Friday Links (Velvet Morning Edition)!

BettyBowers.Com (click to embiggen)

BettyBowers.Com (click to embiggen)

It’s Friday! The third Friday in November! The year is running out fast.

This week… I don’t want to talk about this week. You don’t want to read my whining or griping about this week.

Anyway, here is a collection of news and other things that I ran across over the course of the week which struck me as worthy of being shared:

No Offense to Laura Ingalls Wilder.

A Dad Received Messages Of Support From Strangers After Accidentally Discovering His Son Was Gay. And then he explains how things went after…

Does Religion Cause More Harm than Good? Brits Say Yes. Here’s Why They May be Right. You can strike the word “may” from the headline…

Former “reparative therapy” leader John Smid marries same-sex partner.

Amazingly Detailed New Maps of Asteroid Vesta.

NOM CRATERS: Funding for Anti-LGBT National Organization For Marriage Drops by Over 50%. (And this is a big drop from last year’s big drop which was a dig drop from the year before…)

New subatomic particles predicted by Canadians found at CERN.

Photos: Incredible Near-Complete Stegosaurus Skeleton.

Mongoose Lookouts Carefully Weigh Risks (and Sing While They Do It).

Totally Insane! Buffalo Suburbs May Have Set a Record for 24-Hour Snowfall in a Populated Area.

Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week.


This is why the iPhone 6 didn’t get a sapphire screen.

US Supreme Court refuses to block SC gay marriages.

Wingers Go Gandhi. Sort of.


Alas, it wasn’t all good news: Lemony Snicket Makes Series of Racist Jokes at National Book Awards.

13-Year-Old Comes Out To Best “Bro” On Instant Messenger, Melts The Internet’s Heart.

‘Darwin’s Dilemma’ May Finally Have Been Resolved.

For the Public Good: The Shameful History of Forced Sterilization in the U.S.

Why ‘Kidnapped For Christ’ Is The Most Faithful Film Of The Year.

Transgender Women In Ohio Are At The Heart Of A National Crisis.

A Texas Dad Remembers His Daughter on the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

This bizarre drone decomposes upon impact.

New Kirk Cameron Movie, ‘Saving Christmas,’ Finishes In 15th Place During First Weekend Of Release. So don’t believe those headlines at Breitbart or on Fox…

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? Let’s be writing buddies!

Playtime with Pup 681:

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Doctor Who Christmas Special Preview – BBC Children in Need 2014:

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[HOONIGAN] KEN BLOCK’S GYMKHANA SEVEN: WILD IN THE STREETS OF LOS ANGELES (the fact that I enjoyed watching is so much is probably a symptom of testosterone poisoning… just sayin’):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here. And thanks to Cornwuff for the link!)

WATCH: University of Nottingham hockey team strip off against homophobia:

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Motown legend Jimmy Ruffin, whose 1980 smash Hold On To My Love helped usher out an era of gay nightlife, has died at the age of 78: Jimmy Ruffin – Hold On To My Love (Studio, Top Of The Pops):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here. Of course, you need to hear the Robbie Leslie Disconet remix at least once)

Alison Goldfrapp & John Grant ARE the new Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood! “Some Velvet Morning” 18/11/14:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here. If you aren’t aware of the bizarre single from 1967, this will make no sense to you.)

Friday Links (comet landing edition)!

xkcd's cartoon livestream of the comet landing as an animation.

xkcd’s cartoon livestream of the comet landing as an animation.

It’s Friday! The second Friday in November (even though tomorrow is the third Saturday, ooooooooooo)! The year is running out fast.

Last week I was worried about rain and flooding. This week, late-December/January type temperatures arrived a little early. One day my Seahawks stocking cap was too warm to keep on during the bus, the next day I was very, very glad that I’d put in the winter lining in the coat that morning, and wishing I had dug the scarf and gloves out of the bottom of the backpack before leaving the house. Weird!

Anyway, here is a collection of news and other things that I ran across over the course of the week which struck me as worthy of being shared:

The Sixth Stage of Grief Is Retro-computing: Networks Without Networks. This is a really beautiful piece that appears, at first glance, to be about computer nostalgia, and at second, to be about a relationship with an old friend who has passed, but while it covers both of those things, they aren’t want it’s about. It’s definitely worth reading the whole thing.

Intersexuality and God Through the Ages: The idea that intersexed bodies are “birth defects” is perpetuated by a lack of familiarity with intersexuality. But it wasn’t always this way. Name checks for both the greek god Hermophroditus and Hedwig and the Angry Inch…

10 Misconceptions Every Trans Ally Needs to Understand.

Breitbart Issues Best Correction Since Forever.

“It’s symbolic annihilation of history, and it’s done for a purpose. It really enforces white supremacy”: Edward Baptist on the lies we tell about slavery.

Comedy doesn’t belong to the a**holes anymore.

My Lesbian Mom Died Terrified of Going to Hell.

Mind-Blowing Fossil Preserves Tiny Horse Carrying Unborn Foal.

View of Comet from Lander During Descent. In case you haven’t already seen…

Mars and the Mind of Man: Carl Sagan, Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke in Cosmic Conversation, 1971.

Pregnant Snake Prepares For Motherhood By Eating Toxic Toads.

How Animals Hacked The Rainbow And Got Stumped On Blue.

Imported Glass in Japanese Tomb Identified.

He’s Smart Enough to Land a Drone on a Comet, But the Naked-Lady Shirt?

Fascinating comparison of the top 10 causes of death in 1900 and 2010.

The truth about the dungeon master who disappeared in the steam tunnels.

Leonard Matlovich: The Gay Military Hero You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.

Rachel Maddow trolls anti-science Tea Party school board members in the best way possible.

Gay vets reach milestone in Boston, still struggle nationally.

My Last Words to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Tomas Young, an Iraq war vet turned anti-war activist, passed away this week in Seattle at the age of 34. Tomas enlisted in the Army just two days after the 9/11 attacks. Following his training at Ft. Hood, Texas he was deployed to Iraq and paralyzed after being shot through his spinal cord just five days into his first tour.

Controversial Texas Restaurant Becoming A ‘Highly Rated’ Gay Bar. This is a story from earlier in the year, but a friend sent me the link, this snippet: “She say she would never broadcast her personal life in public. ‘As one who has been married for 45 years to my husband, I don’t think that it’s my role to stand in the street corner and start talking about the style of private life my husband and I have.’”, and then this translation: “I would never broadcast my heterosexual personal life in public. I would never tell everyone how I have been heterosexually married for 45 heterosexual years to my heterosexual husband heterosexually.” And I had to share.

Carol Ann Susi, ‘Big Bang Theory’s Mrs. Wolowitz, Dead. (I’m old enough to remember her as Miss Marmelstein on the old Kolchak: the Nightstalker series…)

10 Times Mrs. Wolowitz Was The Best Part Of ‘The Big Bang Theory’.

Queer Geeks Unite At Bent-Con 2014: COSPLAY PHOTOS.

Writing, writing, don’t stop!.

Not forgotten.

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? Let’s be writing buddies!

I Am Not – Brett Gleason (Official Video):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Chicago zoo welcomes adorable rescued otter pup:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

[MUSIC VIDEO] “Darkest Magic” (Lo Pan feat. Jack Burton) by SuperVillains:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

xkdc live streamed the landing in cartoon, then animated it:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Not forgotten

Ray unpacking after we moved into our second apartment.

Ray unpacking after we moved into our second apartment.

Seventeen years ago today I had to sign some papers.

Then a couple of nurses turned off the monitors, removed the respirator tubes, and turned off the rest of the machines.

I held Ray’s hand, and said “Good-bye.”

I’d been crying off and on for hours—days, technically (though I’d only slept a couple hours out of the last few days, so it felt like one really long, horrible day).

I don’t remember if I cried again. My last chronologically-in-order memory is taking hold of his hand that one last time. My memories for the next few months are just fragments—bits and pieces of time scattered through a fog of bewilderment.

He promised me he would stay with me for the rest of his life. And he did.

Writing, writing, don’t stop!

My progress just before midnight, the 11th day of NaNoWriMo.

My progress just before midnight, the 11th day of NaNoWriMo.

When I started this year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I knew there would be days where I made very little progress. Events on our schedule included an all-day editorial work party, hosting Writers’ Night, an all-day roleplaying game session, and the Thanksgiving holiday, which involves an overnight trip out of town.

Last year had a similar schedule, so I made an effort on those weekend days that we didn’t have anything planned to me extra productive. And it worked out. I exceeded the goal by about 8500 words. I didn’t reach the end of the story, but I got of writing in.

This year, the first being on a Saturday (and with us having no conflicts), I was at 6,595 words by the end of the first weekend. That’s nearly double the number of words number you’d have at the average words per day necessary to hit the target of 50,000, so I felt that was a good start. I only got a few hundred in on the next day, but Tuesday through Thursday, I exceeded the daily goal each time.

Friday evening was when the gout and hay fever had both taken a significant turn for the worst. I wound up taking a long nap after finishing my work day, and was in a bad head space after, so hardly got any writing done.

Then the weekend was full, and as mentioned in yesterday’s post, I was battling pain in my foot all weekend, so I my productivity continued to suffer.

But, Monday night I managed to exceed the daily goal a little bit, and last night (as you can see in the graphic) I blew past it by more than a thousand words.

So, I’m still on track to hit 50,000 by the end of the month. Even though I have a few days with very little writing time available.

Still, I feel good. Wish me luck!

I hate feeling yucky

Watch Eli Manning throw the ghost football again and again and again...

Watch Eli Manning throw the ghost football again and again and again…

I woke up Friday morning with all the toes in my right foot having that pre-gout feeling. For me, it feels much that same as a toe feels a day or two after you stub it really bad. It’s not really hurting, but tender and stiff. Except it’s in all five toes at once.

I’ve experienced this enough that I know the drill. I make an effort to drink about twice as much water over the course of the day as usual. In the evening, I elevate it and put a heating pad on it for a while. I get out a pair of my extra long fuzzy socks and wear those to keep my feet and ankles warm. About two-thirds of the time, doing this entire routine for a few days prevents a full-fledged gout attack hitting.

This time? Well… Read More…

Friday Links!

…and no talking!

It’s Friday! The first Friday in November! The year is running out fast.

November is usually the wettest month of the year in Seattle. Last month was one of the wettest Octobers on record, and we’ve had a lot of rain this week, so I’m starting to worry this is going to be a year we got a lot of urban flooding, again. At least my current car is much higher off the ground than the old Ford Escort hatchback I was in the year I got caught in a flash flood near downtown…

Anyway, here is a collection of news and other things that I ran across over the course of the week which struck me as worthy of being shared:

My Uncle Was Gay, and I Want to Tell the World. A very sweet post that made me tear up more than a little.

Why I Love Halloween — Now More Than Ever. I bawled my eyes out…

The Day Jesus Redefined Marriage.

What is love?

Why “ethical journalism” is still actually about sexism.


SIXTH CIRCUIT LETS GAY MARRIAGE BANS STAND IN OH, MI, TN, AND KY: LEGAL ANALYSIS, PART 1. Eventually a circuit court was going to back this ruling, forcing the Supremes to be less passive-aggressive about this issue.


NY Pastor Thinks Starbucks’ Secret Ingredient Is The ‘Semen of Sodomites’. Pastor Manning from Atlah Church is at it again… once more obsessing over sexual topics involving gay men. I wonder why?

Marriage is about love.

Pro Strongman Rob Kearney Comes Out as Gay.

Hollaback and Why Everyone Needs Better Research Methods-And Why All Data Needs Theory.

‘Car Talk’ Co-Host Tom Magliozzi Dies At 77.

Sherlock Holmes belongs to us all: Supreme Court declines to hear case.

New Clock May End Time As We Know It. When you build a clock so precise, that it can detect the time dilate from moving it up or down a few feet in the Earth’s gravitational field…

Students disqualified for helping girl finish race.

Why conservative Christians would have hated Jesus.

He’s Glad You Asked.

The world’s largest butterfly is now also one of the most endangered.

Antigay Haters Reserve the Right to Discriminate Against Homosexuals on the Down Low.

#DudesGreetingDudes Hilariously Proves Catcalling Isn’t ‘Just A Compliment’.

Language Nerd.

Dan Savage on those reality-show starring, anti-gay law supporting super fundies and why it’s okay for us to talk about their messed up sexual decisions. (You won’t guess that from the NSFW title of the article)

Colorado elects Obama exorcist who wants to spank transgender children.

Random Observations on a Reaming: That’ll Teach That Negro to Be President.

Dallas adds LGBT protections to city constitution in landslide vote.

Why is Firefox tweeting Gamergate nonsense?

The Absurdity of the 2014 Midterm Elections, in One Perfect Tweet.

Starstruck: half of universe’s stars are orphans with no galaxy.


Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? Let’s be writing buddies!

The Necronomicon:

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Benny – Little Game (Official Video):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

A few brights lights among the gloom

Things may not look so bright for Equality after the midterms, but it isn't all awful.

Things may not look so bright for Equality after the midterms, but it isn’t all awful.

I knew it was going to be bad news. More because of low turn-out and the demographic skewing that happens in those elections. But it wasn’t all bad news at the elections.

  • All six openly non-heterosexual members of Congress who were up for re-election have won their races. Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Rep Mark Pocan (D-WI), Rep David Cicilline (D-RI), and Rep. Kysten Sinema (D-AZ) all retained their seats this week.
  • The Citizens of Dallas, Texas, overwhelmingly voted to amend the city charter to include an anti-discrimination clause which included both sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • The Duck Dynasty cousin (Zach Dasher) whose slogan running for Congress was, “My platform begins with God,” lost. It is important to not that he was running against an incumbent conservative Republican whose previous campaign was all about defending the sanctity of marriage (and lots of other anti-gay statements), because said incumbent was too liberal. While Dasher has lost, we don’t yet know the winner. The Sanctity of Marriage guy has a run-off with a moderate Democrat in a few weeks.
  • Massachusetts has elected the first out lesbian state attorney general.
  • The anti-gay governor of Pennsylvania whose poor choice of words and even more suspect legal arguments I’ve written about before, Tom Corbett, was defeated by a candidate who has pledged to sign a comprehensive hate crime law if the legislature passes it.
  • Anti-gay crackpot (who is currently embroiled in a lawsuit about crimes against humanity for some of his anti-gay activities in Uganda), Scott Lively, failed to get even 1% of the vote in his bid for Massachusetts governor.

There were other bright spots here and there. Most of the local races I voted on went the way I wanted them to. There were other good candidates elected around the country. Despite the crowing of some of the anti-gay activists out there, there is little evidence of a change of heart of the electorate on equality issues. This election was more about who didn’t show up to vote rather than a change in the opinions of the majority.

And I’m not as bummed out as I was afraid I would be. Most of which I attribute to the fact that I started NaNoWriMo on midnight, Friday, and I written over 10,000 words already. So I’ve paid less attention to all the depressing news, rather than my usual level of obsessing over election stuff.

Why we can’t have nice things, part 2

This ABC News chart sums it up.

This ABC News chart sums it up.

While all the vote-supressing Voter ID laws also take a big toll, the inability of progressives to get people to the polls in midterm elections is going to be a major problem for years to come. I’ve already seen some angry blog posts and tweets from young voters who feel that charts like this are blaming them–but pointedly admitting they didn’t vote, while claiming they didn’t because gerrymandering has rigged the game, therefore it isn’t really their fault.

Several of these angry responses were in direct reply to a post or comment about the Senate. I’m laughing and crying at these responses, because gerrymandering has nothing to do with the Senate. Senate races are statewide elections. No one gets to artificially carve out weirdly shaped voting districts for those races.

To be fair, there are still plenty of ways that the system is gamed. But not voting because some shady stuff continues to happen isn’t going to fix those problems. Just like the idiots who say to vote, but turn in a blank ballot as a protest aren’t going to fix the problem. The system doesn’t work that way. Blank votes simply aren’t counted.

The only way to fix the problem is to participate, not just in voting, but actually paying attention to what the candidates you can vote for (and against) are saying and doing. If you’re one of those people who claim it doesn’t matter because they’re all corrupt, that’s just proof that you’re an ignorant, lazy, irresponsible ass. And yes, I can and do blame you for that.

The last four years, with the Know-Nothing, Teabagistan-dominated House stopping just about any and all legislation has been pretty ugly. In some ways giving those same obstructionists slim control of the Senate isn’t going to change how little actually gets done. But it is going to increase the ugly and the stupid. Real people are going to continue dying needlessly because of cuts to the social safety net. Real people are going to continue to see their financial situations get worse and worse while the billionaires keep raking it in (talk about wealth re-distribution! The Republicans are all in favor of that, as long as it keeps flowing up).

It’s not going to be pretty.

Comedy reveals the truth

It’s less than a minute and a half, and well worth your time. A reminder of the real relationship between politicians, business, and the people—and also how good one particular show was sometimes capable of being.

Roseanne owns state rep on fair wages, taxes, labor rights, and plight of the middle class:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Why we can’t have nice things

I decided to take the entire day off for the recent medical procedure. I didn’t need the whole day, but I’ve been experiencing nap attacks after dinner frequently. We’ve also cancelled a couple of short vacations recently for various reasons, so I’ve accrued rather a lot of unused vacation. I figured one day of sleeping in really late before going to the doctor’s would be a good thing.

Then, of course, I found myself wide awake before the usual time that my own alarm goes off for no apparent reason. So I got up, chatted with my husband before he headed to work, and did a small amount of writing. Fortunately, I started feeling a bit sleepy not long after that, so I went back to bed and slept until noon.

When it was time to head to the doctor’s office, I grabbed my stuff and headed out to the car. The first moment I knew something was wrong was when I saw that the back door on the driver’s side wasn’t completely closed. Then I saw all of the contents of our glove box and the center console piled up in the passenger seat. No windows were broken, and there was no sign of force entry. But the doors also weren’t locked. I am assuming that I simply forgot to press the lock button on the fob after I carried in the groceries earlier in the week.

They stole the iPod that is normally plugged into the USB port inside the console. It’s one of my favorite features of the car. We have a large library of our music playing randomly whenever we drive anywhere. They also took the iPod adaptor cable, as well as the spare cables we keep in there so we can charge our phones while driving if need be. Including the really pretty blue one my hubby found. And, when they pulled my spare eyeglasses out of the little compartment in the roof (I keep an old, but still the right prescription pair in there in case I break or lose my glasses sometime and I need to drive home). And while they didn’t steal the glasses, they did steal the matching sunglass lenses that attach magnetically to the glasses.


I didn’t have time to thoroughly assess what was taken. At the time, I just confirmed that the iPod was gone, but that the registration and similar paperwork was still in the car, and I drove to my appointment.

I was able to activate Lost Mode through the Find my iPhone app on my phone, so if anyone ever connects that iPod to the internet, it will brick itself and display a message that it is a stolen iPod. My bet is that unfortunately it will be some one who buys the iPod from someone who bought it from the thief, but I can hope.

Over the last year or so we have made a concerted effort to give away or sell most of the pile of old iPods we’ve accumulated (since Michael works at a computer refurbisher, he winds up with a bunch; he’s gotten scary good at replacing the batteries on a number of models). So we had a much more limited number of backups to replace the iPod with.

This is the third time in about 9 years or so that an iPod has been stolen from one of our cars. Every time it’s happened it’s been because one of us (me at least twice) left a door unlocked. So these are just crimes of opportunity, rather than anyone going to the trouble of actually breaking into cars.

I know there has been an uptick in the frequency of that sort of theft in our part of town. And apparently at least one a-hole is aware of it too.

Sunday night, right after I’d taken some stuff out to the recycle bins and loaded the dishwasher, Michael decided to empty the trash and recycle from the computer room upstairs. He was just heading out the door when we heard a woman’s scream.

I grabbed my phone and followed him. A van with its lights on was stopped in the middle of the street, in front of the house two doors down. A man and woman were yelling, and it quickly became clear that the man had been driving by when he saw the woman “behaving suspiciously.” He believed she was looking into cars with a flashlight as if looking for things to steal. She claimed she was looking gathering mushrooms.

As the yelling escalated, I started to dial 9-1-1. Then she tried to get away from the angry man, he grabbed her bike, grabbed her, and threw her to the ground. As my husband moved in and yelled, “Hey!” I was finally hearing ringback on my phone. So when the a-hole yelled at her that he had half a mind to call the police, I called out that I was calling the police because I’d just seen him assault her.

As I hoped, this got him to turn toward me, ignoring both the woman and my husband, and start yelling at me. I can keep an idiot/bully arguing for a long time. It’s not unlike yanking the chain on an internet troll.

Once I was actually talking to the 9-1-1 operator, the woman took off on her bike, and the man ran back to his van. He sat in there for a minute while I described the van to the 9-1-1 operator. I don’t know what he was doing. But his level of belligerence was not incompatible with someone who had been drinking.

Anyway as he drove away, Michael read most of the license plate to me. If this comes to court, I’m not going to be any good as a witness, because I didn’t grab my glasses. Everyone was a blur. Our immediate next door neighbors came out. As soon as she had heard a man and woman shouting outside, she’d called 9-1-1, too. And her husband pulled on enough clothes to come outside. The 9-1-1 operator told me cops were responding and an officer would be there, soon.

So we discussed with the neighbors what each of us had heard and deduced. As I said, “The guy might be right; she might have been prowling cars. But that doesn’t give him the right to assault her.”

And if I had been grabbed and thrown to the ground by a big angry man like that, I very well might have run off as soon as I had the choice.

As my husband pointed out, in a lot of places harvesting mushrooms out of other people’s yards is technically stealing (I assume that the yard owner would have to press charges), which would be one reason a person might be looking for mushrooms late at night. And since I recently wrote about our local fungi, and have been told by more than one person that the most spectacular ones I posted pictures of are very likely of the hallucinatory variety, a person intent on harvesting those kinds of mushrooms might prefer to do it at night when no one will see them.

When the cop pulled up a few minutes later, he asked us to clarify which way the woman fled. We’d given a good enough description of the van and the partial plate that they had pulled someone over, “And we’re pretty sure it’s him.”

The guy had seemed the sort of idiot who would immediately start yelling at the cop about how he was the victim of the woman who “started it.”

I didn’t mention that, but when he was yelling/arguing with me, that’s a phrase he repeated several times. “She started it.” Yeah, buddy. He was about 6′ tall, built like a bear, and she was about 5-foot-nothing and maybe weighed 110 pounds, and I saw him throw her to the ground. “She started it” ain’t going to cut it.

I know if they don’t find her to press charges, that nothing is likely to come of this (unless my guess that he might not have been sober is right).

If she was prowling cars, that doesn’t give a passing citizen the right to grab her and throw her to the ground. Sure, yell. Call the cops if you think you see a crime going down. Take a picture with your cellphone. But you don’t assault the person over suspected theft.

I hope that she’s physically all right, regardless of what she was doing. I started to type that I hope the guy learns a lesson, but the way he was yelling at her, then yelling at me, it’s pretty clear that he’s a bully and an idiot through and through. So maybe I can just hope that he doesn’t have any opportunities to assault or abuse anyone for a while.

And despite the title of this blog post, I still like living in this neighborhood.

But I’ll be triple-checking that I’ve locked the car for the foreseeable future.


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