There have been a number of studies done on ear worms, how they form, why the persist, and means of getting rid of them. For years, thanks to a suggestion from my friend, Juli-sans-e, the way I have gotten rid of annoying ear worms is to think of the Bumblebee Tuna jingle that was used in commercials in the late 60s through mid-70s. I think this only works for those of us of an age to have heard the commercials a zillion times during formative years. I also know that for at least one other friend, while the Bumble Bee song succeeds in driving out the ear worm, it’s just substituting one annoying ear worm for another. I’m lucky in that the Bumble Bee song will only keep going in my head for a short time after I use it to drive out another. For some ear worms, the only way I can get them out is to actually sing the Bumble Bee song aloud a few times, just thinking about it isn’t enough…
The motive for the crime was unknown at first, though robbery was immediately ruled out. Neither young man was linked to any gang and neither had a criminal record. They were both openly gay and well-known in the neighborhood. While there are gay gang-bangers, they tend to be deeply, deeply closeted.
Witnesses placed another young man, one with a rather long and violent criminal record, near the scene…
I’ve been called both a hopeless romantic and a hopeless optimist.
Neither is true. I’m ever hopeful, not hopeless.
Which is not to say that I’ve never been dejected or depressed, never felt defeated, never feared that I was doomed to failure. I have felt all of those things. Throughout my teens and well into my twenties I periodically had depressive periods.
I’m not saying that I merely felt sad. I had more than a slight understanding of the clinical definition of depression…
I belong to a lot of tribes that don’t always get along. And I continue to be naively surprised when I discover new evidence of this. I still feel more than a bit of shock when I meet a homophobic sci fi fan, for instance. How can you be an enthusiast for science, the triumph of knowledge over ignorance, and the hope of a better tomorrow while clinging to such small-minded backwards thinking?
When I’ve used this particular example in the past, I’ve been told that I’m assuming that these folks are into science fiction for the same reasons that I am; but I’m not talking about their reasons for becoming sci fi fans. I’m talking about what science fiction is. You can’t claim to be a fan of science fiction yet reject the entire premise of science fiction. Rejecting the fundamental premise makes you the opposite of a fan.
The other argument I’ve heard is that being an enthusiast for sci fi is a choice to read or watch certain types of stories and to embrace other cultural aspects of those kinds of stories, whereas being gay is merely a sexual preference. So it is as irrelevant to anyone’s participation in sci fi as another person’s dislike of chocolate. But again, this argument misses the point. My point is if you’re an enthusiast for sci fi stories, you should be knowledgeable enough to recognize that despising someone for their sexual orientation is illogical. Besides, even under the reasoning of this argument, rejecting a gay person is the equivalent of saying that a person who doesn’t like chocolate can never be an astrophysicist.
And not to make it seem one-sided, there are plenty of gay guys who absolutely loathe sci fi nerds.
Similarly, a lot of science geeks look at the sci fi fans within their own ranks with a bit of suspicion or condescension. Just as some Star Wars fans dislike Babylon-5, and some Lord of the Rings fans can’t understand why anyone likes Star Trek, and so on.
I’m always going to be nerd, and not just a nerd, but a geeky nerd. I love physics and engineering and mathematics. I can’t help but see just about everything I observe in terms of causes and effects. So science and science fiction will always intrigue me.
And I love to explore “what if” questions and take them to their ultimate logical conclusion, so all kinds of fantasy—whether it’s about elves and wizards or talking rabbits and conniving ducks or flying heroes and scheming masterminds—is also going to fascinate me.
And I’m a gay man, living in a world where masculinity and femininity are mistakenly believed to correlate with all sorts of personality traits. For instance, there are people who are surprised that I’m a Seahawks football fan, because gay men supposedly aren’t into sports (tell that to all the athletes competing in the Ninth Gay Games this week). Of course they’re probably at least as surprised because science geeks and sci fi nerds aren’t supposed to be into sports, either. I certainly can attest, having worked with engineers and computer geeks for nearly three decades, that there are considerably fewer sports fan in those offices than in other kinds of workplaces.
It is true that I have had a very ambivalent relationship with sports my whole life. In middle school I participated in basketball, wrestling, and track, and in the first year in high school I did cross country and track. But I was never terribly good in any of those sports. One way that was made clear when I moved to a larger town was that I wasn’t good enough to make any of the sports teams (I did intramural soccer for a while, but that was it). And, of course, the best athletes in my schools tended to be the same guys who were most likely to bully me (which didn’t get any better once I became a debate and drama nerd).My point is that I’m forever finding myself on the defensive from my own tribemates. Science geeks and other skeptics are appalled if I describe myself as a believer (I believe in many intangible things that can’t be proven to exist in a lab, such as Compassion, Justice, Mercy, and Love). Hardcore sci fi nerds are freaked out to find out I’m a fan of My Little Pony. Serious readers and literary types are shocked when I praise the writing on a TV show such as Justified (and they completely lose it when they find out what a total fanboy I am for the MTV series Teen Wolf). Many gay people look at me with suspicion because I can quote Bible verses.
And while generally I try not to worry about it, sometimes it feels like the kind of reaction I used to get when I was still trying to be active in church whenever the subject of gay people came up. Or when certain political topics used to come up around my conservative relatives.
I know what full-fledged rejection feels like, and don’t want to go through it again. Try to think about that the next time you’re hanging with a group of friends who share one of your enthusiasms when another group comes up. No matter how horrible of an experience you may have had with that other group, don’t go on and on about how horrible those people were. You’re probably sitting next to one.
So, the author of Awkward Moments (not found in your average) Children’s Bible was scheduled to appear at an Atheist Alliance of America Conference near Seattle, until he received a rather scary pair of death threats in the mail:
Do I have your attention now? You think your so safe to hide behind a fake name to spread lies about God and attacking Christians? You aren’t.
(Spelling errors from the original letter, signed “God’s Little Helper”)
While there is a photo of the first letter at the linked site, the second letter is in police custody. According to the author, while the police agreed the first letter was creepy and they strongly advised that he take precautions to protect himself and his family (including suggesting he hire a bodyguard), the first letter didn’t rise to the level of an actionable threat. Even though it quoted a section of Deuteronomy that included the phrase, “Have no pity, and do not spare or protect them. You must put them to death! Strike the first blow yourself.” The threatening letter also said, “I’ll see you up in Seattle next week. You wont see me.” But apparently that doesn’t constitute, under state law, a threat.
Apparently, however, the second letter did.
I want to point out that his book does not, in fact, contain any lies. The book’s text is lifted straight from the Bible (or in some sections, from the writings of such Christian luminaries as Pat Robertson and Ken Ham) and the children’s book-style illustrations adhere faithfully to that text. The whole point of the book is that these are passages from the Bible that are almost never taught in any Christian school or church. They are very disturbing, or at least uncomfortable, passages.
According to one of the other articles I read on this, a substantial number of the book sales have been to Christian teachers and pastors who use the books to get their congregations to read these more challenging passages of the Bible, and more importantly, discuss them.
Folks like “God’s Little Helper” either are so unfamiliar with their own holy book that they aren’t aware that the text is literally coming out of the Bible, or they’re angry because they think the passages are being distorted somehow.
In any case, even though the conference offered to hire some off-duty police and military personnel to serve as body guards and security, the author decided to cancel his appearance. As he said, he can’t ask other people to put themselves at risk to defend his own lack of belief. On the other hand, a lot of attendees at the convention decided to wear badges that bore the name of the author, as a sign of solidarity.
Proving they’re braver than the person sending anonymous death threats through the mail.
On the one hand, good for these folks for taking a stand. However, I should point out that the driving impetus appears to be things such as:
Another in my series of posts recommending web comics that I think more people should read:
The Amazing Adventures of Bill by Bill Roundy is actually a portal to a number of comics. Bill draws a regular feature called Bar Scrawl, which is a series of reviews of bars and similar establishments, done as cartoons. He also has a number of short romantic comics, does a cartoon journal, does several D&D themed comics (one set published in book form as Hot Men of the Monster Manual), and others. I first became aware of Bill’s work when a friend shared his comic, “The Orientation Police,” where he talks about how some people react to a gay man who is dating a transman. It wasn’t, it turns out, the first time I’d seen his work, because some of it had appeared in Young Bottoms in Love, which was one of the first comic books I bought on my iPad. It’s hard to describe his stuff, as he works in so many genres. But I’ve always found it funny, whether he’s writing about brooding vampires or restaurants.
Casey at the Bat by Bob Glasscock (former Seattleite and creator of the short-lived underground comic, The Orb) follows the life of late-20 something Casey Wilkes as he recovers from a broken relationship with the help of his best friend Dougie and sports!
I’ve long been a fan of: “Mr. Cow,” by Chuck Melville… and not just because the artist is a friend! A clueless cow with Walter Cronkite dreams presides over a barnyard of a newsroom. And if you like Mr. Cow, you can support the artist by going to his Patreon Page.
I’m also a big fan of “Deer Me,” by Sheryl Schopfer. This artist is also a friend. I have previously described this strip as: “Three roommates who couldn’t be more dissimilar while being surprisingly compatible.” Except in a recent story line Thomas has moved out! Eeek! And if you enjoy Deer Me, you can support the artist by going to her Patreon Page!
And I love this impish girl thief with a tail and her reluctant undead sorcerer/bodyguard: “Unsounded,” by Ashley Cope.
The Young Protectors begins when a young, closeted teen-age superhero who has just snuck into a gay bar for the first time is seen exiting said bar by a not-so-young, very experienced, very powerful, super-villain. Trouble, of course, ensues.
If you want to read a nice, long graphic-novel style story which recently published its conclusion, check-out the not quite accurately named, The Less Than Epic Adventures of T.J. and Amal by E.K. Weaver. I say inaccurate because I found their story quite epic (not to mention engaging, moving, surprising, fulfilling… I could go on). Some sections of the tale are Not Safe For Work, as they say, though she marks them clearly. The complete graphic novels are available for sale in both ebook and paper versions, by the way.
When I set my goals for the year, I said I’d do regular check-ins. We’re more than a week into a new month, so I ought to check in.
I tried to set very concrete steps for achieving. Inspired by a friend’s suggestion, I tried to identify a better habit to replace each bad habit. So how am I doing? Read More…