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January 21st, 2022

Not Quite The Happiest Place On Earth Anymore…For Some Reason…

I’ve been busting on Disney World bitterly lately, so what the heck…I’ll let someone else who knows what they’re talking about do it…

Abigail Disney Calls Out Bob Chapek For Taking Advantage of Cast Members

“Bob Chapek was the guy who presided over all of the changes at Disneyland and Disney World that we’re talking about in this film — dynamic scheduling, a euphemism for jerking them around so they can’t get a second job and they never make 40 hours a week and they don’t qualify for health care. Taking a department of 250, shaving it to 200 and expecting them all to do the same work in the same amount of time. There are a thousand ways they’ve been cutting costs, and much of it came from Bob Chapek and under his command. So I don’t really have very optimistic expectations. If anything, it’ll probably get worse.”

Her father was businessman Roy O. Disney, Walt Disney’s brother. Roy was instrumental in getting Disney World off the ground after Walt Disney died of lung cancer. It was going to be his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

I’m hearing from other sources that bad attitude on the part of cast members is becoming more noticeable, which is stunning. In my experience the Disney cast members were the perfect Disney kids…always giving “good show” as they would say. There could be many reasons for it, including obviously the big layoffs early in the plague and bad attitude on the part of the guests since COVID…and Trump…and…well…Florida politics these days. Time was I considered retiring to Florida so I could have easy access to Disney World and Key West. But with the open sewer that is the Florida governor’s mansion now and the republican dominated statehouse that dream is canceled. I’ll take my retirement days in California, the land of my birth.

As for The Kingdom…I’m thinking Chapek is in the middle of everyone’s bad attitude there. As I’ve said here before, the blatant disrespect I keep seeing for the theming, and for Walt Disney’s vision, has really turned me off. And it’s looking to me like I’m not alone in that. Charging for ice now in the hotels are we? Whatever. It’s too much money now, and not enough Walt Disney.

And I’m betting a certain someone I used to know down there is glad to be out of it. They said he only worked for a month after being called back and then retired. But by my calculations he retired early…that is before he reached his full Social Security age. He must have really got fed up. He told me once that he was not an angry sort of person. But we all have our limits.


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | React!

Getting Closer To The Last Day Of My Paycheck Life

Sort of. I doubt I’ll simply give up my trade altogether. Maybe I’ll take on some part-time temp IT contractor work now and then for some extra bucks.

Maybe.

Maybe sell some artwork now and then. Maybe get some photography gigs here and there.

Maybe.

In the meantime as the reality of all this sets in, I’m trying to get myself into a mindset of seeing myself as a retiree. I’m sitting right now in my kitchen typing this out on one of my laptops, and trying to think of this moment as one that has no obligations on my time, other than what I choose to do with it. It’s not quite as simple as all that though. But to the degree I can manage it, it feels pretty good. The bright sunshiny day it is outside now is probably helping with the mood. But disentangling myself from the paycheck life isn’t going to happen overnight. I kinda expected that. Fifty years and a tad of working for a paycheck most days doesn’t lift off your shoulders overnight.

At the beginning of each year, the Institute gives us three “discretionary” days off we can use for whichever holidays we observe that the Institute officially does not. These discretionary days do not roll over and are not counted in your post retirement vacation time roll-out or cash out depending on which you decide to take. As I am retiring at the end of February (actually at the end of the last February pay period), I am using my three new discretionary days now, before they simply disappear, by taking three Fridays off this month.

I was out buying groceries this morning. I might go to one of my favorite bars in York later. Plus I have some household cable laying I want to get done. Today is mine to spend as I wish. I’m trying to imagine this as how it will feel to be retired, and have my time to myself. Something I’ve begun to see is that retired or not, I’ll still have to figure in what day of the week it is to plan a drive anywhere, because of commuter traffic.

And all morning long I kept feeling this uneasy guilty feeling like I’m skipping school somehow. It’s a workday. I’m supposed to be working, not out and about.

I suspect this feeling won’t be going away anytime soon. But that’s okay. I’ve been a good little Mouseketeer for so long it’s time I gave myself permission to be a bad boy. Yeah, I’m skipping school today. Catch me if you can.


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | React!
January 9th, 2022

You’re Old, I Need To Rest Every Now And Then

From our Do You Really Want To Know department…

This came in the mail yesterday evening. I bought it because I have trouble finding my pulse points to do a direct measure of my heart rate. Turns out it isn’t easy with one of these either…maybe because this is a cheap one (15 bucks versus 90 and up). But there’s a spot just below my left breast that works very well. I found it shortly after this was delivered.

I think I could actually hear the blood flow as well as the beats, which was a tad creepy sounding. But not as creepy as the sound of my heart skipping a beat randomly.

beat beat beat beat beat beat beat … beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat … beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat … beat beat beat beat … beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat … beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat

And so on… Somehow I don’t think it’s supposed to do that. As usual I felt nothing odd. The beat itself was regular. No faster and then slower and then faster. Nope. Just moving right along. Except for that random unsettling pause. I would never have known about this had I not bought this device. But a need to find out is wired into me…and if that means also becoming familiar with a new tool then just take my money.

So I’m told, the stethoscope was invented by a male doctor who was uncomfortable having to put his ear on women’s chests to listen to their heartbeats. I suspect he was a Baptist.

I listened again just now and this morning the heart isn’t doing that skipping beats thing at all. In fact, it sounds perfectly normal to my untrained ears. It’s waiting for me to stop watching it, I just know it.


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | React!
January 2nd, 2022

Rainy Day Fun

This first weekend of 2022 has been a bust here in central Maryland. So I decided to finish a drawing I started a while back in Procreate on the iPad plus…

May our 2022 be as much fun as this guy looks like he is…


Posted In: Art
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by Bruce | Link | React!

It’s Morning In America…Again…

Who is “Lead America” I ask myself.

I’m insomnia flipping through the Facebook posts and for the third or fourth time this ad comes up again, for what appears to be a new political action committee. They say they want to bring the country back together. They say they want to reinvigorate the American Dream. Sounds vaguely familiar…

LEAD is a new initiative born out of a time-tested idea: that America is good and that the pursuit of the American Dream is as essential today as it has been at each critical juncture in the development of our nation. Oh really? I take note of the carefully curated images of middle class black families. See how inclusive we are? A flag waves on the banner. I dig a little deeper…

“Why am I seeing this ad”? is a function you can get to by clicking on the dots next to a Facebook ad. Occasionally it’s useful. This time it tells me that the advertiser was looking for viewers who had expressed an interest in the CIA and the FBI. Huh? When did I do that? Somewhere deep in my posts over the years and Facebook’s algorithm I suppose. But that’s interesting. I dig a little deeper…

A Google search turns up only their website. That in itself is significant. My browser protectors tell me it’s safe, but with the caveat that there are tracking cookies and I should proceed with caution. Fine. I take a look. I have two questions. Who are these people, and where is their money coming from.

The CIA/FBI links quickly become clear. The leads on this group are Mike Rogers, republican, a former FBI Agent based in Chicago, then a congressman and chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. So there’s that. He’s the chairman of the board. His wife is president of the group. “Kristi Rogers finds those homegrown values driving her work. Family, faith, and freedom are her cornerstones, and they have driven her to spend her life in the service of others and of her country.” Family, faith, and freedom. Yes, the checkboxes are all being ticked.

So I browse the rest of the cast of characters. Board member Laurie Michel “…is retired from a career as a senior government relations professional and advocate. She most recently worked as Director of Federal Affairs for The Port Authority of NY & NJ…” The port authority link tweaks a memory somewhere but I can’t place it now. A Google search turns up thousands in political contributions to republicans in Virginia. So that’s another checkbox checked. The Virginia republican party went off the deep end years ago.

Also on board is Allan Filip, who once served as Roger’s chief of staff. This seems to be a Mike Rogers house party.

It’s the Secretary of the board who is the Most interesting. “Thomas DiNanno is currently an adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington…” Oooohhh The Hudson Institute! Hudson was founded by Herman Kahn and other Rand Corp disaffected when Kahn’s book “On Thermonuclear War” caused some…controversy. Controversy? Think Dr. Strangelove…

Hudson Institute was founded in 1961 by Herman Kahn, Max Singer, and Oscar M. Ruebhausen. In 1960, while employed at the RAND Corporation, Kahn had given a series of lectures at Princeton University on scenarios related to nuclear war. In 1960, Princeton University Press published On Thermonuclear War, a book-length expansion of Kahn’s lecture notes. Major controversies ensued, and in the end, Kahn and RAND had a parting of ways. (From Wikipedia)

Seriously…so I’m told, some of Kahn’s book on nuclear war made it into the dialogue of Dr. Strangelove.

Hudson is like a whos who of presentable establishment rightwing nutcases (as opposed to the MAGA variety). And they make big money contributions to the cause. So now both my questions are answered, at least enough that I can see what’s going on here.

The backlash against the overflowing human cesspool that is Trump and company is worrying the establishment right. It’s turning off all the wrong voters. The well educated middle class white suburbia voters they depend on to keep their gerrymandered districts safely republican. So this is the soft sell response. It’s Reagan’s “Morning In America” all over again. We are good people, who just want the best for our country…

I told Facebook I didn’t want to see any of their ads. But this is instructive. This is an election year and they really want their congress back, especially to keep hold of the Supreme Court while a democrat is in the White House. They can’t control the MAGA, they know those babbling kooks will be out there all year long waving hysterical paranoid fantasies at everyone in earshot. They know that too much of that and they’ll lose congress again. So the right wing establishment will drug us with Morning In America. In Virginia Glen Youngkin showed them it can still work. One of the posts on their website referenced that election. It is very slick…

In the Virginia gubernatorial race, for example, we saw traditional kitchen table issues trump the D.C. narrative, which is becoming increasingly more important to voters. Terry McAuliffe leaned heavily on national messaging, largely reminiscent of the negative contrasts employed during the 2020 presidential election. The campaign focused more on drawing on hate on the other party than it did on what real changes will happen upon their victory. Glenn Youngkin’s message, on the other hand, centered largely on middle-of-the-road issues, which both political parties have often attempted to own for themselves. His voters and supporters were in search of a full and balanced education for their kids, a strong and stable economy, safe communities, and protections for their individual freedoms and choices. Rather than pushing trending topics and federal issues, Youngkin discussed problems that every Virginian family was dealing with, reinforcing his platform and campaign as the solution.

And just never you mind all that stuff about Critical Race Theory. See how neatly Youngkin’s racist appeal to white fright is tucked under a soft blanket of “…a full and balanced education for their kids, a strong and stable economy, safe communities“? It’s not racist to just want a Balanced education for your kids and Safe communities. Voting for the republican doesn’t make you a bad person… 

This is how the game is played. Ask those of us who fought them on Proposition 8.

 

 


Posted In: Politics
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by Bruce | Link | React!
December 30th, 2021

Plague Vacation Blues

Holidays are a busy time at the Institute, due to Webb launching on Christmas instead of Halloween like we thought it would at the beginning of the year. I was going to retire tomorrow, but that’s been moved back to the end of February. But the standard Institute holidays are still being observed, even if all of us can’t use them because Webb is busy getting itself ready for science.

My part of Webb testing was completed some weeks ago and now I’m teleworking from home, finishing up some stuff, mostly documentation to hand off when I retire. I’ve another three day weekend starting tomorrow and the thought keeps popping up in my head that I need to pack the car and take an overnight somewhere, even if it isn’t far. Maybe Ocean City NJ again, or just wander somewhere south where it’s warmer.

Then I remember…another highly contagious variant is out and about too. I really shouldn’t be going anywhere until this next wave has passed. This next wave that’s happening because of all the unvaccinated mask opposing MAGA morons travelling for the holidays without care one for the common good. In theory I could just roam about too because I’m vaccinated and I got my booster last October and I’m good. I have N95 and KN95 masks I can take with me, and even some rapid COVID test kits. But I am not tempting the dragon. I’ll just stay home. I have things I need to do around the house anyway.

I think it was Garfield who said it isn’t the valleys in life I mind so much as the dips.


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | React!
December 27th, 2021

Unvaccinated Men Walking Proudly Over That Rotten Covering

Let me start out by reminding my readers here once again, that I am an atheist. And also, that my atheism isn’t a knee jerk reaction to any specific religion. I realized that I’d drifted into atheism once I was ready to admit to myself that belief had stopped making sense to me quite some time ago. Your mileage may vary, and I’m fine with that, as long as it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

I say this all up front, because I have to tell you that sometimes I find myself wondering. Like when I read this, about the new COVID variant…

With omicron, it may be harder to tell if you have covid, the common cold or flu

Unlike earlier variants of concern, like delta, omicron has a higher affinity for the upper respiratory epithelium, said Landon: “It’s more likely to make people sniffle more, sneeze more or be congested.”

The mildness of omicron’s symptoms for vaccinated people in particular may give them a false sense of confidence that they have a cold rather than a highly-transmissible variant of covid-19.

Go read the whole article from the Washington Post. The takeaway I get is that in those of us who are vaccinated the new variant can present like a common cold. Adding to that is it looks like the variant has a preference for the upper respiratory zone. It is more likely to give you the sniffles and sneezes and nasal congestion. So you think it’s just a cold and it isn’t.

There’s also this Twitter thread from an ER doctor…who says…

Every patient I’ve seen with Covid that’s had a 3rd ‘booster’ dose has had mild symptoms. By mild I mean mostly sore throat. Lots of sore throat. Also some fatigue, maybe some muscle pain. No difficulty breathing. No shortness of breath. All a little uncomfortable, but fine.

Most patients I’ve seen that had 2 doses of Pfizer/Moderna still had ‘mild’ symptoms, but more than those who had received a third dose. More fatigued. More fever. More coughing. A little more miserable overall. But no shortness of breath. No difficulty breathing. Mostly fine.

Most patients I’ve seen that had one dose of J&J and had Covid were worse overall. Felt horrible. Fever for a few days (or more). Weak, tired. Some shortness of breath and cough. But not one needing hospitalization. Not one needing oxygen. Not great. But not life-threatening.

And almost every single patient that I’ve taken care of that needed to be admitted for Covid has been unvaccinated. Every one with profound shortness of breath. Every one whose oxygen dropped when they walked. Every one needing oxygen to breathe regularly.

So. Four years of Trump…a thief and a sexual predator celebrated by various American religious right figures including Franklin Graham almost as if he was the second coming…wildly popular with grassroots white culture war evangelicals…one of many such all over the world burning democracies wherever they can while waving their bibles…

…or whatever religious idols they venerate. Suddenly a plague of…well…Biblical proportions appears, almost out of nowhere. And for a couple years it strikes terror and hardship all over the globe. 

But the helpers, as Mr. Rogers called them, come forth, as they do, and taught us how to protect ourselves and our neighbors until a vaccine could be produced. And then a vaccine was produced. And we wore our masks, and we kept our distance, and got our shots because that is how decent people behave in a plague.

…and the despots pushed back against all of it, the rich and powerful and the cul-de-sac kook pew deplorables alike, because that is how the wicked traditionally behave all the time. And we are all still suffering this plague because they won’t take one simple little iota of responsibility for doing their part to fight this plague if it means they have to be inconvenienced, or worse, admit the helpers were helping where they themselves could not be bothered in the least.

I was raised in a Baptist household. I take pains these days to specify a Yankee Baptist household, and while most of us didn’t thump a racist pulpit (which is why there is a Southern Baptist Convention), lots of us still warned each other darkly about crossing an angry vengeful God. You really needed to experience the theater of a tent revival to know what genuine fire and brimstone pulpit thumping is. But mostly, in the pews I sat in when I was a kid, I heard about a God of Love. Yeah you could make him angry at you, but the God I was preached to about loved all the children of the world, red brown yellow black and white, and just wanted us to be good to each other, love our neighbors, and love Him back.

So never mind my atheism, everything in my wiring does not really want to see an angry vengeful God in the fact that after two years of plague, and about half the county and too much of the rest of the world is furiously fighting any steps to mitigate the spread of this virus, because they’d rather hundreds of thousands of their neighbors die then admit to any sort of social responsibility, let alone work toward the common good, suddenly there appears a variation on the horrible theme. And it spreads even more rapidly. Only this time it is gentle on those of us who did our part and got the shots, and still very Very deadly to those who did not. Almost as if it is passing us by.

So I take a deep breath. I do not believe in such a God. Or any God. And calling it karma feels too much like washing my hands of responsibility. So I keep wearing the mask where appropriate. And I’ve ordered some home rapid tests. I don’t need to believe an almighty God exists to know my neighbor exists. And you can’t judge a book by its cover. I want to look in my bathroom mirror and see a helper, not an angry god.

 


Posted In: Life Thumping My Pulpit
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by Bruce | Link | React!
December 26th, 2021

We Went To Space To Discover The Universe And We Discovered Ourselves

That’s a paraphrase of something Neil deGrasse Tyson once said about going to the moon. We went to the Moon, and discovered the Earth. What I’ve learned from 23+ years working at the Space Telescope Science Institute, first on the Hubble Space Telescope grant management system, and then JWST integration and test, is how deeply human that desire is to know more about the cosmos. All the tribes of the Earth share it. And doing that work not only gives us a better understanding of the universe, but also of each other. 

Webb launched from the European Spaceport in French Guiana. It’s a cooperative project between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). The morning of the launch I was at home watching the event on NASA TV, streamed through my Roku box. As we got down to the final minutes of the countdown, I was hearing NASA commentary in English, but the mission operation center in Kourou is run by the French, and all the call outs I was used to hearing from Cape Canaveral, I was hearing now in French. I don’t know much of any French, and yet I could follow along because I knew the drill; I’d watched this over and over and over again since the first Mercury astronauts went up. Hearing it in French for the first time, it struck me how Webb was a human project.

For a moment we were all earthlings with a common purpose. I’d heard that said over and over during Apollo, and I could see the truth of it, but my reference back then was still firmly planted in the United States. This was a European launch. It was their baby, with ours on top of it. I was watching it happen from the European point of view. But even our baby on top of that rocket, the telescope itself, was a project of many different countries. And I knew that for a fact, because for the past couple decades I’d been living it at the Institute.

I was raised by a single divorced mother and made my way there by way of restoring shortwave radios and building my own computer from parts I got at a HAM Fest. I taught myself how to program it, and that path eventually led to my becoming a software developer, and eventually to the Institute. And there I was working side by side with scientists, astronomers, computer geeks with multiple college degrees in computer science. But also facilities people, AV nerds, public outreach specialists. Many people, from many walks of life worked on this thing. I could walk the hallways and hear English spoken, but also other languages. We had astronomers from all over the globe working there. And we’re located on the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus, where kids from all over the world come to learn. Practically every human tribe on Earth had a hand in the work we do.

For two decades I have been surrounded by this culture, this deeply human culture of science and exploration. It has kept me sane through the past several years more than I knew.

And so yesterday morning was a very spiritually uplifting event. Something I really needed to see in this horrible time of rising fascism, conspiracy theory kookery, anti-science nuttiness. From all walks of life and every corner of the Earth we came together and put a new instrument up into space because we wanted to know more about the universe that we were born to. I got back my view of the human status. We can do good things. We can make progress. 

We went into space, and we discovered ourselves.


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | React!

My Wee Part Of James Webb

Note: Those of you who know I’ve a part of the James Webb Space Telescope that launched yesterday (Finally!)…this blog doesn’t have much of my moment-to-moment thoughts on that. Those are on my Facebook page and they’re usually (but not always) set to “Public”. I will try to be more communicative about it here since we launched, and since I am trying to disentangle myself from Facebook. But this isn’t the easiest place for me to whip my smartphone out and start posting when something happens like Facebook is. I’ll try to change that too…somehow…

 

 

[Posted to my Facebook page on Christmas Eve…the day before launch…] 

You may be seeing on the news now, shots and videos of this room. It’s going to be a very busy place tomorrow, and for months to come. But for a while, I was part of a team working there. Back in 2017, when this was taken, I was part of the Integration and Test team that did the initial end to end tests between the spacecraft and the Institute. I did work for a time in the flight ops room. Early on it was actually a simulator we were talking to, just to test the network connectivity, although I was there later, when the first commands were sent to the actual spacecraft and it replied.

This is me, sitting in the center front row seat in flight ops, performing Test Conductor duty. The three ring binder there next to me holds the very meticulously established test procedure for us to follow (I blanked the pages out here and the monitors too because that’s a high security area). After each step there was a place for my initials to sign off on that step having been done. I would call out the steps over the deep space network to all the stations involved in the test, and the flight engineer next to me would send the commands on my mark. One of my team members sat in the row behind us, doing Test Director work. Test Director was who you talked to when you needed an executive decision on how to proceed. I just basically followed procedure. Those test documents will be stored away for I don’t know how long, but once again there’s a little piece of me in the record of space exploration.

And it’s all still so stunning. So amazing. I did this. I really did this.

About a year or so ago my work in the flight ops room was done, and my access to it removed. That’s how it has to be, though I may still have work to do later in the other areas of the MOC. But this will always be for the rest of my life a fantastic part of it. I had other work besides this, gathering telemetry from the various cryo-vacuum tests on the science part of the spacecraft, watching as it spoke its first words. It was amazing.

Oh..and that little gold keycard around my neck is…special… (I’ve distorted that also for security reasons) I’ll probably have to give it back someday but at least I have pictures of me wearing it.

And now…it’s time to launch. Everything all these years has been leading up to this moment. Time to launch.

[Note: I’d call that a Mary Poppins Launch…practically perfect in every way! As of my posting this we’ve had our first course correction burn and everything is still looking good! Best Christmas present ever!]

[Note: That photo was taken in 2017 and and…yeah…I look much better with the beard at this age. Alas. I really don’t like beards…but…gay male vanity. I reckon I’ll keep it…]


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | React!
December 20th, 2021

Yes, It Was Like That

Facebook has this “Memories” feature that will show you all your posts on this day, all the way back to when you first signed on. So today I got all the posts I ever made on December 20. Among them are my posts from ten years ago about buying a Mercedes diesel ‘E’ class sedan. So my car is now 10 years old. It had six miles on the odometer when I took delivery on it, I’ve put almost 160k on it since, and it’s still a champ. A Mercedes diesel is a much better road trip car than I imagined it would be. It’s the car I want to drive to the end of the road with.

A few more years back on this date…was this…from a better time after my reunion with a certain someone…

It was a weapon that served me well for about another few years. These Facebook memories can stab you right in the heart sometimes. But they’re good for inoculating you against gaslighting. He was signing his emails to me ‘T’.


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | React!
December 18th, 2021

The Abuser And The Abused

This from Wayne Besen’s Truth Wins Out

Gay Sex Spree by ‘Ex-Gay’ Freedom March Founder Leads TWO to Call on Fraudulent Group to Shut Down

DELRAY BEACH, FL – Truth Wins Out condemned Freedom March founder Jeffrey McCall today as a hypocritical fraud after he admitted online to multiple hookups and romantic attachments with men, even as he continues to shamelessly lead “Freedom March” parades of so-called “ex-gays”.

Dig it. He was hooking up with guys at the same time he’s leading his ex-gay Freedom March. Wayne asked me to do a cartoon about that for the last one they held in Washington DC…

 

It was one of the easier assignments I’ve had, because I’ve watched this dismal march happening so many times before. And at my age it’s getting really tiresome to watch this keep happening, and the obvious lesson is never learned.

Wayne quotes this passage from his confession:

In 2020 I met someone that I was trying to help (I was helping in other ways he didn’t deal with SSA) which lead to me being unfaithful to Jesus and giving my heart away. After denying what I wanted with him I then went on to fall sexually with a man when I felt wounded and lonely. This lead to multiple falls with men over time. (None of these men were Christians or people from ministry) Everytime I fell I would truly repent and turn away again. I would feel Gods love, mercy, and forgiveness sometimes before I could even finish the prayer.

As they say, Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven. And forgiven. And forgiven. And forgiven. And forgiven… 

And above all: not responsible.

It would be simple to look at McCall as another victim of homophobic religion. We can point our fingers at the Franklin Grahams, the Tony Perkins, the Pat Robertsons, the James Dobsons. But like a junkie supporting his habit by selling junk to others, McCall has to know what it is he’s doing to his customers, because it’s doing it to him. He is no politically powerful heterosexual harvesting hate for even more power…someone who doesn’t have to live with what he’s doing to others. McCall knows what it does. He is living it.

They say the reason we’re homosexual is we were abused as children. But we are as we are, whether we have brown eyes or blue, black hair or blond, are gay or straight, or every color of the rainbow in between. We bear within us every day or our lives a living history of millions of years of life on earth. And deep within is the command to love and be loved. For some of us, love is another man. It is written in our flesh and blood. There is something terribly poignant in McCall’s confession of giving his heart away to another man as though it was an awful sin and not his human birthright. His abusers teach us to be afraid of love, so they can build their stepping stones to heaven out of the broken pieces of our hearts, so they can harvest votes from the hate that is strangling our lives. You want to forgive McCall since he’s a victim also. Then you remember he keeps making himself a willing accomplice, despite the fact that he has loved. And so the abused becomes the abuser.

 


Posted In: Life Thumping My Pulpit
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by Bruce | Link | React!
December 12th, 2021

Not Walt Disney World, But Disney World

…as in Disney the big media conglomerate.  I discovered an Epcot parody account on Twitter the other day that’s pretty brutal…

There was a time I would have absolutely hated this. But with all the changes to the parks that have happened in the last few years, and the blatant disrespect I keep seeing for the theming, and for Walt Disney’s vision, I’m kinda enjoying it. There’s the big screen TV they put on the wall in the Belle Vue Lounge, so people could watch their sports broadcasts there? Have I mentioned how much I despise that? The theming is it’s a turn of the 19th century Coney Island boardwalk hotel, and the Belle Vue Lounge was a small out of the way spot where you could relax, enjoy a drink in one of the old fashioned leather chairs, and listen to one of the old radios playing The Green Hornet, Jack Benny, or Studio One. It’s supposed to be from a time before television. But no…some complete moron decided it needed a big screen TV. I suppose because there isn’t a sports bar anywhere nearby…

I think that was when I began to question management’s commitment to the theming of the parks. I forget whether that was before or after they replaced The Writer’s Stop with a Beer Taproom, because Starbucks couldn’t abide the competition for coffee and pastries, and selling alcohol to adults is more important than selling books to kids. And then they replaced the Great Movie Ride with Mickey’s Runaway Railroad. Get me started on the new look of Walt Disney’s cartoon characters…

But I’m been slowly coming to a place of acceptance. It isn’t Walt Disney’s World anymore, it’s Disney World, and Disney isn’t a keeper of the vision. It’s keeper of the media properties.

Yeah, they still do a lot of good things, especially when it comes to treating their LGBT customers like everyone else. Yeah I’ll keep coming back. There is still just enough of Walt in there, and enough fun, to keep me coming back. But not nearly as often. I’m giving up my annual pass. In part it’s because if I only go once a year it isn’t buying me anything my DVC membership isn’t already. But mostly it’s the park reservation system, which completely kills any reason I might otherwise have for having an annual pass, even one of the lesser ones with blackout dates.

Basically it’s too much money and not enough Walt Disney. And it’s mostly a hassle, where before it was mostly fun. I feel like I got in just in time to enjoy the last of what was Walt Disney’s World.

Now I’m kinda enjoying this parody account. It sticks the knife in right where I think it belongs.

And it almost reads like it’s being done by someone who either worked there once, or still is and hates the new management…

 

Oh…They have one at the Belle Vue Lounge! Turn the volume up if the noise coming from all those old radios is bothering you.


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Not Walt Disney World, But Disney World
December 11th, 2021

Oh God…Not Burl Ives Again…

I have an open reel tape that has several Christmas music albums on it, and come December I can put that on while I’m doing household chores and let it play for several hours. I have it on now. The calico came in a few minutes ago for food and pets, and while I was petting her she never took her eyes off the Teac tape player. Something about the reels slowly turning must have tweaked her cat curiosity. Or maybe she was judging my tastes in Christmas music.


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Oh God…Not Burl Ives Again…
December 8th, 2021

“Fox News is a right-wing propaganda operation wrapped inside an entertainment channel.”

Via Digby this morning I catch this from Dan Froomkin…

Fox News is not news. Say it with me.

Fox “News” is a right-wing propaganda operation wrapped inside an entertainment channel. It does not adhere to the professional standards of journalism. And every moment is it allowed to operate under the guise of “news” gives it more credibility than it deserves as it chips away at our democracy.

You must Absolutely go read this! And especially Froomkin’s suggestions to reporters as to how to deal with the grave danger to our democracy it poses, because a lot of that are things we should All be doing.

Here are three items I think everyone can work on:

Demand that search and social media platforms not treat it as news. Legitimate news organizations should not have to compete against propaganda under the rubric of news. Demand that Facebook News stop linking to Fox. Urge Google News to downgrade or identify propaganda outlets.

Establish that people and businesses showing it in public places are making a political statement. Once you establish that Fox is not simply a news outlet with a different view but a dangerous disinformation vector, then its public display should be seen as an attack on news and truth.

Stop partnering with it in any way, including debates and distribution deals. Fox News sullies whatever it touches.

Fox News gets money from your cable provider whether or not you watch it, simply by being available there. So I hear, that money is a big part of what keeps it afloat. Tell your cable provider you want them to remove Fox News from your lineup and not make you pay for it, and if they make excuses drop them and switch to streaming a’la cart content instead. I have a Roku box, but there are many ways of ditching the cable. Make sure you tell them that it’s Fox News that drove you to it.

Read this. We are not helpless. We can fight back.


Posted In: Politics
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by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on “Fox News is a right-wing propaganda operation wrapped inside an entertainment channel.”

Crap News Fatigue…Let Me Tell You About It…

I was reading a news article yesterday about the guy who let the Crumbleys into his art loft and they started hiding out in it. It said he didn’t watch the news, so he had no idea they were on the run. The cops believe him. Reading that article, I believed him too. Reading the news these days is very stressful for me, and I’m a Nixon/Vietnam/Cold War/Duck And Cover/Kennedy and King assassinations era kid. But commercial mainstream news is way different now than it was then.

Case in Point: The current feckless mainstream media howling about the Vice President’s personal security tactics. I’ve seen nothing about it that strikes me as anything other than completely sensible for a person in her position now, and back when she was California AG. Politico did an entire thing the other day about the fact that Harris uses wired earbuds instead of Bluetooth.

Most commercial news these days is crap, designed to keep us agitated because apparently that keeps us addicted to it. I have a carefully curated Google news page and some select Twitter accounts I follow for links, but I am careful to look for sources that, like Joe Friday once said, are just the facts ma’am. And when I feel myself getting wired I break off and go do something else.

It’s a struggle to stay informed and sane at the same time these days. I don’t blame the poor guy who let in the Crumbleys for not paying attention to the news. On the other hand it nearly got him arrested as an accomplice. Ignorance is bliss like heroin is.

 

[UPDATE…] The comments to that twitter thread by Alex Thompson of Politico are withering. Tons of IT folks weighing in about wireless security and Bluetooth. But my favorite is the user who called Politico the Tiger Beat of the Potomac. Yeah…that. Exactly.


Posted In: Politics
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by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Crap News Fatigue…Let Me Tell You About It…
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