I have long been horrified at the USA's constant belief that our way of life is the "correct" way and should be forced upon the rest of the world. Believe it or not there are other civilizations, cultures and societies out there that have been around far longer than our measly 220-some-odd years, and it is the height of ignorance and stupidity to suggest that they are somehow "unacceptable" because they don't live the way we do or believe the things we believe. I've lost count of the number of times I've been visiting a foreign country and been embarrassed by some stupid thing our government is doing in the global community or (more likely) some stupid thing being done by other American tourists right in front of me... all because they just can't get it through their fat heads that the "American Way" is not for everybody.
Keeping that in mind, it is a rare event for me to come out and condemn the actions of another nation because I feel what they are doing is "wrong" according to me belief structure. I understand that other people have different beliefs, and not everybody should be required to think about things exactly as I do. But there are times when actions transcend beliefs, becoming "basic human rights" issues, which makes it impossible stay silent when I read something like this:
In Nigeria a 30-year-old woman named Amina Lawal has been sentenced to be buried up to her neck and then have people throw rocks at her head until she is dead, all because she had a child out of wedlock.Now my first reaction, naturally, is one of shock and horror that such a brutal and senseless act could be sanctioned by any government (let alone the people living under it). But I accept the fact that other societies have different views on "moral behavior" and fully realize that Nigerians have the right to live according to beliefs that are not my own. If adulterous sex is a known crime that is punishable by torturous death and you get caught breaking that law, then you should expect to pay the price your society places on such actions. Do I think it is wrong? Certainly. But I look at the situation from an entirely different cultural viewpoint so what I think shouldn't enter into the picture.
Except it really does. First of all, I cannot condone torture in any form, and death by stoning is just that. Furthermore, it's not like this woman is a mass-murderer or child rapist or anything. Her crime is having a baby. A basic human instinct is propagation by sex and a consequence of this is pregnancy and birth. Such an instinct is what enables the human race to survive, and being punished for such a primal part of our nature is just wrong (well, unless you are the parents of Pauley Shore, Carrot Top or Martha Stewart)... I don't care what your "culture" or "society morals" dictate, bringing forth life is not an act that should result in death. Some might argue that birth outside of a family is a bad thing and justify it with all kinds of ridiculous reasons, but I just don't buy it. If this woman were married and had a child, but then the father died and she were no longer married, would she be put to death then? Of course not, but this is a logical extension of such backwards thinking in the first place.
And then we get into the whole area of women's rights. The problem here is that the (alleged) father of the child denied he had sex with the woman, and was released. Apparently no further action is being taken to confirm the man's innocence or find the real father if he is telling the truth. Never-mind that modern technology (like DNA testing) is available to verify facts, he just gets to walk. So even if I could get behind the death penalty as punishment for having a baby, I absolutely cannot get behind selectively applying death by gender (or race, or eye color, or any other intrinsic criteria that is based on who you are... not what you believe). Women and men are treated differently in all cultures and, since men and women are different, this is understandable (though not always within bounds of reason). But to be punished selectively because of something you cannot change is a gross violation of human rights that should not be tolerated on principle, it has nothing to do with religious or cultural beliefs.
You can read more about Amina Lawal's struggle at Amnesty International's Australian site. You can also make a donation to Amnesty International and help them make a difference.
I went to bed last night early at 10:00pm and, since I seem incapable of sleeping more than 4-5 hours each night, woke up at 2:30am this morning. The blogosphere was relatively quiet (with the sad exception of even more catastrophic death tolls from the tsunamis) and I didn't have a book to read, so I was left with nothing to do. I'd like to get some work done, but I'm useless for anything requiring much thought this early, so that's not going to happen. After surfing a list of new Mac software, I came across "World of Where" which is a program to help learn all the various countries of the world and their capitals (also available for you Window sufferers). It costs $10 to get an unlock key, but Europe is free, so I thought "time to prove how smart I am" and downloaded it.
Only to find out I am not quite so smart as I thought I was.
I started out doing well, zipping through countries with ease (though I always seem to mix up Estonia and Latvia, which is really stupid considering the Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania trio is in alphabetical order). Yes, everything was going swimmingly until...
What the heck is a San Marino? That's a country?!? I've never heard of it before. It sounds like an island, so I start clicking like mad off the coasts of Italy and Spain, all to no avail. WTF? How can there be a country I've never heard of before? Is this new? Did they make up a country while I wasn't looking? And that's when I notice a small area within Italy that, at first glance, I ridiculously assumed was Vatican City (only to realize it's completely in the wrong place, as it's nowhere even remotely near Rome). Could it be?? Sure enough. And once I had finished filling in the map, this small country stood out like a beacon of my ignorance, mocking me...
Obsessed with all things San Marino, I head over to Wikipedia and learn a few things:
I am still reeling from the fact that I was so blissfully unaware that an entire country existed. Certainly I must have heard of it before, but perhaps I just thought it was a city or something? How many other countries are out there that I am ignorant of? I guess I'm going to have to register "World of Where" so I can find out.
Bleh. Just when you think you know everything...
For anybody wanting to do something to assist the recovery efforts in Asia just now, there are several charitable organizations who would be glad to take your money. If you were a reader of my old blog, you know that one of my favorites is "Doctors Without Borders" (or "Médecins Sans Frontières" as it is originally known). I had named them my "real-life" heroes in a Friday Five entry back in April...
Who is your favorite "real-life" hero? There are many amazing heroes throughout history, but if forced to pick just one, I'd have to say anybody who is a part of the Doctors Without Borders group. These amazing people boldly go where angels fear to tread to offer medical assistance to people who otherwise wouldn't get any. A quote from their site... "Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as Doctors Without Borders or MSF) delivers emergency aid to victims of armed conflict, epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters, and to others who lack health care due to social or geographical isolation." How amazing is that?
You can read more about the bravest people on earth and, if it's in your heart to do so, make a donation to their remarkable efforts in humanitarian aid. They are currently airlifting more than 60 tons of medical, surgical, and water-and-sanitation equipment to be sent to Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and MSF teams are on the ground in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
Native English-speaking people are either really lucky or really lazy, and I can never make up my mind which it is. Because every time I attend some kind of international gathering... a meeting, a trade show, an exhibit, or an event of some kind... it never ceases to amaze me how many non-English speaking people are fluent in several languages. And, of course, everybody knows English, which makes it the "lowest common denominator" for the internationally-minded traveler. I guess that puts "American-English" just one level above grunting and making obscene gestures, but at least you can watch the latest Julia Roberts movie once you've mastered it.
Since I am already fluent in English (which is debatable, I grant you) the incentive to learn a foreign language for practical purposes is quite low. Sure I can make basic conversation in Japanese, and know a smattering of helpful phrases in Spanish, French, Italian, and German, but that's a long way from fluency. In fact, unless the conversation is about finding a toilet, saying "thank you", or ordering a cheese sandwich, then I am pretty much useless.
And I hate that about myself.
Seriously... the kid clearing my lunch table here today knows German, French, Italian, English, and some Dutch. And I don't mean that he has memorized a few phrases so that he can ask "may I take your plate" - this guy can actually discuss the finer points of nuclear fission and the perils of using low grade uranium and light metals for the process, all in your choice of tongues.
And there you have one of the cultural differences that set us apart. In the USA, any native who is fluent in a foreign language is considered a genius and should be working as a translator at the United Nations to bring about world peace. In other countries, if you know five foreign languages, you are considered average and are qualified to handle dirty dishes in a restaurant.
I guess that makes native English-speaking people both lucky that we don't have to learn another language and lazy in that we so rarely bother. I feel really stupid today.
Oh, and before I forget, I received five emails about Hotel im Wasserturm, so I'll try and address the questions y'all have about it here in an extended entry (though, you should really try leaving comments so everybody can get involved... it's painless, and you don't have to even provide any personal information if you don't want to!).→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Last night I received a phone call from my good friend Meagan who I have not spoken to in a very long time (she's responsible for the little photos of me you see before each entry). It's always great to catch up, but I find my jealousy soaring because she's been mucking about Asia for the past month and I've been stuck at home. She then tells me that her next vacation will absolutely include the UK, which (oddly enough) is someplace she has never been, despite a lifetime of extensive international travel.
Dave: Well, just be careful when you go... I don't want your picture turning up on the internet from a "Happy Slapping" incident!
Meagan: What the heck is "Happy Slapping?"
Dave: Haven't you heard? It's all the rage in the UK... angry youths run about slapping people in the face and recording it with their picture-phone. Then they pass the best photos along from phone to phone.
Meagan: Whaaaaaat? Are you kidding?
Dave: Oh no. It's a serious deal. They're apparently banning phones in schools to stop "Happy Slapping" bullies.
Meagan: That's so... strange. Can you imagine just walking along and somebody runs up and slaps you in the face?
Well, of course I can. And being in the UK, it's probably all very civilized after somebody has slapped you...
But it's when you start thinking about what would happen if something like this were to become popular here in the good old U.S. of A. that it starts to get interesting, because the reaction could end up being very, very different...
And please don't think that I'm making fun of the British here... on the contrary, I think it must be liberating to live in a place where you can go around slapping people and not have to worry about somebody pulling a gun on you. Heaven only knows I'd be bitch-slapping a heck of a lot more people if I weren't so worried about having a cap popped in my ass from some trigger-happy redneck.
Oh well. It looks like I'll have to travel abroad to do all my slapping. I wonder if there are organized tours for things like that? Or at least a guide book... "How to Slap in Europe on Just $50 a Day" and "A Bitch-Slapper's Guide to London" for example. I'll have to give Frommer's a call.
And, in other news... dang I look good in a bowler hat!
I've decided to recover from three weeks of doing nothing but work... by doing nothing much at all. I fully plan to stay in bed surfing the internet most of the day. At most I'll be catching up on the tremendous backlog of blog-reading and maybe watch my News Radio DVD set. I have no plans to leave the apartment today... even for a motorcycle ride, which will tell you exactly how lazy I plan on being.
One thing that has already caught my eye (via an entry on Boing Boing) is a Japanese artist named Toru Kanamori who was an illustrator for Star Trek novels back in the day. He is retired now, and unable to take on book assignments as he once did. But, since he still needs to make a living, he is looking for some kind of licensing or publishing deal for his stunning collection of original art...
Amazing. And there are at least 400 more illustrations sitting in a cardboard box in a suburb of Tokyo just begging to be seen. I mean, holy crap! Somebody get Kanamori-san a book deal or a gallery showing A.S.A.P.!
It is rare that I just dump a news story here for linking purposes, but I had to make an exception for this. To read more about the artist and his work, there is a web site up.
I just hope the blood-sucking licensing department over at Paramount will respect the fact that Kanamori-san is responsible for selling a bunch of their books in Japan, and not hassle the guy if somebody is smart enough to want to publish his works.
I woke up sick this morning for no particular reason. I don't get sick very often, so it was a bit disorienting to be feeling all queasy (especially after only four hours of sleep). Not knowing what to do about it, I decided to make sure I wasn't going to puke then take some Pepto Bismol. Good old Pepto Bismol! During my younger days, I was convinced that it could cure most anything.
It was my intention to go back to bed and see if I could get some more sleep... thus allowing the Pepto Bismol to do its thing. But that wasn't happening, so I grabbed my laptop off the night-stand and thought I would see what's happening in the world.
Finding out that the London Underground was suffering terrorist attacks made me go from "queasy" to "totally nauseated" within a heartbeat.
My mind flashing back to Madrid, I struggled to understand exactly how such an act could possibly benefit a terrorist organization. It certainly isn't going to make anybody sympathetic to their cause. If anything, it only galvanizes the world's resolve to strike out against terrorism. I guess that's the "senseless" part of "senseless violence."
What truly mystifies me is the target of the attacks. I mean, LONDON? These are the people who would not buckle under the horrors of never-ending bombing raids during The Blitz! If history tells us anything, it's that Londoners will not cave. Ever. So, while this is certainly a sad day for London, for England, for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and for the world... there should be no doubt in anybody's mind that London will endure. Always.
My thoughts are with my friends in the city and their countrymen today. Remember your history. Remember your resolve in the face of adversity. Remember you are not alone. God save the Queen.
So now it looks like anybody visiting the US who is not a US or Canadian citizen will eventually be required to carry a wireless device when entering the country (if a test program at the Kingston border crossing is "successful"). Holy crap. As if the "Real ID" card wasn't stupid enough, this is something monumentally asinine.
Who are the deluded morons making these decisions?
What is going to keep terrorists from ditching or trading these devices? What is going to keep terrorists from stealing these devices from law-abiding visitors? What is going to keep terrorists from modifying or forging the devices? How does it help track people who have snuck across the border without using a crossing station?
Dumbass ideas like this are always going to rely on terrorists being tech-ignorant morons who will do exactly what you ask them to. We've learned the hard way that this is simply not the case. The only people you can safely rely on to not abuse the system are the people who don't pose a danger in the first place.
Which begs the question... does anybody think this shit through before spending billions in taxpayer dollars?
Get a clue already. Orwellian shit like this DOES NOT MAKE US MORE SECURE!! All it does is give us the ILLUSION of being more secure, which is far, far worse than nothing at all. Anybody who thinks otherwise is either a tech-ignorant old fool of a politician, or is trying to sell you a billion-dollar "security system."
WTF?!? Does nobody watch movies anymore? Does nobody read books or the newspaper? There is only ONE thing you can rely on in today's world: THERE IS NO SYSTEM SO SECURE THAT IT CANNOT BE AVOIDED OR EXPLOITED!! This is not to say we should do nothing... the valiant effort to keep our borders secure and US citizens safe is a worthwhile endeavor. But spending billions on something that has no hope of actually working and makes us less safe is beyond stupid. I'm sure that well-financed, tech-savy terrorists would disagree but, what can I say, they're terrorists.
If I were a law-obiding foreigner intent on visiting the USA, I'd be scared shitless that somebody would hunt me down and kill me so they could steal my "US Visit Tracker" and use it to more easily cross the border for their terrorist activities. And who can blame them?
I swear, pretty soon the only foreigners visiting this Nation will BE terrorists, because everybody else will want to avoid the risk and hassle. That's sure to do wonders for our security. And our economy. I can't help but wonder what's coming next.
Despite an occasional Davetoon here on Blogography indicating otherwise, I am about as non-violent a person as you are likely to meet. I don't even kill spiders that wander in my home, preferring instead to take them back outside (after feeding them tea and cakes, of course). The power to destroy is so easy... it's the pussy's way out, really. Those who instead choose to cherish life and find a non-violent path to follow are far stronger in my eyes. That's not to say I don't enjoy violence in my entertainment but, when it comes to the real world, violence should be a last resort, and despised as an act of desperation and weakness.
I tell you this so that you can fully understand that when I say I'd like to make MP George Galloway suck on a stick of dynamite so I could happily light the shit up and blow his f#@%ing head off... well, you'll know exactly how bad I feel about having said it...
The only surprising news here is that this time the idiot in question is not an American politician. I'd say it's a pleasant change of pace for it to be some other country's turn to be embarrassed by a politico-asswipe, but I'm trying to be diplomatic here.
As a "Member of Parliament" in the UK, you'd think that he would have even a semblance of respect for his British countrymen who were ordered to serve in the Iraqi war... but he has absolutely none. I mean, once your own government has elevated the enemy to martyrdom, it's kind of a morale killer, if you know what I mean.
I am, for the most part, not happy with the idea of war. But this has absolutely nothing to do with whether you are pro-war or anti-war... it's about supporting some brave soldiers who are in serious danger not because they love the idea of treading into a war zone and possibly getting killed... but because they are just doing their job. Right or wrong, YOU f#@%ING SUPPORT THOSE WHO ARE BRAVE ENOUGH TO FIGHT FOR YOU AND YOUR COUNTRY! Even when you disagree with the politics that guide them. I mean, this may not be the war that these guys signed up for, but they're still your home team, and kicking them from the sidelines while they're struggling to survive and you're safe at home makes you a total pussy.
As a soldier trying to stay alive, there's nothing quite like your enemy getting a pep talk from your own government to ruin your day. I shudder to think what sort of mayhem this might incite against allied troops as they try to get through this horror. I hope they know that for every totalasslickingdumbassfucktard that has no concern for their well-being, that there are legions of others who support them. Be safe. Come home soon.
For the whole sad story, visit the BBC.
I love languages, even though I pretty much suck at learning them. I'm incredibly envious of anybody who is able to speak beyond their native tongue. But, as I mentioned once before, it seems as though native English speakers just don't care. They already speak the most popular language on the planet, so why bother to learn something else? Everywhere you go, people speak English anyway, so who cares?
Well I do. And it's not for lack of trying that I'm not multi-lingual...
I think to truly become fluent and really have the opportunity to remember a new tongue... I'm going to have to move to a foreign country for a year and just immerse myself in nothing but the language I choose for the entire time. Sadly, the odds of this happening are quite small. So while I can always hope to one day become comfortable with something other than English, I may just have to be content in my love of languages rather than my ability to speak them.
It seems that every day is turning out to be "one of those days." I was planning on a trip to Korea in two weeks, but found out this morning that I have to leave this weekend. Bummer.
So there I was trying to find last-minute airfare to Asia at a price that doesn't cost more than the buying my own plane. Eventually I find a rather decent fare from Northwest, but then decided that I don't want to "get a full-body skin rash that itches like hell and doesn't respond to any medical treatment." So instead I booked a cheaper fare with United, where I have no frequent flier status and cannot get upgraded from coach. Thanks a lot Peggy!
I have mixed feelings about the whole Northwest Airlines mechanics strike. On one hand, yeah, I think it sucks to put in 20 years and then have to lose money and benefits that you've worked so hard to get. But, on the other hand, I think it's really, really lame that the mechanics union thinks that they should be immune to financial hard times. Workers EVERYWHERE are having to take pay cuts and face layoffs so that companies can survive. What makes $70,000 mechanics so special that they shouldn't have to take a hit like the rest of us?
And then I read where the union spokesman is saying "the mechanics would rather see the airline go into bankruptcy than agree to Northwest's terms," and have to wonder exactly who this moron is representing. If Northwest goes bankrupt, and the airline goes under, then nobody has jobs. Isn't it better to save what jobs you can, even with a pay cut, than losing everything? I mean, it's not like Northwest is thrilled with the prospect of cutting jobs and salaries... they're just doing what they have to do to stay afloat in this horrendous financial climate where they're losing millions. It's sad, but that's reality in today's business world.
Of course, when it comes to saying outrageously stupid things, the union spokesman has a long, long way to go before he can top the senile ramblings of dumbass televangelist Pat Robertson, who wants us to assassinate the duly elected president of Venezuela. This kind of crazy pseudo-religious rambling sounded really familiar, and that's when everything suddenly became clear to me...
Strange. We've got kind of a "separated at birth" thing going on here.
Anyway, I could be wrong, but assassinating foreign leaders seems like it must be against the United Nations charter... doesn't it? We are still a member of the United Nations aren't we?
I just don't get it. People actually give money to this idiot. Has the "religious right" truly become so powerful that they don't feel the need to follow rational thought? Is this kind of outrageous, uninformed, and flat-out stupid commentary actually being taken seriously?
This is just what we need... whack-job televangelists influencing our foreign policy. As if the USA didn't have enough problems already.
Those who effect positive change in a negative world full of hate and violence have my upmost admiration and respect. That pretty much sums up Rosa Parks for me.
But I never really understood that until a few years ago.
I've always known what Rosa Parks had done... she refused to give up her seat to a white man, was arrested because of it, and is credited with being the founder of the Civil Rights Movement... that's taught in school and is an ingrained part of American culture. But it wasn't until 2002 that I found out she was so much more than just an act of defiance. That's when CBS television aired The Rosa Parks Story.
And the strange thing was that I didn't tune in because I was wanting to know more about Rosa Parks, I tuned in because the movie starred Angela Bassett, of which I am a huge, huge fan.
But Angela Bassett, despite her incredible performance, turned out to be the least important part of the film. Rosa Park's story was amazing enough all on its own...
After seeing the film, I became obsessed with her. I read her book, tracked down interviews, and started reading books about the Civil Rights Movement. She was a fascinating piece of history, a living legend, and was made even more so because she never set out to be the icon she eventually became.
Most people have the idea that Miss Parks was just tired from work one day, and made the snap decision to be stubborn when told to give up her seat. It didn't really work like that. Yes she was tired from work, but not so much so that she wouldn't have given up her seat to somebody who was handicapped, pregnant, elderly, or whatever... she was tired of the treatment she had to endure on a daily basis, and that's what motivated her to defy a horrible law which defined her as less than a person because of the color of her skin. This was the culmination of years of systematic abuse... not some wacky stunt because she had a hard day at work. It always infuriates me when people diminish what happened because they think she was "too tired to know any better" or thought she had PMS or some other excuse that explains away her behavior that day. Make no mistake, Miss Parks knew full well the consequences of her actions, and deserves to be called a hero for standing up for equal rights under the law.
It just so happens that "standing up" meant sitting down this time.
The Rosa Parks Story is available on DVD, and well worth a rental at your local video store. Her book, Quiet Strength is also worth a read, and could quite possibly make you take a new look at the world around you, much as it did me. If you want to read something right now, Scholastic has a site available for their children's book My Story, by Rosa Parks which is terrific, and they also have a really good interview online (even though it's written for kids, it's still great stuff).
Rest in peace Miss Parks... and thank you for being one of those rare persons effecting positive change in a negative world, and making things better for all of us because of it.
Yesterday morning I needed to make a business call to a guy I know who is anti-Bush. And I mean really anti-Bush. Every time I have to call, I get an earful about the latest Bush happenings and how the world is sure to end soon because of the latest thing President Bush has done or said. Usually I don't mind listening to him going on with his ranting, because it's a nice source of free entertainment. But yesterday I wasn't really in the mood for it, and just wanted to get the information I needed to do my job and move on.
Naturally, this proved impossible. When somebody is passionate about President Bush... pro or con... you simply cannot stop them...
Guy: HA HA HAH! DID YOU HEAR BUSH TRIED TO ESCAPE A PRESS CONFERENCE IN CHINA AND WAS FOILED BY A DOOR!!
Dave: Uh... no.
Guy: I'LL SEND YOU THE VIDEO LINK! IT'S HILARIOUS! A DOOR!!
Dave: Uhhh... he forgot how to open a door?
Guy: NO... NO... IT WAS LOCKED! HA HA HAH!!
Dave: And he ran into the door and fell down or something?
Guy: NO! HE JUST WENT TO THE WRONG DOOR AND IT WAS LOCKED!
Dave: Ah. Well that's not so bad is it? I mean, it's not like he accidentally started a war with China or anything.
Guy: NOT YET! BWAH HA HA HAAAAAAH!
Well, whatever. I mean, it is a bit embarrassing... but if Bush didn't have an exit strategy for Iraq, why would he have an exit strategy for a press conference? Shouldn't people be accustomed to this kind of thing by now?
Hey, as long as Bush doesn't declare war on Canada or nuke the moon or something... I say it's all good. Run into doors or make up all the non-existant words you want, just don't get us into any more trouble than we already are, and I'll pretend to be happy.
Embarrassed, but faux-happy.
(Uhhh... there is still a two-term limit on the presidency isn't there?)
BLOGOGRAPHY FLASHBACK ENTRY: Leather Jackets
BLOGDATE: April 7, 2004
In which Dave attempts to find a place to buy a leather jacket via Google and discover that "leather" can mean very different things to different people... and there are plenty of freaky people out there.
Click here to go back in time...
One of the things that I find so fascinating about the internet is the way it breaks down barriers. No longer is the world out of reach... now you can visit far away places and make friends in foreign lands from the comfort of your own home. Lines on a map and political barriers disappear. And, as if that weren't enough, online language tools can even eliminate language barriers.
Well, kind of.
Every once in a while, I check my error logs to see if there are any bad links I need to fix, pages missing, or anything else that makes Blogography a poor experience for my visitors. While I'm there, I also like to take a look at popular links to see where people are going. And every time I look, I see more and more translation links showing up. Visitors are regularly translating my pages into foreign languages, and I find that very cool.
But today I actually took the time to see what they were translating.
And now I'm freaking out just a little bit.
The most translated entries all seem to be the most bizarre.
Take for instance my entry from June 28th, which has been translated numerous times in various languages. I'm guessing it's a popular search result with foreigners because I am bitching about the Bush administration not addressing the "Downing Street Memo" or doing anything to explain the "apparently false" pretenses that sent us to war. No big deal. BUT later in the same entry, I have this freaky rant against all the news coverage of people finding body parts in their fast food. And, to make my point, I decide to invent my OWN "body part in food scenario" -- the Penis Salad.
In my native English, it's a little disturbing. And the fact I felt the need to draw a cartoon to illustrate matters doesn't help much...
"Uhhh... excuse me, but the menu said nothing about chopped penis in my garden salad, and I'm a vegetarian."
I was immediately curious to know how this translated into other tongues. So I used online translators (like Google's) to see what happens. I then take the result and translate it back into English...
Some of the translations are not so bad (though "penis" has become a proper noun for some reason?)...
Uhhh... entschuldigen mich, aber das Menü sagte nichts über gehackten Penis in meinem Gartensalat und mich sind ein Vegetarier.
"Uhhh... excuse me, but the menu did not say anything about chopped Penis in my garden salad and in me is a vegetarian."
But other translations are downright frightening...
Uhhh... 나에게를 용서 한다, 그러나 메뉴 말하지않았다 나의 정원 샐러드안에 잘게 자 른 남근에 관한 아무것을,및 나는 이다 채식주의자.
"Uhhh... In me it forgives, the vegetarianism which is anything the penis which but the menu my regular staff salad which it does not talk and or cuts small inside regarding it sleeps."
Still other translations vary in quality... from strange to incomprehensible...
Uhhh... m'excusent, mais le menu n'a indiqué rien sur le pénis coupé dans ma salade de jardin, et moi suis un végétarien.
"Uhhh... excuse me, but the menu did not indicate anything on the penis cut in my salad garden, and me am a vegetarian."
Uhhh... me excusa, pero el menú no dijo nada sobre el pene tajado en mi ensalada del jardín, y mí es un vegetariano.
"Uhhh... excuses to me, but the menu did not say anything on the penis sheer in my salad of the garden, and me he is a vegetarian."
Uhhh... lo scusa, ma il menu non ha detto niente circa il penis tagliato nella mia insalata del giardino ed in io sono un vegetariano.
"Uhhh... the excuse, but the menu he has not said nothing approximately the penis cut in my insalata one of the garden and in I am a vegetarian."
Uhhh... desculpa-me, mas o menu não disse nada sobre o penis chopped em meu salad do jardim, e no mim é um vegetariano.
"Uhhh... forgives me, but the menu did not say nothing on the penis chopped in mine salad of the garden, and in me it is a vegetarian."
Uhhh... 私を許すが, メニューは 言わなかった私の庭サラダ及び私の切り刻まれた陰茎についての 何もである菜食主義者。
"Uhhh... I am permitted, but, the menu word trap concerning the penis where my garden salad which is applied is chopped up what, and the vegetarian where am I."
Uhhh... 劳驾, 但这份菜单认为无事关于被砍的阴茎在 我的庭院沙拉, 和我是素食主义者。
"Uhhh... excuse me, but this menu thought the safe about the penis which chops in mine garden salad, with me is the vegetarianism."
Uhhh. förlåta mig, utom menyn sa ingenting omkring hacket penis i min trädgård sallad, och Jag er en vegetarian.
"Uhhh. excuse me, except menu said nothing about chip penis in my time garden salad, and I'm a vegetarian."
Uhhh. afsakið, en the matseðill ómerkingur óður í kjötöxi getnaðarlimur í minn garður salat, og Myndað af I am a grænmetisæta.
"Uhhh. excuse me, while the menu nobody crazy about cleaver phallus into my park tossed salad, and Alluvial with I am a vegetarian."
Uhhh. ddiheura 'm, namyn 'r ddewislen eb ddim am faledig penis i mewn 'm ardda salad, a fi m a vegetarian.
"Uhhh. I excuse' ores, except' group menu said anything about ground was miscarrying in' ores I plow worst, I go I ores I go vegetarian."
So much for knocking down barriers. I'm fairly certain that I'm setting back foreign relations a hundred years all by myself.
I guess when the Welsh declare war on the United States, I have nobody to blame but myself.
CHAPTER 23: It's Beginning to Burn a Lot Like Christmas.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Pizza Oven and Cook's Paddle.
Lego Dave has finally caught up to the evil Lego Buzz, but things are looking grim for our hero as he is about to be beaten to death with a frying pan...
"Time to die!" shouts Lego Buzz as he moves in for the kill with his cookware.
"Barky, I've failed you!" Lego Dave says despondently. "Forgive me!"
As he backs away from Lego Buzz and the cast-iron skillet of death, Lego Dave suddenly finds himself backed against the pizza oven. Out of desperation, he starts flailing wildly... searching for anything to defend himself with.
Miraculously, his hand soon finds itself grasping the pizza oven cooking paddle. With all his strength, he whirls the paddle in the air and catches Lego Buzz's chin in a vicious uppercut, knocking him to the floor!
"ARRRGH!" screeches Lego Buzz. "You'll pay for that!"
But Lego Dave is undeterred. Gathering all his strength, he circles around the evil Lego Buzz and strikes him with all his might. The force is enough to send Lego Buzz flying forward... right into the mouth of the oven! With a roar, the oven erupts with a violent burst of fire, consuming Lego Buzz in an a flaming inferno!
Within moments, the screaming subsides, and Lego Buzz's body goes limp...
"At last... he's gone." says Lego Dave with a sigh. "Rest in peace Barky, my best friend."
And then, just as Lego Dave is catching his breath, a dark, menacing voice resonates through the air...
"I'd like my hand back, if you don't mind."
Holy crap! It's Lego Buzz Junior... FLYING IN THE AIR! What could this possibly mean?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" FINALLY CONCLUDES!
A personal message to Pat Robertson.
Shut up, shut up, shut up.
SHUT UP! SHUT UUUUUUP! SHUT UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!
Please. Seriously. Shut the f#@% up.
Yes, just die. Dying would be good on you.
How in the heck did such a total ass-biting tool ever... EVER... develop such a large following? I mean, was there a point in the past where he was actually sane, and his followers have just decided to stick it out through his declining crazy years? Or has he always be a nut-job? How can anybody who consistently preaches such a freaky, hateful, racist, warped version of scripture have such appeal?
Personally, I don't really care about Robertson or his wacky cult of followers. If he was just spouting his crap from the pulpit of a rural church somewhere, it wouldn't bother me a bit. But he has his own television network, and is a prominent religious leader (or whatever), so the stupid shit he says gets put out in the world.
And then the world thinks that Americans are even more nuts than we actually are.
We sure don't need any more of THAT going on just now.
So please Pat.
Pat, please... shut up and die already.
BLOGOGRAPHY FLASHBACK ENTRY: Dollar
BLOGDATE: April 15, 2005
In which Dave ponders the ever-declining value of the US Dollar, and tries to graph out how our currency is inexplicably and inversely linked to the price of toilet paper.
Click here to go back in time...
Maybe it's because I've just gone through a terrible and traumatic event in my life... but I feel the need to be more active in world events. I have an urge to fight injustice and make this earth a better place for all mankind and the creatures who inhabit her. Kidney stones will do that to you.
And it is with this new-found strength that I have been given the courage to stand up for my beliefs and confront people who I feel are doing something wrong. Even people who I consider friends.
People like Karla.
For quite a while now I've been enjoying her daily exploits as a Texan living in Norway via her witty and entertaining blog called Tales of a Textpatriate. She always has a way of taking the chaos out of my day. A way of bringing order to a universe gone mad. A comforting voice of reason amongst the horrors of my existence. But today all that changed. Today she wrote about something so disturbing that I feel compelled to act.
Karla admitted that she wears fur.
And not just any fur, but the fur of the rare and beautiful faux.
Karla is a faux fur wearer.
At first I thought that she didn't know any better. I sought to educate her as to the cruel nature of the faux fur industry. But she shows no remorse. She told me to "faux off" and when I told her I would be blogging about her reprehensible faux fur wearing lifestyle... she replied in the comments: "you faux right ahead... I faux dare you... faux bitch!!"
And how can I not?
So today. Right here. Right now. I am starting a campaign to save the fauxs from their tragic fate...
It's just not right in this day and age that people are still wearing faux fur. I feel it is my duty to spread the word and help bring an end to this barbaric practice. To argue my case, I've done a little research...
And there you have it. Faux furriers spend millions to hide the true nature of their savagery by advertising that "faux fur is a cruelty-free alternative to other furs". I say ENOUGH! It's time that people learn the TRUTH about faux fur and the entire faux fur industry. I hope you will join me in boycotting faux fur products as a truly inhumane fashion accessory. I can only hope that Karla has a change of heart, and can see that faux fur is nothing more than a life of pain and suffering for innocent creatures who deserve better at our hands.
How is it that we can put a man on the moon, but can't find a way to manufacture fake faux fur??
Why does the USA have the ugliest, most boring money on the planet?
Seriously, I've been around the world more than a couple times and, everywhere I go, everybody else has sexier money than we do. Most foreign currencies look as though a gifted designer... a true artiste... sat down with a plan and crafted a cohesive statement that is both beautiful and representative of the currency's home nation. US currency looks like somebody sat their butt down in some random patriotic bits then wiped their ass with a piece of paper.
I can only guess that the "design" meeting for our currency went something like this...
"Hey, let's slap an engraving of a dead president on there, then sprinkle random shit everywhere to really junk things up. Then, just to be sure we don't accidentally make our bank notes look like a currency "family," let's intentionally make sure all bills have different typefaces and symbology. And, to be sure our money is the most boring it can be, let's use drab green as the only color, sprinkling other random colors around only when forced to for security measures."
Thus the "new" US currency was born.
Well, not actually "born" so much as crapped out of the ass of the US Mint. The latest atrocity being the $10 bill that's being released any day now...
And then there's the $20 that was released a while back, showing entirely different design elements, typefaces, and illustration style. WTF? Did the person designing the $10 even LOOK at any other bills?!?
How totally embarrassing. I'd rather shop with Monopoly money than this dippy-looking cash.
Now take a look at this beautiful specimen from Costa Rica (as swiped from Randy Johnson's excellent world money pages)...
Yes, Costa Rica. An agricultural country that's smaller than the State of West Virginia (one-half of %1 the USA's land area), has 1% of the USA's population, and 1.4% of the Gross Domestic Product, takes more pride in their money than we United States. Why didn't we outsource our currency design to Costa Rica so we could have nice-looking bills? We don't seem to have a problem outsourcing every other f#@%ing job here.
I should run for president in 2008 based solely on the promise of affordable health-care, accountability of action, and better-looking money.
I would seriously kick-ass as president.
Lily was dismayed to find out that the bread for her peanut butter and jelly sandwich was slightly stale. Since she preferred her bread soft and squishy, this was a deal-breaker. Complaining to her mother did no good at all. Mother abhorred waste and insisted that the old loaf be finished off before a fresh loaf was eaten. This left Lily with two options... A) Suck it up and make her peanut butter and jelly sandwich with bread that was slightly tough around the edges. B) Forgo the peanut butter and jelly sandwich until some other family member (preferably her mean older brother) finished the stale loaf, thus allowing her to open a new one.
Lily chose option C because A was unacceptable and B would take too long.
Lily's grandmother had once told her that a slice of bread in the cookie jar would freshen cookies that were going stale. Applying this logic to her present situation, she opened the fresh loaf, removed a slice of deliciously soft bread, and then put it in with the old loaf. She didn't know how long it would take for the new slice to magically freshen the old bread, but she hoped it would work out before her cartoons started 45 minutes from now. Satisfied with her cleverness, the girl scampered off to do whatever it is that little girls do.
Lily's mother was not even a little surprised at the curious bread situation when she went to make her own sandwich soon after. Her daughter had always been a precocious child, even if she wasn't very bright.
Any time now, the Washington State Supreme Court is expected to release a ruling on whether we become the second state to legalize same-sex marriage. Needless to say, this has many people up-in-arms.
Personally, I don't understand what the big deal is. I've already said my peace on the subject, and my opinion hasn't changed. So, if you haven't already, click here to go read that entry before you go any further. Don't worry, I'll wait.
Now maybe you can help me figure out why people against same-sex marriage look at everything backwards and somehow assume that adding this fresh new slice to their crusty old marriage loaf is going to ruin their staleness?
I don't get it. Everywhere you turn, somebody is going off about how this is going to "destroy marriage". Given current divorce statistics, I find this to be a hysterical argument. Almost as funny as the fact that nobody seems to protest when two atheists get married (just so long as they both don't have a penis). And if two atheists can get married by the Justice of the Peace in a non-religious ceremony and nobody feels threatened enough to give a crap, then how can you take same-sex marriage any less seriously? If Michael Jackson can marry Lisa Marie Presley, then I say ANYBODY should be allowed to get married.
Because in a very short amount of time, this new slice of bread is going to have all the moisture sucked out of it and end up being just as stale as the rest of the loaf status-quo. Nothing magically changes for the old slices... they're going to be just as stagnant as they've always been. All you really end up with is a more interesting loaf of bread that had momentary delusions of freshness.
And isn't delusions of freshness what this country is supposed to be all about?
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that there's an uproar. The same thing happened when a slice of wheat bread was added to the loaf. Then again with the sourdough. Then again with the rye. Then again with the multi-grain. Why should adding a slice of cinnamon-raisin-swirl be any different?
Oh great. Now I'm hungry for toast...
My primary election ballot arrived in the mail and was promptly tossed in the garbage. Why bother filling it out and paying for a stamp if my vote isn't going to count anyway? You see, here in Washington State, we are on a "pick one party" system for primaries. This means that you MUST identify yourself as a Republican or a Democrat and then confine your votes to those parties.
Which basically means that if, like me, you are NEITHER a Republican or Democrat, you are forbidden from voting for who you consider to be the best candidate independently of their affiliation. If you do so, you're your ballot is not counted. This is supposed to prevent tampering with an opposing party's election results, but that's a load of crap. Somebody from one of these parties is getting put on the final election ballot but if you're not a member you don't get a voice in who that might be (even though you have to live with the results). Nope, here in Washington you are either Democrat or Republican and failure to label yourself as one or the other means your vote doesn't count.
Rock the vote! Be a part of the process! Live democracy! Vote or die!
Call me disillusioned, but between crap like this and our utterly stupid electoral college system, American democracy died a long time ago. I have -zero- confidence that the "will of the people" is represented by what comes out of an election. It's all about money and connections now.
Which wouldn't be a bad thing... if I actually had money or connections.
Senseless acts of violence resulting in the deaths of thousands of people did not begin on September 11, 2001 and, unfortunately, did not end there either.
I miss the World Trade Center Twin Towers. Yes I am saddened at the loss of life that was suffered that day, but the Towers were such a visual representation of a city I love that it's hard not to be despondent by their loss as well. Every time I see an old movie of New York... every time I watch a re-run of an episode of Friends... every time I view old photos of the city... I see the Twin Towers standing there and cannot help but feel saddened. They may not have been the most architecturally interesting structures on the planet, but the gap in the NYC skyline is a constant reminder that we are a hateful, violent species seemingly incapable of understanding each other and living in peace.
Prior to 9-11, I visited the "Top of the World" (which is what they called the South Tower observation deck) three times because it truly did feel like you were standing on the top of the world, and was the best view in the city. I remember the experience well, and still have some film I shot from my first visit to NYC...
Looking South from the Empire State Building
Looking North from the World Trade Center towards Midtown and Tower 1.
Looking South from the World Trade Center towards the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
I suppose I should consider myself lucky that I got to experience the "Top of the World" while it still existed. But all I can think about is that I will never be able to experience it again, and of all the people who will never have the chance.
Though even that's never enough of a distraction to make me forget the senseless loss of life that occurred and the ever-escalating violence that's responsible for it all.
I wish it were.
I've done quite a bit of traveling over the years and find, for the most part, that people are pretty much the same wherever you go. Sure they may speak a different language or have different customs... but everybody everywhere breathes, eats, drinks, loves, hates, sleeps, and poops. Despite any differences you can call out, humans will always be more similar than they are different. The more places I go, the more I find this to be true. But still, it's the diversity that makes this world such an interesting place, and all those little differences keep traveling the globe so I can seek them out and experience them (see my map).
But every once in a while you come across a difference so baffling that you find it hard to wrap your head around.
I was flipping through television channels and landed on some kind of concert on BBC America. It was an extravagant affair with thousands of people packed in an arena. At first I thought it was a Madonna show, but I didn't recognize the song she was singing. Then they zoomed in for a close-up, and I had no idea who it was...
TiVo tells me it's Kylie Minogue.
And so I'm sitting there thinking "WTF? THE 'LOCO-MOTION GIRL' IS SELLING OUT ARENA SHOWS IN THE U.K.?!?"
I barely remember who she is, and go scrambling to her Wikipedia entry so I can find out what exactly I've been missing. Turns out that Kylie is a massive, massive pop star everywhere except in the US. After postponing this "Showgirl Tour" I'm watching for breast cancer treatment last year, she is resuming the tour this year in November. It's an admirable story, but the real shocker was to come...
Kylie sold out her two January 2007 shows at London's Wembley Arena in six minutes.
SIX MINUTES? They kept adding dates until they had six in London and six in Manchester... all of which sold out immediately. In her native Australia, I'm guessing it's just as impressive. And yet here in The States, people barely know who she is. For some reason, I find this more shocking than even the wildest cultural differences I've encountered in foreign lands. I guess I've always assumed that pop trends like this were kind of universal. But Kylie, like soccer, has somehow escaped US attention.
I wish that were true for half the crap they play on the radio.
But still, Kylie's got some pretty good dance beats, is entertaining in concert, and actually seems to have some talent... kind of a shame that Kevin Federline and Paris Hilton can sell records here but she can't.
I do not discuss religion on my blog when at all possible, because I just don't want the headache of dealing with closed-minded individuals who refuse to understand that people are allowed to have beliefs different from their own. The beauty of all humanity is the diversity of the people who comprise it and, in my many travels around the world, I have learned to love this inevitability of the human condition. This is reflected in my personal beliefs, which are colored by the many religions and peoples I've encountered over the years.
The foundation of my own faith is built on the Buddhist precepts of cherishing all life and doing no harm to any living thing. And though I do not consider myself to be a "true" Buddhist, it is the religion with which I most closely identify, and has been since I first studied it in Thailand a dozen years ago. But I've also studied Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Shinto, Confucianism, Bahá'í, Scientology, Wicca, and dozens of other belief systems like Native American spirituality, Aboriginal world-view, and even voodoo. My attempts at understanding the people who inhabit this planet inevitably lead to investigating their faith, and it is a passion that does not easily leave you.
Studying religion is no easy task. You have to be willing to immerse yourself enough to truly appreciate it, yet be detached enough to see how it works. But there is beauty everywhere, and the joy of getting lost in The Holy Qur'an or The Bhagavad-Gita or The Holy Bible or The Tao-Te-Ching or any text of profound belief is intoxicating. There's always the desire to keep going deeper and deeper... trying to find new levels of understanding in that which others have devoted their lives to studying, yet admit to never fully understand themselves.
And now, in a time where religion is doing such a marvelous job of dividing us, there is one thing which I still believe is true: as a species, we will forever be more alike than we are different... all beliefs considered. Whether this is enough to save us from ourselves remains uncertain.
But sure I hope so.
Because it's about the only thing that keeps me from choking the ever-loving shit out of all the dumbasses running amok during the holiday shopping season.
Thanks to everybody who wrote such kind emails and comments during a tough day yesterday.
And many more thanks to those who are considering sending letters or care packages through Any Soldier. I honestly did not anticipate that, yet hundreds of you are clicking through to the site which means quite a lot to me. If only I had mentioned it sooner!
For those who have questions about this very worthy organization, I urge you to visit their site and read as much as you can. But, on top of that, I'll go ahead and add some things I've learned...
First of all, it is not necessary to spend $300 like I did. I was buying for four people, and went overboard because I was able to and wanted to. Anything you send is appreciated, and spending a fortune is not required. Even if you can afford to send nothing at all, you can still write a letter because all it costs you is a stamp. It has been said over and over again that the most requested items from soldiers are letters. Not everybody overseas gets much mail. Knowing that somebody... even a stranger... cares enough to write does more for their morale than you can imagine (hand-written letters show that you put the time in to care, and seem more personal than laser-printed letters or photocopies).
When it comes to what to say to a serviceman or servicewoman, it's always best to remember who you are writing to... somebody living in very dangerous conditions, far from home, who is missing their family and friends. It's also important to remember why you are writing... to offer encouragement and support. With that in mind, you can just put aside your personal opinions about the war being all f#@%ed up. Nobody knows this better than they do, and they don't need to be told that. Instead, try and realize that most of the people serving are doing the best they can to make a better, safer life for native Iraqis or Afghanis whose lives have been torn apart by war. This is what keeps them going through these very confusing times, and acknowledging that is a good place to start. Tell them what's happening back home. Tell them they are appreciated. Let them know you care.
When I send care packages, I usually don't have time to write, so I enclose simple notecards (with Lil' Dave dressed in Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine attire as appropriate)...
It's nothing extravagant, just a little note to say that I'm thinking of them, caring about them, and wishing them well along with sending a box of stuff. Hopefully it's enough to give a soldier a smile.
I always include my email address, just in case a soldier wants to write back and say "thanks" or even request something special they need. But it is critical to remember one thing... not all soldiers are able to write back!! They say this over and over on the Any Soldier site, yet I still visit forums and read about people complaining because they never got a thank-you note. This kind of thing drives me nuts, because these people have no clue as to what they are talking about. Just because you don't hear back doesn't mean your thoughts and gifts are unappreciated. It's nice when it happens, but I never expect it.
If you are interested in helping out, I've put further information in an extended entry. Otherwise, I will be traveling for the next 10 days, so entries may be posted late depending on whether I have internet or not...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I accidentally landed on the televised Presidential Address while channel surfing this evening. I tend to avoid stuff like this in a desperate attempt to save what little sanity I have left in a world gone mad, but he was on all the channels, so what could I do?
As my brain was melting, there was only one thought I could keep in my head.
Just one thought that my mind clung to as I watched President Bush attempt to give his speech...
What is Steve Jobs waiting for?
STEVE JOBS FOR PRESIDENT!
BRING JOBS TO AMERICANS IN 2008!
TAKE BACK AMERICA WITH STEVE!!
President Steve would be super awesome! He got Apple back on track, President Steve could totally get America back on track too! We need President Steve!
I wonder if we would get to sync the presidential inauguration to watch on our iPhones?
Did you feel it?
Did you feel it?
If you were anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, you undoubtedly felt the presence of Elizabeth Hurley in Seattle yesterday, signing autographs at Nordstroms to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately, I had a project deadline to meet, so driving over to Seattle so I could stand in line with a bunch of ladies in the cosmetics department and profess my undying love for all things Elizabeth Hurley was not in the cards.
Perhaps it's for the best. Keeping the fantasy alive and all that.
And then there's reality...
I've said before that blogging is not very difficult for me. Whenever I have free time during the day, I just grab my MacBook and type something out. I don't really think about it, and just blog whatever is on my mind. The average entry comes together in about 10 minutes (or a little longer if I have photos to work with or cartoons to draw).
But today was completely different.
Because this morning I read about President Bush's veto of the bipartisan bill to help provide healthcare to children that are from families making too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but too little money to afford insurance.
And then lost my mind.
This is my fifth attempt to put down my thoughts on the matter. The four other times I've tried throughout the day, I just end up typing "FUCK!" every other word and WRITING EVERYTHING IN ALL-CAPS. I'm beyond shock. I'm beyond anger. I can't even feign indifference. George Bush with all his money has never had to worry about how he's going to care for a sick child, and now it's fairly obvious that he doesn't give a fuck about people who do. This was a bill endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans. This was a bill supported by 72% of Americans. This was a bill that would cost relatively little compared to our $13 trillion dollar economy (and is positively paltry when compared to the cost of the war in Iraq). This was a bill that would provide desperately-needed health care coverage to over 9 million children (CHILDREN!!). This was a chance for George Bush to put his personal politics aside and do something for the good of the people he represents... something that a majority of these people are supporting.
But our president apparently doesn't give a fuck. He doesn't give a fuck about parents who can't afford insurance for their kids. He doesn't give a fuck about what Americans want. He doesn't give a fuck the well-being of children. And he certainly doesn't even give a fuck about his fellow Republicans who will be running for office next term, because stuff like this is what will push fence-sitters to vote Democrat.
He just doesn't give a fuck.
President Bush says his reason for killing the bill is because he's trying to halt the federalization of health care... "I don't want the federal government making decisions for doctors and customers." Which just goes to show that on top of not giving a fuck, he's completely clueless as well. Did he even READ the bill before he vetoed it? This program has NOTHING TO DO WITH FEDERALIZING HEALTH CARE!! The program would provide funds for STATE government to enroll children in PRIVATE health insurance plans. Perhaps he actually did read it, he just didn't understand it? I can't decide if that would make me feel better or worse.
I could go on and on. I could unleash my profound disappointment in our president. I could rage about how insane it is that the wealthiest nation on earth can't provide health care for all of its citizens. I could go crazy over how insurance lobbies are dictating policy to our elected officials. I could... but I won't. I don't want to discuss it anymore. I don't want to think about it anymore. I don't want to deal with it anymore. I just don't want to accept that our country is run by somebody so lacking in decency and compassion.
Or maybe it's because I don't give a fuck either.
Tomorrow is "Super Tuesday," which is a bloated orgy of political debauchery that paints much of the candidacy landscape in our presidential election years. Nearly half the nation's states will be deciding who they will support at the national convention on this single day. Personally, I loathe the way that Super Tuesday works, because it pretty much ensures that only candidates with massive financial backing can compete... you simply cannot campaign in so many simultaneous states effectively unless you've got money. Lots of money. This basically means that wealthy individuals and cash-heavy companies are deciding what's best for this country, which hasn't been working out that great for us. Wealth and power only seem to ever be interested in obtaining more wealth and power... regardless of what that means for everybody else.
When it comes to the presidency, I've long since given up electing some dream candidate who is going to solve all our problems and fix all the things that have gone terribly wrong with the country.
At this point, I'm just looking for the candidate that's going to do the least amount of damage.
While I'm sure this speaks volumes for my political mindset, I don't think it's an irrational approach given where we're at right now. Just give me a president who isn't going to fuck up our shit worse than it's already been fucked up, and I'll be happy. If they can fix some things along the way, that'd be great.
Ultimately, I'm non-partisan and don't care about a candidates political affiliation (other than realizing that they are tied to their party, and much of their political career will be spent sucking at that life-giving teat). I also don't care about a candidate's race, religion, sex, or preference for pizza toppings. We need somebody willing and able to put their personal issues aside, realize that The United States of America is comprised mostly of people who are different than they are, and govern accordingly. I do care about finding a president who isn't a xenophobic asshole, and realizes that the US is not the entire world. This kind of antiquated thinking is fatal in a time where our standing in the global community is critical to our well-being. Our planet is a much smaller place than it used to be and is shrinking further every day. As a species, humanity needs to come together to ensure our survival... not just in America, but across the globe.
With all that in mind, I figured it's high-time I decide on a presidential candidate. Since the things that are important to me are so diverse, this is a difficult task. Candidates whom I agree with on one issue might be somebody I disagree with vehemently on another. No one person or party is perfectly aligned with my concerns, so it becomes a game of weighing the candidates against what I'm looking for and then positioning them against each other as a whole. To make this easier, I ended up creating a "Don't Fuck It Up!" matrix to help me decide who is the least likely to doom us all...
Hmmm... I guess the three times I've read Barack Obama's book The Audacity of Hope had quite an effect on me. While I don't agree with his stance on everything (there are a few areas I think he's a bit deluded and oddly misguided), I do think he has the best chance of not fucking up our shit worse than it's already been fucked up. As I said, this is what I'm looking for most in a candidate, so there you have it.
As for the other candidates, I'm like... whatever. I think Huckabee would be paramount to armageddon, and would rather have four more years of disaster with President Bush than to let him be in the White House for even 15 minutes. I've said repeatedly that I would never vote for MIA-POW betrayer McCain, but he'd get my vote over Huckabee (and only Huckabee) if that were a contest. Clinton has some good ideas (and some inexplicably bad ones), but I find her entirely too polarizing to believe she'd make an effective president. I'm not Hillary's biggest fan, but I would be able to put that aside and work with her for the betterment of the country. The same cannot be said for others, because people who hate her really, really hate her. Mitt Romney's high "Dont' Fuck It Up" score is surprising, because some of the things he supports are borderline reprehensible to me. But the more I look into how Mitt has handled past problems, the more convinced I am that he wouldn't make a half-bad president and would try his best to represent all of its citizens fairly. Ron Paul has some interesting ideas on foreign policy, but so much of what he advocates domestically is just so bat-ass-crazy-radical that he'd never get the support to do even half of what he's promising. Heaven only knows we need radical change, but I honestly don't think Paul realizes what it takes to do the things he wants to do, and that is what scares me.
But that's just me. Everybody should go make their own matrix and find which candidate is least likely to fuck up our shit for them. If what you come up with is different than what I've got, then you've found who should get your vote. That's what makes this place America.
Joining the SnackiePeace Movement...
Am I the only one who thinks that Hillary Clinton has just reached the point where she is completely and totally unelectable? And if she keeps being a douche, Obama is going to be unelectable too. I guess this means that McCain is our next president. Oh well. I've had a pretty good life... I guess I'm okay with the Apocalypse in 2009.
But first I need to achieve world domination. And I'm thinking that I'll need a couple billion dollars to get that going.
Perhaps there's an opportunity in the gourmet hot cocoa market?
I could serve super-expensive cocoa with a variety of configurations and flavorings!
I can hear it now...
"I'd like a grande half-soy vanilla blended cocoa with foam plus whip cream and pink sprinkles... extra hot!"
"That will be $8.00 please!"
Yeah, there's a billion dollar idea right there...
It's 11:45pm and I just got off work. I should have put in at least another two hours, but I ended up having to take a couple Benadryl after dinner and was falling asleep at my desk. I'm hoping I can write in my blog and get through the remaining 38 emails in my in-box before I pass out.
I also need to catch up with the news, as I've been cut-off from the world. As I understand it, Obama has finally officially got the delegates he needs for the nomination. As a fan of his since I read The Audacity of Hope, I'm quite happy about it. Though I've also gleaned that Hillary has not yet conceded (surprise, surprise) so heaven only knows what that means. I keep having flashes of Obama winning the presidency, only to have her show up at his inauguration screaming "IT'S NOT OVER! WE CAN STILL WIN! BARACK OBAMA CANNOT PREVAIL OVER MCCAIN! ONLY I AM READY TO HIT THE GROUND RUNNING IN THE WHITE HOUSE!! YOU MUST PICK ME!!!"
Unless she ends up on the Obama ticket as vice president.
Though I'm not sure how I feel about that.
There was a time I wouldn't have minded an Obama/Clinton ticket... but after watching Bill & Hillary's burn-the-house-down style of diversionary politics, I'd be happier if she were nowhere near the White House. Because if that's how she treats people in her own political party... heaven only knows how she'd treat the Republicans she has to work with. One day the Minority Leader asks her if she's going to eat all of her potato chips at lunch and she comes unglued... YOU DARE TAKE FROM ME? ME?!?! SHAME ON YOU JOHN BOEHMER! SHAME... ON... YOU!!!
Yeah, that would be just great.
All I know is that no matter who wins... Obama... McCain... or even Clinton... I have hope.
I have hope that the ongoing armageddon-level disasters left to us by George W. Bush can be repaired.
I have hope that war won't be seen as the first-best solution to our problems.
I have hope that we can restore our ruined relationships with the rest of the world.
I have hope that the unfathomable divide that separates us as countrymen can be narrowed.
I have hope that the massive influence special interest groups use to rape our country will be lessened.
I have hope that our planet and life on earth will take precedent over the environment being destroyed for profit.
I have hope that our economy will recover from it's downward spiral and our dollar will have value again.
I have hope that people can live their lives free from financial ruin if they should get sick.
I have hope that our president will represent ALL of the souls in his charge, not just those who believe like they do.
I have hope that we can move forward into a future not defined by fear and hate.
I have hope that our leaders will think before they act.
I have hope that intelligence can replace ignorance.
I have hope that things will change.
I have hope.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Is it funny that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's reckless, dangerous, and destructive policy for abstinence-only "sex education" has backfired in her face now that her unmarried 17-year-old daughter is knocked up? No. I don't find it funny at all. I find it tragic. Palin should be hoping with all her might that her daughter doesn't end up with AIDS or some kind of sexually-transmitted disease in addition to a baby.
It's this kind of idiocy that's going to drive me completely insane during this election.
Governor Sarah Palin is a dumbass.
She claims to be pro-life, but doesn't seem to give a shit that kids in this day and age can DIE from being denied information on safe sex practices. This is not the 1700's. Children are overwhelmed with sex all day, every day. It's on their television. It's in their music. It's saturated all aspects of modern society. And, as much as parents might hope and pray that their children will not give in to temptation, it is ludicrous to bet their life on it! Unless they live in a hermetically-sealed bubble cut-off from the world, children must... MUST... be given the information they need to keep themselves safe. Educate them on abstinence, yes. But don't leave them defenseless in the event that abstinence fails them.
Because, NEWSFASH: ABSTINENCE-ONLY EDUCATION DOESN'T WORK!
Though, historically speaking, it's not like Palin's idiotic refusal to believe actual evidence is anything new.
Probably even when that evidence gives birth in four months.
But we're supposed to ignore all that and instead congratulate her because her daughter made the brave choice to keep the baby and enter into a shotgun wedding. Well, no problem. Congratulations Sarah Palin, you got exactly what you deserved. A pity your daughter had to be the one to pay the price for it.
While I applaud Barack Obama for taking the high road and declaring Palin's family "off limits" during the campaign, I certainly hope her insanely stupid policy of abstinence-only "sex education" nails her hypocritical ass to the wall. She has the money, position, and power to ensure that her daughter is well cared for and her new grandchild will want for nothing. Most young girls living in these United States are not so lucky.
And, if somebody like Sarah Palin makes it to The White House, we won't be so very lucky either.
Now I think I do want to cry.
I'm not one for discussing politics on my blog very often, because I just don't want the drama. Too many people are so hopelessly entrenched in their opinions that there is no room to attempt any understanding of people who have opinions different from theirs. It's sad, but that's the state of our polarizing politics today.
This is not to say that I don't have strong opinions of my own... of course I do. However, since I have no political party affiliation and will vote for both Democrats and Republicans depending on the candidate, I'm not quite so entrenched. I'll happily entertain opinions different than mine because that's the fun of it all. I love the diversity of the human condition, and welcome debate and discussion of ideas.
But there's a difference between "ideas" and "total bullshit."
And during tonight's debate, John McCain dropped such a huge load of bullshit that I am compelled to respond.
Now, I would never belittle John McCain's military service to this country. Nor would I diminish his surviving captivity and coming back home after five-and-a-half years as a Prisoner of War (though I don't believe being a POW immediately qualifies anybody for office of the President of The United States). I respect his service and sacrifice for the USA completely.
I also respect his service as a United States Senator and his being chosen by the Republicans as their candidate for President.
And I think it goes without saying that I respect those who are of the opinion that he's the best man for the job when it comes to running this country. I may not agree with them, but I do respect them.
There is not one piece of me that doesn't feel that John McCain believes everything he has done (and will continue to do) in public service is for the protection and betterment of The United States of America. Again, I may not agree with his actions, but I respect them because he believes them to be righteous and just.
Yet there is one area where I will not extend John McCain any quarter.
And he brought it up as his final statement in the debate (underlined emphasis mine)...
Jim, when I came home from prison, I saw our veterans being very badly treated, and it made me sad. And I embarked on an effort to resolve the POW-MIA issue, which we did in a bipartisan fashion, and then I worked on normalization of relations between our two countries so that our veterans could come all the way home.
I guarantee you, as president of the United States, I know how to heal the wounds of war, I know how to deal with our adversaries, and I know how to deal with our friends.
So you resolved the POW-MIA issue?
I'm sure family and friends of our military persons still missing will be happy to hear that.
But it's complete and total bullshit, and McCain needs to be called on it.
Mostly because he is considered by veterans groups and family/friends of POW/MIAs to be the NUMBER ONE ROADBLOCK to discovering what happened to those still missing.
I could rant endlessly about what a hypocrite John McCain is and how much I have grown to loathe him over the years because of his complete and total disregard for POW/MIAs when he should be their greatest champion. But I just can't go down that road of hatred and anger again, as I've already traveled it so many times before.
Instead I refer to a blog entry over at Their Voice which details the whole ugly story about McCain and POW/MIA issues that are brushed aside and ignored by everybody. And I'm not talking just about the Republicans... I'm talking everybody. The so-called "liberal media"... NOTHING. Political advocates for our military men and women...NOTHING. Even the Democrats... NOTHING. Nobody gives a shit except those fighting to learn the truth, and there's far too few of us. I encourage you to read the entire article, but here is a summary I'm quoting of what makes McCain a total douchebag, and why I will never EVER vote for him to hold any office or position where he is representing the people of The United States of America:
Since his return from Hanoi, McCain has...
For ten years I've been involved in working to find the truth about our missing heroes (which I've documented over at DaveWeb.org since 1998). I have written letters. I have bought POW/MIA flags for organizations. I have donated my time and money to helping groups promote the plight of our POW/MIAs. And I have adopted a MIA soldier who is remembered by me every single day for over a decade when I've put on his bracelet each morning. I can ignore most of the stupid shit I hear in politics, but POW/MIA issues are very personal to me, and I cannot ignore this.
John McCain can take his "guarantee" and shove it straight up his ass.
Because people like me WILL NEVER FORGET those still missing, no matter how often McCain tries to sweep them under the rug.
Because people like me care about those who risk their lives in service of this nation and, unlike McCain, believe that a war isn't over until all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country are FULLY ACCOUNTED FOR.
Because people like me can't fathom a "maverick" like McCain with his legendary bad temper and historic disregard for those in military service as our COMMANDER IN CHIEF.
Let the drama begin.
UPDATE: And so it has. For the learning impaired who have already started leaving hateful comments which have nothing to do with the issues I'm addressing (and are immediately deleted), this is not me "attacking a war hero." Read my fucking entry. I have nothing but respect for McCain's service in the military. It is John McCain who has no respect for our war heroes still missing! He got to come home from his captivity, but doesn't think other POW/MIAs deserve the same? Dead or alive, no soldier brave enough to put their life on the line for this country deserves to be forgotten.
And for those who just can't believe it, and find it impossible to believe that McCain could do such a thing, don't take my word for it. Here's a video excerpt of the award-winning documentary Missing Presumed Dead: The Search for America's POWs...
Nobody knows why McCain, a former POW himself, has consistently blocked all attempts by friends, families, and POW/MIA advocacy groups to learn what happened to those who are still missing. It is impossible to believe or understand, but there it is. And this is not a new issue. I'm not suddenly bringing this up just because McCain is running for president. I have been joining the fight for awareness of POW/MIA issues for over a decade, and McCain has always been a douchebag asshole working overtime against us. Is he hiding something? Covering something up? Who can say?
Why would anybody choose to serve in this country's military knowing that their Commander in Chief doesn't give a shit about them, and will forget about them like McCain has with our POW/MIAs? He is not a friend of our armed forces, he just exploits them in an effort to get elected. Brave men and women laying their lives on the line for their country are nothing more than a photo op to him. They deserve so much more. We all do.
But, again, don't take my word for it... research for yourself.
I don't think I will ever understand humanity.
How there could be so much anger and hatred over something that can be found in a box of crayons?
If you live in the USA, don't forget to vote TODAY! With an election like this, every single vote matters. Don't count on others to speak for you. Even if it's raining. Even if the lines are long. Even if people on television are saying that your candidate already won. Even if polls are saying your vote doesn't matter. Even if you don't know where to vote and have to go to Google Maps to find out where your polling place is. VOTE! Get off your ass and VOTE!
And if you are a resident of California... VOTE NO ON PROP 8!
And if you are a resident of Arkansas... VOTE NO ON PROP 1!
I would if I could, and you can click the above links to learn why.
Then, after you're done voting, go wish Hilly-Sue a happy birthday!
Congratulations, President Elect Barack Obama!
Don't fuck it up...
Oops. For some reason things I write for my blog are uploading as drafts, not posted entries. I don't realize it until I go to write a new entry and see the old one isn't showing up. This kind of blows. Anyway...
Almost immediately after posting my cartoon lampooning President Bush being an idiot yesterday, I got an email from a hard-core Right-Wing friend who was disappointed in me (again) and summed up his complaint with "Weren't you ever told that if you can't say something nice, you shouldn't say anything at all?"
My response was "But what if there's nothing nice to say?"
In all honesty, I try to have respect for the office of the President of The United States of America, regardless of who is holding it. There have been plenty of times I've been embarrassed or mortified by something a sitting president has done or said, but still respect them for the position they are in. It can't be easy to live your life in the spotlight where people are going to rip you to shreds for every little thing you do.
But George W. Bush is different. After the massive number of total fuck-ups he's given us, there's just no respect left for me to give.
The turning point for me was March 24th, 2004 (which I wrote about here, and am reproducing below)...
It was on this day (my birthday, ironically enough) Bush attended the Radio & Television Correspondents' Association Dinner. Customarily, as the guest of honor, The President pokes fun at himself to show he is a "regular guy" and can be funny. George W. Bush decided to present a slide-show with humorous pictures of himself while making charming and witty commentary (quite a challenge, because he is hardly the most charming and witty of speakers). And it was all good until he showed a picture of himself looking around the Oval Office and said "those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere!" He then went on to show himself looking for WMDs under the couch and other silly places while being all "funny" about it.
And meanwhile, American soldiers that he sent to Iraq are dying (along with soldiers from allied nations and untold numbers of Iraqi civilians). He started a war over weapons of mass destruction that did not exist, and then decided to make jokes about it. I guess it's easier than admitting you either lied or made a mistake, but that's small consolation to those who died because of it (to say nothing about their friends and families).
And that makes George W. Bush a f#@%ing idiot, because joking about having started a war and sending people to their deaths would make anybody an idiot.
I don't care that it was probably some speech writer who told him to say it, because Bush controls what comes out of his own mouth and he was the one who decided to actually say it. I don't care that The President is "only human and makes mistakes," because some mistakes are unforgivable to me, and this is certainly one of them. I don't care that The President claims to have the highest regard for our military and never meant to imply anything but respect, because his actions show otherwise. I just don't care.
Maybe he was too stupid to realize that it wasn't funny. Or maybe he was too stupid to understand what he was actually saying. Or maybe he was just too stupid to know that people die when you start a war, and there's nothing humorous about that. In any event, George W. Bush didn't need me to call him an idiot, he managed to do that all by himself. I am simply in agreement.
Now, to be fair, there are Bush supporters who claim that WMD's were eventually found two years later (like this story... WARNING, link goes to the hard-core conservatively-biased dumbasses at FOX News). The relevancy of this is open to debate when you examine the findings, but I call bullshit. What they found was inert components and left over stuff from the 80's and 90's... but nothing to suggest that Iraq had a WMD program after 1991. Regardless, evidence of an imminent threat from a WMD program by Saddam Hussein (which we were given as an excuse to invade Iraq) was not produced. This led the Tin-Foil Hat Brigade to say that Bush intentionally lied so he could garner support for war. Sure, the possibility exists that WMDs were smuggled out of Iraq or that they still exist in the country... somewhere... but no real evidence has been found to confirm this. At least none that has been released.
But whatever. Personally, I don't care if they find a massive stockpile of world-ending WMDs in Iraq tomorrow.
The fact that Bush decided to make a joke out of those serving and dying in a war he started is more than enough to make me loath him with every fiber of my being... with or without WMDs. It was the first in a series of unforgivable offenses in my eyes, making it easy to declare George W. Bush "The Worst President Ever," and I make no apologies for it.
Just like I make no apologies for all those Monica Lewinsky blowjob jokes I made about Clinton.
I'm an equal partisan offender that way.
Fabulous. Internet at my hotel just went down. A call to the front desk and I'm told that they don't know anything about the internet here, and the person on the day shift will know how to fix it. Guess I'm going to bed early.
I read in the news last night that Barack Obama might be planning to get rid of Daylight Saving Time when he gets into office.
Considering the fact that I fucking hate... HATE... Daylight Saving Time, this would make me very, very happy. I've railed against the idiocy of DST a few times in my blog, a lot of times in Real Life, and constantly in my head. It may have made sense back when Benjamin Franklin was petitioning for it in the 1700's, but clinging to it now is just plain stupid. Our lifestyles have drastically changed. During World War II, Daylight Savings was said to reduce energy consumption... and maybe it did... but modern studies show that DST actually uses more energy because of air conditioning and other energy consuming devices they didn't have to worry about back in 1918 when DST was enacted. The list goes on and on.
About the only argument I've ever heard that makes any sense at all is that DST is better for school children come Winter when it's shifted back to Standard Time. The theory is that riding the bus or walking to school at early hours is safer when it's lighter out. This is a rational argument, but I'm not totally convinced because this seems like a backwards argument (if Standard Time is better, shouldn't we stay on Standard Time all the time?). Shorter days in general are going to cause it to be dark either before or after school... moving time around so that a kid's biological clock is messed up is hardly conducive to learning as they struggle to adapt to the time change. During the Summer when DST takes effect, there's plenty of daylight and it's just not needed.
In any event, I certainly hope that President Obama will abolish Daylight Saving Time. It would be a very good start in eliminating the huge amount of dumbfuckery that our country clings to out of tradition rather than common sense, which is exactly the reason so many people wanted him as our president in the first place...
Eliminating Daylight Saving Time? Now that's change I can believe in!
If only we didn't have to wait until January 20th for President-Elect Obama to get to work.
UPDATE: I updated this entry to reflect the argument for kids to reflect that they were advocating the CHANGE from DST to Standard Time, not the actual daylight hours itself... which makes even less sense to me, but okay. The simple fact is that there is considerably less daylight in the Winter months compared to the Summer months. Moving the clock around isn't going to change this fact and, considering we get the most daylight in the Summer months anyway, trying to save something we have in abundance doesn't make much sense. If it wastes energy, as some argue, then that's just one more reason to get rid of it.
I've always done my best to support American workers and American businesses in the hopes that they would support me and my work. Over the years this has grown increasingly difficult.
At first, it was because the things I need aren't made here anymore. Unable to compete with the cheaper cost of materials and labor abroad, American businesses started closing up shop. Every year it's a bigger struggle to try and support the American economy, and that's very sad (especially given the dire straights we're in now).
Here's some of the things I've had to purchase over the past year which illustrates this.
FEBRUARY: • Custom Playing Cards, Offset Printing...
USA: $3 (min. 10,000 decks). CHINA: $3 (min 1,000 decks)
Ummm... yeah, I only needed 500 decks, so I pretty much had to go to China since my heart was set on offset printing. There was no way I would be able to get rid of 9,500 extra decks or afford a $30,000 investment. Unfortunately, the card stock and print quality from China was not what I was hoping for, but that's what you get for trying to save $29,000.
JUNE: • Molded Wooden Baskets...
USA: Not available. CHINA: $4 each, 500 qty.
Yeah... it's hard to buy American when you can't even find the item made in America.
JULY: • Specialty Plastics...
USA: $1800 delivered. CHINA: $1350 delivered.
This was a small part of a bigger project, so the $450 was not a major issue. I save money for my clients wherever I can, but these items were time sensitive and I worried about the international delivery messing up my project. So I decided to buy American. At least I did until I found out from somebody that the American company didn't manufacturer their own plastics anymore, but instead imported them from China. Sure their experience with foreign imports might be a help... but, in the end, it didn't seem worth the extra money for an intermediary when I could go directly to the source.
OCTOBER: • Custom Packaging Prototypes...
USA: $129 each, 20 qty. CHINA: $22 each, 20 qty.
These are complex prototypes requiring intricate pieces to be assembled by hand. The price difference is staggering, yet there was no discernible difference in the quality of the samples I received. If I were buying just one prototype, I might have considered the American company because the shipping from China would add to the price... but when you're buying twenty of them, it would be grossly irresponsible to saddle my client with that kind of unnecessary cost.
NOVEMBER: • Custom 3D Models...
USA: $750 each, unrigged - $1500 each, rigged. INDIA: $500 each, rigged.
At first this seemed like a no-brainer. The work portfolios were similar, so paying three times more would be absurd. Wouldn't it? But after interviewing the artists, my decision was easy. The American modeler asked numerous questions and was curious to get my input for translating the object from 2D to 3D. They truly cared about getting it right and making me happy. Interviewing the Indian modeler was frustrating, because I never got the sense that they knew or cared what I wanted. They guaranteed my satisfaction, but I didn't feel a part of the process, and wasn't confident they could deliver. In the end, the extra cost in going American was worth my piece of mind. From what I've seen so far, the added money was totally worth it.
Looking back on these and other projects, I usually end up buying foreign for physical products, domestic for conceptual work... even though going domestic always costs me more. I worry greatly that soon the cost difference will be so overwhelming that I'll have no choice but to hire foreign for everything. This is a very scary prospect, because it's highlighting a much bigger and far scarier picture of where we're headed. If this trend continues the only jobs available will be service-oriented... this country won't make anything.
If only I could outsource my doubts and fears for the United States of America. It would be a lot easier to sleep at night.
Yesterday when I learned that one of the people I loathe most in the world, Ann Coulter, had broken her jaw and gotten her mouth wired shut, I didn't know quite how to react. On one hand, she was still alive. On the other hand, the bitch wouldn't be spewing her disgusting agenda of hate, division, discrimination, lies, homophobia, deception, fabrication, exaggeration, persecution, abuse, and general dumbassery... at least not by speaking it. I'm sure she'll still be cranking out the bile on her website and start in on another book of partisan political idiocy, but at least I won't have to see the piece of shit blathering on my television.
After the elation over the delicious news had settled in, I wondered who finally punched Ann Coutler in the face. Turns out she wasn't punched in the face... she fell. At first I was disappointed, but then I relished the sweet irony that led fate to make her silence herself. All I can conclude is that God Himself didn't want Coulter spouting off with her never-ending stream of bullshit as Obama got to work trying to get us out of this massive hole we've dug ourselves into. The Lord does work in mysterious ways, making me curious to know what He has planned next. I can only imagine that Bill O'Reilly will be crushed by a meteor, Rush Limbaugh will suffer a massive heart attack, Sean Hannity will be eaten alive by a plague of locusts, and Elizabeth Hasselbeck will just fucking explode in a cloud of sublime ignorance.
Divine retribution's a bitch.
But something tells me it won't be interpreted this way, even though Pat Robertson would undoubtedly say exactly that if it were Al Franken who fell and broke his jaw. Hey, if the nut-job can blame the sinners of New Orleans for getting themselves selectively flooded by God's love wrath, who knows where his delusions end?
For balance, I suppose Keith Olbermann will stub his toe. Though, in many ways, he can be just as divisionary and inflammatory as his Right-Wing counterparts, so maybe he will spontaneously combust or something.
Anyway... I've written many times about my rabid loathing for Ann Coulter, so I'm reprinting a few choice Ann Coulter snippets from past Blogography entries in honor of her having to shut the fuck up for a while...
Fight fire with fire... when there's a pain in your ass, reach for Ann Coulter!
Yes, I know... I know... by reveling in the misfortune of Ms. Coulter, I'm guilty of following her lead and dishing out the hate... but come on! She broke her jaw and had to get her disgusting mouth wired shut! It's just too good for me to pass up!
But not really. I'm okay with being evil when it suits me.
More Coulter-bashing from the Blogography archives follows in an extended entry.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Today is World AIDS Day.
Back when I was in high school, there was talk going around about the "disease that kills faggots dead," and I remember very well listening to some insane bitch on television spout off about how God's retribution against the homosexuals was at hand. Of course, for the homophobic masses, it was too good to be true. Or too good to last. Because AIDS soon moved on to heterosexuals, which was still okay because they obviously did something to incur God's wrath, right? But then children started getting AIDS and, since nobody wants to think that God would give a child AIDS, attitudes towards the disease started to change.
But not fast enough.
Because I also remember the widespread panic that hit in the late 80's as there was serious concerns that the AIDS crisis was going to wipe out a massive chunk of the population before anything could be done to stop it. This eventually proved to be true, but not to the genocidal levels that were originally projected by some of the more alarmist "specialists" in the field.
I've known exactly four people who have died of AIDS.
To me this seems like a tragic number to have died from anything, but it's barely a blip on the radar to some people I know. People who tell horror stories of how they did nothing but go to funerals in the late 80's and early 90's, and how most everybody they knew who wasn't already dead was dying. An unfathomable situation that would test the resolve of anybody.
Yet the human condition prevails. The survivors pick up the pieces and move on as best they can...
AIDS is not over.
AIDS is happening right now.
AIDS is still killing people around the globe.
And now a new generation is reaching sexual maturity. A generation which has no memory of the rampant destruction that AIDS is capable of unleashing... not in some far away country, but right here at home.
Somebody has to educate them
And that's why today we remember.
I'm endlessly fascinated with the free "Google Earth" application.
It's always running on my work Mac, and any time I have to take a phone call or am waiting for something, I pop it up and explore the world. Sometimes I travel to cities I've been to before and revisit interesting places. Other times I jet off to somewhere new. A place that I've always dreamed of visiting, but haven't gotten around to yet. Still other times I just fly around the planet looking for something nifty to look at. Google Earth makes it easy...
The coolest part of Google Earth is how they are continuously adding 3-D content which sits on top of the map and allows you to explore the world in an entirely new way. You can fly to Seattle, for example...
Then zoom in and pan the camera to start exploring things in glorious three-dimensions...
And they're adding new models all the time. Partially-completed content floats above the map until completed. Like in Paris, for example, where these buildings are awaiting textures...
This morning I found out that Walt Disney World has tons of 3-D content. Flying over to The Magic Kingdom, I was amazed at the fantastic job they did with Cinderella's Castle...
Peeking around the castle, I see they even have the rides rendered...
The level of detail is amazing. They even modeled the boats on The Jungle Cruise...
And it's not just the popular Disney landmarks that are given the 3-D treatment... Epcot's World Showcase is beautifully constructed...
Even the resort properties are fully rendered in beautiful detail. Like my favorite hotel, Disney's Wilderness Lodge...
If you want to do a little exploring of your own, you can pick up a free copy of Google Earth at the official site.
The topic du jour seems to be, what else, Barack Obama's inauguration.
Ultimately most conversations boiled down to how confident everybody was in Obama's ability to turn things around for the USA and leave it in better shape than he found it after four years in office. Everybody I've talked to was surprisingly optimistic. Even the Republicans felt that Obama has such momentum behind him that things were bound to improve in the short-run, even though they were wary of his policies over the long haul.
My only contribution to the conversation was this: "When you're at rock bottom, there's nowhere to go but up. Obama has no choice but to make things better because they can't get any worse." Which is not entirely true (of course things can get worse), but is still an accurate assessment on many levels. After all, we now have a president who can speak in coherent sentences and knows how to pronounce the word "nuclear" so he doesn't sound like a complete moron. See? Things are improving already.
But where does hope-fueled fantasy end and fact-based reality begin?
With Obama, it's hard to tell. As I've said numerous times, he got my vote not because I think he has magical powers to fix the country... but because he's who I felt would be least likely to fuck things up further. Not a ringing endorsement, to be sure, but it was motivation enough to get me donating money to his campaign.
I have no idea what's going to happen next. If we're lucky, Obama will live up to the hype and a golden age will ensue. Sure it's unlikely, but it's not inconceivable. One thing is for certain, however... the days ahead should prove very interesting.
In other news... did anybody else see that the Aurora Borealis was out last night? It was a pretty sight...
Blargh. Where did this day go?
I am not here today. I am setting back US foreign relations a couple of decades by guest-posting a Canadian Travel Journal entry over at LeSombre's blog.
I am thinking today's lunch will be courtesy of Taco Bell. Things are looking up already!
UPDATE: My guest post has been archived in an extended entry in case LeSombre should decide to disappear from the internet one day!→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I'm not the kind of person to disrespect a religious leader.
But screw the pope.
I've made no secret of the fact that I was raised Catholic. I was baptized... I attended Sunday School... I took communion... I went to church when I could. Even after I stopped attending service, I still maintained ties with the Catholic church so I could help with projects and fund-raising events and such. On top of that, I continued to go to Easter Sunday mass and Midnight Christmas mass long after I had stopped calling myself a Catholic... all because I missed the ritual and community of it all.
Despite eventually embracing different beliefs, I still loved the church.
Partly because I still had many friends and family who were members, but mostly because of the tremendous respect, admiration, and affection I had towards Pope John Paul II. He was a truly great man, and did remarkable things to make the Catholic Church less insular and more a part of the world community. He was a tireless advocate of human rights. He reached out to other religions in an effort to create a new era of acceptance and understanding between faiths. He was the embodiment of Christian ideals. He was a brilliant writer. He spoke a dozen languages. He made public apologies for historical wrongs of his church. He was a true leader... inspirational not only to his followers, but to everyone.
Not that I agreed with everything he did or stood for... that would be impossible for anybody. But I never lost respect for him.
And now all of John Paul II's hard work is systematically being destroyed by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.
I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, despite being a member of Hitler's Youth and his best efforts to drag the church back to the dark ages. But then he refused to see the Dalai Lama at the Vatican, and I was done. Who refuses to see the Dalai Lama? The pope offended an aspect of my faith (as he had already done to so many others) and so I was done. Done.
And then today Pope Benedict un-excommunicated four renegade bishops which John Paul II had excommunicated. That's his privilege, but one of these bishops was Richard Williamson, a Holocaust-denying anti-Semitic asshole. Pissing all over John Paul II's legacy is one thing... but this is unforgivable. And I honestly don't give a shit why Benedict did it. He's done a very shameful thing, and I am deeply saddened for Catholics who have been tied to denial of this horrific act...
Somehow, I'm beyond done.
It's not even that he's a Holocaust denier. I mean, it is crazy given the mountains of evidence he claims doesn't exist (not to mention the testimony of not only the Jews who either survived or were forced to work at the camps, but also the Nazis interrogated after the war). For me it's the casual and condescending way that he dismisses the deaths of the people he admits were killed. Like a couple hundred thousand exterminated is a perfectly okay amount because it's not the nearly six million that has been estimated. What kind of priest has an attitude like this? As a man of God, shouldn't he be even a little horrified?
I'm wondering if now is the time for me to enact a hostile takeover of the papacy...
One of the hallmarks of being pope is infallibility. Obviously the current pope doesn't fit the bill. He's making mistakes right and left (as today's decision should make painfully obvious).
I'll get started on the "Dave Is My Pope" shirts.
At what point did it become okay to talk with your mouth full?
I'm really curious about this, because while I was eating at Denny's this evening I nearly went on a homicidal rampage. I was seated behind a 50-year-old guy on a first date who nearly died in a coughing fit every ten minutes. I was seated ahead of some 25-year-old moron trying to entertain his 100-year-old great-grandmother by talking about his latest World or Warcraft adventure. And I was seated across from some rude piece of shit 75-year-old guy whose was yelling into his mobile phone every 15 minutes.
Entire generations from age 25 to 100 were represented, and yet it didn't make any difference. I think every one of them were chewing and talking with their mouths wide open and full of food. Especially the guy across from me, who was talking with his mouth full while he was shouting into his mobile phone! I can't imagine how disgusting it was to be on the other end of that phone call.
When I was little, I was taught not to talk with my mouth full and to keep my mouth closed while chewing. Anything less was considered bad manners. So did I miss something here? Did the rules of good manners change? Were my parents way off base? Or do I need to release another book...
It's as if society is in total meltdown, and common courtesy, respect, decency, and manners no longer apply.
What's next? How much worse can it get? I'm guessing eventually you'll be eating you meal at Denny's and somebody is going to come up, drop their pants, then rip a fart on your dinner plate because they just don't care.
And maybe that's the root cause of everything. The world is crumbling around us, and people just don't care anymore.
I can't say that I really blame them.
After finding out that the executive salary cap was removed from the stimulus bill, I'm to the point where I just don't care anymore either. President Obama got into office on a promise of CHANGE, and NOTHING HAS FUCKING CHANGED! We the American people are still getting gang-raped by politicians who are catering to the wealthy at our expense, just like we have been for the past eight years under President Bush. God forbid some dumb-fuck bank executive who ran their business into the ground should have their salary capped at $400,000 just because they need the government to bail out their worthless asses. Which basically means that Wall Street fucktards will continue to get billions of dollars worth of salary increases and bonuses for being complete failures. Suddenly, all those tax increases for the rich don't matter, because we're giving the money right back to them!
Clearly, I took the wrong career path. If I were a complete failure at my job, I'D BE FUCKING FIRED!!
I had no illusions that Obama was going to get into office and everything was going to magically change for the better... but I did expect he would stand firm on this kind of bullshit. It's a matter of principle. Bush fucked us over by giving tax breaks and incentives to oil companies making billions in profits. Obama has now fucked us over by giving billions to corporate executives operating at a loss. Call me naive, but if I must be fucked over, I'd rather it be from rewarding success than rewarding failure.
I'm sure Obama's people will come out blaming the Republicans... telling us that they wouldn't pass the stimulus bill unless the salary caps were removed. It may even be true. BUT I DON'T FUCKING CARE!! I don't care if the entire country goes down in flames and our economy collapses into ruins. I don't care if life as we know it comes to an end. I don't care if civilizations die and mankind spirals to extinction. I DON'T FUCKING CARE!! I don't care because at least we'd go out WITH OUR FUCKING PRINCIPLES INTACT!!
President Obama should have stood firm on the salary pay caps, regardless of the consequences. If executives at failing economic institutions decided not to accept government funds because they feel they deserve more than $400,000 in salary, then so be it. Let the assholes fail and take everybody else with them. The country may collapse, but at least I could hold my head high while watching it burn.
As it is now, I guess I'll just start talking with my mouth full and farting on people's dinner. After watching Obama drop his principles to take from the poor and give to the rich (whose bad decisions are responsible for making us poor in the first place), I just don't care.
It's a change I can believe in.
Whenever I find a free moment, usually at the end of the day, I grab my laptop to bang out the day's entry. In good moods or bad, I press that "publish" button and to hell with the consequences.
Except last night. For the first time I can remember, I decided to "sleep on it" before publishing something in my blog. I was outraged to the point of meltdown when I had read that the salary cap for executives taking government bailout money had been cut out of the stimulus package, and wrote about it. Hard.
There's plenty of stupid shit in the "stimulus package" that I don't agree with but, given the terrible shape we're in, I just decided to eat it and trust that doing something crazy was better than doing nothing. Maybe if the package itself didn't work, it might at least spur consumer confidence and get us turned around from this mess we're in. And, despite having reservations about the bailout, I was at least warmed by the salary caps. Even with all the bullshit stuffed in with the billions, somebody was finally putting their foot down and saying "enough with public money going to reward these stupid assholes who are already overpaid." It was a start.
But then the news popped up while I was blogging about the salary caps being axed and I came unglued. One of the few things I 100% approved of in the whole damn stimulus fiasco was apparently gone, and the rage descended. But I only had one source, The Huffington Post writing on a story from The Washington Post, so I decided to sleep on it.
But I was unable to sleep and, at 3:30am, decided to push the button and publish the entry. If the information was wrong, then whatever, I could publish a retraction and apologize for my outburst later. Because if the information was correct, I wouldn't be able to forgive myself for having not said anything. Since 1.6 BILLION FUCKING DOLLARS of the first stimulus package was spent on "executive compensation," I was just too angry to let it slide.
Then I went to sleep for a few hours.
This morning I was still furious, but felt better after reading a nice entry by Mooselet with an update on Sam, the koala who was injured in the Victorian bushfires in Australia. Apparently she's still in pain, but doing well and expected to make a full recovery. She's even got herself a boyfriend named Bob, another survivor from the fires. How can you stay mad when you see a photo like this...
Mooselet also mentioned that The Herald Sun is now selling copies of that famous photo where CFA David Tree is sharing his water bottle with Sam the day she was rescued...
Including delivery to the States, the photo costs just $18.65 (in US dollars, $28.18 in AUS dollars), and all proceeds go towards helping victims of the fires... human and animal alike. You can order your copy directly from The Herald Sun Shop.
It was one piece of good news I had before learning that there were no survivors in the Buffalo plane crash last night.
I could use some good news, and ordered the photo to remind me that it still exists.
Every time I turn around now-a-days, I'm hearing about horrendous crap that's going on with my friends or family. It simply. Does. Not. Stop. Whether it's from finances, health, betrayal, theft, heartbreak, or a multitude of other tragedies, something horrible always seems to be happening to somebody I care about.
Heaven only knows I've had my share of heinous shit dropping into my life lately, but it's the never-ending misery of other people that's wearing me down. It's getting to the point where I'm afraid to pick up the phone or check my email because I'm practically guaranteed bad news is on the other end.
Which begs the question... how much longer can this go on?
I know people say "things can always get worse," but surely at some point you will run out of things that can go wrong. Won't you? I only ask, because it's that faint hope that keeps me going.
But, as bad as things may be, that's not as bad as things are.
Because whenever I cruise the blogosphere or whatever "social networking" trainwreck has my attention this week, I find something far worse than the actual drama that's making life hell for many of my friends, family, and increasing numbers of other people out there.
It's the manufactured drama people create that's driving me fucking insane.
Complaining about day-to-day crap is normal and healthy. It's why many of us have blogs in the first place. But I'm going into thermonuclear meltdown over the constant need some people have to take this mundane shit and escalate the drama until everything in their life is a catastrophic world-ending event. There's just too much horrible stuff going on right now for me to care about all this artificial tragedy people dream up to make their lives interesting.
Every once in a while you just have to say "meh" and move on.
I cannot imagine the scrutiny that somebody in the public spotlight has to endure. I don't think anybody can until it happens to them.
Which is why I am starting to develop a real sympathy for Michelle Obama. The poor woman cannot catch a break, as her every nuance is analyzed to death. Her every decision... no matter how slight... is debated and dissected for months after it happens. And usually, it's over insignificant details that she seems to catch the most flack for. The latest furor burning up the internets is that she has the audacity and poor taste to =gasp!= wear SLEEVELESS DRESSES!!
Just look at the hussy as she attends a recent presidential address...
Today somebody actually asked me what I thought of Michelle Obama dressing in such an undignified manner.
"Are you serious?" I replied. "So long as she has her nipples covered and isn't flashing her crotch all over town, I don't give a crap if her dress has sleeves or not!"
Because, honestly, every time I see a photo of Michelle Obama, she is the very epitome of class and good taste. She is a good-looking woman, and dresses appropriately. I think it's time for some jealous bitches to realize that we're living in the year 2009, and shut the fuck up.
At least I did.
Until I saw a photo of our First Lady deplaning Air Force One to meet with the British Minister of Foreign Affairs last week...
Now, I consider myself to be a pretty open-minded guy, but clearly she has made a wrong decision here.
The First Lady of The United States of America has no business wearing a bad synthetic weave like this!
Clearly this is not how this country should be represented. You're the FIRST LADY for crying out loud! Find yourself a good hairdresser and spring for the natural hair extensions!
I mean, my God, what's next? LEG WARMERS WITH SPANDEX?!?
Somebody please help her before it's too late.
I have been to many places and am lucky to have seen more of the world than most people ever will. And yet, in the grand scheme of things, I've barely scratched the surface. I've never even touched South America or Australia. Major cities like Moscow, Prague, and Mumbai have escaped me. There are so many amazing things on this planet that I will never get around to experiencing, and it always depresses me to think about it.
It's questions like "What if I die before I see Angkor Wat?" that keep me up at night.
People who travel a lot will know exactly what I mean. People who don't get to travel much will probably think this makes me a colossal asshole. And that's okay, I guess. Except I have worked hard and sacrificed a lot to go the places I've been, and am very grateful for the opportunities I've had which have allowed me to do so. Wanting more is just human nature...
I've written about this all before, but today something happened which gave me a new perspective on the matter.
I was walking to the mini-mart when I saw some guy standing in the doorway of his motor-home spouting off about all the millions of places he's been and the millions of things he's done. His audience was two older ladies who stood there patiently listening to him toss out the names of cities, parks, events, and sights he's visited. Intrigued, I stood off to the side listening to the conversation, which the man eventually summed up by saying "Yep, I've pretty much seen it all."
My first thought was "I'll bet this guy hasn't even been outside of North America!" because all the places he mentioned were in the US and Canada. This was worth a chuckle, because it always amuses me how some people think that the USA is the entire world.
But one of the ladies did me better...
"Well, you weren't there when I gave birth to my three children, so I guess you haven't seen everything after all."
I would trade ten trips to Angkor Wat to have this kind of life wisdom.
I hate Microsoft Windows.
I really, really, really, hate Microsoft Windows Vista.
And it's not because I'm a Mac Whore, or Bill Gates kicked my puppy, or I was attacked by Steve Balmer in a fit of monkey-induced rage... it's simply because Microsoft Windows Vista sucks ass. It is the steaming pile of shit upon which computer users beg for death. Every single time I use a PC running Vista, I have some kind of stupid problem which makes me enter a thermonuclear rage.
Fortunately, I don't have to use Vista very often. Otherwise, I would need to be institutionalized.
What pisses me off is that when Microsoft finally fixes their bullshit, I'm going to have to shell out more money to get the "Windows 7" upgrade. That is really fucked up. Microsoft should have to pay ME to upgrade as compensation for having to deal with their crap OS all this time...
To see all of the Lil' Dave Mac vs. Lil' Wayne PC ads, click here!
And speaking of PC (as in Political Correctness), what the heck is going on over at Comedy Central? This morning I wanted to check out clips from Russell Brand's upcoming DVD, so I went to their "video section." I got distracted by a new email while the video was buffering, only to see a black man dancing around while eating fried chicken when I clicked back to Comedy Central again. Horrified at such a racist stereotype being offered up as "comedy," I immediately clicked to a different video link.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I've written, erased, rewritten, edited, restored, revised, and held this entry for entirely too long now.
This is abnormal for me, because I usually just hammer out an entry, post it, then forget it. It's my blog voicing my opinion and point of view, so I don't worry about the consequences of what I post. Most of the time, that's not a big deal because the stuff I do here is hardly incendiary. It's silly. It's fluff. It's useless crap. It's cartoons with monkeys in them. That doesn't stop people from finding something to bitch about, but there's simply nothing here that's worth getting that upset over.
But every once in a while an entry like this comes up where I actually have something to say.
These times require that I be very careful, because there's a real possibility that I'll write something in a way that can be misinterpreted or unintentionally inflammatory. I mean, let's face it, I'm a terrible writer who is barely able to construct a coherent sentence. That's why I use photos and cartoons to communicate most of the time.
So when I say that Paul Marx, professor of English emeritus at the University of New Haven can go fuck himself... you'll know that I really put some thought into it.
Because seriously? Fuck you, Paul Marx. Fuck you sideways you ignorant piece of shit.
To understand why I would verbally abuse a dumbass like the retired professor here, you have to know three things...
Now, there are many, many things about the "Viewpoint" article for me to get upset about. The author is writing out of ignorance and stupidity when it comes to POW/MIA issues, and has no grasp whatsoever when it comes to explaining what the POW/MIA flag means to people like me, or why we continue to fly it. Even worse, he presumes to speak for us with no attempt at perspective, and presents his personal opinions and interpretations as absolutes. My initial reaction as I read the piece was one of disbelief (I was NINE YEARS OLD when the war ended... his premise doesn't even make sense for somebody like me!). But, rather than going into a profanity-laden tirade, I was going to take a pass... partly out of respect for those who gave their lives for their country on this day set aside to remember them, but mostly because it's senseless to get too upset over somebody who can't grasp simple concepts (like friends and families of soldiers still missing wanting to know what happened to their loved ones).
But then I kept reading and got to a part which sent me into meltdown...
"It (the POW/MIA flag) continues to be flown mostly out of ignorance or indifference. But those who want it up see it as a protest against the outcome of the war. To them, the flag states that the war should have been fought until the North Vietnamese surrendered. If it took a nuclear bomb to attain that goal, that would've been OK."
This guy is a professor of English emeritus so I can only guess that, unlike myself, he knows how to construct a sentence in a way to get his meaning across. That his meaning is so detached from reality is unfortunate. That his meaning is presented as a statement of fact is what makes the guy such a fucking douchebag.
First of all, I do not promote POW/MIA causes or fly the flag out of ignorance. On the contrary, unlike Paul Marx, I have spent untold hours researching POW/MIA issues so that I can better help raise awareness of the plight of our missing soldiers and those seeking answers as to what happened to them. But, even more importantly, my eyes are wide open when it comes to working towards a full accounting of our servicemen and servicewomen who go missing in future conflicts. I mean, holy shit... don't they at least deserve that much? Are human beings so expendable and inconsequential to Marx that writing them off as victims of a "mistake" is what passes for "reason?" Perhaps if citizens show they are relentless about knowing what happens to our soldiers, governments will be more cautious in deploying them. George Santayana once said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Part of the importance of flying the POW/MIA flag is so that WE NEVER FORGET! This can not be overstated... this issue is far bigger than a war fought 34 years ago in Vietnam. It is an issue that continues to be of critical importance today... and tomorrow.
Second of all, to imply that the POW/MIA flag is being flown out of "indifference" is a statement of sublime irony. People are indifferent because they haven't been educated. How can people be educated if we're just supposed to sweep something under the rug because some people (including our own government) find it inconvenient or unpleasant? It was Jesus who is recorded as saying "and the truth shall make you free"... but we don't know the truth. And when it comes to our POW/MIA's, we're never going to be free of the Vietnam War until there is a full accounting. Those of us who remember them will make sure of it for the sake of future generations. The very reason the POW/MIA flag must continue to be flown and promoted is precisely because of uneducated persons like Paul Marx.
And, lastly, saying that those who want the flag up (me) would be thrilled if the United States of America had nuked North Vietnam... well, that's where I lost it. It was at that point in the article where I could no longer contain myself, and dashed out four versions of this entry where I tore Paul Marx to pieces for being such a stupid fucking asshole. That I am still doing so after five progressively calmer entries just goes to show how bad of a writer I truly am.
But, whatever, the point is this...
Showing support for people who sign up to defend this country's citizens and freedoms with their lives does not automatically make me a warmongering psychopath that relishes the idea of unleashing a nuclear bomb on the population of an entire country.
Paul Marx truly is a raging fucktard if he cannot understand something so elementary, and there's really nothing more to say.
It's tough to know how to end something like this when you're all worked up and there's really nowhere to go but down, so I guess I'll just stop.
Because truly, honestly, and sincerely from the bottom of my heart... go fuck yourself Paul Marx. You say the POW/MIA flag is "a statement in favor of not caring about the other side's point of view, never acknowledging that there are human beings on the other side," but you seem to be forgetting that there are human beings on THIS side as well. That you so readily discount them undermines your entire argument, and has me seriously questioning your ability to form an educated opinion on anything (which, given your credentials, is more than a little disappointing).
Oh yeah... and fuck the Baltimore Sun for publishing such a piece of ignorant, disrespectful, and all-around screwed up piece of garbage on Memorial Day.
Today is the 40th anniversary of people walking on the Moon!
Or, if you're part of the tin-foil hat brigade, the 40th anniversary of when NASA faked the Moon landing.
In any event, I think that we should take a moment to remember all the monkey astronauts and other animals that risked or gave their lives as test subjects so that we could get to this point...
If you're interested, Wikipedia has a great article about Monkeys in Space.
And if you want to watch a fantastic film about what was happening behind the scenes of the Apollo moon landing back here on earth, I highly, highly recommend watching The Dish. This film is about the Australian crew responsible for receiving the moon landing transmissions broadcast to earth when the USA had rotated away from the moon. It's touching, funny, and a really good story. Two thumbs up and five stars from me!
When you turn on your television and see Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag staring back at you, do you wonder "Why in the hell are these dumbasses on television?"
When you pick up a magazine and see Spencer and Heidi on the cover, does your mind boggle as you try to understand why anybody should care about these two brain-dead morons, let alone give a crap about their stupid antics?
When you go to a movie premiere and see Spencer and Heidi show up so that Spencer can promote his wife's Christian values in a porno mag, do you puzzle over how two such worthless pieces of shit got to be famous?
Well wonder no more!
Now you too can set aside shame, decency, and personal values to become a media whore of your own, thanks to my new book...
With the advice found inside, you too can become a media sensation with absolutely no talent or brains at all. Just follow the simple instructions, and you'll be whoring your way into the spotlight in no time!
So what are you waiting for? Turn your useless life into cash by ordering your copy of Whoring Yourself for Fun & Profit for Dumbasses today! What have you got to lose?*
*Except your dignity, pride, and self-respect, of course.
I was hoping that this homophobic crap would be laughed off of Washington's ballot... but it looks as though the protections we have for same-sex couples and their families here in the Evergreen State is going to be challenged come November. And this isn't even a "marriage" issue... it's just for their domestic partnership rights! Apparently opponents of equality managed to find 120,577 people who are so insecure in their beliefs that the very thought of somebody being allowed to have different beliefs was scary enough to sign a petition.
The divorce rate is rapidly approaching 50% in the USA, yet we need to pass laws to protect the sanctity of this institution from the "gay agenda."
Two atheists can get married in a non-religious ceremony so long as they have opposing genitalia, and yet making laws to define marriage by one group's interpretation of their religious views is not at all discriminatory towards homosexuals.
Forcing somebody to live by your standards and stripping them of their rights when they don't is not hating on them.
This would all be laughable if it weren't so very sad. I find it positively absurd that two consenting adults living in the United States of America in 2009 have to fight to have the same rights afforded to everybody else because of who they choose to love. Apparently, some people haven't done the math...
I refuse to buy into such blatant discrimination. I am of the opinion that people are people and should be treated equally. I believe that love is love. I feel that there is enough room in society for consenting adults to decide for themselves if they want to marry. I know that devaluing somebody in the eyes of the law because of their sexuality is wrong. I say NO H8...
I hope that one day people are going to wake up and start taking responsibility for their own lives rather than making others responsible for their problems. In the meanwhile, we have to deal with bullshit like this when there are far greater issues we should be focusing on.
Like squirrels ruining our photos...
We really should be doing something about that.
This morning I had still more problems with my DSL. It seems every time I turn around my internet is either busted or unbelievably slow. And, of course, Verizon doesn't give a shit. Oh they put on a good show of wanting to provide good service, but it's all a time-wasting sham. I tried calling this morning and got disconnected. I called again and somehow ended up in the mobile wireless department. After 30 minutes of trying to talk to anybody, I had to give up so I could go to work.
I get home tonight and, SURPRISE, internet is still down. So once again I have to call and, basically, waste an hour of my life with my service provider to get things straightened out... kind of... while paying them for the privilege!
It's things like this that drive me insane when the whole "Net Neutrality" debate rears its ugly head...
Not content to merely overcharge their customers for shitty service, ISPs also want to screw them over by controlling what and how they get to experience the internet...
Net Neutrality opponents consider the very idea an affront to free enterprise. I consider it an essential to maintaining my presence on the internet. Because I complain about most everything here on Blogography, and am sure to have pissed off enough corporations that have the money and/or influence to get my blog dumped in the slow lane or banned altogether.
So no more complaining about important net-influential companies, such as major Internet Service Providers like Verizon.
To all my gay, lesbian, bi, and transgender friends,
It's not fair.
You are human beings. You are mothers and fathers. You are sons and daughters. You are taxpayers. You are consenting adults just wanting to love who you love, celebrate that love in marriage, and live your life the best way you know how. And you are citizens of The United States of America, a country which is supposed to guarantee such basic rights in the pursuit of happiness.
But it doesn't, and it's not fair.
So you are forced into the position of having to fight for rights that everybody else takes for granted. You aren't asking for anything unique or extraordinary. You aren't demanding something that raises you above others. You just want what everybody else has by birthright in this great nation. You want equality. And while there are those of us with open minds and open hearts who will stand beside you, it's your fight to win.
It will not be an easy battle, however.
Because your opposition is empowered by fear, and everybody knows that a scared opponent is the most dangerous opponent to have.
But take consolation that your opponent is also weak. They are weak of spirit because they feel that anything contrary to their beliefs is a threat to their faith. They are weak in commitment because they think that other people's marriage can be a threat to their marriage. They are weak of heart because they feel that love is conditional on what body parts you have. They are weak of mind because they cannot imagine respectful coexistence with people of different creeds. And they are weak in resolve because they fight knowing full-well that their lofty ideal of "protecting marriage" is a sham as "traditional" marriages keep failing all around them with no help from you.
They may be wealthy, organized, and aggressive... they may exaggerate, lie, and spread fear... but they are also weak.
While you are strong.
And you are many.
And you are not alone.
So this weekend as you come together and march on Washington DC to demonstrate against unfairness in the eyes of the law... know that you are righteous in the eyes of the people. The people in your family. The people who are your friends. The people in your community. And people you don't even know who believe that everyone deserves an equal shot at happiness.
People just like you.
And some people who aren't quite convinced just yet.
And some people who will never be convinced, but need to accept that it's okay for different people to have different beliefs and different ideals so they can fulfill the promise of this country and be happy.
Because that's what America is supposed to be about.
Now go and get your equal rights...
I've misplaced some photo negatives and have spent days trying to find them. All to no avail. They're gone, and I have no clue what happened to them. Needless to say, I'm not in the happiest of moods this Bullet Sunday.
• Translate! For a long, long time I've wanted to provide some kind of translation service on my blog for my non-English reading visitors. But all the options I've found have been kind of cheesy, and didn't work very well. Until now. The lovely people at Google have come up with a brilliant "overlay gadget" that can translate a page into dozens of languages easily. I've added it to my sidebar and it's pretty sweet. If you're interested in adding it to your own site, you can grab the code here.
• Obama! I am sharing a WTF?!? moment with people around the globe now that President Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. I think it's laughable considering that Obama hasn't really done anything to deserve it and, like many people, feel that it was awarded based not on deed but on intent. Or maybe it was awarded solely for entertainment value. The Nobel Council could have felt that giving Obama the prize would completely freak out Right-Wing America (it's just so easy now-a-days), and wanted a good laugh at their expense. Naturally, total dumbass douchebags like Rush Limbaugh are so fucking stupid that they took the bait hook, line, and sinker... but, much to my shock, one of the more radical Conservatives was smarter about it...
Now, I hate Bill O'Reilly with the fiery passion of a thousand suns... he is an opportunist douchebag who exaggerates, lies, and gleefully divides this nation (all while professing to love it) on a daily basis. He's inflammatory and destructive for no other reason but to keep people angry so he can make a lot of money. I find O'Reilly reprehensible in a way I find ALL political extremists reprehensible... on both the Right and the Left. But, for reasons I cannot fathom, O'Reilly took the high road this time and is basically saying "I don't agree that President Obama deserves this award, but having a US President honored with a peace prize is good for America."
Seriously, I couldn't have said it better myself.
Because I am tired of the Extreme Right's constant need for Obama to fail. They would rather see this country go down in flames than for Obama to gain even the smallest amount of political ground. Case in point: The Olympics. When Chicago lost it's bid to host the games, the Extreme Right was nearly orgasmic with joy because Obama had been promoting his home city. They saw it as a "major loss" for Obama, and were celebrating his "failure." Which is about the most astoundingly fucking stupid thing I've ever heard. Obama didn't lose anything... he's still the president. It's not like he got his salary cut because Brazil won the prize. It was Chicago that lost. Illinois lost. America lost. Jobs were lost. We all lost. But the Neocons don't care about any of that, they'd rather Chicago explode than for anything even remotely associated with President Obama to win anything.
To say I don't understand this kind of self-defeating schadenfreude thinking is putting it mildly. Even though I despised President Bush's policies, I never once wished for him to fail (well, except for his second-term election). When he invaded Iraq, it's not like I was thinking "I hope he fails in Iraq!" On the contrary, even though I vehemently disagreed with the war and felt it would be a total failure, I wished Bush nothing but success for the sake of our troops and our country. I felt the same way about Hurricane Katrina. It's not like I was happy Bush's administration was so pathetically incompetent in dealing with the situation... I was mortified. I would have been much, much happier had Bush's people handled the situation so well that the entire country was rallying to congratulate the President on a job well done. Regardless of who is in office, I want these United States of America to do well because I am an American and this is my country.
But, alas, this kind of rational thought here in the USA seems to be over. For eight long years I had hard-core Conservatives telling me that I should "love it or leave it" when I disagreed with President Bush. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, these same people can't take their own advice. Now they consider it "patriotic" not only to disagree with President Obama, but to hope and pray that he fails in everything he does (then laugh their asses off when they perceive even a hint failure on his part). "United we stand, divided we fall" is no longer a rallying cry to seek commonality amongst diversity... it's become a sad harbinger of the future of this nation. We are indeed falling, and I can only hope that we come to our senses before we hit bottom. Watching Bill O'Reilly have a moment of sanity gives me hope.
• Kitty! My adventures with Kitty Spangles Solitaire are well-documented. It's the best solitaire game for the Mac, which is why I was intrigued when Swoop Software announced Kitty Spangles Sudoku. I'm not much of a Sudoku fan, but have to admit they've done a pretty good job of making it work...
If you've got a Mac and like Sudoku, you can download a demo directly from Swoop!
Blargh. I should probably try and get some sleep tonight since I have a very long day tomorrow...
You know that feeling when you're in a wide open field with the sky so limitless and all the world surrounds you? Or you know that feeling you get when you're in the mountains where the peaks tower over you and overwhelm your senses? Or do you know that feeling you experience when you're standing in the middle of a big city and the buildings eclipse your every field of view? Or you know that feeling you have when you're out in the ocean with a vast sea encompassing your entire being?
But in a good way.
Sometimes feeling small is what gives a person some much-needed perspective. It is a sign from whatever higher power you believe in that it's not all about you. It gives some critical insight into your place in the grand scheme of things. It makes you realize that there's something bigger... something more...
Washington State offers so many ways to feel small.
But in a good way.
Yet some people here are too busy feeling large to notice. They think their personal perspective can fill the entire world because they refuse to open their eyes and see.
And so they sleep.
To those who are awake... enjoy the view!
Happy Black Friday!
Today is the day that people kick-off a wave of ludicrous spending they can't really afford, simply because stuff is on sale. What it means to me is that I have to avoid shopping areas like the plague for the next month so I don't get driven insane. This is kind of difficult considering I have projects to finish and trips to take.
Black Friday this year is on/around the celebration of Eid al-Adha for my Muslim friends. When it comes to events, the two could not be more diametrically opposed. Black Friday is mostly about money, shopping, and possessions-- through spending. Eid al-Adha is mostly about life, sharing, and charity-- through sacrifice.
As if the irony wasn't already thick enough, Best Buy made an attempt to combine the two events in one of their Black Friday ads, and now Hard-Core-Christian-Conservative-America is losing their collective mind. They freak out and threaten boycott when people say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" for their religion... and yet when somebody tries to be inclusive of other religions with holiday wishes, they want to boycott for that too (and never mind that Eid al-Adha comes from the story of Abraham of The Bible in which both Christians and Jews profess to believe)...
I guess unless your business is marketing exclusively to Christians, you just can't win around the holidays in the USA. So much for freedom of religion. To be fair, I certainly hope that Best Buy will remember to wish people a "Merry Christmas" in their ads around December 25th and "Happy Hanukkah" around December 11th. And is it too much to hope that Buddhists will get a "Happy Bodhi Day" on the 8th of December? Wow... this could go on a while if they want to be really fair and inclusive.
As I've said, I don't get offended when somebody wishes me a "Merry Christmas"... they are simply trying to be nice and include me in the spirit of their holiday. Why this never seems to work in reverse is a mystery to me.
Join the fight against AIDS. Educate yourself.
I wrote a long political rant over the past 20 minutes, but deleted it because it was just too easy. President Obama and the Democrats are fucking things up at every turn, nobody can get their shit together, and everybody is acting so surprised. Well, almost everybody.
Democrats are surprised because nothing is really changing and they were delirious with hope that it actually would.
Republicans are surprised because nothing is really changing and they were scared shitless that it actually would.
I, on the other hand, am surprised that people are surprised that nothing is really changing. It's politics as usual in our Nation's capitol... only the players have changed. Personal agendas and personal politics still rule. Lobbyists and money still make the decisions. And it's the citizens, as usual, who are worse off because of it.
Sadly, that's just the way our system works. The only difference from one politician to the next is degrees. And since people are more interested in fighting than coming up with solutions, we end up with the government we deserve.
I remain... unsurprised.
I'm not much into social network gaming because I just can't find the time to keep up with them. But then along comes Gowalla, which is a location-based travel game. Now that's something I can get into! Basically, people use their GPS-enabled iPhone to create locations which other people can then "check-in" to and get a stamp on their virtual passport (apparently other mobile phones, like Droid, are in the pipeline soon). If that were the end of it, Gowalla wouldn't be much of a game. But there's more.
In addition to collecting passport stamps, you're also looking for achievement pins and collectible icons.
The pins are added automatically when you do things like complete a pre-existing trip... or check-in to a certain number of locations... or do some other task, like visiting 10 different coffee shops or something.
The icons are a little different. Some are permanently awarded for visiting specific places, like Powell's Books in Portland, The Space Needle in Seattle, or The White House in DC...
Others are found at random. You can drop these items somewhere so somebody else can trade their items with them... or you can put them in your Vault, where they will be stuck forever...
Unfortunately, once you drop an item somewhere, it's pretty much GONE until you find another one. It's not like the Pokemon Pokedex which keeps track of the items you've found. Sure you can put it in your Vault, but then you can't trade for other items. This seems to be a disappointing flaw, but I guess that's what makes some icons more rare than others.
Locations are created by Gowalla users. If you create a spot then drop an item there, you get credited as the spot's "founder." You can create all kinds of spots for all kinds of locations. As an example, here's a church, museum, and a grocery store...
It was fun wandering around town so I could create spots and drop items for fellow Gowalla users to collect and trade. Kind of like geocaching taken to the next level, I suppose. Though it's a quasi-virtual level which is still fun, but lacking the tactile thrill of uncovering a treasure.
In any event, if you have an iPhone and like to wander, it might be worth checking out...
NOTE: Gowalla abandoned its users (plus all the work we did) and closed up shop in 2011.
So televangelist and so-called "Man of God" Pat Robertson has gone and said something bat-shit insane.Again.
Apparently he feels that the Haitian people made a pact with the devil in order to end French colonization. He doesn't mention anything about who the Haitians made a pact with to end the United States occupation in 1934, but I'm assuming it's somebody pretty high up on the Evil Scale. Perhaps Bert from Sesame Street, myself, or Dick Cheney...
Never mind that none of us existed back in 1934, when you're talking about Pat Robertson, words like "logic" and "sanity" go right out the window. This is nothing new. I put Pat at the top of the Insanity Scale back in 2006...
Because here's the thing... when it comes to crazy shit, Pat Robertson is top of the heap. It doesn't get more crazy than this. He's so nuts that Wikipedia has to keep a separate page devoted to all the insanity.
Don't get me wrong, the fruitcake has the right to say whatever fucked up shit he wants to say (this being America and all), but the problem I have is that people buy into the stuff he puts out there. People actually give their hard-earned money to Pat Robertson so he can keep his crazy on the air. I understand that there are individuals out there who are just looking for a way to keep faith in their lives, and think that Pat Robertson fills this need... but how much ridiculous bullshit does it take before you go shopping for a new religious leader? Anyone? Anyone?
It's not just that Pat Robertson is a stupid, hypocritical, uncaring, opportunistic, lying piece of shit, it's that he's just plain evil. It doesn't matter if he actually believes that God is such an asshole that He would slaughter innocent children and animals who get in the way of His divine vengeance... it's that Pat is so lacking in compassion that he would actually SAY that to a devastated people. Couldn't he just say "I'm so sorry to hear about the tragedy in Haiti. It's sometimes difficult to see God's plan for us when things like this happen, but we have to trust in His wisdom. I pray that the people of Haiti let the Lord into their hearts so that He can help get them through this. God bless you all." — SEE?!? That's a COMPASSIONATE and TACTFUL way to tell people that you think God hates them and it's their fault that God had to smite their asses. But Pat Robertson doesn't have a compassionate or tactful bone in his body because he's just fucking evil. Tragedy strikes, and there's Pat to pass judgement (which is supposed to be God's territory, but maybe Pat Robertson has never read The Bible to know this). Just like Nancy Grace and Ann Coulter, "Reverend" Pat is a whore who just loves to turn other people's tragedies into a money-making opportunity. It's the very definition of evil...
If there is any justice, Pat Robertson's god will judge him using the same compassion and logic that Pat Robertson uses to judge everybody else.
Which basically means he's fucked.
And it couldn't happen to a nicer person.
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.
And now, on a more serious note...
I've written many times about my love, admiration, and respect for Doctors Without Borders and the incredible work they do. Often going where angels fear to tread, DWB is an international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. They are in Haiti right now, doing everything they can to tend to the victims of the earthquake. If you can help them to help others, please visit their website and make a donation...
I am so tired that I can barely function. I have a to-do list a mile long. I have a pile of work that's so deep I won't see daylight for quite a while. I have 67 unread emails in my inbox. I have 313 unread items in my feed reader. I have nightmarish thoughts that plague me morning and night. I have so many things going wrong right now that a continuous state of mild despair is how I define "normal."
And yet I look at the tragedy unfolding in Haiti and realize that I have a pretty amazing life... idyllic even... when compared to the suffering these people are having to endure.
Perspective. It can so easily illustrate what's really important in life.
I just wish that misfortune and tragedy weren't necessary for us to realize it.
I've written many times about my love, admiration, and respect for Doctors Without Borders and the incredible work they do. Often going where angels fear to tread, DWB is an international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. They are in Haiti right now, doing everything they can to tend to the victims of the earthquake. If you can help them to help others, please visit their website and make a donation...
There are people who get Martin Luther King Jr. Day off work. I am not one of those people. But I did go in an hour late to do my part. I also stopped by the mini-mart so I could pick up a bag of cheese-popcorn and a bottle of Coke.
As I was heading up to the cash register to pay for my breakfast, some guy came in and announced "HAPPY BROWN BROTHER DAY!" To which somebody else said "Maybe one day we'll get a white guy day." After nearly tripping on my own feet in disbelief as I approached the counter, I was compelled to say "EVERY DAY IS WHITE GUY DAY! Especially in this redneck town."
I guess I should stop being surprised when I hear stuff like this, but it never fails.
Probably because I'm too hopeful.
Though I wasn't jumped in the parking lot afterwards, and I didn't get the crap beat out of me for being a smart-ass, so I guess that's something.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness... only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate... only love can do that."
— Martin Luther King Jr.
After dealing with my work emails this morning, I had a bit of extra time and decided to take a quick look through my feedreader. One of the first new blog entries to pop up was from my buddy LeSombre, where he was explaining his bus route to work and how a small detour today turned his 50-minute commute into a whopping 1-hour and 35-minute ride. He wrapped up his entry by theorizing that he might have to try winter cycling as a more efficient way of getting to work.
"How nice!" I thought. "LeSombre is trying to be all environmentally conscious and stuff, when most people would just drive their car to work. Good for him!"
But then I watched a speech that Sarah Palin gave at a tea-bagging rally, and suddenly realized that I've been looking at this whole thing entirely wrong...
"But my plastic surgeon doesn't want me doing any activity where balls fly at my nose!"
After listening to Sarah Palin kick ass and put things into perspective as to what "America" REALLY means, I now realize that when people talk about the "pussification of America" they are actually talking about the "pussification of NORTH America... BY CANADIANS!"
Because, seriously, 50 minutes in a frickin' BUS?!? REALLY?!?
It's LeSombre's kind of thinking that explains why Canada is still a third-world country. Well, of course ALL countries are "third world" when compared to us, which begs the questions "what's a second-world country?" I dunno... perhaps The United Kingdom when Maggie Thatcher was running things... but I digress. The point is that I am totally embarrassed to be sharing a continent with the American wannabes that call themselves "Canadians." How they managed to win hosting duties for the Winter Olympics when they don't even have a Disney theme park is a mystery to me.
I mean, come on, they're half-French for crying out loud!
Just look at this "bus route" that LeSombre takes to work every day. It practically screams "pussy!" Where's the spirit of adventure? Where's the sex and violence? Where's the ideals that are true to the AMERICAN WAY?!? What good is their "free socialist health care" if THIS is how you have to get to work each day? Hey, if this is what it means to live in a communist country like Canada, then I want no part of it...
Now let's take a look at how a REAL AMERICAN would get to work (click map to enlarge)...
NOW THERE'S HOW YOU FUCKING COMMUTE TO WORK IN AMERICA, DAMMIT! Please note that's there's no bitching and whining about a frickin' BUS anywhere in that route.
Also note how once you acquire a Canadian Forces* tank, that you no longer have to pay attention to roads, and can go directly to your destination. How cool is that?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go scrounge up $1000 so I can buy a ticket to go to Sarah Palin's next tea-bagger rally. A rally for TRUE Americans** to fight for taking back The United States of America from the godless socialist regime that is destroying the greatest country on earth!! Because THAT, my friends, is what DEMOCRACY is all about!***
And to have testicles put in our mouths, if I'm understanding this whole tea-bagging thing correctly.
* Canadian Forces is kind of like the US Millitary... but without the ability to actually defend their country or invade anyplace (they rely on TRUE Americans to do that for them, but don't pay any taxes to us... the bastards!).
** Well, TRUE Americans that can afford to spend $1000 a plate, that is. But that would be ALL Americans, because POOR Americans are not REALLY Americans at all... otherwise they'd be wealthy! This IS the land of prosperity, after all. It says so in The Constitution!
*** Unless, of course, your democratically elected president is a Democrat, then it's not democracy at all... because everybody knows that elections are only democratic when Republicans win!
I have mixed feelings about animals being held in captivity for entertainment value.
For the most part, I'm against it. I see animals chained up at the circus or animals trapped behind glass at the zoo, and can't imagine that this is an acceptable way to treat them. These animals aren't living, they're existing, and that's a pretty big difference. Even when the people keeping the animals insist that they're receiving the best of care and are safer than they would be in the wild... or if they're of the mind that the animals don't know any better and only understand about getting fed... well, it's still a far cry from living in the wild.
But... "the wild" isn't what it used to be.
Jungles are being deforested. Glaciers are melting. Rivers, lakes, and oceans are polluted. Natural habitats are being dozed over to make room for condominiums. Pretty soon, there won't be much "wild" for animals to live in.
So... what to do?
The only way to insure the survival of a growing number of species is to raise them in captivity. And not all zoos are created equal. A growing number of zoos are going above and beyond to recreate the natural habitats of the animals living in captivity. The San Diego Zoo has been working on this for years, and others are following suite.
Then there's Disney's Animal Kingdom, where they've really put in the effort in recreating an animal's environment. And today they announced the birth of a critically endangered gorilla who might not have even had a chance in the hostile world we live in...
Now THAT'S an adorable baby!
But then there's the other side of the coin. Dangerous animals kept in captivity where it's easy to believe that we're the one's in control. We're the ones making the decisions. We're the ones making the rules.
And it makes for good family entertainment...
Until we receive a very real reminder that the animals are, in fact, still animals.
The tragedy at Sea World comes as a shock... but really shouldn't. The shocking things is that things like this don't happen more often.
And again, it's hard for me to sort out my feelings here. On one hand, animals as entertainment is not something I'm ever going to be comfortable with. On the other hand, the money Sea World gets from the entertainment goes towards their substantial efforts in education, conservation, rescue, and preservation.
So... what to do?
I guess there's nothing we really can do except BELIEVE it will all work out somehow...
I wonder what this all means for those of us who have been indoctrinated into the Cult of Shamu?
I could write for pages about the sad decline of journalism world-wide, but there seems to be little point in it. From television anchors injecting their personal feelings into the story... to newspaper writers drawing conclusions for the reader... to networks claiming impartiality while ramming their agenda down your throat... to internet "news" sites not bothering to check their "facts"... it's all such a horrendous mess that finding out what's really going on in the world today is all but impossible unless you are there to witness events in person.
I suppose it was inevitable, because people just don't seem to care about the truth anymore.
But even worse than all the things that we get wrong when it comes to journalism, at least the issues that the media decides to cover are getting exposure. What about important issues that get buried?
Take, for instance, an issue that I am hugely passionate about, ACTA...
Since the most common meaning of ACTA is "Association of Canadian Travel Agents," I suppose I should state for the record that I have nothing against Canadian travel agents, but am instead referring to the world-wide "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement."
Something else I should probably get out of the way...
I am in no way supporting counterfeiting here. Theft is theft, and I believe strongly that people should be compensated for their work, and have the right to prosecute those who would steal it.
And yet, because of journalism FAIL!, most people have never even heard of ACTA.
If you're not entirely bored by now and want to read the rest of my rant, I've put it in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
From now on, I'm just going to assume that every politician, religious leader, FOX Newscaster, or man on the street who actively fights against equal rights for gays is a closeted homosexual. As history has shown us over and over again, it's a theory that has a solid basis in fact. Ultimately this will save me a lot of time wondering what makes these people such raging douchebags, because the answer ultimately ends up being that they doth protest too much. Sure they rail against those "filthy homos" so they can preserve the sanctity of marriage and protect families, but at the end of the day all they really want is a big ol' Cock Sandwich.*
Senator Roy Ashburn Wants Cock!
Reverend Ted Haggard Wants Cock!
Though it's difficult to celebrate too hard when these douchebag hypocrites get caught doing exactly what they publicly oppose, because it's really more sad than funny.
We live in such a messed up unforgiving society that these poor guys are conditioned to hate themselves because of who they are. So they spend their lives lashing out against the people that are everything they despise... which turns out to be people just like them. They somehow think that if they pass enough laws against homosexuals, preach the gospel against homosexuals, or broadcasting hate again against homosexuals, that it will somehow turn them straight. Or perhaps they think it compensates for the "perversion" that they've been convinced is within them. I really don't know what makes them do what they do, but I know it makes me sad to think of how painful their lives must have been all this time.
But then I think about my many gay friends who have suffered because of assholes like Reverend Ted Haggard, and the sadness disappears to become anger. Or I think of people I've known who have been killed by drunk drivers like Senator Roy Ashburn, and the compassion fades to outrage. The hateful crap these fuckers do makes life miserable and dangerous for people I care about, so suddenly making fun of their hypocritical bullshit seems like a rational response. I live to see these pathetic dumbasses get caught with their pants down (so to speak).
And now I guess I just sit back and wait for Rush Limbaugh's inevitable gay scandal.
It would explain so much.
*Cock Sandwich has a nice symmetry to it, being the perfect entrée for my earlier creation, Penis Salad...
All that's missing is some Dick Pudding, and it's a meal fit for Senator Larry Craig!
"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."
— 1 John 3:18, King James Bible
I do not often speak of my religious and philosophical beliefs because they are deeply personal to me, and not open for debate on this blog (as most everything I write here ends up being). Suffice to say that I try to lead my life according to Buddhist precepts of doing no harm but don't actually consider myself a Buddhist because I do not follow these precepts as completely as a "true" Buddhist would. That being said, I have studied several different religions in an effort to understand my fellow humans better. Needless to say this includes the many flavors of Christianity.
In my pursuit of comprehending Christians, I have studied The Bible (both Old and New Testament) from several different approaches... including the placement of the Holy Texts in their historical context. From this respect, I am probably better-informed as to their faith than most self-professed Christians are. Especially those who would take some random piece of Scripture... put it in a 20th century context based on modern-day vernacular, customs, and thinking... and then use said Scripture to attack or persecute people. That always drives me nuts because of the sublime ignorance it takes to use the Word of their God as a weapon when, more often than not, the people doing so have no clue as to what that passage actually means. Instead they are using their personal interpretation of a translation of an accounting of texts taken out of context to promote a personal agenda, often in ways that would have originally been impossible... either due to the mores of the time period, or the constructs of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, or Koine Greek language in which The Bible was written.
I can best explain this by using an example: "Awful" originally meant "full of awe" and was used to describe something spectacular instead of something horrible. And that's a relatively RECENT AND UNTRANSLATED example, which was still showing up in English texts under the original meaning just two hundred years ago. Can you imagine how the meaning of words could have changed with translation to another language over the span of two thousand years or more?
In defense of Christians, however, I believe that many of them understand that The Bible is not something that can be taken literally all the time. The ideals within The Bible are immutable to their faith, but certain allowances have to be made for the era in which the Holy Texts were written, and the creative allegory which the authors used to illustrate concepts of Christianity to the people living during those times. Certainly directives such as "Thou Shalt Not Kill" are as true in meaning now as they were back then... but you simply cannot say the same for everything that's in The Bible, or else modern-day Christians would have some very messed-up ways of practicing their faith.
Not to say that there aren't some Christians out there who are doing their best to prove me wrong.
And though the remainder of this entry will be in response to actions of the Westboro Baptist Church, I want to be very clear that I do not consider them unique in their ability to use The Word of their God to do things I consider to be reprehensible. Obviously, the world is replete with examples of peoples of all faiths doing exactly that. It just so happens that this time it's the Westboro Baptist Church who are the ones that caught my attention.
But before I start my little tirade, I should also mention that I fully support members of the Westboro Baptist Church exercising their right to free speech in a manner that complies with the freedoms allowed by that right. I may not agree with the things they say, but I'm sure there are people out there who would say the same thing about me, so more power to them. From their perspective, they are actually trying to help people by raising awareness of their particular interpretation of The Bible, and since they are not using guns or explosives to do it, well... this is The United States of America. If you can't take people expressing themselves and their beliefs, then you really need to find a different country.
There has to be limits.
There has to be limits because a healthy democratic society not only allows for personal freedoms, but also allows for protection from harm and cruelty that might arise from such freedoms. As an example, your personal freedom of speech does not allow you to scream "HEY! THERE'S A FIRE!" in the middle of a crowded building. Doing so could result in people getting hurt, not to mention being a really mean thing to do. Likewise, you can't sacrifice a virgin to Zuul in the middle of Central Park and cry "freedom of religion" because you've just grossly violated the rights and freedoms of the virgin you just killed... even if they were a willing participant (especially if they were a willing participant). Some would say that freedom with limits is not really freedom at all, but "freedom" is a pretty open-ended word and could easily be perverted to allow persecution of people whose own freedom would be violated in the process of enacting it. Thus, limits.
So, while I support the Westboro Baptist Church for their hate-speech fueled picketing of whatever their latest target might be (as well as those awesome people who picket in response) I also support the idea that their actions should be limited.
Because it's one thing to say "homosexuality is wrong" in the most disgusting way possible... but it's another thing entirely to cause serious emotional cruelty with intent to harm, such as when they picket a funeral. And though I consider the death of a soldier no more tragic than the death of any person, I have to say that picketing the funeral of a fallen soldier who died in service of this country is particularly heinous considering it was soldiers who died for their right to have free speech in the first place...
The Bible is relatively quiet about funerals and how Christians should treat the dead. Probably because the core concept of Christianity is the idea of eternal life. To Christians death is just a beginning, so whatever ceremony people want to have for those departed (not to mention the method they use for disposing of the remains) is up to them and whatever traditions they hold.
And so even though the Westboro Baptist Church can toss out whatever context-deprived and misrepresented snippets of The Bible they wish to support their actions, their ruthless persecution of people who are grieving over the death of friends or family is a truly indefensible position to take. Because while The Bible is not so explicit with how one should treat the dead, it is overflowing with passages as to how you should treat the living. Thus, to say that the Westboro Baptist Church violates the very ideals of The Bible they profess to live by, truly is an understatement of biblical proportions.
Which is why I am understandably outraged when I read that Al Snyder, the father of a Marine whose funeral was picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church, has been ordered to pay them $16,000 as compensation for their court costs. The father had (rightfully) won an earlier judgement on the grounds that privacy and religious rights were violated by the church's protest but, since the church won on appeal to the Fourth Circuit, a grieving father gets screwed... again... this time financially.
And now I sit here dumbfounded, trying to figure out exactly how our Founding Fathers could have possibly anticipated such a grotesque application of The Bill of Rights as they were writing them.
Probably because there is no way they could have anticipated something as wholly fucked up as this when The First Amendment was drafted.
I find it sickening on every possible level that we have a legal system which not only actively supports people's "right" to inflict such reprehensible cruelty, but also dictates that victims of such cruelty are responsible for paying for their own deplorable treatment at the hands of the law. THIS is justice? How? There is no justice for the father who was ruthlessly abused in a time of sorrow. There sure as hell is no justice for a dead Marine who is unable to speak out against the abuse of friends and loved-ones at HIS funeral. By the courts saying that there are no limits to the freedoms of the Westboro Baptist Church to persecute people, how can the rest of us be free?
Exploiting the tragedy of somebody's death for glorification of their church and self-promotion of their hate makes members of the Westboro Baptist Church about the least "Christian" people on earth. It also makes them fucking assholes. I honestly believe that a time is coming when citizens of the United States of America are going to put aside their petty political bitching and focus on the big-picture items upon which all of us should be able to agree. Very high on that list is not allowing fucking assholes to picket a funeral and deprive a grieving father HIS freedom to mourn in peace.
Mutual respect for your fellow humans is the only way this whole "freedom" thing is ever going to work out. Those who have no respect, don't deserve the freedom.
If you want to show your support for Al Snyder, you can join the Facebook group he made to support his son and legal battles.
You can also help by donating money to Mr. Snyder to pay the court-mandated fees associated with Westboro Baptist Church's appeal. Any monies collected in excess of the costs will be donated to scholarship funds for returning veterans.
Today was a much better day than yesterday, mostly because I didn't wake up screaming. And you know what they say... "any day you don't wake up screaming in agony is a good one!" Though, to be honest, I'd rather not be screaming in agony any time of day, so there's that. But anyway...
As anybody who has read this blog for a while already knows, I have a on-again-off-again fascination with the Catholic Church. I was raised Catholic, baptized, attended Sunday School, accepted First Communion, and formed a bond with the faith that would far outlast the day I eventually left the church.
This fascination manifests itself in my blog from time to time. Like when I toyed with the idea of becoming a priest...
And, of course, the many times I've mentioned wanting to become Pope...
Not to mention the time my entire year was made when I got a glimpse of Pope John Paul II while visiting Rome...
Oh how I loved Pope John
Partly because I still had friends and family who were members, but mostly because of the tremendous respect, admiration, and affection I had towards Pope John
But it's not always been good times. The above quote comes from an entry where I express my complete disgust with Pope
Which is why we have total fucking dumbasses who are "Vatican Officials" making statements defending pedophile priests by saying that it's the homosexuals who are the true pedophiles. And don't get me started on the idiocy of the Pope's own personal preacher comparing attacks on the Catholic Church during pedophile investigations to The Holocaust (even if it had come from an unnamed "Jewish friend"). It's all such disgusting and vile behavior that one has to wonder if my jokes about "initiating a hostile takeover of the papacy" shouldn't become a reality. Because, in all seriousness, it's not like anybody could possibly do a worse job that what's in there now.
I was very lucky that the two priests during my "tenure" with The Church were kind, honorable, decent men of conviction and service to their beliefs. They were inspirational leaders who were a part of the community, and a testament to the Christian faith. Which is why it's painful to read and hear all the horrendous things being written and said about the Catholic Church... even though they are things that must be addressed... one way or the other.
Meaning that if this Pope isn't going to step up and declare that pedophilia by any Catholic priest is to be denounced and punished to the full extent of the law... somebody has to step in and do it. Otherwise, there's just no way that the Catholic Church can be allowed to continue to operate above the law as they have been. If a self-policing entity doesn't address injustices against their people, they don't deserve to have such power. More to the point, they should't have it now.
One can only hope that the Catholic Church will eventually regain leadership which earns my regard instead of my contempt. Until that day, I am trying hard not to lose sight of Pope John
It's Earth Day tomorrow! You should love the Earth for the day. As for me, I Love the Earth every day!
It's just most of the people on the Earth I don't love so much.
I totally love you.
Shortly after Catherine sent me a link to "The Best Thing I've Read All Year"... a smart, heartfelt, touching, and altogether righteous letter written by a mother whose son tried to commit suicide because of the not-stop persecution he faced for being gay, I read the Pope's recent remarks from Portugal.
I've pretty much said my peace on Pope Benedict XVI in a previous entry. Long story short? He's systematically destroying the Catholic Church from within, and has been unapologetically crapping over the legacy of Pope John-Paul II from the moment he ascended to the papacy.
But His Holiness has decided that he's not satisfied with being a hateful old hag in a dress and a big hat... he seems fully intent on bringing douchebaggery to the papacy at any cost... this time by saying that abortion and same-sex marriage are the "most insidious and dangerous challenges that today confront the common good."
Now, I guess I can see abortion fitting that mold within the dogma of the Catholic Church. I may not agree with it, but I understand it. But same-sex marriage... insidious?!?
insidious • in-ˈsi-dē-əs • subtle, surreptitious, cunning, crafty, treacherous, artful, sly, wily, shifty, underhanded, indirect; informal sneaky.
Pope Benedict isn't just a douchebag... he's a fucking dumbass.
Rapists, murderers, child molesters, liars, cheats, and other vile persons infesting this planet get a pass so the Pope can pronounce judgement and fully condemn two people in love wanting to get married as the "most insidious and dangerous challenges that today confront the common good."
You want to know what's insidious? A religious leader fostering fear and hatred against innocent people, thus creating an environment so horribly hostile that people would rather die than live in it.
Well fuck this shit.
The Pope doesn't get to dictate that we live in an antiquated world of intolerance and animosity. We're better than that.
Apparently BP has used something called a "top kill" to get the oil spill under control. I hope it's true but, unfortunately, it's just too late. The damage is done. It's more than done.
If you were one of the many creatures who live in the Gulf, it's as if BP covered your home and everything in it in oil...
A part of me is sympathetic to BP for the beating they're taking. They are, after all, just a company trying to make money in a dangerous game where an accident can have dire consequences. And accidents do happen.
But, on the other hand...
Sympathy has to be reserved for those who can look back and honestly say "I did everything I possibly could to have avoided this disaster." And, in this case at least, I don't think BP did that. Since oil-rig blow-outs are so rare, it all comes down to how much money you spend on safety to fight a problem which will probably never happen. Do you spend $500,000 on an acoustic kill switch which may help in the event of a catastrophe? Or do you do what BP did and decide that the cost was too much for the potential benefits?
Well, when your actions can FUCK UP THE PLANET, I'm sorry, but you have no choice but to SPEND THE FUCKING MONEY!
As we are seeing right now, the alternative is just too horrible.
Memorial Day is a special day here in the USA which is set aside to remember those who died in military service.
Unfortunately it's also become a day of politically exploiting those who died in military service. I found this out the hard way when I opened my email this morning only to find this absurd rant about "Obama being the first American president not to lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery." Because the email had been forwarded, there were several witty comments attached... everything from "Obama prefers to spit on the graves of dead soldiers" and "This just proves Hussein Obama is a commie dictator with no respect for American values."
Whenever I get an email like this, the first thing I do is go to Google News and see what Obama is actually up to.
Turns out he's in Chicago, and attended a Memorial Day event at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery where he laid a wreath of remembrance there (after sending VP Biden to lay the traditional wreath at Arlington). He tried to give a speech, but a lightning storm made it unsafe to do so. This was sad, but he had already posted a Memorial Day video, so no harm no foul, I guess.
After confirming that President Obama was NOT, in fact, spitting on the graves of fallen American soldiers, I clicked over to Snopes to see if they had an article about him being the only American President to not lay a wreath at Arlington. Not surprisingly, Snopes did have an article.
Turns out that President H.W. Bush, President G.W. Bush, and even President Ronald Reagan... the fucking Conservative Presidential Holy Trifecta... ALL did not lay wreaths at Arlington on Memorial Day at some time or another. Hell, President H.W. Bush didn't lay a SINGLE WREATH AT ARLINGTON DURING THE ENTIRE FOUR YEARS HE WAS IN OFFICE!
Heaven only knows I am not President Obama's biggest fan, but this stupid shit drives me insane.
How is spreading lies and cheapening the memories of American soldiers who paid for our freedoms with their lives a proper show of respect on Memorial Day?
I guess all I can say to those who died in service so we can carry on with our reprehensible behavior is "thanks anyway."
So far as baseball fans go... I'm pretty fickle. Sometime during my teenage years I was given an Orioles baseball jersey and started following the team just so I would know what to say when people wanted to talk about them. When I was in college I caught Red Sox Fever (no idea how or why) and became a fan for decades. Once Boston won The Series in 2004, I became disenchanted and switched to my "home" team, the Seattle Mariners. I watch an occasional game, but find it tough to get excited about baseball anymore.
And yet... it's easy to get excited when something remarkable happens.
Like a perfect game.
A perfect game is a formidable accomplishment that has only happened twenty times in the entire history of major league baseball (and a dozen times in my lifetime). Not only can you not allow the opposing team to get any hits... but there can't be any walks or hit-batters either. That's tough.
Last night the Detroit Tigers were playing the Cleveland Indians and Detroit's Armando Galarraga was pitching the game of his career. The PERFECT game of his career. And then it happened. A bad call declared a runner safe when he was very obviously out. Instant replay confirmed it. Even the umpire who blew the call fully admitted that he made a mistake. Galarraga got robbed of his history-making perfect game.
As a casual fan, I really don't have cause to complain... but...
This is so fucking stupid.
Everybody is saying "Well, bad calls are part of the game... that's what makes it baseball." And while this may be true, I also think it's bullshit. How can fans be expected to respect the game when there is no recourse for obviously blown calls? That may be a part of baseball's past, but does it have to be a part of it's future?
Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig should be fired. He had a golden opportunity here to show the world that baseball can evolve out of this kind of embarrassing crap and have some integrity, but refuses to reverse the call. He could have used this as the perfect excuse to expand instant replay for judgement calls, but instead makes some vague promise to look into the situation.
Way to take the initiative, dumbass.
The pussification of America continues.
And this time we can't blame Canada.
CONGRATULATIONS BLACKHAWKS ON YOUR STANLEY CUP WIN!!
I wish I was in Chicago right now.
And so the event I traveled 5000 miles (8000 kilometers) to attend, finally arrived... BITCHSTERDAM 2! As expected, it was well-worth the trip, and everybody had an awesome time. Just another reminder why I love blogger meet-ups so much!
As it was a beautiful day in the Netherlands, we decided to head into Amsterdam early and play tourist (even though The DutchBitch is a native and Lady Penelope and I have been here many times). It's such a beautiful city with so many things to do, that it would be a crime not to spend some time exploring. Eventually decided on a canal boat tour...
Since the Lady Penelope had never been to the Red Light District, we wandered through the neighborhood for a while. I've only ever seen it at night, and it was an entirely different experience in the daytime...
Along the canal in the Red Light District is actually quite beautiful in the daylight, as all the seedier elements are not so noticeable...
Throughout the Netherlands everybody has World Cup fever. It's a bit difficult to explain to Americans, except to equate it to the Super Bowl (if the Super Bowl took place once every four years and the entire world was competing for a spot to play in it)...
England was expected to wipe the floor with the USA in today's match, and the English were having a big laugh at the anticipated beating they were most certainly going to dish out to us. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned, and the Americans managed to hold England to a tie game of 1-1. Many tears of agony were shed in Blighty, I'm sure. A really good recap to explain it all is over at the BBC.
After goofing about Amsterdam for a few hours, we headed to the Hard Rock Cafe early so we could have a few drinks while waiting for Bitchsterdam to ensue. The scenery at Max Euweplein was... interesting... to say the least...
I'll leave the Bitchsterdam recap and photos to DutchBitch but, suffice to say, we all had a lot of fun. Many Euros were spent to make sure of it...
A big shout-out to Blogography reader Erik who was kind enough to come over and say "hello." He was sitting at the next table with his friends, and somehow managed to recognize me in my drunken state!
After Bitchsterdam had ended, we were walking back to the car park when we saw a drunken barefoot man kicking his shoe across the street. A motorcycle police officer was keeping a careful eye out, and went to question the man, who replied "What the fuck do you want?!?" Much to his credit, the police officer let the man go on his way... even when he shoved his shoe down the storm drain...
But then the drunk man decided to do some property damage by trying to tear out a street sign. This was something the the police officer could not ignore, and the result was obvious to everybody except the drunk guy...
Backup forces arrived in the form of two beautiful lady cops in a squad car, who were apparently signing autographs while the drunk guy got hauled off in a van...
Bravo to the Amsterdam Police, who were incredibly calm, cool, collected, and reserved in trying to keep everybody safe! And bravo to drunk guy for giving us some post-Bitchsterdam entertainment!
And bravo to DutchBitch for an awesome day!
Irony. It can be so ironic sometimes.
Yesterday I waxed poetic about suffering withdrawals from my beloved Patatjes Met (Dutch Fries with Mayo) and my never-ending quest to find something to satisfy the cravings now that I can't have them anymore.
Then today I was forwarded a positively reprehensible rant on how hungry children should just just eat from a dumpster, and had to seriously restrain my rage to keep from typing "FUCK YOU, RUSH LIMBAUGH, YOU VILE PIECE OF SHIT!" in huge letters on a blog post and clicking "publish." Which would have been bad because I accept he represents a point of view for a large segment of the American population, and has a right to spew his crazy-ass shit just as much as the next guy...
Except... not this time.
I am extremely fortunate that I've never had to go hungry. It's something I try to be thankful for every day. But I have worked with an organization that helps people who do go hungry, and it's from this perspective that I can say Rush Limbaugh doesn't know what the fuck he is talking about. He is so far beyond stupid... beyond ignorant... beyond crazy... that my mind just boggles that anybody could be this depraved when it comes to children.
Let's break it down, shall we?
A companion story from AOL News: "Record Number of US Kids Facing Summer of Hunger. With the sc-rewl (school?) year ending in communities across America, more than 16 million children face a summer of hunger." Now, Michelle Obama told us they're all so fat and out of shape and overweight that a summer off from government eating might be just the ticket.
Kids are fat and overweight because A) Society has transitioned to a sedentary lifestyle of video games and other "activities" which lack physical exercise, and B) Healthy foods are hideously expensive, but government subsidies make shitty unhealthy food cheap, so this is what people buy. But this is neither here nor there, because there are kids in poverty who don't even get the shitty unhealthy food to eat.
But, even if this weren't the case, this is still a horrible thing to say. Kids... WHETHER THEY ARE FAT OR NOT... should not have to go hungry in the wealthiest nation on earth. Put on a healthier diet? Sure! Taught to exercise? Absolutely! That's what Michelle Obama was talking about. But starve? Are you fucking kidding me? Jeez what an asshole.
This, of course, takes into no account that the parents, I guess, just can sit around and let their kids starve. Why if the kids don't do it, they're gonna starve -- if the schools don't do it, the kids are going to starve.
God, this is just -- we can't escape these people. We just can't escape them. They live in the utter deniability of basic human nature. They actually have it in their heads somehow that parents are so rotten that they will let their kids go hungry and starve, unless the schools take care of it.
And here is where Rush Limbaugh proves he's a fucking moron. THERE ARE INDEED PARENTS WHO SIT AROUND AND LET THEIR KIDS STARVE! Perhaps they are drug addicts or alcoholics in no condition to realize or care their kids are hungry... or maybe they're never around to notice... or maybe they are just so poor that they can only afford one meal a day, and that school lunch is what keeps their children from going hungry. Regardless, whether by design or choice, parents are letting their kids starve every day. I've seen it. And even if Rush can't get off his bloated, self-righteous ass and see for himself, he can certainly do some research at child shelters, talk to child welfare workers at our schools, or ring up some children's charities to get his fucking facts straight. But experience has taught him that he doesn't have to. His listeners will believe his fucked-up bullshit whether it's true or not, so why bother with actual facts? Fiction is more inflammatory anyway.
I think, you know what we're going to do here, we're going to start a feature on this program: "Where to find food." For young demographics, where to find food. Now that school is out, where to find food. We can have a daily feature on this. And this will take us all the way through the summer. Where to find food. And, of course, the first will be: "Try your house." It's a thing called the refrigerator. You probably already know about it. Try looking there. There are also things in what's called the kitchen of your house called cupboards. And in those cupboards, most likely you're going to find Ding-Dongs, Twinkies, Lays ridgy potato chips, all kinds of dips and maybe a can of corn that you don't want, but it will be there.
Except when it isn't there. Because your parent or guardian is out getting stoned or drunk (or whatever) and hasn't bothered to buy food in a month and you've already eaten everything... everything... you manage to find in the house (assuming you still have a house because nobody's around to pay the rent). And since school is out and there's no lunch for you, the one meal you get is now gone. And since you're just a kid, what options do you have but to beg a neighbor (or even strangers) for something to eat? Or try to steal food. Or just go hungry because you don't know what else to do. You're a kid, after all. But even in houses where the parents are around, poverty can result in food being scarce at times... even with food stamps and government assistance. The reality is that hunger is all around us. Maybe the windows in Mr. Limbaugh's limousine are tinted so dark that he can't see families living in hunger on the street, but they exist... whether he chooses to acknowledge it or not.
If that doesn't work, try a Happy Meal at McDonald's. You know where McDonald's is. There's the Dollar Menu at McDonald's and if they don't have Chicken McNuggets, dial 911 and ask for Obama.
And if you don't have a dollar... how the fuck can you buy something off the dollar menu? Again, THESE ARE KIDS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT! And the parting shot at Obama? Hey, at least he's trying to do something to help hungry kids... what the fuck are you doing, you worthless piece of shit excuse for a human being? Where's your solution?
There's another place if none of these options work to find food; there's always the neighborhood dumpster. Now, you might find competition with homeless people there, but there are videos that have been produced to show you how to healthfully dine and how to dumpster dive and survive until school kicks back up in August. Can you imagine the benefit we would provide people?
So... hungry kids should just eat out of dumpsters. Got it.
You know, I try very hard not to allow hatred into my life, and my entire belief system is based on doing no harm or wishing no harm upon others. But Rush Limbaugh can just fuck off and die. And I mean literally die. Have another heart attack and just DIE. Slowly. With as much pain as possible. Somebody so hateful that they have no pity for a hungry child has no place on this earth, and I just don't care how that sounds.
Because people like Rush Limbaugh simply cannot win.
They just can't.
If the most innocent of us... the children... have no consideration by the adults who dictate how they are forced to live their lives, then we all lose. Because kids are victims of circumstance. They don't have any choice whether or not their parents are poor... or drug addicts... or don't care for them. And if the best the United States of America has to offer these kids is eating out of a dumpster when they have no food, then we don't deserve the many riches we are blessed with. We don't deserve anything at all... except the cold future that uncaring, heartless, reprehensible assholes like Rush Limbaugh are building for us.
Heaven help us all.
Technically, I shouldn't be here.
My genetic predisposition for poor eyesight should have rendered me helpless in the face of nature and eliminated me from the gene pool a long time ago. But the advent of civilized society (and contact lenses) made it possible for the physically challenged such as myself to not only survive in life... but excel.
The problem is that the same society which allows the ocularly-challenged to thrive, also allows the mentally-challenged to run for President of the United States of America... eventually...
Now, before I get lynched for playing sexist, partisan politics here, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that I have actually defended Sarah Palin in the past. For the most part, I think she is treated unfairly by the press and those outside her fan-base. She is crucified for even the most innocent mistakes, which I think is pretty pathetic. Mostly because it distracts from bigger issues with respect to her deplorable politics, but that's just me. Yes, she's not the sharpest tool in the shed, but she's made the most of what smarts and charisma she has, and gone farther than most people could ever dream of. That demands some measure of respect, regardless of how you feel about Sarah Palin, her history, her beliefs, or her political positions (assuming you can understand what they are this week).
Today was a typical example of exactly the type of ruthless douchbaggery that people unleash when Sarah Palin makes a minor mistake on Twitter...
Now, first of all, you have to remember that Twitter only gives her 140 characters to make her point. It's a restriction even the smartest person has to struggle with, and often results in bizarre grammar and stupid TXT-SPEAK style abbreviations. So when Sarah Palin was expressing her dismay at the idea of a mosque being built near Ground Zero, it's understandable that it's going to be questionably phrased. But it's the fact that she misspelled "repudiate" that caused most of the Twitterverse to lose their mind.
Not the fact that she apparently thinks all Muslims are responsible for 9/11 and would defile the ground with their mere presence. And, if you claim to be a peaceful Muslim, you'll agree with her.
But whatever. I'm a certified, MENSA-level genius, and I make an occasional spelling mistake on Twitter. It's easy to do when you're typing on a frickin' PHONE for heaven's sake! And even if she didn't know it was pronounced/spelled "repudiate," is it really worth such venom? People knew what she meant. I mean, jeez, give Sarah Palin a frickin' break! All she had to do was make a followup-Tweet once the error was pointed out to her and say "Oops, that should have been 'repudiate' in that last Tweet!" and it would have been all good.
Instead she deleted the Tweet and reposted it with entirely different phrasing. Fair enough. That happens all the time, I'm sure. But the Twitterverse wouldn't leave it alone. They kept making fun of her for using a non-word, and she finally decided to address it...
Annnnnd... there's no way for me to defend that flash of brilliance.
What a fucking idiot.
So, I guess what she's saying here is that when you are ignorant as to a word's spelling and/or meaning and/or existence... just make shit up. Because that's what Shakespeare did!*
Something tells me she won't be running as "The Education Candidate" come 2012.
Call me an elitist snob, but I feel our leaders should be trying to elevate language and encourage people to express themselves well. Not make shit up and be illiterate. Especially when you are advocating English as this country's "National Language," because anything less would make you a hypocritical douchebag.
But that's pretty much how I see Sarah Palin in a nutshell. Crap like this only confirms it.
I am totally ready for a woman to become president.
But please don't let it be this vapid joke.
*On the contrary, Shakespeare was a master of the English language, used the largest vocabulary of any English writer in history, and consistently penned his words in clever and exciting ways. When scholars of the Shakespearean Era did add words to the English language, they were built from linguistic roots in other languages (like Latin)... or otherwise crafted with some semblance of reason and intelligence. They didn't just pull a new word from their ass out of ignorance. Especially when there's already a word with that meaning in existence! To imply otherwise is just plain stupid. But you knew that already.
So... the wholly abhorrent Proposition 8 initiative in California banning same-sex marriage was found to be unconstitutional, and an injunction against it was issued by a federal judge.
There will, of course, be people who are outraged at the decision.
There are, of course, people who believe that allowing two people of the same sex to marry is "redefining marriage as it has existed throughout the millennia across all cultures, races, and societies and defeats the purpose of marriage which is to produce the optimal family unit for having children."
I honestly don't give a shit.
I'll redefine a WORD over making somebody redefine WHO THEY ARE any day.
Because this is The United States of America, and if two consenting adults want to be married they should get to be married. That's what our vaunted "freedom" is all about. The government has no fucking business dictating that somebody has to deny their sexuality in order to marry. They just don't.
It's not human. It's not fair. It's not right.
And it's certainly not America.
Because allowing two people of the same sex to marry does nothing... nothing... to take away from the people who choose to believe exclusively in "traditional marriage." Those people can still have marriage. They don't have to redefine a damn thing to keep what they have. They don't even have to personally acknowledge same-sex marriage if they don't want to. Just so long as they do acknowledge that their personal views don't get to redefine other people in a country which is supposed to guarantee life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ALL its citizens. They don't have that right. They just don't.
And when I hear people say... "Just because I don't believe in same-sex marriage doesn't mean I'm a hater!"... the only thing that runs through my head is this...
You kinda are...
Because an aversion to somebody so intense that it strips them of their right to decide for themselves who they marry and forces them to adhere to a set of rules which makes them unequal in the eyes of the law is the very definition of hate, plain and simple.
a: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.
b: extreme dislike or antipathy, loathing.
Merriam-Webster Online. 4 August 2010
It's time to end the hate...
And to those who still wallow in it, bring on your inevitable appeal.
Because even more inevitable is the eventuality that this country will one day move past your absurd, antiquated, and ridiculous bigotry to fulfill the promise of a nation built on ideals of freedom.
I think we're due.
In ancient Egypt, kings would keep track of how many enemies had been killed in their name by being presented with piles of severed hands and penises from their vanquished foes (hopefully after they've been killed). We know this because there are carvings and hieroglyphics in temples recording the gruesome tradition...
The genius of this is that there's no room for error. If you tell your king that you killed 50 of his enemies, then you had better be prepared to pull out 100 severed hands or 50 severed penises to prove it. Otherwise... well, it may just be that it's your hands or penis served up to the king.
Nasty, sure, but... you can't make good decisions unless you can trust on the information you're getting.
And therein lies the problem with the world today. When images can be Photoshopped, video can be fabricated, and audio can be edited or changed completely... how can anybody trust that the information they're getting is accurate? How can you make decisions when everything has the potential to be a lie and any proof which substantiates "the facts" can be faked? Heck, you can't even trust what you read on the internets!
This has been weighing on my mind a lot lately because of the upcoming November elections. Since I don't blindly vote along party lines, and cast my ballot based solely on how I feel the candidate will benefit me... or people I care about... it seems impossible to make an educated choice. Because when it comes to desception, exaggeration, and even outright lies, politicians are the absolute masters. They will do or say whatever it takes to get them elected, and then spend their entire term in office trying to get re-elected for next term. Even if it means going back on campaign promises or flip-flopping on their track record.
Case in point? President Barrack Obama. Not that I had any grand illusions that he would be different than any other politician... far from it... but I fully admit I was hoping for more than I got when voted for him. Granted, he's still a far less dangerous option than hypocritical ass-hole traitor whack-job John McCain and his beyond stupid dumbass VP choice Sarah Palin, but still... very disappointing.
Health care reform? Eviscerated. Prescription drug imports? Scuttled. Don't ask don't tell repeal and support for the GLBT community? Fantasy. Public debate before bills become laws? Nope. Political lobbyist reform? Fat chance. Government transparency? An outright lie. Etc. Etc. Obama is working so hard not to rock the boat and make everybody happy that he's dodging, caving, or compromising on the issues I was voting for him to fix. As I said, no big surprise, but disappointing nevertheless. Such is politics.
So what to do?
Well, until I get proof that's equal in veracity to severed hands and penises as to a candidate's intentions... all I can do is research whatever I can and pick the one whom I feel is the lesser evil...
Not a perfect system, but neither is the political process.
And does anybody really want a pile of severed penises showing up on their doorstep?
For all the dumbfucks out there who obviously have no concept of what The Golden Rule is, let me spell it out for you... TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED. If you're Christian, you might better recognize this as "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" from Matthew 7:12. If you study Buddhism like me, it's "Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful" from The Udanavarga 5.18. If you're a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindu or just about any other religion, this probably still sounds familiar because The Golden Rule is a universal concept for all humanity. It kind of has to be in order for people to be considered "human."
In fact, Scarboro Missions has an excellent poster you can get which illustrates this beautifully (click on the image to make bigger)...
The reason I bring this up is because I am sick and fucking tired of a horrific personal tragedy occurring only to have the person responsible say "I'm sorry! I never thought this would happen!"
I'm sure that's the justification the bullies who tormented 13-year-old Seth Walsh will use. After being deliberately and systematically bullied because he was gay, this poor kid couldn't take it any more and hung himself. Now everybody is all shocked and horrified and "sorry" even though they stood around and watched it happen (or actually made it happen). Well, too little too late, a life described as "loving and kind" is gone. Destroyed by hateful morons too fucking stupid to understand that people don't like to be tormented by bullying day in and day out, and this is the only way they could find to escape it.
I hear about crap like this and go insane. It's pretty much my worst nightmare.
And as if that wasn't tragic enough, now there's been another suicide when Rutger's University freshman Tyler Clementi jumped off a bridge because his roommate streamed video of him having sex to the internet. And I'm sure that the dumbfuck responsible will be all "sorry" because they didn't realize people don't like to be tormented by having their personal sex life broadcast on the internet, and this is the only way they could find to escape it.
I mean, seriously. Did any of these assholes take ten seconds to ask themselves "Would I like to be treated this way?"
Did those responsible for driving Seth Walsh to kill himself even once think "Gee, I'd sure hate to be victimized every waking hour of every day... perhaps this poor kid I'm tormenting doesn't like it either?" Did Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei who are responsible for driving Tyler Clementi to kill himself ever think for just one second "Wow, I'd sure hate to be humiliated by having my personal sex life broadcast on the internet... maybe this poor guy wouldn't like it either?"
I'm guessing they didn't, because if they DID consider The Golden Rule, and then went ahead and did it anyway... well, that would make them monsters. Inhuman, evil, devious, vile, disgusting monsters. People so abhorrent that they have no place in society, let alone humanity.
And what about me? Did I ever think for a moment "Hmmm... if I ever made the horrible mistake of tormenting someone so badly that they ended up killing themselves, would I want somebody on the internet calling me an evil dumbass inhuman monster?"
Yes. Yes I did. And I seriously don't give a fuck.
Which makes me the biggest evil dumbass inhuman monster of them all.
Somehow, I'm totally okay with that.
It's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Blogography is going pink for all of October (which you might have already noticed if you're not seeing this in a feed reader or Facebook or something). As one of the most common forms of cancer, the American Cancer Association estimated that up to 250,000 new cases were diagnosed last year. They also say that thanks to continuing education for early detection and advances in treatment, millions of women are surviving breast cancer today. Women like my friends Denise and Sarah... and somebody I love more than chocolate pudding and Betty White combined, my sister Theresa.
As always, the key to survival is early detection. It's been said a million times, but here it is again... find out how to do a breast self-exam from a health care professional and perform a self-exam every month. Women in their 20's and 30's should also have a professional exam performed every 3 years (women over 40 should have a mammogram and professional exam performed every year). If you're not taking these steps, then start today. If not for yourself, for the people who love you. People like me!
Breast cancer has never been more survivable, so it's important to leave fear behind and educate yourself if you haven't already.
There are a lot of Breast Cancer fund raising activities going on this month, so be sure to support one if you can! Or donate directly to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists.
I hate this time of year.
This is the time when 90% of the ads on television are political attack ads set on an infinite loop. And they all suck. I am so sick and tired of the political bullshit polluting my entertainment that I'm about ready to put my foot through the TV. Or put my foot up the asses of these dumbass politicians who are so busy talking about what the other guy is doing wrong that they don't bother to say how they're going to fix anything. Probably because they don't know what they're going to do. Far easier to just trash the other candidate and get the job with no expectations.
By far the worst ads here in Washington State come from the battle that's airing between incumbent Democrat dumbass Senator Patty Murray and challenger Republican dumbass Dino Rossi. I voted for Rossi last time because Democrats historically shit all over Eastern Washington (where I live) since it's mostly inhabited by Republicans that don't vote for them. They're far too busy throwing State money at their voter base over on the coast so they can get reelected next term.
But this year Dino Rossi has made it impossible... IMPOSSIBLE... for me to vote for the piece of shit because his ads are so reprehensible that I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I did.
But, to his credit, he at least looks into the camera when he delivers his "I'm Dino Rossi and I approve this ad" stupidity.
In Patty Murray's latest ad she's NOT looking into the camera... but instead "discussing important business" with somebody while she looks AWAY from the camera and reluctantly drones on with her "I'm Patty Murrary and I approve this ad" idiocy IN VOICEOVER! And she delivers it with such agony that you can practically feel her begging you to forgive her for being "forced" to air this horrible commercial. Well, Senator, if you can't even look into the camera when you tell people that you approve your own bullshit, then you have no fucking business airing the ad in the first place. Not that I blame you, if I was shoveling that shit to people while I asked for their vote, I wouldn't be able to look them in the eye while I said it either. But don't for one second think that you're fooling anybody... it's insulting to all of us. You're a US Senator for heavens sake.
Needless to say, I'm not voting for that pathetic joke of a candidate either.
So it looks like my ballot will be without a vote in the Senate box. I do not reward this kind of childish, unproductive, and generally shitty behavior.
I'm used to political candidates being dumbasses. I'm even used to casting my vote based on who's the lesser douchebag. But when you've got two candidates so disgusting that the thought of voting for either one makes you sick to your stomach... all you can do vote your conscience.
Even if that means not voting at all.
It's Columbus Day! A day set aside to celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus arriving in the Americas. Now, while I can fully appreciate that this is a historically important event, I'm always perplexed as to why this is a national get-out-of-school-free worthy holiday. Back when I was actually in school, I didn't care to question it. But now? Now that I've read about the history behind the man we're honoring?
Not so much.
Because Christopher Columbus was a total bastard.
And by "bastard" I mean "total psycho genocidal rapist slaver greedy asshole sadistic bastard."
Seriously, what a fucker. How in the hell can anybody in good conscience want to celebrate anything with his name on it? And the more you read about him, the worse it gets. It's so bad that I find myself wishing I could go back in time and go to school on all those Columbus Days I got off.
It's also National Coming Out Day today, which is something actually worth celebrating.
Because we should be celebrating people for who they are. Instead of burying them because society makes it impossible for them to feel as if they can live with who they are. I am sickened and deeply saddened by the rash of young suicides being reported, and horrified that there are most certainly thousands more we will never hear about. These poor kids deserve so much better at our hands...
National Coming Out Day is a holiday meant for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons... but the overall message of pride and acceptance is one which everyone can benefit from. If we need a reason to skip school, shouldn't that be it?
This morning there was frost on my windshield. Not thick enough or strong enough that I had to scrape it off, a quick swipe of the wipers and it was gone, but it was a horrifying reminder that winter is just around the corner. Not that this is a big deal to me. I've lived in a climate with winter for as long as I can remember. A part of me actually likes the snow and chilly days.
The problem is with travel. Winter makes an already shitty travel experience even worse. In some instances, much worse. You never know whether or not an airport is going to shutter, or a mountain pass is going to close, or some other craziness is going to descend like Bill O'Reilly and fuck up your day in some incomprehensibly stupid way. It's for this reason that I avoid traveling from November through February.
The fact that I already have four trips scheduled during that time is beside the point.
Which brings me to the actual point... I am sick to death of the rampant hypocrisy I'm exposed to on a daily basis...
hypocrisy |hiˈpäkrisē| • noun ( pl. -sies) • the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.
I will be the first to admit that it's entirely my fault. I watch television, I read the news, I drop by blogs, I interact with people... all of which puts me in danger of being exposed to lethal levels of hypocrisy. You simply cannot escape it. Especially during the mid-term political elections in these here United States of America.
My first serving of hypocrisy came with breakfast as I watched a reporter interview people at a "Tea Party" rally where this elderly woman was railing hard and fast against the evils of "government-run socialized health care"... all while holding up a sign that says "DON'T TOUCH MY MEDICARE" (which is hypocrisy laced with delicious irony). I kept waiting for the reporter to ask her if she understood that Medicare is a form of "socialized medicine" (Socialism Light!) which is (surprise!) run by the government, but it never came. Instead she rambled on about how "the government can just keep their damn hands off my Medicare!" (presumably this means they aren't to hand it to her directly, but instead leave it on her bedside table?). I just sat there trying to keep my brain from exploding all while wondering if this ignorant bitch had a clue what the ramifications would be if the government puled out of the health industry altogether as she was advocating. Not only would she lose her Medicare, but all publicly-funded medical research through the National Institute of Health (from which she undoubtedly benefits) would also be lost. And don't get me started on all those government tax-break subsidies given to employers for their company health insurance programs. Honestly, it's not that I begrudge people who don't want a public option for health care, that's perfectly fine. But don't be such a hypocritical ignorant asshole while doing it.
Unfortunately, hypocritical ignorant assholes are the flavor of the day, as I got it served up for lunch and dinner too.
Lunchtime hypocrisy was delivered by the USDA "Health Pyramid" on my cereal box* which suggests 75% of our diet should be grains, fruits, and vegetables... all while knowing full well that only a mere 15% of government food subsidies go towards these consumables (75% of government food subsidies go to the beef and dairy industry, so enjoy that cheap-ass Big Mac!). It's not that I mind our government making food affordable (a boy's gotta eat!), it's just the blatant hypocrisy of telling us to eat one type of food while subsidizing another which I find hard to swallow. So to speak.
Dinnertime hypocrisy was served up by Microsoft with their Windows Phone 7 "it's time for a phone to save us from our phones" ads. I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. Taken literally, it's the very definition of hypocrisy, but I don't know that it's meant to be taken literally? So what could it be? Windows Phone 7 is so awesome that you never have to use it? From past Microsoft phone development history I'd say it's more likely that it's so unusable that you never want to use it... but whatever. I have an iPhone which saves me from MicrosoftPhone, so at least my Apple-branded hypocrisy looks good.
Hypocrisy. It's what's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
And, unlike frost on your car windows, that shit sticks like super glue and is not so easily scraped away.
*Yes, I eat cereal for lunch. Cereal is delicious, and makes the perfect meal any time!
Today is Wear Purple for Spirit Day!
According to the website, it's a way of "showing your support for the teens who took their lives because of anti-LGBT bullying"... which undoubtedly means to say that you wear purple to show your support for those who are victims of anti-LGBT bullying, and to honor those who have tragically taken their lives because of it. Which I absolutely do. But not just for those being bullied because they are gay, but for anybody being bullied because they are perceived as "different"...
Because I'm straight, I have the luxury of not being persecuted for my "lifestyle choice." But I am all kinds of "different," so wearing purple to support an end to bullying is no-brainer. Which is ironic considering that the people who promote the hatred and intolerance which foster bullies are the ones who don't have brains.
And when it comes to offering support and showing LGBT teens that they are not alone... that there are people out there who love, support, and accept them just as they are... that there are people outside the LGBT community who will stand beside them... that even though they may be in a home or school or community where they are not accepted now, things will get better... I'm happy to add my voice to the many, many people taking a stand for what is right. Today and every day until we no longer have to endure a society that would ever convince somebody their life is not valued and welcomed enough to live in it.
Be kind to each other, my friends.
SUPER-EXCITING BLOGOGRAPHY BONUS!
Usually, I don't much care for award shows. The wrong things are always nominated and the wrong things always win. I rarely, if ever, agree with anything to do with mainstream award shows... including more off-beat "mainstream" awards like those found on MTV. But there is one award show that I kind of enjoy, and that's the Spike TV "Scream" Awards (even though all the actual non-stop audience screaming makes me want to kill people). They celebrate genre entertainment for such awesome things as sci-fi and horror and comic books and such, and it's always a lot of fun for geeks like me. I went ahead and wrote a wrap-up of the awards they handed out, and provided my own running comentary on who I thought deserved to win. Since something like this will only appeal to the smallest handful of people, I've gone ahead and put it in an extended entry...
This weekend is when The Colbert Report has its "March to Keep Fear Alive" and The Daily Show has its "Rally to Restore Sanity." Both are parody-laden responses to the crazy-ass crap going on across the USA as the midterm elections grow near.
Unfortunately, my real fear is very much alive that Jon Stewart is far too late to restore sanity to this nation. That ship has sailed. The rampant dumbfuckery plaguing our country in the form of bigotry, racism, hatred, ignorance, deceit, hypocrisy, selfishness, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, incompetence, and greed... it's all rapidly approaching the point of no return. Even worse, any form of actual sanity is readily attacked by people too stupid to even understand what they're attacking.
So good luck with that...
And the stupid shall inherit the earth.
Luckily it will be a world of their making, so at least they'll be getting what they deserve.
UPDATE: Well, the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" has just concluded. For the most part, I thought it was pretty bad. It wasn't funny. It wasn't even entertaining. I was bored throughout the entirety of the event, and thought the screaming interaction between Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert was embarrassing. There were glimmers of hope... like when Yusuf (aka Cat Stevens) and Ozzy Osbourne hit the stage, but it was all destroyed when Stewart and Colbert went into some kind of mock music battle. Nothing seemed to come together, and a everything seemed so staged and pointless. I guess you had to be there?
HOWEVER... the speech at the end by Jon Stewart made the entire ordeal worthwhile. It was inspiring. He truly managed to put everything into perspective and diminish the fear-mongering assholes that are ruining this country. I hope that a transcript or video recap of the speech is posted, because it's well worth a look.
Daylight Saving Time is such a crock of shit.
I left work at 5:30pm. It was pitch black. WHERE'S MY FUCKING DAYLIGHT NOW? Gone, thanks to it being Not-Daylight-Savings-Time.
I have to say... even though I have given up all hope of President Obama being able to get any shit done now that he's going to have to spend every waking hour of every fucking day battling the Republican-dominated House of Representatives to solve this country's problems... I would forgive everything if he would just abolish this fucked up shit of having to dick with our clocks twice a year. Surely this is a bipartisan issue if there ever was one? Everywhere I go, people are bitching about how stupid Daylight Saving Time is. You'd think every fucking House Representative and every fucking Senator and every fucking douchebag politician in the entire fucking country would be onboard. It's about the only thing they can do now which would be embraced by the majority of the fucking population who's out there in the dark AT FIVE-O-CLOCK...
I'm in a really bad mood, so I probably should stop this entry before things really get out of hand.
I've just read a very disturbing article over at Ars where they're talking about the new mandatory procedures for airport security. People still have the option of skipping the "backscatter" and "millimeter wave" scanners at airports if they're too modest for that kind of exposure. If you don't know what one of those scans looks like, I transferred my last scan to a USB Memory Stick and smuggled it out of airport security...
Of course I was wearing my MC Hammer Pants at the time (they're so comfortable for traveling!), so I had a certain amount of embarrassment built-in, but still... I don't want to go through THAT again.
So I think that I'll opt for the new-and-improved "Crotch-Invasive-Super-Pat-Down" instead...
Nothing like a free hand-job to relax you before a long flight. Thank you Transportation Security Administration!
I am staying all alone. In a huge house. On a dark street. In rural Georgia.
What's the worst thing I could do right before bedtime? Watch the latest creepy episode of The Walking Dead... which is taking place just 15 minutes from my bedroom, that's what!
Now, I am not one to scare easily. I could sit through a marathon of horror flicks before bedtime and not give it another thought. But tonight every creak in the floorboards... every leaf scuttering down the roof... every branch tapping on the window... every noise in the night... it all added up to make me, well, not scared really... but uneasy.
Needless to say, last night was rough going in the sleep department.
There may not be any real undead wandering around Georgia, but I certainly feel like a zombie today...
In other news, LEGO Harry Potter (Years 1-4) for iPhone is pretty sweet. And I don't even like Harry Potter! But I do like the LEGO games (LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Batman, and LEGO Indiana Jones are awesome!). In the game you can play Harry and dozens of other characters you unlock, then run around solving puzzles and collecting LEGO studs to buy stuff. Just like all the other LEGO titles, you can play through each level multiple times as different characters to unlock even more secrets with their special abilities.
The game looks
Get used to this load-screen, you'll be seeing it a lot.
A lot of work went into this London cut-scene!
LEGO humor in full force: note the Harry Potter mini-fig on his keychain!
The game screens are no less detailed, but you're viewing them from rather far away, so you're not seeing game elements at their fullest. Still, an impressive picture...
Zooming in, you can see the clarity of the hi-res Retina Screen graphics (I'll bet the game looks incredible on the iPad!)...
Despite the fun I'm having with it, there are some problems, however. First of all, the load screen comes up A LOT, and scenes take a while to transfer. This results in a lot of staring at the load screen over and over again. It gets old in a hurry. But the biggest (and only major) offense is the control system. You control characters and interact with objects by dragging your finger across the screen... effectively covering up what you're supposed to be looking at! It's tough to solve puzzles when your finger is obliterating them. It's hard to control Harry when your finger covers him up. It's a heinous oversight that I don't understand. I can only hope that they eventually update and give you the option of controlling things with an
All-in-all, you can't beat the mind-boggling price of just $4.99. It's a fraction of what you'd pay on the Nintendo DS, Wii, XBox, or Playstation versions! If you have a supported device to play it, LEGO Harry Potter (Years 1-4) is well-worth the download.
I just wish I had the time to actually play it. :-(
These "It Gets Better" videos just keep flooring me. The crushing despair, fear, and pain that people go through every day just for being "different" is almost impossible to believe. If we weren't seeing the tragic consequences of the bullying in the news, it would be impossible to believe. I just can't fathom how somebody could intentionally make another human being feel as though their life was worth so little that death is the only option left. It's sickening on a level that makes my heart ache just to listen to it. But we must listen to it, because things have to get better. For all of us.
This video from people at Disney/Pixar is pretty amazing and hopeful...
I wish I wouldn't have to keep wishing that all the bigoted assholes who make this world such a horrible place would hurry up and die so we can have a world I'm not ashamed to live in.
Because, in truth, it makes me no better.
But I'm somehow okay with that.
Though I knew about AIDS far earlier, I first learned about AIDS from the TV show 21 Jump Street on February 7th, 1988. In the episode "A Big Disease with a Little Name" Johnny Depp's character is assigned to protect a student with AIDS at a local school that doesn't want him there. As the story progresses, they did a pretty good job of explaining what was known about the disease but, more importantly, they were careful to put humanity above all the clinical details and cold facts. It made for a compelling story which has haunted me ever since.
Because when discussing H.I.V. and AIDS, it's essential not to forget that what we're actually talking about is real people with hope, dreams, and fears just like everybody else on earth.
So on this World AIDS Day I encourage everybody to not only review the facts, but to also show their support for those who are living with AIDS. Through the miracle of modern medicine, AIDS is not the death sentence it was back in 1988, but the prejudice has never truly faded away...
Educate yourself. Protect yourself. Educate others.
But above all, be a compassionate and caring human being. That's the way they handle things on 21 Jump Street, and the world is a better place because of it.
If you're so inclined, you can have an 80's flashback and watch A Big Disease with a Little Name by visiting this Hulu link or this YouTube link. Prepare yourself for acid-wash jeans and mullets!
Today I was late getting home from work because my backup decided to crap out and start over from scratch. Not wanting to sit and watch the blinky lights on my backup drive flash for a few hours, I decided to clean my office then walk down the road to get some dinner.
That was a mistake.
Not because the dinner was bad. The dinner was fine. I had a grilled cheese on sourdough and highly recommend it.
No. The reason it was a mistake is because this is a small town and you run into some crazy-ass people once the work-day has ended and everybody's running loose on the streets. Now, don't get me wrong... I fully confess that I am about a crazy-ass a person as you'll find here... but that doesn't mean I'm in a mood to tolerate it in others. Especially when I have to go back to work tonight.
But it's small-town America so whatcha gonna do?
And so I return to work after a nice meal and full dose of street-crazy, collect my freshly-minted backup drive, and go home.
Where I turn on my television and find out that I only thought I knew what "crazy" was about. Turns out I don't know Jack-shit about "crazy" because there's currently somebody cornering the market on bat-shit crazy, and he doesn't live anywhere near me...
Photo of Senator John McCain courtesy of the AP Newswire... and Geritol.
Now, I've already said my peace* on McCain and his false concern for the brave men and women honoring us with their military service (which you can read here). McCain doesn't give two shits about the people in our military... he's just exploiting his self-proclaimed "concern" so he can pander to his fellow homophobes when it comes to Don't Ask Don't Tell (assumably for political gain, but who knows... he may just be a gigantic bigoted asshole and I'm over-thinking things here).
Fortunately I don't have to unleash a new rant on what a piece of shit McCain is** because John Stewart has got that covered. Beautifully...
Sigh. Just get over yourself or die already old man. Or... or... hop in a time machine and go back to the 1920's or whenever it was people were okay with your delusional ramblings.
The rest of us are trying to move on.
* Please don't try to tell me that it should be "said my piece." I don't care what the dumbass hoards on the internet say, at a wedding you "speak now or forever hold your peace." Holding your piece means something entirely different, and I need both hands to type (no matter how much fun holding my piece may be). In any event, I've not held my peace... I've said my peace... so deal with it.
** Sorry for the potty-mouth, but I ran out of what tiny measure of respect I had left for Senator McCain when I realized that he is responsible for unleashing Sarah Palin's dumbassery upon the world.
If I wasn't so enamored with one-word blog entry titles* this post would probably be called something like "Give Peace a Chance" or "WAR IS OVER if you want it" or some other John-Lennon-inspired genius to set the stage for my upcoming rant.
If I really wanted to get descriptive, I suppose I could have gone with something like... "A wish to be included in holiday festivities on my part doesn't constitute a war on your part." Though, since this is me we're talking about, it could have just as easily been "Take your stupid war and go fuck yourself with it."
Which sounds like something John Lennon would have totally said if he was a creative person like me. Alas...
But before we mix it up, here's a calendar for December...
From a holiday standpoint, it's a pretty packed schedule as you can see. And I'm sure there's a bunch more holidays that belong on there that I don't know about.
But since this is the United States of America... AKA The Land of The Free... AKA The Melting Pot... where people of all ages, races, creeds, colors, sexes, sexual orientations, gender identities, national origins, and religions come together as one, it's not a big deal. Because while we may celebrate separate holidays, we can certainly come together to celebrate each other's happiness during the season! This is the USA, after all.
Errr... apparently not.
Apparently there's a "War on Christmas" of which I was previously unaware. Apparently, some people feel that all of December belongs exclusively to the Christian holiday of Christmas, and the mere existence of other holidays is some kind of attack. Apparently communities wanting to have public festivals which are inclusive of all faiths by calling them "Holiday Celebrations" instead of "Christmas Celebrations" have declared war. Apparently any time anybody wants to do anything for the holidays that's not Christmas-specific, they're ruining Christmas. Apparently.
It is, of course, a complete load of horse shit.
This is nothing more than a scheme by hateful people who benefit financially by keeping everybody divided and miserable. THEY create a war, then sit back and laugh while other people fight in it. How very Christian of them.
I remain dumbfounded that there are people who actually buy into this crap. Is their faith really so weak that it takes the threat of imaginary war for them to feel anything for their beliefs? Is their faith really so shaky that they think Christianity will disappear if they don't go into meltdown when somebody puts up a stupid billboard that questions it? Really? Because that's just sad. I question whether you can even call it "faith" when it's more like lack of faith. Because anybody who is strong in their beliefs and confident in their God wouldn't be the least bit threatened just because a parade was renamed so everybody could come together and celebrate their holidays... including their Christmas.
Oh well. I'm not a Christian. I don't celebrate Christmas. I do enjoy celebrating the holidays with my friends and family of ALL faiths during the season though. I haven't declared war on anybody. So, seriously, from the bottom of my heart... "Take your stupid war and go fuck yourself with it."
It's what John Lennon would have wanted.
*I didn't used to have one-word titles for my blog posts. It's just that one day I had an entry where one word was all I needed. The next morning I woke up and got an email telling me that I was "stupid" for not using more descriptive titles on my blog entries so that they would be better indexed by Google and improve my search engine ranking. Obviously, I needed their web consulting services because I was too big an idiot to figure this stuff out on my own. Since I don't give a crap about my "search engine ranking" I thought this was pretty funny. And very, very rude. So I wrote back and told them to blow me.
I've been using single-word blog entry titles ever since. I'm stupid that way.
When it comes to repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, my personal opinion is that this is a good thing. People who do us the honor of serving in this country's military deserve to serve as who they are. But I'm not in the military, have never been in the military, and don't plan on serving in the military in the future, so my opinion has always been based on my personal belief of "respect an equality for all" rather than any kind of practical knowledge. And yet... all the people I've talked to who are in the military seem to feel the same way. So, yay, it's time to move on.
And yet the opinion of those serving in the military TODAY has been shoved aside by opportunist politicians catering to their homophobic voter base...
Original Senator John McCain photo by Wigwam Jones via Flickr
Which is disheartening because the attitudes of crotchety old men like John McCain isn't keeping up with the progressive attitudes of modern society...
Fortunately, this country is moving forward despite those who would hold us back.
Unfortunately this is not always the case. This country seems to have a history of shitting all over those who would serve to protect us... and, just when you think things are changing, something comes along to prove you wrong. Like the politician assholes who are currently working to filibuster the Ground Zero First Responder Health Bill. Or assholes like (surprise!) Senator John McCain who thinks the lives of our heroes is some kind of game.
I am trying... desperately trying... to understand the mindset that would cause somebody to deny much-needed monies for health care to those who risked their lives to save others when this country was attacked. The most common complaint was something like: "Well, that's what they're paid to do! They signed up for a dangerous job and are now crying for more money TO DO THEIR JOB? We shouldn't have to pay for that! I wish somebody would give ME a bonus for doing MY job!"
Give me a fucking break.
YOU TAKE CARE OF THOSE WHO TAKE CARE OF YOU!
There's nothing more to be said. Because if you don't take care of those whose job is to selflessly save lives, GUESS WHAT? Nobody is going to save lives! These heroes accept that they could die doing their job. They know that what they do is dangerous, yet choose do it any way. The least we can do is make sure their sacrifice doesn't ruin the rest of their lives if they should be fortunate enough to survive their service.
And now that first responders continue to suffer horrendous long-term respiratory problems and other health issues from being exposed to the wreckage of Ground Zero, they need to be taken care of when their insurance and worker's comp runs out. Again, it's the least... the very least... we can do for those who boldly go where angels fear to tread. So a bill was drafted, money was found by closing a tax loophole on foreign companies with U.S. subsidiaries, and all we needed to do was pass it. Sure it's expensive, but you do what you gotta do when it comes time to take a stand for what is right. You find a way and you do the right thing.
Except a bunch of asshole politicians think the lives of our heroes really is a game and decided that filibustering for political gain was more important than doing what is right. Despite an impassioned plea for them to do just that...
And so heroic first-responders are left hanging for no other reason except they're apparently not politically important enough to be worth saving. At least until it's politically advantageous to do so. Or some unfathomable tragedy befalls us and it comes time for them to have to run in and save our ungrateful asses.
Typical. So mind-bogglingly typical. Just politics as usual in Washington DC.
If only there was a way to mark all these politicians as "not worth saving" when tragedy pays a visit to their house...
Alexander (R-TN), Barrasso (R-WY), Bennett (R-UT), Bond (R-MO), Brown (R-MA), Bunning (R-KY), Burr (R-NC), Chambliss (R-GA), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Collins (R-ME), Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Ensign (R-NV), Enzi (R-WY), Graham (R-SC), Grassley (R-IA), Gregg (R-NH), Hatch (R-UT), Hutchison (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Johanns (R-NE), Kirk (R-IL), Kyl (R-AZ), LeMieux (R-FL), Lugar (R-IN), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Murkowski (R-AK), Reid (D-NV), Risch (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), Snowe (R-ME), Thune (R-SD), Vitter (R-LA), Voinovich (R-OH), Wicker (R-MS).
What repugnant pieces of shit.
Without regard to their own safety, there were people who worked tirelessly to search for survivors and help where needed when America was in its darkest hour. Now it's their turn. Their darkest hour has arrived. These people are facing health crises and financial ruin as a direct result of their service. It's time to return the favor and help them now that they need us. It's time to do what's right.
2010 -> AUDIO -> VIDEO -> DAVEAnd now, at long last, comes that one entry for people who are curious as to what I've been up to, but only like to read one blog post a year. All-in-all, it was not a terrible end to the decade. Picking and choosing all the good stuff that happened in 2010 (out of a blog that is already picking and choosing all the good stuff) kind of makes me think it was a great year. Alas, I know better, as there were boatloads of crap I had to deal with that never end up at Blogography. Oh well. It's okay to pretend, isn't it?
• Realized the right tool for the job won't actually get me a free date with Elizabeth Hurley.
• Opened my big mouth and got the entire wine-connoisseur world pissed at me.
• AND NOW, FROM THE BLOGGER WHO BROUGHT YOU PENIS SALAD...
• Found out that somebody stole my monkey.
• Found a vagina on the sidewalk.
• Discovered that Canadians are responsible for the pussification of America, and showed them how REAL AMERICANS GET SHIT DONE!!
• Seattle FINALLY got a Hard Rock Cafe, and I got my 125th visit.
• Released my medical findings on a cure for the common cold to Twitter (and so much more).
• That Crasher Squirrel has been showing up everywhere...
• Just like Lindsay Lohan's cootchie...
• Took my annual Birthday Vacation and ended up in Dutchyland, and Brussels, and Bucharest, and Transylvania, and Prague.
• Explained why Roger Ebert is WRONG about video games not being art.
• Attended THE blogging event of the year... TEQUILACON 2010 VANCOUVER!
• Went to New York for a-ha's farewell tour and to hang out with awesome people while Betty White made her Emmy-winning SNL appearance.
• Got the tackiest phone call ever.
• Took a dump on Lost and then went out for pizza with RW, which ended up having far-reaching consequences you'll find out about later this year.
• Summed up my position on the BP oil spill.
• Saw the Worst. Movie. Ever.
• WAY TO GO BLACKHAWKS!!
• Had more fun than should legally be allowed at Bitchsterdam 2!
• Rush Limbaugh is a vile piece of shit.
• Saw one of the best episodes of television ever (thank you Steven Moffat, The BBC, and Dr. Who!). I can honestly say that I think this is the only time I cried in all of 2010.
• Sarah Palin is a fucking idiot.
• Went on a tour of the USA with stops in Hollywood, San Diego for Comic Con, and Atlanta for Watermelon Beer, and Tulsa, and Kansas, and Chicago.
• Explained to haters who don't like being referred to as a hater that they kind are.
• Paid a visit to mah Hilly-Sue and FooDiddy in Sacramento.
• Got a visit from Muskrat and Whit in Seattle.
• Was inspired beyond my ability to express by the final words of a legend.
• Took a Mediterranean vacation and saw such remarkable places as Barcelona, and Malta, and Tunisia, and The Amalfi Coast, and Rome, and Portofino, and Corsica, and Monaco. As if all that wasn't enough, I got to have breakfast with Mickey Mouse!
• Remembered The Golden Rule and became the biggest evil dumbass inhuman monster of them all.
• Nearly crapped myself watching a television show.
• Partied down in rural Wisconsin... a good place to be!
• Got all poitical for a minute.
• Wore purple for a very important cause...
• Went to Albuquerque to gamble away my money at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino there.
• Found out my iPhone can take some pretty decent photos if I bother to stop and look around because there's an app for that...
• Went back to Atlanta, this time for Pumpkin Beer and good friends... then a tour of THE WALKING DEAD!
• Took a look at porn and handjobs in the interest of airport security.
• Want to know where to go on vacation? Here are some of my suggestions!.
• "Take your stupid war and go fuck yourself with it."
• Took some pictures in the snow.
• Took on stupid bitches and the law, and went ape-shit over net-neutrality, and was shocked as hell by a moment of lucidity from Pat Robertson.
And that was pretty much what happened with me in 2010. How about you?
Hope your 2011 is a good one, and thanks for reading!
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 Whatever, 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.
Some good words in there to be sure, but words just the same...
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...
PolitiFact says... PANTS ON FIRE!
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.
Noble House on Apple's iTunes Book Store — Noble House on Amazon's Book/Kindle Store
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.
Create a world in which LGBT youth are celebrated and accepted for who they are.
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.
RW was interviewed over at Fictionaut for our efforts with Thrice Fiction magazine. It's RW being RW like nobody else can, so you definitely want to check it out.
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.
When it comes to the Republican merry-go-round of candidates, I'm getting pretty tired of hearing "THIS is the best that the Conservatives have to run against Obama?!?" And, yes, I'm as guilty as everybody else. It's a natural reaction to the buckets of crazy that the GOP has been pouring over the American populace as they attempt to get somebody elected president in November.
The reason I'm getting tired is that the answer is already very obvious. "No, this is NOT the best that the Conservatives have to run against Obama, they're just the only players willing to do so." And it's true. All the smart, powerful, respectable potential candidates didn't want to throw away millions of dollars for a loss when they'd have much better odds in 2016 once President Obama is out of the picture. They know that an Obama victory in 2012 is pretty much assured, so why bother? Besides, it just gives the Obama-disillusioned Independent populace (like me) four more years to rage over the stupid crap that clings to his presidency like a pair of Tiberian bats.
And so now the second-tier candidates (like Huntsman, Gingrich, and Paul) are starting to fall away just as the tenth-tier loser candidates (like Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum) are starting to drop... paving the way for Romney to take the nomination. Like what was supposed to happen all along.
And here's the point where all the Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum supporters start banging out emails to me saying "TENTH-TIER LOSER?!? RICK SANTORUM CAME IN A VERY CLOSE SECOND IN IOWA, YOU DUMBASS!"
To which I'd have to respond "What did you expect?" Every waking moment that Santorum hasn't been fantasizing over the cock sandwich he obviously wants so badly, he's been campaigning in Iowa. He's gone to every county in the State. He's practically gone door-to-door to every house begging for votes. He's put all his eggs in one Iowa basket, so of course he's done well. But he still lost. And now? IOWA IS OVER! Santorum has to move on to places where he's invested no time and very little money. Places where he has no real chance of winning.
Which, of course, brings us to Michele Bachmann.
I am so ready for a woman to be president. I am not lying or even exaggerating here. But I have to be given somebody to vote for who is worth a crap. That person was not Hilary Clinton. It couldn't be Sarah Palin. And it sure the fuck isn't Michele "Batshit Crazy" Bachmann. Or I guess I should say it wasn't Bachmann, because she's now suspended her campaign. For all intents and purposes, she's out of the race.
Which is a darn shame, because her being certifiably insane made the rest of the Republican candidates seem far less crazy by comparison. No matter how much Romney, Gingrich, or Paul screwed up, they could always point over at Bachmann and say "Sure, but at least I'm not THAT hot mess over there!" But not any more. I suppose they could point at Santorum, but he's (hopefully) not going to be around long enough to be worth it.
And so now I am left with one burning question...
When people like Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann who tell everybody that "GOD CALLED ON ME TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT!" end up getting dismissed in disgrace or utterly pummeled before the race even truly begins... how do they reconcile this?
Did God set them up just to watch them fall? Do they now believe that God was lying to them all along? Did they do something wrong in the eyes of The Lord to make them lose His favor?
Wouldn't it be ironic if it was their lack of support for Same-Sex Marriage that made "God" displeased with them?
The scenarios I come up with, approaching things as best I am able from theological standpoint, are as follows...
You can probably guess which of these makes the most sense to me.
Despite studying The Bible more thoroughly than most Christians ever will, I am not a Christian. But I still have strong ties to the Christian Faith because there are many people I cherish and love who are Christians. Just as there are people I cherish who are Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, and other religions you might name.
For this reason, you will understand my disgust and frustration with people like Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum who make a mockery of Christianity by speaking for God. They force THEIR ideals onto other people with persecution and hate, say it comes from GOD, then use their interpretation of The Bible to justify it in a way that makes me wonder if they ever actually read The Bible in the first place.
As an outsider looking in, I can honestly say that this doesn't seem very "Christian" to me at all. My opinion is entirely supported by empirical evidence when I see Michele Bachmann giving up on her bid for president. And... until Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum is elected president in a landslide, then goes on to lead this country to its greatest period of peace and prosperity ever... well, it will probably continue to be my opinion.
As always, I reserve my admiration and respect for those who use their Faith as a way to enrich their lives and be happy while allowing others to do the same with whatever Faith they hold true. Sadly, more and more I see Faith being used as a weapon. For this reason alone, I won't be shedding any tears now that Michele "batshit crazy" Bachmann and her Jesus Sword won't be our president... despite the avalanche of material it would give to The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live.
I guess we'll just have to wait for her FOX "News" contributor gig to happen for that.
It's Bullet Sunday in the middle of Winter... except the sunny days and complete lack of snow makes if feel a lot more like Spring. I'm seriously starting to wonder if we're ever going to get a winter. Hope everybody in the Valley is fond of water shortages come Summer.
• Doodle! The "Google Doodles" are always interesting, but the Charles Addams birthday doodle from yesterday hit it out of the park...
The original cartoons were genius. Still are. And this was the perfect tribute. If your only experience with The Addams Family is the old television show and the Barry Sonnenfeld movies, then you owe it to yourself to check out the original cartoon collections. Not only are they funny as hell, but the artwork is absolutely beautiful. Even the most simple drawings have lush details and textures...
Besides, who doesn't love Uncle Fester?
• Taco! As the Doritos flavors keep getting more and more "extreme" I find myself liking them less and less. Nacho Cheese Doritos are so caked with cheese powder that you can barely taste the corn anymore. Which is why I'm such a big fan of the "retro" re-release of the original-flavor 1960's Taco Doritos. I thought they were going to be a temporary thing, but they keep showing up at the grocery store...
The flavor is nicely "taco-like" but not at all overwhelming. You can still taste the corn chip. They also make an incredible topper to a veggie taco salad. I have my fingers crossed that they continue to be popular so Frito-Lay will keep making them.
• Ojo! I've worn glasses for what seems like forever... but it's the "vitreous floaters" that are the real problem with my eyes. For those lucky enough not to know what "vitreous floaters" are, they're tiny particles floating around in the goo that's in the middle of your eyeball. They cast shadows on your retina which makes little blurry spots that move around your field of vision. Most of the time I don't notice them. But, as I get older, more and more of them are forming. This makes them more noticeable more often.
Every once in a while, I do an internet search to see if there's any new technology for dealing with the problem. Maybe they've found a laser than can vaporize the floaters. Or maybe there's a new medicine that can disintegrate them. But, alas, no. The only solution seems to be to suck the goo out of the middle of my eye and completely replace it with saline water. It sounds horrific. And dangerous. And I'm not nearly desperate enough to let somebody suck goo out of my eyeball. At least not yet.
But now the reality is setting in that one day I may actually be that desperate.
• Firm! I'm a fan of nearly all the early John Grisham books. They're not deep by any means, but they are darn good entertainment. The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Runaway Jury... all good fun. But it's The Firm (the first Grisham book I read) that I like the best. It was a really good story that had some genuine suspense built-in. Sure the Tom Cruise movie fucked all that up, but I still always wondered what happened to the characters in the book. Instead of that, I got this...
NBC Television has a new series called The Firm which picks up ten years after the FILM ended (not the book). And, despite starring the talented Josh Lucas, it's kind of a mess in the way it bounces around. Mitch McDeere is no longer on the run... he's just a lawyer with a sketchy past doing regular lawyer stuff (like most every other lawyer show on TV). In other words The Firm has become boring and unoriginal. Sure there's hints that things are going to ramp up, but in a totally redundant way. Mitch is involved with yet another evil law firm! Not enough of a retread? Oh yeah... here comes the mob. Again. What the hell? Oh well. It's not like I had time to fit a new show in my television-watching schedule anyway.
• Debate! The Republican Debate last night was... interesting. You get the sense that the candidates reeeeeally don't like each other. At all. Indeed the only thing they seem to hate more than each other is President Obama. I guess this is understandable, but they blow it way out of proportion. I'm not Obama's biggest fan by a longshot, but the level of blame they lay at his doorstep is categorically absurd. In many respects, President Obama is practically a Republican, so it's kind of senseless too. But I guess they gotta play to their voter base however they can, and demonizing Obama is a quick and easy way to do that.
The debate itself was pretty lame... but also a bit enlightening. Mitt Romney comes across as a huge dick when he fails at being clever, which is often. Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum bounces between being a disgruntled idiot and a whiny baby. Newt Gingrich is just plain bitter all the time. Rick Perry is just fucking stupid. Ron Paul is entertaining, but not always in a good way.
And then there's Jon Huntsman. The only current Republican candidate I can even fathom voting for. He's got Conservative sensibilities. He's got loads of experience in the international arena. He's personable and inspiring. He's smart, quick on his feet, and not overly-reactionary. In short... I honestly believe that he's the only GOP candidate that could move independent voters in a race against Obama. And yet... his own party seems to hate him. Probably because he's not Conservative to crazy enough extremes. It's a real shame too, because nobody else on that stage is going to woo the much-needed middle ground. If things keep going like they are, I guess we're getting four more years of ObamaNation.
Annnnd... I'm spent. Sometimes bullets can really take it out of a guy.
And so this happened...
Now that Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum has come in a pathetic fifth place after Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, and Newt Gingrich, is it too much to hope that he drops out of the race?
Because please, Rick, please drop out of the race.
I am just done with your stupid fucked-up racist, homophobic, sexophobic, anti-woman, anti-college, anti-poor, anti-environment, anti-gay, anti-diversity, anti-American bullshit, and there's no place in this country for your disgusting hate-filled rhetoric.
Just be content that you took a big ol' dump on the USA and move on.
Then never show your face in public again. The only thing I ever want to see of you is the giant shit stain that's left once you've been scraped off the face of America and tossed in the garbage where you belong.
Oh, and before I forget... fuck you for shitting all over my country. That stain is not going to be an easy thing to get out. Even with some Oxi-Clean and a bottle of Clorox.
I was kinda raised Catholic. And while I had already started pulling away from the church by the time Pope John Paul II came along, I was a big fan. He spoke dozens of languages and worked tirelessly to travel the world to use those skills to build good relationships with other faiths. He had respect for all people and believed strongly in the basic concepts of dignity and human rights. And while I may not have agreed with some of his more antiquated, traditional, and fundamental views, I always admired his attempts to find common ground in the face of disagreement. He was a remarkable man and I'm still a fan today...
Which is why I am so disheartened with his successor, Pope Benedict XVI...
He's systematically destroyed much of the good will that Pope John Paul II had built up between Catholics and the rest of the world. And while I have respect for Pope Benedict's position as Supreme Pontiff, the way he's hurt the church with the crazy-ass shit he says has been heartbreaking. He lays the groundwork for abhorrent Catholic radicals to have the power they do. Even though their hateful crap contradict polls which show that most Catholics are fairly progressive on issues like same-sex marriage.
So what benefit is it to everyday Catholics when these extremists decide to force their faith-based interpretation of "morality" on the rest of the world?
When I see the news of kids committing suicide because they are ruthlessly persecuted and victimized by the environment created by the likes of Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum and Maggie "Repugnant Hypocrite" Gallagher ... my view of Catholicism is badly tarnished.
And when I see the continuous stream of shocking headlines associated with the church, I have to wonder if these hateful morons shouldn't be casting a judgmental eye on their own house before condemning the houses of others.
Headlines like this one...
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH'S PEDOPHILE INVESTIGATOR JAILED FOR POSSESSING THOUSANDS OF CHILD PORN IMAGES
The Catholics Come Home television commercial I just saw (which caused me to write all this in the first place) is supposed to be reaching out to former Catholics by letting them know that their church is waiting for them. That they are wanting to help them return to a faith-based journey of true peace, happiness, and purpose in life.
They are speaking to people like me...
...who is someone that would never in a million years return to the Catholic Church as it exists today. Not when the people who so prominently represent the church are people who repulse me.
Well... not all of them repulse me.
There is at least one prominent Catholic today I admire quite a lot: Stephen Colbert. More on him in tomorrow's entry.
Picking up from where I left off in my last entry where I started talking about Stephen Colbert...
Yesterday morning I went to the Colbert Nation website so I could take another look at a particularly outrageous video showing just how huge a piece of shit Rush Limbaugh is. The footage hadn't been posted yet, but I did find something equally interesting. All of the heroes who donated money to the Colbert Super PAC could type in their name and see a video clip where Stephen Colbert thanked them on his show. Sweet! Here's me...
Oh... and last night I checked again and the video I wanted to watch again had been posted...
Yes! Such is the irrefutable integrity of FOX "News" and Rush Limbaugh. And do you think they'll even consider issuing a retraction? Or even a clarification? I suppose it depends on how big of a fallout there is from a fucking COMEDY NETWORK SHOW fact-checking the Conservative agenda at FOX. As I've said a dozen times, I don't give a shit where anybody chooses to get their news. But be honest about it. Anybody watching FOX "News" (or any network, really) who believes that they're getting a "Fair and Balanced" look at politics and current events is hopelessly deluded. Go sell that bullshit somewhere else.
In any event... I, for one, am thrilled to see that my tax dollars are actually going to a good cause for once...
Trick-or-Treat! — Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Ever since we first had a White House, our presidents have held extravagant events for all kinds of reasons. President Reagan once held a massively pricey State Dinner for Princess Diana (and invited John Travolta for heavens sake). But because this is President Obama we're talking about, first he gets eviscerated for throwing some military families a Halloween party, then gets accused with lies of having covered it up?
Spending crazy amounts of money on a visiting princess from a foreign country doesn't register outrage, but spending money to treat American heroes who have sacrificed so much for our country... well... they're just not worth it.
But regardless, you'd think that Fox "News" would have brought up some of the expensive White House events from the past in the interest of being "Fair and Balanced"... but no. And it's not like anybody would expect that sack of shit Rush Limbaugh to ever utter a single fucking word that wasn't in some way attacking this country's president. His listeners would probably have an embolism if he were to tell them that Ronald Reagan also threw expensive parties at the White House during a time of economic crisis. Even if he didn't relate LIES that the government then covered it up. Because you can make up whatever outrageous crap you want about President Obama, but don't you dare say anything even remotely disparaging about President Reagan! He was a Founding Father of this great nation and a True Christian... not some kind of Secret Muslim Socialist like Obama!
I swear, sometimes the dumbfuckery of the gullible American public is so overwhelming I have to sit back and marvel at the fact that half the populace has the brain power to even breath... let alone think for themselves. And why should they do that? There's a bloated asshole on the radio manipulating them with bullshit and lies they're too fucking stupid to ever question. Because thinking is hard.
GAH! It's enough to drive you crazy.
I really need to start drinking more.
Lately I've been looking at some of the "Voter Guides" that are put out by various organizations. They are meant to dissect the candidates on the issues so you can be "an informed voter." Some of them are kind of funny. Some of them are kind of sad. A few of them are kind of disgusting. But most all of them seem to be more "instructions" than "guides." These organizations have an agenda, and they slant everything towards their candidate of choice... all while claiming to be "presenting the facts." But whatever. If it helps like-minded individuals figure out their vote, I guess that's better than voting with no information at all.
But, thanks to the internet, there are also "Voter Guides" that are actually trying to be guides. They allow the voter to input how they feel about various issues, then calculates candidate scores based on how they have campaigned on those same issues. Assuming that the data used for the calculations is faithful to the candidates' views, it's a really helpful tool.
Like this one from Voting Aid, where you move sliders based on how you agree (or disagree) with a statement, and it finds your candidate...
Unfortunately, they show the scores as you answer the questions which is kind of defeating the purpose. This allows the user to adjust answers based on any predisposition they might have towards the candidates. I know I was certainly tempted to try and adjust my answers so that Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum got the lowest score possible.
But it turns out I didn't have to bother. Even when answering the questions as honestly and accurately as I could, the asshole still came in dead-last...
The surprising thing here is not that Jon Huntsman is the candidate who is most compatible with my views. That was totally expected. The surprise was that Ron Paul ranked so low. I'd have thought he would have come in much higher. Certainly higher than Rick Perry if I were ranking them manually. Probably higher than Mitt Romney.
My results were accurate from the standpoint that the only candidate I would consider voting for in a race with President Obama would be Jon Huntsman.
But, alas, it looks like I won't have to worry about that contest.
And since none of the other candidates have a chance of wooing the independent voters needed to defeat Obama, I'm kind of pulling for Gingrich to win over Romney because at least then we'd have some good debates.
But, alas, it looks like I won't have to worry about that either.
In all likelihood we're getting Mittens as a candidate followed by four more years of President Obama.
It's Bullet Sunday and I'm so happy I could crap my pants!
• That Dog Won't Hunt! So Jon Huntsman, the only Republican candidate that I might have voted for, is dropping out of the race. And since the remaining candidates will be hard pressed to sway independent voters to their respective agendas, I guess that we're in for four more years of President Obama. Unless he punches Betty White in the face while wiping his ass with the American flag during a televised White House press conference or something.
Now, if you will excuse me, I shall now go and mourn the loss of what could have been our three First Daughters...
Sadly, Mitt Romney has no hot daughters (that he knows of, I'm sure). Though I'm starting to wonder if he'll even be a factor now that Stephen Colbert has entered the race in South Carolina and these wicked attack ads are airing...
Genius. And it's funny because it's true!
• It's a Fucking Frog! Just when I think that it's impossible for nature to shock me more than it already has... along comes The World's Tiniest Frog...
Photograph by Christopher Austin, Louisiana State University
How in the hell is this even possible? That's a DIME! And that's an actual frog sitting on top... not even half the size of the coin. How does its lungs function when they must barely be the size of the air molecules they breathe in? Unbelievable. And cute. Lookat da iddybitty froggy!
• ZOMFG it's Music! After one of my favorite bands, The Shins, kind of imploded... I worried that we'd never hear from them again. Shins mastermind James Mercer appeared to move on to a new collaboration called Broken Bells with DJ Danger Mouse, so I figured that was the end of it. But lo and behold this last week I got an iTunes pre-sale notice for a new band line-up and a new album called Port of Morrow...
My expectations are high. Fortunately, the preview track Simple Song didn't disappoint. Can't wait until I get to hear the rest of the album in March. You can pre-order your own copy at the iTunes Music Store here.
• Eggxactly Right! Because groceries are so stupid-expensive, I find myself buying foodstuffs not because I necessarily want them, but because they're on sale for cheap. Most of the time, this comes back to bite me in the ass, but every once in a while I stumble across something so delicious that I wonder how I ever survived without it. Such was the case with Crystal Farms' "Three Cheese Chef's Omlet" from the freezer case...
Holy cow. It's the perfect omelet. Light, fluffy, and loaded with quality, flavorful cheese... from a frickin' microwave! When served on buttered toast with a little ground pepper... it's a quick and easy breakfast that's so good. Which means that it's probably being discontinued and the reason it was on sale was because they were clearing out their inventory. Crap.
• Well I'll Be! And so Washington State is dangerously close to passing Marriage Equality legislation. Color me pleasantly surprised. Despite the fact that "The Coast" is decidedly liberal... the view from Redneckistan here on the other side of the mountains is often cloudy when it comes to gay marriage. Oh I'm sure there are many people here who have no problem with everybody getting their fair shot at happiness (as promised when our country was founded). And there's undoubtedly a growing number of people here who are tired of their gay friends and family being relegated to second class citizens. And it's certain that more and more heterosexual couples are realizing that same-sex marriage has
It just comes down to whether enough politicians will do the right thing and move forward in a way that an increasing majority of Americans want to have happen. Here's hoping.
And now I have to get back to work. And Dune, which is playing as background noise here in my living room. THE SPICE MUST FLOW!
Today my blog has joined with thousands of other sites that are going dark in protest of SOPA & PIPA legislation, both of which have the scary possibility of destroying freedom of expression on the internet.
Of course since my site is dark you can't read this... but, if you're in the future now, you can take a look at what Blogography looked like today by clicking on this link (thanks to Zachary Johnson for the awesome code!).
If you are so inclined, you can read more about SOPA & PIPA here.
If you would prefer not to get into the gory details, suffice to say that SOPA & PIPA are trying to do a good thing (crack down on internet piracy) badly (by destroying the internet). It basically boils down to politicians sucking up to lobbyists at the expense of the people they are supposed to be serving.
I absolutely support fighting piracy. I work with industries which have been damaged by people stealing their property, and I know the havoc it causes. So when idiot politicians who have been duped (or bought) to defend SOPA & PIPA are saying "we're fighting to save American jobs!"... they're actually talking about people like me. But they're not speaking for people like me. Because I would never support this kind of stupid shit which would do nothing to actually stop piracy. Ultimately SOPA & PIPA are more about censorship than justice, and I'll have no part of it.
The only internet that matters is a free and open internet.
Anything less, for better or worse, is unacceptable, and nobody should be given the power to change that.
What a freaky-ass day.
I can only guess that this has something to do with the Chinese New Year beginning. It's The Year of the Dragon, after all. And while I don't put much stock into the Chinese Zodiac, I do think it's a pretty entertaining and well-thought-out concept. Especially since Dragons have Rats and Monkeys as bestest friends, which is kind of cool if you ask me...
My day started when I went to get into my car and drive to work. And found that I couldn't. There was a sheet of ice a quarter-inch thick covering everything... including the door. This meant fifteen minutes of scraping ice out of the door seams with the bottle opener on my keychain. Then another ten minutes chipping ice off the rest of my car with an ice scraper before my vehicle was fit to drive. It wouldn't have been all that bad if not for the fact that my bottle opener broke, giving up its life so I could go to work. I've had it for over a decade and used it often, but don't think I ever actually opened a bottle with it.
Once I finally made it to work, I was plagued with a series of inexplicably bizarre phone calls (and here I was just saying how much I hated talking on the phone!). The bad news is that it wasted entirely too much of my time. The good news is that I got to alleviate my boredom by getting caught up on Facebook and Twitter.
I also got caught up with entertainment news and learned that Seal and Heidi Klum were breaking up their marriage after seven years. I dunno why, but I was pretty sad to hear it.
And speaking of marriage... I then got caught up on news news and learned that Washington State's Legislature has enough votes to pass marriage equality. Whether this actually happens remains to be seen, but I am really happy that my gay and lesbian friends here in The Evergreen State are one step closer to being able to celebrate their relationships in marriage just like opposite-sex couples can!
Of course, all is not big gay smiles here in The Pacific Northwest...
This is Pastor Ken Hutcherson who is heading up some backwards anti-equality organization had this to say about Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire... "She might as well change her name to John Wilkes Booth because what she’s doing now is trying to put a bullet in the head of one of the greatest traditions that has ever existed and has built our society, and that is marriage between one man and one woman."
Far be it for me to speak ill of a man of the cloth... but what a fucking idiot.
What "puts a bullet in the head of marriage" is DIVORCE you dumbass. And why drag President Lincoln into this? Perhaps you hadn't heard, but the man eventually ended up fighting for equality of peoples in kind of a big way. Not really the best example you could have used.
What's important is that dinosaurs like Pastor Ken are slowly and steadily becoming a thing of the past as new generations of Americans understand that FREEDOM means that you sometimes have to accept shit you don't want to. Don't believe in same-sex marriage? Then how about you don't fucking marry somebody of the same sex?
But I guess I should know better than to try and apply logic to situations like these. To entirely too many people, it's only "freedom" when everything goes your way.
Newt Gingrich is a moron and let me tell you why.
At a campaign stop at Florida's Space Coast, he promised that there will be a permanent American lunar colony within eight years if he is elected president. As if that weren't bad enough, people seem to be crazy in love with the idea.
Putting aside where we're going to get the money to pay for all this when taxes are going to be cut to the bone under a Gingrich presidency, I have to say that this is one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard.
HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING FROM SPACE:1999?!?
For those not in the know, SPACE: 1999 was a 1970's science fiction show that told the cautionary tale of what happens when you build a lunar colony on the moon.
In the series, the founding of Moonbase Alpha leads to earth storing their nuclear waste on the far side of the moon. One day, a strange magnetic radiation causes the waste to go into meltdown and a massive thermonuclear explosion ensues...
And do you know what happens next?
THE MOON IS BLASTED OUT OF EARTH ORBIT AND HURLED INTO SPACE, that's what!
Never mind that having our moon gone missing would be devastating for all life on earth because of it fucking up the weather and tides and stuff... that's not even the worst part. No, the worst part is that the humans stuck on the moon will eventually encounter freaky-ass space monsters... freaky-ass space bitches... AND freaky-ass space bitches that turn into freaky-ass space monsters!
And there you have it. Vote for Newt Gingrich if you must, but only if you want to lose our moon and have American citizens face space bitches that turn into space monsters (which, admittedly, would be a terrific candidate for the fourth Mrs. Gingrich... COINCIDENCE?!?).
As for me? I choose to REMEMBER MOONBASE ALPHA! SAY NO LUNAR COLONIZATION! SAY NO TO NEWT GINGRICH!
It's at times like these that I truly fear for this country. Spread the word. Save us all.
Buckle up and strap in, another edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Fight! As Florida's Republican Primary draws near, the battle between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney is really getting nasty. Partly because the attack ads flying back and forth are pretty harsh... but mostly because nasty-ass Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum is still hanging on the election like a nasty-ass used condom stuck on the side of a nasty-ass trash can...
Heeeeeeere's Santorum! — Photos by Scott Olson/Getty and ABC
I wonder how Gingrich and Romney are going to get rid of him? Maybe they could look into how to get shit stains out of underwear and give that a try.
• Hobbits! LEGO announced that they have a license for new sets based on The Lord of The Rings. I dare say that I am actually more excited about this than I was when they got the Batman license (if such a thing is possible)...
Photo taken from Brickset!
When the LEGO Lord of the Rings video game comes out, I will be deliriously happy.
• Noooooo! It's not all good news in the world of LEGO though... the incredible LEGO UNIVERSE massive multi-player online game is shutting down at the end of the month...
The game is really well done and a lot of fun but, unfortunately, I rarely had time to play it. I wish that they would take all the game assets and release it as an offline adventure game, because there was a lot of good stuff in there.
• Mode! A friend sent me this video of a guy and his two kids performing Depeche Mode's awesome song Everything Counts. So epic it hurts...
Here's hoping that they take on People are People as a follow-up.
• Render! My work requires that I be able to render 3-D images from time to time. 3-D itself is fairly easy, and there are apps that make it dead simple to do basic stuff. Where the challenge comes is doing 3-D rendering well. This requires some very good tools that usually come with a steep learning curve. I started out with a program called Electric Image Animation System to render, because that's what Industrial Light and Magic used when they re-did the special effects for the Star Wars films. I needed a 3-D modeler, so I had to learn Form-Z. Eventually EIAS got its own modeler, so I learned that. After a while EIAS dropped their modeler. This pissed me off, so I dumped EIAS and learned Cinema 4D. But Cinema 4D didn't render as nicely as EIAS, so I went back to EIAS and learned how to use modo for my modeling. Eventually I got sick and tired of jumping back and forth between EIAS and modo and dumped both of them for NewTek's all-in-one package called Lightwave 3D. Lightwave was moving to a cool new technology called CORE, and I wanted in. But then NewTek dumped CORE so I dumped Lightwave 3D. Not wanting to start all over again, I went back to EIAS and modo. But then modo started adding its own rendering and animation tools that were really sweet, so I dumped EIAS. Now I use modo for everything and love it.
Except... in the background there has always been Maya, a hideously cool 3D package that I've always lusted after but could never afford. For even a basic Maya setup, you're paying $3500 minimum (and the license upkeep is equally pricey). But yesterday I was offered a Maya license for a project that's coming up. So now I'm torn. Do I really want to take the time to learn a new program all over again? The answer to that is ABSOLUTELY! I have never shied away from learning something new, and this is a dream come true. The problem is that I don't have time to take the time to learn Maya, so I had to decline this most generous offer.
Nothing quite like watching Reality walk into the room and crush a dream right in front of you.
And on that happy note, the weekend is over.
I thought I lost my passport, so I'm recovering from a total meltdown right now. I hate it when I misplace important stuff like that.
But enough about me.
And so, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, Mitt Romney won the Florida Primary in a cake-walk. Congratulations, Republicans! You might as well have selected President Obama to be your candidate...
In all seriousness, Hello Kitty would have a better chance of winning against Obama than Romney...
The only way Romney is going to win would be if President Obama punched Betty White in the face while crapping on a bald eagle and then wiping his ass with an American flag during the Super Bowl half-time show as he denounces NASCAR and declares himself an atheist.
And with that mental picture firmly implanted in my brain, I'm off to bed. I probably won't sleep much (as usual), but I've got an incredibly busy day tomorrow, so I might as well pretend to get some rest.
Right after I make sure my passport is still where I think I left it...
I live in a small rural community which, from all appearances, is a throwback to simpler times. Visitors passing through town undoubtedly describe it as "quaint" or "idyllic" when they get home to their friends. In many ways, I'd have to agree. This is classic small-town Americana, and living here is quite different from life in the big city. Sometimes in a good way. Sometimes in a bad way.
And tonight after Fringe was over, Seattle's Q13 News from over the mountains informed me that a student from our local Middle School committed suicide after being ruthlessly and relentlessly persecuted and bullied.
Because he was gay.
Which only reinforces what everybody already knows: no community is immune from this vile poison that's killing our youth. Including my community. And now yet another child is dead...
All because killing himself was the only way this young man felt he could find peace from a society so filled with hate that there was no place in it for him to live...
To say I am horrified and disgusted is an understatement beyond measure.
His school is two minutes from my home.
And now I have to live with the fact that two minutes from my home, a kid was being brutally abused day-in and day-out. And it was so bad that death was considered to be the only way to escape it.
So congratulations to Rick Santorum's vision for a gay-free society!
Job well done to Michele Bachmann's war on gay teens!
Praise the Lord for Pat Robertson's slaying of gay abominations!
And a hearty round of applause to everybody who got their wish when yet another "filthy homosexual" was purged from this earth! Your never-ending quest to create a society that is savagely hostile for anybody different from yourselves is working better than you could have ever dreamed! I'm sure that this freedom-filled American utopia you're working so hard to build for your children will be a paradise unequalled!
Unless your children turn out to be gay, of course.
Or if people just think they're gay.
Or if they happen to wander into the line of fire being taken by another kid who is gay.
Then I guess your kids will have to take their chances just like everybody else. I mean, it's a pity that innocent
One day... hopefully one day very soon... we will look back at this period of history with a shame and horror that is woefully missing today. In the meanwhile, all I can do is say that I'm deeply sorry that we as a society failed you, Rafael Morelos. You deserved far better by our hands. I truly hope you've found the peace you couldn't find in life.
And so it goes...
I woke up with a massive headache. Things only went downhill from there. For one thing, it snowed last night. For another thing, I got an email that made me want to slam my already-aching head into a wall. There really should be some kind of law which forbids being assaulted by dumbassery before 9:00am.
Especially on Wednesday, because that's New Comic Book Day!
Though I'm a lot more excited by the Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum victories in the Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado Republican primaries. Do I even dare hope that he'll actually win the nomination? Because that would be the single most mind-blowingly awesome entertainment America could hope for. Time to take a look a the top contenders...
What happens if he wins? The presidential contest will be relatively boring. Other than breaking out in song with America the Beautiful and trash-talking President Obama, Mittens doesn't have much else to actually campaign with. The guy has flip-flopped on just about everything you could possibly flip-flop on, and President Obama will use that to positively massacre him in any debate. Not that he has to... Romney is legendary for sabotaging himself with the stupid-ass crap that flies out of his mouth. All Obama really has to do is stand back and watch Romney hang himself with his own words.
What happens if he wins? We will have quite possibly the most lively and interesting debate in the history of presidential politics. Speaker Gingrich may be a raging hypocrite when it comes to integrity and family values, but he will unapologetically rip into each and every one of President Obama's failings like a honey badger, putting Obama on the defensive in any debate. He can't win the election, of course. His past scandals are tied to his ass like a boat anchor. But for people like me who have reservations about another four years of Obama, Gingrichh is the only one who can make our president actually work for his re-election.
RICK "PIECE OF SHIT" SANTORUM
What happens if he wins? Oh so many wonderful things. The guy is so astoundingly misguided on so many topics that he'll be like a one-legged mouse that cool cat President Obama will bat around and play with for weeks before finally ripping his fool head off. It will be the Super Bowl of presidential elections where the only position Santorum is fit to play is towel boy. Or maybe tight-end, if his homophobic over-compensation is any indication. In any event, you can't buy entertainment this good, which actually has me contemplating a donation to Santorum's campaign.
What happens if he wins? I have no clue. A Ron Paul nomination is so far outside the realm of possibility that I can only guess that the Apocalypse shifts into full gear and the world ends. Kind of a shame, because I think the unpredictability of such a contest against President Obama would be worth watching. Some of Ron Paul's ideas are very good. Others are bat-shit crazy. It's entirely possible that Obama would have no defense against that, which could be extremely interesting. Or pathetically mundane. Either way, I think the presidential race would evolve into something entirely different than we've ever seen before.
And there you have it. I never thought the "Not Romneys" would get this far against the wishes of party heads who clearly want a Mittens nomination. But it's somehow fitting that Romney is going to have to pay big... massively big... money to secure his party victory before he gets anywhere near President Obama. He's got money to burn, so why not?
It's not like he's got anywhere better to spend his millions.
Holy crap, dude.
It doesn't matter who wins big come the November elections, there's going to be a lot of unhappy people. It's unavoidable because the level of venom being volleyed back-and-forth between Republicans and Democrats has reached critical mass. We're mere seconds away from a full-on thermonuclear explosion of hate, and you just can't come back from that.
And every time I watch the news or catch up with current political events on the internet, a part of me wonders if we should just carve up North America in a way that will keep us from destroying each other.
I'm talking about the establishment of Jesusland and The United States of Canada...
This has been a joke and internet meme for a long time. But the thing is... there's a very serious truth beneath it all. Why not create political divisions that make sense? Wouldn't people be a lot happier if their government more closely represented their beliefs and values?
And while I don't know that Canada would agree to be dragged into this mess, I'm thinking that the majority of Americans might actually go for it. The hatred is just so overwhelming, relentless, and balls-nasty that I'd do just about anything to make it stop.
Here in my home-state of Washington, we've got a scary level of hatred all our own to deal with. And now that same-sex-marriage is going to be signed into law next week, I can only imagine that it's going to get even worse...
Though I really do hope my fellow Washingtonians over here in Redneckistan will do the right thing and help same-sex-marriage pass if it ends up being put to a vote. With acceptance of gay marriage reaching new heights every day, you just never know.
But that's just one issue out of hundreds.
In the end, even if we were to establish Jesusland and The United States of Canada, Washington would still be divided. I'm sure other states would have similar lines of separation. So while the majority of people would probably be happier eventually... there's still going to be a large segment of the population who are angry, bitter, and unhappy.
So what to do?
A pity we can't just all cling to the things we have in common and work from there...
But, alas, those things are getting to be few and far between.
Remember the good ol' days when being "Americans" was enough to unite us?
Sweet! Today my home state of Washington passed marriage equality into law!
Now it's a waiting game to see whether the anti-equality brigade can get the signatures they need to force a ballot vote. Because it's totally appropriate to put equality to a vote, right?
Argh. I don't even want to think about it.
Because it's not like I've already got some things I'm trying not to think about today.
A friend sent me a video that had an interesting take on political issues from a purely humanitarian point of view. Some of the thinking seemed grossly simplistic and unrealistic but, taken as a whole, it was a fascinating look at how political policy doesn't change as much as you'd think from administration to administration.
In the video there were links to other videos. Which had links to other videos. Which had links to even more videos.
But it was the comment threads that were where the addiction lays. Most times they're so incredibly awful that you're compelled to read them. And just when you think you've read the most horrific thing that somebody could possibly say on the subject, you go to the next comment and it gets even worse. The bigotry, ignorance, racism, lies, and raw hatred sucks you into a vortex of stupidity from which not even light can escape...
And if you don't let go before the Point of No Return, you become just as stupid as the animals who are commenting and are compelled to comment yourself. From there you cross over the event horizon and are doomed to destruction.
Don't believe me? It's SCIENCE, people!
Though I don't know that even science can explain why so many people think that the road to destruction is the best course to follow. Maybe if more effort when into studying stupidity, we could find out why they just can't seem to let it go.
Or why there are people who think that the freedoms this country were founded upon demands equality for its citizens be put to a vote.
I should know better than to keep watching the Republican debates.
But like the glutton for punishment I am, I tune in with the faint hope that I'll hear something new... or interesting... or inspiring... or even just a tiny bit smart. This country has big problems, and I'm still waiting to hear from somebody who can figure it all out.
But that person sure ain't one of the Republican candidates for president. So not only am I wasting my time, I'm also exposing myself to near-fatal levels of bullshit.
Like listening to Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum once again vomit up some of his outrageous crap...
President Barack Obama actually went to France a year or so ago and was with Nicolas Sarkozy and said that, "Here I am with the French Prime Minister, our best ally in the world." Now think about this. Name one time in the last 20 years that the French stood by us with anything. But in Barack Obama's eyes, that makes them our best ally, because they fought what was in the best interest of our country.
The levels of stupid here are just too legion to even contemplate. Fortunately, I don't have to, as Politifact did an excellent job of debunking this fucked-up statement. The truth is that France has been a true ally to this country for a very long time. They deserve a lot better than to be diminished and dismissed by a piece of shit politician looking to score cheap points.
In a time when the USA has too many enemies in too many places, we need to remember who our friends are...
Despite my loathing of Santorum's never-ending hypocrisy, hate, exaggeration, and outright lies, a part of me still wants to believe that a candidate for President of the United States of America surely must want what's best for this country in their heart. But how can I in this case?
Either Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum is so evil that he would purposely damage our relationship with a long-time ally just to get votes out of people too fucking stupid to question his lies... or... he himself is so fucking stupid that he doesn't even know when he's lying any more...
Photo taken from Reuters
If you want to find somebody fighting what is in the best interest of our country, Rick, all you have to do is look in a mirror. Everything that's wrong with America is staring back at you.
This morning when I woke up I reached for my iPhone... remembered it was gone... then burst into tears.
Well, okay, I didn't actually burst into tears. But I felt like I should have. iPhone is always with me no matter where I go, and to not have him by my side felt like a part of me was missing. Dejected and alone, I headed off to work... trying my best to face a cruel future while cut-off from the world.
But then my repaired iPhone was delivered and everything was okay again.
Until I found out that Washington State has introduced a bill to add even more fucking taxes to our cell phone bills. Never mind that our state already pays the second-highest mobile phone tax in the nation, our legislators have decided that we should pay even more to cover their budget shortfall.
This stupid shit is getting out of hand.
It would be different if we had taxes lower than the national average or something... but increasing taxes on the second highest rate in the nation?!? How can these asshole politicians think that this is a rational solution to their problem? Though I suppose it's only slightly less stupid than the non-candy candy tax bullshit they tried last year.
Look, I appreciate that we need to meet our budget obligations and be fiscally responsible and stuff... but why shift the burden to people's cell phone bills when they're already paying through the ass? It's not like my iPhone is causing the budget shortfall... so stop punishing me as if it is.
Maybe cutting the salary of the dumbfuck politicians who keep attacking us instead of balancing the budget in a way that makes sense is the solution. Where do I vote on that?
Don't touch that mouse, Bullet Sunday starts... now.
• Higgs Boson. For science geeks like myself, Saturday was kind of a special day, as we were granted an audience with Professor Peter Higgs via a rare interview in The Scotsman. Fresh off of winning the Edinburgh Award, he made the bold prediction that the stupidly nicknamed "God Particle" that bears his name will finally be found this summer after 48 years. Bring on the Nobel Prize.
• Joke. Really? Attacking President Kennedy now? I gotta hand it to Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum, he's got balls the size of watermelons to be trash-talking one of this country's most beloved presidents. Especially when Santorum is so petty and insignificant in the grand scheme of things...
Santorum's tiny, insignificant, flea-like body from Ambro
How embarrassing. At some point even the craziest of crazies who are supporting this moron are going to wake up and say "What the fuck?!?"
• Astronomical. Apparently there was a spectacular alignment of planets happening in the heavens this weekend. Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon are all lining up to some kind of cool visual. I wouldn't know, of course, as the sky was totally overcast...
I swear, no astronomical events ever happen here. I get screwed by the weather every time.
• Finally. One of my favorite actors ever, James Earl Jones, was finally given his due with a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award...
Photo from Luke Macgregor/Reuters
Can you imagine any of his movie appearances with somebody else in the role? Field of Dreams? The Lion King? Sneakers? The voice of CNN? THE VOICE OF DARTH VADER?!? No. No you can't. He's and incredible talent, and seeing him get an Oscar makes the award almost relevant again.
• Oscar. I am not a fan of the Academy Awards. They so rarely get it right when it comes to those deserving of a win. Case in point?
Captain America: The First Avenger — Best Picture.
Robert Downey Jr — Best Actor for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
David Fincher — Best Director for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Stanley Tucci — Best Supporting Actor for Captain America: The First Avenger.
Meryl Streep — Best Actress for The Iron Lady.
Jennifer Aniston — Best Supporting Actress for Horrible Bosses.
And how many of those trophies were correctly awarded? One. Congratulations Meryl. You're amazing as always.
And now... I've got to pack a suitcase...
And now that I've driven home (again) my vacation from my vacation is officially over. Sadly, I am in more of a need of a vacation now than when I got back from my first vacation. So validate your passport, my permanent vacation (and Bullet Sunday) starts... now.
• Thrice Four. When RW and I started THRICE Fiction magazine, I honestly thought that we'd be lucky if we got our friends and family to read it. Which is why once our first issue passed 100 downloads, I was walking on air. Eventually that number climbed to over 300, which exceeded my every expectation. Subsequent issues dropped a bit as the buzz died down, but we were still getting hundreds of downloads. I remain shocked to this day.
The newest issue just passed 2500 downloads only two days after release. It's kind of difficult to know how to react to that...
The cover for THRICE No. 4 is something I worked up while I was on vacation, though I had the idea months earlier. For some reason I always think of forks as being "evil" because they violently stab food, while spoons are "good" because they gently scoop food. After watching the amazing video for Rendezvous' The Murf where one culture rises to worship a squid and another a whale, I had an image of one culture rising to worship a fork and another a spoon. And now I finally had an outlet for it... composing them to be mirror-images of each other. For being a last-minute creation, I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. Though I still prefer the original idea. Let's face it... that video is nothing short of genius...
As always, you can download the latest issue of THRICE Fiction for free at our official website. Apparently we'll be sticking around a while. From the bottom of my heart, thanks to my partner in crime and everybody who has supported us these four issues.
• Trayvon Martin. As I've been on vacation, I haven't been keeping up with the news. Or blogs. Or much of anything. I tend to ignore everything and everyone when vacationing because that's what makes it a vacation. But it was impossible not to hear about the horrific death of Trayvon Martin...
Welcome to "Post-Racist America" where you can kill a black child just because you consider him "suspicious," and not even notorious "crusader for justice" and ratings whore Nancy Grace seems to give a shit. Now if somebody can just explain to me how a person can claim "self-defense" when they fucking profiled and stalked the victim... I'd appreciate it. That would go a long way towards explaining why no arrest was made and how a thorough investigation apparently wasn't worth the effort.
The word "disgusted" is so severely inadequate to describe my feelings here that I am disgusted with myself for even alluding that it could. Will there ever be justice for Trayvon Martin? I suppose that depends on whether people ultimately decide that gunning down a child because he was wearing a hoodie while being black is something worth getting upset about.
• Worship. While I do not consider myself to be a Buddhist, it is Buddhist teachings that form the basis of my belief structure. After decades of wandering when it came to matters of faith, it was Buddhism that "spoke true" to me, and integrating it into my life has done amazing things to contribute to my happiness and understanding of the world. I fully accept that it's not a "religion" for everybody, but that's perfectly fine. It doesn't mean we can't all get along. I respect the religions of others in the hopes that they will respect mine.
Unfortunately, this is increasingly not the case...
And he has ties to presidential hopeful Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum. Shocking.
And, just like Santorum, this vile piece of crap has -zero- interest in respecting the beliefs of other persons. If you're not Christian like him, you can just get the fuck out of America, and that's all there is to it.
But it's not his intolerance that bothers me.
It's at the one-minute mark where he says "We don't worship Buddha! I say we don't worship Buddha! We don't worship Muhammad! We don't worship Allah! We worship God!" Well, whatever, asshole. Nobody is telling you that you have to worship anything. America was, in fact, founded on the idea of freedom of religion so you can worship whatever the hell you want. But you don't get to speak out of ignorance about an entire faith you stupid fuck.
BUDDHISTS DON'T WORSHIP BUDDHA! THEY DON'T "WORSHIP" ANYTHING.
Buddha was not a saint or a prophet or a god or somebody to be worshipped. He was a teacher. He discovered a way to find enlightenment and happiness, and chose to share it with people. And that's all. So when you see statues of Buddha and people bowing before them, it's not out of worship. It's merely a way of showing respect to a great teacher.
And now you know why I can never be a true Buddhist. Buddhists don't believe in "wrong-speaking." But I can't help but call an ignorant asshole an ignorant fucking asshole, so that's the way it's going to have to be. In any event, morons like this glory-seeking piece of shit are the ones that can get the hell out of America. You are betraying everything we are.
• Blueberry. One of my artistic inspirations, Jean Giraud (better known as Moebius), passed away on March 10th. His stories and artwork remain a triumph of the imagination, and I cherished everything he wrote and drew...
Goodbye Mr. Giraud. You've left us a beautiful legacy.
• Prometheus. Holy. Shit.
Looks like Ridley Scott hasn't lost his touch. To say I'm hyped to see this film come June 8th is a gross understatement.
• LEGO BATMAN!!! And as if Prometheus wasn't enough to get excited about. The sequel to one of my favorite video games of all time is coming later this year...
This looks incredible. If it's even half the game that the original LEGO Batman game was, I'll be very happy.
And now I suppose I should try and get some sleep since I didn't bother this weekend. Such is the peril of going on vacation.
30 DAYS DRAWING CHALLENGE: Draw Scenery...
Already done, man. Already done.
So... I'm guessing we're a step closer to Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum getting caught in a gay sex scandal. I mean, if you can't even be photographed next to a guy holding a pink bowling ball, you've gotta be dangerously close to having some kind of repressed gay meltdown (which is probably the most fabulous, glitter-induced meltdown you can have). The only questions remaining are A) Where will Santorum get caught putting his pink balls, and B) Will it happen before or after the Republican presidential nominee has been decided?
For maximum comedic effect, I'm hoping it's A) In Rush Limbaugh's mouth, and B) After he wins the presidential election.
Because I'm pretty sure that's what would make Jesus laugh.
30 DAYS DRAWING CHALLENGE: Draw Anything You'd Like...
This drawing actually goes seven levels deep... even though you can only really see four of them. At one point I was going to try and animate this in a zooming endless loop, but decided my sanity couldn't handle it.
It's been a tough day. It's been a tough series of days.
And everybody knows that when the going gets tough, the tough get going... so I'm going to get going on this bottle of Jägermeister.
But before we start drinking:
Am I the only one who thinks that President Obama should consider himself very, very lucky that he met up with the Regular Universe Uhura instead of the Evil Mirror Universe Uhura?
She would cut a bitch for reals.
I have to admit... I love having a cool guy as president. Regardless of how I feel about Obama's politics, the idea of going back to having a wooden, tense, socially awkward president fills me with dread.
And I suppose that's my cue.
Drink Jäger and Prosper my friends.
Some people are smarter than others... whether it's genetics, environment, conditioning, education, or whatever. That's just the way it is, which means that some people don't have the brain-power that others do. And, just like other traits that are intrinsic to a person, you can't really fault people for something outside their control. So long as they're trying their best with what smarts they have, they're doing right by themselves and their society. That being said, I deplore it when people of limited intelligence are called "stupid." That they lack the ability to understand something simply means that it's outside their skills,... they don't deserve derogative labels because of it.
The same cannot be said for ignorance.
If you are smart enough to speak about a subject, you are smart enough to make sure that you have your facts straight.
But, even more importantly, you have to be smart enough to accept when you are wrong... and be ashamed enough over being wrong that you to try not to be wrong again.
Alas, this is getting increasingly rare. Too many people are saying too much stupid crap not because they are, in fact, "stupid"... but because they're ignorant. They don't give a crap about accuracy, validity, authenticity, or truthfulness... they just talk out of their ass and don't give a flying fuck what might come of it.
Case in point: my recent trip through the Panama Canal, which went something like this...
The ship traveled from the Caribbean into the Gatun Locks (1). After going through the locks, it anchors in Lake Gatun to let some of us off, where we take a tender to shore (2). From there, we take a bus trip to Gamboa (3). It's at Gamboa where we hop on a boat and continue our journey through the Panama Canal (4), including the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks, before taking a bus to Colón where our ship is waiting for us to continue to Costa Rica (6).
It was while waiting to go through these locks that a guy from a group of people next to me started going off on an ego trip. He was great. He was a successful businessman. He was going to continue to be a successful businessman because his customers were forced to deal with him and him only. Nobody is as smart as he is. Etc. Etc. Etc.
I tried to ignore him, but then he piped up with this little gem to thrill his audience with how smart he is: "We have to go through all these locks because the Pacific and Atlantic oceans are different heights."
What I should have done was mind my own business and stay silent. But, I think we all know that's not what happened. Instead I explained that the oceans are at the same height... which we call SEA LEVEL, and the reason we go through the locks is because Panama is not flat. Gatun Lake is 85 feet above sea level, so we climb locks up to it... sail across... then descend locks back to the ocean. Like this...
Now, it's pretty apparent that I know what I'm talking about here. The land we're sailing through is obviously not flat... just look around. And the concept of "sea level" is pretty basic knowledge that just about everybody has at least heard of before. So there shouldn't have been any room for debate, right?
Of course not. This is where that ignorance problem comes in. Not wanting to look "stupid" in front of his friends, he decided to pitch me some shit instead.
"HA HA HA! YOU'RE WRONG. IF THE OCEANS ARE THE SAME LEVEL, THEN WHY DIDN'T THEY JUST CUT A PATH BETWEEN THEM? WHY ARE WE GOING UP AND DOWN, HUH? YOU'RE NOT MAKING ANY SENSE."
I didn't feel like trying to explain the insanity of blasting a channel 51 miles long so you could remove up to 85-feet of earth... so I said the same thing I always say in situations like this... "Uhhh...yeah. You might want to fact-check that when you have a chance."
Which, when I'm proven correct, will make him look ten times more idiotic than if had he just accepted that he didn't know what he was talking about, had no facts to back-up his outrageous bullshit, and should be smart enough to accept when he's wrong.
But some people are just too damn stupid to do something about their ignorance, so the rest of us have to put up with their dumbassery (and any consequences that come out of it).
And I'm getting really sick of it.
But not half as sick as I am of politicians manipulating ignorant citizens with their outrageous bullshit (either through lies or their own ignorance). And, before anybody starts going all partisan, this is a serious problem on both sides of the political spectrum...as one can easily ascertain at PolitiFact.
Now, I'd hardly say that PolitiFact is a bastion of impartial scrutiny when it comes to the "facts" they investigate. Republican candidates tend to get only their more outrageous statements investigated, while Democrat candidates seem to get equal attention paid to all their statements ( thoughprobably the opposite is true when there's a Republican in The White House). But, party affiliation aside, you can still gleen an interesting picture when analyzing the data. For each of our candidates I attributed +2 points for every "true"... +1 point for "mostly true"... 0 points for "half true"... -1 point for "mostly false"... -2 points for "false"... and -3 points for "pants on fire." This means a perfect score would be 2x the number of statements investigated. I then added a "truthiness" rating which divides their actual score by their perfect score. Here's how that shakes out (click on a name to see their page)...
Remember, this can hardly be considered an impartial comparison because PolitiFact can't possibly investigate every single statement made (they certainly make mistakes as well). And, even if it was perfect and impartial, don't be getting all excited about President Obama's apparent victory in truthiness. 12 out of 100 points is still complete crap. The bigger picture here is that all our politicians are full of shit. Which everybody already knows. No big surprise there. We've pretty much come to expect it, right?
And I'm getting really sick of it.
Ignorant and/or dishonest politicians are shoveling bullshit and telling lies all the time. And the populace at large doesn't seem to care unless it's a candidate they don't like. And even then, it's hardly outrage if you turn the other cheek when it's a candidate you DO like whose doing the lying.
I don't get outraged anymore. I just can't sustain the non-stop 24/7 anger that would require.
But I do get embarrassed by the complete lack of shame that all these asshole politicians have for propagating ignorance... whether intentional or not. I no more understand how we allowed things to get to this point than I understand how somebody can deny sea level.
Apparently ignorance truly is bliss, and everybody is just too happy to be ashamed.
Or to care.
Today is usually the day that I post some kind of DaveToon showing solidarity with those students taking part in the National Day of Silence. It's a worthwhile demonstration (in its seventeenth year) which calls attention to those who would silence the effects of anti-LGBT bullying in schools.
But I'm just too saddened to stay silent this year.
Maybe it's because the epidemic of gay youth suicide hit very close to home earlier this year when a guy going to my high school alma mater killed himself as a result of bullying.
Maybe it's because I learned that friends of mine have a brilliant, funny, amazing child who is being so badly bullied at school that they're only option is to home-school him because they are starting to fear for his life.
But probably it's because I came back from vacation and one of the first news stories I read is how 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. comes out as gay, immediately became a target of unrelenting bullying, and is dead a month later by his own hand...
I look at this photo and my heart breaks at the thought of him waking up each morning trying to find the courage to get through just one more day. I look at this photo and try to fathom just how bad his life was that killing himself was the best solution he could think of to escape it. I look at this photo and wonder for the millionth time how somebody could be so cruel as to torture somebody over something that's not their fault, something they cannot change, and something that shouldn't matter. I look at this photo and die a little bit more inside because we live in a society where kids are killing themselves because they're different.
Was there nobody who would stand up for this poor kid?
If not for hearing this same story play out dozens of times before, it would be inconceivable.
New videos are being added to the It Gets Better Project all the time, and yet telling these kids over and over again that they're lives will be okay if they will "just hang in there" doesn't seem to be enough. In some cases, it doesn't matter how great things will be in the future, life is just too difficult for them to go on right now. And never was this made more clear than when looking at Kenneth's "When I Get Married" Pinterest page. He lived in Iowa where same-sex marriage was legal, had envisioned a bright future for himself where he would be married and happy, but didn't survive long enough to see it.
Which means that things need to BE better right now.
Kids need to know that they are accepted and valued right now.
Which is tough to get across when every time you turn around there's yet another attack on LGBT persons. Religious leaders screaming that being gay is an abomination... politicians saying that gays getting married will doom society... news pundits saying that gay soldiers will ruin our military... hate groups saying that if kids see gay people in public they'll turn gay... the dumbassery never seems to stop. It's all fucking bullshit, of course, but that's the kind of environment which is corrupting today's youth and turning them into bullying hate machines. It's horrifying how something so grotesque could ever become acceptable to society, but history is replete with examples of this kind of hatred going "mainstream." We just never seem to learn from it.
And yet... in small steps, things are moving in the right direction.
High school athletes are stepping up to befriend and protect their bullied classmates, and it's a step.
Organizations are forming to foster acceptance of gay youth by their straight peers, and it's a step.
Schools are adopting "No Bullying" policies to curb aggression towards students under attack, and it's a step.
And more steps are being taken every day. Sadly, some of them are steps backwards, but ultimately we are inching ahead. Which means we're making progress. Which means things are getting to be better for school kids right now. But not nearly fast enough. Because Kenneth Weishuhn deserved to live to see the future he saw for himself, and any society which would deny him that doesn't deserve any future at all.
Rest in peace, Kenneth. And forgive me for not being able to stay silent on a day where silence is meant to improve things for people just like you... innocent kids who deserve far better by our hands.
Are you American? Have a computer? Congratulations! Your elected officials are working overtime to make sure you have no privacy and no rights... all in the name of your security! The House of Representatives just passed CISPA, affording the government horrendously invasive powers over its citizens. And it gets better... the bill that was passed ended up being far worse than originally thought.
The Obama administration has threatened to veto CISPA (apparently the Special Interest groups they suck up to don't have a problem with it)... but forgive me for failing to be shocked if this ends up getting turned into law anyway. In an election year, President Obama can be only be counted on for doing only one thing... doing whatever he has to do to get re-elected. If that means CISPA gets passed, I'm sure CISPA is going to get passed.
Look, I fully support tracking down cyber criminals, cyber terrorists, cyber pedophiles, and cyber stalkers. Criminals should be brought to justice, end of story. But not by completely trashing the privacy, security, and freedom of American citizens! CISPA gives the government a grotesque amount of power over its people. Power that's just begging to be abused. Because if history has taught us anything, it's that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely... no matter what the original intent. The fact that 248 politicians in the House of Representatives were either too fucking stupid to learn from history or too fucking evil to care speaks volumes about where we're at as a country. Forget about whether its Obama or Romney that's going to destroy America... THIS is where we start to fall, and it's a bipartisan effort!
Though what passes for "freedom" these days has me wondering if I should bother being this upset.
It's been tough for me to keep up with my online life this week as I've been dealing with crushing headaches, but Anissa (one of my favorite people on earth) mentioned a YouTube video where a guy with family ties to a Catholic high school was asked to speak at graduation... but got subsequently un-invited when they found out he's gay. In his video response, the guy mentions that he was "found out" because people at the school saw photos on his Facebook page.
And so I tracked down Dominic Sheahan-Stahl's page where I was expecting to see images of him having gay sex in the middle of an elementary school playground during recess. But instead I found this...
Oh yes. We just gotta protect society from that.
We simply cannot have two happy people in a relationship. What kind of example would that be for the children?
I tell you what... most days I find myself thinking that dying at age 50 would be just about perfect. I've done more in my life than most people ever will, so that should be enough for me, shouldn't it?
But then I hear about stupid bullshit like this and find myself hoping I live to be 100 years old so I can look back at this period in history and just laugh my ass off at how stupid and backwards society was. I mean, seriously, who gives a shit whether this guy finds his happiness in life with sausage or taco? The only people who should care are people interested in his sausage.
While everybody else should just be concerning themselves with is what's in his heart...
What a shame. Sounds like this is exactly the kind of person you want speaking to a graduating class.
Anybody who has ever said "FREEDOM ISN'T FREE!" is absolutely right. We paid for our freedoms dearly, and continue to pay for them every day. Which is why it's always shocking to me how people can be so quick to just piss them away. Whether it's by supporting a society where people are not allowed to speak because of what genitals are on the person they love... or by supporting a government that would steal their freedoms away in plain sight.
I just don't get it.
Which is why I'm no going to exercise my freedom to post this blog entry... while I still can.
Time to check your bandwidth, because a special All Video Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Punisher! President Obama once again killed it at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. I didn't think he could top his awesome performance last year, but he came really close. Except... was I the only one who kept seeing a skull shape when his shirt was eclipsed by the microphones? At first I thought that it was proof positive that he was, in fact, not a Secret Muslim... but instead a Secret Satan Worshipper! And then... then... it came to me. it's not Satan... it's The Punisher!
I may not always agree with his politics, but I really do like our president. He's a good guy doing a tough job the best way he knows how... all while under constant attack by people who have no respect for his office or our country. If you haven't seen his speech, it's pretty damn funny and well worth watching...
• Election! I don't think there's any question that Mitt Romney will most definitely not be getting my vote. What is in question is whether or not President Obama will get my vote. Right now, I honestly don't know. If he starts caving on things like CISPA and equality, I have no problem with a write-in vote like I've done before when both candidates suck. Otherwise, it's kind of his vote to lose. All that being said, I am kind of enjoying Obama's latest round of ads: "Mitt Romney vs. Reality" where he takes his old footage to address Romney's bullshit pandering. Genius. Romney comes off looking either uninformed or a liar, while Obama dings him without going negative...
It will be interesting to see where Romney's campaign goes now that he's running for president instead of candidacy. Because, I gotta say, his ads always seem more embarrassing than informative or compelling. The guy is so awkward and detached that his every appearance seems to be a reason why he shouldn't be president. He needs an ad team that can work this out... fast.
• Houdini! I stopped watching MTV a long time ago. They used to be all about music, but now all they give a crap about is stupid shit like Jersey Shore which I wouldn't watch if my life depended on it. The upshot being that I don't see many music videos anymore. Not that it's a big loss... most music videos suck ass these days. But I do follow Foster the People, and their latest video for my favorite song (Houdini) off their last album (Torches) is really good...
Creative, funny, well-executed, and fitting to the song. Doesn't get much better than that.
• Old! A year ago, somebody asked a question that has been burning up the internet this past week... "What are the Windows A: and B: drives used for?" Since I was around when computers went consumer mainstream, I remember all too well about things like modems, data cassettes, BBSs, and yes... floppy disks for your A: and/or B: drive. I also remember VHS tape, Pong, record players, and... heaven help me... rotary telephones...>
It's not that I feel particularly old over it all... the technological advances over the past 30 years have been astoundingly fast... it's what we're in for over the next 30 years. Just as the iPhone bears -zero- resemblance to the rotary phone, I'd imagine the "phone" of the future will be an even bigger departure from iPhone. It's at that point that I really start to feel my age. Oh well. I honestly think that the limitations that my generation had to put up with from technology made it more fun than the sheer magic we get from technology today, so there's that*.
• Ridley! When it comes to movies this year, I'd have thought it would be impossible to top my excitement for The Avengers, but Ridley Scott's offering, Prometheus, does exactly that. The new international trailer has me aching for a good science fiction movie...
June 8th can't get here fast enough.
And now I suppose it's time to put away YouTube so I can get some real work done.
*Oh who am I kidding? I would have killed to have had an iPhone back in the 80's, and everybody knows it.
This is one of those times where every cent of my paycheck was already spoken for.
Which would usually be upsetting, but it's a direct result of spending a week goofing off in Europe after having just gotten back from two weeks vacation, so I'm perfectly okay with it.
Even so, you can imagine my excitement as I was rearranging books on my shelves only to have a 1000 Korean Won note fell to the floor. It had apparently been used as a bookmark. Or maybe I just stuck it between some books because it was pretty and I wanted to flatten it out for a souvenir...
However it got there, the only thing running through my mind now was... MONEY!
But how much? Maybe $20... probably more like $10... but wouldn't it be cool if it was $100? I had no idea, so I rushed to fire up a currency conversion app on my iPhone.
Only to discover that 1000 Won is 89¢ in US money. Which, coincidentally enough, is almost exactly the same as when I was last in Seoul back in September 2004. That's not as good as the $1.10 I would have gotten in November of 2007... but certainly not as bad as the 64¢ I would have got back in March of 2009.
In any event, whether it's $1.10 or 89¢ or 64¢, that doesn't do much for my cash on hand. Especially once exchange fees are paid.
Thank heavens for credit cards, because it's time to shop.
With the exception of grocery stores, it's getting to the point where I rarely shop at brick-n-mortar stores any more. Everything I need to buy is purchased off the internets. But I got a $10 coupon back when I paid for my eye exam at Shopko (where everything is always on sale!) and it's expiring today, so I decided to stop in and see if I could spend the $50 required to use my coupon. Sure I'm poor just now, but you gotta spend money to save money!
I ended up buying new bed sheets (on sale!) and a PUR water filtration pitcher (on sale!). This was just enough to get my $10 savings, so I was pretty happy.
Just for kicks, I checked pricing when I got home... only to find that even with the $10 coupon, I ended up paying $1.30 more than if I had bought online (and that includes shipping!). Add in money for gas and my time and I definitely lost-out on the deal.
Oh well. Live and learn.
But I'm pretty sure I learned that already.
I've always liked The Hulk, because I think that he's a character everybody can relate to. Many-a-times while reading Incredible Hulk comics I thought about the rage monster inside of every one of us that's barely contained and ready to burst out at a moment's notice.
Then I have to wonder what it would take to push me over the edge and unleash the beast.
Watching FOX "News" and their near-continuous stream of exaggerations, half-truths, and outright lies to push their agenda would come close. Not so much because they do it... they're hardly unique amongst news organizations for that... it's more because they claim to be "fair and balanced" when clearly they're full of shit...
I mean, WTF?!?
Hulk not mad. Hulk confused...
A fucking COMEDY CHANNEL is having to fact-check one of the most popular news organizations on the planet?
Something has gone very, very wrong. And that makes Hulk angry...
And you won't like Hulk when he's angry.
UNLESS... you are watching The Avengers movie, which opens nation-wide on Friday! I mean, seriously, with the exception of a few douchebags writing negative reviews so they can get some attention, everybody is LOVING this film!
If only DC Comics could get their shit together. Because, with the exception of an awesome-looking finale to the Batman trilogy with the upcoming Dark Knight Rises, they got nuthin'. To think that they could have built on the success of Batman and unleashed amazing Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Flash films... culminating in a frickin' JUSTICE LEAGUE movie... well, it's almost heartbreaking. Green Lantern was lame, and what little I've seen of Man of Steel is looking awful.
Oh well. Between Marvel Comics movies and FOX "News" I guess we've got enough popular fiction to keep us occupied for a while.
Remember back in 1999 when religious leader Jerry Falwell declared that the purple member of The Teletubbies was a homosexual role model for children because he was carrying that red handbag everywhere? Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but he was totally serious about it.
Since that time, other religious leaders and groups have been in an uproar over things they consider to be bad role models for children... and, more often than not, it's because they are gay (e.g. Chris Coffer on Glee) or assumed to be gay (e.g. Tinky Winky and SpongeBob SquarePants)...
Whatever the case, these morons honestly believe that even the mere sight of something they perceive to be gay will causes kids to embrace homosexuality.
And what can parents do when their child has been infected by The Gayness? According to Pastor Sean Harris of the Barean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., you beat the gay out of them, of course!
"So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, 'Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,' you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed."
"Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch, okay? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male. And when your daughter starts acting too butch you reign her in. And you say, 'Oh no, sweetheart. You can play sports... play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.'"
Who is this sadistic moron?
And we wonder why gay youth are committing suicide in record numbers.
I'm straight, but heaven only knows I'm not the most masculine guy in the world. I most certainly wasn't the most masculine kid in school. And because of that, I should have been abused and beaten just to be sure any non-masculine behavior wasn't a sign that I might be "turning gay?"
When the furor over Pastor Sean's remarks hit earlier this week, I started writing a long rant about how we're quickly becoming a society that is hostile... sometimes fatal... to children who are even a little different than what is considered "normal." But as I was re-reading it, I decided that it would do more harm than good, and tossed it.
Then today I read where Pastor Sean is retracting his statements of persecution and violence, but not really. He still feels totally justified in telling people to beat their kids based on scripture that he obviously doesn't understand.
And now I'm wishing I hadn't tossed out my rant, because I concluded it by calling Pastor Sean "a fucking asshole that should be arrested for child endangerment who then gets the shit beaten out of him in prison so he can fully understand the violence he is advocating."
Some would say that such a wish for violence against Pastor Sean makes me no better than the asshole himself. They would be right.
But then I think back to the child I was. The child who wasn't good at sports, who didn't like hiking or fishing, who wasn't popular with girls, who loved art and music, who wasn't like most of the boys... and I say "fuck it." He would have advocated my getting beaten, so it's only right that he be on the receiving end of the same sentiment. Eye for an eye and all that.
And since I'm pretty sure I read that in The Bible somewhere, it's totally justified, right?
"I don't hate gay people, I'm just supporting the sanctity of marriage."
And while I don't think I will ever understand how two people with the same genitals getting married affects anybody else's marriage, I admit to being a bit puzzled that President Obama picks now to come out of the equality closet. While I'd like to think that he's doing it because it's the Right Thing, I harbor no illusions that it's politically motivated in one way or another.
Still... it's a start. And it is the Right Thing.
This video that's been burning up the internet explains why...
And here's where the whole tired excuse of "I don't hate gay people, I'm just supporting the sanctity of marriage" completely falls apart.
Regardless of a person's beliefs (religious or otherwise), the only "attack" on "traditional marriage" that cannot be denied or argued is divorce. Using same-sex marriage as a scapegoat for any matrimonial failures is just an excuse to discriminate.
And a poor one at that.
Put down those eclipse specs, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Goodbye. I was sad to learn that Robin Gibb passed away. Make fun of me all you want, but I always thought The BeeGees were musical geniuses. So many of their unique songs couldn't have been made by anybody else, and it's a testament to this talent that they were so successful for so long. And as if the idea of not getting any more BeeGees music wasn't bad enough, I'm betting we won't be seeing any more Barry Gibb Talk Show skits on Saturday Night Live either...
Rest in peace, Mr. Gibb, and thanks for the music.
• SNL. Surprisingly, Mick Jagger made for a funny guest-host on the season finale of Saturday Night Live. The episode itself was a farewell to Kristen Wiig and her seven seasons with the show. I had read somewhere that Andy Samberg and Jason Sudeikis were also leaving, but you'd never know it, because it wasn't even hinted at. What's most disappointing is that we didn't get a final "Two A-Holes..." sketch with Wiig and Sudeikis, which I was absolutely expecting. As close as we got was them dancing together while everybody sang their goodbyes...
Oh well. I suppose it could happen upon Kristen Wiig's inevitable return hosting engagement. Until then, I guess there's always Hulu clips...
• TED. Despite being almost painfully obvious, I've never heard this argument presented in such a compelling way...
Apparently there was some controversy over this clip. TED originally thought it too partisan to unleash upon an unsuspecting world... or something like that... but I'm not seeing it. Furthermore, how can you hope to solve a problem without approaching it from every conceivable angle? Even if Hanauer's belief is entirely wrong, discussing it may lead to worthwhile conversation. When you're desperate, nothing should be off the table, and I hope to see more of this kind of talk from all sides in the future.
• Avengers. I had purchased The Art of Marvel's Thor after seeing the movie. Production design on the Asgard sets and costumes were really well done, and I wanted to see how they were developed. The book was pretty amazing, which made me regret that I hadn't purchased the two Iron Man books. They were out of print and cost a fortune on the secondary market, so I gave up on getting them. Fast forward to the The Avengers, which was production design on an entirely new level, and I simply had to own The Art of Marvel's The Avengers. It did not disappoint. The book is a stunning chronicle of bringing the comic book to the big screen. Then I discovered something very cool... Marvel had assembled books for the previous four Avengers movies (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America, and Thor) in a boxed set... The Art of Marvel Studios. SCORE! All the books are fantastic...
If you wanna take a look inside, JamesTalkALot has a video on YouTube for the Art of Marvel Studios set. He also has a separate video for The Art of Marvel's The Avengers. If you have even a passing interest in these movies, all the books are highly recommended.
Annnnnd... I'm spent. Did I black out some time this weekend? Because it doesn't really feel like I got a weekend at all. Such a bummer. I should probably get my crap together so I can go to work in the morning. If there's any justice, I'll black out again through the entire work week so I can have a real weekend.
Put down that barbecue fork, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Fresh. Three Bullet Sundays ago I was lamenting how crappy it is that the bagged lettuce I buy goes bad after just one day. Abigail then left a comment telling me about the "Salad in a Jar Method" of keeping salad fresh (using a hand-food-vacuum). It looked like a good plan, so I ordered me a FrashSaver handheld Vacuum. And, since it comes with a deli container, I didn't even have to buy a jar topper. It arrived a couple weeks ago and I've been trying it out not just with salad, but Oreos, crackers, cheese, and all kids of stuff. Miracles of miracles, the thing actually works...
It worked so well that I ended up buying more deli containers! Two complaints though... 1) The deli containers are kind of tough to close... and 2) You have to use an attachment to turn the round vacuum head into an oval vacuum head in order for the unit to be able to suck the air out of the deli containers, which is fucking stupid. Why not just make the valve on the deli containers round? With the attachment on, you can't fit the unit into the charger, and I can see the stupid thing getting lost eventually. Stupid, stupid, STUPID.
• Innocence. Back in April the New York blogosphere was blowing up because the police tracked down the "well-dressed guy" who was groping women on the subway...
Except they didn't.
The guy was completely innocent. Karl Vanderwoude had alibis for when gropings were taking place. Which means the vague resemblance he had to some security footage as well as being picked out of a lineup didn't meant shit. An innocent man was hauled off in handcuffs.
But that wasn't even the worst part. The worst part would be having his photo plastered all over the internet with headlines like "Finance creep arrested for groping women in Manhattan!" and "Cops Say Finance Worker Karl Vanderwoude Is 'Well-Dressed' Groper!" And, naturally, those stories aren't updated or revised or amended to explain he was totally innocent... nope, they will live on forever and haunt him until the day he dies. Somebody years in the future could Google his name, click on an outdated story, and easily be led to believe he was the perpetrator. EXCEPT HE WASN'T!
This is equal parts horrifying and disgusting. The first thought that runs through my head is "Holy crap, could I be next?" followed by "How in the hell could this happen?"
He had alibis, for heaven sakes! But nobody gave a shit until his attorney bothered to ask the guy where he was when the incidents took place! I'm no police detective... but should that be JOB ONE before you fucking arrest somebody? Especially knowing that arresting an innocent man WILL RUIN HIS LIFE?
I feel so horribly bad for this poor guy that my mind can't even grasp what he went through. Surely I can't be the only one? Surely all the people who wrote the headlines that crucified Karl Vanderwoude on the internet feel bad for him too?
Apparently not. None of these "journalists" seem to be rushing to update their original stories... they just print a new story and forget about the old one. But the internet never forgets, those old stories are still there. Innocent Karl Vanderwoude may be, but in all those online archives he's guilty for eternity. He deserves better than that... we all do.
• Prohibition? Thanks to Marty for letting me know that my home town was in the New York Times today! Washington State is in the process of switching from government-regulated alcohol distribution to private company distribution, and this has created a booze shortage throughout the State as government shops try to clear out their inventory. Not a popular situation with Memorial Day Weekend partiers. And apparently my small city was the perfect way to dramatize this point to NYT readers. Heh.
Oh well. If there's one thing we love here in Redneckistan, it's our alcohol, so it's not like I can get upset about it.
And... it's been a long day. I suppose I should at least try to get some rest before an even tougher day hits in the morning. I'd tell y'all to be good and obey the law during the holiday tomorrow, but Karl Vanderwoude has shown us that this doesn't necessarily guarantee a clean criminal record now-a-days, so I don't know what to say now.
Except "good night."
When I shop for home furnishings, clothing, or luggage now-a-days, my first stop is JC Penney. I support companies which embrace equality and fairness for everybody, and JC Penney is leading the way when it comes to being inclusive.
And they're not being subtle about it. Their recent advertising campaigns celebrate diversity in a very obvious way. Which is causing no end of drama with bigoted organizations like "One Million Moms" who seems to think that showing "non-traditional families" in an ad is the end of the world.
Sorry, but I don't see the end of the world.
I see a happy family with a couple of kids that are lucky to have two dads who love them...
Father's Day ad from JC Penney • First Pals... What makes Dad so cool?
He's the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver—all rolled into one.
Or two. Real-life dads Todd Koch and Cooper Smith with their children Claire and Mason.
And somewhere out there, a gay kid who is being ruthlessly persecuted day-in and day-out for something he has no control over, will see this ad and realize that he has a future. That the hurt and despair he's feeling is temporary and he has a shot at happiness just like everybody else. That even though he's labeled as "different," he can have a normal life if he just hangs in there long enough. That the world is changing and there's a place for him in it where he will be valued and embraced for who he is.
And maybe this will be the light he needs to keep from doing something tragic in a world that has more than enough tragedy in it already.
And I seriously don't give a fuck if a million bigoted bitches have their panties in a bunch just because they don't want to talk to their kids...
"It doesn't have any effect on your life. What do you care? People try to talk about it like it's a social issue. Like when you see someone stand up on a talk show and say "How am I supposed to explain to my child that two men are getting married? I dunno, it's your shitty kid, you fucking tell them. Why is that anyone else's problem? Two guys are in love but they can't get married because you don't want to talk to your ugly child for fucking five minutes?"
— The ever brilliant Louis CK
JC Penney is setting an example with their advertising that is helping to make this country a better place. And not just for gay kids... for everybody. They aren't sitting on the sidelines of this so-called "culture war," they're in the game fighting the good fight.
And I'm supporting them with my business whenever I can because it's a fight that needs to be won.
Years ago (I forget how many) there was a gas crisis which caused fuel prices to skyrocket. Nothing like what we're going through today, but it was enough to really put a dent in my wallet. At the time, I had to drive 25 miles roundtrip each day for work, which ended up being around 550 miles a month, 6,600 miles a year. When I sat down to calculate my car's gas mileage, it ended up being around 28-31 mpg for my daily commute. That works out to my buying 200+ gallons of gas each year just to get to work and back (give or take). Factor in that I was also driving to work on many weekends... and sometimes making the trip twice in a day when I had an appointment or something... and it was a lot of money being spent.
So I made the decision to move closer to work.
Now I drive 2-1/2 miles roundtrip, which is a tenth of the gas being burned and the money being spent. Even when gas prices (eventually) returned to normal, I was thankful to be saving so much bank. Now that gas prices are astronomically high again, I'm even more thankful that my commute is so blissfully short. The time saved is just icing on the cake. I wish that I didn't have to drag so much crap back-and-forth, because I'd love to start riding a bike to work and using -zero- gallons of gas. But I'll take what I can get.
For the longest time, I was kind of an asshole whenever people would lament how much money they wasted driving to work each day. "Why don't you move closer to work or get a different job?" I'd say. This would usually result in excuses like "I can't afford the housing near where I work!" or "I love my home!" or "My wife doesn't want to move!" or "I don't want to quit my job!" or whatever. I was pretty unsympathetic, and would always say something along the lines of "Well, then it's your choice to spend the money on gas, so don't cry about it!" And though I was saying it as a joke, deep-down I really meant it. Don't like spending money on gas? Then move closer to work. If it's more expensive to live there, then you have to decide where you'd rather have your money being spent. Granted, our public transportation options here in Redneckistan suck, so there's not a lot of alternatives to driving... but, still, don't whine to others about what you've chosen from the options available.
Now-a-days, however, things have changed.
Gas prices are high and the job market is horrible and the bottom dropped out of the housing market. Those who may want to move cannot do so because there are no other jobs or their home's value has dropped so badly. Even if they managed to sell it, they'd have to pay the bank to get out from under the loan they took out. People are in the horrible position of owing more on their home than their home is worth. They have no choice but to ride it out... no choice but to keep their expensive commute.
And so now there's really nothing I can say to people who complain except "I'm sorry."
I'm saying that a lot now-a-days. Somebody loses their job... loses their house... complains about the cost of their commute... it's always "I'm sorry"... "I'm sorry"... "I'm sorry"...
And the words feel completely inadequate, because these have all become devastating blows that end marriages... destroy careers... ruin lives... and otherwise makes a lot of very good, honest, decent, hard-working people end up miserable, alone, and afraid. And then, just when things can't get any worse, they get used as a toilet in a political pissing match between asshole candidates who don't give a flying fuck about anything except getting elected and burying their opponents in the process.
Somehow we let this become our new normal.
It's no longer about how we can come together and build something that's great, it's all about how we can divide people and let hatred mire us in something that's failing. We've bought into a system that's more interested in destroying than creating, and now all of us are paying the price.
And I'm just tired of it. I'm tired of having to say "I'm sorry" because there's nothing else I can say.
Fortunately, this is a system which is ultimately unsustainable, and that's what gives me hope to carry on.
It's only a question of when.
And if I'll be lucky enough to see it happen in my lifetime.
It's an interesting time to be living in Washington State.
For one thing, you can walk into a store and buy hard liquor. Tequila at Safeway... Vodka at Wal-Mart... Rum at Costco... when it comes to buying alcohol, our choices are overwhelming now. This is a radical change from the old days when only government liquor stores were allowed to sell such beverages. And by "old days" I mean "last month." It's going to take a while before I get over the shock of walking into the grocery store and seeing booze for sale. Of course, having such easy access to said booze will probably help.
But the bigger change is yet to come.
Back in February, Washington lawmakers passed a marriage equality bill which legalized same-sex marriage. This mobilized the anti-equality brigade, because some people feel that basic human rights and freedoms should be put to a vote. Signatures against equality were collected... enough to force a ballot measure... so now we wait until November to see if an entire group of tax-paying citizens get the same right to marry that everybody else has.
Current polling shows marriage equality winning out, but I'll believe it when I see it. Sadly, you can never underestimate the power of disinformation, fear, lies, and ignorance when it comes to the public at large. And I'm sure that we're going to be seeing plenty of that in the coming months.
Which is really disheartening when you consider the consequences for people whose lives are affected.
Last month I shared an incredibly moving video which explained why marriage equality is so important. Today that video is now a Kickstarter project to become an actual film BY LINDA BLOODWORTH-THOMPSON (of Designing Women fame)...
If you can spare a few bucks to help counter the disinformation, fear, lies, and ignorance, head over to Kickstarter and donate, won't you?
So... I worked straight through all day and have been completely out of touch with the world. Anything happen while I was gone?
Well, other than Olive Garden's 2 for $25 Italian Dinner Special... WITH UNLIMITED SALAD AND BREADSTICKS!
I just wish they didn't mandate that you have to pay for the dinner in order to get the unlimited salad and breadsticks. Why should I be forced to pay for something I don't want just to be able to get unlimited free access to something I do? I mean, it's nice they made it cheaper and easier to get, but who knows when I'm going to eat that breadstick... I may end up never eating it! And that means I was forced to pay for dinner for nothing!
Sure, I still get all the benefits of dinner that will get me all the salad and breadsticks I need if I ever end up needing some... and, yeah, it wouldn't be fair to just wander into Olive Garden and demand unlimited salad and breadsticks when I didn't pay for any dinner... and, certainly, it's the money that's coming in from the dinners that allows Olive Garden to provide the unlimited salad and breadsticks in the first place... but forcing people to buy something is totally un-American! It's like a socialist plot invented by... oh, dunno... the Italians or something!
I should be able to refuse to buy dinner and instead fucking starve to death because I can't afford to pay the $200,000 for a salad and breadstick emergency... which is how much something like that costs when you didn't purchase the dinner plan. I mean, it's my right as an American to gamble my life away! That's why we're the best country on earth and leaders of the free world!
And it's also my right to decide I don't want to die... and to change my mind at the last minute if an unexpected salad and breadsticks emergency happens... and to then shame this country for killing its citizens just because they made the mistake of not getting dinner when they had the chance. Would Jesus allow a man to die just because he had no dinner and couldn't afford emergency salad and breadsticks? I think not!
I dunno. I just don't get it. What's next... is Olive Garden going to force me to buy Justin Bieber albums? Or force me to do some other random thing that sounds crazy but has absolutely no bearing what-so-ever on Americans' access to unlimited salad and breadsticks?
Bad enough that I am forced to buy dinner... but the fact that some of my dinner money is going to provide salad and breadsticks for the poor is what really pisses me off. Because they're poor. They should just be allowed to starve to death because feeding the poor is socialist. I'm pretty sure that's in The Bible.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat AT TACO BELL. Where real Americans eat American food like American Nacho Burrito Supremes... just like our American Founding Fathers did.
U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!
Here in the wilds of Redneckistan in Eastern Washington, nice surprises do happen.
Though, in the political arena, this is quite rare. We are the Red half of the state by a wide margin, and Conservative politics dominate the region. Heck, I usually end up voting Republican locally, because it's nice to have some representation in the state I live in. Otherwise, we would be completely forgotten as the Democratic-dominated politicians over on "The Coast" pander to their mostly-liberal voters...
My biggest problem with political representatives in this country is that a good chunk of them don't actually represent all all the people they are supposed to represent. They choose to represent only those people who think and believe the same as they do. A lot of the time, that's what got them elected, that's what is going to get them re-elected, and they don't really give a crap about anybody else. You can't really blame them for their attitude since it keeps them alive politically... except I most definitely do because that's NOT the way it should be.
And yet, as I said, there are surprises.
Like when Representative Maureen Walsh, a Republican from Walla Walla in Washington's very Conservative 16th District, made a rather touching speech in support of our state voting to legalize marriage equality...
Unsurprisingly, her support (fueled largely by her daughter, I'm sure), put her on a political hit-list here in Redneckistan. She's now running against an opponent whose opposition to marriage equality is the cornerstone of their campaign.
And then something interesting happened. Rep. Walsh started getting contributions to her campaign from gay donors that were not only out of her district, but out of the state. This has sparked strong criticism from her opponent, Ruth Edwards, who says taking money from out-of-staters shows that Walsh is out of touch with her district. A district who reelected Walsh after she supported extending benefits to domestic partners in 2009, even though the measure itself failed miserably in that same district. Surprise!
I guess we'll see if Edwards stands on the same principles if an organization like the equality-haters from "National Organization for Marriage" decide to dump money on her campaign.
In any event, even though I don't agree with all her politics, I just made a contribution to Walsh's re-election bid. She seems to be one of those rare politicians who makes representing the rights of all the people in her district a priority... even if supporting their right to equality may not be politically in her best interest. Because, with all due respect to Ruth Edwards, it's not just people out-of-state that want to see Washington on the right side of history.
First of all... Matlock? NNNNOOOoooooo!
Tomorrow promises to be a special day for the Standard Model...
Cool images courtesy of CERN
Anybody with any respect for particle physics who still thinks referring to the Higgs boson as "The God Particle" should read this. Oh how I loathe that incredibly stupid nickname...
And though I have already recommended it, this rare interview with Professor Peter Higgs is an especially appropriate read now.
And now... onward...
There's a moment at the end of every episode of the Perry Mason television show where defense attorney Perry has the real killer on the witness stand and starts hammering away with the Horrible Truth of what actually happened. With unrelenting escalation, he details the murderer's dirty deeds step by step and concludes with angry words that lash out at their lies like a bullwhip... "Isn't it true? Isn't it all true?"
Then the murderer breaks down as Perry thunders "I have no more questions! The defense rests!"
I am so sick and frickin' tired of the non-stop LYING that I am being bombarded with in all these damn political attack ads that I'm about ready to vomit.
I honestly feel that every time that a candidate LIES in one of their ads, they should have to defend their bullshit to a Perry-Mason-type-honesty-advocate so he can can get to the truth. Then, after they are exposed as being filthy LIARS, the polticians have to issue a new ad with a full retraction that airs on every channel the lie was told on, and double the number of times that the original LIE had aired.
Maybe with a punishment that severe, all these filthy, disgusting, scumbag, asshole LYING politicians would think twice about running ads they know to be false.
Then we should then move on to doing the same thing for LIES told in interviews and at campaign stops. Every damn time a politician goes somewhere and tells a LIE, they have to go back to that place, apologize, then admit to everybody that they are nothing but a piece of shit LIAR.
Of course, if Perry Mason was chasing down these LYING LIARS, we'd be hip-deep in apology ads well into October.
But, alas, there don't seem to be any consequences for being a douchebag LIAR politician, so I guess that's what we're stuck with from here on out. Oh happy day.
UPDATE! And here, two days later, is exactly what I was talking about...
Genius. And right on the money.
Friday, February 12, 2010. 7:20pm.
"So... for the first time in a very long time, those of us living on the West Coast of these United States of America are in the SAME TIME ZONE as the Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Finally, we get to watch events LIVE and see competition outcomes AS THEY HAPPEN. How cool that we won't have medal results spoiled on the internet hours... or even days... before we get to actually see them taking place! Sweet!"
— David Simmer II, getting ready to watch the last Winter Olympics
Friday, February 12, 2010. 7:35pm.
"FUCK YOU, NBC! FUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU!"
— David Simmer II, after realizing NBC time-delayed their Pacific Coast broadcast anyway
Saturday, July 28, 2012. 12:05am.
I am not a huge sports fan, but I admit to being a fan of the Olympic Games because there's just something wonderful about the way the world comes together to participate in them. And nowhere is this more evident than the Opening Ceremonies, where all the athletes are full of hope and dreaming of gold.
This year the task of planning the start of the games fell to one of my favorite directors, Danny Boyle, who is responsible for one of my favorite movies, Millions. He had the daunting task of following China's widely-praised and celebrated Opening Ceremonies, which would be enough to break most men. But Boyle decided that since nobody would expect him to top China's spectacle, he would just "do his own thing" and try to entertain people.
And entertain people he did.
The show was a wholly bizarre affair, but not in a bad way. I actually really enjoyed it. So congratulations, Mr. Boyle, on rising to the occasion with creativity and wonderment.
AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool
And congratulations to NBC for fully living up to expectations and CRAPPING ALL OVER THE OLYMPIC OPENING CEREMONIES WITH YOUR HORRENDOUSLY SHITTY COVERAGE!
I'm guessing the rest of the world's news organizations paid proper respect to the ceremonies and covered the opening in a dignified and complete presentation. This was not, of course, the way that NBC decided to go. "Dignified" and "Complete" are just not words that enter into their fucking heads.
No, we Americans go to see a butchered presentation that was fucking time-delayed (again) then interrupted by constant commercial breaks and laughably bad commentary from Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, and (heaven help us) Bob Costas. The commentary was so bad that I wanted to turn the sound off, but then I would have missed out on the music, which was excellent. Except I couldn't really enjoy it because Lauer, Vieira, and Costas kept TALKING OVER IT ALL! And this brings me to the big question... WHAT THE BLOODY HELL?!?? I realize that your typical American television audience is about as intelligent as a box of rocks, but do they really need to be talked through a performance? And if you simply must open your stupid fucking mouths, did you really have to shit all over the spirit of the games by pointing out embarrassing, controversial, or otherwise derogatory things about the participating countries? What assholes.
And here I thought the pre-show interview where Bob Costas Ryan Seacrest embarrassed one of the gymnasts over her love of Justin Beiber was going to be the lowlight of the evening. Not even close. First Mitt Romney humiliates the USA with his non-stop parade of stupid fucking comments... then, because we haven't insulted the Brits enough, we decimate their Opening Ceremonies with NBC's profoundly bad coverage. But why stop there? Let's insult the whole world during the Parade of Nations! USA! USA! USA!
I realize that NBC has to pay the bills with advertising and be sure to pander to the lowest common denominator of their viewers... but that in NO WAY excuses what American Olympic fans had to suffer through tonight.
Saturday, July 28, 2010. 12:20am.
"FUCK YOU, NBC! FUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU!"
— David Simmer II, realizing nothing has changed since last time
Yesterday I returned home only to find that the air conditioner stopped working while I was in Portland. A day later and it's still not working. Which means I'm typing this in 94° heat. Which wouldn't bother me so much if I were lounging by a pool or getting ready to swim in the ocean... but at home? Teh suck.
So continue at your own risk, because I may be suffering from heatstroke and unable to form coherent sentences. Guess that's as good excuse as any to talk about politics.
And so this happened...
Bwah! Ha! Ha! We're rich and white... how can we lose? — Photo by Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo - EPA/Landov
If you're into the news, Mitt Romney choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate is being hailed as a "bold choice."
Which could be true, if all you're wanting to do is make a bold statement. But, if you are actually wanting to win the presidency, I'd be more likely to hail it as a "crazy choice." But wait wait wait... before anybody starts stepping up to defend Ryan and call me nasty names... I am talking about perception here. I fully admit that I don't know much about Ryan yet (other than he voted for massive government spending under Bush, then changed his mind and now hates government spending under Obama) so I'm not going to comment on what he's about until I actually know what he's about.
Fortunately, internet memes popped up almost immediately after the announcement, so it should be easy to get a handle on Ryan's politics...
Yeah, I know that the conservative-leaning crowd have the same kind of thing for President Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, et al... but they are usually humorous commentary on known quantities or old gossip (Obama is a secret Muslim!). But this? This is commentary of a different kind. Issues like the economy are a toss-up because they're such a big mess that, deep down, everybody knows there's no magical fix, and it doesn't matter whether the candidate is Republican or Democrat. Politicians are politicians on both sides of the fence, and Americans are used to getting screwed over by politicians. We are conditioned to expect that we will get screwed over by politicians. So whatever, because it's all the same.
But start telling women how Paul Ryan is going to take away their birth control and right to choose? Tell seniors that Paul Ryan is going to take away their medicare and social security? Tell gays that Paul Ryan is going to take away (even more) of their rights? Tell the middle class that Paul Ryan is going to take away affordable health care? Tell the poor that Paul Ryan is going to take away the programs they need to survive so he can give tax breaks to the wealthy? Oog. Nothing mobilizes voters faster than telling them that a politician is going to take something away that matters to them. Just ask the gun lobby when they told everybody that Obama was going to take away their guns.
Ryan's problem (which is now Romney's problem) is that he's quickly emerging as the guy who is going to take away that thing you like. This is going to be exploited by every single political opponent the Republican presidential ticket has, because it's just too easy. This is not some esoteric thing that people can't really wrap their heads around (like the budget)... this is real.
When it comes to politics, perception becoming reality is nothing new.
Now we get to see if Paul Ryan is a strong enough politician to shift the perception people have to create the reality he wants. In the end, that's all that ever seems to matter any more.
So let me get this straight. A young girl who gets pregnant because she was raped at... oh, let's say NINE YEARS OLD... cannot be considered to have been "legitimately raped" because rape victims are somehow incapable of getting pregnant? Wow. And here I was thinking that a little girl of NINE YEARS OLD wouldn't even understand what "CONSENSUAL RAPE SEX" means considering she's UNDER THE AGE OF CONSENT.
Who could possibly come up with the phrase "Legitimate rape" while spouting such absurd bullshit? Oh... it's this guy... Representative Todd Akin from the great state of Missouri...
I contemplated writing a long-ass blog entry which attempts to explore Akin's religious convictions concerning the sanctity of life... you know, make a real effort to understand him and such. It would be an interesting topic for a blog entry, because my personal beliefs on the sanctity of life and how abortion fits into those beliefs is a difficult and controversial topic... even when it's just me discussing my views with myself.
But I keep running into a road block whenever I try to reconcile how somebody can use the phrase "legitimate rape" when talking about women who have been violated and victimized. I jump from there... directly to a conclusion of WHAT A PIECE OF SHIT!... and just can't go any further.
People like this are abhorrent to me.
And he can recant his idiocy and apologize for "misspeaking" all he wants, but it's not going to change the fact that he honestly feels that there's science which justifies forcing his personal beliefs on other people... even when it's all a load of crap.
I wonder what the political trigger will be that finally pushes women too far. Will it be defunding family planning centers? Will it be eliminating women's health services? Will it be outlawing abortion? Will it be outlawing birth control? Or will it be a bunch of old men telling them that THEY will be the ones to determine if a woman has been raped or not?
I honestly don't know.
But with each passing day I fully expect women to start marching in the streets in response to how they're being treated by those who are elected to "represent" them...
UPDATE: And, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, crazy-ass Pat Robertson has come out to support Akin...
It's astounding how these stupid assholes keep missing the point completely. The phrase "legitimate rape" is just an indicator of Akin's underlaying belief in "magic vaginas" that can reject sperm when a woman is a victim of a sexual attack. This is a belief that is categorically false, and the kind of thing that a FUCKING RAPIST would say to justify their actions. THIS is why Akin is a douchebag that is unfit to hold public office. Categorically STUPID people have no business representing anybody.
Being a woman-bashing sexist piece of shit that uses the phrase "legitimate rape" (even when "misspeaking") to describe such an act of terror and extreme violence is just the cherry on top of your ignorance sundae.
Sometimes sensationalistic headlines are justified.
EBOLA VIRUS KILLS EVERYONE IN ITS PATH: HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
It's both horrifying and fascinating to me that something like this exists. I just spent the past two hours going down the Wikipedia rabbit hole over all the crazy crap that can kill us humans horribly... and it's all stuff that we can't even see (well, without a microscope anyways).
We are such astoundingly fragile creatures. We really are.
I've never felt more alive.
One shitty wank-fest of a political convention down, one to go.
I just hope that the Democrats don't end up with Clint Eastwood acting like he dropped acid before talking to a chair on their last day. How nuts was that? I mean, I know the Republicans felt they had to do something to top Sarah Palin, but this?
Though, I have to admit, President Obama's response was frickin' hilarious...
But his real response will come five days later at the next shitty wank-fest of a political convention.
I sure wish that the people who schedule these things would give me at least a month between events. It would be nice to recover a few sanity points before jumping straight into the next one.
Well Michelle Obama sure knocked it out of the park with her speech.
How do I vote for her?
Because, unlike her husband, I can actually envision Michelle Obama personally kicking the piece of shit lobbyists out of the fucking White House. Unlike her husband, I can actually picture Michelle Obama demanding that fucked up bullshit like ACTA be hauled out from behind closed doors and be made public and transparent. Unlike her husband, I'd like to think that Michelle Obama would tell people to go fuck themselves before she caves into opposition pressure and moves her address.
Michelle Obama is a woman who doesn't take shit and gets stuff done!
Or so I'd like to imagine...
Photo from the Associated Press
Maybe it's just wishful thinking because I'm not thrilled with the idea of re-electing President Obama... and I'm even less thrilled with the idea of having Mitt Romney in the White House for four years.
Or maybe I'm just tired.
Sick and tired of politics in this country.
But I watched all of the Republican National Convention... so I guess I'll watch the rest of the Democratic National Convention just to be fair.
If nothing else, it gives me an excuse to put off packing my suitcase for a while longer.
It was a night of performance art tonight. Here are some of my favorites...
• Gabrielle Giffords "The Pledge of Allegiance" at the DNC. Tell me this isn't one of the most amazing things you've ever seen. The woman survives a frickin' assassination attempt... a gunshot to the head... says "fuck you" to the bullet, and is on-stage leading the DNC in the Pledge of Allegiance a year-and-a-half later. I don't care what your politics are, this kind of raw courage demands respect. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, making Gabrielle Giffords the performance to beat tonight.
• Pink "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" at the MTV VMAs. I have yet to see Pink in concert so every time I see one of her beautifully orchestrated live performances, I'm a little pissed-off. Tonight's VMA blow-out has her singing yet another amazing track from a string of amazing tracks... "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" and it was fantastic. Once I got past her dopey hair-do, Pink had me completely captivated as she did her whole "Cirque du Soleil" act better than Cirque du Soleil.
• President Obama "Acceptance Speech" at the DNC. My candidate for the upcoming election was Jon Huntsman. I thought he was smart in all the right ways, and the person most likely to bridge the icy divide between Republicans and Democrats to fix our fucked-up country. But Republicans seemed to truly hate the guy because he wasn't bat-shit-crazy-Right, and you can't get anywhere when your own party doesn't support you. So Huntsman was shoved off the stage and we got... Mitt Romney. Who has the personality of a wooden board wrapped in a wet blanket. He does not inspire me in the least, and I abhor most of his politics when it comes to personal liberties... an area TRUE Conservatives should be getting the fuck out of in the name of less-invasive government. Oh well. So Barack Obama it is then. His acceptance speech was good. Very good. And as the consummate politician, our president delivered it in a way Romney can only dream about. He makes me forget that he wasn't my first choice. He makes me forget that he did some things I am really upset about. He makes me remember that he is a good man, a true patriot, and a decent president who is doing his best to get us out of a horrible situation. And while Obama is not my dream candidate, his speech makes me feel better about voting for him in November, which is what it's really all about.
• Jennifer Granholm at the DNC. Talk about your rousing performances... Granholm descended on the DNC like a tsunami and belted out a speech that was so unabashedly pro-Obama that it made other speakers look like they lacked support for the president. And I'm including Barack Obama. She waxed so poetically about the president's auto-bailout that it almost made me forget that it was President Bush who got the ball rolling by approving monies that would keep our auto-makers in business until Obama got in office. Granted, this was probably at least partially inspired by the Obama transition team laying groundwork for the new president... but it's still a glaring omission in giving credit where credit is due. Whatever. Granholm was there to rally for the president, and she got the job done by delivering a wake-up to the convention that was a much-needed slap in the face.
• Taylor Swift "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" at the MTV VMAs. In stark contrast to some of her previous televised live performances which were, for lack of a better word, "bad"... Taylor had a terrific (and impossibly cute) performance of her latest hit that brought down the house.
• Zach Wahls at the DNC. Zach is a great kid with a great story and a speaking presence that is really going to take him places. When I first saw his speech in defense of marriage equality at the Iowa House of Representatives, I was blown away. The guy is 19, but connects with an audience like a seasoned pro. The only problem is that all his speeches and talk show appearances are starting to sound the exact same. He's got two moms. His family is as normal as any other. Yadda yadda yadda. I know that's why he was at the convention, but Zach needs to mix it up a bit. Still, he did a great job, and you really have to admire his tireless efforts to get people onboard the equality bandwagon.
• Eva Longoria at the DNC. Seriously... who knew?
Annnnnd... after traveling all day, it's time to unwind and prep for a busy day tomorrow.
The story burning up the internets today is about a letter written by Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe in support of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (who is vocal advocate of marriage equality).
Making a long story short, Maryland Democratic politician Emmett C. Burns asked the Baltimore Ravens football organization to make Ayanbadejo shut up about marriage. Kluwe (also a supporter of marriage equality) thought this was bullshit, and decided to write an open letter to Burns to tell him how he felt.
The letter is sheer genius. Go read it immediately.
I'm guessing this image of Kluwe is a team photo, courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings?
As you might have noticed, the letter is filled with colorful language which has raised some criticism of Kluwe's choice of words.
This really hit home with me, because I struggle with whether or not I should use swear words most every time I write in this blog. When I first started blogging I swore constantly and didn't think anything about dropping
It was a practice that was destined to be short-lived. I use swear-words in real life when I'm fired up. So it's unavoidable that I'm going to use swear-words on my blog when I'm fired up. For a while I tried to disguise it... typing out things like "F#@%!" and "B#LL$H!T!," but comedian Suzy Soro commented that this is kind of stupid. Since absolutely everybody knows what you're trying to say anyway... why not just come out and say it?
She was absolutely right, and I've been cursing in my blog ever since.
Though I admit that most times I do regret it.
Somebody once told me that swearing is a sign that the writer is unintelligent. They don't know how to express themselves properly, so they foolishly have to resort to curse words to make their point. In some respects, I agree with this assessment.
In other respects, I'd argue that there's no word that can adequately take the place of "fuck."
And so I use it. Probably more often than I should... but definitely not as often as I want to. "Fuck" (and dozens of words like it) are forms of expression that I find helpful in communicating exactly what I'm feeling in a way that "shucky darn" doesn't quite reach.
Today I managed to get in my essential visit to America's Dog so I could get my Veggie Chicago Dog...
It was, as always, delicious.
Oh... and speaking of delicious food... I never check a bag when flying into O'Hare so I can grab a veggie burger at Johnny Rocket's before I exit through security. But yesterday as I approached the restaurant, I was horrified to see that IT WASN'T THERE!
WHAT THE FUCK?! Shucky darn!
I hate it when that happens.
Current polling shows that Washington's Referendum 74 is running 15 points ahead for approval. If this holds up come voting day, Washington State's marriage equality law will be upheld and it will be legal for two consenting adults to marry... even if they both have a penis or both have a vagina.
This would make me happy for friends of mine who have been wanting to get married... but can't because the person they love has the same genitals. Apparently this is reason enough for a couple to be deemed unworthy of marriage, which feels kind of petty considering that Washington State has one of the highest divorce rates in the nation (we're #15!). But, whatever. It would seem that some people feel the way to "save marriage" is not to work on keeping their own straight marriages from failing at such an alarming rate... but to instead prevent others from getting married.
The mind boggles.
All I know is that there will be much bitching and crying in Redneckistan if Referendum 74 passes.
Which is good enough reason for me, so here's hoping.
And so here I am in Atlanta. Again. Just a week ago I was passing through the airport, but this time I'm going to stick around...