Posted on Thursday, January 4th, 2024
When I was a kid, there were these giant posters of line drawings that came with a pack of colored felt-tip pens which you use to color it. I ended up with a couple of them, but wasn't really a fan because it was more fun to draw my own pictures to color. The way I made it fun was to go crazy with it. I had a "space" poster where I remapped the colors. Everywhere I would normally color blue I would color green. Green was pink. Pink was yellow. And so on. This lead to a rather interesting conversation when I wrapped it around one of my school books. A teacher thought I might be colorblind because CLEARLY I had a problem. I assured them that it was just for fun, but it got sent to the administration anyway. This just lead to an even stranger conversation when I was told that if I'm not colorblind that I shouldn't be pretending that I'm colorblind.
Funny. Here I thought that I was just amusing myself.
As it turns out "amusing myself" always ended up with my getting into trouble.
The constraints of social conformity have always been a buzzkill to creative thinking, which is why I've never been any good at adhering to it. Dress this way. Act this way. Believe this way. Think this way. Because if you don't then there will be consequences.
To which I never hesitated to say "fuck you," because the world needs me more than I need to feel a part of it. Seriously could not care less if people want to exclude me from their clique-based emotional economy or call me names or talk about me behind my back. Sure there have been times that it stung a bit because the people doing it were people I thought cared about me, but ultimately it had zero bearing on my life. Probably because I was a part of internet culture very early on and could always find my tribe regardless of location, distance, or situation. There were always groups that liked the same kind of stuff, had a similar way of looking at the world, and had similar beliefs, so I was never really "alone," even while alone. And I've been lucky to find "my people" in Real Life too, so there's that.
But that was me as a young adult up until now.
I don't know that I was ever seriously bullied by my school peers as a child. Sure I was poked fun at sometimes... that was a given... but other than isolated incidents I can count on one hand, there was no relentless torture. If anything, more bullying came my way via some of my teachers than fellow students.
But it's a different world now.
Bullying, as a matter of course, is relentless and devastating in a way it never was when I was a kid. And it's not just high schoolers who face all new levels of torment thanks to the very internet which saved me from being alone... it's increasingly younger and younger kids. Kids who have no defense because there's increasing indifference towards their plight. Fellow kids run from them so they aren't targeted next. Teachers don't want to get involved because it could get them targeted by parents of bullies. And parents of bullies rarely seem to care (or, even worse, encourage it). Some kids exist in a never-ending nightmare from which they cannot escape. But we allow it because it's always "somebody else's kid."
Until it isn't.
Back on December 19th, my mother's birthday, I found the story of a 12-year-old kid who committed suicide because of relentless bullying. His name is Eli Ballance...
12 years old.
He wasn't even given a chance to find his people.
Undoubtedly he would have eventually found friends who valued him and to whom he could relate to... but he couldn't find a way to live long enough for it to happen.
His mother tried to keep him safe at school... a place, mind you, that kids are required to attend... but they refused to promise her anything. Not that I am putting the blame entirely on educators. Teachers have to put up with increasingly hostile workplaces where they struggle to keep their heads above water as they are vilified and persecuted for trying to do their jobs. But there has to be something that can be done. If parents won't take responsibility for their kid's bullying and teachers are in a place where it's nearly impossible for them to do it without risking their lives or jobs, then there has to be a third party looking out for kids that are at risk. Because this problem is not going away. It's not going to disappear.
I have no idea why Eli was bullied. Not that it matters. His mother said he was "smart, funny, and compassionate." And that's all that really should matter.
Eli's mom is now advocating for change and wears shirts with the words "Pick Kindness" on them as a way to keep other parents from having to go through what she is.
I wish her luck.
Not just for her own peace of mind, but for all the kids like the me of my childhood who would have a tough time surviving in the world today. We deserve a shot at growing up and find our way in the world. We deserve to be able to say fuck you and find happiness despite a world that needs us, but doesn't want to accept us as we are.
Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2024
I went to the office as planned. That part was okay.
Then I went to get my teeth cleaned, found out that the hygienist I've been going to for 20+ years had left, I had a serious tooth-related issue that needs to be dealt with, Albertsons didn't have any squirty cheese, Our Flag Means Death was cancelled, and then everything turned to shit.
After the week I had dealing with my chest cold, HAVEN'T I SUFFERED ENOUGH?!?
The good news is that the streets were nicely plowed after the snow that got dumped on us fell, but of course there are people still driving as if they are on bare pavement when the roads haven't been sanded. Not far from my home somebody in the car in front of me did not give themselves enough time to stop and went blowing right past the stop sign onto a busy street. As I watched it all happen I was like "Go with God, there buddy!" because I thought for absolute sure that I would be witnessing an accident. But... miraculously... God must have been watching out for them (or they were very lucky), because no collision occurred.
Then I got to read this headline...
"Deplorable." Surrogacy is "deplorable."
I am saying this as a former Catholic... assholes dictating reproductive rights can seriously go fuck themselves. This guy has absolutely ZERO authority to be calling for a "universal ban" on surrogacy. For those who want children but cannot have them for whatever reason, surrogacy is an option. For women who carry other people's children for whatever reason, surrogacy is a right. It is categorically absurd for this asswipe WHO DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A UTERUS AND CAN'T* HAVE SEX TO BE DICTATING REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS TO ANYBODY (except for those Catholics who turn to his words for guidance, I guess).
But UNIVERSAL BAN? Yeah, fuck ALL the way off with that bullshit. You know what *I* deem deplorable? The Catholic Church not turning priests who sexually assault children over to the police. Clean up your own fucking house before you dictate how other people live in theirs.
Old white men constantly dictating what women can and cannot do with their bodies is the height of asshole arrogance. Especially this crusty old fuck...
Photo of Pope Whatever taken by AP Photo/Andrew Medichini
Maybe one day religious leaders won't be drenched in hipocrisy, but I'm not counting on it.
Posted on Monday, January 15th, 2024
"We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free market capitalism for the poor."
—Martin Luther King Jr.
Posted on Thursday, January 18th, 2024
When it comes to colonoscopies, I've been very open about the experience. Mostly because I want to encourage others to have the procedure.
Colon cancer, if caught early, is very much survivable (over 90% survival rate). And if you catch pre-cancerous polyps before they turn into cancer, then you're golden. They can be easily removed before something goes terribly wrong. And speaking of which, there's this news...
And yet I don't know that insurance covers colonoscopy if you're under 50 without a doctor's recommendation? That's not great.
If you are 50 or older, haven't gotten a colonoscopy yet, and can get one... please, for the love of God, get one! I had pre-cancerous polyps that were removed in my first time, was clean as a whistle the second time and, although I complained endlessly about the prep for the procedure (cleaning out your colon is no fun at all), the procedure itself was no big deal. They can give you a sedative and you can be doped up and even sleep through it if you want. Or you can go commando and skip the sedation for big fun during the experience.
Just do it. This can literally save your life.
Posted on Sunday, January 28th, 2024
I hope you're sitting down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Ingenuity! The absolutely remarkable longevity of the little Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has been an absolute joy to behold. He was supposed to max out at five flights over 30 days. He completed 72 flights over three years! Way to go!
If you haven't yet, please go to Google and search for "Ingenuity Mars Helicopter" then click on the little animated copter to see what happens.
• Beefalo! I don't know how people cannot love the Kelce brothers...
I'm so glad that I was a fan of them both before Taylor Swift entered the picture. And even before Travis's incredible guest-host spot on Saturday Night Live
• Remote Remote! The question "Who lives in this remote crater in Madagascar" that tags this video is not then question they ask in the actual video. That would be "Why did these people move to such an isolated space?" And the reason they changed it is likely because they realized that the why is obvious. It is painfully clear that it's in a volcano, volcanos have incredibly rich soil, and it looks green so there must be water there... which is backed up by the fact that there's very clearly some agriculture happening at the location. Regardless, this video combines my love of maps, cultures, and travel into a heck of a worthwhile watch...
• This Country Hates Women, Part 3,257: I Miscarried in Texas. My Doctors Put Abortion Law First. Stories recounting this type of repugnant fucking bullshit enrages me to the point that I can't even see straight. I honest to God marvel on a daily basis that women haven't put a torch to this country.
• Faith! Oh look. Sometimes a “Man of God” is actually a man of God...
The number of hypocritical "Christians" I see on a daily basis who pick-and-choose which of Jesus's teachings they have to follow just blows my mind.
• Resort! I've lived in Washington State for the vast majority of my life. And even though I'm not a skier, you'd think that at some point it would have occurred to me that people simply do not fly here to ski. I can name a dozen "destination" ski resorts around the world, but not one of them are in Washington or Oregon. And here's a look at why...
Makes perfect sense. And yet I never thought about it until I saw this video.
• STORY: NFL fans could do a whole lot worse than singing the Black National Anthem at the Super Bowl. I wonder if all these people losing their minds over Lift Every Voice and Sing (AKA "The Black National Anthem") that will be performed at the Super Bowl have even taken ten seconds to look up the lyrics and the meaning of the song. And has everybody forgotten Sheryl Lee Ralph's stunning performance of the song just last year? The outrage machine fires people up for money. Making people mad and divided gets them paid. And we let them do it. This song is perfectly appropriate to be sung at the Super Bowl, and anybody who knows what it's about should have zero problem with it. And, oh yeah, THEY ARE STILL GOING TO SING THE USA NATIONAL ANTHEM! NOTHING IS BEING TAKEN AWAY OR REPLACED!!
Okay. You can stand up now. See you for more bullets in a week.
Posted on Sunday, February 4th, 2024
I am banging this entry out early because I have a house to clean, but better early than ever... because an all new Very Special YouTube Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Strangers! The meat of this excellent video story is about 10 minutes long. It is absolutely worth your valuable time to watch. Especially if you want to know what this experiment we call "life" is all about...
I've seen feature-length movies that didn't work this hard. Brilliant.
• Crash! Remember when police officers stood on the driver's side to talk to you when you get pulled over? Thank heavens they changed procedure and switched to the passenger side, or this officer would have certainly been killed...
Wild. It's just wild to watch it happen. Even more wild that nobody as hurt. And you have to wonder what happened. Was somebody looking at their phone or what?
• We Are the World! It's interesting how USA for Africa came together. I mean, not shocking because it's pretty much what you'd expect, but it's exciting to watch as the dominoes started to fall and people were getting involved. If you have Netflix, this documentary is gold. Especially if you like music...
I actually think there was likely enough material to make a second part, because the stories behind having so many legends in a single room are undoubtedly endless.
• Power! On Friday I mentioned the Marques Brownlee Waveform Podcast where they were talking about the Apple Vision Pro, and they mentioned a relaxing "game" called Powerwash Simulator. I played this at a friend's house, but don't actually own it, so I had no idea what all it contains. Basically, you select a dirt object in the game, then power wash it until it's clean. That's it. When you wash all the dirt and grime off the object you selected, you finish the job and "win." It turns out that one of the things you can wash is the Perseverance Mars Rover! I've fast-forwarded to that part of this review (5:45 minutes)...
And look! The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is there too! How cool is that? If I had a Vision Pro and Powerwash Simulator was available, I'd buy it just for this.
• Attendant! I learned very early on when I was flying constantly about how being a flight attendant works. There are all kinds of excuses as to why their pay doesn’t start until the cabin door closes, usually having to do with making sure that their maximum legal hours worked doesn’t expire in mid-flight after a delay. But it’s all bullshit. I 1000% support flight attendants earning a living wage for the work they do, and excuses are just excuses. Airlines can find a way to pay these hard-working people fairly for the work they do...
• HOT! Hot Ones is a surprisingly deep interview that runs at a brisk pace while buying into an absurd concept of eating hot sauce. And regardless of how you feel about John Oliver and his politics, he has some really funny moments... and some surprisingly astute observations... that aren't straying into political territory...
It just goes to show that John Oliver has some very smart takes the go beyond politics.
• Tay Tay Today! The bat-shit insane conspiracy theories that Fox "News" is drumming up over Taylor Swift don't concern me. It's the fact that some of their viewers actually buy into the conspiracy theories. They don't even make any fucking sense. Like if Taylor Swift says anything AT ALL that's political, she's an evil Biden puppet. But all the "musicians" who show up on Fox "News" to talk Conservative politics are real patriots? Jesus Christ. Taylor Swift hasn't said shit. But apparently Conservatives are shitting their pants over the idea that she could, and so they want to jump in front of it. Anyway... Seth Meyers has a look down the rabbit hole of Taylor's existence, and it's worth a closer look...
Anymore doesn't our reality seem like a fucking bad movie?
At the beginning of each year I don't make resolutions. Instead I make a list of dreams for the next 365 (366 in 2024) days. I'm not talking about pie-in-the-sky dreams of unrealistic fantasy that are unachievable, but dreams which can actually happen. High on that list is that Taylor Swift continue to trigger people in all the best ways. Because apparently this is something that is badly needed. And you know what? January just ended and I'm just going to check that one off my list. Whether she's just existing... or watching her boyfriend play football... or she's being accused of being a demon in league with satan... she triggers more ridiculous people on a daily basis than I could ever hope for. And I love you for that, Taylor!
Now I need to get back to cleaning my wreck of a house. See you next Sunday with more bullets.
Posted on Monday, February 12th, 2024
I find it hilarious how the same people losing their fucking minds over T-Swifty and T-Rav are the same people who reminisce so fondly back to their high school days when the lead cheerleader dated the captain of the football team... assumably because that was indicative of a cleaner, more wholesome age when "men were men, women were women," and nobody was "woke." Plus they're both white, so isn't this is literally their wet dream?
And of course all the people who have nothing but horrible things to say about Taylor Swift are all of a sudden "concerned" for her because Travis Kelce was filmed yelling at his coach to put him in the game after a fumble (or whatever). It was absolutely nothing, which is why the uproar is so silly. But I do like the memes that have come out of it...
And, while we're on the subject... you cannot foster a killer attitude of dominance at all costs in a sport which has the players going out on the field to beat up on each other, and not expect to see something like this. This was literally one of the most important games Kelce will ever play, and adrenaline and emotions are running hot. This is how he has been conditioned to act to make him a more brutal athlete. It's what his coach expects from him. Yes, it's not very sportsman-like. Yes, it's out of line. But all these people acting all shocked over it genuinely puzzle me. This is football.
Not that Taylor Swift is immune to stupid shit...
Lord. Another day, another triggered snowflake who has no clue what the fuck they are talking about.
The entirety of her album Reputation was created as a "defense mechanism," as related by Taylor Swift herself (which was in retrospect because she did zero promotion for it at the time). She had been ruthlessly attacked in the media and portrayed as an evil snake, a heartless witch, and serial dater. SO SHE FLIPPED THE SCRIPT AND WROTE THE ENTIRE ALBUM AS IF SHE WAS ACTUALLY THE PERSON SHE WAS ACCUSED OF BEING! THIS IS NOT HER. THIS IS A CHARACTER THAT THE MEDIA AND THE GOSSIPS AND THE TROLLS CREATED! So when she had this incredible stage show with the snakes and and the "evil," it was not her worshipping Satan or whatever the fuck people want to accuse her of... it's just a portrayal of how she was portrayed. Why is that so difficult to understand for these people?
But, yeah... let's start accusing women of being witches and all that idiocy. It's the Salem With Trials all over again, so why not? Nice to know that NOTHING HAS CHANGED in over 300 YEARS.
Personally, I want nothing but the best for Taylor and Travis. I love them both and I hope they're happy.
JUST SO LONG AS TAYLOR STOPS SHOWING UP TO SUPPORT HER BOYFRIEND AT FOOTBALL GAMES BECAUSE IT'S DESTROYING FOOTBALL!!!
Yes. YES! STOP DESTROYING MUSIC, TRAVIS!!!
Posted on Tuesday, February 13th, 2024
I have been hearing that I'd be able to file my taxes for free for as long as I've been paying my fucking taxes. But of course it will never come to pass because even though this has been a bipartisan issue from the beginning, Intuit buys off the government so that they keep getting to rake in our fucking money.
I had heard that there was going to be a new effort to come up with a free government alternative, but of course Republicans are now doing their level best to torpedo it by cutting the IRS budget because I guess the payola they get is just too good. Billionaires and millionaires don't want a strong IRS because then there will be money available to audit more tax returns and catch more tax dodgers like them. Intuit doesn't want it because it takes money out of their pocket. So the super-wealthy and the TurboTax pieces of shit pay pay pay politicians so they can fuck fuck fuck the American people.
Never mind that increasing the budget of the IRS will actually pay for itself because they will be able to go after tax dodgers... and there would be plenty of money available to build a free tax system too... people keep voting for treasonous politicians who are looking out for their own pocketbook instead of the American people who elect them.
The whole ugly story is here...
But will the American people actually fucking do anything about it? Of course not. The lies from the politicians they worship like gods are easy to believe when you turned off your brain long ago.
Posted on Wednesday, February 21st, 2024
If somebody would throw a science text book into Alabama, that would be great. Preferably science book on tape, as it seems lawmakers are not much into reading words in those learnin' books.
And while we're on the subject, I thought it was unlikely that politicians could be more fucking stupid and willfully ignorant than the likes Lauren Boebert, Louie Gohmert, and Majorie Taylor Green. But then along comes fucking Tommy Tuberville and it's all "Hold my beer." Jesus.
We have seriously got to have a basic competency test for all political condidates before they can even get on the ballot. I mean, critical thinking skills would be nice... but right now I'd settle for not being as dumb as a box of fucking rocks.