Posted on June 30th, 2017
My home of state of Washington has a new "Distracted Driving Law" taking effect on July 23rd. Once enacted, it is illegal to use hand-held cell phones, tablets, games or other devices while driving. Or while stopped in traffic. Or even sitting at a stop light. You have to be parked. Or a passenger.
So... if you don't have a Bluetooth interface for your car stereo or a Bluetooth earpiece? No calls for you. I'm assuming if you don't have a car-mount, no GPS maps for you either.
And, seriously, it's about time.
A lot of Washingtonians are enraged about "losing their rights" or bemoaning "the nanny state" or crying because "no politician should be able to tell me what to do"... but, come on. Look at how many accidents are happening because people are texting and driving! Since idiocy apparently needs to be legislated into doing the right thing, this is where we're at.
Yes, I will miss being able to look at texts while at a stop light... because apparently I am one of those rare people who can do that without missing the light turning green... but this is so needed. I cannot tell you how many times I've been nearly hit by somebody with their face in their phone instead of on the road. Or seen somebody driving like a moron because they're distracted by their mobile. People are dying from distracted driving, and I definitely don't want to become a statistic because somebody else was stupid.
Hopefully the idea of being fined will be enough of a deterrent to make the law effective.
Otherwise the only people obeying the law are probably the people who weren't driving while distracted in the first place.
Posted on January 4th, 2017
Every ten years or so, discussion starts up on dividing Washington into two states. It never really goes anywhere... mostly because it can't go anywhere... but we'll get to that in a minute.
But first, here we go again...
Early last December, dumbass politicians from Spokane (the biggest city in Eastern Washington) announced they wanted to split Washington in half and officially create a new state called "Liberty." The argument being that we here in the East are tired of godless liberal politicians in Seattle telling the people of Redneckistan how to live their lives, and we need to go our own way.
The statement is not completely unfounded, but it is stupid.
Eastern Washington has about twice the land but one third the population of Western Washington. This means that State government doesn't give a shit about Redneckistan, because the people who get them elected are west of the Cascades. It doesn't take a genius to guess who politicians are going to spend their time, effort, and money keeping happy. This creates eternal conflict between East and West which, four years ago, I summarized in a cartoon that went like this...
That's pretty much my home state in a nutshell.
The problem is that Eastern Washington can't just up and decide to split off from the state. First we'd need a majority of Washingtonians to support it. Then we'd need an act of Congress to actually do the deed. And while I'm sure there are plenty of people in Western Washington that would just love to tell Redneckistan to fuck off and don't let the door hit your ass as you leave... I can't imagine that a majority of people on either side of the state would want the split. Nor can I imagine Congress supporting such a thing.
Hence the "stupid" part of the equation.
Which is where dumbass politicians keep wasting everybody's time and money with idiotic bullshit like this. And, in what seems to be a growing trend, there are actually people here in Redneckistan totally buying into it even though a split would be against their own self-interest.
A moot point given that it ain't gonna happen, but frustrating just the same.
Fortunately, Washingtonians always have something they can come together and rally behind...
Yes. Go sports teams, go.
Posted on June 19th, 2012
It's an interesting time to be living in Washington State.
For one thing, you can walk into a store and buy hard liquor. Tequila at Safeway... Vodka at Wal-Mart... Rum at Costco... when it comes to buying alcohol, our choices are overwhelming now. This is a radical change from the old days when only government liquor stores were allowed to sell such beverages. And by "old days" I mean "last month." It's going to take a while before I get over the shock of walking into the grocery store and seeing booze for sale. Of course, having such easy access to said booze will probably help.
But the bigger change is yet to come.
Back in February, Washington lawmakers passed a marriage equality bill which legalized same-sex marriage. This mobilized the anti-equality brigade, because some people feel that basic human rights and freedoms should be put to a vote. Signatures against equality were collected... enough to force a ballot measure... so now we wait until November to see if an entire group of tax-paying citizens get the same right to marry that everybody else has.
Current polling shows marriage equality winning out, but I'll believe it when I see it. Sadly, you can never underestimate the power of disinformation, fear, lies, and ignorance when it comes to the public at large. And I'm sure that we're going to be seeing plenty of that in the coming months.
Which is really disheartening when you consider the consequences for people whose lives are affected.
Last month I shared an incredibly moving video which explained why marriage equality is so important. Today that video is now a Kickstarter project to become an actual film BY LINDA BLOODWORTH-THOMPSON (of Designing Women fame)...
If you can spare a few bucks to help counter the disinformation, fear, lies, and ignorance, head over to Kickstarter and donate, won't you?
Posted on February 23rd, 2011
And so my journey home continues... this time with pretty pictures!
Since it would still be less time to drive back to Seattle and go over the mountain passes, the first thing I did when I got up this morning was check the pass reports. One was closed. The other was "chains required" (and my car can't wear chains, even though I am legally required to carry them). And sooo... I had no choice but to continue the massive detour I was on...
This is how I usually get home. Travel time: 2hr 10min...
This is the detour I had to take. Travel time: 9hr 15min...
Well... technically it's 9 hours and 15 minutes. With my overnight stop in Portland, it actually took me 16 hours and 35 minutes to get home.
And thought the long, long drive sucked ass, there were some cool things to see along the way. My first stop? THE BRIDGE OF THE GODS! In ancient times, there was a natural stone bridge that crossed the Columbia River. Native American legend says that the bridge was put there by Manito, The Great Spirit, because he was sympathetic to the hard time people had crossing the river. A mural at the foot of the bridge shows what this looked like...
But due to a jealous rivalry between mountain gods, the bridge was destroyed (you can read all about it here). And so in 1920 we had to build our own bridge, which looks like this...
From there, I continued onward, eventually crossing the Columbia River into the small region of Maryhill, Washington. The place is kind of famous because of a World War I war memorial here... STONEHENGE! And unlike the old and busted Stonehenge in England, the Stonehenge here in Washington is new hotness...
There are a lot of wind turbines in the area...
The drive up through the Columbia Basin's county roads was pretty lonely. Most of the time I was the only driver on the road. Still, there was some nice scenery to be had...
And then, before I knew it, I was home. Exhausted and wanting to die... but home just the same.
Pretty as it was, I don't want to do this drive again any time soon.
Posted on October 15th, 2010
My Washington State Voter's Ballot arrived today!
So I spent my evening carefully researching the issues and candidates... right after I got back from yelling at an old lady. But don't worry, she totally deserved it. I was at the grocery store getting something for my grandmother and had to call my mom to make sure I was getting the right thing. A woman shopping near me was compelled to say "ALL THESE DAMN PEOPLE WITH THEIR DAMN CELLPHONES EVERYWHERE!" To which I instantly replied "ALL THESE BITTER OLD HAGS WITH THEIR FOUL MOUTHS EVERYWHERE!"
Most of the time I like having a smart mouth, but I probably should have let that one lay.
Oh well. Back to voting.
Here's my choices in the Washington State Senator race...
Of course, "choices" doesn't mean shit, because all I get to "choose" from are dumbass Democrat incumbent Patty Murray and dumbass Republican challenger Dino Rossi. And what can they do for my home state? What are their plans to help Washingtonians? Why should they get my vote? Who the fuck knows! All their ads are attacking each other with absolutely NO indication of how they're going to deal with the challenges facing Washington State. Ugly, disgusting, stupid fucking attack ads running day and night that tell me nothing. And yet, also telling me everything I need to know.
Fuck you both you stupid assholes. Neither one of you deserve my vote.
Linnea Hirst is the president of the Washington State League of Women Voters. This awesome organization has a terrific mission statement: "The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy."
If, by association, Linnea Hirst has the same mission statement for her own political agenda, I can think of nobody I'd rather have as my Senator. Except Steve Jobs. But I think his California residency disqualifies him. Or maybe Elizabeth Hurley, but I think her lack of US citizenship disqualifies her.
I won't bore everybody with a rundown of how I'm voting on all the issues, but I will make one final comment concerning Initiative 1107...
I am 100% unequivocally in support of passing I-1107. It will repeal HOUSE BILL 2388 (the so-called "candy tax"), which I feel is hands-down one of the stupidest fucking pieces of legislation in Washington State history.
And this has absolutely nothing to do with my being opposed to tax on candy. It has everything to do with how asinine the bill's arbitrary language is, and how astoundingly stupid the people behind it are for ever ramming this crap down our throats...
Looky! It's Representatives Jim Moeller along with his pack of dumbfucks Chase, Pedersen, Appleton, Kagi, Cody, Seaquist, Ormsby, and Roberts! Let's take a look at how they decided to balance the budget with their brilliant new tax...
Here's two Reese's candy bars: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Reese's Sticks. Since candy is taxed in Washington State, both of these items are taxable. Except one of them isn't. The Reese's Sticks candy bar has flour as an ingredient, so it's not considered candy and is exempt.
Here's another one...
That's not candy, it's almonds! Except when you roast them in honey, because that makes them candies after all. So the can of almonds on the left is not taxed, but the can of candy on the right is taxed.
Twizzlers Strawberry Twists candy, TAXABLE! PowerBar Creamy Citrus Energy Bar, EXEMPT! Oh no... wait a second, I got that backwards... Twizzlers Strawberry Twists Candy is not really candy at all, so it's EXEMPT (even though it says "candy" RIGHT ON THE FUCKING PACKAGE! WTF?!?). But the PowerBar Creamy Citrus Energy Bar is classified as a candy bar and TAXED!
So. Fucking. Stupid.
Nobody likes paying taxes. But they are a necessary evil because they fund programs that (mostly) make life better for all of us, and so we pay them. But I have to draw the line when the taxes don't make sense. All nine of the dumbfuck politicians behind 2388 should be punched in the face and fired. All they knew was that they needed more money for their shit... and devised some idiotic scheme to tax arbitrary crap to pay for it. All because they were too damn stupid to come up with something that's not an inexplicable pile of FAIL!
Well fuck that.
Is it any wonder I hate politics, loathe politicians, and want a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup?
Posted on November 5th, 2009
You know that feeling when you're in a wide open field with the sky so limitless and all the world surrounds you? Or you know that feeling you get when you're in the mountains where the peaks tower over you and overwhelm your senses? Or do you know that feeling you experience when you're standing in the middle of a big city and the buildings eclipse your every field of view? Or you know that feeling you have when you're out in the ocean with a vast sea encompassing your entire being?
But in a good way.
Sometimes feeling small is what gives a person some much-needed perspective. It is a sign from whatever higher power you believe in that it's not all about you. It gives some critical insight into your place in the grand scheme of things. It makes you realize that there's something bigger... something more...
Washington State offers so many ways to feel small.
But in a good way.
Yet some people here are too busy feeling large to notice. They think their personal perspective can fill the entire world because they refuse to open their eyes and see.
And so they sleep.
To those who are awake... enjoy the view!