping was declaring himself a prophet. Because if he claims to know a date that God's Word specifically states only God knows, then he is claiming to have divine knowledge... thus making him a prophet.
And now that his prophesying is obviously not true, not correct, and not divinely given by God... well, I'm afraid the future doesn't look very happy for Harold Camping...
"But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.
Deuteronomy 18:20 (New International Version)
Since God Himself has set the punishment for being a false prophet to death, Harold Camping's followers will have to kill him now won't they? At least I guess that's how it goes. I don't really know how they will reconcile that with the whole "Thou Shalt Not Kill" thing. As with everything in The Bible, that's open to interpretation.
Or I suppose I should say selective interpretation.
Because how many times have we seen people use a fragment of their holy text to justify their actions... all while violating another fragment mere passages away? They pick-and-choose what they want to believe and act upon while ignoring others because they don't really want to live according to their doctrine. They just want to live however they want to live and use pieces of doctrine to justify it.
Which is the very height of hypocrisy.
And it burns.
But suffering for other people's faith is an unavoidable consequence of humanity. And it doesn't take a prophet to see that this isn't going to change any time soon.
When the person accusing someone of inappropriate behavior has a history of being wrong (and is a total douchebag), why do people continue to listen to them?
Perhaps because the evening news has to compete with Jersey Shore, so propagating lies, fabrications, exaggerations, and bullshit is considered "journalism" now-a-days. I honestly don't know.
What I do know is that Bad Monkey's favorite feature of the iPhone 4 is its front-facing camera. This makes it easier than ever to get your junk perfectly centered within the frame...
Adding a 3-D camera to mobile phones seems like a natural.
I fear the future.
"Well, technically she was correct..."
"Technically, you're an idiot."
If there's one universal truth you can count on, it's that anything... no matter how outrageously stupid... can be spun. Anything.
Well smack my ass and call me Sally... it's Bullet MONDAY?!? Given all the crazy crap that's gone on since yesterday, I guess it's going to have to be!
• STEEEEEEVE! I don't know what it is about a Steve Jobs keynote event that brings out my maternal instincts, but every time I see one I end up thinking about how much I'd like to have Steve Jobs' baby. Today's spiffy keynote from Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference was no exception. So much cool stuff in the pipeline for all my Apple Whore toys... including Mac OS X Lion... iOS 5... and the all-new iCloud service...
I could spend the next half-hour writing about the many new features which had me soiling myself with happiness, but that's a full-load in my pants that nobody wants to hear about. Might be better if everybody just watched the Stevenote for themselves and decide which features are worth freaking over.
• WEEEEEEINER! And so Representative Anthony Weiner now admits he's a freaky-ass pervert who likes to send shirtless photos and pictures of his schlong to young ladies. A few thoughts...
If I was in this good of shape, I'd send photos like this to everybody I know. Everybody.
So... to sum up... whatever. Color me disappointed, but not surprised. These asshole politicians don't seem to know how to act any other way. About the only positive thing I can say is that at least he wasn't a total hypocrite here. It's not like he railed against homosexuals and was then caught trying to hook up for gay sex in a bathroom somewhere. In any event... way to stay classy, Representative Weiner.
• LEEEEEE! In much sadder news... Lee J. Ames has died. You may not know who he was, but I assure you that you've undoubtedly seen the result of his efforts. In fact, since you are looking at this blog, I can guarantee it! Mr. Ames is famous for his art instruction books, of which I am a massively huge fan...
He has an uncanny knack of being able to effortlessly break down objects to base elements, and his "Draw 50" series of books taught me to see things this same way. Lil' Dave... Bad Monkey... and most everything I've ever drawn here... it's all using techniques I first learned from studying Lee J. Ames. As with all things which are done well, his books still hold up even today. If you know a kid who is interested in learning how to draw, you could do a lot worse than to track down these wonderful publications at your local library or art store. Rest in peace, Lee... and thank you.
• BULL SHEEEEEET! So much for the separation of Church and State. Such fucking bullshit.
• SLAAAAAAAAYER! It's the International Day of Slayer today!
♫ The root of all evil is the heart of a black soul... a force that has lived all eternity! ♫ A never ending search for a truth never told... the loss of all hope and your dignity! ♫
Annnnd... now I have to spend a couple of hours preparing for another long, hard day of work in the morning.
I'd add a long, hard photo here to drive that point home, but I think we've all seen enough wieners for a while.
Last night while wandering around downtown Seattle so I could find something for dinner, a nice young lady outside of Pacific Place was gathering signatures in support of Planned Parenthood. With a smile on her face she would politely ask passing people if they supported Planned Parenthood so she could get them to sign. Most people were ignoring her.
Except the man walking ahead of me who decided to be a total dick and scream "NO!" at her so loudly that she was startled.
Naturally I decided to be a bigger dick and scream "YES!" at the back of his head, followed by "YEAH, PLANNED PARENTHOOD... YEAAAAAAHHHHH!!" And to totally drive my point home, I was fist-pumping and waving my arms while continuing to scream YEAAAAAAHHHHH!!"
Because, seriously, what is it with people?
Did he really have to be such a total asshole to scream at the girl? Couldn't he just have said a polite "no thanks" or even ignored her?
The polarizing politics of this country have created such overwhelming hatred in our daily lives that just walking down the street can be both horrifying and depressing. People aren't even pretending to be respectful, kind, and decent to each other anymore. Even the smallest disagreement seems to be grounds for all-out assault.
I try not to care, but I'm so damn tired of being caught in the crossfire.
And so tonight was the big Republican Presidential Debate.
For the most part, I thought it sucked ass. The whole format was stupid and I didn't feel I learned much of anything new. We needed fewer questions with longer, more in-depth answers so an actual debate of ideas can take place. As it were, there simply wasn't a lot I could take away from it. Except that Newt likes American Idol and Herman prefers deep-dish pizza. Or whatever.
Anyway, here's my take on the contenders...
In summary... I'm not seeing it. With the exception of some glimmers of presidential material from Romney (possibly Pawlenty)... and some ridiculous saber-rattling from Bachmann (OBAMA IS A ONE-TERM PRESIDENT!) there was nothing to get excited about.
It's still very early.
And anything can happen.
If nothing else, it will be an entertaining ride.
Oh look... it's I Don't Give a Fuck Day!
Which is kind of uneventful, because every day is "I Don't Give a Fuck Day" to me.
So Vancouver made a good play for the Stanley Cup, but ultimately lost to the Bruins.
This, of course, was reason to riot in the streets... demolishing everything in sight and setting everything else on fire. In other words, to be complete and total dumbasses trashing their beautiful city. It's kind of difficult not to give a fuck about that, because I love Vancouver.
Anyway... by now the entire world has seen the striking photo of two people kissing in the middle of the Vancouver riots. When it was first released, the general consensus seemed to be that these two crazy kids got horny by all the violence and destruction then decided to drop in the middle of the street and make out...
Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images
Personally, I was thinking "Now there's a guy who has his priorities straight!" The world is going to hell around him in a maelstrom of stupidity, and he decided there was a better use of his time than smashing a window or smacking a police officer!
Eventually the couple was tracked down and told their story. Turns out they weren't making out in the middle of a riot. They said that the police overran them, beating them down to the ground with riot shields. The girl was hurt and understandably freaked out, so the guy laid down next to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek... assumably to calm and comfort her. If you can get the image of a total player out of your head, it's actually kind of sweet.
The internet, skeptics all, decided they were horny liars. Some were saying the entire thing was staged. But eventually the CBC released footage that showed they were telling the truth. the police actually did beat them down and overrun them on the street...
Naturally, this is the internet we're talking about, so people started Photoshopping the kissing couple in all kinds of outlandish situations. I decided to take another approach. Since the riots were so fucking stupid, I decided to Photoshop them in other incredibly stupid situations...
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images
Photo by CNN Images
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to not giving a fuck.
I apologize for those who feel offended. I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is, the same rights that I have with my wife."
—Senator Mark J. Grisanti, New York State District 60 (Republican)
And so, on a weekend where many cities are already celebrating for Pride, New York goes and legalizes marriage equality! Congratulations to all those who fought so hard to make it happen... may this be the first of many victories for freedom and diversity across the nation!
As happy as I am to see the tide of bigotry and hatred turning at long last, a part of me is heartbroken that there are so many who didn't survive to see this moment. Too many kids whose only crime was existing in a world where being different is cause to be persecuted...
Though it has sadly come too late, this win is as much theirs as it is anybody's.
And now, the future...
And so I'm driving home after a very long day when some dumbass zips out in front of me, causing me to slam on my brand new brakes. After they pull their head out of their ass and realize what they've done, they stick their hand out their car window and wave. Like that makes everything all better. Except it really doesn't. I am sick to death of people NOT PAYING ATTENTION WHILE DRIVING! An automobile is a deadly piece of equipment that demands a driver's attention... why people are unwilling to do this is a mystery to me. It's only a matter of time before somebody ends up dead, so WTF?
What's so bizarre is that my 115-mile drive home this morning in the pouring rain was without incident. It wasn't until I made the 1-mile drive home from work with no rain that I had to deal with this crap.
Now that the debt ceiling fiasco is approaching meltdown, I suppose I should form some kind of opinion on it. Which is kind of difficult, because I just don't give a flying fuck. Shit is going to happen one way or another, there's nothing I can do about it, and so I'm like... whatever...
All I know is that President Obama has caved so badly that he might as well be running as a Republican in the upcoming election... and House Speaker John Boehner won't compromise on anything. Which is why I didn't bother to listen to the speeches tonight. All I needed to know was summed up on Twitter by Deus Ex Malcontent, Chez Pazienza...
So nothing has changed then?
In science news, A group led by Professor Shengwang Du at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, claims to have proven that a single photon can’t break the speed of light in a vacuum. This was accomplished when they "generated a pair of photons, and passed one of the pair through a group of laser-cooled rubidium atoms, taking advantage of an effect called electromagnetically induced transparency." This apparently allowed them to observe the “optical precursor” that is shoved ahead of the photon, determining that it was limited by the speed of light and could not surpass it in a vacuum.
Of course, all their thinking and supposition is based on a model where universal laws remain constant, and doesn't consider that a vacuum environment can be created where Einsteinian causality doesn't apply, but whatever. Go ahead and make baseless claims about how the universe works without even the tiniest of understanding of how it's constructed. No big deal.
I didn't get to bed until around 2:30am this morning, so I had it in my head that I would attempt to sleep-in until at least 7:00am. This plan was foiled when iPhone decided to beep with a text message at 6:30am. It was Bad Robert saying "Ever have to poop but not want to get out of bed? This is America. We should have a solution for that."
This lead to a texting debate as to whether it would be cheaper to develop the "Bed Toilet" or simply hire a maid to clean up after you each morning. I was firmly in the "Bed Toilet" camp because I can't fathom paying somebody to clean my poop from the sheets. Bad Robert says he'd wear diapers to avoid embarrassment, which speaks volumes for his mindset on such matters.
This is my dream bed, obviously.
Now, you would think that coming up with the toilet bed would be the highlight of my day.
But this afternoon I got an email with photos from a friend-of-a-friend's wedding in New York. One of the images was of the groom and groom holding up the wedding invitations I designed for them. They looked incredibly happy. And the fact that I was a tiny part of making that happen had me walking on air.
For about ten minutes.
Then I was looking through my news feed and ran across presidential candidate Rick Santorum being a complete and total asshole. Again...
“States do not have the right to destroy the American family. It is your business,” Santorum said. “It is not fine with me that New York has destroyed marriage. It is not fine with me that New York is setting a template that will cause great division in this country.”
Then I look back at a photograph of two guys on their wedding day with smiles as big as the world on their faces.
They're not "destroying" anything.
They're not the ones "causing a great division" anywhere.
They're just living the American dream by pursuing happiness. And they're doing it without hurting anybody. It's piece-of-shit Rick Santorum that's causing a great division in this country. He's the one destroying marriage by thinking so little of it that gay matrimony could possibly have any effect on it.
The only person "destroying the American family" here is Rick Santorum.
Which, of course, means that he loves cock.
"YOU MUST BE THIS BIG TO RIDE"
Why else would he so vehemently attack the gays if not to distract people from the fact that he's craving a big ol' cock sandwich? As history has shown us again and again and again, those who lash out the hardest against homosexuality are those people who end up being homosexuals.
Because two guys in New York who love each other very much are starting a new life together.
To them, Rick Santorum's self-loathing hater idiocy doesn't mean shit.
This week was the kick-off of the Republican presidential primaries at the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa. This is important because, by now, you'd think that we'd finally start to get some insight as to what conservative presidential candidates are going to do to pull this country out of the death-spiral we're in. And I, for one, am anxious to hear about it.
So where is it?
All I heard out of the candidates every time I watched the television or clicked on a news site was three things...
Now, the first two I get. It's easy to point to the man in charge and blame him for everything... and nobody likes to pay taxes. But it's this third one that has me completely baffled. Why in the hell are the Republicans so fucking obsessed with the gays? What do they have to do with jobs, the economy, the debt crisis, or the price of tea in China? NOTHING! And yet the candidates just can't seem to shut up about them. Hell, Rick Santorum has based his entire fucking campaign on attacking marriage equality. First it was something about gay napkins wanting to be paper towels... then he was talking about a glass of gay water wanting to be a glass of beer. And it just gets crazier from there.
For the life of me, I can't understand how conservative politicians preach 'til they're blue in the face about wanting a smaller government that stays out of our lives... only to turn around and say that our government should regulate what two consenting adults do in their bedroom or who churches are allowed to marry.
I can only guess that this wacky bullshit is what their supporters want to hear (no matter how schizophrenic and absurd it sounds). Though it's hard to see how people can take them seriously when anti-gay conservatives keep getting busted in gay sex scandals (ooh... look... yet another one just broke the other day!).
But what truly mystifies me is how Republicans seem to want to tie themselves to a voter base that's diminishing with each passing day. How can you win an election that way? Are they really all so clueless about changing attitudes in this country? Do they really not understand that people are quickly becoming tired of hearing about the "evils of gay marriage" when they're jobless, broke, and have lost their home? Really? Really?
I dunno. Maybe they really are this clueless, and nobody has bothered to tell them?
Well, okay then. Candidates, I'm here to help. I help because I care. But mostly because I'm sick and tired of having this homophobic bullshit getting in the way of addressing ACTUAL ISSUES FACING THIS COUNTRY.
So here's a rundown of why we don't give a shit about your anti-gay agenda. And, because I am seriously worried about your being to grasp these very simple concepts, I'm including clips from my new favorite television show, Happy Endings, to help explain them. Enjoy!
(If you can't see the clips, you may need to open this entry in a web browser or install Quicktime, sorry!)
1) PEOPLE SUPPORT THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
There is a growing majority of people who are sick and tired of watching their gay friends, family, and neighbors being used as your political punching bag. And we vote. And we just want our gay friends to have a shot at happiness like everybody else...
2) ACTUAL STRAIGHT PEOPLE AREN'T AFFECTED BY WHO GAY PEOPLE MARRY.
The more you keep hammering away against equality, the more we have to question why you give a shit. The only reason you should give a flying fuck about somebody's sexuality, or what they do in bed, or who they marry is if you want to date them, sleep with them, or marry them...
3) YOUR BELIEFS DON'T GET TO DICTATE HOW TWO CONSENTING ADULTS LIVE THEIR LIVES.
This is a free country. You can believe whatever you want to believe. If you wish to believe that God would make it so somebody can to "choose to be gay," then turn around and send them to hell for it, that's your business. But, since this is a free country, your beliefs don't get to dictate how two consenting adults live their lives. Your attempts at making homosexuality "illegal" are antiquated, backwards, and sad. And a little funny, given that this is the year 2011 and all...
4) HANGING OUT WITH GAY PEOPLE DOESN'T MAKE YOU GAY.
When you talk about gays ruining society at every opportunity, but then want to pretend they don't exist if they're in the military, we have to question your sanity. Gay is not contagious. Sleeping in the same room as somebody who's gay isn't going to convert our entire military into an army of homosexuals...
5) THERE'S MORE TO PEOPLE THAN THEIR SEXUALITY.
You seem inexplicably fond of making it sound like homosexuals are somehow removed from society. As if who they sleep with is all they are. As if America is so small an idea that there couldn't possibly be room for anybody who doesn't think or act exactly like you do. But when it comes to jobs, the economy, our homes, our safety, our relationship with the world, and our freedom... we're all in this together. We live together. We work together. We play together. We rise together. We fall together...
So there you have it. And you're welcome.
Now you can abandon this doomed crusade against all things gay and focus your energies on telling us what we really need to know. Like how you plan on dealing with the real problems we face.
Given President Obama's popularity right now, it's your election to lose.
I threw my back out. Again. This is profoundly disappointing given that I just went through this four months ago. Hope you like your bullets pain-killer-induced.
• Shower? And so the Perseid Meteor Shower peaked this weekend. Despite fairly clear skies, I saw none of it. Needless to say, I'm disappointed. But it's not like an insomniac such as myself has a better way to spend their time than looking for it, so I guess that's how it goes. My failure was somewhat offset by this amazing shot of what it looked like from space...
That shot was tweeted by astronaut Ron Garan from the International Space Station. If you're on Twitter, you must follow this guy, because he's always posting cool stuff like this. If you're not on Twitter, he makes it worth checking out.Also tweeting from space? Astronaut Clayton Anderson. And that's just the tip of the Twitter iceberg. Goddard Space Flight Center... plus dozens more cool NASA-related tweeters are waiting for you.
• Race? Few discussions can become polarizing and nasty quicker than talking about race relations in America. And yet it's a discussion that must be had. Lucky for us Kelly is willing to lead the charge, again, and this time it starts off (oddly enough) with a cake. Essential reading for the human race.
• Really? Yesterday I blogged about the blatant homophobic insanity that seems to be dominating Republican politics, and how a growing majority of Americans are sick and tired of anti-gay policy attacking our friends, family, and neighbors. The worst offender is Rick Santorum, who can't seem to open his mouth without spouting some kind of stupid homophobic crap. Second runner-up on the homophobia bandwagon is Michele Bachmann, who doesn't necessarily want to destroy the gays... she just wants to strip these "barbarians" of all their rights until they have no choice but to enroll in one of her husband's Christian counseling clinics to "pray the gay away."
And now we learn that she won the Ames Straw Pole in Iowa.
If she wins her party's nomination... if she somehow ends up as President of the United States... I can't fathom the ramification for human rights in this country. Hell, I can't fathom the continued existence of our country under her reign of batshit crazy...
At this rate, it looks like I'll be voting for Spongebob Squarepants for president.
• Dead? One of the bigger television surprises for me last season was The Walking Dead. As a loose adaptation of one of my favorite comic book series, it was almost too good to be true. A part of this was because they got the original creator, Robert Kirkman, to be a producer... but the lion's share of the credit could undoubtedly be dropped on the doorstep of Frank Darabont. He was the genius who developed the series for television and became executive producer for the series. Which went on to become a massive hit... with viewers and critics alike. So what does AMC Television do with their new-found pot of gold? Cut the budget and fire Darabont. Which just goes to show... television executives can be enormous douchebag dumbfucks regardless of which network they helm. How this will affect the quality of the second season is anybody's guess.
Photo by Greg Nicotero for AMCtv.com © 2011 TWD Productions, LLC
• Eureka? In more sad geek news, the SyFy Channel has cancelled EUReKA! This bizarre turn of events signals an end to original sci-fi programming on a network created for sci-fi programming. The best originals they have to offer now is supernatural drama like the Being Human remake or paranormal fantasy like Warehouse 13. "SyFy" is mostly reality television and pro wrestling now. I guess I shouldn't be surprised... MTV Music Television rarely plays music any more, why should this be any different?
And that's all the bullets for this week. Be sure to tune in next Bullet Sunday for more drug-indiced ramblings.
Nothing quite like losing 15% of your retirement fund in less than two months. So happy I pay a bunch of experts to manage my money! Something tells me I would have been better off investing my money in hookers. Sure it uses my long-term asset for a short-term investment with no long-term payoff... and comes with some really heavy risk factors... but at least I would be stimulating the local economy.
And my penis.
What's odd is that my retirement plan is fairly low-risk. I can't imagine how much I would have lost were I still in the high-risk/high-yield program I was in just five years ago.
And don't think I'm not grateful that I at least have something left in my retirement account. There are many, many people out there who are not so lucky. Stupid economy.
So, yeah, I'm a little worried about my retirement.
But that's quite a ways away. And, as of today, is even further away than it was last month.
The more immediate concern is my upcoming vacation. I haven't worked out all the details yet, but if the US dollar gets much worse, my travels are going to take a turn for the worse...
On the other hand, I would be meeting new and interesting people.
It's pretty tough to blog about my day when all I did was work from the minute I woke up until, well... now... when I really should be trying to get some sleep.
And hope that I'm not awakened by an earthquake.
After the quakes in Virginia and Colorado, it doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility that the Pacific Northwest will be hit next. We are, after all, sitting on the infamous "Pacific Ring of Fire," where 90% of the world's earthquakes happen...
Map taken from Wikimedia Commons.
Seattle (and the rest of Washington State, I'd imagine) is actually considered to be one of the more likely locations for a major earthquake in the USA (along with San Francisco and Los Angeles). Mostly because we've got some mountains with major volcanic activity (one of which is Mt. St. Helens, which has already blown its top in recent years).
I've experienced four "seismic events" in my lifetime (that I know of). The first was the afore-mentioned St. Helens eruption in 1980 which was felt throughout most of the state. The second was a tremor while visiting San Francisco in the early 90's. The third was a minor quake while walking through Akihabara in Tokyo, Japan. The last was also the worst... the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake that struck while I was at the top of the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Tiles were ripped from the ceiling, people were knocked over, and we were forced to evacuate the building as the aftershocks continued hammering away. Apparently it was one of the worst quakes to hit Washington State in recorded history... and, lucky me, I just happened to be over to the coast where it happened.
To be completely honest, I'm not bothered by the idea of a massive quake rocking my world.
Shit happens, and there's no sense worrying about it until it does.
Because it's not like there's anywhere you can go that guarantees your safety. No matter where you land on this earth, there's bound to be some danger of catastrophe. Heck, Hurricane Irene is even now making her way towards North Carolina. So why stress about it?
Especially when it's time to go to bed.
Yesterday was the five-year anniversary of Pluto being demoted from "planet" to "dwarf planet."
It all happened because astronomers are finding a shitload of planetoids orbiting the sun beyond Pluto's orbit... some of which are bigger than Pluto. Rather than declare that they're all planets, they decided instead to demote Pluto so none of them are planets.
Personally, I think it was a monumentally shitty decision. Yeah, it makes sense from a scientific classification standpoint, and I get that. But Pluto should have been grandfathered in and kept the planetary status it's had since 1930. The planetary status it had when I made my science fair project in Middle School...
What drives me a little nuts here is that a group of people made this awful decision with no involvement from any of us. There wasn't a vote. there wasn't any conversation. One day Pluto just wasn't a planet anymore.
Which made yesterday the fifth anniversary of SUCK!
Because yesterday was ALSO a monumental day for fans of the best new show from this past television season... Happy Endings!
ABC finally decided to bless us with the long-lost mysterious "missing episode" of the show. It wasn't the best of the bunch, but it was still better than most of the crap on television, so I have no idea why they skipped it in the first place.
In any event, it has me really looking forward to new episodes come September. As does this promo shot they've released...
And speaking of photos... the stuff leaking off the set for the new Avengers movie looks amazing...
If only DC Comics could get their shit together the way that Marvel Comics has. To see a Justice League movie that teams up Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash would be freakin' insanely awesome.
Or insanely stupid, if they got the wrong writer and director.
Perhaps I should be careful what I wish for.
My favorite novel of all time is Noble House by James Clavell. It's a story of contemporary 1960's Hong Kong that weaves a fictional story with actual history in a way that only the author of Shōgun could manage. It's beautifully realized, filled with dozens of interesting characters and locations. It's remarkably complex, having several intertwined plot threads and story elements. It's richly satisfying, overflowing with tiny details that come together in fascinating ways (I've read it over a dozen times, and still feel like I'm missing something). To me, Noble House is about as close to perfect as a book can get...
For the most part, people either love the book or hate it. The people who hate it usually end up griping about it's high page count or complexity, which I immediately dismiss. Mostly because I think it's funny how people choose to review a book by saying they were too lazy or stupid to get into it, but I'm judgmental like that. Other negative comments I've read make no sense. My favorite "review" of Noble House ever written is this one...
"The weakest of Clavell's Japan novels. I didn't enjoy it near as much as Centennial and Tai Pan, but still rich history, characters and plotting as well as the usual healthy dose of foreign culture. This one takes place in modern Japan."
The reason it's such a great review is that the book takes place in Hong Kong not Japan (as did Tai-Pan). And, though "modern" is subjective, it takes place in the 1960's. Furthermore, the book Centennial was written by James Michener not James Clavell (who wrote The Asian Saga... not "Japan novels"). Did this dumbass even bother to read the book, or did he just review it sight-unseen so he could look smart? We may never know.
Eventually the book was made into a television mini-series starring Pierce Brosnan. They moved the story from the 1960's to the 1980's and jettisoned dozens of plot points, but it was still darn fine entertainment...
Anyway... the reason that this novel has been on my brain today is because we've got Hurricane Irene happening on the east coast, and Noble House opens up with a "tai-fun" (typhoon, or "supreme wind").
When I first read the book decades ago, I remember wondering how a typhoon is different from a hurricane and how both are different from a cyclone.
Turns out they're all pretty much the same, it's the location which determines what we call a massive tropical storm in English...
It's not a perfect map, of course... but it basically boils down like this: Historical British colonial regions like India and Australia use "Cyclone." The Americas use "Hurricane." Asia uses "Typhoon." There are variations on all those. And, of course, local languages have many different names in their native tongues.
My thoughts are with those in the path of Hurricane Irene. Indeed, it's difficult to think of much else.
Stay safe everybody.
It's lunchtime. I can haz veggie burger while blogging?
• Irene. I suppose we should be grateful that New York passed same-sex marriage... obviously God was pleased with this since he reduced the hurricane down to a tropical storm before it struck the state. Oh... wait... you mean it doesn't work that way? Well that's odd. Because you know damn well that dumbass fucktards like Pat Robertson (or ChristWire) would be falling all over themselves to blame same-sex marriage if New York were devastated by a Category 3 storm. I don't know what it says about their followers that they would much rather take glee in God's wrath than His grace, but there you have it. UPDATE: Well, no surprise there.
• Irene Deux. In other hurricane-based commentary... better safe than sorry...
• Levine. It's nice to know that rock stars are starting to act like rock stars again and using their powers for good. Now it's Maroon 5's front-man Adam Levine, using his newfound jump in popularity from The Voice to slam MTV...
From his Twitter feed...
the VMA's. one day a year when MTV pretends to still care about music. I'm drawing a line in the sand. fuck you VMA's.
Spot. On. MTV "Music Television" is a joke. They rarely play music videos anymore... it's all The Jersey Shore and other stupid reality show crap. The only time you see music is when they think a cheap publicity stunts like the Video Music Awards will get them attention. They truly don't give a flying fuck about music and haven't in a very long time. And now people within the industry are starting to call them on their bullshit. Here's hoping it's just a start.
• Endorsement. Stay healthy, ladies!
• Ultimate. I travel. A lot. And I'm really grateful for the opportunity to do so. But when it comes to those "ultimate dream trips" I'd love to take, they're all out of reach. That National Geographic Expedition to the arctic... that Abercrombie & Kent trek to Nepal... that Windjammer cruise in the Indian Ocean... they're just not an option financially. For the cost of just one of those trips, I could take five if I watch my pennies.
So my dreams have to remain dreams. But Abercrombie & Kent have released a beautiful new iPad app that makes those dreams a little more real...
If you've got a lot of empty space on your iPad (the app is huge!) I highly recommend downloading the A&K Travel app to spark your travel dreams.
And that's a wrap! The veggie burger was delicious, by the way.
Twenty-some-odd years ago, Pontiff-hating songstress Sinead O'Connor was on fire as she released her second smash album, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. I remember thinking at the time what a great title that was. As somebody attempting to lead a life guided by Buddhist principles, not wanting what you haven't got is an important concept to buy into.
But it's also a crock of bullshit, because human nature is all about wanting the stuff you don't have.
And I don't mean material goods either (though here in the United States we've built an entire culture around that). What I'm talking about is wanting health when you're sick. Wanting peace when you're in conflict. Wanting calm when you're in turmoil. Wanting love when you're mired in hatred. That kind of stuff. Wanting those things isn't really a bad thing at all.
Or so you'd think.
Apparently wanting something like food when you're hungry is wanting too much.
At least according to the conversation I overheard. Two women were discussing school starting up again and started railing on the free-lunch program. Such chatty gems as "Those kids need to learn that there's no free lunch in life!" (ha ha ha) and "We already pay for their food stamps, we have to pay for school lunches too?"
I can only guess that these pathetic excuses for human beings follow the Rush Limbaugh Theory of Child Hunger.
And I can't for the life of me understand what makes these people tick.
If they were talking about adults, I guess I could attempt to rationalize such callous behavior... but hungry kids? Like a child has any control over their situation. Like it's their choice that there's nothing to eat for whatever reason.
Look, I totally get not wanting to pay taxes for crap that you don't approve of. As a vegetarian, I highly object to the meat industry getting billions in subsidies for a substance that I feel ruins the planet and makes people unhealthy. Yadda yadda yadda.
But, I ask again, hungry kids?!?
You don't need to go to a horror movie to see monsters anymore. They're all around us.
I deleted my blog from ten years ago so I can't tell you with any certainty what I was doing back then. I might have a vague idea over a span of some weeks or months but, if you were to pick an individual day, I'd be hard-pressed to tell you what was happening.
For every day save one, of course.
I was working as a consultant and running late for a meeting on the morning of September 11, 2001. I didn't have time to turn on the television, nor did I have time to turn on my computer. I went directly from my bed to the shower to my car for the 20 minute drive to work. When I arrived, I vaguely remember some talk about an airplane crash as I walked through the lobby. But, for all intents and purposes, I was completely unaware of what had happened three hours earlier at the World Trade Center.
It wasn't until I walked into the conference room and saw the television replaying footage of The Twin Towers collapsing over and over again that I knew of the horrific events unfolding in New York.
And, like most everybody else on the planet, that news coverage became my life for the next several days.
As the tragedy would become our lives for the next ten years.
Because those iconic structures may no longer be with us... but they're not gone either. I watch a rerun episode of Friends, and there's the Towers in an establishing shot. I pop in my DVD of Eddie Murphy's Trading Places and the Towers are there. I read an old Spider-Man comic book and there they are again. I look through old photos and...
But that's me.
For those directly affected. For those orphaned or widowed. For friends and family of those who lost their lives. For those who now suffer from the debilitating effects. For those whose lives were forever changed. For so many people, I'd imagine it's quite different. They don't need a TV show or a movie or a comic book or a photograph. Their reminder is everlasting.
As is their pain.
I'm sure at some future date when all the people who were alive to remember the world before 9/11 are gone, perhaps the nightmare will start to fade.
In the meanwhile, we remember.
Because we need to remember.
Because it's impossible to forget.
Because our hope for peace must prevail.
I spent most of my evening last night looking for my swim trunks and spare laptop battery... and waiting for the United States to be destroyed by floods, earthquakes, fires, and hurricanes because Don't Ask, Don't Tell had finally been repealed at midnight.
But the disasters never came, which must be a big disappointment to assholes like Pat Robertson who just love to attribute everything bad that happens to "God's wrath" against homosexuals... or whomever the target of their hate is that day. It's an odd stance to take when they don't seem to believe that absence of disaster is God's approval, but that's bat-shit-crazy for you.
Though we all know perfectly well that the next hurricane or earthquake or tornado that hits... whether it be one hour from now or ten years from now... will be blamed on the DADT repeal by somebody. These claims of delayed-reaction-vengeance by an all-knowing, all-powerful deity never make much sense but, again, that's bat-shit-crazy for you.
In any event, congratulations to those honoring us with their military service who no longer have to worry about losing their job because they're a dude who likes dudes or a girl who likes girls. It's nice to know that the freedoms you so bravely protect can now actually apply to you.
And heartfelt thanks to everybody who honors us with their military service... no matter who they are or who they like...
Here's hoping that there's not too much bat-shit crazy in the last day before my vacation.
This morning I woke up and realized, just like that, my vacation is over.
Well, not really, because I had today in Sydney... but since I've been going balls-out non-stop since I arrived, this day was set aside to decompress and relax before my flight home tomorrow.
My loooooooooong flight home.
Though since it was blissfully cool outside (despite the beautiful sunshine and blue skies) I did go say goodbye to Sydney Harbour...
Yeah, yeah... they're iPhone photos! I'm done lugging around my camera gear for a while.
I also stopped by the Vintage Cafe (where Kazza and I ate my first day here) for some more of their mind-blowing marinated peppered cheese and bread...
The rest of my day was spent unpacking everything I own, then re-packing it in a way that wasn't insane (as it quickly becomes if you're living out of a suitcase for this long).
Looking back, this was a pretty darn spectacular vacation. I crammed in quite a few awesome things into two weeks. Probably more than I should have. I also got to spend time with some really great people, which is about the most awesome thing of all.
And now I wish I didn't have to go home.
Not because Australia and Fiji have been so great I don't want to leave (though that's also true), not because I don't miss my friends and family (which I absolutely do), and not even because I don't want to go back to work (I'm actually anxious to start working again)... it's because of the awful political hate parade that I know is awaiting me back home.
I dread coming back to it so much that I feel physically ill just thinking about it.
Over the past two weeks I can't tell you how nice it's been to not be inundated with all the bickering, hatred, lies, disrespect, persecution, and general asshattery that's become typical of our political landscape in the USA these past couple of years. I am just done with it.
At least as much as I can be.
See you on the other side of the Pacific.
A presidential candidate I actually want to vote for!
I swear, nobody else can do what Betty does. If you missed her on Craig Ferguson tonight, this is a must-see...
Love Betty. Would vote for her in a heartbeat over any other candidate running.
LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLLE!
Well that was entertaining. I wish I would have had some popcorn.
The only consolation I have after watching the CNN Republican Debate is that the odds of Michele Bat-Shit-Crazy Bachmann or Rick Piece-of-Shit Santorum becoming president are effectively zero. But try telling them that. You'd think the person in charge of the Republican party would cut them loose, but apparently a few more weeks in Crazy Town is on the agenda. Along with four more years with President Obama.
Because if there's a challenge to the Democratic ticket here, I'm not seeing it.
Time to drag out the Don't Fuck It Up Presidential Matrix to pit the candidates head-to-head and see which has the best chance to screw up the country even worse than it is now...
And now the run-down...
Rick Santorum (SCORE: 0)
Rick Santorum is a piece of shit. He's worse than a piece of shit. In fact, I would rather have a literal piece of shit... a turd that fell out of my ass... in the Oval Office than Rick Santorum. It might smell bad, but it would do far less damage to our country. After his wacky ramblings about "gay napkins wanting to be paper towels, but they can't be paper towels because they're napkins" I pretty much wrote him off. How in the fuck could this lunatic possibly represent this country?
Michele Bachmann (SCORE: 1)
Certifiable. The fact that this particular flavor of crazy has made it this far in a frickin' PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION is just mind-boggling to me.
Herman Cain (SCORE: 2)
I admit, I was a fan when the guy first got started. He had straight-talk and a policy of sticking to his guns. Then he went nuts. I mean, seriously, have you heard the goofball shit that has come out of his mouth lately? It's almost as if this is all a big joke to him. But when you crunch the numbers, this guy has a serious chance to be tapped for Vice President on the ticket. Scary.
Ron Paul (SCORE: 3)
Despite his low score, there are some things that Ron Paul has to say that I actually like. But the guy is simply not presidential. We desperately need a president who can inspire and give people hope at a time when there's not a lot of hope to go around. But Ron Paul is not that guy. His doom and gloom crotchety old fart routine may be "telling people what they need to hear" but there has to be something positive in your persona to make people want to follow you. Couple that with his horrifying take on foreign policy, and Ron Paul shouldn't be anywhere near The White House.
Rick Perry (SCORE: 4)
Yikes. No. Just no.
Jon Huntsman (SCORE: 5)
On paper, the guy has presidential credentials that look pretty darn impressive. He's sane. He's good on foreign policy... especially in China. He's not wacky religious. He seems pretty open-minded and forward-thinking. AND he shares a name with the very scary Huntsman Spider. You don't fuck with a Huntsman Spider. Where he fails as a serious candidate is in full effect at the debate... he's just bad at it. His own party seems to hate him. How is he going to get anything done?
Newt Gingrich (SCORE: 6)
The guy has so many scandals in his past that it seems impossible to understand how Republicans tolerate him as a candidate. But he does seem to have a very clear vision for how things should be. Sure this vision is hard-core Conservative to its core, but at least it seems solid, which is something both Conservatives and Liberals can cling to in uncertain times. I don't really like the guy, but I can't deny he seems like a candidate that has his shit together (if not his campaign) when it comes to being a president. I admit that his high score surprised me quite a lot, but head-to-head he just kept winning when I factored in all the pieces.
Mitt Romney (SCORE: 7)
Out of all the Republican candidates, he's the only one I could bring myself to vote for. Mostly because I don't know much about him yet. Granted, it would take a lot for that to happen, but there it is. And while I don't think he would make a great president, I do think he could make a good president. If nothing else, he seems more presidential when stacked up against the other hopefuls. He certainly seems the most respectful and the least crazy of the bunch (with the possible exception of Huntsman). In this crowd, that's saying a lot.
In all honesty, I am not against voting for a Republican candidate. If the right one came along, I'd absolutely consider them in a race against Obama. But I'm just not seeing it in this bunch. So what happened? I just don't know. Looking at how this debate went, maybe all the good ones are too smart to jump into such a volatile race. Maybe they think they have a better chance if they wait until President Obama has his second term. Perhaps they don't want to take the reigns when things are so bad. There could be a hundred reasons.
In the meanwhile, it is what it is.
Seven years, six months, and twenty-six days ago, a young man wrote to a stranger on the internet out of desperation because there was nowhere else he could turn. All he wanted was a friendly ear to share his dream of escaping from the horrific life he had to endure. Escaping to a place where he wouldn't be bullied, teased, or beaten just because he existed.
And since then not a day goes by that I'm not reminded of how this poor kid woke up each morning trying to find the strength to make it through life just one more day.
How can I forget? Victims of bullying are killing themselves in record numbers because they can't see any other way to end the suffering.
And we as a society continue to let it happen.
Homophobic activists spare no expense in screaming to the world that gays are filthy perverts who are ruining civilization, destroying marriage, corrupting children, and causing God to plague us with hurricanes and earthquakes. They waste no opportunity to tell us that homosexuality is an evil abomination that should be driven from our community. They advocate sexuality to be nothing more than a "lifestyle" that only the most horrible people choose to embrace. They preach hatred and intolerance to the masses and feign shock when their words inspire an environment so hostile that people would rather die than be forced to live in it.
And while everyone is entitled to their opinion, I'd argue that such ruthless persecution falls outside merely "voicing one's opinion" and could more realistically be described as "inciting violence."
Not that there haven't been steps in the right direction.
Since I got the email that changed my life back in 2004, there have been a number of organizations started to help troubled LGBT youth find inspiration, hope, and help. The It Gets Better Project is a shining example of how people can combat the hatred, lies, and fear that the truly perverse elements of society use to make innocent kids think that their life isn't worth living. Happily, other such amazing projects are arriving all the time. Society is starting to use tolerance and truth to reclaim ground lost by discrimination and lies.
And today is Spirit Day when millions will be wearing purple as a sign of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. It's a way of telling them that despite everything they have to endure, there are people out there who care about them. That they matter. That they are loved. That there are people out there who are fighting for them...
Seven years, six months, and twenty-six days ago a young fan of my blog wrote to me because there was nowhere else he could turn. Such a heartbreaking tragedy is unforgivable. Fortunately, it's also fixable. It's just a matter of caring enough to want things to change.
Then doing your part to make it happen.
Help out when you can.
Speak up when you're able.
I can honestly say that I did not expect to have to update my Don't Fuck It Up Republican Presidential Candidate Matrix this soon. A lot of thought went into the first version, and so it would take something pretty substantial to make a move on this baby. And then yesterday happened.
Turns out Rick Perry is a Birther.
He has lunch with Donald Trump, and now he's on the Birther train. Get out your tinfoil hat...
Photo by Ben Torres/AP (via NY Daily News)
Of course, he's a politician, so he has to wrap his bullshit in supposition...
Q. Governor, do you believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States?
A. I have no reason to think otherwise.
Q. That’s not a definitive, "Yes, I believe he—"
A. Well, I don’t have a definitive answer, because he’s never seen my birth certificate.
Q. But you’ve seen his.
A. I don’t know. Have I?
Q. You don’t believe what’s been released?
A. I don’t know. I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night.
A. That came up.
Q. And he said?
A. He doesn’t think it’s real.
Q. And you said?
A. I don’t have any idea. It doesn’t matter. He’s the president of the United States. He’s elected. It’s a distractive issue.
"I don't know. Have I?"
What a fucking idiot.
If somebody... anybody... can offer up ANY ACTUAL EVIDENCE that President Obama's "long form birth certificate," WHICH HE HAD TO ABUSE HIS PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY TO GET RELEASED, is a forgery, then please do tell. But until then, wild speculation (even via dismissal) is not evidence of any conspiracy. So if you're not going to put up, then shut the fuck up.
Nobody can be 100% certain of much... not really... so being cautious in answering with definitives or absolutes is smart. Hell, I was not present at Barack Obama's birth, so even I cannot say with 100% certainty that he was, in fact, born at the time and place that's been claimed. But He has released the required documentation (AND THEN SOME!) to prove his citizenship. So what more is there to be said? Unless you have some compelling evidence to the contrary (which currently only exists in the demented minds of people like Donald Trump and Orly Taitz) you actually do, in fact, "have an idea." Even if it's an extraordinarily noncommittal idea...
"I have seen no evidence invalidating the documentation that's been released and approved so, yes, I believe he was born in the United States. It really doesn't make much sense to believe otherwise unless somebody can substantiate such a claim with actual evidence, not just wild speculation."
But nooooooo... Rick Perry has to be insane.
Which means he gets knocked down with the other crazies like Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum and "Michele Bat-Shit Crazy" Bachmann...
By the way, I'm still looking for evidence that Donald Trump is not a child rapist. I mean, come on, if he's NOT a pedophile sex fiend, where's the proof? Is it all a big cover-up? If he's innocent of sleeping with underage boys, why can't he just prove it once and for all so this speculation can end? It's not fair for the American people to be kept guessing over such important matters involving somebody so active in presidential politics. Child rape is a criminal offense for heaven's sake! Absence of actual facts proving he rapes children doesn't mean anything... we want proof of innocence!
Holy crap. I should have stayed in Australia.
As this is November 1st, it's time for MOVEMBER, when a lot of guys will be trying to raise money for prostate cancer research and other men's health issues. They will do this by asking people to sponsor them as they valiantly use their ability to grow facial hair for the betterment of all mankind.
Since I am already sporting facial hair out of sheer laziness, I've decided to have Lil' Dave take up the challenge, and I'll post his progress throughout the month...
But, since cartoon characters can't enter the fundraising bid, I'm asking that you please sponsor everybody's favorite sometimes-inappropriate dad blogger... Michael "The Muskrat"...
Photo taken when I went ghost-hunting with The Muskrat. He's the one on the right.
You can visit his MOVEMBER page by clicking this link. Please consider making a donation if you can... every little bit helps!
So I wouldn't have to drive home, then turn around and drive all the way back to Seattle for work today, I crashed at my sister's house last night. And while I did shave an hour off my commute, I still had to battle Seattle's horrendous traffic this morning. This meant over an hour in my car listening to the radio.
Big discussion of the day? Kim Kardashian deciding to get a divorce after 72 days of marriage...
Now, I fully admit that I don't know much about this woman. Probably because I don't give a flying fuck about the idiotic "reality television" garbage that's taking a shit all over my television. All I know is that her and her sister get paid millions of dollars to act like morons on TV, and Kim Kardashian got paid millions more for some kind of two-part "Wedding Special" that aired on the E! Network.
Then, a little over two months later, she decides that she doesn't want to be married after all. I'm assuming she gets to keep all the money from her "TV Special." I'm also assuming that this crap will guarantee that her reality show gets picked up for another season so she can whore out her divorce for even more millions.
Well, more power to her, I say. If people are so fucking stupid that they want to watch this shit on their televisions, then you go, girl. Get yourself paid. I have no problem with Kim Kardashian exploiting her excessive messed-up "life" for profit.
But what had me screaming my head off at the radio as I was driving down I-5 is how this "One Man, One Woman Union"... despite being a complete sham and a cash-grab... is considered the "only acceptable form of marriage" by hate groups like The National Organization for Marriage. Whereas a committed gay couple wanting to get married is not.
In all seriousness, I am sick to death of this stupid shit.
All these assholes who have nothing better to do than crap all over other people's happiness by dictating whether two consenting adults can or cannot get married in a country founded on freedom can just go fuck themselves. Sideways. Then die.
Nonsensical stuff like this gets me so angry I can barely see straight. I spent most of my morning in an absolute rage. While I was working I was composing a blog entry in my head... ranting endlessly about how full of crap people like Maggie Gallagher and Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum are for their hypocritical lunacy. It was going to be my most profanity-laden, explosive blog post ever.
But then I checked my Twitter feed while on a break and saw that somebody had re-tweeted this gem from Star Trek's Lt. Sulu, George Takei...
EXACTLY! Thank you Mr. Takei.
So-called "traditional marriage" between a man and a woman has been doing a great job of fucking up things for decades all by themselves. With a skyrocketing divorce rate now exceeding 50%, blaming the gays for ruining things is about the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard.
Which makes sense, because the people cramming this bullshit down our throats are about the stupidest fucking people I've ever heard.
Here's hoping they all die out real soon now so the rest of us can move on.
And here we go again.
If you live in any of the antiquated backwaters of the USA that observe Daylight Saving Time, tonight before going to bed you get to move your clock back an hour.
And speaking of DST ending... a while back, Coal Miner's Granddaughter sent me an awesome video link about Daylight Saving Time and said it sounded like something I would make. It's well worth your time to watch...
And she was right. It does sound like something I would make. Except I would have used the word "fuck" at least twenty times. Because it's impossible for me to talk about stupid fucking Daylight Savings without going fucking insane over how fucking idiotic it is. Let's just split the difference, move our clocks back a half hour... AND THEN NEVER FUCKING TOUCH THOSE FUCKING CLOCKS AGAIN!
In other news, HAPPY GUY FAWKES DAY everybody!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to celebrate by occupying my bed for a nap.
I was reeeeeally looking forward to Eddie Murphy hosting the Oscars. They might have actually been worth watching next year. Now its not going to happen.
Last night after a marathon work session, I decided to check my news feed one last time before bed. The breaking story of the night? Adobe is killing Flash Mobile.
Which is sweet vindication for Steve Jobs and Apple, who recognized a turd when they saw it. Now if only we could kill this stupid crap on our desktops and laptops, I'd really have reason to celebrate. I am beyond tired of my MacBook's battery bleeding out and the fan kicking in every time I come across a website running Flash content. I tried disabling it and using "Click-To-Flash," but there are sites I use for work which require it, so until it just DIES (or web developers wake up) I'm stuck.
And speaking of dying, the Republicans had yet another debate and this happened...
Rick Perry, who actually had a chance at one point, crashed and burned hard when he said he was going to get rid of shit, but couldn't remember which shit he wanted to get rid of. The media firestorm over this flub has been kind of harsh, but the guy is just nuts when it comes to speaking in public (in general) and debating (specifically) so I guess it was only a matter of time. He's done.
Jon Huntsman actually did quite well, I thought. But boy is he the bastard red-headed step-child of the Republican party. It's a real shame too, because he is a level-headed guy that seems to steer clear of the radical side of the GOP pool. If he had some real backing and was given half a chance, I think he might be a good opponent in the 2012 election. But he doesn't. He's done.
Ron Paul continues to alternate between insightful commentary and crazy-talk, which wouldn't be a show-stopper at this debate if it weren't for the fact that he turns into Debbie Downer every time he opens his mouth. He just can't seem to inspire people, which is kind of an important part of being president. Even worse? It's a critical part of winning elections. He's done. Unless he is tapped to be the Vice Presidential candidate on the ticket. As Joe Biden has repeatedly shown, inspired leadership is apparently totally irrelevant to the VP position. Plus... Paul has a fanatical following which could make him an asset to the race.
Michele "Bat-Shit-Crazy" Bachmann and Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum were always done. Their continued presence is turning the GOP into more of a joke every minute they're allowed to have a seat at the table. I can only imagine that this is some kind of strategy by whomever is running the show. No matter how badly The Chosen One (=cough= Romney =cough=) messes up, people can still point and laugh at Bachmann and Santorum's ridiculous antics. Talk about the living embodiment of a lightning rod... they make excellent distraction fodder for Democrats to focus on. But what happens when they go away?
Newt Gingrich continues to impress me despite the fact that I still disagree with most all of his politics. And the reason he impresses? The guy is a top-notch politician. And I think he is absolutely correct when he says that he would be lethal in a debate with President Obama. But, as much as I would love to see that, I just can't imagine it actually happening. Gingrich keeps holding on because he's garnered a lot of respect in his arena. But he can't hold on like that forever. Ultimately, he has to sway his party and, despite having one of the more articulate, non-wavering, clear voiced visions I've seen here, he's not doing that. Maybe it's his numerous past scandals holding him back. Maybe it's his reluctance to speak in 30-second soundbites. Maybe he just isn't what the majority of Republicans want in a candidate. I honestly don't know. He's almost done. Personally, I think he's make a good choice for the VP slot (can you imagine him debating Vice President Biden?).
Herman Cain keeps losing ground with me but, not surprisingly, he keeps gaining ground in his party. Even putting aside the current sexual harassment scandals swirling around him, I just don't get it. Tonight he proved that not only is he crazy, he's also a disrespectful piece of shit (and quite possibly a sexist asshole...Princess Nancy?!? Seriously? THIS is a presidential candidate?). Look, you will get no argument from me -none- that our tax system is fucked up and needs a complete overhaul. But this
Mitt Romney is all but assured of the nomination. He would have to kill a puppy with his bare hands while receiving oral sex from a donkey during the Super Bowl Halftime Show in order to be passed over at this point. A part of me gets it. The guy feels presidential. He may actually have a decent shot in the election. But what the hell? The Republicans crucified... crucified... Barack Obama over his occasional flip-flopping, yet Mitt Romney is the fucking king of flip-flops. You literally never know what the hell the guy stands for because the only consistent thing about him is his inconsistency. Even worse? He then proceeds to lie about it. Badly. It's as if he doesn't realize that people record everything he says. As if all that weren't enough, he's a Mormon, which would usually be the kiss of death. A lot of Christians refer to Mormonism as a cult for heaven's sake (Google it and stand back in awe!). Given the Christian Conservative backbone of the GOP, Romney's high standing in the race is surprising to say the least. In all honesty, I don't think he's a challenge to President Obama in 2012. Well, unless Obama kills a puppy with his bare hands while receiving oral sex from a donkey during the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Then he might have a chance.
My hopes of a candidate emerging to present a serious challenge for the presidency are diminishing quickly. The last thing I want is for President Obama to go unchecked and win the election in a cake walk. He's caved or backpedaled on a lot of things I really care about, and my frustration levels are growing (despite progress made in other areas I also care about). I want his feet held to the fire on his continuing lobbyist connections. I want answers on what happened to this "transparency" we were promised. I want some of his decisions challenged in a way that only a strong opposition candidate can provide. I want a real debate.
Apparently, I want too much.
Another day, another Republican debate... this time on foreign policy. Kinda.
It was my plan to hash out a blog post over the debates that were held in South Carolina tonight, but that proved impossible. First of all, CBS News/National Journal did a shitty, scattered, wholly incompetent job of running things. Second, only the first 60 minutes were actually televised. To see the rest you had to watch on the CBS website, which was grossly ill-equipped to handle the traffic. I tried again and again and again, but the video either wouldn't play or had so many drop-outs that I couldn't watch it. This is pathetic, and I think the candidates should only agree to debates when they will be aired in their entirety.
From what I did see, the only guy I would want handling foreign policy is Jon Huntsman. This isn't surprising... he has extensive foreign relations experience and tends to be more moderate in his thinking. Everybody else seemed a little naive when it comes to how things work and what the consequences would be for the ideas they propose. Granted, this is probably because their answers are time-limited and designed to pander to their party base, but it's still very scary.
But "very scary" is how I'd describe most of the debate this time around.
At least the part I was able to watch.
My car has always been a piece of shit.
But thanks to Saturn going out of business a couple years ago, it's now a worthless piece of shit.
Considering I'd probably have to pay somebody to take it off my hands, I'd even go so far as to say it's less than worthless. And now even more things are starting to go wrong with it. The latest is that the alarm goes off when somebody farts in the vicinity of my car or I have to shut it down. Not all the time... just some of the time. Like tonight.
The first thing I do is look around and see if anybody is around to notice.
If somebody IS there to notice, I look around for somebody else I can blame.
If there's nobody I can blame, then I brace myself for the inevitable nasty looks I'll get.
Tonight I not only got a nasty look, I got a head-shake and finger wag.
This is a really crappy situation because my car isn't valuable enough to even have an alarm. I thought it was something I could just unplug or remove, but apparently it's not that easy. The alarm is built into the electrical system, so it's actually kind of a complex ordeal to get rid of it. I guess this makes sense, because if car alarms were easy to disable or remove they wouldn't be very effective.
I suppose my simplest option would be to just shoot the fucking car, but my Buddhist sensibilities prohibit my firing a gun. Fortunately, I live in the heart of Redneckistan, so finding somebody else with a gun to shoot my car would be no more difficult than walking into the local tavern (or church) and saying "Anybody packin'?"
The problem is that I just don't want new car payments, and my piece-of-shit Saturn is already paid off. This means I'm just going to have to ignore the defective alarm for a while longer.
Like until my car falls apart and explodes.
And speaking of "Redneckistan" and "exploding"...
Washington State now has a website to promote marriage equality in our state.
The more liberal West Coast voters can probably be convinced. But across the mountains in my
And speaking of "heads exploding"...
HOLY SHIT! NBC HAS PULLED COMMUNITY FROM THE SCHEDULE! There goes one of the funniest shows on television, as the odds of it getting picked up for a new season are now effectively zero. Poop.
Join the fight against AIDS. Educate yourself.
I seem to be running out of time for so many things lately. But, with luck, I'll manage to get caught up with all kinds of stuff this weekend... including doing the drawing for Avitable and my Movember prize package. Can't wait for that!
Today was a day of trying to do too much. This left me completely exhausted by the time I made it home. But do I ever learn? I thought I could manage a couple episodes of Game of Thrones while getting some work done after dinner, but the show is so amazing that you really have to give it your full attention. So now I'll have to re-watch the episodes again. Hopefully soon, because holy crap do I love that show.
The show I am definitely not enjoying is the three-ring circus that has become the Republican presidential arena. I am approaching near-desperation waiting for a candidate to emerge who can seriously challenge President Obama and give the American people the debate on issues and ideals that we deserve. An Obama landslide victory benefits none of us... even his more staunch supporters.
Herman Cain is almost certain to bow out of the race tomorrow. He simply cannot escape the massive level of scandal that's been escalating around him for months. But, then again, this is Herman Cain we're taking about.
Rick Perry seems perfectly content to keep reminding people how stupid he is by ridiculing himself at every given opportunity. Yes, you have to laugh at your mistakes, BUT THEN YOU MOVE ON. Who in the hell is advising him? IS ANYBODY?
Mitt Romney, who at one time "felt" the most presidential of the bunch, is now whining like a little bitch because the press is asking him the hard questions about his historical legacy of flip-flopping on every talking point in the history of politics. And we're not talking the tired old Republican go-to whining about the mythical "Liberal mainstream media" they've fabricated so they have somebody to blame whenever they say or do stupid crap... he's whining about the Conservative agenda mouthpieces at FOX "News"! There's little doubt that the candidacy is his to lose... AND HE'S LOSING IT.
Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum has now reached a level of insignificance that approaches navel lint. His never-ending attacks on the gays leaves little doubt that he is overcompensating for his massive craving for a big ol' cock sandwich. I wish he's just take a bite and shut the fuck up already.
Michele "Bat-Shit Crazy" Bachmann recently said she thinks that Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum would be the ideal vice-presidential running mate on her 2012 all-homophobe-all-the-time fantasy presidential ticket. As if that's not enough, she continues to dazzle us with misrepresentation and lies so bold that it's hard to figure out if she even knows that most everything she says is bullshit. This has gone from amusing to hysterical to sad to pathetic. At some point the Republican leadership is going to realize that her non-stop parade of idiocy is no longer a handy tool for making the rest of the candidates look good... but instead a raging embarrassment that makes them all look bad. Anybody who's seen Old Yeller knows how this one ends... it's just a matter of time.
Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman have virtually no support within the Republican party. At least not enough to matter. And that's a shame, because Huntsman in particular seems like he could pose the biggest threat to President Obama in an election. If only he could somehow convince The Right that a "Conservative Light" candidate is far more appealing to undecided voters than the radical Conservative hard-asses they seem to rally behind.
Newt Gingrich gave me hope for the longest time. Sure I disagree with the bulk of his politics but, despite his many scandals, he seemed the most capable of making a serious argument for change and taking it to President Obama's front yard. He's got the vision and drive to make a serious impact, even though I don't think he has a chance of winning the election. But all of that is for naught if he can't reign in his rich bitch arrogant asshole mouth. Newt is almost joyous in his enthusiasm to kick the poor and unemployed when they're down, not seeming to realize that there are plenty of Republicans in that very situation. Who is going to listen to your ideas when you're shitting all over them? You can lighten up your demeanor without compromising your ideals... LOOK INTO IT! Because at some point you have to convince more than just your fan base that you're worthy of being their president.
And that's it! That's all she wrote! Unless somebody crawls out of the GOP woodwork to revive the run for the nomination, it's looking like Gingrich or (perhaps more likely) Romney is what we're going to get. This has me almost hoping that Sarah Palin swoops in and grabs the nomination, because at least that would be an entertaining disaster.
But oh no. If things keep going this route, President Obama is going to win in a cake-walk without having to answer for much of anything. It doesn't get much sadder than that.
Unless you're President Obama's campaign manager.
If you're President Obama's campaign manager, you absolutely live for this shit.
It's a Wonderful Life is playing on television. I loathe that movie. It's one of the single worst films I've ever had to endure. For the life of me I can't figure out why people are so in love with it. Is it the crappy, boring-ass story? The cheesy over-the-top acting? The nausea-inducing predictably clichéd happy ending? What?
Of course, I haven't ruled out that it's because I'm a soulless bastard. I'm totally open to that as a possibility.
It would certainly explain my joy at watching Herman Cain's presidential campaign implode.
I was really hoping he would just shut up, drop out, and go away... but apparently that's not his plan. It would seem he wants to fade into irrelevance like Sarah Palin did. Of course, she managed to make millions of dollars along the way, so there's that...
It's odd thinking back to the days when Cain was on the rise and I was actually a fan. Not so much politically, but because he had such a fantastic personality. Back then I was always tuning into his interviews because he was so darn entertaining. But then the crazy started to set in, and there's was no stopping the downward spiral that ensued.
Have to say I didn't anticipate an alleged mistress and all those sexual harassment claims hurrying things along though. If they're not true, as Cain claims, you'd think that dropping out of the race would only make him look guilty... so who knows how that's going to play out.
Guess I'll have to wait for the book.
Or the next Pokémon movie.
The weather was not pretty today.
It was one of those hazy/misty/foggy days that made me think that my eyes were defective every time I looked out the window. Much like my life, things in the distance are a blurry mess. All I can do is focus on what's in front of me.
Not the view out my window... it's Glacier Bay in Alaska!
Unfortunately, what's in front of my right now is the possibility that telemarketers will be able to call me on my mobile phone thanks to the new "Mobile Information Call Act" that dumbfuck politicians whose mouths are permanently attached to special interest dick are trying to fuck us with.
And, I'm not going to lie to you, the very thought of having to pay for somebody to harass me is close to pushing me over the edge.
I hate... HATE... unsolicited calls of any kind. They enrage me so badly that I turn into an unbelievable bastard when somebody dares to disturb me with them. This includes charitable organizations, politicians, activist groups, credit card alerts, fraud bulletins... ALL of that shit. I don't like to talk on the phone with people I know... being bothered by people I don't know causes me to go into a thermonuclear meltdown.
The dumbfuck politicians behind it claim this is needed to modernize our laws so that critical information we need to survive is allowed to be robo-called to mobile phone customers.
There is no information... none... delivered by an automated dialer that I need interrupting my life on somebody else's terms. And, regardless of what the dumbfuck politicians say, you just know that eventually the law will lead to telemarketers being able to call. They'll exploit some loophole or bullshit technicality like they always do, then everybody with a mobile phone gets screwed.
The only law that I want on the books is one that says "YOU DON'T GET TO FUCKING CALL ME EVER!" And it should apply to everybody except those I've given my expressed permission to dial me. Permission which can be revoked at any time. Period.
This whole mess is how we know that politicians no longer serve the people they claim to represent. They serve special interest groups, lobbyists, and their wallets. Because, honestly now, who in the hell would ever want this law except special interest groups, lobbyists, and the politicians being paid by them? NOBODY! That's who. It's like asking somebody with an email account if they want spam.
Obviously our political system is very, very broken when stupid-ass shit like this sees the light of day. It's not a Democrat or Republican thing any more... that ship has sailed. Now it's just people with political power fucking over people without it. Again and again.
And we're told we have no choice but to sit down, shut up, and take their abuse.
Anarchy. It'll be here sooner than you think.
I woke up at some ungodly hour this morning so I could watch the lunar eclipse.
I was expecting to see something like this...
Instead what I saw was this...
Clouded in again. Story of my life.
Can't catch a break when it comes to eclipseses eclipsees eclipses.
The latest Republican Debate that aired tonight was PRICELESS. Seriously, unless you saw it you just don't know. I didn't think it was possible for the entertainment value on these things to go up with Cain no longer in the picture, but there you go. It was like the nomination was pinned to a piece of raw meat that was thrown into the middle of the room and they all had to fight over it. Some of the attacks and in-fighting were so delicious that I found myself wanting to lick my television screen.
Usually, I'd run a recap of all the candidates and how they did, but it really wasn't that kind of debate. The only thing that surprised me this time around was how questions were designed to attack Gingrich in a kind of passive-aggressive way. I mean, when you ask about the importance of marriage fidelity when Gingrich is on his third marriage and everybody else is on their first, it's pretty obvious. I guess this means the honeymoon is over, and the Powers That Be have decided it's time for Newt to take a powder.
But despite it all, I'd say that Gingrich still came out on top (even if he likes to invent invented people). It wasn't hard to do when Mitt Romney was getting slapped around the entire time (and reminding everybody that he's sooooooo rich that a $10,000 bet is not a big deal didn't help his case much).
Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum and Michele "Bat-Shit-Crazy" Bachmann can't drop any lower than they already are, so I'd say the big loser of the night was Rick Perry. His folksy form of Christian exploitation and poor grasp of even basic issues makes him sound like he's mentally deficient. But what do I know... maybe that's what Republicans are looking for in a candidate. Has he had his turn as front-runner yet?
Personally, I don't want to wait for a Republican candidate to emerge victorious before debating President Obama. The entire panel seems to to nothing but attack the guy, so why not invite him to the next debate? That would be all kinds of awesome.
In the meanwhile, getting a good night's sleep would be all kinds of awesome.
If I were as insanely rich as Mitt Romney, I'd wager $10,000 it ain't gonna happen though.
Maybe it's because this has been one very tough week, but I've had it with stupid-ass bullshit. I am done. And I mean done. What keeps me going is seeing other people who are tired of stupid-ass bullshit actually taking the time to confront it. And today I ran across a doozy.
As I've reiterated many, many times now on this blog, I automatically assume that anybody who makes personal attacks against someone is probably overcompensating for their own problems.
Anybody who attacks a person's sexuality probably has a problem with their own sexuality. Anybody who feels the need to attack somebody's religion probably has a problem with their own faith. Anybody who attacks how somebody looks probably has a problem accepting how they see themselves. Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.
Oh... and lest we forget: Anybody railing against gay marriage probably has a problem with their own marriage...
That would be Amy Koch.
Amy Koch is the Minnesota Senate Majority Leader. She coauthored a bill to amend the Minnesota Constitution so that "Marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in Minnesota." Thanks to her efforts, Minnesotans will vote next November as to whether discrimination gets shoe-horned into the State Constitution.
At least she was the Minnesota Senate Majority Leader. She recently resigned in disgrace for having an "inappropriate relationship" with one of her staffers.
In other words, a dirty cheating whore had the balls to dictate marriage morality to her constitutes.
Obviously we should blame the gays for this.
Fortunately, they have accepted responsibility and are making an apology...
Dear Ms. Koch,
On behalf of all gays and lesbians living in Minnesota, I would like to wholeheartedly apologize for our community's successful efforts to threaten your traditional marriage. We are ashamed of ourselves for causing you to have what the media refers to as an "illicit affair" with your staffer, and we also extend our deepest apologies to him and to his wife. These recent events have made it quite clear that our gay and lesbian tactics have gone too far, affecting even the most respectful of our society.
We apologize that our selfish requests to marry those we love has cheapened and degraded traditional marriage so much that we caused you to stray from your own holy union for something more cheap and tawdry. And we are doubly remorseful in knowing that many will see this as a form of sexual harassment of a subordinate.
It is now clear to us that if we were not so self-focused and myopic, we would have been able to see that the time you wasted diligently writing legislation that would forever seal the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, could have been more usefully spent reshaping the legal definition of "adultery."
Forgive us. As you know, we are not church-going people, so we are unable to fully appreciate that "gay marriage" is incompatible with Christian values, despite the fact that those values carry a biblical tradition of adultery such as yours. We applaud you for keeping that tradition going.
And finally, shame on us for thinking that marriage is a private affair, and that our marriage would have little impact on anyone's family. We now see that marriage is more than that. It is an agreement with society. We should listen to the Minnesota Family Council when it tells us that marriage is about being public, which explains why marriages are public ceremonies. Never did we realize that it is exactly because of this societal agreement that the entire world is looking at you in shame and disappointment instead of minding its own business.
From the bottom of our hearts, we ask that you please accept our apology.
And which politician or religious leader will get the next apology? My money is on Rick Santorum. Anybody who hates homosexuality that badly is bound to have a few dicks in his closet.
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