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As mean as a cornered ocelot

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

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

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

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

Fumble fingers again

I was still editing and accidentally click Publish in stead of Save.

But now the post is up: That has always been here, or politics aren’t a new thing in sf/f.

Delete delete delete

Fumble fingers struck again.

Now the post is finished and up: Most writing advice is free, but the value varies

Pride Month May Be Over, but our pride and the battles it represents go on

I had seen them earlier while watching the parade, but hadn’t been able to get over to them to ask if I could take their picture. Then found them later at the festival enjoying the shade.

Last weekend we watched part of the Parade before slipping into the Pride Festival. I took a lot of pictures, but most of them aren’t that interesting in retrospect. I was usually trying to get a picture or a cool costume or a neat t-shirt, et cetera. Because I’m vertically challenged and we were trying to keep me in the shade, while I could see the parade, I was doing a lot of looking between people’s heads, which makes it difficult to get good pictures.

After the Dykes on Bikes we had the color guard, which was a whole lotta flags. This picture demonstrates why most of my parade pics aren’t really worth posting. (click to embiggen)

Because we walked to the Parade route from the Locus Awards Hotel, where ever we wind up watching the Parade will be close to the end of the route. We’ve previously found spots that were far enough from the end that we only had to see and hear the God Hates Fags people for a short time, as they usually walk down the length of the route before the official start of the parade, with a police escort. I’ve written before about why I think this is wrong, so won’t go into it here.

This year, we were much closer to the end, and it turns out that when the haters get to that point, they leave the route and assemble near the places where police have set up to maintain roadblocks and such. And they keep spouting their hate over megaphones for a long, long time. And have all their hateful signs.

Here’s where I repeat that I believe in free speech and the right of people to protest. But I believe in treating each other with respect, believe that science and demonstrable fact trump groundless claims and disprovable convictions (no matter how sincere). I also despise hypocrisy and misattribution. So, while I think they have a right to counter-protest the parade, I also believe that shouting hate and disinformation into a megaphone in a public space is barbaric and unproductive behavior.

The sign reads, “I didn't say that! Love, Jesus”

The sign reads, “I didn’t say that! Love, Jesus”

And it is misinformation. They had multiple megaphones but took turns (I’m presuming because of battery issues and to give vocal cords a rest?). two of the guys kept claiming that Jesus said that all “you homos and lesbos and trannies and other faggots” were going to burn in the lake of fire. “You will spend eternity in Hell, you workers of iniquity!” And that is fundamentally a lie. It’s multiple lies. First, Jesus never once said a single word about homosexuality. Comb through the gospels as much as you like, and you will find not a single mention. Second, the only time he talked about people going to eternal punishment, he was talking about people who claimed to be Christian but didn’t follow his teaching (Matthew 25:42-46). And the phrase “workers of iniquity” is from a passage where Jesus was talking about people who preach falsely in his name (Matthew 7:21-23). Fortunately, someone showed up dressed as Jesus with a counter-sign. I have to really zoom in to one of the pictures I took trying to catch him.

The Satanic Church showed up with pro-gay signs, to surround the main group of anti-gay folks and block their signs. That seemed to drive most of them off, leaving one guy with a sign and megaphone. I will say that he tried to talk more calmly and didn’t just hurl slurs at people. But at one point the last anti-gay protestor was surrounded by the Satanic Church people and a bunch of folks wearing the trans flag as a cape, and they had parasols they were holding up so no one could see his sign. Even he eventually gave up and walked away.

I have dozens of shots like this of people in their cool t-shirts, hats, and costumes

I have dozens of shots like this of people in their cool t-shirts, hats, and costumes (click to embiggen).

The festival was fun. I like seeing all the different kinds of us that are there. Between us, we each found a t-shirt at one of the booths we wanted to buy, but they didn’t have the one Michael wanted in his size. Michael found two variants of Pride flags that I didn’t have, so we grabbed those. It was wonderful seeing a bunch of women wearing “Free Mom Hugs” t-shirts. Then at one point I was sitting somewhere resting (and taking pictures) while he went looking for some lemonade. He came back and asked me if I knew there was a queer gamers/comics fan mini con in the pavilion. There, inside an air conditioned space were two publishers that specialize in queer comics and related books, plus gaming companies, some artists, and a bunch of arcade style games. One of the publishers, Northwest Press, is a company I frequently buy stuff from at Geek Girl Con, so I was on the mailing list, and only after we went in did I remember that I had seen an email from them with a subject line about looking for them at Pride.

It was a good day. I got to see and applaud some cool Parade entries. I got to smile and say “Happy Pride” to a huge number of complete strangers. And contrary to what the guys with the megaphones were shouting at us, the main reason we’re at Pride isn’t to revel in our supposed sins, it is to celebrate the fact that we’re alive and thriving despite the efforts of the haters. To paraphrase the meme I shared earlier: it isn’t about who we have sex with, it’s about the fact that we have survived the taunting and gaslighting and yelling and bashing and shaming. We’re celebrating the fact that we’re tough enough to walk out in public with our true selves fully on display. And that’s why the most of the crowd kept laughing at the haters and the nonsense they spewed on their portable sound systems. We’ve spent years surviving far worse than what they can dish out in a single afternoon, and we’re realized that we are strong enough to stand on our own feet, while all they have is hot air.

And here’s something to think about the next time you see those haters. A blogger who goes by Riot Grrl Dyke was once a child of those haters who was taken to Pride by her parents to try to confront the sinners. RiotGrrlDyke has this to say about Pride:

I’ll never forget my first pride.

I can’t remember my actual age, but it was in the range of 10 to 13 I think. my parents had dragged me to a Pride festival, and walked across the street from the main event, across where the lines were drawn, to where a sea of people in red shirts that read “god has a better way” tried to drown out the celebration with speakers blasting christian music, and shouting and loud praying.

the leaders pulled all us kids to the side and gave us the spiel. they told us how the rainbow had been stolen from us, and that these people were tricked by the devil and just needed prayer, but that if we didn’t save them, they were going to hell.

I rolled my eyes because I already didn’t believe in god, and although I barely knew what being gay was, I knew my parents were usually on the Wrong side of things, and I shouldn’t be siding with them.

“We aren’t allowed over there if we’re wearing the red shirts,” the leaders told us, “so we’re sending people over in secret without them so you can pass out tracts and pray for people. they won’t talk to us, but they’ll talk to the kids. does anyone want to volunteer?”

the people in red shirts disgusted me. the people on the other side of the line were cheering and having fun. I raised my hand.

we were supposed to go in groups with young adults, to make sure we were doing what we were supposed to be. I wandered off the minute I could and stood nervously at the edge of a crowd, watching on as people went by, happy and unbothered by the protests across the street. I felt a little pride myself in tricking the protestors into giving up a witness spot to me, when I was going to smile on and think profanities at god instead.

there was an older woman standing outside the crowd too. she asked if I was here with anyone, a girlfriend maybe? I said no, my parents were across the street. she nodded, and said she was here with her kid. a daughter, that she came to support, but couldn’t keep up with in the crowd.

I almost cried. I told her how amazing that was, because I couldn’t imagine my mother showing support like that to me over anything, much less something as serious as Being Gay. I imagined if I was gay, and at a pride event just like now, but this time because I Belong.

I knew automatically that my mother, without a doubt, would still be in the same place, across the street.

I got hungry after a bit, and tried to find a good food truck. I had a little money and I was unused to being on my own like this, but I didn’t want to go back to the Other Side. I knew now without a shadow of a doubt, this was the Good side and that was the Bad side.

as I was eating the gyro I got, there was a stream of red shirted protestors trickling through; I had reached the end of the boundaries, and the protestors were allowed in here. I backed up a little, spotting my dad among them. I didn’t want him to tell me to go back.

there was a line of women closing ranks around the Pride attendees, separating them from the protesters as they walked through. they spread their arms out and told every person the protesters spoke to that they were not obligated to respond, they could walk away and not engage.

my dad spotted me back, and made a beeline over. he couldn’t cross over because a butch lesbian stood between us. I didn’t know what those words meant, but I never forgot the buttons she was wearing.

he tried to tell me that it was time to go. “you’re not obligated to speak to him,” the butch said, cutting him off and edging further between us. I smiled at her, a little in wonderment. no one had ever told me that I didn’t have to speak to my parents, or do anything other than blindly obey them. I watched my dad get held behind a line by a woman half his height, with no intention on letting him get to me, and I smiled and walked away.

I didn’t have a clue who I was then, and I wouldn’t for a good few years to come. but I never forgot the supportive mother, who symbolized to me everything a mother should be, that mine, for all her religious self righteousness, would never hold a candle to. I never forgot that she was the person I wanted to be, and my mother was the person I did not want to be.

I never forgot the butch who stood between me and my dad, and for the first time ever, put the idea in my head that I was ALLOWED to make my own choices in my beliefs, and made me feel protected in a way I hadn’t known I needed.

the image of her standing between me and my dad, being a physical barrier to protect me against any potential threat, that inspired the image of who I admired and wanted to become. it inspired the version of me who could stand up to my dad – to the point that I could hold my ground and educate him enough that over a decade later, he walked side by side with me at a pride festival, with no intent of witnessing to or condemning anybody.

pride month may be over, but the impact this month and these events can have is so damn important. I became who I am because of two people I met at a pride festival. I’ll never forget.

Friday Bonus Five (critters and pride edition)

Since I’m on vaction and trying not to stress too much about the housework and packing I need to do before leaving for our mini trip, and because I did a fairly basic Friday Five last night after working later and because I saw several interesting animal stories when checking the news this morning, here is a bonus Friday Five!

So, here are five stories and five videos to add some cuteness and fun to your Friday:

This Week in the Animal Kingdom:

Oregon Zoo reveals names of rescued otter pups.

Writer spots that lions in Noah’s Ark kids’ books are nearly always ‘gay’.

Denver Zoo says male flamingos have been together for several years, could raise chick.

The London Zoo is celebrating Pride month in honor of its gay penguins.

Flying goats! Olympic Range mountain goats are being relocated by helicopter and ferry.


Sea otters use tools, too. Now scientists look at their ‘archaeology’:

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Our Planet | Otters | Clip:

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The 10-month-old baby panda was named “Qiqi” at Shanghai Wild Animal Park:

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‘I’m being chased by an otter!’: Hilarious man versus beast:

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Penguin Chicks’ Stand Off Against Predator | Spy In The Snow | BBC Earth – Penguin chicks rescued by unlikely hero:

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Friday Five (someone’s going to prison edition)

Picture of convicted conspirator, Paul Manafort captioned “Will not do well in prison”

(click to embiggen)

It’s Friday! The second Friday in March!

And it snowed again. Had a bit over an inch in our part of town. Snow turned to rain and washed it away by afternoon, but it snowed. Again. I’ve seen snow in March, yes. Much later than March, in fact. When I was a kid growing up in Colorado! I haven’t lived in Colorada in over 40 years. We’ve already had the snowiest winter ever. Can we please, please have a bit of normal?

Anyway, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five (IMHO) stories of the week, five stories about science, five stories about deplorable people, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and the thing I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

How Much Wealthier Are White School Districts Than Nonwhite Ones? $23 Billion, Report Says.

In wake of protests, JPMorgan Chase breaks up with private prison industry.

A Clinton-era centrist Democrat explains why it’s time to give democratic socialists a chance.

Sex outside of marriage could soon be legal in Utah.

North Korea Is Rebuilding Rocket Site It Dismantled After Nuclear Talks Last Year. Because of course they are…

This Week in Science:

Smithsonian | There is A Scientific Reason That Cold Weather Could Cause Colds. There are actually multiple reasons why cold and flu season happens during the cold part of the year.

Semi-Identical Twins Identified For Only The Second Time Ever .

Galaxy Simulations Offer a New Solution to the Fermi Paradox.

After 14-year search scientists think they have found a new type of killer whale off coast of Chile.

A 2,000-year-old tattoo tool is the oldest in western North Americ

Awful, Deplorable People:

Paul Manafort Sentenced To Only 47 Months.

The Truth in Trump’s Law-Enforcement Hypocrisy — As a public defender, I’m not mad at how well Manafort and Cohen have been treated. I just want that same treatment for my clients..

Mike Pence isn’t ‘decent.’ He’s insidious..

Two Dozen Republicans Refuse to Vote for Resolution Condemning Wide Range of Hate and Bigotry.

Indiana man had 2,000 ancient human bones in his house. Most illegally dug up out of various indigenous burial grounds.

In Memoriam:

Luke Perry Dead: ‘90210,’ ‘Riverdale’ Star Dies at 52.

Luke Perry, in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ Helped Redefine the Male Love Interest —the mediocre 1992 movie eventually led to some great TV — but it also created a first-rate example of a male feminist..

Things I wrote:

Disgraced former Congressman gets an out of jail free pass….

Haste to prepare the way, or an ex-evangelical explains christianist attitudes toward Israel and Israelie.


Someone has created an animation of several Police Logs of Port Townsend:

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Good Omens – Official Trailer | Prime Video:

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Brian Justin Crum “CIRCLES”:

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Better — A Horse With A Horn (NSFW):

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HE’S IN LOVE (and we’re all gonna die) – Randy Rainbow Song Parody:

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F/r/i/d/a/y/ Saturday Five (checkmate edition)

(click to embiggen)

It was Friday. I knew it was the first Friday in March. Yet, there was no Friday Five post on this blog yesterday.

We had two simultaneous product releases at work, and being the sole technical writer for the division, that turns into an extremely busy week. I put in more than eleven hours on Thursday alone, and it wasn’t the only day that I worked long hours. So, Thursday night, once I was done, I started working on this post. But I was literally dozing at the keyboard, so it didn’t happen.

Anyway, welcome to the Saturday Five. This week I bring you: the top five (IMHO) stories of the week, five stories about deplorable people, five stories about our very impeachable alleged president, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and the thing I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

Everyone loved me as Cosmo the Cougar, but would they love who I was behind the mask?.

Opinion | I Didn’t Kill My Baby.

World’s Largest Bee Is Spotted For First Time In Decades.

The Brain That Remade Itself.

Apple, Google, Tumblr and more businesses lobby US court for trans student.

This Week in High Crimes:

Republican Questioning of Michael Cohen at Hearing Is Bad – Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows Don’t Ask About Trump.

What We Learned From Michael Cohen’s Historic Testimony.

Former Trump Aid: Mueller Report Will be a Conspiracy Roadmap for Impeachment .

Kompromat: Or, Revelations from the Unpublished Portions of Andrea Manafort’s Hacked Texts .

A prominent conservative just shredded Trump’s ‘deafening silence’ on an alleged white supremacist terror plot.

Awful, Deplorable People:

NORTH CAROLINA: Republican Operative Arrested On Seven Felony Charges Over 2018 House Election Fraud and Central figure in 9th District election probe indicted and Board Orders New Election in Fraud-Tainted NC-9 Race .

And one bit of good news out of the North Carolina mess: Anti-LGBTQ pastor Mark Harris won’t run again after election board called for new House election in ballot fraud case – The Republican cited health concerns to explain his decision to skip the upcoming North Carolina Ninth District election.

George Pell: cardinal found guilty of child sexual assault – Vatican treasurer, the third most senior Catholic in the world, convicted on five charges in Australian court case.

Right-wing media and think tanks are aligning with fake feminists who dehumanize trans people.

And here in my home state: Tim Eyman (serial initiative sponsor under investigation for election finance fraud) charged with misdemeanor theft; attorneys call chair’s removal from store an accident

In Memoriam:

Disability Rights Advocate Carrie Ann Lucas Dies After Insurance Company Denied Her Necessary Medication.

Katherine Helmond, the Man-Crazy Mother on ‘Who’s the Boss?’ Dies at 89.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update: Words and images worth checking out.


Trevor Noah: Michael Cohen told Congress that Trump Is a Racist, a Con Man and a Cheat but Lynne Patton Says He’s Not, So…:

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Lanny Davis: Michael Cohen Gave ‘Game Changing’ Information To House Intel | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC:

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Ex-Trump campaign official calls him ‘un-American’ and says his supporters were ‘taken for fools’:

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Boys In Trouble – Sean Dorsey Dance:

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Ben Platt – Grow As We Go [Official Video]:

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Get over it

“In 202, there will be a candidate competing against Donald Trump for President. It is likely this candidate:
1. Isn’t your first choice
2. Isn’t 100% ideologically pure
3. Has made mistakes in their life
4. Might not really excite you all that much
5. Has ideas you are uncomfortable with
Please start the process of getting over that shit now, instead of waiting until 2020.”

Get over it.

It can’t be too late for common sense about guns, right?

I’ve written about the most recent incident last week, and laid out how all the usual arguments for why we can’t do anything about mass shootings have been trotted out by other industries and proved incorrect a while ago: They used to insist that drunk driving couldn’t be reduced either. I had some more stuff I was going to follow up with, but almost everything I wanted to say is summed up by Emma Gonzalez, one of the survivors of last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida: Teen who survived massacre rips Trump to pieces in emotional takedown. I’m just going to quote a bunch of that article:

[S]he responded directly to Trump’s tweet, which blamed students at the school for not reporting on the shooter’s behavior before the event.

“We did,” Gonzalez said, “time and time again, since he was in middle school.”

“We need to pay attention to the fact that this isn’t just a mental health issue,” she continued. “He wouldn’t have harmed that many students with a knife.”

“How about we stop blaming the victims for something that was the shooter’s fault?” she demanded, and called out those who do deserve to shoulder that blame.

“[The people] who let him buy the guns in the first place. Those at the gun shows. The people who encouraged him to buy accessories for his guns to make them fully automatic. The people who didn’t take them away from him when they knew that he expressed homicidal tendencies. And I am not talking about the FBI. I am talking about the people that he lived with, I’m talking about the neighbors who saw him outside holding guns.”

The NRA gave $30,000,000 dollars to the Trump Presidential campaign alone, not to mention the tens of millions to various senators and congresspeople. Last year, when Congress passed a law making it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns (and Cadet Bonespur signed it), the NRA sent out a bulletin to all of its members bragging about it.

The NRA routinely pours millions into defeating laws that NRA members themselves claim to support. When gun sales plummeted last year after Cadet Bonespur was inaugurated, they spent a bunch of money producing advertisements that portrayed Black Lives Matters protesters and such as dangerous violent people. The ads were blatant calls for white supremacists to buy more guns and prepare for a race war.

The NRA as an organization is demonstrably not promoting responsible gun ownership and hasn’t been for decades. It’s only goals are to protect and increase gun manufacturer profit; and if any of its leaders aren’t racist (a highly difficult proposition to prove), they are all absolutely fine fanning the flames of racial fear to keep the money rolling in.

So, anyone still supporting them is supporting an organization that sees mass murders of children and racial tension as marketing tools. You aren’t nobly defending a moral principle if you support them.

It’s time to end this bloody charade.

“The common refrain when shootings happen in that if you restrict access to guns, they'll just use knives. This is a switchblade. It's illegal to own in 11 states, illegal to sell in 13, illegal to open carry in 14, and illegal to concealed carry in 17. Itf we can agree that certain knives are so efficient at killing that we shouldn't possess or carry them, why can't we agree the same about guns? Keep in mind, knives meet the legal definition of arms referred to in the 2nd amendment.”

“The common refrain when shootings happen in that if you restrict access to guns, they’ll just use knives. This is a switchblade. It’s illegal to own in 11 states, illegal to sell in 13, illegal to open carry in 14, and illegal to concealed carry in 17. Itf we can agree that certain knives are so efficient at killing that we shouldn’t possess or carry them, why can’t we agree the same about guns? Keep in mind, knives meet the legal definition of arms referred to in the 2nd amendment.”

The Return of the Fumble Fingers, part gazillion

I clicked publish instead of save by mistake, again. Come back later for the finished post.

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