Friday Five (double videos edition)

Here we are at the third Friday of September.

I’m still sick. My husband is still sick. When I told a good friend that I had more than ten videos that I was trying to choose from for this week’s Friday Five (where I traditionally only post five videos), she suggested that I do a Vidoes section and then a Second Videos and make a Hobbit Second Breakfast joke… then I realized that I had five music videos and 7 non-music videos, and once split apart like that, it was much easier to pick only five of each kind, so…

Anyway, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about sf/f & fandom, five stories about deplorable people, five non-music videos, and five music videos (plus things I wrote and notable obituaries).

Stories of the Week:

Why Don’t Police Catch Serial Rapists?

Newest Pterosaur Was Likely as Tall as a Giraffe – Ancient flying reptile dubbed Cryodrakon boreas, the “cold dragon of the north winds,” may shed light on the evolution of these dinosaur relatives.

There’s a Lost Continent 1,000 Miles Under Europe – Scientists tracked down the last remnants of Greater Adria, an ancient Greenland-sized landmass.

I Went to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This is What I Saw..

Piece of missing sculpture resurfaces in antiques store 50 years later .

This Week in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Fandom:

Fantasy and Science Fiction – a collaboration by two of the genre’s founders that was largely unknown ‘til a couple of years ago: Flora Columbia: Goddess of a New Age, by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.

LET’S FRIGHTEN CHILDREN! Vincent Price & Scooby-Doo.

Letting Go of Our “Heroes”: Ongoing Humanist Training and the (Ex-)James Tiptree, Jr. Award.

How Scooby Doo Revived Gothic Storytelling for Generations of Kids.

Truck Carrying Gaming Dice Spills Onto Highway, Rolls A Perfect 756,000.

Deplorables of the Week:

I’m a comedian. I know Shane Gillis’s words matter – Here are the problems with what Shane Gillis said: It wasn’t said on stage, it wasn’t said years ago, and it wasn’t a joke.

Republican state senator who blocked LGBTQ rights charged with sexual abuse of a minor – As a powerful committee chair, he had blocked LGBTQ rights legislation for years. For the umpteen-millionth time: if a politician is vehemently anti-gay, journalists should dig into their background! You will always find some scandal or crime. Always!

Kavanaugh ‘should be impeached’ just like Trump. He lied to the Senate under oath. Hell, yes, he should be impeached!

What Happens if Trump Won’t Step Down? – National security expert Josh Geltzer on why we should be prepared for the worst.

What happens when the administration won’t tell Congress about a whistleblower complaint regarding the president – ‘A deficiency in the law’: How Trump accidentally exposed a whistleblower loophole?

In Memoriam:

Cokie Roberts, Pioneering Journalist Who Helped Shape NPR, Dies At 75.

Eddie Money, ‘Two Tickets to Paradise’ Singer, Dies at 70.

Ric Ocasek, frontman of new wave pioneers the Cars, dies at 75.

Things I wrote:

As mean as a cornered ocelot.

The Parable of the Speck and the Log, or, telling others how to love sf/f will never work.

Tuesday Tidbits 9/17/2017: On the taxonomy of devils….

All generalizations are dangerous* — especially about generations!

The importance of being seen.

Newsy Videos!

Out Celebs Have a #BiWeek Message for Bisexual+ Youth: You Matter:

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

James Corden Responds to Bill Maher’s Fat Shaming Take:

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

Filibuster: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

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

Trump Threatens War with Iran on Saudi Arabia’s Behalf: A Closer Look:

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

Beto O’Rourke: Current approach to guns no longer works:

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

Music Videos!

Charli XCX – 2099 [Official Video]:

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

PJ Brennan- Bones:

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

Keiynan Lonsdale – Rainbow Dragon (Official Music Video):

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

Kezar – Don’t Touch The Queen (Official Music Video):

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

Cher Performs “Waterloo” LIVE On America’s Got Talent! – America’s Got Talent 2019:

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

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The importance of being seen

Frequently, Bisexual Awareness Week is the same week as my birthday, so I had been planning a post about bi-erasure, the importance of bi visibility, and so forth for next week. Then I saw a link on a newsblog that this week is it.

I often quote the study completed by the Centers for Disease control in the early 90s whose conclusions included the line, “Americans would rather admit to being heroin addicts than being bisexual.” I’m not bisexual, but my husband is. A lot of people leap to the conclusion that because he’s a man married to another man that he is gay. He’s not. A have several other friends who are bisexual who have ended up in long-term relationships with opposite sex partners and people assume that that means they are straight. They aren’t. And that’s just one aspect of bi-erasure.

One of the reasons I take bi erasure a bit personally is my husband: I love him, and being bisexual is part of who he is. It’s not that I only love his “gay half” (as if that even existed), I love all of him. Because he’s awesome.

I have to admit that another reason I take it personally is because I owe bisexual people an apology, because I’m one of those gay guys who—during the time I was struggling with coming out of the closet—lied and said I was bi. I was lying to myself at least as much as I was lying to anyone else, but it was a lie. It wasn’t a transitional phase on my way to being gay. The complicated forces of internalized homophobic and the tremendous social pressure that defines adulthood, in part, on getting married to a person of the opposite sex and starting a family cause us to do some stupid things. And unfortunately, the existence of exclusively gay or lesbian people who falsely identified as bisexual for a time while struggling with their identity contributes to another aspect of bi-erasure.

Bisexual (and pansexual) visibility is important. There are people out there—many of them young people—who aren’t out yet. They may be struggling with even understanding what their sexuality is. And the more examples they can see of adults of all sexualities — bi, pan, ace, gay, lesbian, queer — the more they will know that they aren’t alone and that they can have a future full of love.

And that means that the rest of us in the queer community need to do what we can to make our bi+ siblings feel welcome in queer spaces. If someone tells you they are bi, believe them. Don’t argue with them. Don’t tell them that they may feel differently later. Recognize that they are trusting you with information that makes them vulnerable, and be the kind of ally you wish your straight friends and family members had been for you when you came out.

“Your sexuality is valid.”

“Your sexuality is valid.” (click to embiggen)

All generalizations are dangerous* — especially about generations!

Click to embiggen. Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Pew Research Center

On Monday night there were two train wrecks happening on blogs I like to read. One thing I like about both blogs is that generally speaking, the comment threads in each one are full of thought-provoking, thoughtful, and generally respectful discussions. Not only could I not stop reading, but in both threads I couldn’t stop myself from commenting a few times myself. Which probably didn’t help either train wreck. But I think I managed to stay mostly reasonable, so I hope we were at the least being entertaining.

In one of those conversations a person made a comment about how some Baby Boomers don’t understand technology, and while it turned out to be a bit tongue-in-cheek (the person followed up by speculating that the person being clueless was actually a ghost from the 18th Century misunderstanding modern copyright law). Anyway, it reminded my that I keep meaning to follow up on the post I wrote three years ago about the cavalier way some people use terms such as “Baby Boomer” and “Millenial.”

Some folks want to list anyone who is over the age of, say, 35, as a Baby Boomer. I’m seen just as many older folks insist that everyone under 30 is a Millenial. Which makes any commentary about the social and economic issues faced by people who grew up in different time periods meaningless.

The term Baby Boom originally referred to the significant uptick in the birth rate when World War II came to an end and when the world economy recovered from the Great Depression. Contrary to over-simplified understandings of history, those two events weren’t the same—the U.S. domestic economy was noticeably improving before the U.S. even entered the war, and the birthrate started picking up during the war itself (though not as dramatically as it did a few years later). So some sociologist and economists tagged the beggining of the Baby Boom in 1945, while others in 1942 or ’43.

Similarly, the birthrate’s rate of increase started slowing down in the U.S. (though not dropping) in the mid-fifties. Later, when social scientists started talking about the Baby Boom generation, many of them placed much importance upon the attitudes and expectations of that cohort based on their formative years being in the 1950s, where, in the U.S. at least, there was an exuberant economic boom and no war. I was in my late teens when I first started reading articles about the Baby Boom generation, and those articles defined is as people born between about 1942 and 1955. Which meant that my mother and father were both Baby Boomers.

Which is one of the reasons I sometimes have a negative visceral reaction to the more current definition, which is people born between 1946 and 1965. Because that makes me a Baby Boomer… and because I spent years thinking of my parents as Baby Boomers and that just seems wrong. Also, I was born after the 50s ended, and by the time my formative years were going, the U.S. was at war in Viet Nam and the Civil Rights movement was causing many to feel that the world was changing for the worse. So I think my assumptions about life are a bit different than those who grew up in the 50s.

The chart that I reproduce above shows only one of the many possible definitions of generational groups. I believe for broad discussions about economics, sociology, politics, and the like that it is useful to make some generalizations about the broad societal conditions that people of different ages grew up under. A lot of people of my mother’s generation (The Silent Generation, people born between 1925 and 1945) supposedly don’t understand computers and modern technology. My mom has very strong feelings about several parts of Quantum Mechanics (word to the wise: if you don’t want to find yourself cowering in a corner, saying you are sorry and will never stray again, do not mention Erwin Schrödinger or his thought experiment about a cat and an atomic trigger within earshot of my mom, okay?). Once, when her computer had been misbehav ing for several months she told me that the reason she hadn’t called me was because none of the errors had risen to the level fo “kernal panic” and she had been able to get everything working again on her own.

Let me repeat that: my 76-year-old mother knows what a kernel panic is and is able to solve a lot of her computer and related problems on her own. So, just because they are a member of the generation before the Baby Boomers doesn’t mean they don’t understand technology.

Punch-card to enter Fortran commants into a computer, circa 1976, when I (a computer professional with more than 3 decades experience) took the only computer science class I ever had...

Punch-card to enter Fortran commants into a computer, circa 1976, when I (a computer professional with more than 3 decades experience) took the only computer science class I ever had…

By most definitions, I am a Baby Boomer. I was programming computers (with punch-card version of Fortran) in 1976 at the age of 15 when most people thought that computers would always be either the size of a large room or a small building. The first personal computer I owned I soldered together myself in 1982 (and I didn’t actually own it, because at that time I couldn’t afford the $99 for the basic kit nor the $49.95 for the 16 kilobyte memory expansion kit that made it useful; the father of a friend bought the kits and I did the soldering and assembly and got to use the machine for two months out of the deal). My current day job official title includes the word “principal” and I am expected to be able to understand all functions from the Physical Layer through the Application Layer with the ability to write specifications for sub-layers such as the Data Access, Business Logic, and Presentation.

And no one should be surprised that most of Generation X (whose original name was Gen X Atari Wave) understands technology, but I’ve noticed that a lot of member of both Gen Y (the original Millenials) and Gen Z don’t really understand how the technology works. They both understand many of the implications of the internet, but to varying degrees, they don’t understand how those things actually work, because it’s no longer necessary to understand things happening below the Presentation layer to use the technology. This isn’t a bad thing, per se. Just as you don’t need to know how to machine a piston in order to operate a car, you don’t need to understand all of that other stuff in order to be active on social media.

Unfortunately, that means that you have situations such as the one that started one of the comment threads I mentioned above: folks who don’t understand what a hyperlink on a web page actually is, will get upset and file a DCMA take down notice on someone who is linking to someone else’s publicly accessible page. But a hyperlink isn’t content, it’s a pointer.

For much of my life, the cliche was that older people didn’t know how to work new technological devices, and that the answer was to find a child who could fix things for you. Some of those “children”—the leading edge of Gen X—are 50 years old now. And some are now shaking their heads looking at the younger people who are much better at knowing how to make things go viral, for instance, but may not even know what HTML is.


* “All generalizations are dangerous, even this one.” ― Alexandre Dumas-fils

Tuesday Tidbits 9/17/2017: On the taxonomy of devils…

This is one possible list of the types of Republicans that exist. I’m going to suggest an alternate listing…

I started to do a Weekend Update post with a couple of these stories on Saturday, but got stuck in a bit of a spiral (and it was hard to concentrate between my sinus headache and the roofers pounding on the building) and ultimately decided to post something else. I figured, okay, tomorrow morning before the game… except the Seahawks game was at 10am, so as soon as I woke up I needed to start cooking, and then there was the game, and then I decided to watch part of two other games and then I got sucked back into reading a book I was nearly finished with. Anyway, given all the other things going on in the news, I’m pretty sure these wouldn’t make the cut for the Friday Five come the end of the week, and besides, they give me an opportunity to give you my list of the Types of Republicans (or Devils — same thing) by providing archetypical examples of the types.

So first, the Greed Monger who Grifts Money from the Other Types of Republicans While Doing Everything He Condemns: At Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr. bets on big-time football, with a disgraced coach – how Falwell’s been staffing the Liberty athletics department with Good Christian Guys with recent sex scandals of different sorts in their immediate past. . Surprise, surprise, surprise… Remember the strange deals where he found ways to give a handsome pool boy $1.8 million for a real estate deal after mysteriously spending a lot of time with his wife at the young hunky pool boy at various expensive vacation spots. And the $2 million real estate deal financed by the supposed non-profit university to a young hunky personal trainer who he is known to have sent sexy pictures of his wife to. And, of course, colleagues and former employees coming out of the woodwork with evidence that he’s turned his late father’s ministry, the so-called christian university, and other non-profits into a fund to enrich himself, family, and friends.

So, the coach mentioned mentioned in the first link was “forced out at Baylor — itself a private Baptist university — following a wide-ranging sexual and domestic assault scandal involving football players.” But he isn’t the first that Falwell has hired for the university. There’s another coach Falwell insisted the university hire after he lost his job at Ole Miss because he used his school-sponsored cell phone to call an escort service, not to mention previous allegations of inappropriate behavior with high school girls when he coached at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Tennessee. I guess all these sexual predators should feel right at home with Falwell, Jr.

Next, the Evangelical Literalist Who Takes Away the Rights of Women, Queer People, While Claiming He’s Not a Bigot: A thorough investigation just destroyed the White House’s attempt to rebrand Mike Pence as not anti-gay. Pence’s staff and the White House were claiming the Pence can’t possibly be homophobic, because he shook hands with the Prime Minister of Ireland, who is one of The Gays! See, he can’t be a bigot! Except that first article dredges up things Pence has been doing as an elected official for nearly 30 years to deny rights to LGBT people and/or take rights and healthcare away from them. Then, of course, there is this that happened just a couple days after is staff was trying to deny the bigotry: Mike Pence Spoke at Fundraiser for Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate Group. (Note: the organization is also anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-women’s equality, and anti-accurate sex education in schools, plus very pro-bullying of queer children in schools). Pence is sure to feel home with all that hate!

The next type of devil/Republican is The Clueless Homocon who Enables and Encourages Neo-Nazis in Hopes Ignoring that Fact that when They Get Power They Will March Him Off to the Camps, Too:Homocon Troll Milo Banned From Midwest Furfest. “Yiannopoulos was banned from Australia earlier this year “on character grounds” and nearly every social media company has suspended his accounts for violating community guidelines against hate speech. Since losing access to his social media pulpits—and, more importantly, his Mercer family funding—Yiannopoulos has fallen millions of dollars into debt and spent his time almost exclusively blaming his self-inflicted wounds on others.”

Milo is only one of a bunch of people in this category (cf Andy Ngo, the entire membership of the Log Cabin Republicans, Peter Thiel, et cetera). Since he’s currently millions of dollars in debt and was just a bit of a week ago whining to is ~400 followers on the only social media platform that hasn’t banned him that not enough of them are shelling out donations to him for him to pay his bills… yet somehow he found the funds to try to buy a membership at Midwest Furfest (a convention that not only have I attended and love, but have had the privilege of being a Guest of Honor). And even though the convention has since banned him, he’s claiming he already has a room at the hotel “booked under someone else’s name” so they can’t keep him out. Never mind that being a guest at the hotel does not give one access to convention space. Also, if the room is his but booked under someone else’s name the hotel can eject him for that and/or revoke his room discount because he isn’t a convention member. If his name isn’t listed as an occupant of the room the hotel can eject him for trespassing. If he is, given his already made public statements that he tends to disrupt the convention, the hotel can legally eject him for that.

The fourth kind of devil is a bit more local, The Paranoid Anti-taxer Who Wants All the Benefits of Society as Long as He Doesn’t Have to Pay His Share of Taxes and THOSE Kind of People Do: Tim Eyman hit with new sanctions, ordered to disclose source of nearly $800K in donations. Eyman’s only income for a couple of decades are running various initiative campaigns to cut taxes, take away gay rights, prevent local tax payers from voting to raise taxes for services they want, and so forth. This is the second time he’s been on trial for mismanaging funds of this campaigns. The previous fines and settlements didn’t teach him a lesson. I hope he winds up penniless by the time this is over.

And now a Bonus category: White Supremacists Who Infiltrate Law Enforcement Institutions and Twist the Culture Until Ordinary Citizens are Perps by Default: Riotlandia: Why Portland Has Become the Epicenter of Far-Right Violence. “…on August 4, 2018, the police launched an unprovoked assault against peaceful protesters, nearly killing one when a flashbang grenade punctured his helmet, resulting in a brain hemorrhage. And on May 1 this year, 20 Patriot Prayer members led by Gibson and accompanied by Ngo attacked antifascists at a bar, fracturing the vertebrae of one woman (whose name was released by Ngo, leading to threats of violence against her, according to her friends). The bar owner claimed that it took police an hour to respond despite numerous emergency calls. The police released a lengthy statement seeking to justify why they didn’t respond until after the fight had ended despite knowledge of the attack as it was happening.” There’s more. So, so much more. Hit the link for the whole extremely well-sourced story.

The Parable of the Speck and the Log, or, telling others how to love sf/f will never work

Imagine that you, like me, were a fan of your local sports team. Imagine that you have watched their games for years—perhaps since childhood with fond memories of cheering the team on with your loved ones. Imagine that you wear the team t-shirt every Friday during the sports season. Imagine that when you see strangers on the street, or bus, or in the store also wearing the t-shirt (or hat, or scarf, or some other article of clothing with the team logo), you exclaim the team cheer (in my case it’s “Go Hawks!”), and the other person smiles and either repeats the phrase to you, or replies with another well-known cheer for the team.

Imagine that (perhaps because it was a time in your life when you couldn’t afford the official team merch) you made your own scarf or hat in the team colors. Or maybe you just couldn’t find the thing you wanted, so you made the banner or the sign or whatever about your favorite player or the team and put it out to share in the team spirit.

Year after year, game after game, you cheer for your team when they win. You are sad when they lose. You get ecstatic, jumping up and down and screaming, when they make it to the play-offs. When they don’t win the championship, you console your fellow fans, talking about how they were robbed and how next year will be different. Over the years you’ve bought tickets and attended games when you could afford to, you’ve bought the merch, you’ve organized viewing parties, you have screamed and hollered and been a fan.

Then, finally, imagine your team makes it all way to the top. They win all the games in the play-offs, they make it to the final championship, and OMG, they win!

Oh, the cheering and the screaming! Fans pounding each other on the back! Shouting “We won! We won! We are the champions!”

The team flies back home and there’s going to be a parade, so you put on your team jersey and your hat and scarf with the logo. You make a big sign on which you have painted the team logo and written the words, “We’re #1!”

And there you are at the parade, in a crowded sidewalk, holding up your signs, yelling happily as the team goes by on the vehicles of the parade. You’re excited and happy and everything is wonderful.

Except a guy walks up to you. You don’t recognize him. Maybe he’s wearing a button down shirt and tasteful slacks. He’s holding a clipboard. “No, you are not number one,” he says, angrily.

You’re confused “What? We won!”

He shakes his head, pulls out some identification that seems to say that he is an official of the league. “You did not win. They won. You are not a member of the team. You are just some wannabe who thinks that being a fan counts.”

And suddenly, everyone else on the sidewalk goes silent. Some of the people in the crowd say, “Technically, he’s right. We didn’t win. We cheered them on to the win, but that’s not the same thing.”

And someone else in the crowd points to the jersey and other gear he’s wearing and says, “I support the team with my money, too! I’m at least a part of the win!”

The guy with the clipboard and some others in the crowd shake their heads. “You can technically say that you contributed to an award winning team, but that’s it. Anything else is just a slap in the face to all those hard-working players who won this year and in the years before.” He takes your homemade sign away from you. “This is trademark violation. Don’t make us sue you.”

The parade is decidedly less festive after that.

Imagine a few months later, and you’ve tried to shake off the feeling you had when you were told that you, as merely a fan, have no share in the team’s victory. It was just some silly technical legal thing, you decided. That’s okay. You still love your team. You still wear your t-shirt. And when you see another person wearing their shirt and they exclaim the traditional cheer, without thinking you reply, “We’re number one!”

And suddenly the clipboard guy is there. “Okay, that joke might have been funny right after the win, but you have to stop. Every time you claim that you’re part of the winning team that is a slap in the face to all the actual winners. You are disrespecting the championship trophy. You are shitting all over the award. Don’t you see that?”

“But I’m just being a fan. This is what we do,” you explain. “We cheer when they win, we cry when they lose. We put in our time and money supporting them. When I say ‘We’re number one’ I know that I wasn’t literally out there on the field, but we’re still part of the team.”

The guy with clipboard sneers, looking you up and down. “Don’t be ridiculous. You could never be part of the team. Show respect for their hard work.”

“How is cheering not showing respect?”

“I never said that cheering isn’t showing respect. Check your notes. What I said was that when you shout ‘We’re number one’ and wave around your homemade sign that you are slapping them in the face.”

“But ‘We’re number one’ is literally a cheer—”

Clipboard guy leans in until his nose is practically touching yours and shouts, “Listen! Stop being an entitled, immature princess! Just sit over there and be quiet and wait until we tell you when you are supposed to clap and what you are supposed to yell and and stop trying to claim that you are something that you aren’t!”

You start to walk over to the designated fan place he has pointed you to. You see, among the other bewildered fans, one of the actual players from the team. “What are you doing here?” you ask.

The player smiles and says, “I’d rather share a space with a million silly people who think it’s awesome to be part of a win than one dour guy shrieking that people who love the team are entitled princesses.”

You don’t have to imagine, you just have to read the comments: ABOUT AO3’S HUGO AWARD.


Right after the Hugo awards ceremony, as part of my A Hugo of Our Own post I said:

I do have one quibble with some of my fellow members of AO3 (as we call it): you are not a Hugo Award-winner author. No matter how many of thousands of words of your fiction is in the Archive. Just as authors whose work was published in Uncanny Magazine this last year aren’t Hugo winners by dent of Uncanny winning the award; they are authors who have been published in an award-winning zine. Another way to look at it: Camestros Felapton compared the AO3 entity to a library: “It’s the library that’s being nominated, which includes its contents but which is not the same as its contents.” (emphasis added).

Yes, all of us who support, use, and contribute to Archive of Our Own should take pride in this win. But don’t go slapping a Hugo logo on your fanfic, all right?

I haven’t yet seen anyone grousing about AO3 winning. I saw a bit of that “Ew! Fanfic! ICKY!” when it was nominated. I saw more people trying to disguise their fear of fanfic cooties with arguments about why the Archive itself is not a “Work” in the sense necessary for the award.

I firmly believe that if someone seriously tries to claim to be a Hugo Winner because they have fanfic in the Archive of Our Own that they are making a fraudulent claim. I also fully support sending a cease and desist to the couple of people who are trying to sell unlicensed Hugo merchandise or running a kickstarter with unlicensed use of the Hugo logo.

But…

  • Someone who changes their twitter handle temporarily to “Hugo nominated pornographer”, or
  • someone else making a single comment on twitter being happy that Hugo voters have endorsed their man-loving-man slashfic, or
  • someone else making a few comments on twitter that all the fanfic they love is now award-winning, or
  • someone else making a single ‘I have written Hugo award winning porn, you’re welcome’ comment

…are clearly not literally claiming to be Hugo winners. What they are doing is precisely the same as fans shouting, “We’re number one!” after the team they love wins the championship.

That is not disrespecting the award, that is reveling in it!

And Clipboard Guy? It doesn’t matter if you are technically, pedantically, legally correct when you point out that the cheering fan isn’t actually a player who fought it out on the field and won the game—you’re still being a biased, dour jerk who is screaming in the face of some fans because they aren’t being fans in exactly the way you want them to. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t think you’re telling them to keep their fanfic cooties off their award, because sometimes our words have implications we didn’t mean—that you didn’t (consciously) mean them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

Finally, you’re the only person who is disrespecting the spirit of the award.

As mean as a cornered ocelot

“Let's be clear, President Trump will run a campaign as mean as a cornered ocelot and as fair as loaded dice. Which Democratic candidate do you think can best stand up and fight back?” - Dan Rather

“Let’s be clear, President Trump will run a campaign as mean as a cornered ocelot and as fair as loaded dice. Which Democratic candidate do you think can best stand up and fight back?” – Dan Rather https://twitter.com/DanRather/status/1172592650202992640

I have a couple of half-finished Weekend Update-ish posts… but I keep thinking about this comment on twitter from retired news anchor, Dan Rather, the day after the third Democratic candidate debate.

And, yeah, every single one of those ten people have much better, smarter, and clearer policies to tackle real problems we face in this country that Trump or the GOP even wish to contemplate. We can’t lose sight of the fact that the first step to undoing all this madness is get Trump out of office. We can’t distract ourselves over subtle policy differences.

Friday Five (ungodly manner edition)

It is the second Friday of September. Which is significant because Septemer is the month when superior babies are born.

I thought that the significant change in the weather last weekend had kicked up a new round of hay fever—plants throwing out more pollen cause they’re soaking up all the water, and so forth. So when I felt more tired and braindead at the end of my workday Monday, I just attributed it to that. Tuesday it was clear that my sinuses had something else going wrong. Wednesday morning I had a soe throat and my voice kept giving out. More symptoms piled on over the course of the day, including a cough that became the Cough of Doom™ during the night. Which meant I didn’t sleep well. And when I did drag myself out of bed my congestion was much worse and my whole body ached. So I took a partial sick day and worked from home again.

Anyway, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about deplorable people, and five videos (plus things I wrote and notable obituaries).

Stories of the Week:

How Bullwinkle Taught Kids Sophisticated Political Satire.

Seattle man reunited with beloved bulldog that was stolen from him.

‘We’re told to be grateful we even have readers’: pirated ebooks threaten the future of book series.

Gender and the Hugo Awards, by the Numbers.

Tina Turner Is Having the Time of Her Life .

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Homophobic hate crime charges fall despite soaring reports.

Elizabeth Warren Vows To Fight For LGBTQ Equality In Surprise DragCon Video – The 2020 presidential candidate’s virtual “appearance” also drew attention to violence against transgender people.

Edmund White to receive honorary National Book Award – White, 79, is among the most influential gay writers of his time, known for works such as “A Boy’s Own Story” and “The Beautiful Room is Empty” and for helping to create the market for openly gay literature.

Gay Maryland Couple Sues State Department for Denying Citizenship to ‘Out-of-Wedlock’ Daughter.

The sensational Candlestick Murder trial of 1958 struck fear in Charleston’s gay community .

This Week in Science:

1.7-Million-Year-Old Rhino Tooth Provides Oldest DNA Data Ever Studied.

Astronomers just found an interstellar comet, the second visitor of its kind ever detected.

Moon rocks could help reveal how life evolved on Earth – and may enable us to resurrect extinct species.

Lovers of Modena skeletons holding hands were both men.

The day the dinosaurs’ world fell apart.

This Week in Homophobes and Other Deplorables:

Mike Pence To Meet With Anti-LGBT Group Days After White House Claimed He Can’t Possibly Be Anti-LGBT.

Teachers, Students Leave High School After Official Email Requires Them to Disavow Same-Sex Relationships.

On Tuesday, Jerry Falwell, Jr. learned the definition of the word ‘receipts’ . . . the hard way.

In Defending Falwell, Liberty U Approvingly Tweets Link to Column Calling Him ‘A Greedy Hypocrite’ .

Broke Homocon Milo “Can’t Put Food On The Table”.

In Memoriam:

Meredythe Glass, Mercer Island resident who was in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ dies at 98.

Things I wrote:

Here comes the rain again… and I couldn’t be happier!

The Dark Domain, or a queer ex-evangelical looks at an agent of intolerance and his scandalous heirs.

Serious topic: and one I still can’t write about.

Videos!

Dion Diamond remembers the risks he took as a young civil rights activist:

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

Trump Faces Scrutiny Over Personal Properties, Hurricane Lies:

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

“Jerry Falwell’s God” by Roy Zimmerman:

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

Ben Platt – RAIN [Official Video]:

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

Pet Shop Boys (feat. Years & Years) – Dreamland (Official lyric video):

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

Serious topic: and one I still can’t write about

“18 years ago, a group who believed diversity is evil and that violence redeems hurt us as badly as they could, in hopes we’d embrace their extremist beliefs, and hurt ourselves a thousand times worse than they ever could.  If we wish to honor the dead, we should stop obliging.”

“18 years ago, a group who believed diversity is evil and that violence redeems hurt us as badly as they could, in hopes we’d embrace their extremist beliefs, and hurt ourselves a thousand times worse than they ever could.
If we wish to honor the dead, we should stop obliging.”

“Trump was the first man in history to be in three places at once. On 9/11, Donald was downtown being a first responder WHILE he was in NJ watching Muslims celebrate WHILE he was in Trump Tower calling TV stations to brag about his building now being the tallest! ”

“Trump was the first man in history to be in three places at once. On 9/11, Donald was downtown being a first responder WHILE he was in NJ watching Muslims celebrate WHILE he was in Trump Tower calling TV stations to brag about his building now being the tallest! ”

“In remembrance of Mark Bingham, a heroic gay man who sacrificed his life on United Flight 93.”

“In remembrance of Mark Bingham, a heroic gay man who sacrificed his life on United Flight 93.”

Open letter: Dear Mark Bingham.

Joe at Joe.My.God reposts his personal story: That Day: My September 11th Short Story.

I finished a post about a very silly topic which I intended to publish on this Wednesday, and it was only when I was scheduling it that I remembered what the date would be. So I decided to do something else. Way back on the first anniversary of 9/11 I wrote a post on another blog that I eventually reposted here on one of the later anniversaries: “Living for 9/12.” It’s hard for me to muster the scant amount of optimism I caught in that post this many years on, because the terrorists won. We’ve embraced the hate. For 18 years we have whittled away at our own liberty, and have not made ourselves one bit safer.

We have, in fact, made ourselves less safe. The hatred we have embraced has given us a plethora of home-brewed domestic terrorists who continue to carry out the agenda of those 19 shitheads who hijacked those jets and killed 3000 people.

So… what are we going to do about it?

The Dark Domain, or a queer ex-evangelical looks at an agent of intolerance and his scandalous heirs

One day in the summer of 1981, I was walking around the inside of a huge church sanctuary in Virginia, every now and then stopping to clap once, then listen to the echo. It was something I did just about every day that summer—each day in a different church. I was a member of an evangelical inter-denominational youth choir. I was one of the singers, but I was also the Lead Sound Technician. And while a bunch of the singers were carrying in the sound equipment, our risers, and other parts of our touring program, I would do this exercise to figure out where I wanted to place our speakers and where to aim them. I took this part of the job very seriously.

I was 20 years old. I was a deeply closeted gay guy who for several years had been struggling to reconcile my love of science and my sexual orientation with the religion I had been raised in (Southern Baptists) which is extremely anti-gay, anti-evolution, anti-birth control, anti-modernity, et cetera and ad nauseam. Only eleven years before that day had the Southern Baptist Convention adopted its resolution on race, which was intended to end segregation in Baptist Churches themselves. At the denomination’s founding in 1845, 12 of its 14 statements on faith had been explicitly in favor of slavery, the segregation of the races, and the supremacy of the white race.

That 1970 resolution didn’t make Baptists pro-equality. The very church that my parents had been members of when I was born, for instance, split after the resolution. A number of members forming a new “Bible Baptist” church the aligned itself with one of the other conventions that had split from the Southern Baptist in the previous couple of decades. And at the 1972 convention the convention adopted a resolution condemning public school segregation.

One of the pastors leading that charge to re-assert the church’s racist past in 1972, was Jerry Falwell, Sr. Falwell was the pastof of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. He was also the host of the syndicated radio program, the Old Time Gospel Hour, which my grandmother listened to faithfully, where he frequently preached against the civil rights movement, women’s rights, gay rights, and a boatload of other topics. In 1971 he founded Liberty University, which to this day still forbids students of differing races to date. And in 1979 he founded the so-called Moral Majority, a political organization bent on supporting conservative Republicans and rolling back what rights women, racial minorities, and queer people had won in the 70s.

In the mid-80s Falwell infamously lost a lawsuit to one of his former classmates from Baptist Bible College, Jerry Sloan. Sloan had come out of the closet after leaving Baptist Bible College, and had become active with Metropolitan Community Church, which was one of the few explicitly gay and lesbian inclusive denominations at the time. Sloan and Falwell participated in a television debate about, among other things, gay rights. After Falwell insisted that he wasn’t at all prejudiced against gay people, Sloan quoted Falwell as having publically called the MCC “brute beasts” and “a vile and Satanic system.” Further, he said Falwell had predicted “one day they will be utterly annihilated and there will be a celebration in heaven.”

Falwell said that it was a lie. And when Sloan said he had it on tape, Falwell bet him $5,000 (on television with millions of witnesses) he couldn’t produce it. When Sloan did produce the tape, Falwell refused to pay. So Sloan sued him, won the $5,000 plus court fees, and he donated it all to a queer community center: Falwell Pays $8,900 to Homosexual Activist.

Jerry Falwell, Sr, was a bigot and a liar (not to mention a chisseler for not paying his bet). And he became a multi-millionaire by preaching hate and promoting hate through his radio show, university, and his political organizations. And I, for one, did not shed a single tear when he died in 2007.

So, back to 1981. Earlier in that year, the Director of the touring choir mentioned that he was “this close” to getting us a tour date at Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church. And without thinking, I blurted out, “if you do, I quit.” The Director was flabbergasted and tried to explain how much exposure we would get there—and possibly be on the Old Time Gospel Hour. I said, “I refuse to have anything to do with that evil man. I refuse to do anything that implies I support his divisive, hateful theology.”

A member of the board of directors who was literally helping me untangle some microphone cables when this exchange happened, chimed in, “Me, too. Falwell preaches the opposite of Christ’s teaching, and if you’re going there, I’m resigning from the board and pulling my kids out of the choir.”

The director made some sort of joke to diffuse and change the subject. Later he made sure to inform both of us that he had decided on his own against pursuing the Thomas Road gig because the strict dress code would, among other things, force us to change our uniform and force a lot of the guys to get extremely short haircuts. I like to think that excuse was his way of saving face, and that my threat had been effective.

And so while later that summer in 1981 we did perform at a Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, it wasn’t Falwell’s—it was a beautiful historical building, which is still there, though it has since merged with another church and changed its name and denomination. And I’m glad I didn’t have to quit the chorus over it.

All of these memories came to mind this week as there is a new (and to me totally unsurprising) development in the story of Falwell’s heir, Jerry Falwell, Jr., and his pool boy scandals: ‘Someone’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth’: Jerry Falwell’s Aides Break Their Silence – More than two dozen current and former Liberty University officials describe a culture of fear and self-dealing at the largest Christian college in the world.

You may remember that the two pool boy scandals of which I’ve written before — besides having a lot of sexual innuendo — involved Falwell, Jr. finding ways to finance multi-million dollar real estate deals for the benefit of the handsome young men after spending a lot of time flying each young man to various luxurious places along with Falwell and his wife on their private jet.

The new article (interestingly enough written by a journalist who attended Liberty University) lists other financial deals, including loans of $300,000 and more to Falwell’s friends, funneling lucrative contracts related to the university to businesses owned by his son, and more. Plus, apparently Falwell is very fond of talking about his sex life with colleagues. With a lot of crude details of the things he and his wife do.

And most tellingly, in one incident involving the guy many of us have referred to as “the other pool boy” (though he was employed as a personal trainer when he met Falwell, Jr). Junior texted pictures of his wife in sexual fetish costumes—to a bunch of staff members, plus the trainer. He claimed afterward that he had meant to just send it to the trainer (I believe that), but he also tried to claim to the people accidentally included on the wayward message that the purpose of sharing the pictures was not actually sexual. No! Falwell, Jr sent the personal trainer pictures of Mrs. Falwell in fetish gear because the trainer had helped her lose a lot of weight.

Um, yeah, no I don’t believe that.

Remember: Junior's largest salary comes from being president of a religious school that forbids drinking and dancing, among other things. So why are he and his son partying at south Miami nightculbs?

Remember: Junior’s largest salary comes from being president of a religious school that forbids drinking and dancing, among other things. So why are he and his son partying at south Miami nightculbs? (click to embiggen)

Listen, hot-wifing, threeways, and cuckold fantasies are all perfectly healthy sexual things that a committed couple who are into ethical non-monogamy should be able to engage in without shame. But when you run a couple of massive non-profit organizations (and draw more than a million dollars in salary between those jobs) that explicitly condemn homosexuality, family planning, women’s rights, sexual liberty, drinking, and dancing (yes, dancing!)—well, then this kind of scandal becomes of interest to the public. Because remember, those non-profit organizations are tax exempt, and therefore all of these shenanigans are being subsidized by our tax dollars.

On top of that, Falwell, Jr effectively swung the evangelical base of the Republican party firmly behind Trump (and all of the evil, non-Christ-like policies that has unleashed on us). And apparently he did so because Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen, made a blackmailer with more of those kinds of pictures of Mrs. Falwell go away.

You should go read the Politico story. It is full of fascinating details (and keeps the sexual stuff, as much as it could be, more tasteful than I would). The amount of information that people were willing to give the reporter is amazing, given that Liberty University and the associated businesses famously have very strict non-disclosure agreements that claim to stay in force even after a person leaves.

Speaking of those agreements: Jerry Falwell: I Called The FBI On Liberty U Traitors. That’s right! Junior has called the FBI on people for tattling on him.

Listen, some of those financial deals are clearly prosecutable crimes. Junior’s using tuition funds and donations to finance his jet-setting lifestyle and that of his friends—and probably sex partners.

“We’re not a school; we’re a real estate hedge fund,” said a senior university official with inside knowledge of Liberty’s finances. “We’re not educating; we’re buying real estate every year and taking students’ money to do it.”

Given that he’s been flying some of these people across state lines in his private jet to close some of these deals, Junior maybe should have thought twice before calling the Feds.

Maybe he thinks that his buddy, Trump, will bail him out. After all, Trump’s very fine lawyer, Michael Cohen, helped get rid of that pesky blackmailer right? Except now Cohen is cooling his heels in federal prison, convicted of financial crimes on Trump’s behalf. Trump hasn’t shown any sign of being willing to pardon Cohen. Or any of the four other people Mueller got to plead guilty to related crimes, nor the four people Mueller got convicted, nor the 19 other people still under indictment whose cases are on-going.

So, Junior may need to start prepping for some less luxurious accommodations than those he is currently accustomed to.


Note:

(Part of the title of this post comes from the hymn, “Up from the Grave He Arose (Low in the Grave He Lay),” by Robert Lowry. It was hymn number 113 in the 1956 Baptist Hymnal.)

Here comes the rain again… and I couldn’t be happier!

This picture is actually from a thunderstorm in 1999 (c) Patrick Haggerty/Associated Press

I don’t deal well with warm weather. I have sometimes phrased this as, “I melt at 80 degrees or higher.” For most of the 43 years that I’ve lived in western Washington state, that hasn’t been a big problem, because we usually only get a week or so of weather in the high-80s and up most summers. The previous few years (as the average temperature of the atmosphere has been climbing), have been a different story. Last summer and the summer before we had several weeks of the high weather accompanied by smoke from wild fires in Eastern Washington and British Columbia. Smoke so severe that health officials weren’t just recommending that some people might want to wear masks, but urged everyone to wear particular masks for days on end.

It was awful! The sky was a sick yellow color, the sun was a hellish red color, everything stank of smoke, my sinuses were swollen as if the worst hay fever day was coinciding with a sinus infection, and it was so hot I just wanted to curl up in a deep freeze somewhere.

And the two things — higher average temperatures and smoke — were related. Because wild fires are both more likely and harder to contain because of the heat and how dry all the plantlike growing in the wilderness was.

This summer we had something that was more like the summers of old (which are going to continue to be less likely as we go). We had a week of really hot weather, then a few days of cool weather, a week or too of kinda hot weather, a few days of cool, and then another week of really hot weather, with a bit of a cool down to only sort-of hot weather, and so on.

Then, Saturday night, this happened: Hundreds of ‘insane’ lightning strikes bring chaos to Seatte. And while the actual storm was a bit disturbing, it was part of a big shift in the weather pattern, as we move out of the summer pattern and more toward fall. The long-term forecast is we won’t hit 80 degrees Fahrenheit
again this year, which has me cheering. And the short-term forecast is periods of occasional rain today and tomorrow, partly sunny Wednesday, and then back to rain.

I love the rain. Really. I like listening to it coming down. I like hearing the sound of tires on the wet roads. I like to go outside and stand in it for a while… I’m just really happy.

Another upside to the slightly closer to normal weather over the summer is that I didn’t have as many awful hay fever days. I still had a lot of bad hay fever days and I was taking extra meds a lot, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the last several summers.

Of course, I’m not out of the woods there, yet. A lot of flowering plants, some trees, and many grasses will keep pollinated for the rest of this month and into October. And when the pollen starts to subside, all the ferns (which grow all over the place in our damp client) will start sporing. And then some time in November as the ferns stop filling the air with their spores we’ll have mushrooms and toadstools popping up everywhere and the air will be filled with fungal spores and molds until (if) we get a hard freeze.

But it’s a lot easier to deal with hay fever when I’m not also feeling like the air is baking my body as a walk around.

I much prefer to rain.

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