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Friday Five (breathtaking spike edition)

We’ve reached the final Friday in March.

Now not only am I working from home every single day, but my husband is also home because he has been furloughed. Like literally millions of other people. It is slightly amusing to see him go from his usual cheapskate mode to a new Super Cheapskate! Have to find the humor where we can, I guess.

Meanwhile, 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 the pandemic, five stories about deplorable people, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

A Breathtaking 3 Million People Filed For Unemployment Last Week As Coronavirus Shutdowns Hit.

Topless Tongan is Hosting Fitness Classes on Olympics Instagram.

Giant Burmese python found on Australian woman’s porch.

Mammal study explains ‘why females live longer’.

Stop Hating on the Hoarders – These hogs are mostly harmless and they might even be doing us a public service.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

28 Oldest Gay Celebs (and Why We Still Love Them).

We Survived AIDS, We Can Survive This: Why You Should Listen to Your Gay Elders.

Library of Congress Inducts Village People’s Gay Disco Anthem ‘Y.M.C.A.’ Into National Recording Registry.

LGBTQ dance party goes digital amid coronavirus pandemic.

Teen Who Stabbed Grindr ‘Date’ 128 Times and Left Him to Die is Jailed for 24 Years to Life.

This Week in COVID-19:

What I Learned When My Husband Got Sick With Coronavirus.

AMA Denounces Doctors For Hoarding Malaria Drug.

Coronavirus and the Cocoanut Grove Effect .

Medical Worker: Seeing Terrifying Lung Failure Even in Young Patients Completely Changed My Perspective on COVID-19.

Coronavirus: Woman whose husband died from chloroquine says not to trust Trump .

This Week in Deplorables:

Virginia Pastor Who Said COVID-19 Was Anti-Trump “Mass Hysteria” Dies of Virus.

Man under investigation for plotting an attack at a hospital believed to be treating Covid-19 patients was killed during an FBI investigation.

It Took A CNN Interview And A Twitter Fight For IL Gov TO Get Mask, Ventilators From Trump.

Trump’s Bible study teacher says coronavirus was caused by gays & environmentalists.

Richard Burr’s troubles are not going away. So why isn’t he?

In Memoriam:

‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ star Mark Blum dead from coronavirus at 69.

The Beloved Kenny Rogers Runs Out of Aces.

Bill Rieflin Dead – Nine Inch Nails & R.E.M. Drummer Dies at 59.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update: talk about insider trading and disaster profiteering.

Sunday Silliness: A couple of takes on the Quarantini.

“Et in Arcadia ego” finds Jean-Luc’s motley crew confronting mortality while wrestling moral dilemmas.

This post contains nothing momentous nor newsworthy.

I’ve already survived one plague where people said the victims weren’t worth saving… and now?

Thursday Tidbits: Reading about angry people while social distancing.

Italian coronavirus patient shares experience: ‘I wore a breathing helmet for six days’:

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SOCIAL DISTANCE – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody:

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Niall Horan – Put A Little Love On Me (Official):

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Come Rain Or Come Shine:

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Colorado Symphony’s Digital Ode to Joy:

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Sunday Silliness: A couple of takes on the Quarantini

A friend shared this image last week, and then I shared it on twitter, and I have subsequently seen mention here and there in various streams of cocktails called the Quarantini. I understand the urge, because many of us are staying home and dealing with any anxiety about our own health or the health of our loved ones, so coming up with a pandemic- or quarantine-themed cocktail seems like a fairly harmless way to pass the time. Well, maybe not entirely harmless: The rise of the quarantini! People whip up coronavirus-themed cocktails at home during the pandemic, prompting Emergen-C to warn that its products should not be ‘taken with alcohol’.

But assuming you aren’t mixing things that oughtn’t to be consumed at the same time, this can be fun. My husband, who used to be a bartender, shared this post about one bartender’s version of a Quarantini: The Quarantini! which does look tasty (not surprising coming from a bartender) and at least has a nice story to go with it. I object to this one a bit because it hits two of my pet peeves regarding cocktails:

  • The first is that a good cocktail recipe should not be dependent on super-specific, branded ingredients. If you can’t make it without buying a specific brand of an uncommon alcohol, liqueur, or cordial, most people aren’t going to be able to make it.
  • A true martini is a three ingredient drink: gin, vermouth, and a garnish (olive or a twist of lemon, traditionally). It has been argued that a martini is actually a four ingredient drink, because they taste best if served very cold, so if you consider temperature an ingredient, that is that. Regardless, the above recipe has eight ingredients (and is also recommended to be served chilled, so nine counting temperature) and that just isn’t a martini!

An important caveat to my first point: while it is true that I have specific gins that I will recommend if one if making a martini, as well as a favorite dry vermouth, those are recommendations, but the actual recipe. I have a number of favorite bourbons and ryes for making Manhattans or Old Fashioneds with, as well, but the specific brand isn’t part of the recipe, right?

Anyway, I find this recipe much more fun: Margaret and Helen introduce the COVID19 Quarantini. It’s strong enough to make you think Obama is still President and will knock you on your ass from 6 feet away. #SocialDistancing. And half of that is that is it always fun to read a new Margaret and Helen blog post. If you aren’t already a fan, you should check it out.

One part vermouth and 19 parts gin sounds insane, until you remember that a lot of people make their martinis by putting a little vermouth in the glass, swirling it around, then dumping it out and pouring the chilled gin into the glass. My typical recipe is closer to a 1 part vermouth, 9 parts gin, for example.

I’ll allow the vitamin C table garnish on the assumption that you are swallowing the tablet before you begin sipping the drink. If you want to get vitamin C into the cocktail itself, maybe a twist of lemon will be fine.

Edited to Add: It’s been pointed out to me that because Margaret and Helen often write in a distinctive style that one should not always take literally, that not everyone understands that when Helen says to serve this with hand sanitizer, she means that if you’re making a drink for someone else, you should use hand sanitizer since both you and the person you are making the drink for will be touching the surface of the glass. Not that you should put hand sanitizer into the drink.

Friday Five (virtual book club edition)

We’ve reached the third Friday in March and also the official beginning of spring (in the northern hemisphere).

More of the world is working from home this week. My husband’s place of work has cut down on hours, so he’s not having to leave the house as many days each week. That has a marginal decrease on my anxiety, and for now we’re trying really hard not to worry about economics.

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five (pandemic-free) stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about responding to the pandemic, five stories about the pandemic, one story in a category of its own, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

The Cold Crowdfunding Campaign: Save the Girl and Save Me From Having to Toss Her Out of the Airlock. A superb parody…

Stop With the Superhero Babies! It Never Works.

Fossil ‘wonderchicken’ could be earliest known fowl.

How thin, delicate butterfly wings keep from overheating.

What scientists learned after firing a small cannonball into a near-Earth asteroid.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Inventor of the world wide web: the internet isn’t working for LGBTQ women.

‘Intertwined with the Trump Administration,’ Anti-LGBT Hate Groups Rose Sharply in 2019.

This Gay Historian’s Book Club for the Coronavirus Quarantine Could Help Save Us All.

Trans Judge Candidate Wins, Anti-LGBTQ Congressman Loses in Illinois.

A quarantined gay man played piano on his balcony for neighbors. Then someone brought out the sax.

This Week in Responding to a Crisis:

Grocery store workers in Minnesota classified as emergency workers.

Netflix urged to slow down streaming to stop the internet from breaking – Can the internet take all this extra bandwidth usage?

Trump signs major coronavirus relief package meant to ease burden of pandemic.

Idaho GOP ignores coronavirus in favor of requiring medical tests for transgender student athletes.

California Gov. Newsom issues order for entire state to stay at home due to coronavirus.

This Week in COVID-19:

The Impact of COVID-19 on Air Quality in US Cities.

Hixson man faces price-gouging investigation for attempt to profit from sanitizer sales amid coronavirus outbreak.

Warning: Turns Out Coronavirus Is Dangerous To Millennials, Too.

Italy’s coronavirus death toll overtakes China’s.

Throngs of travelers arriving back in the US are jam-packed in airports after Trump’s coronavirus travel ban.

This Week in Finally:

Tulsi Gabbard ends White House bid, endorses Biden. It’s not that I want everyone to rally ’round Biden already, it’s just that I really wanted her out: “She had also become the subject of widespread skepticism among national Democrats, often rebuked for her past anti-LGBT rhetoric, isolationist brand of diplomacy and 2017 meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom she declined to label a war criminal despite the dictator’s use of chemical weapons to attack his own people.” There were only three candidates still in the running in last week’s mini-Tuesday… and still she came in sixth place. For good reason!

In Memoriam:

Actor Stuart Whitman Dead at 92.

Lyle Waggoner, Actor on ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ and ‘Wonder Woman,’ Dies at 84v- He auditioned for ‘Batman,’ posed as the first centerfold for ‘Playgirl’ and launched a successful business catering to Hollywood behind the scenes.

Things I wrote:

Sunday Update: Please stop hoarding!

Picard tries to start mending all the “Broken Pieces”— the new series takes a Lovecraftian turn.

Confessions of a (supposedly) Veteran Remote Worker.


Coronavirus II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO):

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Stephen Colbert: No Red States Or Blue States, Just 50 Anxious Pale States:

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ELM – Golden (Official Video):

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Sam Smith – To Die For (Acoustic):

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Lisa Loeb – Sing Out:

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Friday Five (it’s not the flu edition)

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We’ve reached the second Friday in March, and everyone is starting to learn about social distancing.

This is the second week that I (and my entire department) have been working from home at the direction of upper management. I am exceedingly lucky that my work can be done over the internet and that my employer is set up for that. It makes me feel extremely guilty that a lot of other people can’t. Including my husband. And I only have anxiety attacks about him (and many other friends and relatives) a dozen or so times a day.

Meanwhile, 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 things and the people fighting them, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

Why Are Women Less Likely Than Men To Support Sanders? Data that backs up what I’ve been saying for over three years: “It’s hard to pin down a single reason why men seem to be more attracted to Sanders’s candidacy than women… But there is evidence, according to an analysis by Dan Cassino, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, that while support for Biden increases among voters with more sexist views, those with the most sexist views were disproportionately likely to favor Sanders. And sexism was higher, in general, among men.”

What Will You Do If You Start Coughing? – “Stay home” is not a sufficient plan.

Scientists Discover Smallest Dinosaur on Record – International team finds tiny, tooth-filled skull of a predatorial bird preserved in 99-million-year-old Burmese amber.

Why plastic is a deadly attraction for sea turtles.

Can I Get Coronavirus via Sex – All Your Horny Little Coronavirus Questions, Answered.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Psychologists’ Group Supports Trans Restroom Access, LGBTQ Parents.

Disney Boss Shuts Down Shareholder Claiming LGBTQ Content Is Hurting the Company.

Trans woman wins $50K after she was told she couldn’t live “around children”.

LGBTQ voters turned out in record numbers on Super Tuesday.

Pixar’s Onward ‘banned by four Middle East countries’ over gay reference.

This Week in Deplorables and People Fighting Them:

Baptist Church in Florida Hires Convicted Child Molester as Pastor.

Sex Before Marriage Is Now Legal in Virginia.

“There Are So Many Examples”: Kamala Harris Opened Up About How She Was Covered As A Black Candidate.

Trump’s Coronavirus Bungling Has Only Boosted Joe Biden’s Return-to-Normalcy Campaign.

“He’s Definitely Melting Down Over This”: Trump, Germaphobe in Chief, Struggles to Control the Covid-19 Story.

In Memoriam:

‘Boys in the Band’ Playwright Mart Crowley Dead at 84.

Mart Crowley Dies: The Trailblazing ‘Boys In The Band’ Playwright Was 84.

Max von Sydow, Star of ‘Seventh Seal’ and ‘Exorcist,’ Dies at 90.

Earl Kemp (1929-2020).

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 03/07/2020: Men with more money, hate, and self-loathing than sense.

“Nepenthe” predicts Picard will be up to his ass in Romulans for the rest of his life.

It’s another primary election day, or, confessions of a “perfect voter”.


The Ingraham Angle Coronavirus Cold Open – SNL:

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Patrick Stewart Answers the Web’s Most Searched Questions | WIRED:

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Stargirl Teaser #2:

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Billie Eilish Live – bad guy – American Airlines Arena – Miami – 3/9/20 2020 – Where Do We Go Tour:

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Lose You To Love Me (Selena Gomez) Cover By Kelly Clarkson:

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Friday Five (what peace accord? edition)

Image from: Steve Greenberg

We’ve reached the first Friday in March, and I wish I was feeling a bit more upbeat about it.

Not to focus too much on one news event, but it just so happens that I live in the same county where nearly all of the coronavirus deaths that have happened in the U.S. thus far have occurred. I worked from home the first couple of days of the week because I was having a few bad hay fever days, which means I was sniffling and sneezing and occasionally coughing. Since I have remained fever free all week, I do not believe that I am sick, however, right now nobody wants to be around anyone who is coughing or otherwise seems to be sick. Then, the county health department recommended that anyone who could work at home should, and my boss and her boss asked all of us to work from home for the rest of the week. Since then the state health department has made the same request, and the executives at my employer have asked us all to keep working from home for the foreseeable future. So I have not witnessed for myself much less crowded the buses and lots of public places downtown reportedly are. I do happen to be in an age bracket that is considered at higher risk for having severe symptoms if I do get sick, and I have one of the longterm health issues that is also on that list. And I come from a long line of Professional Worriers™, so while my usual optimism is still intact, there are moments.

Meanwhile, 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 the possible pandemic, five stories about the deplorable thug occupying the White House, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

The Heartbreaking True Story Behind Pixar’s Onward – A lost father. A found tape. A voice a filmmaker thought he would never hear.

U.S. strikes Taliban a day after Trump hails their Afghan accord.

Coronavirus: Australian newspaper prints extra pages to help out in toilet paper shortage.

Doctors try 1st CRISPR editing in the body for blindness.

‘Bold’ thief uses fishing rod to hook Versace necklace off Melbourne mannequin.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Police Finally Re-Arrest Suspect Accused of Fatally Stabbing Chicago Man After Yelling Gay Slur.

Queer Mormons say they’ve been put in danger by ‘cruel’ university as it U-turns on homosexuality policy.

LGBTQ Candidates Win Big In Super Tuesday Contests Across U.S. – Advocates cited Pete Buttigieg’s presidential bid with inspiring other LGBTQ people to run for office.

Congresswoman AOC condemns using ‘religious liberty’ to justify anti-LGBTQ discrimination in fiery speech.

Why Republicans are suddenly in a rush to regulate every trans kid’s puberty – Proposals in eight states would ban puberty blockers and hormones for trans minors.

This Week in COVID-19:

UW Medicine now testing for coronavirus at Seattle laboratory – UW Medicine and the Washington State Public Health Laboratory in Shoreline are currently the only two locations in Washington state that can test for COVID-19.

Tech companies are getting more aggressive to fight COVID-19 hoaxes – And it’s about time.

Rick Santelli Wishes Everyone Could Get COVID-19 At Once To Stabilize Financial Markets – CNBC’s Rick Santelli just took “die and die quickly” to new heights.

Tito’s Vodka is warning consumers that it can’t be used as a hand sanitizer replacement as the coronavirus spreads across the US.

Senate approves $8.3 billion total coronavirus response package.

This Week in the Deplorable Thug Occupying the White House:

Markets plunge as critics say Trump’s desperate efforts to calm the panic have backfired.

Trump insists Taliban wants to ‘make a deal’ after surge in violence in Afghanistan.

Ben Carson Replaced Health Secretary Azar At Wednesday’s Coronavirus Briefing.

Bloomberg to form new group to help Democratic nominee defeat Trump.

Utah’s coronavirus response team accuses Trump of spreading misinformation. I think the word you’re looking for isn’t “accuses” but rather “points out” …

In Memoriam:

Freeman Dyson, Math Genius Turned Visionary Technologist, Dies at 96.

Rosalind P. Walter, the First ‘Rosie the Riveter,’ Is Dead at 95.

David Wise, writer of Emmy-winning Star Trek: The Animated Series episode, has died.

Comics artist Frank McLaughlin Dies at Age 84.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 02/29/2020: the Graveyard of Empires.

A Surfeit of Ex-Borgs: Jean-Luc Picard beams into the “Impossible Box”.

Tuesday Tidbits: Not the good kind of viral.

Drip, drip, drip— or, Showing up matters.


Elizabeth Warren announces she is ending her presidential campaign:

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Trump Calls Criticism of His Coronavirus Response a “Hoax” as Concerns Grow: A Closer Look:

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Learn To Wash Your Hands The Right Way with Samantha Bee | Full Frontal on TBS:

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CONNECTED – Official Trailer (HD):

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ANY DEM WILL DO! – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody:

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Friday Five (schemes and denial edition)

Here we are at the fourth Friday in February! And tomorrow with be the fifth Saturday!

We had another mostly dry week. Some days very cold, some not quite as bad. Meanwhile, the world continues to fall apart. Sometimes I feel like Nero with his fiddle.

Meanwhile, 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, five stories about the deplorable thug occupying the White House, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

Earth has temporarily gained another moon.

Another Study Casts Doubt on Effectiveness of Trigger Warnings .

The Lost 110 Words of Our Constitution.

How the CIA used Crypto AG encryption devices to spy on countries for decades.

Coronavirus: The race to find the source in wildlife.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Lesbian Teacher Wins $100K in Bias Case, Donates Thousands to Charity.

What the AIDS Memorial Quilt Means in 2020.

Men Are Tweeting #BisexualMenExist. Here’s Why That Matters.

Pentagon-funded study shows troops mostly oppose Trump’s transgender military ban – Trump said that trans military members undermines troop readiness, but this study suggests that his ban is actually undermining it more.

Disney+ scraps LGBTQ show ‘Love, Victor’ because it isn’t “family-friendly”. But movies were millions of people are killed are still deemed family-friendly?

This Week in Deplorables:

FBI Busts Atomwaffen Domestic Terrorists Around The Country – The foursome—Cameron Brandon Shea, 24, of Redmond, Washington; Kaleb Cole, 24, a former Seattle-area resident now in Texas; Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe, 20, of Spring Hill, Florida; and Johnny Roman Garza, 20, of Queen Creek, Arizona—were arrested this week for targeting journalists and others with threatening posters delivered to them warning that “You Have Been Visited By Your Local Nazis.”.

2 Indiana pizza shops fined for not reporting delivery drivers’ murders.

Christian Men Behind Biblical Oil Scheme May Be Conning People Again.

Bernie Sanders Staffer Mocked Elizabeth Warren’s Looks, Pete Buttigieg’s Sexuality on Private Twitter Account.

Pete Buttigieg Denounces the Politics That Made Him Possible.

This Week in the Deplorable Thug Occupying the White House:

WH Moves To Screen Scientists’ Statements On Coronavirus. Should we be surprised given how anti-science this administration is?

Trump’s CDC chief faces increasingly harsh scrutiny – Early missteps on coronavirus, lack of a consistent message make the nation’s disease-fighting agency a focus of criticism.

Trump puts man who enabled Indiana HIV outbreak in charge of coronavirus task force.

Report: US health workers responding to coronavirus quarantine lacked training, protective gear.

Trump’s coronavirus lies: He doesn’t care if his fans get sick.

In Memoriam:

Katherine Johnson, ‘hidden figure’ at NASA during 1960s space race, dies at 101.

Smithsonian Curators Remember Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician Highlighted in ‘Hidden Figures,’ Who Died at 101 – An African American woman who battled workplace discrimination, Johnson performed crucial calculations to send astronauts into space.

Barbara Remington, Illustrator of Tolkien Book Covers, Dies at 90.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 02/22/2020: Scout’s honor and the price of abuse.

“Stardust City Rag” Begins Quite Bloody and Ends With a Bang, or Picard Goes On a Caper.

Not All Like That, part 3, or, If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit, I Ain’t Talking About You.

Being a discerning reader, part 2: it’s okay to set your own boundaries.


Hometown Hospitality With Senator Elizabeth Warren:

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Would LGBTQ Voters Elect Mayor Pete? | The Daily Show:

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MORBIUS – Teaser Trailer:

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Curious – Mike Taveira (Official Music Video):

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Ricky Martin abre Premio Lo Nuestro al interpretar por primera vez en TV el tema ‘Tiburones’ | PL:

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Friday Five (lying billionaires edition)

Here we are at the third Friday in February!

This week has been mostly dry and sunny here, which means it has also been very, very cold!

Meanwhile, 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 why we don’t need another arrogant billionaire running for president, five stories about the deplorable thug occupying the White House, five stories about other politics, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

The Woman Shaking Up the Diamond Industry Finds Yet Another Huge Gem.

Did dinosaur blood run hot or cold? Their eggshells may hold a clue.

Everything I’ve Learnt From Sleeping With Married Men as a Gay Man. “You gotta wonder though: How does he plan to hold on to a full-grown woman who is fully married to him, while also hoping to have a full-blown boyfriend by the side? How does it make sense?”

Bloomberg slammed as ‘arrogant,’ sexist, clueless in contentious Democratic debate debut.

Stop calling far-right terrorists ‘crazy’ – Growing exposure to racist rhetoric and radical ideology, not mental illness, is driving force behind extreme violence.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Justin Fashanu, Britain’s First and Only Out Gay Footballer, to Be Posthumously Inducted in Hall of Fame.

Virginia moves towards banning LGBTQ ‘conversion therapy’ in minors.

U.S. medical schools boost LGBTQ students, doctor training.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear Makes History by Attending LGBT Rally at Capitol.

The Flash’s Rick Cosnett Comes Out as Gay in Sweet Video.

This Week in We Don’t Need to Replace One Arrogant Billionaire with Another:

Bloomberg’s plan to buy the presidency endangers democracy – Even if Bloomberg would be a good president, he’d be a terrible precedent.

Michael Bloomberg’s campaign implodes onstage in Nevada Democratic debate.

Women bound by Bloomberg NDAs want to tell their stories but fear coming forward: report.

Warren Goes After The ‘Billionaire Who Calls Women Fat Broads And Horse-faced Lesbians’ – Senator Warren defined Michael Bloomberg right out of the gate.

Bloomberg Company Data Disputes His Pay Equity Claim At Debate.

This Week in the Deplorable Thug Occupying the White House:

Trump’s Pardons Are Meant To Normalize White-Collar Crime.

Intel officials warned House lawmakers Russia is interfering to get Trump reelected.

Adam Schiff sends signal that a Roger Stone pardon would be another impeachable offense.

Jessica Tarlov Shut Down For Saying Trump Cheated on Wives.

White House Admits That Trump Trade Stance Did Depress Economy.

This Week in Other Politics:

‘Are You Mocking Me?’ Amy Klobuchar Isn’t Just Fighting For The Nomination—She’s Fighting For Her Career.

“There are not any Russian bots operating on here at the moment,” Josh Russell, a disinformation researcher, told The Daily Beast. “It’s basically impossible at this point for them to operate on here. Twitter’s site integrity team has made it real boring for me. I have checked and checked and checked hashtags related to the primaries, and it’s just been really boring so far.”. Bernie and his supporters need to stop hiding behind the Russian Bot lie.

Mulvaney says U.S. is ‘desperate’ for more legal immigrants.

Christian right leader: Straight people who have oral sex have adopted ‘homosexual sex practices’ .

Roger Stone sentenced to 3 years for lying, witness tampering as case roils DOJ.

In Memoriam:

Ja’Net DuBois remembered by Janet Jackson, Norman Lear and Viola Davis.

Novelist Charles Portis dies at 86.

R.I.P. Kellye Nakahara, M*A*S*H Actress Dies at 72 – The Hawaiian actress portrayed Nurse Kellye on 167 episodes of the hit TV series.

Larry Tesler, the Apple employee who invented cut, copy and paste, dies at 74.

Things I wrote:

“Absolute Candor” delivers sword fights and a space battle for Star Trek: Picard.

But how will the reader know that they are really evil? Or, maybe shortcuts have no place in your writing.

Time, time, time, see what’s become of us… or, Long Term Relationships from a Queer perspective.

Oppression Olympics, part 2: What’s so radical about being yourself?


Elizabeth Warren attacks ‘arrogant billionaire’ Michael Bloomberg over treatment of women | NBC News:

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Medicare for All: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO):

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Ellen Weighs In on Reclined Airplane Seat Debate:

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A Vengeful Trump Strikes Out At His Enemies, Fires Vindman & Sondland During “Friday Night Massacre:

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Lizzo – Adore You (Harry Styles Cover) in the Live Lounge:

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Friday Five (bizarre limits edition)

And we’ve reached the second Friday in February (which is also Valentine’s Day), and tomorrow is the third Saturday.

The rain went away for a few days, now it seems to be back, and I’m quite happy with that. So long as we don’t get any more wind knocking over trees and leaving us without power for 16 hours.

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about science, five stories about politics, and five videos (plus some things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

More high school students than ever are coming out, but their despair remains acute.

NBA star Dwyane Wade talks candidly about accepting and empowering his trans child.

An Underwater Art World That’s Helping to Save Our Oceans.

You Think We’re Self-Obsessed Now? The 19th Century Would Like A Word – the 150 Year Evolution of American Autobiographies.

‘They are my family’: Stolen bonsai trees mysteriously returned to Federal Way museum.

This Week in Science and Technology:

New Horizons spacecraft ‘alters theory of planet formation’.

Coronavirus’s genetic fingerprints are used to rapidly map its spread.

Scientists in Israel grow date plants from 2,000-year-old seeds .

‘Reaper of death:’ Fearsome new dinosaur species discovered in Alberta.

A Mystery Radio Signal From Deep Space Appears to Be Repeating a 16-Day Cycle, Scientists Say.

This Week in Politics:

Brazen Trump Shakes Down NY Governor In Broad Daylight.

Republicans think tampons need to be taxed to limit women from buying too many.

Bernie Sanders’s New Hampshire victory shows exactly how he could win the nomination.

The ‘swarm’: How a subset of Sanders supporters use hostile tactics to drown out critics.

Senate votes to limit Trump’s military authority against Iran.

Things I wrote:

Sunday Funnies, part 39.

“The End is the Beginning” takes Star Trek: Picard into space at last.

“Once you have their money… you never give it back,” or, Contradictory statements about acquisition and wealth in Star Trek.


CNN Host Destroys Limbaugh’s Anti-Gay Attack on Buttigieg: ‘What’s More Manly, Volunteering for Military Service or Avoiding It?’:

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Trump and Barr Corrupt the Justice Department as John Kelly Speaks Out: A Closer Look:

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Maddow urges viewers to ignore the DOJ ‘official lie’ defending Trump and Barr: ‘The truth is evident’:

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The Thing About Harry – the Gay Rom-Com Jake Borelli Wish He Had Growing Up| Official Trailer | Freeform:

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Jakk Fynn – Special (Official Music Video):

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Sunday Funnies, part 39

Another in my series of posts recommending web comics that I think more people should read.

Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis This is another of those comic strips that I don’t need to check regularly because so many people are always posting strips, and when they do, I go catch up. The heart of the series are two characters, a clueless Pig and an arrogant Rat, and they comment on just about everything. It’s hard to describe that subject matter beyond “human foibles and society.” The author says his goal is to poke fun at humans’ unending quest for the unobtainable, and that’s probably why so many other reviewers describe it as a cynical comic. I don’t find it cynical, but I must admit that my basic optimistic temperament may be skewing my perspective. Or maybe I’ve just known too many cruel jerks who describe themselves as cynical that my definition of cynical is off. In any case, Pearls Before Swine certainly mocks human foibles without crossing into mean-spirited territory.

Comics I’ve previously recommended: Some of these have stopped publishing new episodes. Some have been on hiatus for a while. I’ve culled from the list those that seem to have gone away entirely.

Kyle’s B&B by Greg Fox is hard to describe. The main character, Kyle, is a gay Canadian who owns a bed and breakfast that seems to be constantly occupied by hot queer guests. Many, many hot queer guests! There is some romance, and a lot of jokes about things ranging for sub-cultures in the queer community, to gardening and pop culture and… well, a lot of stuff. If you like Greg Fox’s work, you can purchase his books here

Good Bye to Halos by Valeria Halla. Fenic is trans and gay. The comic begins when Fenric is a teenager. Fenric’s father says that it is no longer safe for him there, and then pushes him through a portal and Fenic finds herself in a place call Market Square and unable to get back. She is befriended by an anthropomorphic lion and learns that Market Square is a place where queer kids from many worlds/dimensions find themselves when they are abandoned or lost. Later, as Fenic gets older and assumes that her father is never coming to rescue her, the adventures become increasingly fantastical. If you like the artist’s work, you can support her on Patreon.

What QQ by Carlisle Robinson. This is one of several comics created by Carlisle Robinson, a deaf trans masculine queer artist. If you like Carlisle’s work, consider supporting the Patreon

Casey at the Bat by Bob Glasscock. 20-something Casey was dumped by the man he thought was the love of his life, then a friend convinced him to try out for a local gay softball league as a way to meet new people. And thus begins the comic. Casey At the Bat describes itself as a lighthearted slice-of-live romantic comedy, that just happens to start a young gay man. The strip is entertaining and does mostly stick to the less serious topics. If you enjoy this comic (which is more about romance and friendships than it is about sports—though there is some of that, too) you can purchase collection of the comics here.

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 3.18.45 PMCheck, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu is the story of Eric “Bitty” Bittle, a former junior figure skating champion from a southern state who is attending fictitious Samwell College in Massachusetts, where he plays on the men’s hockey team. Bitty is the smallest guy on the team, and in the early comics is dealing with a phobia of being body-checked in the games. He’s an enthusiastic baker, and a die hard Beyoncé fan.

“Manic Pixie Nightmare Girls” by Jessica Udischas is a hilarious web comic that tells of the adventures of Jesska Nightmare, a trans woman trying to make her way in our transphobic world. The comics are funny, insightful, and adorably drawn. The sheer cuteness of the drawing style is a rather sharp contrast to the sometimes weighty topics the comic covers, and I think makes it a little easier to keep from getting bummed out to contemplate that the strips aren’t exaggerations. If you like the strip, consider supporting the artist through her patreon. copyright  Sabrina SymingtonLife of Bria by Sabrina Symington is a transgender themed comic that ranges from commentary to slice of life jokes and everything in between. Even when commenting on very serious stuff it remains funny—sharp, but funny. It’s one of the comics that I would see being reblogged on tumblr and lot and I’d think, “I ought to track down the artist so I can read more of these.” And I finally did. And they’re great! If you like Symington’s work, you can sponsor her on Patreon and she has a graphic novel for sale.

Nerd and Jock by Marko Raassina This is a silly webcomic about a Nerd and Jock who are good friends and like to have fun together. Frequently the joke of the strip is to take a cliché about jocks and nerds and twist it in some way. It’s cute. I happen to really like cute and low-conflict stories sometimes. If you like this comic, consider supporting the artist on Patreon.

Assigned Male by Sophie Labelle is a cute story about a transgirl (we meet her at age 11) and goes from there. Some of the strips are more informational or editorial than pushing the narrative forward, but they are in the voice of the main character, so it’s fun. The artist also has a Facebook page of the site, and is in the process of moving to a domain of her own (though currently it still doesn’t have the actual comic strips available). I mention this so you will not be put off by the words “old website” she’s added to the banner. If you like her comic and would like to support her, she has an Etsy shop were four book collections of the comics and other things are for sale.

Stereophonic by C.J.P.

Stereophonic by C.J.P.

“Stereophonic” by C.J.P. is a “queer historical drama that follows the lives of two young men living in 1960s London.” It’s a very sweet and slow-build story, with good art and an interesting supporting cast. But I want to warn you that the story comes to a hiatus just as a couple of the subplots are getting very interesting. The artist had a serious health issue which was complicated by family problems, but has since started posting updates to his blog and Patreon page, assuring us that the story will resume soon. If you like the 300+ pages published thus far and would like to support the artist, C.J. has a Patreon page, plus t-shirts and other merchandise available at his store.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson concerns the adventures of 9-year-old Phoebe Howell. One day, Phoebe skipped a rock across a pond, and the skipping rock hit a unicorn named Marigold Heavenly Nostrils in the face. This happened to free the unicorn from her own reflection, so she granted Phoebe one wish. Phoebe wisely wished that Marigold would become her best friend. If you like the comic, you can buy the books here and enamel pins and other stuff here.

Reading Doonesbury: A trip through nearly fifty years of American comics by Paul HébertThis blog is mostly about the Doonesbury comic strip by Gary B. Trudeau which has been being published for 50 years. Hébert looks at various sequences and themes and long arcs from the comic strip, writing essays analyzing how the story went, putting it in context of the time it was printed, and so forth. He also reviews other comics and graphic novels.

The_Young_Protectors_HALF_BANNER_OUTSIDE_234x601The Young Protectors: Engaging the Enemy by Alex Wolfson begins when a young, closeted teen-age superhero who has just snuck into a gay bar for the first time is seen exiting said bar by a not-so-young, very experienced, very powerful, super-villain. Trouble, of course, ensues.

3Tripping Over You by Suzana Harcum and Owen White is a strip about a pair of friends in school who just happen to fall in love… which eventually necessitates one of them coming out of the closet. Tripping Over You has several books, comics, and prints available for purchase.

dm100x80“Deer Me,” by Sheryl Schopfer tells the tales from the lives of three friends (and former roommates) who couldn’t be more dissimilar while being surprisingly compatible. If you enjoy Deer Me, you can support the artist by going to her Patreon Page!

copyright Madeline McGraneMadeline McGrane is a cartoonist and illustrator who is from Wisconsin and lives in Minneapolis. She posts vampire-themed comics and other art on her tumblr blog. My favorites are the vampire comics about three child vampires. They’re just silly. Her black and white comics are minimalist and really work well with her style of humor. Her color work is a bit more complex. If you like her work and want to support her, she has a ko-fi.

The Junior Science Power Hour by Abby Howard logo.The Junior Science Power Hour by Abby Howard. is frequently autobiographical take on the artist’s journey to creating the crazy strip about science, science nerds, why girls are just as good at being science nerds as boys, and so much more. It will definitely appeal to dinosaur nerds, anyone who has ever been enthusiastic about any science topic, and especially to people who has ever felt like a square peg being forced into round holes by society.

The logo for Scurry, a web comic by Mac SmithScurry by Mac Smith is the story of a colony of mice trying to survive a long, strange winter in a world where humans have mysteriously vanished, and food is becoming ever more scarce.

And I love this impish girl thief with a tail and her reluctant undead sorcerer/bodyguard: “Unsounded,” by Ashley Cope.

logo-1Fowl Language by Brian Gordon is a fun strip about parenting, tech, science, and other geeky things. The strips are funny, and he also has a bonus panel link to click on under the day’s strip.

lasthalloweenThe Last Halloween by Abby Howard is the creepy story of 10-year-old Mona who is reluctantly drafted to save the world on Halloween night. This is by the same artist who does the Junior Science Power Hour. She created this strip as her pitch in the final round of Penny Arcade’s Strip Search, which was a reality game show where web cartoonists competed for a cash prize and other assistance to get their strip launched. Though Abby didn’t win, she started writing the strip anyway. If you like the comic, you can support Abby in a couple of ways: she has some cool stuff related to both of her strips in her store, and she also has a Patreon.

Last Kiss® by John Lustig Mr. Lustig bought the publishing rights to a romance comic book series from the 50’s and 60’s, and started rewriting the stories for fun. The redrawn and re-dialogued panels (which take irreverent shots at gender and sexuality issues, among other things) are syndicated, and available on a bunch of merchandise.

Sharpclaw by Sheryl Schopfer. The author describes as “fantasy comic that blends various fairy tales into an adventure story.” The first story is about twin sisters who both have the potential to be sorceresses. One pursues magic power, the other does not. If you enjoy her work, you can support the artist by going to her Patreon Page!

“Champion of Katara” by Chuck Melville tells the tale of a the greatest sorcerer of Katara, Flagstaff (Flagstaff’s foster sister may disagree…), and his adventures in a humorous sword & sorcery world. If you enjoy the adventures of Flagstaff, you might also enjoy another awesome fantasy series set in the same universe (and starring the aforementioned foster sister): and Felicia, Sorceress of Katara, or Chuck’s weekly gag strip, Mr. Cow, which was on a hiatus for a while but is now back. If you like Mr. Cow, Felicia, or Flagstaff (the hero of Champions of Katara) you can support the artist by going to his Patreon Page. Also, can I interest you in a Mr. Cow Mug?

Private I, by Emily Willis and Ann Uland is a comic set in 1942 Pittsburgh in which queer gumshoe Howard Graves is trying to sort out a collection of bewildering clues and infuriating eccentric suspects. It’s an interesting take on a lot of noir tropes. It handles the queer elements well—being outed or caught by the wrong people can spell the end of not just one’s career, but possibly life–without being all grim-dark. If you like the comic and want to support the creators, check out their Ko-fi.

The Comics of Shan Murphy As far as I can tell, Shannon Murphy doesn’t post a regular comic on the web. But among the categories of illustration on her site are comics. Her art styles (multiple) are really expressive. And she just writes really good stuff. If you like her work, considered leaving a tip at her ko-fi page.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 5.36.43 PMMuddler’s Beat by Tony Breed is the fun, expanded cast sequel to Finn and Charlie Are Hitched.

The Young Protectors: Legendary by Alex Woolfson. This is just a new story arc for the Young Protectors comic recommended above. However, Alex is changing up the artists he’s working with in this arc, and the focus is decidedly different. This new arc begins by exploring the changed relationship between our protagonist, Kyle (aka Red Hot) and one of his teammates, Spooky Jones. The story is NSFW, although unless you are a patron of Alex’s Patreon, you see a lot less of the explicit artwork. It isn’t porn, per se, and it isn’t a romance. If you check out the page, you’ll see that Alex has written several other comics, some of which are available to purchase in hard copy. And, as I mentioned, he’s got a Patreon account.

12191040If you want to read a nice, long graphic-novel style story which has published its conclusion, check-out the not quite accurately named, The Less Than Epic Adventures of T.J. and Amal by E.K. Weaver. I say inaccurate because I found their story quite epic (not to mention engaging, moving, surprising, fulfilling… I could go on). Some sections of the tale are Not Safe For Work, as they say, though she marks them clearly. The complete graphic novels are available for sale in both ebook and paper versions, by the way.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 10.15.31 AM“Unshelved” by Gene Ambaum & Bill Barnes recounts the adventures of a teen services librarian named Dewey. The web site is also an online book club, with reviews, links, and samples of various recommended comics and other books. This should not be a surprise, since one of the creators of the strip, Gene Ambaum, is a librarian in real life. The strip is funny, and is available for free syndication on non-commercial websites. They’ve printed a number of collections of the strip and have various other cool things related to the love of reading and libraries for sale on their online store.

NsfwOglaf, by Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne is a Not Safe For Work web comic about… well, it’s sort a generic “medieval” high fantasy universe, but with adult themes, often sexual. Jokes are based on fantasy story and movie clichés, gaming tropes, and the like. And let me repeat, since I got a startled message from someone in response to a previous posting of this recommendation: Oglaf is Not Safe For Work (NSFW)!

Note: Usually when I do one of these posts, I include the slightly shorter reviews of all the comics I’ve recommended previously. I do periodically go through those lists and remove comics that have vanished entirely. For now, I’m leaving in those that have stopped publishing new episodes but still have a web site.

But the list is getting awfully long, and I’m not sure how useful the older links are. I’m still thinking about it. Feel free to comment if you have strong thoughts on the topic.

Note the Second: For the first several years that I was making these posts, I foolishly inserted the title graphic for each comic using the WordPress defaults—so that when a reader clicked on the graphic, they would see the graphic full size. What I should have been doing was changing the setting so that clicking the graphic would take you to the home page of the comic being reviewed. Which I have been doing for a while with new reviews. But most the the mini reviews under each new review had the old behavior. Which I was reminded of when I saw that about half the clicks on my blog the day Sunday Funnies, part 39 posted were people clicking on the images. So I spent the time to fix them from that entire post. And will be using this fixed list from now on. I wasn’t a quick simple fix, so I’m not likely to go back and fix the 38 older editions of this blog series any time soon.

Friday Five (spineless sheep edition)

And we’ve reached the first Friday in February.

I know I’ve mentioned the record-breaking rain three weeks in a row, now, but we have flooding and a state of emergency declared although the medical examiner has yet to release the official ruling, it appears to two teen-agers may have died due to the flooding earlier this week.

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five of interest to queer people, five stories about science and technology, five stories about deplorable people, five stories about people who had it coming, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

California Governor Posthumously Pardons Gay Civil Rights Icon and MLK Confidant Bayard Rustin for 1953 Sex Conviction.

Brooklyn park to be renamed after trans activist Marsha P. Johnson.

Donald Trump Is Acquitted, But Not Exonerated – For the first time in history, the vote to remove Trump was bipartisan, while the vote to acquit was the usual GOP bloc.

Federal judge says Boston can reject raising of Christian flag at City Hall.

Violent domestic white supremacist extremists elevated to “national threat priority,” FBI director says.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

In case of 8-year-old transgender student, Pennsylvania school district to pay $100K and change bathroom policy.

Virginia advances LGBTQ rights as Republicans call for secession.

How about those LGBTQ Super Bowl commercials .

German Bishops Declare Homosexuality Is “Normal”.

Touching new Starbucks ad is about a trans teen changing his name.

This Week in Science and Technology:

Identity-Switching Neutrinos Could Reveal Why We Exist At All. But Can We Find Them?

An ‘Off-the-Shelf, Skeleton Project’: Experts Analyze the App That Broke Iowa.

In a rare sighting, astronomers observe burst of activity as a massive star forms.

An ancient skeleton from an underwater Mexican cave sheds light on early Americans.

Beaked Whales Use Coordinated Stealth Mode to Evade Killer Orcas.

This Week in Deplorables:

Hiding in Plain Sight: The White Nationalist Who Toiled Inside a Right-Wing Media Powerhouse.

Boris Johnson is about to find out just how weak the UK is after Brexit.

Franklin Graham Cries ‘Discrimination’ as UK Venues Ban Him Over His ‘Divisive’ Anti-LGBTQ Extremism.

‘Shocking Disrespect’ As Trump Acts Up During The National Anthem – While Melania stood at attention, her hand over her heart, Trump was seen ‘conducting’, waving his hands around in the air, and twirling.

Evangelical Leaders Busted In Human Trafficking Ring, Lavish Lifestyles, Forced Victims To Solicit Donations .

This Week in He Had It Coming:

Christopher Hasson Sentenced To More Than 13 Years In Domestic Terrorism Plot – The white nationalist Coast Guard lieutenant pleaded guilty to federal charges last year amid a plot to “murder innocent civilians” on a wide scale, the feds said.

Pastor sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for sexual abuse of child.

Air Force Colonel Set To Take Command Of Air Force One Base Jailed For Five Years On Child Pornography Charges.

Ex-Gay Torture Minister Charged With Child Molestation.

Rush Limbaugh Has Advanced Lung Cancer Now – Limbaugh has a history of praising the practice of smoking.

In Memoriam:

Kirk Douglas, Indomitable Icon of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Dies at 103 – The actor starred in such films as ‘Champion,’ ‘The Bad and the Beautiful,’ ‘Lust for Life,’ ‘Gunfight at the O.K. Corral’ and ‘Spartacus,’ to name just a few.

Remembering Kirk Douglas, One of the Last Surviving Links to Old Hollywood.

Remembering Terry DeCarlo, LGBT Leader In Orlando.

The first openly gay federal judge passed away at 72 – Deborah Batts was a prosecutor and a law professor before Bill Clinton appointed her to the federal judiciary.

Things I wrote:

“Maps and Legends” takes Picard into the world of espionage, or, an original Trekkie is still loving the new series.

That has always been here, part two: or politics aren’t a new thing in sf/f — including Star Trek.

Late Tuesday Tidbit: For some, freedom’s just a code word for lawlessness.

Still haven’t posted my goals for the year and other trivial revelations.


The Booksellers | Official Trailer:

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Colbert’s LIVE Monologue Following Trump’s 2020 State Of The Union Address:

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Jeep® | “Groundhog Day” | Bill Murray | 02.02.2020:

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The State of Our Union is BAD | Full Frontal on TBS:

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“Cell Block Tango” – Broadway Backwards 2015:

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