Posted on October 4th, 2019
And so the murderer of Botham Jean has been convicted and sentenced.
I have many, many thoughts on this matter.
Primary of which is that 10 years for murdering a man in his own home while he was sitting on his couch eating ice cream, then not administering any kind of first aid, then lying your damn ass off about what happened... is not nearly adequate punishment. Not even close. I also feel that a judge in a court of law handing over a Bible to her as she's carted off to prison was fucking abhorrent. Does the judge do this to everybody, regardless of what faith they may already be keeping? Is it really her fucking job to try and convert people to Christianity in her courtroom? So much for the separation of Church and State.
But setting all that aside... Trevor Noah, not surprisingly, has a beautiful take on all this. He is one of our great thinkers, and has a way of looking at things and discussing things which is entirely on-point. Just watch this...
I can't really add anything to that and sound like I'm being rational, so I'm just going to let that be the end of it. A plea for compassion really should be the final word here, and I hope one day I can get to that point. Peace and healing to Botham Jean's family and friends
And then there's everything else that's going on. I mean, holy shit are things fucked up right now.
I don't even want to get into the whole impeachment issue. I'll just say this: If it were President Obama who did these totally illegal acts... illegal acts which President Trump has fully admitted to and confirmed ON LIVE TELEVISION... what would the reaction be from Republicans? They wouldn't stop at impeachment, that's for sure. They would be calling for a firing squad on the White House lawn. The hypocrisy here is beyond my ability to even conceptualize. There is hard evidence that President Trump has abused his office multiple times, but in every case people continue to believe his lies and bullshit. The same people who call themselves "patriots" and claim to want to "drain the swamp." PRESIDENT TRUMP AND HIS ADMINISTRATION IS THE FUCKING SWAMP!
Oh well. Maybe it's for the best he stay in office and (hopefully) get voted out next year. Because I fully admit that the idea of a President Pence scares the shit out of me. That vile moron is fucking insane. And that is not hyperbole. He is certifiable. I honestly believe that it is 100% a possibility that he would order a nuclear strike on the Middle East because he thinks Jesus will protect the United States. That's the kind of bat-shit crazy stuff he literally believes. Along with government-sanctioned persecution of anybody who is not a straight white male Christian. Mustn't forget about that. Of course now evidence is surfacing that Vice President Pence was up to his eyeballs in the Ukraine scandal, so maybe they'll both be removed?
One can only hope. The entire fate of this country is at stake.
And speaking of which...
President Trump has threatened more than a couple times to declassify "devastating" information on the Democrats in yet another quid-pro-quo situation... this time to stop Democrats from investigating him (which is totally what an innocent person would do). Can I just say that I totally hope he's not lying (again) and this information exists and he will actually release it?
One can only hope. The entire fate of this country is at stake.
Selective outrage at illegal abuses of political office along party lines is worse than no outrage at all. If there's one thing Americans should be united on, it's that ALL these corrupt mother-fuckers need to go down in flames. Sure that may be the vast majority of politicians in office, but they can be replaced. So bring it on.
Posted on July 24th, 2019
I'm in the future! This post is for Wednesday but I'm writing it on Thursday because stuff happened.
My flight to Boston was great (thanks, Alaska Airlines!). My hotel at midnight was nice. My drive up to Maine was painless. My lunch was very good. My hotel is great as always. But work was pushed back several times over many hours, so I'm kinda in that limbo state that happens when you're sleep-deprived yet having to concentrate on the job.
Somewhere in all that, I needed a snack so I grabbed a bag of Mango Pineapple Mix. I love dried pineapple and mango, so it was an easy choice.
When I started chowing down, I noted that there was hardly any mango or pineapple taste to be found. As you chew it, it tastes more like peanut butter and raisins...
INGREDIENTS: PEANUTS, RAISINS, SUNFLOWER KERNELS, MANGO, PINEAPPLE, CASHEWS.
Here in the USA, ingredients must be listed in order of volume. But they don't have to tell you the percentage of each ingredients. For my "Mango Pineapple Mix" my guess is that it's something like this...
So... not really a Mango Pineapple Mix after all. The ingredients might as well have read...
Mango, pineapple, and cashews are expensive, so they are used sparingly. Peanuts, raisins, and sunflower seeds are cheap, so they are used as filler. Which is fine, except in this case the filler is so overwhelming that you never really taste the ingredients that the mix was named after.
The product is a lie.
Which is nothing new. Companies lie to sell their crap all the time.
Just like politicians.
As the presidential race starts heating up, you quickly realize that all the threats and promises the candidates are making are just filler. Cheap lies they say so they can get elected. Promises, after all, cost nothing. If I were to break down the ingredients for a politician's motivations when running for office, it would probably go something like this...
Yes, I realize that all adds up to 500%, but you've seen how politicians operate... tell me that I'm wrong. And don't kid yourself, that 2% is very much dependent on whether having "concern" will jeopardize their bigger priorities.
The product is a lie.
Which is nothing new. Politicians lie to sell their crap all the time. Their "ingredients" might as well read...
Why American citizens don't give a shit about this obvious scam is beyond me. I see the headlines and marvel at the fact that people aren't rioting in the streets. Take this one, for example...
You work your entire life so that one day you can retire. Significant chunks of your paycheck are taken for Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, with the expectation that this money will come back to you so that you don't have to spend your "golden years" living in disease and poverty.
And yet here we are.
If you're one of the wealthy individuals benefitting from the money being stolen from working-class America, congratulations, you got the country you paid for. If you're not one of those individuals, then I hope you enjoy your "golden years" living in disease and poverty. You voted for it, after all.
Change your mind? Here's a checklist for a good start...
That last one is the ballgame. It's also complex and interesting. Fortunately, CPG Grey has you covered. Watching these videos is well worth your time if you're at all concerned about just how badly fucked you are by our current political system...
And... back to work. And my shitty trail mix.
Posted on March 27th, 2019
My ideal presidential candidate is an intelligent, young, artistic, Black, atheist, lesbian woman who served in the military. And I'm not even joking. I want somebody in The White House who understands that freedom and liberty are more than just words... and what it's like to be marginalized by society so they will fight for everybody. Not just stupid, old, white, Christian, straight male billionaire trust-fund assholes. EVERYBODY.
If I can't have that, I'll take anybody... anybody... who checks as many of those boxes as possible and can beat President Trump in our next election.
Because right now this country does not belong to its citizens. It belongs to career politicians in the pocket of the absurdly wealthy, and they don't represent us. They don't even care about us. All they care about is (more) money and power... and re-election, of course.
Right now the candidate I like is Pete Buttigieg...
He's young, in the Navy Reserve (served in Afghanistan), gay, married to his husband, and knows seven languages (one of which he learned because he wanted to read a book in its native Norwegian). He's a Harvard kid, yes, so his professor parents have money... but he was president and valedictorian of his high school class and graduated magna cum laude from college as a Rhodes Scholar, so he knows hard work.
His political experience is not great, but I see that as a definite plus. Especially since what experience he does have is stellar.
Of course, it's still early, so who knows what else there is to know about Pete Buttigieg. Just my luck he's a serial killer or something equally heinous.
The big question is... can he beat President Trump in an election fight?
I honestly don't know.
For me, all he would have to do is show up to a debate, smile, say nothing, and let Trump be Trump. But for the majority of Americans, the fact that he's actually smart means he's not somebody they want as president. He's also gay, which too many people don't want to even exist. Apparently people want somebody who says they're smart when they're a total dumbass. And who is a serial adulterer and misogynistic asshole (so long as they're straight) and terminal liar (so long as they are lying about being a Christian).
I'd hope for a scandal that will send Trump's approval rating spiraling, but the numerous scandals he's already been involved in don't seem to hurt him, so that's a lost cause.
I suppose I just have to hope that the American people will smarten up and vote for somebody who actually has their best interests at heart...
So I guess we're doomed then.
Posted on February 3rd, 2019
Don't the mistake of clicking that back button now... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Carnivore! I choose to be vegetarian because humans can adapt to vegetarian/vegan diets. Cats and dogs were not designed to be vegetarian/vegan, and forcing them on this "diet" is unhealthy... even deadly. If you won't feed your pets the meat they were built to eat, then get a pet that is made for a vegetarian/vegan diet. Like a hamster or something. Better yet, don't get a pet at all if you don't have their health and well-being as a priority.
• Salty! After it was announced that Jarrod Saltalamacchia was retiring from baseball I started to write a blog post about it, but could never figure out what I wanted to say. I'm a huge fan...
Photo by Keith Allison @ Flickr
I'm such a fan that I ended up bidding on (and winning) his dugout jacket from the 2013 World Series...
I first became a fan when he started playing for the Red Sox (of course), but I kept up with his career as he moved on to Miami, Arizona, Detroit, and Toronto...
Best of luck in retirement, Salty!
• Taxable! Heaven only knows I'm not 100% onboard with the current taxation scheme that we're subjected to here in the US. And I don't much agree with many of the proposed alternatives either. That being said, I'm getting increasingly pissed off with those politicians who are lying assholes about how tax brackets work. Forget what you're being told and watch this short video...
It's pretty simple, yet people are incredibly stupid when it comes to what they choose to believe. No surprise there.
• Stop Doing That! Samantha Bee's Full Frontal had a segment on the challenges that deaf persons have in dealing with the police. If that's not enough to get you to take a look, Nyle DiMarco stops by to help out... and take his shirt off...
If only those who can hear will take the time to listen.
• Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch! Now this takes talent...
When I was in Wales, I had trouble pronouncing the four letter words. Attempting to pronounce this would probably kill me.
• Infinity Paint! And, lastly, this is my favorite thing on the internet this past week.
And... life goes on even though Bullet Sunday is over.
Posted on January 15th, 2019
And... I had to cancel all of my March travel because there's no way to plan for a US Government shutdown that has no end date. If this thing is still going through February, I'm guessing I'll have to cancel my travel for April. This is extraordinarily bad. Both for the charity I'm trying to work with and the people who rely on that charity to, you know, continue living and stuff.
Not to mention all the people who are going to have a tough time surviving right here at home. If they have government jobs (or are in industries linked to the government) I'd imagine that money for things like rent and utilities and gas and food is going to be in short supply soon. It's really tough to see people posting their worries online only to be met with helpful comments like "YOU SHOULD HAVE SAVED MONEY IN CASE THIS HAPPENED! ARE YOU STUPID? Well, if they're like so many people, they're not stupid. They're just having to live paycheck to paycheck and don't have an opportunity to save. I paid $46 for two bags of groceries the other day. That'll cover me for about a week. If I didn't already have cat food, that total would have been higher. I can't imagine how much it costs to feed a family of four for a month.
What's difficult for me to figure is the non-stop political blame game that's currently going on. DEMOCRATS WERE FOR A WALL BEFORE THEY WERE AGAINST IT! Well, not really. They were for a "Secure Fence Act"... thirteen years ago... which was attached to a lot of concessions. Needless to say, a lot has fucking happened in thirteen years, so it's not the apples-to-apples comparison it seems. DEMOCRATS ARE WEAK ON BORDER SECURITY! THEY WANT WIDE-OPEN BORDERS! Well, not really. Any Democrat I've heard speak on the subject says that border security is a priority for them... they just want to invest money into something that's actually going to work (and not bankrupt the country over a pathetically inadequate budget projection). THIS IS ALL THE DEMOCRATS' FAULT! Well, not really. According to 2013 Donald J. Trump, weak presidential leadership is at fault for government shutdowns. NO, REALLY, THIS IS ALL ON THE DEMOCRATS! Well, not really. There are Republicans opposed to the stupid-ass wall as well. Enough Republicans that President Trump couldn't get it funded before Democrats took the House earlier this month. If Republicans can't convince Republicans when they are in control of everything, it's the Democrats' fault? Really?
What's even more difficult for me to figure is how people are okay with their very lives being nothing more than bargaining chips over a wall that's not even going to fucking work. I may loathe Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in equal measure, but they've got one thing correct: border security should be debated apart from the livelihood of Americans just trying to get by. But Clownface VonFuckstick doesn't give a shit about people who aren't millionaires, which is all the justification he needs to carry on with his temper tantrum stand-off bullshit. And that's enough for his supporters to taunt, ridicule, and otherwise rip into people wondering how they're going to be able to afford food and shelter if things keep going as they have been.
I'll ponder all that while trying to figure out how I will find space in my calendar to fit the three trips I just canceled. They're going to have to be pushed to Fall where travel dates are already scarce. But since actual lives are at stake, I'll make it work somehow.
Assuming we're not still shut down.
Posted on December 16th, 2018
The weather outside may be frightful, but there's warmth to be had... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Stranger Strange! It was announced earlier this week that Scott Derrickson will be returning for the sequel to Doctor Strange, which is fantastic news considering how amazing the first one turned out...
There are dozens of different directions that a new story might take. Baron Mordo (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) is almost certain to be the villain. Or one of the villains anyway. Since magic-based characters in the MCU are scarce, they wouldn't necessarily have to go off-earth in order to come up with something wildly different, but some kind of inter-dimensional aspect to the plot is probably a safe bet. But what else? Will we get to see Mephisto? Clea? Umar? Nightmare?
• Julia Sans Julie! Did you know that somebody edited out all the horrible Julie Powell parts from Julie and Julia? Well they did! And it's so much better...
Makes me wish that they would have just made a Julia Child movie from the start. Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci were magic, and Julia's story is a fascinating one. Thanks to Run Jen Run for the tip!
• Musical Guest! Talk about lighting in a bottle. Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus (along with Sean Ono Lennon) performed the classic John Lemmon track Happy Xmas (War Is Over) on Saturday Night Live last night...
I've been a big Miley fan since I first saw her on Hannah Montana. She has an incredible voice... in and out of the studio... and, crazy antics aside, she knows how to sing. She's especially great at interpreting other people's music (as the above video shows). One of my favorites remains her beautiful take of the Crowded House song Don't Dream It's Over with Ariana Grande...
Can't wait to see what she's got lined up next.
• Echo! "Alexa, what song is this?"
"This is Good Time featuring Owl City and Carly Rae Jepson by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepson from the album Good Time by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepson."
"HOLY SHIT, ALEXA! ENOUGH WITH GOOD TIME FEATURING OWL CITY AND CARLY RAE JEPSON!"
"Now playing Good Time featuring Owl City and Carly Rae Jepson by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepson from the album Good Time by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepson."
"Well played, Alexa. Well played."
• Don't Look Here, Look There! It's always the people with fucked up shit in their closet that goes after the LGBTQ community. Always. You can set your clocks by it. Whenever I see somebody "railing against the gays" I just set an egg-timer until the news drops about them going to prison for something heinous. Then a Facebook friend shared this...
There's a reason that there are people who are virulently attacking people who have nothing to do with them. Set your egg timers.
Stay warm there, buckaroos.
Posted on November 7th, 2018
I have voted for many Republicans over the years. Here in Redneckistan, you kind of have to for some positions because Seattle-side politicians don't give a crap about us after they get our votes. But President Trump is so abhorrent that not only did I NOT vote for a single Trump-enabling Republican like Dino Rossi... I take great joy in their defeat. Rossi was hardly an honorable politician, but that wasn't the deciding factor for me (are any of them?). It was Trump, only Trump, and it will always be Trump. Any party that would unleash this monster on the country will not be getting a single vote from me. And may never get a vote from me again.
Rossi would have most certainly voted in support of Mitch McConnell wanting to steal from our Social Security and obliterate Medicare, both of which we pay for. He would have definitely voted to increase our debt in favor of more misguided tax breaks for the über-wealthy that will never benefit working-class Americans (no matter what Republicans say). He probably would have voted for Trump's stupid wall which will ultimately do little-to-nothing to halt immigration or drugs, but would certainly destroy animal migration and the environments which animals live. And I'm fairly certain that he would have supported stopping Mueller's investigation of the horrendous accusations against our president (seriously, shouldn't we be 100% sure about this?). I'm not sure about supporting Dear Leader's insane tariff war, which is decimating American farmers and our exports. But it's a foregone conclusion he would sit idly by as Trump continues his shitty attacks on reporters, the environment, science, poor people, immigrants, Persons of Color, the LGBTQ community, non-Christians, logical thinking, and actual human decency. I'd like to think he would have drawn the line at condemning our allies and praising the enemies of The United States of America like Cheeto Jesus does, but you never know. President Trump is very quick to make enemies of Republicans who do not offer whole-hearted support and non-stop praise of every fucked-up thing he does.
Short-term power gains that Republicans get by enabling the heinous crap Trump says and does on a daily basis will ultimately continue pushing people like me further and further Left. There's just nowhere else for politically unaffiliated people like me to go and feel sane. Or be able to live with ourselves.
It's because of this that I hope the Republican party continues to erode from within because they 100% deserve it. And after they're gone we can work on getting rid of the Democratic party too. Perhaps then we can finally find a political system that works for the people instead of corporate lobbyists. Finally get a political system run by citizens instead of billionaire puppet masters. Finally smash this two-party system that is destroying all of us with corruption, divisiveness, and fear. We've let politicians make ourselves our own worst enemy for far too long. At some point we need to put differences aside and start confronting the REAL enemy. But will we?
Fortunately, it's not up to us, because what we have now is unsustainable. Change will ultimately be coming whether people want it to or not. The question is whether we'll be annihilated in the process. The way things are headed now, it certainly feels that way. We are just too lazy, uninformed, and easily manipulated... and content to remain that way.
In the meanwhile... chocolate cake for breakfast though, so I guess it's not all bad.
Posted on October 15th, 2018
Like most everybody, I would prefer not paying taxes.
But the only way it all works is if everybody kicks in money so that things we rely on can continue to function. Like the fire department. Like our military. Like food inspectors. Like so many things that keep us safe and make sure the services we enjoy have the funding they need.
And so... we pay taxes.
The problem is that the way we are taxed is incredibly fucked up.
Our progressive federal tax scale means that the more money you make, the more money in federal taxes you pay. The base rate goes from roughly 10% for the poorest among us to roughly 40% for the wealthiest among us. Except... there are so many fucking loopholes and bullshit conditions to taxation that somebody who should be paying 40% can end up paying less than 10% if they are creative in their finances. Billionaires can easily pay nothing if they figure out a way for their income to be tied up in investments and shit.
Like I said, the system is incredibly fucked up.
Now, I don't pretend to be an economics genius or anything... but there has got to be a better way. Something more fair and honest. But since the billionaires control all the wealth (hence they control all the politicians making the tax laws), "a better way" will likely never happen. Instead we're getting even more tax cuts for the wealthy that are paid for by huge cuts to things like Medicare and Social Security that we have already fucking paid for along with critical services... like public education.
Personally, I am all for abolishing income tax of any kind and eliminating the IRS. Instead of income tax, the taxes we need will come from the shit you buy. This is called a "consumption tax" and, in my mind, seems a lot more fair than the bullshit we have now. Everybody pays the same consumption tax on absolutely everything except food and medical expenses. Buy a new fingernail clipper? Pay a little tax. Buy a fucking mansion? Pay a lot of fucking taxes. And no buying your fingernail clippers in France so you can avoid paying your consumption tax! Anything you bring into the country is immediately subject to taxation. Don't want to pay taxes? Don't buy anything.
In the meanwhile though...
Since I am paying an outrageous amount of federal income tax on every dollar I make, I try very hard to not pay sales tax. Any large purchase... like camera equipment... I purchase out of state so I don't have to pay taxes on it. At least I did...
I get it. Honestly I do. Washington State (which doesn't collect a state income tax) relies on sales tax to pay the bills. An astronomically high sales tax that's near 9%. So when I order a $1000 camera lens from B&H Photo in New York, Washington State is losing out on $90 in tax revenue.
A tax I'd be happy to pay if it weren't for all the other shit I'm taxed on. Hell, run it up to 20% for all I care... so long as you get rid of the IRS and my fucking income tax so we have a consistent, fair tax rate that everybody has to pay equally.
But what do I know? A consumption tax sounds fair and transparent to me, but maybe it's a dumb idea. Maybe a flat-tax is better. Maybe there's an alternative to taxes which will still allow us to pay for public safety, infrastructure, and defense that's far more fair than what we got. I really don't know and I honestly don't care. So long as we get rid of the fucked up insanity we're stuck with now.
Especially since I'll now be paying more taxes than ever before.
Especially since politicians are spending more tax revenue than ever before.
Especially since Americans are getting fucked over by our government worse than ever before.
Posted on June 20th, 2018
Whatever the fuck this is...
Posted on May 22nd, 2018
I'm just going to come out and say it... health care in the United States of America is a festering pile of shit that is impossible to navigate and increasingly impossible to pay for. I'm sure this will come to a surprise to absolutely nobody, because we've all needed medical attention at some point in our lives... if not for us, for a loved one.... and then had to deal with the fallout.
Health care is a monolithic, byzantine maze of bullshit and corruption that's enough to make even the smartest person insane.
Take where I'm at, for example.
My health insurance deductible is huge. Thousands of dollars. I never get out of my annual deductible because I'm relatively healthy and, apparently, lucky. What this means is that I have to pay for absolutely everything medical-related out-of-pocket. But apparently I do get some kind of discount that's been negotiated between my insurance and my local clinic. What is this discount? Who the fuck knows. I've been trying to find out the cost of making a consultation appointment FOR TWO DAYS and have gotten nowhere.
This is how the system is designed.
The clinic doesn't want you to know the cost because you might not schedule an appointment if you knew. The insurance company doesn't want to commit to coverage for a future appointment, because they might need to increase their profits by reducing (or eliminating) their coverage before you see the doctor.
Which, if you live in an underserved region like I do, could take months to get an appointment.
What amuses me about this bullshit is that these are the bad things that people who don't want universal healthcare try and scare people with! It'll take forever to see a doctor? It takes fucking forever right now. We can't determine how much it will cost? We can't determine how much it fucking costs right now.
My issue isn't life-threatening. Well, I suppose it could end up there, but no... not really.
But what if it were life-threatening?
Well, the way it works in The United States of America is that you just have to sign on for treatment blindly and hope you don't have to declare bankruptcy so you can live.
And don't get me started about people who get sick and could be easily and cheaply treated in the beginning... but they can't afford it... so they wait and wait until they are near death and it's horrendously expensive to treat (if it's treatable at all) so taxpayers ends up paying for their bills because they end up losing everything. What fucking sense does that make? Give everybody healthcare so everybody is healthy and problems are fixed when they're cheap! As a taxpayer, I'd rather pay for what's cheap than what's horrendously expensive!
Maybe one day politicians will take a break from sucking lobbyist cock long enough to figure out how to make health care affordable for everybody.
Because the only people benefiting from the system we have now are insurance companies. And the politicians being paid off by insurance companies. Considering their health care is free and they don't give a fuck about anybody else, I don't expect them to stop sucking that lobbyist cock any time soon.
This is also how the system is designed.