Monthly Archives: April 2013

Rough, manly sport, part 3

“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black and I’m gay.”

Jason Collins isn’t the first professional athlete to come out of the closet. But he is the first male member of one of the “major league” sports to come out while he is still playing in that league. For many reasons it shouldn’t matter. But as Martina Navratilova (who came out as lesbian while still competing in professional tennis years ago) asked, “How many LGBT kids, once closeted, are now more likely to pursue a team sport and won’t be scared away by a straight culture?”

The Atlantic has a great article about why sports journalist haven’t reacted much to any of the WNBA players who have come out over the years, while Jason’s coming out has prompted reactions ranging from publications congratulating him to a reporter insisting that God doesn’t approve.

The thing I found most interesting and troubling in the Atlantic’s article is a quote from a spokesperson for the gay student sports advocacy group, You Can Play. He talks about how incredibly hard it is for them to find straight female professional athletes who will join any of their campaigns. Straight women athletes spend so much energy battling the assumption that they are lesbian, that they don’t want to do anything that might imply they are.

And the reason people assume that woman playing basketball, softball, soccer and the like “must be” lesbian is because basketball, baseball, football, and hockey are considered the epitome of masculinity and machismo. Which is why so many people are threatened by the notion of a gay man playing those sports. And it is threatening. You wouldn’t have players issuing statements that “they wouldn’t be welcome” if they weren’t threatened.

Even the mild, “don’t they realize sex is private?” reaction is a sign of feeling threatened. If sex is private, why do straight athletes introduce people to their wife and kids? And before you say that marriage isn’t about sex, I want to point out that the group fighting most viciously to keep gays and lesbians from getting the right to marry argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court just last month that the primary reason marriage needs to remain a heterosexual right is because only heterosexuals can unintentionally procreate. The argument doesn’t make any logical sense, but all of their arguments insist that the sole purpose of marriage is procreation, in other words, sex. And if you’re okay with straight male athletes being seen in clubs with women, dating women, living with women, getting married to women and have children with them, then you don’t sincerely believe that sexuality is private.

And then there’s the football player who was tweeting about how immoral and against god’s law gays are, which is why he doesn’t want any on his team. Because that player has been living with a woman to whom he is not married for a few years—a woman who he has been arrested for battering, and who has kicked him out of the house more than once for fooling around with another women. And why is he worrying about other people’s morality, again?

Those bad reactions should really be the only answer anyone needs to the question of why such announcements are needed. People shouldn’t have to lie about who they are. People shouldn’t feel afraid to be who they are with their own teammates. Everyone should be equally free to talk about their girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, et cetera.

Since we aren’t there yet, you do have to consider who’s really the more courageous: the one gay guy on the team who finally is tired of living the lie, or straight guy surrounded by other straight guys who is threatened to the point of anger at the notion of having a gay teammate?

Putting the perfect into the flashback

Because I have written (several times) and ranted (even more times) about badly used flashbacks, some people have concluded that I hate the flashback with the passion of a million burning suns.

Quite the opposite.

A flashback is the perfect tool for certain aspects of story telling. If it is done correctly.

In a recent online grumble about flashbacks, I described one good use of flashback. Open with an extremely (and I do mean extremely) brief scene of a character or characters in an strange predicament, and without giving anything away, cut to an earlier point and show how they got there. One of the most important aspects of doing this correctly: the scene you open with isn’t the ending of the story. The reader needs to carry past that scene, showing what happens after, as well as how the characters got there.

Another really good use of flashback is to provide context to a point in the “present” of your narrative. The character finds herself in dire straits, and is reminded of an event that got her here. Or perhaps a mistake she made that led to this, or even just a happier time with one of the characters here. This is most useful when referencing a piece of backstory: flashing back to a period before the beginning of your book, perhaps years before.

This is different than a technique used in film (and television, animation, et al) where a snippet of a scene from earlier within the film is shown (or sometimes only the voices from the scene) to indicate that a character is remembering something that should have been a clue or warning of what was to come. That isn’t really a full flashback. And in prose fiction, you do this usually with a single sentence or less. “I should have realized when I saw that broken latch” for instance.

That isn’t really a flashback, that’s a reference. But I do think that the way these sorts of references play in films encourages inexperienced writers to throw in more full-blown flashbacks than the story needs. You shouldn’t be repeating entire scenes of your story within your story. Just a quick reminder to the reader. I like them best in the dialog. “I did warn you not to trust any one…” or “Oh, that’s what he meant when he said…”

The Grammar Girl recently featured a post about the proper use of present tense, past tense, and past perfect tense while constructing a flashback. I don’t have any solid quibbles with it, but want to add a couple things:

First, if you want a more thorough explanation of past tense, past-perfect tense, and ways to use them in narratives particularly in relationship to flashbacks, check out Stephen Minot’s Three Genres. It is an excellent book on writing that I highly recommend.

Second, the Grammar Girl post cites Tim Powers’ The Anubis Gates for the first example of how to do a flashback. The Anubis Gates won awards and is often considered a masterpiece, but it does some questionable things with flashback and other tricks of narrative structure.

I could go into detail, but will simply say that before you get to Chapter One and the example they use, you have to get through a lengthy prologue which happens to contain two flashbacks of its own. Which makes one wonder just what Tim Powers (or perhaps his editors) think the word “prologue” means.

The thing is, however, that although I am not one of the people who think the story is a masterpiece, I agree that it is a rip-roaring good yarn. Which brings me to a point I don’t remember to include in my postings about the craft of writing as often as I should:

I can’t tell you how to write.

I can tell you how I write. I can tell you things that work for me both as a writer and as a reader. I can tell you what doesn’t work for me, especially as a reader. And I can tell you why some things don’t work most of the time for most readers.

But the true test of whether something you are doing as a storyteller works is whether the audience goes along and enjoys the ride. You can create a story following strictly and to the letter all of the guidelines you find in a well-respected guidebook and still produce a lousy story. You can break some rules (as most writers do), and produce a story that makes readers write you to tell you how much they enjoyed it.

Which isn’t to say that you never listen to any advice or criticism. If the reader isn’t enjoying the story, you’re probably doing something wrong. But you have to decide what to fix and how to fix it. No one else can do that.

The value of advice from other writers isn’t as a prescription, but as a different perspective. Maybe someone will read the explanation I gave of how a certain kind of flashback makes the story boring because it tells the reader the ending a bit too literally, and even though their story doesn’t use a flashback, they realize that something else they have done in their tale gives away the ending too soon.

So, while any number of us can teach you how to write a sentence in past perfect tense, none of us can reliably write the perfect flashback. Fortunately, we can all point each other in the direction of good and better.

Why I hate hay fever, reason #5821

Sometime in the wee small hours, an alarm went off. My befuddled, barely awake brain was arguing about whether it was a fire alarm or the Emergency Broadcast System while I was stumbling around the dark house, trying to find what had made the noise.

Both TVs are off, and the alarm had stopped and I couldn’t find anything in the house that was smoking, ominously glowing, or otherwise in a disturbing state.

My head hurt, but I wasn’t entirely sure that it wasn’t merely because I had been awakened from a sound sleep. I crashed back into bed.

About an hour later I woke up, and my mouth was so dry it hurt. My headache was much, much worse. I lurched and stumbled my way to the kitchen, guzzled a glass of water, then refilled and drank some more water, and tried to make myself think. Everything seemed foggy, and I suddenly remembered the alarm from before. Maybe I couldn’t find what was wrong because whatever it was was happening in one of the other apartments, and smoke was slowly filling all the units?

I went to the front door and opened it. The cold air felt good, but didn’t seem to be any less foggy than the air inside the house. I concluded that everything looking foggy was just a combination of me not being fully awake, and the usual blurriness of not having my glasses.

My mouth still felt terribly parched, even though I’d had two large glasses of water. I went to the kitchen, had another glass of water. By which point the bad feeling of the dry mouth had lessened enough that the sinus headache was more noticeable. So I took some cold tablets, drank some more water, and collapsed back into bed.

By the time I woke up for real, it was clear that I was having really bad hay fever. I took some more meds. When I went to get some more water, I found my phone on the counter. There were two amber alert messages, the first at 3:30 am. The phones make a noise similar to the Emergency Broadcast System alert sound when the emergency alerts come through. That must have been what I heard. And it had sounded like it might be coming from either the kitchen or the living room because, by chance, both Michael and I had left our phones off the chargers. Mine was left in the kitchen, his in the living room.

Michael is also having a horrid hay fever day. We’ve both taken naps. All of my sleeping periods since the stupid alarm have included dreams about fires and explosions and the like. Earlier I told Michael I blame the alarms, but the hay fever contributes. In my bad dreams about fires and explosions, I keep getting eye and head injuries, for instance, which I take as my subconscious trying to figure out why my head and eyes hurt so dang much.

Plus, severe hay fever just messes you up. It isn’t just the drugs that make your brain go woodgie1. The histamine cascade causes changes in blood vessels, releases various enzymes, and other systemic changes. When you throw meds to deal with the pain or sinus pressure on top of that, it should be no surprise that one’s mental processes function differently than usual.

And I hate it!

1. Yes, that’s a technical term.

History is longer than you think

I have complained before1 about fantasy authors whose world-building includes statements like, “the peace didn’t last long, because 400 years later…” because history isn’t just a time line, it’s also the way people perceive it. 400 years of peace would never be thought of as a brief interval, but rather the Great Golden Age or something.

Certain fantasy authors make the opposite mistake, of not understanding how long human history actually is. A particularly egregious example was a series which used as a plot point the characters needing to find a spell that was developed by “the first witch to ever exist,” and when they finally find it, it is revealed that this witch lived 600 years ago.

Bear in mind that this happened in a fantasy world where magic works and invariably that magic is invoked with drawing symbols, lighting candles, and chanting. That means that in this fantasy world there are unseen forces which respond to symbols and sounds and thoughts. That clearly means that these unseen forces could be tapped by any being capable of employing symbolism, making noise, and thinking. Presumably the first witches did this sort of thing by accident, but that’s how we learn everything in life.

These sorts of fantasy worlds always have some low level of magic use that is considered safe and does not rely about calling on demons or gods for power. There is usually some scene where a character is either being taught magic by someone else, or who is simply in a desperate situation, where simply by wishing something really hard, they are able to light that candle, or move the key, or pull that weapon which is just out of reach into their hand when the monster is dragging them to their doom. If you think logically from these situations, at least some of magic is simply mentally manipulating some form of energy that is freely available everywhere.

The earliest people who had the cognitive ability to imagine something that isn’t there were the earliest tool makers. This isn’t just a monkey picking up a convenient rock. These people had some tasks they needed doing, realized if they had an object with this kind of shape, hard enough to withstand the force when pressed this way into the that leg of mammoth, they can do this a lot faster than just using teeth and fingernails.

The first people capable of doing that weren’t technically human. They were hominids living in the Olduvai Gorge region of Africa 2.4 million years ago.

Not six hundred (600) years ago.

Not six thousand (6,000) years ago.

But 2.4 million (2,400,000) years ago.

Millions of years ago.

We’re not sure which of the different hominid species living back then made the tools we’ve found—Australopithecus garhi, Homo habilis, or Homo ergaster—but they were making choppers, scrapers, awls, and burins. That last one is especially important while thinking about the cognitive abilities of the brains that thought them up. A burin is for engraving. They were doing more than chopping, cutting, scraping, and making holes in things. They were engraving or carving shapes into wood and bone.

The tools were still very simple, so these pre-humans probably weren’t capable of really in-depth abstract thought that would seem to be required to imagine and enact the really complicated magical effects you sometimes see wizards and sorceresses throwing around in those fantasy novels, but that “pull a weapon to my hand in an emergency” level of magic, they would surely be capable of, in a magical world.

There is anatomical indication that Homo ergaster, at least, possessed verbal communication abilities much more complex than apes. We don’t know how complicated it was, but language indicates another level of abstract thinking2.

I could keep charting what we know about the development of other activities often involved in magic rituals of those sorts of fantasy stories—cave painting, carved figures, musical instruments (surely predated by a huge period of time by simply singing and chanting), and even dance3, but the point is that, if magic exists in the universe and can be manipulated by thoughts, symbols, chanting, et cetera, people will have been doing some forms of it long, long before the beginning of recorded history, (approximately 5,000 years ago—still a lot more than 600).

Even if you don’t want to think about hominid sorcerers, you have to realize that witches, sorcerers, and priests who could perform miracles exist in the very oldest written human records. So if you’re writing a magickal universe that is more or less based on ours, whether it’s a modern urban fantasy, something in a historical setting, or an alternate historical setting, some sort of magic tradition in your world stretches back much, much, much further than a mere six centuries ago.

Asserting anything else is simply dumb.

And don’t even get me started on the incredible stupidity of always having really ancient lore being far superior to anything that has come about now. Because that violates the thing that actually makes humans different than animals… but that’s a rant for another day.

1. Time doesn’t work that way. Think of today’s post as another in a series.

2. And this is just limiting ourselves to the hominids. Dolphins and whales aren’t generally thought of as tool makers, but they certainly have the raw brain power to do the thinking part. And there are other species outside the primates who use really simple tools, create games, plan and execute complicated group activities, including pulling practical jokes. This isn’t to suggest that a magic universe has to have animal mystics, but it could be an interesting alternative way to think about familiars and other animals that seem to respond to magic or enhance magic in folklore.

3. There is some fascinating work being done about the anthropology and evolution of dance (rhythmic, coordinated moving), including an interesting notion that rhythmical synchronized movement could make a group of small hominids appear to be one much larger creature, and thus not easy prey. It’s fascinating stuff. It’s very speculative, and difficult to find physical evidence to support, but still a very interesting topic to think about.

Everyone needs a hobby, but…

When I first moved into this neighborhood, 17 years ago, there was the shell of an Alfa Romeo on blocks in the driveway of a house down the block. It was missing at least one door, parts of the body were rusted out, that sort of thing. Over the years, I have watched it slowly be reconstructed. It’s kind of cool to see. I’ve even seen the owner driving it up the street once. In fact, that’s the only time I’ve ever seen the owner’s face.

But it hasn’t all been cool.

His driveway slopes steeply down to the basement garage. At the other end it slopes down from the sidewalk to the street. So the only flat spot he has to work on the car is the sidewalk itself. And because he has thorny bushes on his property, and there’s a low sprawling cheery tree on the planting strip, when he has left it parked on the sidewalk (sometimes for days at a time) walking around it isn’t trivial.

Since every morning I have to walk that way to get to the bus, then back again after work, it was a bit annoying.

I sympathise. He has this (potentially) nice car he’s trying to restore, but the sidewalk is a public right of way. Technically, it’s a ticketable offense to block the sidewalk. Heck, a neighbor on the next block was cited for the lower tree branches that blocked the sidewalk there at about my chin level and up (and since I’m shorter than average, that meant everyone but small children had to crouch or duck to walk along that part of the sidewalk.

Most of the time the car is parked on the little bit that slopes from the sidewalk to the street. It doesn’t quite fit. The tail end of the car sticks out into the sidewalk, but you can walk through all right.

Some years go I remember a couple of days when not only was the car blocking the sidewalk, but a big tarp covered with car parts was spread out along the sidewalk. There have been numerous times when it was parked just off the sidewalk but various electrical cords and/or hoses were strung up from the garage to the car. Again, something I can step over, but a bit of a barrier to people pushing a stroller or a cart. And a trip hazard for anyone.

A few months ago we came home one night and found that the car had rolled into the middle of the narrow atreet, completely blocking it. We and the car behind us had to back up and go around the block. While I was unloading our car, once we got home, Michael walked down to knock on the owner’s door and help push the car back into the driveway.

Then one morning this week, just as I was about to get into the shower, I hear a horn start blaring. It wasn’t a “beep-beep-beep” of an alarm or someone pressing their “where did I park it” button. It just blared steadily.

After a minute of it going, I pulled my sweats back on and stepped outside. A couple other neighbors were just coming out. Of course, I’d been in a hurry, so I didn’t have shoes nor had I grabbed my glasses. I hadn’t heard a thud or crash before it started, but I was half expecting to see some kind of accident down the road. I couldn’t see anything.

A neighbor with a two-year-old in her arms said, “I can’t see any obvious cause. It’s like in a movie, someone just slumped over, head hitting the wheel?”

I went back inside for shoes and my glasses, then walked down the street.

Of course it was the Alfa Romeo. No one was in it. It was just sitting there, blaring.

I knocked on the door of the owner’s house. After a minute, an annoyed voice asked through the door. “What do you want?”

“Is this your car out here blaring?”

“I don’t know! Is it my car?”

I stopped myself from saying something crude. “I don’t know! It’s in front of your house!”

“Okay. I’ll be out in a minute.”

One of the neighbors who lives further away than I did had stumbled out in a robe and slippers. It wasn’t that early in the morning (I go in a little later and work into the early evening, myself). The blaring was loud enough to wake up someone at the other end of the block. And I didn’t pound on the door. I just knocked normally. I was trying really hard not to be Angry Man, so I was careful to just knock.

Since he heard the knocking, there was no way that he hadn’t been able to hear his own car, right under his window, blaring its horn for four or five minutes. What the heck did he mean, sarcastically asking “I don’t know! Is it my car?”

Even now, I still have only seen his face that one time he drove the car up the street while I was weeding our lawn. The only reason I even looked up from the weeding was because the car was coughing and sputtering and sounding like the engine was going to either explode or die any minute. It lurched up the block and out of sight. Minutes later the sound fading as he kept going somewhere in it. I’ve seen his legs sticking out from under the car while he’s working on it. I’ve seen his silhouette at night coming out to deal with the car. So I don’t know him.

All I know is he’s been working on this car for nearly two decades, he’s only gotten it into barely working order briefly a few years ago. He’s had a string of cheap cars that look like junkyard rejects parked at the curb in front of his house (and occasionally in the driveway behind the Alfa). His yard is always overgrown. And he blocks the sidewalk with rather tiresome frequency.

I don’t want to tell him how to live his life. But I really, really, really wish he’d pick a different hobby.

Over prepared

I come from a long line of worriers. Some of them were world-class fretters, constantly obsessing over the most unlikely things. I’m not a fretter. The worrying tendencies manifest in me as being over prepared.

For instance, even though the battery of my smartphone normally has no problem lasting through a day at work and an evening of dinner with friends afterward, I have a case that contains a spare battery which can recharge the phone from absolutely dead to more than 80%. Plus, in my backpack I carry adapter cables so that I can recharge either the phone inside the case, or the phone and case simultaneously using USB ports on a computer. And I carry a small adaptor for charging directly if there is no computer. And finally, The backpack also contains an external battery and adaptors that, if there is no power at all, can recharge my smartphone and power a dead laptop for about four hours.

And I’m not sure I have enough of my bases covered.

I know this is paranoid overkill.

The backpack has a spare two day supply of my prescription meds just in case. Plus a collection of over-the-counter allergy meds, tylenol, and other minor medications. During the cold part of the year there’s a pair of gloves and a stocking cap always in there, along with a pair of sunglasses that will fit over my eyeglasses. In the warm parts of the year the gloves and hat are replaced by a slightly rain-proof windbreaker.

And you don’t want to know how many pairs of eyeglasses I have and where…

I also misplace things. All the time. I can lose, find, and re-lose a set of keys ten times in less than ten minutes. So I have spares of lots of things, because sometimes you don’t have time to spend twenty minutes figuring out where something is.

I know that preparing for hypothetical difficulties is an attempt to control the future. Which is uncontrollable. On the other hand, the quirks it manifests as for me aren’t disruptive to other people’s lives, doesn’t interfere with my ability to interact with friends and family, and it means I’m not stressing over things I can’t control. At least I’m not likely to worry myself into a heart attack.

Besides, watching me unpack my backpack looking for something causes some of my friends great mirth. And the world can always use more laughter.


Is it worth the outrage?

Another corner of the internet is boiling over. Linking to it serves no purpose. I already wasted too much time trying to figure out what everyone is so upset about—because the guess I made when I read the first outraged post seems to be the only one that makes sense.

Resentment is an ugly thing. As the oft-quoted proverb says, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then waiting for the other person to die.” It’s toxic and self-destruction and does no good to anyone.

This goes doubly true when one is an artist of any type who spends any time at all ranting and raging about how shallow, fake, and undeserving another (more well-known) artist is. The only people who don’t see right through your jealousy are other resentful people.

Every minute you spend seething is a minute you aren’t spending on your own art. You’re never going to get any of those minutes back. So stop trying to explain how untalented that person is. Stop pointing to examples of how bad their work is. Stop thinking up clever ways to insult the people who like the other person’s work.

None of that does anyone any good, least of all you.

If you don’t like someone’s work, don’t look at/read/listen to/share it. If you think there’s too much crap in the world, stop griping and make something that isn’t crap.

There are things worth getting outraged over. I do it all the time. It’s okay to be angry about discrimination, or greed, or oppression. Those things cause actual harm to other people. Pointing out the problem may get some help to those who have been hurt. Pointing out the problem may persuade some people to change their minds and reduce the amount of bigotry and hatred and suffering in the world.

No one is harmed by a bad poem. To what little extent bad art can diminish joy or entice people to do bad things (often a very dubious claim), ranting about it just spreads the bad stuff to more people. The exact opposite of making the world a better place.

Let it go.

Go make something better. Go live something better. Go be something better.

Live your life with honesty

My scouting career was like a patchwork quilt. I joined Cub Scouts in second grade. I don’t think I was a particularly outstanding member of the troop, but I’m also not sure how outstanding any 8-year-olds really are.

In third grade we moved twice during the school year (and once during the summer between the end of third grade and the beginning of fourth). One of towns we moved to didn’t have any scouting troops, it was just two small. Another we didn’t stay long enough to finish unpacking before Dad’s company said, “No, we need that oil rig back in Colorado. Time for y’all to pack up your families again.” That town may well have had a troop, but we weren’t there long enough to find out.

I don’t remember much about the troop I joined when we moved to Ft Morgan, Colorado. I do remember having to say good-bye again just before Thanksgiving. But what I really remember is how shocked I was, once we settled into the next town, that there was only one troop and it was associated with a church that (at the time) Southern Baptists considered a cult rather than a denomination. The feeling was more than a bit mutual. I was informed that the only way to join the troop would be for our family to convert to the other church.

That was only the beginning of a lot of bizarre experiences that most people think could never happen in America as we tried to get by in a town where more than 95% of the population belonged to the same church. Those experiences convinced me at an early age of the true value of separation of church and state.

That would come later. At that point, I was simply dumbfounded to learn that I wasn’t welcome. I hadn’t really understood, before then, how closely the Boy Scouts were tied to churches. Yes, my original troop had been sponsored by the church my family belonged to, but several of the boys in our troop weren’t members of our church. My subsequent troops had been similar. I’m not sure if it was because all of the towns were so small that each had only one troop that drew from all the churches in town, but I had never before felt that my membership as a scout had been dependent upon being a member in good standing of an “acceptable” church.

By the time we were once more living in a town that had a troop which wouldn’t exclude me because of which church I belonged to, puberty had hit and finally told me in no uncertain terms that all the bullies at each school who had called me “faggot” and “queer” had been on to something. I don’t know if the Scouts explicitly had the no gays rule at the time, but it was quite clear to me that “boys like me” weren’t going to be welcomed by “boys like them.”

A frame from the Family Research Council "Stand With Scouts" video.
A frame from the Family Research Council “Stand With Scouts” video.
So the current controversies about Boy Scouts of America polices strike close to home. I wasn’t kicked out for being gay. I wasn’t ever formally kicked out at all. But I certainly felt the sting of rejection, and can’t completely understand why there are so many people who claim to have the well-being of children in mind while they are being coldhearted and bloodyminded. It’s bad enough that people believe and repeat the lies that all gays are pedophiles, that all gay kids are predators, et cetera, but some of them seem compelled to lie about anything and everything to further their bigoted agenda.

The notorious Family Research Council has posted a video calling for people to stand firm on the Scout’s ban on gay members. The script of the video is full of all the usual lies and distortions, but also the image I’ve included here. A bunch of people in some sort of meeting room, with the Boy Scouts’ emblem on the wall, and a sign visible on the left that says “2013 Planning Meeting.”

Except it’s a lie.

U.S. District Court photo originally from
U.S. District Court photo originally from
The original photo was found, by Jeremy Hooper of the Good As You blog, to be from a 2009 story published at, where it is identified as the federal district court for the District of Massachusetts.

It’s clear that someone swiped the original picture, cropped it a bit, then Photoshopped the BSA emblem in place of the U.S. District Court seal and the fake 2013 meeting sign on top of the closed circuit TV screen.

You can say that the stolen image is pretty trivial. Nothing they did to the image itself causes any harm to any gay scouts, but it’s still a lie. And it’s just one of many lies in the video. Why, if their cause is so just, must they lie so much?

They like to quote the part of Scout Law that calls for every scout to be “morally straight.” But when my old scout handbook explained that particular phrase, the explanation begins, “By morally straight we mean you are to live your life with honesty…”

So why does the Family Research Council—an organization that has been caught lying again and again about matters both great and (as in this case) exceedingly trivial—get to advise anyone on morality?

Music Friday

I want to share some music again.

This first video is quite special to me. The lead singer of the bad, C.D. Woodbury, is a good friend of mine. In fact, a couple hours before I wrote this, he was sitting in my living room telling me about his week. So it’s a good friend and his band. They’re singing an original song they wrote based on a specialty of the house at this venue, which is a place I like to go. And the particular night that they premiered this song at that venue, my husband and I were there. It was the night before our wedding (where C.D. officiated), and we consider this night with good friends, great music, and wonderful food, our bachelor party. So, please enjoy this soon-to-be classic, the SauBall Blues:

Since I opened with blues, how about a blues/bluegrass/rap fusion? I love the show this is the theme for, and this song’s awesome on its own:

While we’re on the subject, this piece is quite fun:

And of course I have to include a classic:

And now we need some commentary (and more than just commentary) about a song from Stephen Colbert. Watch it all the way to the end, it’s definitely worth it!