Monthly Archives: January 2015

Weekend update

I linked to a few stories yesterday about the American Family Association and the Republican Party trying to distance themselves from only a small subset of the horrifically anti-gay, anti-jewish, anti-muslim, and misogynist things that Bryan Fischer says every week on his radio show produced and paid for by the AFA by removing him from one of his posts in the organization, specifically Official Spokesperson. But while Fox News is now disavowing Fischer, Equality Matters reminds us of all the times When Fox News Defended Bryan Fischer’s Anti-Gay Extremism.

I also mentioned yesterday several bills filed with the Oklahoma legislature to enshrine more anti-gay discrimination into law. It’s being widely reported that Sally Kern Withdraws Anti-Gay ‘License To Discriminate’ Bill. Unfortunately, she is withdrawing only one of the three anti-gay bills that she’d introduced. Plus, there are seven others from other law makers. So there’s still plenty of anti-gay bigotry on the agenda of the Oklahoma state legislature.

It’s been a while since I reported any of the demented ravings of the “Harlem Hate Pastor” James Manning (his is the church whose sign often has hateful messages) Patheos reports that: James David Manning thinks the next goal after LGBT equality is cannibalism. They include the full video from Manning’s own YouTube channel, if you can stomach listening to him. Oh, and his church is also Harlem Hate Church To Hold Manhattan March Against “Sodomite Cannibals”; that’s right, they’re going to organize a protest march against the gay cannibals!

But wait! It get’s better! This morning Manning posted a new talk on his website and Youtube channel in which he insists that pop idol Justin Bieber is a transgender man who “threw his life away and at 20 years old can’t grow his breasts back.” The rest of his new blast against transgender people is a lot of the usual crazy, so…

Marshawn Lynch during a photo shoot for a an issue of ESPN Magazine last year. Copyright 2014 ESPN.
Marshawn Lynch during a photo shoot for a an issue of ESPN Magazine last year. Copyright 2014 ESPN.
The sports press keeps throwing tantrums that Marshawn Lynch doesn’t like doing press conferences. And the league fines Marshawn and tells him he has to talk to them. So he gives one word answers or just keeps repeating the line, “I’m only here so I don’t get fined.” This is all stupid, because the sorts of questions the reporters ask are never illuminating, the answers the athletes give are almost never illuminating (and it isn’t because the athletes are stupid–there are only so many ways you can say “We performed better today than they did” or “They performed better today than we did”, right?). Anyway, Marshawn gave more than one word answers yesterday: Marshawn Lynch finally speaks, rips media in Super Bowl press conference. This only thing just makes me crazy. His job is to play football, and he does that pretty damn well. *sigh*

Finally, how about some great news? Evangelical Megachurch in Tennessee, Gracepointe, comes out in favor of Marriage Equality. They started a “listening process” with the LGBT community three years ago, and the result was a decision of love and acceptance. Hit the link to read some more and listen to the sermon the pastor gave announcing the change.

Friday Links (Live and Let Die Edition)

keep-calm-and-go-seahawksWe’ve reached the final Friday in January. In just two days the Seattle Seahawks are going to play in the Superbowl again, and while I do not expect them to obliterate their opponents as they did last year (we didn’t just mop the floor with the Broncos, we stomped the Broncos until they were the floor, and then we mopped them), but I do believe we’re going to beat the Patriots. Go Hawks!

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:

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch: “I’m here preparing for a game”.

The obscenity of calling Saudi King Abdullah a “reformer”.

7 heinous lies “American Sniper” is telling America.

Simon says the Republican Party’s clown car has become a clown van..

America’s best-selling cars and trucks are built on lies: The rise of fake engine noise.

What ‘Explicit’ Gay Sex Scenes Is Billy Crystal Talking About, Exactly?

The Cop Who Choked Eric Garner to Death Won’t Have to Pay a Dime in Damages.

Oklahoma’s Refreshingly Honest Plan To Discriminate Against Gay People.

Astronomers Catch A Quasar Shutting Off.

Unseen Galaxies of the Universe Detected.

LOOK! The Asteroid That Flew Past Earth Tuesday Has Its Own Moon.

Fox News, American Sniper, Jesus, and…well…I can’t even.

Bobby Jindal’s Prayer Rally Explicitly Advocated a Christian Theocracy in America.

Bones From Era of Alexander the Great Raise More Questions Than Answers.

Mary Jane Watson was not the sort of girl you brought home to meet your mother.

Dwarf Planet Ceres Reveals Tantalizing Details in Best Photos Yet.

The Absurdity of Infinity: Astrophysicist Janna Levin Explains Whether the Universe Is Infinite or Finite in Letters to Her Mother.

The Secret Douglas Adams RPG People Have Been Playing for 15 Years.

Some Thoughts on White Anti-Racists and Angry Black People.

Study: Men more open to feminism when it’s paired with a photo of Canadian actor Ryan Gosling.

More of Seahawks Tight End Cooper Helfet’s Modeling Career.

The Real Learning Channel: A Straight Spouse Of A Gay Husband Speaks Out.


Newfound Mormon LGBT Tolerance Is The Same Old Discrimination.

Why Apple Selling Fewer iPads Is Actually A Huge Achievement.

For Lawyers, a Rocky Walk Down the Gay Marriage Aisle.

My boyfriend in Dragon Age: Inquisition broke my heart when he told me he was gay.

TED Talk: the Myth of the Gay Agenda. “This is the gay agenda: equality. Not special rights, but the rights that were already written.”

Three policies Obama can adopt to support LGBTQ criminal justice reform.

Okay, New Starbucks Palace on Pike Street, What the Hell Are You?.

The Cops Don’t Care About Violent Online Threats. What Do We Do Now?

The AFA Cannot Wash Its Hands Of Bryan Fischer’s Bigotry That Easily.

Bryan Fischer Was Not Fired From Wingnut Central For Saying Any Of The Following.

The serialist’s dilemma.

In case you haven’t already seen it: Lars Andersen: a new level of archery:

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George Takei presents, My Husband’s Not Straight:

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You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive by Ruby Friedman Orchestra:

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The Dancing Traffic Light:

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What happens when men find out the women they’re catcalling are actually their mothers in disguise:

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Oh, what was it?

The other night while I was walking home from work (which takes a bit over an hour) I had this brilliant idea. For a while last year I participated in Throwback Thursday (#tbt or #Throwback) by writing a blog post inspired by one of the large collection of scans of the contents of Grandma’s old photo albums. It was fun. It was an easy way to make me write about something other than politics or the news.

But it isn’t something I really wanted to do constantly. Particularly since I was trying to avoid posting pictures of living relatives without their permission—or at least to minimize it. So that limited which pictures could be used. There’s also only so many childhood memories that I can make at least potentially interesting to other people.

So I took a break, figuring I would do it occasionally, or maybe pick a month next time, or something. Anyway, there I was, walking home in the drizzle, listening to music on my headphones, cars zooming by in the dark, and I had an idea of something else that I could do on Thursdays; make it the usual Thursday thing. It was a topic that could include Throwback Thursday. So I would have the benefits I get from having a weekly scheduled task, that could sometimes be a Throwback Thursday post, but most of the time would be something else. And that something else would, I hoped, be of slightly more interest than just another walk down memory lane with Gene.

It was brilliant! I even thought of a cute name that had the same initials as the short hashtag (tbt). I resolved to start my first post as soon as as I got home.

When I walked in the door, my glasses fogged up. I heard my husband call to me from upstairs, but I couldn’t understand what he said because I still had my headphones on. I had to turn off my headphones, take off (get myself untangled from) my backpack, peel off my wet hat and coat, hang up the coat and the hat, get out of my shoes, get the rest of my damp work clothes peeled off and tossed into the hamper, then pull them back out to check the pockets which I always forget, figure out where I set my glasses down when I came in the door, put on some sweatpants and fuzzy socks—all the while as Michale and I babble at each other about dinner and/or our days or something else that one of us thinks is important—check the mail, collect my phone and iPad and watch and headphones to put on their chargers…

And finally I sat down and woke up my laptop. I jumped to WordPress right away to start the first post in the new Thursday idea…

…and I couldn’t remember what the nifty notion was. I don’t just mean that I didn’t remember what I meant to start writing for today’s post, I mean that I couldn’t remember the umbrella topic/personal meme that was going to be my new regular Thursday thing. The thing that had the initials T B T and could include Throwback Thursdays as a subset.

I remember having the thought. I remembered the entire internal conversation about how I’d do it. But the idea itself? Gone.

And it’s still gone, days later. I haven’t got the slightest idea what it was. None.

I hate when that happens!

The serialist’s dilemma

My lynx plushy seated at my laptop.
I wish I looked as cute sitting at my laptop as my lynx plushie does.

When we experience a story we enjoy—whether it’s a novel, movie, episode in a television series, comic book, whatever—it’s natural to want to feel that enjoyment again. This need can often be satisfied by re-reading or re-watching, but sometimes that isn’t enough. Maybe there was a supporting character that we become particularly enamored with and we just wish more of the story had focused on them. Or perhaps it was a subplot that really intrigued us and we’d like to see more of that particular dynamic. Or it could be a single line of dialog that alluded to a past event that sounds very interesting and we’d like to know more about what happened. Or it could just be that we want to know what happened next. None of those desires can be satisfied merely by repeating the original story.

In any case, we wind up clamoring, “More! More! Give me more!”

When you’re the storyteller, this is a very flattering thing to hear. The audience liked your story! They love your characters! They want more…. Continue reading The serialist’s dilemma

Sometimes it’s the little things that keep us sane

© 2014 Gene Breshears
Coffee always helps.
Some time back a friend I follow on twitter re-tweeted a funny headline that began with the words “Florida Man” and included a link. I clicked on the link and read a short story about a guy in Florida doing something stupid or outrageous or something. It was funny, but I noticed that the headline of the story didn’t match the tweet. The headline in the tweet described the story perfectly, but it wasn’t the actual headline of the news story.

The original source of the tweet (which my friend had re-tweeted) was an account named @_FloridaMan. A quick check of the account revealed it was a long string of headlines and links to text or video news stories happening in Florida. And not just any news stories, but specifically stories of men doing things such as trying to shoot an iguana and nearly hitting people in a nearby house instead, or calling the police to complain that he thinks his drug dealer is cheating him, or trying to steal ridiculous amounts of food by stuffing them down his pants and thinking no one will notice, and so forth. Most of the tales involved the police eventually.

A recent example for @_FloridaMan.
A recent example from @_FloridaMan.
They are funny and often extremely sad at the same time. And the stories cover such a wide spectrum of activities, you never know what’s going to pop up next. I got a kick out of reading several of the stories, and considered following @_FloridaMan right away. The problem is that I could see how that constant stream of ridiculous and thoughtless and often fatally stupid things that people do could encourage my inner cynic to the point of making me an unpleasant person.

An example from @EmergencyKittens
An example from @EmergencyKittens
A couple of different friends occasionally retweeted cute pictures of cats with humorous descriptions of said pictures. Yes, they’re cute cat pictures. Yes, I am aware of the widely-held belief that only shallow people share cute cat pictures on the internet. But they made me smile. Sometimes they made me roll my eyes, but most often they made me smile. One day, by chance, shortly after I had been reading a heart wrenching story about a man murdering his own teenage daughter because she was lesbian, I flipped over to twitter to try to get my mind off the story, and one of my friends had re-tweeted something unbelievably adorable from EmergencyKittens again, and I no longer felt like my head was going to burst from the combination of rage at the father and sorrow for the girl and everyone who cared for her.

I checked the entire Emergency Kitten feed again, and yes, it repeats itself a bit more often than I’d like, and yes many of the humorous comments are rather obvious. If it was the only thing coming into my feed, it would become annoying after a while. Of course, it wouldn’t be the only thing happening in my feed, as I follow a bunch of people, but still…

And that’s when I had the idea. I followed both @_FloridaMan and @EmergencyKittens on the same day. Both of them give me laughs, but they aren’t the some kind of humor. Both make me roll my eyes or groan. But while one often reinforces my inner cynic, the other just as often reinforces my inner optimist.

Both of them, in different ways, act as antidotes to the outrage that can so easily by instilled reading more serious news stories and otherwise paying attention to what’s happening in the world. So, having both feeds randomly put funny, silly, bewildering moments into my day go a long way toward keeping me sane.

Friday Links (NFC Champs Edition)

seahawksIt’s already the fourth Friday of 2015! But it’s still January, so it’s too early for “the year’s just flying by” jokes, right? I either had a major relapse or came down with a new bug on Sunday, so I’ve been out of it a lot again, 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:

My Seahawks are going back to the Superbowl!!!

The Purple Passions of Carl Corley. I love all the old paperback cover art!

The pope stumbles over Charlie Hebdo.

Deflated footballs just latest corner Belichick’s Pats accused of cutting. (Warning: there’s an autoplaying video.)

Father rips into Steve Deace on gay rights.

Galapagos Tortoises Make a Comeback, Thanks to Rat Eradication.

The boy who didn’t come back from heaven: inside a bestseller’s ‘deception.’

What the Reaction To Billy Crystal Tells Us About Gay Tolerance.

The Real ‘Deflategate’ Scandal Is That Anyone Cares.

Shouts Of Protest At Supreme Court On ‘Citizens United’ Anniversary.

Nullification, Now Coming to the Supreme Court? – Mike Huckabee suggests that if the justices rule that gay-marriage bans are unconstitutional, states don’t need to listen.

Mike Huckabee’s PAC Paid His Family Almost $400,000.

Dumb arguments against legal protections for transgender people, part 4.

This goes way beyond double-standards!

Maybe it wasn’t as funny as I thought.

Jeremy Jordan – “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” (Broadway Loves Celine Dion):

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Jessie Ware covers Labrinth’s Jealous in the Live Lounge:

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Simon Amstell Stand-Up 01/14/15 – CONAN on TBS (Not exactly safe for work, but hilarious-stand-up comedy about his regrets of not being more sexually adventurous before settling down with his boyfriend):

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Just A Gay (Blank Space MashUp) — Morgan Reynolds:

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Maybe it wasn’t as funny as I thought

Rodin's 'The Thinker.' Photo by Andrew Horne at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Rodin’s ‘The Thinker.’ Photo by Andrew Horne at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Earlier in the week I read an amusing story someone was sharing on Tumblr about a parent who found out her kid had tricked her into buying video games she didn’t approve of, and what she did about it. After chuckling, I re-blogged it and got on with my day. It was just a silly story on Tumblr, right? A little later I was reading a news story about some state legislators proposing a law banning so-called reparative therapy (the new code for ex-gay quackery), and I suddenly was thinking about that story I had re-blogged.

Maybe it wasn’t as funny as I thought?

But then I reminded myself that it’s just a silly story on Tumblr, and scores of people have shared it before me, and maybe I was just over thinking it. Right?

Right… Continue reading Maybe it wasn’t as funny as I thought

This goes way beyond double-standards!

I wasn’t going to comment on the story about the kid who is admitting now that he lied several years ago when he woke up from a coma and told an extremely elaborate and detailed story of going to heaven and playing with angels. I was a little disturbed to learn that there is an entire genre of such books about people who claim to have gone to heaven while unconscious (and related materials) being sold in “Christian” bookstores (the Washington Post calls the genre “heaven tourism”). Now that I think about it, I know exactly how that kind of snake oil would be gobbled up by a lot of people, and I shouldn’t be surprised that some people are willing to sell anything, as long as they make a profit.

Then an acquaintance posted one of the articles on Facebook, and another person commented that they were appalled that the publishers and the kid’s father have been exploiting this transparently false story for years, which prompted another person to become very outraged. “Are you going to tell some poor sick six-year-old who’s just awakened from a coma, ‘Proof, or shut the frak up?'” Continue reading This goes way beyond double-standards!

Saving the world once a week

© and ™ Turner Entertainment Network, Inc.
© and ™ Turner Entertainment Network, Inc.
A lot of TV shows could be summed up (jokingly or not) as being about Saving the world every week. Some of my favorite shows of all time (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for instance), could be described that way. One such show this winter was The Librarians, where they embraced the idea so much that there was a running gag of different characters sometimes making a reference to saving the world every week.

A few weeks back my husband came into the room while I was in the middle of an episode, and after watching less than a minute, he asked if it was a Warehouse 13 knock-off. I had to point out that the series was a continuation of a set of movies which pre-dated Warehouse 13 by several years. The first movie, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear was broadcast in 2004, five years before Warehouse 13 (the entire trilogy of Librarian movies were made and released before the first episode of Warehouse 13). Both the Librarian and Warehouse stories owed a big debt to Raiders of the Lost Ark and the other Indiana Jones properties, of course… Continue reading Saving the world once a week