This morning I awoke to the news that Milltown Mel the Weather Predicting Groundhog died just before Groundhog Day. He's the New Jersey companion to Punxsutawney Phil, who was made famous in the movie Groundhog Day. I have no idea what in the hell this means in our post-apocalyptic world, but it cannot be good.
And speaking of our post-apocalyptic hellscape...
I am one of those people who straddles the fine line between Conservative and Progressive ideals. I truly believe that politicians who profess to adhere to either are liars, because our political system is designed so politicians really only adhere to money, power, and self-interest. Even the best, most honest politicians who are into public service to be public servants have to be a little corrupt just to exist in the system. The trick is them trying to be just corrupt enough to survive while still being a force for good. And those who are able to resist temptation and stay a force for good are far and few between.
Which is why I detest politicians and our political system with the burning passion of a thousand suns.
Which is why I am loathed by both fanatical Democrats and fanatical Republicans.
Because I can't be fanatical about any of this shit. It's all too fucked up for me to like anything about it. I am firmly in the middle of the extremes and honestly don't care if people hate me for not picking a side. I voted for President Biden not because I love the guy... heck, there are many things about him I can't stand... I just voted for him because he wasn't President Trump. Period. So go ahead and scream your "Let's Go Brandon!" chants because it doesn't irritate me in the slightest. He was never my candidate (though I do find it amusing that people are too afraid to just come out and say "Fuck Joe Biden," but you do you).
It has gotten more and more difficult for me to understand the mindset it takes to love a politician so much that you are wanting to build your entire identity around them. They're just people. And while one politician may adhere more closely to what you want out of government, in the end the vast majority of them are just in it for themselves. And they are willing to drag people from the common things we all want in order to build the fanaticism which gets them elected. Each side whips people into a frenzy about denying the other side what they want (even if they want it too!), so it's a never-ending game of extremes where nothing gets done to make our lives better. Just worse.
It's all-or-nothing all the time.
It's more important to see the other side lose than to see the country win.
Take the whole Carhartt fiasco that's currently in play.
Carhartt is a clothing shop which produces some fantastic work gear. I've owned a number of items from them over the years because I love how tough and long-lasting their stuff is... and I love the fact that it was made in America. At least it used to be. Over the years they've sent most of their production off-shore, just like everywhere else, so they can be competitive. But they still make some items domestically and know they have customers who shop with them because of it, so you can display only those few items made in the USA if that's how you want to shop. Ultimately they are a fine American company who stands behind their products while providing American jobs.
That's something we can all get behind, right?
Not so fast. The company is currently being used to score points because Carhartt has mandated vaccinations at their company. If you want to work at Carhartt, you gotta be vaccinated. Naturally some people are losing their fucking minds, burning their Carhartt gear in YouTube videos, and generally lambasting the company from every conceivable angle. All because their political idols have conditioned them to do so.
And, to be honest, I just don't get it.
First of all, there are many, many companies which have mandatory vaccination. Take Ford, for example. They are mandating vaccination for most of their workers. But do you see people lighting their Ford pickup on fire in protest? Of course not. Political parties and their fans realize that nobody is going to torch a $30,000 truck, so they put a $170 jacket in the crosshairs, because they know that's something they can use to build up hate and stoke their fanbase with fewer consequences.
Second of all, do you know how many Americans are suffering right now? There are many who can't afford a good winter jacket. Maybe they have a cheap one that's falling apart. Maybe they can't even afford a cheap one. So if Carhartt offends you so much that you can't bring yourself to put on your jacket... then instead of lighting it on fire, why not donate it? Except you won't hear political hit-squads telling you to donate your jacket instead of burning it. That doesn't build the fanaticism politicians covet. So instead people laugh and share videos of Carhartt gear being lit up because that's what they've been conditioned to want to see. And they do not give a single fuck that there are Americans suffering who could have used that damn jacket.
And once again I find myself in the middle.
One of the things I like best about Conservatism is the ideal that government should stay the fuck out of our lives. There are limits, of course. I don't think companies should be able to kill their customers, destroy the environment, or do anything that makes them a detriment to society... that's where government should be involved to protect the public good... but, outside of that, I don't think the government has any fucking business telling companies how they should operate. That should be up to them. So if Ford and Carhartt want to mandate FDA-approved vaccinations because they feel it will create a safer work environment? More power to them. And conservatives should be applauding these companies for enacting their freedom to run their business however the fuck they want... regardless of whether or not they approve of the vaccines!
If you don't want to wear the uniforms they make you wear at McDonald's, don't work at McDonald's.
And if the uniforms offend you so much that you don't want to eat there, feel free to not eat there.
But buying a pile of McDonald's hamburgers and setting them on fire in protest while there are Americans who are hungry doesn't make you a patriot... it just makes you an asshole.
If you don't want to be vaccinated then by all means don't work at Carhartt. And if you hate the idea of companies telling their employees to get vaccinated so badly that you can't wear a jacket you purchased, then feel free to donate it. And if you are positively enraged that a company would dare mandate vaccines, then go ahead and tell people how you feel. I support all of this. That's what freedom is about. But, for the love of God, don't let politicians manipulate you into using fanaticism to treat this American company as a pawn to manipulate others! Carhartt looked at the data and decided that vaccines are safe, vaccinations saves employee lives, vaccinations keeps employees out of hospitals, and vaccinations keeps their workers working more-so than if their employees were unvaccinated. And so they decided it was in the company's self-interest to mandate an FDA-approved vaccine. And they made this choice all on their own and without government interference. Yay for them.
But do I support mandatory vaccination of US citizens? Not really, no. This is a tricky one because spreading disease is not in the public interest (which is why I do support mandatory vaccination to attend public schools or hold a government job), but I don't think that the government has any fucking business telling an American citizen that they have to get a vaccine or be deported. At least not when it comes to COVID. Not yet, anyway (who knows if it will mutate into a strain which kills motherfuckers on contact and we have no choice).
Ultimately those who oppose vaccination are citizens just like everybody else, and if they want to form their own schools and build their own businesses for the unvaccinated, then this is America and they should have that freedom. Yeah, it sucks that they will be out there spreading COVID unchecked and gestating further mutations that put everybody at risk, but that's the price you pay for living in a free country. Hopefully, eventually, people will stop buying into the misinformation being used to manipulate them. Because I'm sick of this COVID shit. And our health care workers need a break. And because if I have a heart attack I'd like the emergency room to have a bed for me. And because I'm tired of people dying over bullshit they've been conditioned to believe.
But, in the meanwhile, I've prepared myself to see more ultra-conservatives lighting their shit on fire because a company mandates vaccines... and I'm prepared for ultra-progressives to start lighting their shit on fire once companies start saying that they will not hire vaccinated workers. If they haven't already.
Because that's where we're at now.
We're trapped in a game that we're all losing while politicians tell us we're winning.
And for some reason we keep believing them.
There's several government programs that I'm happy to support. One of the best, in my humble opinion, in NASA. The volumes of "stuff" we've learned from it have resulted in all kinds of technological advancements that have made our lives better. Not to mention the cool stuff they are doing.
One of the most current projects that I'm completely obsessed with is the WEBB Telescope. It's going to be able to see further back into the origins of the universe than we've ever been able to before, further understand planets outside our solar system, and all kinds of other amazing things. Every once in a while I drop by NASA's website to see how the project is going and read up on any new information available.
Every time I visit I marvel at how cool the WEBB logo looks. Somebody at NASA got a very good designer to boil the project down to this awesome graphic...
While I was at the site, I spotted the "NASA Eyes" project, which has various interactive toys to play with.
And promptly fell down a rabbit hole of exploration for over a half-hour using their Solar System Viewer...
After the solar system appears, you can click on objects to explore them. Naturally I started close to home with Mars...
Then various asteroids...
Then I started clicking on various man-made objects...
Some of these things are utterly fascinating, and are out there doing things I never knew were even happening...
Still others I knew about, but didn't know what was happening with them. Like OSIRIS-REx, that little probe that landed on an asteroid a while back and is currently heading back to earth with specimens...
After a couple objects I got to DART... Double Asteroid Redirection Test...
This cool-looking thing has the thankless task of crashing into an asteroid to see if it can redirect it. This is the first step in building a defense against an asteroid hurling towards earth. I figured that it must be the size of a frickin tank to have any hope of making a dent, but it's actually quite small. Something you can verify by comparing it to earth objects. As you can see here, it's only about the height of a human scientist...
But slightly wider than a school bus...
Though considerably smaller than the Rose Bowl Stadium...
There's all kinds of information available to say how the mission was set up, what it hopes to accomplish, and how it aims to accomplish it...
The poor thing is on-target to crash into the smaller half of a double-asteroid called Didymos. And if you zoom back a bit, you can see exactly where it's located in relation to DART...
So there he is out there seeing the sights and thinking that he's got some really cool exploring ahead of him... when the entire time his purpose is to crash. Sad.
And because I just couldn't help myself, I started looking for Voyager 1, the first man-made object to leave the solar system. At least that we know of. I had to zoom out quite a bit to see that...
From there I kept poking around the solar system until I had to get back to work.
Fascinating, fascinating stuff. If you've got a little time to kill, there are far worse ways to spend your time than exploring the solar system . Enjoy!
I'm tired, but not ready to give up on my Sunday just yet... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• SHE GOT MONEY! If you aren't watching Abbott Elementary you are missing out. I've shared so many of Quinta's videos over the years... it's so very cool to be able to share her TV show, which is amazing. I was thrilled to find out that it's been such a big hit.
Plus... Sheryl Lee Ralph is in it!
• The World May Never Know! Was it Hershey or Reese That Made Peanut Butter Cups Great?
• Darwinism. It's what's for dinner! Three Kids Tried To Get Spiderman Powers By Letting A Black Widow Bite Them. — I mean, the spider that bit Peter Parker was a RADIOACTIVE SPIDER! If these kids wanted super-powers, they would have had to have made the spider radioactive first. Sheesh!
• ADOBE IN 3D! The new 3D "technology preview" tools in Adobe Illustrator are choice. I sure hope that they continue to add features before they get rid of the old tools. Not being able to map user textures and control camera perspective is a major problem. And half the time when I add a cap, it doesn't appear on my extrudes. — At the rate that Adobe is adding 3D apps to their Creative Suite, I sure hope that this is an indication that they will be dropping a full-blown 3D modeler soon. How sweet would it be to be able to craft models with the same tools you already know and love?
• Credit Card Doubt! Five messages and two phone calls later and I *might* have finally gotten The Home Depot to credit the $50 I was promised on my purchase when I opened an account. I say "might" because I was told it will take 24 hours to a few days for the credit to be applied. So... yeah... I'm dumping that credit card the minute my $50 comes through so I can pay the shit off. I cannot BELIEVE that companies are allowed to try and scam you like this. I clicked ON A BUTTON that said "Up to $100 Cash Back" and yet I was given some kind of "12 Months Same as Cash" deal with NO $50 that I never even knew existed. It would be my fault if the button said "12 Months Same as Cash"... BUT IT DOES NOT! And it STILL doesn't. How fucking hard is this? You promise me $50... just give me the $50. This is not fucking rocket science. And yet... five messages and two phone calls...
And on that happy note, buh-bye Sunday.
When I woke up this morning, half my feed was pointing out how todays date of 22 February, 2022 is both a palindrome (reading the same forwards and backwards) and an ambigram (reading the same right-side-up and up-side-down). And half of those was pointing out that it happens to be a "Twosday" on top of it all.
It really only works on digital clocks though...
Personally, I'm not impressed.
Wake me up on 22222222.
Don't let life distract your from what's truly important... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Homemade! The last French rolls I bought were $4.80 for six, were small, gummy, and didn't taste that great. So this time when I wanted an Old Amsterdam Old Cheese sandwich roll I made my own big, beautiful, fluffy rolls...
Cost me less than $1... and they are unbelievably good. So good that I can't stop eating them. I've had three. It will take all my effort to not to eat a fourth.
• Welcome to My Nightmare! Had I seen Nightmare Alley in 2021, it would have made my best-of list for sure. The story is interesting enough, but it's the visuals and atmosphere that makes the film so special. It's a work of art. Its every scene is gorgeously and meticulously constructed...
And the performances! Bradley Cooper can act, sure... but it's Cate Blanchett who drives this bus home. Then you get Willem DaFoe, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, and an utterly brilliant and pivotal character by David Strathairn. It's too good. The fatalistic destiny which haunts everybody is palpable.
• Good Bye. Dang. Dieter Bohn is leaving The Verge. He and Marques Brownlee are the only two tech reviewers that I actively seek out because they are just so good at their job. In his farewell video, Dieter talks about his online handle, "Backlon," which is something I can very much relate to. Online I'm "Blogography" for everything because it's my blog name and how everybody knew me. So it became my handle everywhere. As Dieter says, "The choice causes a cascade of associations for whoever sees that handle." And it's 100% true. This is a fascinating video about our online identity... and everything I will miss about Dieter Bohn...
Best of luck at Google, sir.
• Dave! There have been a lot of great guests on Hot Ones, and Dave Growl is right up there...
And here's a bonus bit of Dave for you...
He is hands-down one of the most fascinating people on the planet.
• Depot-Free! It only took three months, four phone calls, and a dozen messages to get The Home Depot and Citi to credit me the $50 I was promised when I opened my account... but here it is! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I can't believe it. I just made the full balance payment, so I'll believe it when it's posted, I have a zero balance, AND I CAN CLOSE THIS FUCKING ACCOUNT. I wish to God I had never messed with the Home Depot Credit Card which has been a complete nightmare from the very beginning. If you are going to promise a customer "Up to $100 Off" if they open account... and their purchases qualify for a $50 credit... THEN GIVE THEM THE FUCKING MONEY! How difficult is this? Apparently very difficult, given what I've been through. Do they expect people to just give up so they never have to pay what was promised? Well, you got the wrong guy for that.
• Say Human! Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill is disgusting. The inhumanity of this horrific decision sickens me to my very core. And all I can think about is what happens to those kids in school who have two moms or two dads or a trans parent or a sibling who identifies outside the absurd artificial construct of binary sexuality. Their family members no longer exist while they’re being “educated.” Which is to say that they’re not being educated at all. They’re being discriminated against. Fuck those grotesque mockeries of humanity who would be so overtly bigoted and cruel. I’ve long since given up hope that our lawmakers will be decent human beings who want to represent all of us... but I do kinda cling to the hope that I can count on them to be selfish. That they’ll look at friends... family... neighbors... and other people they know... even actors, musicians, writers, and such... and say "I can’t possibly legislate against these people who mean something to me." But of course they can. Because they’re absolute garbage who don’t care who is hurt no matter who those affected may be to them. Appealing to bigotry is how they stay in government, and the money and power they get for that means more to them than anybody or anything. And also? Fuck the heinous assholes who vote for these repugnant pieces of shit. Fuck them twice.
• Just Die Already. And speaking of fucking assholes... this decrepit piece of shit wouldn't know the Bible if it sat on his face...
It defies belief that people believe his idiocy. Has he even actually studied the Bible? I sincerely have my doubts, because most everything he has ever said is not supported by Scripture. These are just his unhinged, demented fantasies. Counting the days until he's sent to hell for his shameless false prophet money-grabbing.
See you in seven days, true bullet believers.
BWAH HA HA HA HAAAA!
Yeah, I was around during the 2008 gas crisis. I somehow managed to survive.
If there's a more accurate representation of media manipulation, I haven't seen it.
The big news from yesterday is that The Senate unanimously voted to put us on permanent Daylight Saving Time. It just has to pass The House, then be signed into law by President Biden.
After showing just how fucking useless they can be, politicians are finally waking up to the fact that they had better be doing something so it looks like they actually work for the huge amounts of money we pay them. And I guess this is as good as anything.
Of course, this Seanate vote doesn't mean shit until something is actually made into law.
The US government has a long, very long history of appearing like they're getting shit done... only to bail at the last minute because some lobbyist owns them, or they're being paid millions of dollars, or they don't bother to show up for the vote because it's Taco Tuesday, or there's money for them to be made opposing legislation somehow, or whatever the reason. Fuck Yankee Doodle, we know what the real symbol of this country is: politicians endlessly fucking us over for a buck.
Regardless, I still have hope that we'll finally be done with this stupid fucking bullshit of dicking with the clocks twice a year. There are few things I fucking HATE HATE HATE HATE more than the idiocy of going off DST come Fall every fucking year.
And you benefit as well, dear reader. You won't have to read my rants about stupid fucking time changes any more.
Bullet Sunday will return next Sunday. Because I have something more important I want to share. It's something nice from an unexpected source, and it's all I can think about today (after seeing a woman read the letter on TikTok), and I have to share it. Because there's just not enough good news lately.
It's a letter from the Republican Governor of Utah, Spencer J. Cox, which addresses his veto of the anti-trans bill which bans transgender athletes from participating in girls' high school sports. The proposed bill was horrific on its own. But in reading this letter you'll see that there was currently only one transgender student in girls' sports in the entirety of the Utah School System.
I wish that I could say that this was the end of the story. That the bill was vetoed, kindness prevailed, and a girl got to kept playing the sport she enjoys. But that's not the world we live in. The veto was unsurprisingly overturned a week later and the bill was made into law.
Despite the outcome, I still think that there's good news to be found. A Republican Governor risked political fallout to confront the bigotry in his party to stand up for that one trans girl who is just trying to get along in her life with the cards she was dealt.
And that ain't nothing.
Even if it does vividly illustrate how fucking bankrupt the asshole legislators are who would vote for such trash. They read their governor's heartfelt letter and voted for bigotry and hate anyway.
March 22, 2022
The Honorable J. Stuart Adams
President of the Senate
The Honorable Brad R. Wilson
Speaker of the House
Mr. President and Mr. Speaker,
I believe in fairness and protecting the integrity of women’s sports. I know both of you are committed to these same ideals and that we have worked very hard together to resolve the many issues surrounding transgender student participation in sports. Unfortunately, HB11 has several fundamental flaws and should be reconsidered. Because the bill was substantially changed in the final hours of the legislative session with no public input and in a way that will likely bankrupt the Utah High School Athletic Association and result in millions of dollars in legal fees for local school districts with no state protection, and for several other reasons below, I have chosen to veto this bill.
The transgender sports participation issue is one of the most divisive of our time. Because there are logical and passionate arguments by many parties, finding compromise or common ground can be difficult. Sadly, there is very little room for nuance in this debate. But I hope you will permit me an opportunity to explain my reasons for vetoing HB11.
Utah has a history of trying to approach complicated issues in ways that bring collaboration and fairness. From immigration and criminal justice reform to LGBTQ protections and religious freedom, Utah has often shown an unusual willingness to find new and compassionate ways to solve the most toxic debates of our time. For this reason, I was heartened and encouraged to see legislators sitting down with LGBTQ advocates to work on a compromise that would both protect women’s sports and allow some participation for our most marginalized transgendered youth. No other state has done this, and we hoped that Utah could be the first. As you know, the negotiations centered around the potential compromise of a commission of experts that would help decide on an individual basis which kids would be able to participate.
The concept was fairly simple. For the very small number of transgender kids who are looking to find a sense of connection and community–without posing any threat to women’s sports–the commission would allow participation. However, the committee would prohibit participation in the rare circumstance of an outlier who could pose a safety threat or dominate a sport in a way that would eliminate competitive opportunities for biological females. Unfortunately, over time, the negotiations got bogged down debating the makeup of the commission and some of the language in the bill. While we were not able to reach an agreement on the commission, the bill sponsors did agree to remove some of the most troubling language. As the hallmark of a good compromise, neither side was thrilled, but there was a path forward. And while I admit it was not perfect, there was general agreement that we could pass the bill and continue tweaking the concept during the next year as necessary.
On the last day of the legislative session we began hearing rumors of a 4th substitute of the bill that would implement an all-out ban, with the new commission only coming into play if a court prohibited the ban. While it is not unusual to have legislators propose changes to bills, it is unusual to have major overhauls proposed at the last minute on significant policy issues that had been the subject of so much negotiation. It is even rarer to have these pass, especially with no communication with those who had been negotiating the issue. So, you can imagine my surprise when the 4th substitute was revealed late on the last day of the session and debated and passed just a few hours before midnight.
It is important to note that a complete ban was never discussed, never contemplated, never debated and never received any public input prior to the Legislature passing the bill on the 45th and final night of the session. For this reason, many legislators who might have otherwise supported the policy felt compelled to vote against it.
I believe in process. How we make policy matters almost as much as the policy itself. An opportunity to participate is a critical component of public trust. While changes are inevitable, this was more than just a cosmetic change. This was a complete reversal of every discussion, public or private. Every article written by the media on this issue was about the commission and a compromise. Every answer given during press availability was about the commission and a compromise.
Much of the debate that night centered around the difficulties of bad process and a lack of time to get constituent input. This lack of time and input has serious legal and financial implications as well (more on that below). And while I appreciate the apologies I have received from legislators involved in the truncated proceeding, I feel a veto is necessary to improve the process and to better allow the public an opportunity to weigh in.
One of the worst results of that process was the inability of legislators to understand the financial impacts that will be forced upon the Utah High School Athletic Association (UHSAA) and local Utah school districts that will inevitably get sued under this bill. The UHSAA is a private organization and runs the real risk of insolvency and bankruptcy, putting our entire state athletics program in danger. Having just completed a lengthy and very expensive lawsuit, the organization does not have significant reserves on hand. Furthermore, the UHSAA has been clear that if the state ever attempted a ban, the state would also need to provide indemnification to hold the organization harmless in the forthcoming lawsuit.
Unfortunately, HB11 provides no financial protection for the UHSAA, only an explicit invitation for a lawsuit. With several lawsuits already being litigated across the country, why would Utah insist — even encourage — expensive and debilitating legal action with no recourse for the organization that serves our own student athletes and schools? I hope you can agree that if we want to protect women’s sports, bankrupting the institution that is responsible for their participation is a bad place to start.
To make matters worse, shortly after the introduction of the 4th substitute there was a hastily adopted amendment to explicitly exclude Utah’s local schools from indemnification. Because the 4th substitute was so quickly introduced and at the very end of the session, there was significant confusion at the time about the reason such a clause was necessary and the impact it would have. Clearly, the reason for the amendment was to avoid a fiscal note that could not have been funded at such a late hour without nullifying the bill. However, during the discussion on the Senate floor it was incorrectly argued that government immunity would protect schools from a lawsuit based on the ban. Because these lawsuits would involve potential civil rights violations, they would not qualify for governmental immunity. This means that schools would inevitably face costly litigation and the potential for significant damages.
For this reason, many schools across the state of Utah have reached out expressing concern. Had they been aware of the language of the 4th substitute with enough time to comment, they undoubtedly would have shared a similar message with legislators who were forced to vote on the bill with no public input. Again, why would we risk significant legal exposure for some of our poorest schools with no financial support when other states are already funding identical legal defenses across the country? If the state insists on a policy that encourages significant litigation, I believe the state should pay for the litigation. It is my understanding that you have polled your members and that you have the sufficient two-thirds majority to override a veto. Should this occur, I will immediately call a special session to change this section of the bill in order to avoid bankrupting our athletic association and local schools. A simple veto override will not resolve this fundamental issue.
I also think it’s important to address some of the arguments that came up during the passing of the 4th substitute of the bill. Many legislators brought up the trans swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, who has recently dominated women’s swimming, setting records and lapping the field. I agree with those who are concerned with this egregious example. I believe this is terrible for women’s sports. There are natural advantages that come from our birth sex, which is the very reason that we have men’s and women’s sports in the first place. Setting records and taking scholarships away from biological gendered women should give everyone pause. It’s bad for women and it is bad for the LGBTQ community, as it turns allies and reasonable people into opponents. I don’t believe that this type of participation is compelled by the Constitution, but that decision will be left to the courts in the months and years to come.
However, there are a few problems with this example being the reason for a complete ban in Utah. First, this bill would do nothing to prevent that example, as HB11 only applies to high school and middle school and does not impact collegiate athletes. And second, if there was a similar example in a Utah high school, the proposed commission would prevent it from happening. Indeed, that is the very purpose of the commission: it would attempt to both protect women’s sports and allow our most vulnerable an opportunity to participate. Interestingly, the very legislator who introduced the 4th substitute of the bill called the commission concept “brilliant.” I do not know if the commission would completely solve this divisive issue, but I appreciate the innovative and respectful approach that it offers.
I also believe there is broad misunderstanding around the current rules regarding transgender participation in sports. In particular, from the testimony of many, there seems to be a belief that any biologically-born male could simply say he was transgender and begin participating in women’s sports. This is incorrect. For many years now, the UHSAA has had in place a rule that only allows male-to-female transgender participation in women’s sports after a full year of difficult transition hormone therapy and in consultation with a health care professional. This has likely prevented some participation and helped to even the playing field. As a representative of the UHSAA stated: “As we read the science right now, we like our policy. This year we have four students who have gone through our paperwork and we have not had any complaints from any other students or families or school administrators.” I should note that while I have some reservations about a policy that requires or incentivizes these transitions, it is the policy in place. Finally, there is one more important reason for this veto. I must admit, I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion. I also try to get proximate and I am learning so much from our transgender community. They are great kids who face enormous struggles. Here are the numbers that have most impacted my decision: 75,000, 4, 1, 86 and 56.
Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships. Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day. Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few. I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do. But I want them to live. And all the research shows that even a little acceptance and connection can reduce suicidality significantly. For that reason, as much as any other, I have taken this action in the hope that we can continue to work together and find a better way. If a veto override occurs, I hope we can work to find ways to show these four kids that we love them and they have a place in our state.
I recognize the political realities of my decision. Politically, it would be much easier and better for me to simply sign the bill. I have always tried to do what I feel is the right thing regardless of the consequences. Sometimes I don’t get it right, and I do not fault those who disagree with me. But even if you disagree with me, I hope this letter helps you understand the reasons for my decision.
Spencer J. Cox
Don't you dare touch that dial... because an all new, all YouTube Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Heartstopper! Easily one of the best series I've seen so far in 2022, Heartstopper (Netflix) is about the most adorable TV show you'll find. What really got me is how much of the lives of young people today are invested in immediate feedback from texting. The struggle to put your thoughts and feelings in short little messages... the frustration of not knowing what to say... and the agony of sending something and immediately regretting it... we had absolutely nothing like this in school. Maybe note passing. That's it. The game is entirely different today...
What amazes me most about this show is how many opportunities they had to fall into the Hallmark trap of letting a misunderstanding sabotage their entire relationship, but were actually more adult about talking things out than adults are in Hallmark movies. Refreshing! There's also a guest star playing Nick's mom who may not be a known face to American audiences, but she was a major "get" across the Atlantic, and I was SO happy it wasn't spoiled in the trailer. Worth a watch. 100% Dave Approved television.
• Hard Rock Park! I don't have many regrets. But I do regret that I never made it to Hard Rock Park. The year that it opened, my travel calendar was packed, but I had plans to visit the following year. Alas, it closed after a single season. It would become "Freestyle Music Park" for another season before closing permanently. One of the most unique things to ever come out of Hard Rock and I missed it! Then I ran across a couple videos about the park, and regret not making it even more...
Boy. I wish somebody would rescue all that material and published it in a book or something. I could have spent hours going through all that!
• Miriwoong! Few things are as sad to me as a language dying out. Because it means an important part of humanity's culture is lost, because in so many ways language is culture. Or at least a very good symptom of it...
I've long been fascinated by languages, and Miriwoong is an example of exactly why I'm fascinated.
• Giza! Holy cats I love videos like this. And, let me tell you, that walk into the pyramid is something I will never forget. It was hot, stuffy, and claustrophobic for sure, but it's the fact that the passage could collapse behind you and leave you trapped inside that's the real scary part. What would they do? Rip apart the pyramid to save your life? Yeah, probably not...
Manuel Bravo is a YouTube creator I've never heard of before. But I subscribed after 2 minutes in on this video, only to find his entire channel is magic. Give it a look if this kind of stuff interests you.
• Bud! The fact that John Oliver releases short videos like this on the weeks he's off to tide you over until his next show is why his YouTube Channel is a must-subscribe...
I mean. Holy cow. The dogs got super-powers?!? Where have I been?
• Space! If you're not excited to bits about the James Webb Space Telescope, it's because you don't understand it properly. Lucky for you, Marques is here to drop some knowledge...
I have gone through so many rabbits in learning about what this incredible telescope is going to do for our understanding of the universe, and all of it is positively mind-boggling.
• History! The Statue of Liberty is one of those things that we kinda take for granted. It's there. It's been there for a while. France gave it to us. But there's so much more than that. For a very cool glimpse into all things Lady Liberty, this video is worth a watch...
And that's it for year another fascinating Bullet Sunday. Tune in next Sunday where I may... or may not... have even more interesting things to share!
Like so many of us, I've spent my share of time playing around with Microsoft's Flight Simulator. It's a nifty way to fly a plane (kinda) without having to spend a lot of time taking classes and tests and... oh yeah... buying a plane.
But even so, the idea of actually flying a real-life plane is something that doesn't even enter my brain. I mean, in an emergency... with all other options exhausted... sure. If my option is to try and fly a plane and live or choose not to try and die, I'm your guy.
This nightmare scenario became reality for a passenger who ended up having to fly a plane after the pilot was incapacitated...
This is the type of person you want with you in an emergency.
People never stop looking for stupid shit to justify their bigotry.
Fortunately, it doesn't take much effort to debunk their bullshit...
@ashlelnok #greenscreenvideo Oh no. The horror. #allgenders ♬ original sound - Ashley
...it never does.
A common plot device to many science fiction stories (and more than a few comic book story arcs) is one of an alternate timeline. Something happens... usually involving time travel... which causes established events to veer from their intended path, thus creating a new timeline.
One of my favorite uses of this is in Back to The Future:
Lately I've been feeling like I'm trapped in an evil alternate timeline where somebody has changed the path that we're all supposed to be on. And do you blame me? The amount of horrendous shit happening in the world just keeps escalating, and there really doesn't seem to be any end in sight.
Alas, something tells me that Marty McFly ain't going to show up and magically fix everything this time.
I've mentioned many, many times how much I love maps. I'm a sucker for all aspects of maps... from how beautiful they can be to how astoundingly useful they are... but also how they relate to the world at large (and, by extension, the people living on this planet).
I could write posts several times a week discussing maps and all the latest map content I'm consuming, but there are far more talented people devoting themselves to this very topic, so I'm just going to stay in my lane and call out the coolest map-based content from time to time when I happen upon it.
In this case, it's a video by Real Life Lore discussing... Anchorage?!?
Yes, Anchorage. Really.
I've known about its importance when it comes to air freight routes for many years. It's hard not to know about it if you've ever ordered anything from Apple since they switched to Just-In-Time-Manufacturing. You order something. They build it to order in China. Then fly it to the USA... via Anchorage. The reason being that planes can hold either more fuel or more freight, but not both... and since it's far more profitable to move more cargo, freight routes from Asia stop over in Anchorage for fuel.
Interestingly enough... I first visited Anchorage in 2015. But that's not the first time I had been there. One of my earliest flights to Japan in the 80's was via Anchorage.
This kinda stuff is all covered in this video. But the most interesting part is not the air freight story... it's the ocean freight FUTURE that's at the end of the video which makes it worth sharing...
Especially when he's talking about how the importance of Anchorage and The Northwest Passage could lead to heinous levels of conflict in the future. Something I don't doubt one bit. Especially when it comes to Canada being caught in the middle of it all, which is not a great place to be.
So thanks, Climate Change! As if you weren't making the future shitty enough already, in another decade you could be sending us all to war.
I've made my stance on abortion very clear. Yes, I personally believe that life begins at conception, but yes, I also believe that my beliefs should not dictate what other people believe in the so-called "Land of the Free," so I am also pro-choice.
Partly because, scientifically, "life" is an abstract construct when we're talking about a stack of cells that cannot survive outside the womb... but mostly because I am a man who will never have to deal with being pregnant, and would prefer to leave what others do with their own body to themselves, their own beliefs, and their doctor. Full stop.
What makes me so angry about the Supreme Court ruling which overturned Roe v. Wade is twofold.
FIRST... wealthy people will always have access to abortion. ALWAYS. The law means nothing to them since they can afford to solve any problem by throwing money at it. Republican politicians can get abortions for their mistresses with relative ease, so once again the law of their state that they fought for will not apply to them. Just like the fine for speeding means absolutely nothing to them. Or any fine, really. No, the Supreme Court ruling is an attack on poor people who will now be forced to keep unwanted pregnancies since they may not be able to afford to go out-of-state. And in some states this means pregnancies which occurred from rape or incest. This is disgusting from every possible angle, and I am positively mortified that this horrific turn of events. If this was truly about the "sanctity of life" then Republican lawmakers who kept advocating for overturning the law would actually give a fuck about babies once they are born. They would make sure that all children had access to health care, food, housing, and a good education, but they do not. Republican lawmakers just care about making new workers for the ruling class that own them.
And do not get me started about the fucking Democrats. The amount of rage I'm feeling only escalates when I start seeing ads from Democrats saying "NOW THAT ROE HAS BEEN OVERTURNED, RE-ELECT ME TO PROTECT A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE!" And it's like... what the fuck? Now you want to do something? Now that the house is on fire you want to install a smoke detector? Fuck you. President Biden has been in office a year-and-a-half and you didn't do fucking jack shit to protect a pregnant person's right to choose! And it's seeing ads like this that lead me to believe that this is exactly what Democrats wanted. They didn't codify Roe because threats of codifying and "packing the court" would force the Supreme Court to overturn and give them a platform to run on in the mid-terms (where they otherwise would have been slaughtered). These political games with people's lives is fucking insane. TERM LIMITS NOW. For all politicians... for justices... for ALL of it. Career politicians don't give a fuck about us. They only care about maintaining their wealth and power. And this... THIS... is the result.
SECOND... even if you don't support abortion, this ruling is a nightmare scenario. This is the slippery slope that everybody has been warning you about. And here it is in black-and-white from "Justice" Thomas... contraception and same-sex marriage are up next. Even if you don't care about any of this, something you DO care about WILL be targeted eventually...
I can't believe I'm about to quote President Clinton on this, but he's spot-on when he says abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare.". But that would involve educating kids about contraception and teaching young men to respect young women when they say "no." And I think we all know that contraception, education, and respect for women are not things that the people behind overturning Roe v. Wade give a fuck about.
Now we sit back and wait for what comes next in our new American hellscape existence.
well, they do.
Fireworks are blowing out a day early and my cats are in hiding, but don't think I'm using this as an excuse to skip the day's bullets... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• 'MURICAAAA! Just so you know, I'm feeling patriotic as fuck right now...
And how could I not be? It says so right on the label!
• Strange! New! The previous episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was pretty bad, but the penultimate episode of Season 01 was darn good, despite some rather questionable turn of events...
Interesting how sci-fi is kinda embracing horror recently. First with The Orville and now with Strange New Worlds. Hopefully Season 02 (which just finished production!) will have another thrills and scares episode like this one, because it's a great diversion from the "episode of the week."
• Westworld S04! HBO's Westworld is one of those shows which was deliciously twisty and challenging the first season. Had interesting turns in the second. And almost pedestrianly straightforward in the third. Now we've reached the second episode of the fourth season and it looks like they are sticking with the less interesting straightforward approach, but doing so in a way that is anything but boring. The hosts are out of the park and taking over the world, and where the writers decided to take us? Back to the beginning. Kinda sorta. But not really.
There's two things I'm taking away from the first two episodes... A) The cast is one of the best on television (and has been that way from the start). Thandiwe Newton and Aaron Paul are in the spotlight to fantastic effect. Ed Harris is savagely chewing through absolutely every scene they give him. Tessa Thompson has not had much to do, but holy crap does she make every minute count. Evan Rachel Wood is kinda lost in the shuffle, but hopefully she gets something interesting soon. And B) I am reeeeeally invested in seeing how they make everything pay off at the end. Though they may be pulling a The Empire Strikes Back and saving any conclusion for the fifth (and final) season.
• Only Murders in the Building S02! I was late to Only Murders in the Building because I am not a huge Martin Short fan and Steve Martin. But the reviews were so crazy good that I finally tuned in... and loved the series. Martin Short is more "quirky" than "annoyingly distracting" which is perfect for the character. Fortunately a second season was quickly greenlit...
And the new season is perfect. They kept everything that was good about the first season, found a way to attach a new and intriguing mystery to it, and are letting the supporting players shine in a way that makes the show so New York specific. Really hoping that they stick the landing on this season, because nothing would make me happier than to be anticipating a third series.
• Paper! I think that I've mentioned how excited I am for the Amazon Prime adaptation of Paper Girls. And if not, here's me saying it. I loved the comic book, and they look to be staying close to the source material...
If nothing else, the casting looks pretty great!
• Footloose! The opening of the third season of The Umbrella Academy had its best moment. Which makes things really tough, because it was all downhill from here...
I did enjoy Season 03 quite a lot... but it was a considerable step down from the first two seasons. Everything seemed really spread out, and great moments with the characters were very spread out. Even so, I sure hope we get a fourth season, because the series is always entertaining.
• But before I go... Tell me again how overturning Roe v. Wade should be taken out of the hands of the pregnant person and their doctor. Seriously, I'm waiting. I've read a couple posts online which are basically saying that rapists now get to choose the mother of their children, and if that is what you think "freedom" means then you're a fucking abomination. Case in point? 10-year-old rape victim denied abortion in Ohio. You can fuck ALL the way off with this.
Enjoy your fucking fireworks.
How fucked up is our bought-and-paid-for government that one of the old white men running this shitshow can cause essential legislation to become "endangered" because so many members of the Senate are fucking owned by the big internet providers? Pretty fucked up... and yet here we are. Some old Democrat dude breaks a hip so an FCC nominee can't get confirmed... or whatever... and now net-neutrality (something that the majority of Americans agree is a good and necessary thing) may not be passed if it can't get done by mid-terms.
First of all... Fuck Joe Biden and the fucking Democrats for not getting this shit done immediately when he got into office. Just one of many, many things that they should have rammed through in 2020 (like codifying Roe v. Wade) that they decided to sit on and do fuck-all about because it can be used to get progressives running to the poles at elections. Fuck them sideways for putting their personal re-election campaigns above the American people. We're told to "support net-neutrality" and "protect a woman's right to choose" by voting for Democrats, then have absolutely fucking NOTHING to show for it on these issues (and many others).
I swear, the only thing that enrages me more than Republicans accepting cash to roll over on the American people so that wealthy people can continue to fuck us over... is the fucking Democrats who just sit by and let it happen when they have a chance to actually do something. Happened with President Obama. Happening again with fucking President Biden.
Everybody who knows me knows that I hate career politicians, hate our lobbyist-owned political "representatives," hate Democrats, really hate Republicans, and am sick to fucking death of the way that politics continues to erode our freedoms and put us even deeper into this bullshit. But I hold my nose and the polls and vote for the least-worst candidate anyways, hoping against hope that somebody actually does something... only to get disappointed every time.
And then people tell me I should be happy because "Well, at least they didn't make things worse!"
Fuck that. And fuck Joe Biden.
I'll be dead inside of 40 years, thank God. I just hope that I live long enough to see our failed two-party system go down in fucking flames when people trapped into voting for a nonstop parade of shitty politicians get sick of it all.
Assuming they ever do.
I am having more doubts about that every fucking day.
Some old guy in Vermont breaking a hip could be enough to skuttle net neutrality, so do you blame me?
Don't be too sad that your weekend is half-over... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Season FIVE! I did not know that Magnum P.I. was picked up by NBC!!! HOLY SHIT!
So many people worked very hard to make this happen. CBS, Universal, Magnum execs & all you fans out there. The tremendous effort paid off in a very unlikely move for any TV show. We can't wait to start filming again. #MagnumPISaved #NBC #ohana https://t.co/Jz7JAZN3Mi— Jay Hernandez (@jay_hernandez) July 3, 2022
This is one of the most consistently great television shows going, and I'm happy to know more Higgins is on the way.
• LIE! I can't remember if I shared this when it first dropped a while back. If I didn't, I should have, and so here you go...
Mark Kacy's creations are always funny, but this one is next level.
• New Balance! I finally watched the Season 01 finale episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds for the second time. Lord how I love this show. And this final episode is a MASSIVE love letter to fans of The Original Series. Absolutely perfect. If you didn't see the original episode which this one is based on... Balance of Terror (one of my all-time favorites)...
You really should track down the episode and watch it first. Your appreciation for the brilliance of Strange New Worlds will be deepened.
• Hey, Jake! It took me a minute to understand why this character was given the name "Jake"...
Funny. Unless you're the cow he was cut out of, I guess.
• The Boys Go Back, AGAIN! The Boys kinda-sorta works better as a TV show than a comic. EXCEPT... where the comics tend to break ground in shocking and unexpected ways with absolutely nobody being safe... the Amazon Prime series is gutless and pathetic because they are happy to keep treading water. Characters die, but it's always the ones who aren't contributing to the main narrative. They're "main" characters only so far as they've been hanging around... not because they're actually doing anything...
And the third season finale just fell into the same rut that the first two did. You know exactly who will make it to the end of the episode because they've the ones who aren't background fodder. Everybody else? Eh. They die and it just doesn't matter. What's so hilariously stupid is that the writers are not even remotely clever about how they maintain the status quo. Characters with a singular motivation from Day One just discard such motivation at the drop of a hat. It doesn't matter if it makes no sense and doesn't serve the story... it only matters that it keeps everything exactly the same. Ugh. I don't even care if we get a fourth season. Why should I care when I already know how it will end?
• Morningstar Madness! I don't get why MorningStar Farms insists on having such shitty, confusing packaging. Last time I was at the store, I ended up with Spicy Black Bean patties because they accidentally got stocked in the wrong bin at the store. I can't really blame the store, because ALL OF MORNINGSTAR FARMS PRODUCTS LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME.
So this time I went to the store, I was very careful to read the packages so I could grab a couple of the "Grillers" burgers. But when I get home I found that the package in front was Grillers... but the package behind it was the Spicy Black Bean patties... again. So now I have one package of Grillers and four packages of Spicy Black Bean burgers in my freezer. For fuck's sake... ADD COLOR IDENTITY TO YOUR FUCKING PACKAGING SO PEOPLE CAN TELL THEM APART YOU STUPID FUCKS!! HAVING EVERY LAST FUCKING ONE OF THEM BEING GREEN WITH A PURPLE BOX ONLY LEADS TO NON-STOP CONFUSION BECAUSE PEOPLE CAN'T TELL THEM APART! I mean, holy fucking shit... JUST LOOK AT THIS FUCKING MESS! WHO DOES THIS?!?? Jesus. This is like BAD DESIGN 101.
• Giving Education the Finger! A role model to children everywhere! Assuming the education they need is how to be a disgusting piece of shit. She's like the British Betsy DeVos!
Of course I don't know that Betsy DeVos was ever seen giving the finger... but she sure gave the finger to education with her actions. What a repugnant pile of garbage she was. DeVos worked overtime to remove protections for students as bullying is at an all-time high. Any kid who is not a straight, white, Christian got the middle finger every time they walked into a school. And her constant cuts to education spending just made things even worse than they already were. Teachers underpaid? Schools falling apart? Materials outdated? Fuck it! Let's cut MORE money on public schools and give it to charter schools. And let's not even talk about how victims of sexual assault in colleges were stripped of even more protections. Actually... let's talk about it. DeVos made it far more likely that victims of sexual assault would come forward because they limited what "sexual assault" even means... and then made it so that victims could be ruthlessly assaulted AGAIN on the stand. Because, hey, if victims don't come forward... it never happened! And there's SO much more. DeVos was a heinous blight on education and even though I am no President Biden fan, at least he gave us a new Secretary of Education that can dismantle her fucked up shit. BUT WILL HE?? Biden has done some fucked up shit of his own, and there's no guarantee that our situation will markedly improve... they were going to reverse the DeVos cancelation of sexual misconduct reporting in schools... but last I heard, they CANCELED the reversal. So fuck if I know. The wealthy people who own our government want our kids to be poorly-educated drones who never question authority, and that's true no matter who is president.
See you on the flip-side, buckaroos.
NASA released four images from the WEBB Space Telescope, and lo did the people of earth lose their minds. And well they should, because the images are absolutely jaw-droopingly stunning.
The best we could really do prior to this was the images that came out of the Hubble Space Telescope. And, amazing though they were, technology has come a very long way since Hubble was launched in 1990.
A guy released a tool for comparing Hubble to WEBB, and it's impossible to overstate what a drastic difference it is...
But that's just the beginning.
Not only can we see more stuff better, we can see further back in time. 4.6 billion years and counting.
This astounding shot of Stephan's Quintet is mind-boggling. Each of these four massive nebulas contain millions of stars. But each of those little dots scattered around them? Galaxies with hundreds of thousands of millions of stars each. There's billions upon billions upon billions of stars in this image. And many of those could have planets. Many of those could have planets with life. Odds are very good that we are not alone...
The photos we're going to see from WEBB will most certainly continue to astonish for decades to come. And the amount of learning opportunities for all of humanity are likely staggering.
I dunno about you, but I like the idea of tax dollars going to occasional programs like this instead of exclusively fueling a war machine that's already bigger than most other countries on the planet combined. WEBB cost $10 billion. That's a massively-huge amount of money, no doubt. But considering an aircraft carrier costs $14 billion... and the jets that are onboard cost a cool $80 million each... well, if there's money for that, there's money for this.
Last night I read an article about how the Oxford University Press is constructing an African American English Dictionary and I couldn't be happier about it. Those who gatekeep the English language are infuriating and exhausting and it seems ridiculous to me that cultural forms of language and expression are called out for "not being real words." ALL words are made up, so what does that even mean? Language is always changing and adapting. "Awful" used to mean "full of awe." And "microchip" as a word didn't even exist when the first Oxford English Dictionary was published.
Yeah, yeah... I used to get hung up on people mixing up "they're" and "their" and "there" or "to" and "too" or "whether" and "weather"... but this was a conditioning artifact that makes me cringe now. So long as the meaning is clear, does it really fucking matter?
Though I am still 1000% for using the Oxford comma in a list. Anything less is madness.
World War III is back on the table thanks to politician idiocy, but don't let that harsh your mellow... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Wedding! To my fellow Hallmark movie nerds... Wedding Season on Netflix. The concept has been done to death, but this one is way too cute to miss...
I love how Netflix gives a good budget to their movies like this. It makes all the difference in diferentiating them from Hallmark.
• Star Wars Summer! The LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation Special has a gem of a Weird Al song attached to it, and the video is right here...
Whether you're a Star Wars fan or a LEGO Star Wars fan or both... the special is worth a look! Find it on Disney+.
• Eternally Again! Patton Oswalt leaked that they are working on another Eternals movie. Good. Now leave powerless, annoying Sprite the fuck out of it (or kill her to start off the film). Leave Ajak dead. Leave Ikarus dead. And as much as I loved Gilgamesh, leave him dead. Then kill off Druig (or turn him into the full-on villain he is). Focus on Sersi, Thena, Kingo, Phastos, and Starfox. FIVE characters instead of however the fuck too many were in the first film. Marvel needs to get over themselves that Eternals was an epic masterpiece and come to terms with the fact that they created a bloated, scattered, mess of a film. Avengers Endgame had DOZENS of characters and felt more focused. Don't get me wrong... I enjoyed Eternals and didn't think it was as awful as many people did... but it could have been SO much better. I do hope that Chloé Zhao comes back to direct because her work is so beautiful... but don't force her to cram so much shit in her film that it gets so very sloppy.
• Vacation! This is so accurate as to sting a bit (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
Just make sure you reply to your emails 👍♬ original sound - Shane Duffy 😮💨
I haven't had a vacation in three years. Sure I have the hours... but I'm always too busy to actually use them.
• Trash! I will keep saying it... Nancy Pelosi is garbage. Everything wrong with government is right here (And here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@progressivetradesman #greenscreen #insidertrading #corrupt #parforthecourse #dividendsaretheft ♬ original sound - user4501857206945
Like most of our politicians, she doesn't give a FUCK how many people she hurts so long as she keeps grabbing that money and power! And she doesn't care if she starts World War III or tanks our stock market to get it.
• PAID! I'd like to leave this Bullet Sunday on a good note... I paid off my blue iMac, Lemon, this week!
And in two months my MacBook Pro will also be paid off. Which will be very nice. The money not used for making payment can go towards groceries, gas, and everything else that's insanely expensive now-a-days.
TTFN, Bullet fans...
Don't let my busted ass blog ruin your day... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now (even if it will have to be posted later)...
• Borked! Not only is my blog completely fucked today for unknown reasons, I see that now my heavy purple X's at the beginning of each entry are now regular-old black crosses?
Absolutely no clue what that is about. But it seems to happen on every browser I try and the code for them to be heavy and purple is still there... so one more thing to worry about, I guess.
• Found! One of my top-five favorite television shows of all time, The Finder, is streaming on Disney+...
The show has some things that did not age well (there is a Romani character which is referred to as "The G-Word" among other things) but the stories, characters, and concept are all fantastic. If you have Disney+, I urge you to give it a shot. If, for no other reason, to see the incomparable Michael Clarke Duncan in one of his final roles. HELPFUL HINT: The series was originally broadcast (and is still streaming) out of order. To watch it in an order where the plot threads all make sense, do so like this... Episode 01, 09, 03, 04, 02, 10, 05, 08, 06, 07, 12, 11, 13.
• Prequel Hunt! And speaking of streaming... I don't know if I've mentioned it yet, but the Predator prequel, Prey (streaming on Hulu), is fantastic. It not only stays faithful to the original concept in a way that other "Predator" movies haven't, in some ways it's actually superior to the original. This time the action takes place on the Great Plains in the 1700's sometime. This time it's a Comanche girl who takes on an earlier concept Predator who hasn't gotten the same advanced weaponry we see in the other films...
Now, there's been some serious shit-talk online about the fact that a Comanche girl was able to battle a Predator without being immediately slaughtered, but if you actually pay attention to the film, it is well explained exactly how she could do this. Multiple times! I dearly loved this movie, and hope we not only see more Predators throughout history (somebody mentioned Predators in feudal Japan, and I got goosebumps)... but I hope we see a lot more of the movie's star... Amber Midthunder. So incredibly captivating and talented.
• Puppers! After you watch Prey on Hulu... treat yourself to this story about the other star of the movie!
• Sad! I don't get too excited for non-Marvel Studios movies lately... but this? This looks really interesting!
If nothing else, it looks like something that will be new and unique, so there's that!
• NEWS! This just in from the "No Shit, Sherlock" department... The More Money You Earn The Happier You Are, Large Study Finds.
• Denmark! This dipshit actually thought she did a thing...
All she actually did was show how utterly brainwashed Americans are by politicians and the wealthy corporations that own them.
No idea when I will have a chance to figure out what is wrong with my blog this time. I'm traveling this coming week, so maybe never! So see you next week... maybe.
Living where I do, you always live in dread of hearing the words "LEVEL 3 EVACUATION ISSUED". Just in case you are blessed to live in an area without wildfires, LEVEL 1 is the Get Ready level where you should start keeping a very close eye on the local fires because you could be in danger of evacuation. LEVEL 2 is the Get Set level where you start packing up your crap, gassing up the car, and generally be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. LEVEL 3 is the Go Level where your life is in imminent danger if you don't get the heck out of dodge.
I have been in a LEVEL 3 twice. The first time I wasn't at home, so it was no big deal to up and leave the area. I got in a line of slow-moving cars and drove back to my house. The second time was much more serious. Once we hit LEVEL 3, absolutely everybody had left the area except me. I stayed behind running around my apartment building putting out ember fires so that my apartment wouldn't catch fire. Part of the time I was on the roof with a bandana tied around my nose and mouth so I could spot problems easier. After a couple hours, the fire department told me that it had gone way past dangerous, and I had to leave. Because I had stayed behind and "bravely fought to save my home" they promised that they would do their best to make sure it hadn't been for nothing. And they totally did. Other than smoke damage, the building only had a few spots on it.
Yesterday some places in the Lake Chelan region hit LEVEL 3. As I heard the advisory start screaching through everybody's mobile phones, I got that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomache that I always get.
Fast forward to today and all the evacuations have been downgraded and the bulk of the fire had been halted at around 20 acres lost. They still don't know how it started. Though I keep getting lightning alerts from my little weather station, so I guess that could be a possibility.
In Other News...
As a child of the 80's, I remember very well The Cold War... and Mikhail Gorbachev's "openess reforms" (гласность, a.k.a. Glasnost) which effectively ended it. Having lived through my entire childhood with nuclear war being a distinct possibility, it was nice to think that... just maybe... things had deescalated enough that the world could breathe a little easier knowing that catastrophic annihilation had been (temporarily, alas) pushed aside even a little bit.
Gorbachev's actions were wildly controversial. And nowhere more so than in the Country Formerly Known as the Soviet Union itself. Now that he has died at 91 years of age, I've seen his пицца хат (Pizza Hut) commercial making it's way through the internets...
If there's one short video which can sum up what Gorbachev in the 1980's was about to American audiences today... it's probably this commercial. I am still amazed that he agreed to actually do it. Which makes me kinda like him, because I love it when powerful people aren't above poking fun at themselves. Humor is a basic human condition, and willing to be the subject of it to better relate to those who are not powerful people... well... it just shows that you still have some humanity left in you. And that goes double when you allow the humor to be coupled with any amount of criticism towards your policies.
Probably why I'm such a fan of the White House Correspondents Dinner. Just the fact that an American president would dare to take part is pretty amazing when you think about it (well, when they actually do take part).
And I know this is a bit cliché... but now I actually want Pizza Hut. I'm all too easily susceptible to suggestion.
Traveling the world is not the only way to have a more open perspective concerning the people living on it. But it definitely helps. If there's one thing that I've taken away from my travels, it's that the vast, vast majority of people on this planet just want to live their lives in peace. They want to have a place to life. Have food to eat. Maybe pop out some kids and raise a family. But above all, they want to not have to live their lives in fear. Unfortunately fear is a highly effective tool to control people, so our lives are governed by fear.
They hate us, so you have to hate them more.
They want what we have, so you have to destroy them before they take it.
We deserve to have what they have, so we need to take it.
Our lives are more important than their lives, so they don't deserve to live.
It is an endless cycle of hatred and fear which keeps powerful people in power and people without power in line so that powerful people maintain their power.
In all honesty, I thought that the advent of the internet would severely cripple the ability of people to use fear as a motivator. "Surely once people see that there is no reason to hate other people since everybody around the globe basically wants the same thing out of life, powerful people will lose their grip on us!" I thought.
To say that this was not the case is a gross understatement.
Turns out the internet was just another tool for powerful people to control us with hate and fear. Even worse, it allows non-powerful people to have a global audience for their hate and fear.
And so it has all escallated to such obscene levels that I'm wondering if we can escape it before we destroy ourselves. It's nice to hope so... but reality says we probably won't.
Which is such a shame.
Because all that the vast, vast majority of people on this planet want is just to live their lives in peace.
It's the middle of a 3-day weekend, but I won't let that stop me... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• There Be Dragons Here! We're three episodes into House of the Dragon and I'm fairly impressed. Not so much for the show, which is okay and I'm certainly enjoying it... but because anybody who has read Fire & Blood already knows what becomes of all these characters, and that's kind of exciting. At least we think we do. Heaven only knows that they could change events in order to drag the show out and have it end in a pile of shit like Game of Thrones...
In the books... this period in Westerous history which culminated in the disastrous "Dance of Dragons" war, was actually quite cool and interesting. If they stay faithful to it, the HBO series could have a great ending. If not? Well, strike two, I guess.
• POWERRRRR! In Amazon's absurdly expensive competition for the above, The Rings of Power, we've returned to Middle Earth (last seen in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy). While watching the first two episodes, I was confused. What in the heck is this supposed to be? We're in The Second Age, which is fine... but it's not feeling very "Tolkien." Nor does it seem to be coming from The Silmarillion (Tolkien's book of stuff that happens in the First, Second, and Third Age). Sure, you've got Elrond and Galadriel, but not in a form that they're recognizable. At least not to me...
Not knowing what to think, I ran to Google to find out. Turns out that Amazon didn't buy the rights to The Silmarillion at all. All they got were the books which have already been made into movies, including the appendices, which is where the concept for Rings of Power came from. But the actual story? Pulled out of their asses. The show is visually stunning. The acting is great. And the story doesn't suck. I will absolutely keep watching. But, it's like, WTF? You would think that the Tolkien Estate would want for the series to be close to Tolkien's vision as possible. But I guess not. Money speaks louder than Elvish, I guess.
• GAH! MY GOD! WHAT DID HAPPEN TO MEN?!??? (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@chris_wells_ #stitch with @tre_valley ♬ BIG MAD - Ktlyn
I've heard this so many times in my life. "WHAT'S HAPPENING TO OUR MEN?!" It's such a laughable question to be asking. Harry Styles doesn't represent "all men" any more than a landing craft full of men during (assumably)
• Booster for my Booster's Booster Booster! The minute it's available to me... "If you have had your primary series, with or without any number of boosters, you are eligible to get a bivalent booster this fall, as long as it has been at least two months since your last COVID vaccine."
• ZOMFG!!! I do not even know how to respond to this (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@fulldanfisher #stitch with @proudviking2 i dont get it and i love mayonnaise for life #fyp #mayonnaise #prisonlube ♬ original sound - Dan Fisher
Now, I love mayonnaise. It's one of my most favorite foods. No stupid-ass "factoid" like this woman is spinning would make me reconsider. Which is why I'm sharing this, because Dan Fisher's measured response is all that needs to be said.
• Your Sexism at Work! Yeah. Not enough people are talking about this: Grey hair: Fine for George Clooney but not Lisa LaFlamme?
• Food! GAH! I AM IN LOVE AGAIN! This woman’s cooking TikTok is the best thing on the internet right now (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@abir.sag Replying to @Krami lulu Maltese Pastizzi 🇲🇹#malta #🇲🇹 #pastizzi #abirzkitchen ♬ original sound - Abir el saghir
Seriously, go watch her videos. She's absolutely lovely, has amazing recipes, and her videos are wonderfully entertaining.
• Safety. A quick and important read if you own an iPhone: How to Hard Lock an iPhone to Prevent Unauthorized Biometric Access (I don't know how this works on an Android phone, but you should find out if you own one).
See you in seven.
International Labour Day is a global holiday on May 1st which celebrates the contribution of workers to society and advocate for their rights. The United States, ever marching to the beat of our own drum, celebrates our Labor Day today.
I, of course, had to work.
Which is fine. I plan on taking a half-day off on Wednesday.
Somebody else who isn't getting a holiday today either?
Otherwise you have to assign feelings to
Look, I did it again.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II • 1926-2022
The Queen is dead, long live The King.
Years ago I read a book about Her Majesty by famed biographer Ben Pimlott. She is about as fascinating a figure as you'd expect. It's because of this book that when I think of Queen Elizabeth, it's usually in the context of her extraordinary dedication to the monarchy and service to her country. No matter what you may think of her in any capacity, you gotta respect her dedication. I've seen more than one documentary on The Queen, and it's always stuck with me how she dug in with the rest of Britain to serve as "Princess Auto Mechanic" during World War II...
Photo from the Imperial War Museum, London
Every day since then, she's continued to serve her people with grace as the face of all Britain to the world. And she was very good at her job. As well she should be, since she's had it since she was 25 years old.
If you want to know a little bit about the history of the Royal Family without having to read stuffy biographies, have I got a short CGP Grey video for you!
And if you want to know how Her Majesty Queen Ellizabeth II happened when royalty is a primarily male-dominated concept (until recently, natch), have I got an even shorter CGP Grey video for you!
And if you're dying to know what good The Queen is when a constitutional monarchy reduces her to nothing more than a ceremonial figurehead, guess what! Yet another short CGP Grey video to explain that to you too!
As you'd assume, all is not perfect in the land of royalty.
I find the entire concept of a monarchy to be antiquated and impractical (it's my duty as an American to feel this way). I think that the idea that somebody is qualified to hold any political position based on genetics and name recognition to be full-on nuts (even in the UK, which isn't an actual monarchy but a constitutional monarchy where the Queen doesn't hold much actual power). History is replete with examples of bad rulers who got the job just because of who their mummy and daddy were. I wouldn't put Queen Elizabeth into this category... but it's still incredibly weird to me that this kind of thing is still going on in the Year of Our Lord 2022. Maybe I would feel different if I were next in line for the throne. Though I'd like to think that my first act after having a massive party for my coronation would be to abolish the monarchy, so I dunno.
There are many examples I could drop about how the Queen is problematic to me. But here's one that has bothered me for a very long time: Her Majesty has a long record of homophobia, and infamously didn't allow partners of gay staffers to attend her annual Christmas Ball at Buckingham Palace until protests in 1995 changed the mind of her and her handlers. 1995! That's surprising (but hardly shocking), as you'd think that somebody who is supposed to represent all of the people would make even a tiny effort to recognize the LGBTQ persons that she rules over (not that Americans are ones to talk given how our leaders are no better... and, in fact, worse in many regards). The fact that she could have done something... anything... to make LGBTQ persons feel a welcome part of her reign but never did is kinda shitty behavior, to be honest.
And so there it is. I'm sorry for her family and all those subjects who loved her, but really hoping that King Charles III does even a little bit more (or a lot more) to be inclusive of all his subjects. And if not? The guy is 73 years old (long may he reign), so maybe I'll see it happen in my lifetime if I'm alive when King William V ascends the throne. Which is entirely possible if he has more of his mother in him than his father, as she always seemed so compassionate towards people... all people, regardless of station or circumstance... than others in the Royal Family.
And now, because I can't help myself, here's a CGP Grey video about tumbleweeds...
Well, today was the day.
Exactly as planned when it launched last November, the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft slammed into Dimorphos... a moonlet orbiting the asteroid Didymos.
And why would NASA do this?
Because it seems prudent to see what we might can do to knock an asteroid off-course that's headed for earth. This test will give us an idea of what may or may not be possible.
The whole DART mission has me irrationally emotional. I feel sorry for DART, who was ordered to crash and be exploded. I feel sorry for the asteroid who was minding its own business and got exploded into. My life would be easier if I didn't anthropomorphize animals and objects. What even more awful though? DART filmed its own demise...
Am I the only one who thinks that this is sad?
But I guess extinction of all life on earth from an asteroid impact is also sad, so make of it what you will.
Just when I think that prices of stuff can't surprise me any more than it already has, I walk out of the grocery store with one bag of food that I paid $65 for, and I'm in shock all over again.
It's really breathtaking. In that I can barely catch my breath from the money I just spent.
Remember when you could order a two-bedroom house, ready-to-assemble from Sears for $1,175? Pepperidge Farms (and the internet) remembers...
$1,298 if you want an interior bathroom.
Which I do, but the $123 difference could buy me two bags of groceries.
I may be mired in wildfire smoke and barely able to breathe, but have no fear... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Behind! If you're old like me, get a colonoscopy, y'all...
The fact that Ryan and Rob are willing to use their celebrity for important stuff like this is why I love Ryan and Rob.
• Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes! Just an FYI that Changeland, one of my favorite films of 2019 is now streaming on Amazon Prime. As if the fact that it's gorgeously shot in Thailand isn't enough, the closing credits features Thai cats! It's a bit deeper movie than this trailer lets on, but it's fun too...
I own the film, so I can watch it any time I want... but I will be giving it more than a couple views on Amazon just to give it some love for studio execs who need to be making more films like this.
• Diego! Well, crap. Now I love Diego Luna even more than I already did...
If you're not watching him being brilliant in Andor, which is the best Star Wars since Rogue One, then you should get on that.
• Play On! Explain to me again how Lizzo playing a fucking flute is somehow controversial. SHE IS A CLASSICALLY-TRAINED FLAUTIST FOR FUCK'S SAKE! Just listen to this...
IT'S NOT LIKE THEY HANDED IT OVER TO SOMEBODY WHO DOESN'T KNOW WHICH END TO BLOW INTO! IT'S NOT LIKE THEY GAVE IT TO PETE TOWNSEND WHO SMASHED IT ON STAGE! IT'S NOT LIKE LIZZO SHOVED IT UP HER ASS AND SHIT IT OUT ON THE CONSTITUTION WHILE KICKING A PUPPY. AND TELL ME THAT BEN SHAPIRO EVEN KNEW ABOUT THE FUCKING FLUTE BEFORE LIZZO PLAYED IT. THE WAY THIS PIECE OF SHIT TRIES TO CREATE FAUX OUTRAGE TO CATER TO PEOPLE WHO JUST WANT TO BE MAD ABOUT EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME IS THE ACTUAL FACE TATTOO PHENOMENON AT WORK...
But that's not all... how the fuck is Lizzo twerking with a slave-owner's crystal flute more disrespectful than it's past-owner James Madison LITERALLY ENSLAVING PEOPLE? I will never in a million years be able to wrap my head around the faux outrage and blatant hypocrisy of these assholes...
Good on Lizzo. I hope she keeps pissing people off for a very long time.
• Expired! Petco rewards points used to expire after 90 days. Then it was 45 days. Now it's 30 days. They really, really don't want you to be able to cash in your points. I look forward to the email telling me that they expire in 24 hours. Guess the only thing I'm buying there now will be their bulk kitty litter... and it's probably cheaper and more convenient to get it from Chewy anyway, so maybe not even that. In adjacent news... look forward to your local Petco announcing that they will be closing soon.
• Avalon! I have only ever been a casual fan of Brian Ferry and Roxy Music. That being said, I played there Street Life: 20 Greatest Hits album to death, and still fire it up from time to time...
Most of my favorite tracks from Roxy Music is from their masterpiece album Avalon. Which is why this look at the album and its recording is so cool to see...
And... now I'll be listening to Street Life on repeat for the rest of the evening.
Until next Sunday then. Here's hoping your air is smoke-free.
As a kid, I was a massively huge fan of Disneyland. I dreamed of going for years before my family finally made the trip down to California. Once I got there, it truly was the most magical place on earth... at least it was to me.
It was from that point on that I became a hardcore Disney Parks geek. I would visit Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and even Tokyo Disneyland over the years just to keep up with whatever cool rides and experiences they had added. That lead me into becoming once of those infamous "Disney Adults" that keep getting trashed by assholes who are mad that they have to stand in line with their bratty kids to ride the rides... using the justification that "Disney is for kids."
To which I say "Fuck off" because kids invade my space all the time. So even if I bought into the argument that "Disney is for kids" (which I do not), I wouldn't care.
I haven't managed to make my way to any of the Disney parks for years. I really want to see the completed Pandora - The World of Avatar land in Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. And Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at either USA park. But I have a serious problem with the way that Disney is letting the parks go downhill thanks to shitty decisions made by CEO Bob Chapek. The gutting of perks from staying at Disney hotels. The total shitshow that's the "Genie+" service (pay more to get less!). The meandering lack of direction and general stagnation. It's as if all the things that make Disney parks a magical place have been falling by the wayside.
Meanwhile over at Universal Studios...
Yeah, Universal is slowly starting to eat Disney's lunch. On top of investing a lot of time and money into cutting-edge experiences and maintaining hotel perks, they're building an entirely new park in Orlando. Not an extra land, but a whole new third park.
Called Universal's Epic Universe the information coming out of its construction is pretty amazing. We're getting four dedicated lands: Super Nintendo World, Universal Monsters, Wizarding World, and How to Train Your Dragon... along with a central hub (complete with its own attractions) and plenty of room for expansion...
Photo by @BioreConstruct with overlay by @TonyHawkins
This isn't just "Blue Sky" promises about stuff that might happen, this is Universal literally building their future.
So I dunno. Maybe Disney will pull through and actually manage to get Disneyland Westside going. Maybe their rumored "Disney Villains" land and "Frozen" land will actually happen in Orlando. Maybe they'll start adding perks back to the hotels so that the massive price tag is worth it.
But until then... I just don't know that a few new rides is enough to make me book a trip to Orlando.
But Epic Universe is shaping up to be something that might.
The Webb Telescope is a massive achievement, and I consider it a total miracle that it's actually working. So much could have gone completely wrong... and yet it actually manages to function as designed. It's a huge testament to science (as well as a government expenditure that I have zero problems with).
It will, however, not last.
Webb is being impacted by micrometeorites at a rate of about one per month, and they already had to recalibrate after a micrometeorite caused "significant damage" back in July. This is not a surprise, as NASA knew that this would happen. The hope is that it can last for 20 years. Anything over that would be cream. There is, of course, also the possibility that it could be ruined far earlier than 20 years.
In the meanwhile though?
Just look at one of the more recent images... The Pillars of Creation...
Now compare that to the previous-best image we had from Hubble...
Seriously awe-inspiring stuff.
As I often do whenever NASA releases some amazing shot like this, I pull up the StarWalk 2 app on my phone to see where the stellar object actually is.
This is almost always a mistake because I always, always, always end up falling down an interstellar rabbit hole. There's just so much cool stuff in the universe to see.
The latest Downloadable Content for StarWalk 2 is 3D constellations...
Which aren't immediately apparent as 3D until you actually rotate the view...
Interesting to note that while the constellations are static and flat from our viewpoint, they are actually at many different distances, and the more you rotate the more extreme it gets...
Some of them, like Hydra, are just bonkers...
I should probably go to bed since it's now almost midnight and I've been looking at the night sky for two hours.
Washington State knows how to election.
First of all, it's vote-by-mail, so everybody gets to participate and their right to vote isn't impeded by "election watchers" or having to wait in long lines or having to miss work (assuming their employer would even allow it). Second of all, you can register to vote at the local election office until 8pm the day of the election.
Unfortunately, by trying to make sure that all voices are heard, I have to read bullshit articles about how our elections are corrupt. The latest is that thousands of ballots have been "tossed out." Which, in a way, is true. It's because the signature on the envelope doesn't match the signature they have on file. However... when I changed my signature years ago, I got a card in the mail telling me that I need to come verify my signature and fill out a new signature card so that my ballot would be accepted. Isn't that the OPPOSITE of voter fraud? Making sure that the ballot was actually cast by the person it was sent to by verifying a signature? But of course THAT part is left out. And what's really telling is how often these fake claims of "voter fraud" are not from within Washington. We're a poster child for other states as to why they shouldn't allow voting by mail. Well fuck off. Every time charges have been levied (we hear the "excess votes cast" accusation a lot) they are disproven.
Fairness in voting is making sure that everybody who is eligible to vote gets to vote. And in a time where voter suppression efforts are rampant, I am glad that Washington is trying to make sure that happens. And we have been for quite a while now.
Too bad that we also have so much shit coming out of the state as well. We have entrenched, career politicians like Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell who are in the pocket of lobbyists just like anybody else. Why the fuck they can't manage to do even the most basic shit (like allowing Washingtonians to have digital ID driver's licenses) while they look out for their own self interests is a mystery. Or not such a big mystery when we keep voting them back into office.
Winter is here, snow has arrived, and it's freezing out, but there's warmth in my heart... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Happy Meal! As a huge architecture nerd, it's very easy for me to get sucked into architecture TikTok or YouTube. This morning while waiting for renders to process, I got hit with this fascinating video about the "Rise and Fall of Fast Food Architecture"...
So many good points to be had here. I very much miss the old aesthetic of fast food restaurants, which is why happening upon one of them (which is most often not a chain restaurant) is such fun.
• Whither Twitter! Watching Twitter implode in Real Time has been entertaining... but also educational. Elon Musk bought the services in the interest of "free speech," but he's learning a big lesson on being careful what you wish for. Twitter has become so toxic so fast that advertisers are bailing and Musk is essentially begging the big name Twitter accounts not to leave. The most hilarious indicator of this was when Stephen King said that he wasn't paying $20 per month to have a blue-checkmark verified account... and Musk shot back with "How about $8 then?"...
It's easy for me to sit back and not care about Twitter (I rarely use the platform because I prefer to have the ability to lock down my posts for a specific audience), but I think it's a bad idea to hope that Musk and Twitter fail. This is an important platform for discourse and interaction which, naturally, may be toxic (Musk himself has been tweeting out conspiracy theory bullshit) but it's also had a good influence in allowing people to have their voices... their causes... their passions... be heard. Which is why I was happy that one of my favorite YouTubers, Marques Brownlee, has this diplomatic take on how Twitter can save itself from itself...
The one thing that could get me to maybe go back to Twitter would be if there was a way to limit the audience of your tweets (ala Facebook). But even then I have serious privacy concerns about the platform which has me wary.
• More Enola! I liked the second flick even better than the first! These films can get a little convoluted... and repetitive in parts... but are enormously entertaining. And that mid-credits scene has me dying for not only more Enola Holmes films... but a Henry Cavill Sherlock movie as well.
Netflix needs to get on more of these movies, because they've struck gold.
• Glowforge! Michael Alm finally finished his new office so he could set up his Glowforge. If I didn't want one of these things before, I most certainly want one now. But the price for entry is $4,000... and to get the model which is the most capable and flexible, you're paying $7,000.
I know that I would never use it enough to make it pay. But that doesn't stop me from wanting one anyway. Just like a 3D printer, which is another device I would love to own. Ah to be a billionaire where you just buy stuff you want and don't have to care about whether or not you can afford it.
• Joy Noel! The fact that Netflix keeps churning out quality holiday rom-coms is something I am 100% onboard with. While Hallmark continues to release some films which are worth my valuable time... you have to sit through a lot of crap as well. Netflix doesn't have a flawless record, but they do release more good movies than bad, it seems. This year, in addition to the Lindsay Lohan film that's coming up, they also have The Noel Diaries dropping this month...
I know that this is is Justin Hartley from This is Us (a show I could never get into), but the only thing I'm really familiar with is when he played Aquaman in a failed TV pilot that was actually not bad... except The CW decided not to buy the show after the merger with The WB.
• Matter? I keep referring to Thread/Matter in my home automation posts, which has been confusing to many people who don't know what this is. Fortunately, Shane Whatley has a wrap-up which is pretty good about why Matter matters...
Matter is something I have been waiting for ever since INSTEON died, came back, and looks to be dying again. I would prefer not to have to replace all my smart home crap every five years, so having something that isn't tied to any specific company seems like a good idea. But the big news about Matter is that it endorses Thread, which is a technology I absolutely love. It's so smart and so fast and so impressive that it really does seem like the holy grail of automation. The fact that it has pretty good range and is low-power is just icing on the cake.
And now I think I should get back to cleaning my house, which is a full-on disaster with all the work that's been going on.
Don't worry about Christmas coming early... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Rebel Rebel! Finally got around to watching E10 of Andor. Holy crap! The quality of this series is unreal. Serious talent and money were put into it every aspect of the show, and it's all on screen. There's nothing currently on television that can touch it. The series transcends Star Wars to become something more... a gritty, surreal form of entertainment that will haunt you for a bit...
Two episodes to go in the first season.
• I'm Batman! I was saddened to learn that Kevin Conroy died. Batman: The Animated Series endures in a way that the Batman movies struggle to do. A big part of that was the voice of Kevin Conroy. Another series that I remember him from was Tour of Duty where he played Captain Rusty Wallace, a character that helped define the first season...
He truly will be missed. Rest in Peace, sir.
• SOCK-LIGHT?? My new light switches do not have dimmable controls, which means I have to have dimmable lights. Which is not a problem, as I found pretty good pricing on Philips Hue can lights. Problem is... one of them I got had the clips bent and A DIRTY SOCK IN THE BOX! And it's like WTF? Returns are not inspected for this kind of gross crap?
Every time something like this happens when you are purchased a "new unopened item" it feels like merely replacing it is not enough. Not only am I losing time, but I'm also having to literally deal with somebody's dirty laundry.
• Whoopsies! Couldn't happen to a nicer piece of shit company raking in huge profits over a drug which the inventor meant to be free. He famously sold the patents to the University of Toronto for $1 saying “Insulin does not belong to me, it belongs to the world.” But of course Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi couldn't let that stand when there are billions to be made...
Insulin should be manufactured and sold at cost. It needs to be a function of government for the public good... not Big Pharma's balance sheet. It's disgusting that this isn't the case.
• The Merchant Tribe mourns. This past week Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opened up. I found out that last year Dorothy Steel died at 95 years old, and this was her final acting role...
I remember reading an article when the first Black Panther was released about how she started acting at age 88. Which just goes to show that you're never too old to chase your dreams!
• Ribbit! The Red Wave that wasn't has come and gone. It would appear the Democrat's strategy of not doing a damn thing about preventing the things their base cares about getting destroyed (like codifying Roe) so they can scare people into showing up to vote actually worked. It's like "Oopsies! Sorry you lost the right to choose, but we needed a way to survive the midterms, so we let you lose it so you'd show up." An incredibly fucked-up strategy, but there's no denying the result...
I COULD HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH IT IF NOT FOR YOU MEDDLING KIDS!
Wonder what they'll be throwing away next so that they have a chance in two years?
Time to make the chimichangas...
It's time to be human... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Again. The shooting at the Colorado Springs nightclub "Club Q" last night is yet another in a string of violent attacks on marginalized communities. And it's like... I just don't get it. LGBTQ persons are not made to feel welcome in general society, so they carve out a space where they can enjoy life for even a short time away from general society... and that's not good enough? Senseless violence has been out of control for as long as humans have existed. That's just fact. But the hatred behind the violence is quickly reaching unsustainable levels as the weapons to act out violence keep getting more powerful. Dozens of people can be cut down in an instant by a single individual, and pretty soon that's going to be the only thing we have.
• Let's Go Brendan! This GQ "Iconic Characters" series is always great. But this one? Oh wow...
I want... quite badly... for Elizabeth Hurley to get one of these.
• Todd! If you are not watching So Help Me Todd on Paramount+, then you are missing out on one of my favorite shows on television. It almost makes me forgive Paramount Network for canceling Magnum P.I. (which, thank God for Peacock TV and NBC, is actually returning despite it all)...
Skylar Astin is a gift, and this show uses him to maximum effect. So COLOR ME SHOCKED that CBS actually renewed the show for a second season! Yay!
• Big Animation! Floor 796 may very well be the coolest thing I've seen in my browser in a minute...
Worth a visit if you like looking at cool stuff!
• I'm Batman! And here's what I wish I would have had to post when Kevin Conroy passed...
A lot of people... like a lot a lot... have Kevin Conroy as "their" Batman. This will go on for a while.
• SHIT! And here we are again. Apple's HomeKit... which has always been HomeShit... is still a pile of shit. And Apple doesn't fucking care. It is absolutely outrageous how there are known issues plaguing the system and Apple doesn't even acknowledge that there are problems. A company worth billions of dollars, but they won't fix it or offer any solutions. For me the biggest problem is that Automations tied to timed events (like sunset or a time of day) don't fucking work! The event arrives and nothing happens. Which is shitty, because I have all kinds of things set up. Like turning my outside lights off and on. There are hundreds of threads on various forums with people trying to find a way to get their timed Automations working. Some things work... for a while... but the overreaching problem of HomeShit being garbage can only be addressed by Apple. And, once more for the people in the back, Apple doesn't fucking care.
And now back to your regularly scheduled Sunday antics.
I've never been nostalgic towards bygone days, but I understand the appeal. And understand it more with each passing day.
This world is turning to shit, isn't it?
Look at me... so pesimistic, and it's only Tuesday.
The people on this planet are severely lacking perspective.
Which is why I'm glad that NASA posts photos which vividly illustrate that we're all just clinging to a tiny ball in a vast expanse of nothing. And the only reason we're special is because we think we're special. But in the grand scheme of things? That's a tough call...
The entire human race could disappear and the rest of the universe wouldn't even notice. Or care.
Today I am (mostly) at home and trying to rest up.
This, of course, requires a lot of YouTube viewing (which makes me even more thankful that I paid for YouTube Premium, because the ads would have driven me insane by now).
Of all the videos I watched, this is the one that I found most fascinating...
Maybe it's the nerd in me, but the science of stuff like this never ceases to blow my mind.