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Archive for February, 2009

February 27th, 2009

From Our Department Of Unsurprising Things…

This has been making the blog rounds today…

Porn in the USA: Conservatives are biggest consumers

A new nationwide study (pdf) of anonymised credit-card receipts from a major online adult entertainment provider finds little variation in consumption between states.

"When it comes to adult entertainment, it seems people are more the same than different," says Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School.

However, there are some trends to be seen in the data. Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.

"Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by," Edelman says.

If you’re surprised about this then you haven’t traveled much in the bible belt.  I see more highway billboards advertising strip shows and adult entertainment dives when I take a road trip through the Fundamentalist States of America then anywhere else, except maybe Nevada.  But at least there they aren’t hypocritical about it.  Oh…and guess who is the biggest consumer of online porn in the nation. 

The biggest consumer, Utah, averaged 5.47 adult content subscriptions per 1000 home broadband users; Montana bought the least with 1.92 per 1000. "The differences here are not so stark," Edelman says.

Utah.  Where marriage is so sacred they pour millions into California last year to prevent loving same sex couples from being allowed to marry.  Nice.  The magic underwear isn’t working so well I take it.  Or perhaps too well.  Perhaps it was all part of a plan on the part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to drain money out of the faithful’s porn budgets.

Church-goers bought less online porn on Sundays – a 1% increase in a postal code’s religious attendance was associated with a 0.1% drop in subscriptions that day. However, expenditures on other days of the week brought them in line with the rest of the country, Edelman finds.

Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don’t explicitly restrict gay marriage.

I keep thumping my pulpit on this but it keeps being relevant.  They need their scapegoats.  Gay people are their handy punching bags for all their own private secret shame, their own pathetic failures of moral character.  They hate us, because we learned to live with our sexual nature and they, locking it in the closet, never learned how to control themselves. 

Denial isn’t a plan for life.  The human identity isn’t a blackboard anyone can scribble their will upon.  Least of all religions founded by con artists.  No river rises higher then its source.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

Slouching Toward Fort Sumpter

You know…the mainstream news media really needs to start paying more attention to this crap.  Just letting it fester isn’t a plan…


It’s beyond irresponsible that major U.S. corporations are sponsoring this crap, let alone pushing it out onto the airwaves.


by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

February 25th, 2009


Consider this a follow-up post to my They’d Be Crazy To Start A Second American Civil War post below.  From Pam’s House Blend…a first hand account of how they love the sinner but hate the sin in the Aloha State…

Hawaii Civil Unions Bill Senate JGO Hearing – my personal aftermath
by: Keori

…You know, it gets really tiresome to be called diseased and a pedophile and a rapist and an abomination and a threat to America three dozen times in one day. It infuriates me to hear that yes, heterosexuals have special rights (at least they admitted it finally!) and that is how it should be because The Big Book of Bronze Age Fairy Tales says so. To hear little old ladies screaming that they would rather see their grandchildren commit suicide than "be part of that disgusting, filthy, evil lifestyle", isn’t even remotely amusing anymore.

Even better is to, due to the concussion headache beginning to blind me, forget to take off my little green and gold "equality" sticker on the way out of the building, and be followed to the bus stop by a bunch of red shirts with signs. Three 6’5", 200 pound Islander guys with signs saying "Gay marriage is wrong" and "John 3:16" followed the lone little white girl with her laptop case across the street, yelling at me, "Repent!", calling me a bitch and a whore, telling me, "You just need a real man to fuck you straight." Nothing I haven’t heard before.

Then one of them said, "We know who you are now, and what you drive. We saw you last Thursday. You better watch yourself, fucking haole bitch." Not one of the 20 people standing around the bus stop said anything to them.

I got on the first bus that came along, got off three stops down the street, and caught my right bus a few minutes later. I rode home all alone, with my headphones on, praying no one bothered me.

I don’t actually believe there is going to be anything like a second American civil war coming out of cowardly louts like these.  But the republican noise machine is deliberately egging them on and it’s an open question as to whether or not they understand the forces they’re witlessly playing with.  What I expect is to see more Timothy McVeighs and Eric Rudolphs…more godly men like this one…

Knoxville church shooter’s manifesto leaves no doubt: murders were political terror against liberals

Progressives around the country can breathe a little easier today: James Adkisson has been sentenced to life behind bars for the deaths of Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger, the Unitarian Universalist martyrs who died during his assault on their church in Knoxville, TN last July.

Many of us intuited at the time that Adkisson’s rampage was exactly the kind of rancid fruit that would inevitably take root in an American countryside thickly composted with two decades of hate radio bullshit, freshly turned and watered with growing middle-class frustration over the failing economy. That suspicion that was verified in the days that followed, when police searched Adkisson’s apartment and found it filled with books and newsletters penned by Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and other right-wing hate talkers.

But Monday, Adkisson told us himself — in his own words — just how central right-wing eliminationism was in driving him to his shooting spree. Shortly after he was sentenced Monday, he released a four-page handwritten "manifesto" — which he’d intended to be his suicide note — to the Knoxville News (the full .pdf can be downloaded here). In it, he unleashes the full measure of his hatred for liberals — and encourages other would-be right-wing warriors to take up arms and follow him into battle.

Some choice excerpts:

"Know this if nothing else: This was a hate crime. I hate the damn left-wing liberals. There is a vast left-wing conspiracy in this country & these liberals are working together to attack every decent & honorable institution in the nation, trying to turn this country into a communist state. Shame on them….

"This was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg’s book. I’d like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I know those people were inaccessible to me. I couldn’t get to the generals & high ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote in these traitorous people. Someone had to get the ball rolling. I volunteered. I hope others do the same. It’s the only way we can rid America of this cancerous pestilence."

"I thought I’d do something good for this Country Kill Democrats til the cops kill me….Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is to kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather. I’d like to encourage other like minded people to do what I’ve done. If life aint worth living anymore don’t just kill yourself. do something for your Country before you go. Go Kill Liberals.

No doubt this manifesto is being blogged, mailed, twittered, and otherwise littered across the far-right infosphere today, and Adkisson will likely emerge from this as a new hero of the extreme right wing. (He’s obviously articulate and literate, which means we may expect more of these bilious rants coming out of his cell in the years ahead.) It also seems likely that, probably sooner rather than later, other victims of our curdled economy will accept his charge, pick up their guns, and attempt to follow him into battle.

I have a feeling I know who is going to play the role that Jews played once upon a time when Germany was having its own little bout with economic chaos, and vitriolic class hatreds…

…After first establishing that God created Eve to be Adam’s “helper,” [Colorado State Senator] Renfroe explained why he opposed extending health care benefits to gay and lesbian partners of state employees:

Homosexuality is seen as a violation of this natural, created order and it is an offense to God, the Creator, who created men and women, male and female, for procreation.

Then came some passages from the Bible:

Leviticus 18:22 says, “You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a female, it is an abomination.”


Leviticus 20:13 says, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act and they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them.”

You just need a real man to fuck you straight.  We know who you are now, and what you drive.

Welcome to the jungle.  Aloha!

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Aloha!

The Model Is Not The Reality. It Is Just A Model.

So…in case you’re wondering why your 401k is in the gutter…here’s part of the problem.

This article in Wired explains it in more detail.  The above is a formula the gods of Wall Street were using to assess risk.  Investors like risk.  What they don’t like is uncertainty.  If they know how to price risk, then they’ll lend.  The greater the risk, the higher the interest rate.  If they loose the bet every now and then that’s okay, as long as the rest of the bets pay off and they make money.  But when they don’t know how to price risk, they won’t lend. 

What makes the current financial mess look disturbingly like the Great Depression is that there is actually a lot of money available to lend, but nobody is lending any.  Because nobody feels confidant enough that they understand the risks anymore.  They don’t want to loose any more money then they already have.  So they’re sitting on what they’ve got.  This is why the Federal Government has to step in and inject money into the economy to keep it going.  The banks and investors who usually do that…aren’t.

The biggest problem for investors is assessing risk in complex systems, such as the mortgage markets…

What is the chance that any given home will decline in value? You can look at the past history of housing prices to give you an idea, but surely the nation’s macroeconomic situation also plays an important role. And what is the chance that if a home in one state falls in value, a similar home in another state will fall in value as well?

H.L. Mencken once said, "For every problem there is a solution that is simple, elegant, and wrong."  Consider the Wired article on the Wall Street collapse an example.  The above formula, crafted by mathematician David X. Li, seemed to simply and elegantly solve the problem of assessing risk.  But it didn’t.  It solved correlation. The best quote in the Wired article I’ve linked to this one, from Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a hedge fund manager and the author of The Black Swan…

"Anything that relies on correlation is charlatanism."

Beware your assumptions.  Solving for correlation did not solve for risk.  Correlation is pretty poor at solving for anything actually, not just in finances.  We know poor people are thieves because we have seen many thieves who are poor.  We know Jews are greedy because we have seen many greedy Jews.  We know single parent families produce problem children because we have seen so many problem children who come from single parent families.  We know homosexuality is caused by being molested as a child, because we have seen so many homosexuals who were molested as children…

You have to be careful where you draw conclusions from.  Correlation is not evidence.  It is only suggestive.  And especially beware of the conclusions you expected.  David X. Li’s formula didn’t cause the crash.  This did:

The damage was foreseeable and, in fact, foreseen. In 1998, before Li had even invented his copula function, Paul Wilmott wrote that "the correlations between financial quantities are notoriously unstable." Wilmott, a quantitative-finance consultant and lecturer, argued that no theory should be built on such unpredictable parameters. And he wasn’t alone. During the boom years, everybody could reel off reasons why the Gaussian copula function wasn’t perfect. Li’s approach made no allowance for unpredictability: It assumed that correlation was a constant rather than something mercurial. Investment banks would regularly phone Stanford’s Duffie and ask him to come in and talk to them about exactly what Li’s copula was. Every time, he would warn them that it was not suitable for use in risk management or valuation.

In hindsight, ignoring those warnings looks foolhardy. But at the time, it was easy. Banks dismissed them, partly because the managers empowered to apply the brakes didn’t understand the arguments between various arms of the quant universe. Besides, they were making too much money to stop.

Besides, they were making too much money to stop.  Besides.  Besides.  Right there’s the problem.   They kept launching the Space Shuttle Challenger with O-ring joints that didn’t work the way the models said they should and they didn’t understand them but they kept on working, so they kept on launching.  Until one of those joints killed good people who were trying to extend the human reach into space.  This is such typical human behavior and it’s burned us all throughout our history and you’d think by now we’d know better, and rigorously teach our young how to avoid this trap.  But we keep on doing it.  There’s a saying I particularly despise:  If it works, don’t fix it.  There’s another way of saying that:  Let’s wait for it to break.


by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Model Is Not The Reality. It Is Just A Model.

Yes, They’d Be Crazy To Start Another American Civil War. What Do You Think That Means?

A few snapshots of the times we live in…followed by a dream…


Tom Tomorrow:

Crazy Glenn Beck

If I had my way, that would be his name, as far as any rational person was concerned. (As in: “I was in my car listening to Crazy Glenn Beck …”) Because Crazy Glenn Beck has carved out his own niche in the talk radio/Fox News spectrum, and it is the Crazy niche. And these aren’t exactly venues known for their non-craziness to begin with.

Glenn Greenwald has a rundown of Crazy Glenn Beck’s latest lunacy — “war gaming” the, uh, coming civil war.

Michelle Malkin’s Hot Air blog links to Crazy Glenn Beck’s discussion of the coming civil war, but even there, the writer feels compelled to note:

There’s something “off” about Beck in a way that’s not true of other chat-show hosts, although that’s not necessarily a criticism: O’Reilly and Hannity can be tiresome in more than small doses but this guy I find watchable even at a stretch. Partly it’s the sheer bravado of the performance, partly it’s the challenge of trying to figure out what’s going on in his head to make him the way he is.

When a right winger is so crazy that one of Michelle Malkin’s bloggers finds it necessary to post a disclaimer, however mild — that’s some serious crazy!

Crazy Glenn Beck had a health incident a couple of Christmasses ago — somehow things went awry with his health care provider and he had at least one incredibly rough night, which he later described to his listeners as consisting of terrible visions, such as — I’m not making this up but I am paraphrasing from memory — children’s faces being chewed off by dogs.

I was listening that morning and I remember thinking, “Wow! Discussing visions of children’s faces being chewed off by dogs on a nationally syndicated morning radio program? That’s crazy, even for Crazy Glenn Beck!”

So to answer the Hot Air blogger’s question, I’ll tell you what’s going on in Crazy Glenn Beck’s head: he’s trying not to react to the invisible people shouting at him, the ones that only he can see and hear, because he knows he’s on camera and he has to hold it together. He’s trying not to let the demons crawl right out of his skin while he’s in front of the microphone, because his livelihood depends on walking up to the crazy line but not crossing over, and mostly he succeeds, but clearly the strain is taking its toll. Bill O’Reilly used to be my leading candidate for right wing blowhard most likely to have an on air meltdown, but since Fox gave him a live tv show, Crazy Glenn Beck has pulled way into the lead.

(Crazy Glenn Beck’s bizarre post-surgery YouTube video is here. And here — at about the fifty second mark — Crazy Glenn Beck “jokes” about specific and graphic ways he would like to kill Michael Moore. Ha ha ha.)


Fox News "war games" the coming civil war

Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 gave rise to the American "militia movement":  hordes of overwhelmingly white, middle-aged men from suburban and rural areas who convinced themselves they were defending the American way of life from the "liberals" and "leftists" running the country by dressing up in military costumes on weekends, wobbling around together with guns, and play-acting the role of patriot-warriors.  Those theater groups — the cultural precursor to George Bush’s prancing 2003 performance dressed in a fighter pilot outfit on Mission Accomplished Day — spawned the decade of the so-called "Angry White Male," the movement behind the 1994 takeover of the U.S. Congress by Newt Gingrich and his band of federal-government-cursing, pseudo-revolutionary, play-acting tough guys.

What was most remarkable about this allegedly "anti-government" movement was that — with some isolated and principled exceptions — it completely vanished upon the election of Republican George Bush, and it stayed invisible even as Bush presided over the most extreme and invasive expansion of federal government power in memory.  Even as Bush seized and used all of the powers which that movement claimed in the 1990s to find so tyrannical and unconstitutional — limitless, unchecked surveillance activities, detention powers with no oversight, expanding federal police powers, secret prison camps, even massively exploding and debt-financed domestic spending — they meekly submitted to all of it, even enthusiastically cheered it all on.  

They’re the same people who embraced and justified full-scale, impenetrable federal government secrecy and comprehensive domestic spying databases conducted in the dark and against the law when perpetrated by a Republican President — but have spent the last week flamboyantly pretending to be scandalized and outraged by the snooping which Bill Moyers did 45 years ago (literally) as part of a Democratic administration.  They’re the people who relentlessly opposed and impugned Clinton’s military deployments and then turned around and insisted that only those who are anti-American would question or oppose Bush’s decision to start wars. 

They’re the same people who believed that Bill Clinton’s use of the FISA court to obtain warrants to eavesdrop on Americans was a grave threat to liberty, but believed that George Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping on Americans in violation of the law was a profound defense of freedom.  In sum, they dressed up in warrior clothing to fight against Bill Clinton’s supposed tyranny, and then underwent a major costume change on January 20, 2001, thereafter dressing up in cheerleader costumes to glorify George Bush’s far more extreme acquisitions of federal power.

In doing so, they revealed themselves as motivated by no ideological principles or political values of any kind.  It was a purely tribalistic movement motivated by fear of losing its cultural and demographic supremacy.  In that sense — the only sense that mattered — George Bush was one of them, even though, with his actions, he did everything they long claimed to fear and despise.  Nonetheless, his mere occupancy of the White House was sufficient to pacify them and convert them almost overnight from limited-government militants into foot soldiers supporting the endless expansion of federal government power.

But now, only four weeks into the presidency of Barack Obama, they are back — angrier and more chest-beating than ever.  Actually, the mere threat of an Obama presidency was enough to revitalize them from their eight-year slumber, awaken them from their camouflaged, well-armed suburban caves.  The disturbingly ugly atmosphere that marked virtually every Sarah Palin rally had its roots in this cultural resentment, which is why her fear-mongering cultural warnings about Obama’s exotic, threatening otherness — he’s a Muslim-loving, Terrorist-embracing, Rev.-Wright-following Marxist:  who is the real Barack Obama? — resonated so stingingly with the rabid lynch mobs that cheered her on.

With Obama now actually in the Oval Office — and a financial crisis in full force that is generating the exact type of widespread, intense anxiety that typically inflames these cultural resentments — their mask is dropping, has dropped, and they’ve suddenly re-discovered their righteous "principles."  The week-long CNBC Revolt of the Traders led by McCain voter Rick Santelli and the fledgling little Tea Party movement promoted by the Michelle Malkins of the world are obvious outgrowths of this 1990s mentality, now fortified by the most powerful fuel:  deep economic fear.  But as feisty and fire-breathing as those outbursts are, nothing can match — for pure, illustrative derangement — the discussion below from Glenn Beck’s new Fox show this week, in which he and an array of ex-military and CIA guests ponder (and plot and plan) "war games" for the coming Civil War against Obama-led tyranny.  It really has to be seen to be believed.

That’s the context for this Glenn Beck "War Games" show on Fox News this week — one promoted, with some mild and obligatory caveats, by Michelle Malkin’s Hot Air.  In the segment below, he convened a panel that includes former CIA officer Michael Scheuer and Ret. U.S. Army Sgt. Major Tim Strong.  They discuss a coming "civil war" led by American "Bubba" militias — Beck says he "believes we’re on this road" — and they contemplate whether the U.S. military would follow the President’s orders to subdue civil unrest or would instead join with "the people" in defense of their Constitutional rights against the Government (they agree that the U.S. military would be with "the people")…


Buttars: Gays ‘greatest threat to America’

He called the gay-rights movement "probably the greatest threat to America," likened gay activists to Muslim radicals and dubbed same-sex relationships "abominations." 

Buttars’ latest remarks come from an interview with documentary filmmaker Reed Cowan that aired on ABC 4 this week. Buttars told Cowan the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community doesn’t want "equality, they want superiority."

"It’s the beginning of the end," the West Jordan Republican said. "Oh, it’s worse than that. Sure. Sodom and Gomorrah was localized. This is worldwide


Gay rights group slams Renfroe for comparing homosexuality to murder

The state Senate passed SB 88 — sponsored by the Legislature’s two openly gay members, Sen. Jennifer Veiga and Rep. Mark Ferrandino, both Denver Democrats — on a voice vote after Renfroe spoke, and then gave final approval to the bill Tuesday morning by a margin of 22-12, with Republican Sens. Ken Kester and Al White joining Democrats voting in favor. The bill moves on to the House for consideration.

The bill, which also came under fire from Focus on the Family in an advertising campaign last week, roused Renfroe to pull out a Bible and thump it during debate Monday. After first establishing that God created Eve to be Adam’s “helper,” Renfroe explained why he opposed extending health care benefits to gay and lesbian partners of state employees:

Homosexuality is seen as a violation of this natural, created order and it is an offense to God, the Creator, who created men and women, male and female, for procreation.

Then came some passages from the Bible:

Leviticus 18:22 says, “You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a female, it is an abomination.”


Leviticus 20:13 says, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act and they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them.”

And I still can’t get this dream out of my head…

In this dream I’m driving to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to visit some gay friends. 

From Baltimore, Gettysburg is not all that far away. This is a day trip I’m taking, and I have three gay friends with me…a full car.  We chat easily as I drive with the windows down and the moon roof open through some very lovely Maryland, and then Pennsylvania countryside.  It is a beautiful day.  Perfect actually.  Not too hot, not too cold.  The air smells sweet and crisp and clear.  The sky is a perfect blue, with just a few fluffy clouds in it here and there…just enough to make it beautiful, but not so many as to block the sun.  A perfect day.  My companions and I are feeling as sunny and cheerful as the weather.  Peace and contentment and companionship.  A perfect day.

Eventually we get to a small and cozy old cottage house in Gettysburg.  Somehow I know it is not far from the battlefield nearby…somewhere over the rolling hills of grass and trees.  But the sight of such a charming little house puts all thoughts of that terrible war out of my mind.  It is so cozy and peaceful to look at.  Like something out of a Currier and Ives print.  There is a large plot of land around it, with a very nice stone walled garden on one side of the house.  Inside we meet more friends,  There is a table of lovely snacks and wine.  Delicious.  I chat with a few of the folks inside, get a few snacks from the table and a small crystal glass of wine, and walk out into the garden…back out into the perfect day.

I don’t recognize any of these people.  But somehow in my dream I know that they are all gay friends of mine.  We chat about this and that in the beautiful garden. The couple who owns the house has clearly done years of careful loving work on both house and garden.  The garden is surrounded by a low stone walls that I think must date back hundreds of years. Inside the wall are so many beautiful bushes and flowers it just takes your breath away.  A little paradise. 

It is a very peaceful, tranquil setting, and I feel a warm, serene ease being there, and being in the company of these other gay folks.  I don’t know any of them, yet I feel that we are all compatriots…comrades somehow.  Kindred.  I am sitting on one of the low stone walls.  A guy about my age is sitting beside me on my right.  Several other guys are standing in front of me.  We are chatting easily about this and that. 

As we chat, about a dozen bright yellow birds, American Goldfinches, land on the wall near us.  We watch as they fly a short distance to one of the garden’s Azalea bushes, now in full rosy bloom. Yellow birds hopping around in a rose red bush, looking for some food I suppose. The sight is lovely.  One of my companions remarks on how colorful they are, and I agree.

The goldfinches fly off, and almost immediately about a dozen or so starlings land on the stone wall a short distance away from us. My companions ignore them. Some people don’t like starlings, they’re not very pretty birds, but I like and even admire them in some ways. They can find homes in the most amazing of places in and around humankind’s structures. Their flocks make these spectacular air formations, that weave and turn and undulate in the sky as if the entire flock had a single mind. I’m told it’s behavior they evolved over time in their European homelands, to confuse and evade hawks and other air predators. And starlings make this cheerful, goofy song that sounds to my ear like the squeaky wheel noise of the old fax signals I used to hear on my shortwave radio when I was a kid. No other bird makes a song quite like a starling’s. It’s bizarre and goofy and cheerful and just brings a smile to my face whenever I hear it. But starlings are not welcome in most places because their flocks can get Huge and they make a lot of mess.

My companions ignore the small flock of starlings.  As I watch it, one of the birds starts walking awkwardly over to me.

As it gets closer, I can see its feathers are unkempt…ruffled…disordered.  Some look broken.  It’s little pointy yellow beak is broken and bent in the middle.  It comes closer, awkwardly waddling on little stubby bird legs.  I can see eyes are just two black holes in its head…empty sockets in its little bird skull.

It walks over the stones to me, then it stops, fixes those empty socket eyes on mine, and in a little dry, gravelly voice, begins singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic to me.

Mine eyes have seen the glory
of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage
where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning
of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

…and then I wake up.


by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

February 24th, 2009

Oh Look…More Common Ground…

The anti-gay American Family Association is calling now, for a boycott of Pepsi.  Seems they’re none too happy that Pepsi treats its gay customers like something other then human garbage.  Here’s their email alert to the faithful…

Dear ****,

Pepsi has produced another TV ad not only promoting Pepsi but also promoting the gay lifestyle. Click here to see the ad.

Pepsi had released a similar ad before. The ads serve two purposes for Pepsi: to sell Pepsi and to promote the homosexual lifestyle. AFA asked Pepsi to remain neutral in the culture war, but the company refused – choosing to support the homosexual activists.

Pepsi has made no effort to hide their support for the homosexual agenda:

Pepsi gave a total of $1,000,000 to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) to promote the homosexual lifestyle in the workplace.

Both HRC and PFLAG supported efforts in California to defeat Proposition 8 which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. HRC, which received $500,000 from Pepsi, gave $2.3 million to defeat Proposition 8.

Pepsi forces employees to attend sexual orientation and gender diversity training where the employees are taught to accept homosexuality.

Pepsi is a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Take Action!

So you folks in the kook pews are going to drink…what…from now on?  Coke?  Coca Cola company gets a 100 Percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign.  Hmmm.  Well…you Could do 7-Up, which is owned by Dr Pepper/Snapple…but only here in the U.S.  Elsewhere it’s owned by…Pepsi.

Hey…I know…  You can all drink the Kool-Aid!

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

Can This Marriage Be Saved?

Jonathan Rauch, who writes from time to time like he has common sense, joins hands with a bigot to announce they two have found common ground.  Wow…common ground…

In politics, as in marriage, moments come along when sensitive compromise can avert a major conflict down the road. The two of us believe that the issue of same-sex marriage has reached such a point now.

It would work like this: Congress would bestow the status of federal civil unions on same-sex marriages and civil unions granted at the state level, thereby conferring upon them most or all of the federal benefits and rights of marriage. But there would be a condition: Washington would recognize only those unions licensed in states with robust religious-conscience exceptions, which provide that religious organizations need not recognize same-sex unions against their will. The federal government would also enact religious-conscience protections of its own. All of these changes would be enacted in the same bill.

I see. Well that sounds like a plan all right.  And it would work too…right up to the point that something like this happens…

If her name had been Joe, her wife wouldn’t have died alone

Your wife is dying.

One moment everything was fine. You were in your stateroom on the cruise ship — it was to be an anniversary cruise — unpacking your things. The kids were in the adjoining stateroom playing with your wife. Suddenly, they banged on the door crying that mom was hurt.

So now you’re in the hospital — Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami — waiting for word, and it’s not coming. They tell you, Joe (we’ll call you Joe) you can’t be with her. You plead with them, to no avail. No, Joe, sorry, Joe, we can’t tell you anything.

One hour turns to two, two to four, four to six. Your wife is dying and no one she loves is there.

Finally, in the eighth hour, you reach her bedside. You are just in time to stand beside the priest as he administers last rites.

Your wife is dead. Her name was Lisa Marie Pond. She was 39.

It happened, Feb. 18-19, 2007, except that Pond’s spouse was not a man named Joe, but a woman named Janice. And there’s one other detail. Janice Langbehn who, as it happens, is an emergency room social worker from Lacey, Wash., says the first hospital employee she spoke with was an emergency room social worker. She thought, given their professional connection, they might speak a common language.

Instead, she says, he told her, "I need you to know you are in an anti-gay city and state and you won’t get to know about Lisa’s condition or see her" — then turned and walked away.

Now consider what the legal status of that couple would be in a hospital run by a "religious organization", as many increasingly are, within the scope of your…compromise.  Oh…I know…just tell the ambulance driver not to take your dying spouse to the closest available emergency room if it’s owned by a church.

Right.  Something like this happens and that artifice of civility you’re trying to prop up comes crashing right back down in flames again Jonathan.  And what we see in the wreckage, once again, sickeningly but clearly…very clearly…is how much your new found friends hate us, how bottomless that hate is.  And…oh by the way…they hate you too.  You knew that, right?

I have a question Jonathan.  Who do you think you are talking to?  Someone who can see a human being when they look at homosexuals?  Someone who wants the same decency and common civility to flourish in society, and nurture the best within its citizens?  Are you smoking crack?  Are you drunk?  Did banging your head against that impenetrable wall that is Blankenhorn’s cheapshit bar stool prejudices for years make you simple?  Read your own goddamned newsprint jackass.  The open sewer that is your pal’s conscience is right here, laughing in your face:

Whatever our disagreements on the merits of gay marriage, we agree on two facts. First, most gay and lesbian Americans feel they need and deserve the perquisites and protections that accompany legal marriage. Second, many Americans of faith and many religious organizations have strong objections to same-sex unions. Neither of those realities is likely to change any time soon.

I’m sorry…you’ve been "discussing" this issue with Blankenhorn for…how long now…?  And finally…Finally…you get him to agree with you that "gay and lesbian Americans feel they need and deserve the perquisites and protections that accompany legal marriage"…?  Well that’s a giant step forward all right.  Look at that goddamn it!  Just look at it!  He isn’t agreeing that we need anything whatsoever, let alone the perquisites and protections of marriage, but only, and grudgingly, that we Feel like we do.  I suppose Janice Langbehn was only pretending to be in anguish while her spouse was dying.  But then don’t we all.  Someday Jonathan, if either you or your husband find yourselves in that same situation, you’ll pretend to feel anguish too.  It takes a lot of practice to mimic how attached heterosexuals are to their spouses and their families, doesn’t it Jonathan?

You’d think a civilized, let alone civil society would recognize such a basic human need.  Certainly your pal Blankenhorn believes it does.  But there’s the rub.  Homosexuals aren’t human.  They don’t need marriage, they only feel like they do.  I guess because we’re jealous of how heterosexuals have real human needs and we don’t, or something.  And you think that this is an improvement over whatever it was that he was thinking about gay people before you started having your discussions with him?  What could that have possibly been?  That we were only making noises about marriage to hear ourselves talk?  Either you’ve never really looked down into that Pit that is the human capacity to hate, or you’ve been staring into it for too long.  Either way, you just don’t seem to appreciate, or care, how much damage your bigot pal and his fellows in the kook pews have done to American society, let alone to civility.

A compromise…you say?  I have a compromise for you.  It’s called the constitution of the United States.  That first amendment thing?  What it doesn’t give your pal is the right to drop his church onto my back, or yours, or anyone else’s.   He can build his church.  He can worship in it.  He can live his life as he sees fit.  And all that America ever asked of him in return, is that he give his neighbor the same right.  The compromise used to be this: in the public square, we were all equal, if not in the eyes of God, then at least in the eyes of the law. 

Your pal and his neighbors in the kook pews absolutely despise that idea. And they have been waging a relentless scortched earth war against that American compromise for generations.  How do you agree to compromise for the sake of preserving civil society with people who think being civil to heathens amounts to condoning sin?  How do you agree to compromise for the sake of preserving civil society with people who believe that the basic premise of America is itself evil?  They don’t call it a nation where Christians have freedom to worship…they call it a Christian nation.  What is the compromise between those two things?  I’ll tell you what it isn’t: The United States of America.  Liberty and justice for all?  Yes.  So long as "all" means just the folks in the pews of Blankenhorn’s church.  Civility doesn’t mean you have to allow your neighbor to sin.  Why…that’s just the opposite of civility…

Meanwhile, back in Utah…another doomed search for common ground goes on…

Final common ground bill dies in House committee

A legislative committee defeated the last in a group of gay-rights bills presented to Utah lawmakers this year. As was the case with the others, committee members said the bill was not necessary and voiced concern about the law opening the door to gay marriage.

The bottom line is most conservative lawmakers just don’t believe any of these bills just address civil rights. Instead, the Common Ground bills were viewed as a "threat" to traditional marriage.

The last Common Ground bill would have affected medical visitation and inheritance. Changing the law could affect people outside the gay community as well. But the focus—and concern—was predominantly centered on gay rights.

They can’t even let same sex couples visit their spouses in the hospital.  Civility anyone?  Common ground?  Here’s your common ground…

Utah State Sen. Compares Gays To Alcoholics, Terrorists: ‘They’re The Greatest Threat To America’

Today, the Utah state legislature “dealt a final blow” to the last of five gay rights bills taken up under the Common Ground Initiative, when it defeated a bill that would have granted gay couples rights of inheritance and medical decision-making. Yesterday, the state House rejected bills that would have allowed gay adoption and protected gays from housing and employment discrimination.

Last night, Utah’s local ABC station received leaked portions of an interview with state senator Chris Buttars (R), which will be highlighted in an upcoming documentary on Proposition 8. Buttars is an outspoken opponent of gay rights; in the latest interview, he compares gays to alcoholics and Muslim terrorists, and warns that gay people are “probably the greatest threat to America.” Some excerpts from the interview:

To me, homosexuality will always be a sexual perversion. And you say that around here now and everybody goes nuts! But I don’t care.

– They say, I’m born that way. There’s some truth to that, in that some people are born with an attraction to alcohol.

– They’re mean! They want to talk about being nice — they’re the meanest buggers I ever seen. It’s just like the Moslems. Moslems are good people and their religion is anti-war. But it’s been taken over by the radical side. And the gays are totally taken over by the radical side.

– I believe that you will destroy the foundation of American society, because I believe the cornerstone of it is a man and a woman, the family. … And I believe that they’re, internally, they’re probably the greatest threat to America going down I know of. Yep, the radical gay movement.

He also said that gay people have no morals…that "It’s the beginning of the end. Oh, it’s worse than that. Sure. Sodom and Gomorrah was localized. This is worldwide."  Oh…and bragged that he’d killed every bill in his judiciary committee that so much as smelled of gay rights.  When this blew up in the media, the Utah Senate took swift action.  They removed Buttars from his chairmanship.  Oh…but not because they disagreed with him mind you

"I want the citizens of Utah to know that the Utah Senate stands behind Senator Buttars’ right to speak, we stand behind him as one of our colleagues and his right to serve this state," [Senate President Michael] Waddoups said. "He is a senator who represents the point of view of many of his constituents and many of ours. We agree with many of the things he said. …We stand four square behind his right [to say what he wants]."

Waddoups refused repeatedly to clarify which of Buttars’ opinions are shared by himself or Senate leaders.

Emphasis mine.  And to further clarify…

He said the decision to remove Buttars from the committees was ultimately his own as president, a move he made so the Senate could function smoothly. The judiciary committee, in recent years, has heard most of the bills dealing with gay and lesbian rights, and removing Buttars from his position would remove the "personalities" and focus on the issues, Waddoups said. 

This was a PR move.  They weren’t disgusted with the man…they just wanted him to stop saying to publically what they all believe.  That homosexuals are not human beings.  That homosexuals are destroying the world.

Civility.  Common Ground.  So you got Blankenhorn to agree that homosexuals Feel as though they need the protections of marriage did you Jonathan?  Wow.  Peace in our time.  Do let us know when you’ve got him to the point where he agrees that we Feel a human heart beating in our chests.  That would be…awesome.

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

February 23rd, 2009

It’s Not The Mirror’s Fault You’re Stupid

There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.
-Ansel Adams

I am a graphic artist.  That is to say, I express via imagery.  I don’t perform on stage.  I don’t write.  I am not a composer of music.  I paint.  I draw.  But mostly I take one of my cameras and go for these little strolls around my world.  I am a photographer.  Not a professional nor a recognized artist, but a serious amateur.  I have some galleries up here on the web site you can peruse if you like.  They’re typical of what I do.  Photography as been a passion of mine ever since I was in grade school.  I think I can say after all these years of doing it, that I have a distinctive voice.

I don’t like a lot of what I produce.  That is to say, I would rather be producing something a tad more cheerful, or sensuous maybe, or beautiful.  But I have this urge to produce a lot of this…






…that I can’t turn away from.  I have to make these images.  It’s what I do.  I take a camera, decide if I’m in a color or black and white frame of mind just then, and go for a wander.  Sooner or later something I’ve never been able to put words to tugs me over to something, and then I am exploring a subject.  Snap…circle it a bit…snap…circle some more…snap…snap…snap…  It’s what I do when I get a camera in my hands.   Oh yes…sometimes I get a chance to do a little of this…


I love this one…but even this, if you look at it carefully, has a sense of the other stuff in it just below the surface. 

For almost a decade I gave up taking photographs because I couldn’t stand to look at what was coming out of me anymore.  This is hard for some folks of a…shall we say…religious right persuasion…to get about the artsy tofu and brie types they just love to loath…let alone liberals in general.  It isn’t so much If it feels good do it, as You do what you must.  As a matter of fact yes, it is entirely possible to be consumed with a subject matter you don’t much like, and still feel absolutely compelled to approach it with fierce honesty.  But honesty is even less welcome then art in the mega-mall cathedrals of the heartland.

Via Sullivan…  It seems they don’t like looking at pictures of themselves at Patrick Henry College

My first preview of at photographer Jona Frank’s book of portraits about Patrick Henry College occurred through Mother Jones, where it appeared alongside image galleries on phone sex operators, Aryan outfitters, and women in Afghanistan. (Mother Jones’ photo galleries reflect a wide variety of topics, but I’m mentioning the ones it promoted alongside the photos from Frank’s second book, Right: Portraits from the Evangelical Ivy League.)

The students of Patrick Henry College, the nation’s first residential college designed for young people who grew up as homeschoolers, looked awfully stiff and serious. I asked Ed Veith, a professor of literature and provost of the college, for his thoughts. Veith sent along a memo that he wrote to Patrick Henry students when he saw the book:

I was greatly angered when I saw the book Right: Portraits from the Evangelical Ivy League by the photographer Jona Frank. The book features pictures of many of you — portrayed in the [worst] way possible — with an accompanying text that plays to all the leftwing stereotypes about Christians and conservatives. The dishonesty of the artist is staggering: she posed you in stiff and awkward positions and told you not to smile; then she caricatured you as stiff, awkward, and without a sense of humor. In reality, I know that you PHC students are lively and interesting, with vibrant and highly-individualistic personalities. I think that Ms. Frank, who hung around campus for months and who even visited some of your families, betrayed your trust, violated your privacy, and distorted your identity.

Since writing to Veith, I’ve found another collection of Frank’s PHC images at Newsweek. That collection includes a narration by Frank, in which she speaks with clear affection for these students. Newsweek’s gallery is well worth a visit, as Frank’s narration is so warm and engaging.

If the photographer was any good…and Frank’s photos can put you in mind of another Frank in their straightforwardness…then her images are honest representations of what she saw, what she found when she went to Patrick Henry.  But you have to understand what Adams is saying in that quote I put at the top of this post.  The photographer is always present in every image.  But so are you, the viewer.  Frank didn’t set out to preach and not seeing the sermon he expected out of her, Veith got angry.  But not every negative review, is a bad review.

[Update…]  So I bought a copy of Frank’s photo book.  It’s good…but I wouldn’t put her in the same class as Robert Frank.  Most of the photos are posed.  Few are the kind of beautiful human moments frozen out of time shots that Frank did so astonishingly well.  But Robert Frank casts a large shadow over all of us.  He’s one of Photography’s perfect masters.  Jona Frank’s work here is good, she works well with her subjects and all her photographs are taken in their environment.  You get the sense of how they fit together, how the people and their environment are each expressions of the other.  But she is not a beachcomber searching for the stray seashell, the random pebble that tells stories of the open sea.  She does environmental portraiture and she’s good at it.  Robert Frank did moments in time.  Different stuff.

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

Banging My Head Against The Wand. Wall. Wand. Ouch. Dammit.

So I’m trying to learn German.  It isn’t logical since, living here in North America, the sensible second language for me to try to pick up is Spanish.  But the illogical motivation is way stronger then the logical one and I know when to give in.  It’s not just a certain someone I know.  I get intensely curious about a thing and then it becomes an obsession.  Photography was like that.  And computers.  Everyone who knows me knows how I get when something grabs my attention. 

German is a puzzle.  In a way that Spanish just isn’t.  I was down in Mexico last year for the first time and while I could barely speak a word of it, I found it wasn’t too terribly hard to intuit the meanings of some words and phrases.  In part, living here in North America, I have been exposed to a lot of fractured Spanish.  Amigo.  Gracious.  Por Favor.  Dónde está el baño?  But I also found I could read things like signs down there pretty well, even for words I would have had no clue about. 

For example.  It was hot down in Puerto Vallarta and I wore my sandals a lot as I strolled through the town with my camera.  They were a new pair…I’d bought them down in Key West just a few months previously.  So I was still breaking them in.  I noticed one morning I was starting to get a blister on one heel.  The last thing I wanted was something to keep me from walking around comfortably, so I started looking around for a place that sold bandages ("patches", as I’m told the English call them…).  The local convenience store chain, OXXO, which was everywhere down there, didn’t seem to have any.  I wandered around for a bit and then I saw a little store tucked in the middle of a block with a sign above it that read: Farmacia.

Hmmm…sounds like "Pharmacy"…  And so it was.   I wandered in and saw a shop that differed little from any small in town U.S. drugstore I’d ever seen, other then some of the brands were unfamiliar.  Now then…let me go to Google and get a quick translation of pharmacy in German.  Ah…Apotheke… 

Well…actually I think I’d have figured that one out too.  But the point is many common Spanish words sound like English words.  I don’t need that.  No necesito que.  German, not so much.  And I’ve spent my entire life with Spanish hovering in the background.  Half my family tree is in California.  I am no where near conversant in Spanish, but its sounds are familiar to me.  Beautiful even.  German just sounds…odd.  And the rules are confusing.

There are two words for "you".  Sie and Du.  And you better get the context of using them right or you’ll offend someone.  Sie is the more formal.  When in doubt with Germans, use the more formal language.  So Sie is "you".  Except when it isn’t.  Like "excuse me"…Entschuldigen Sie.  I think that’s you excuse me…but I’m not sure at this point.  And…just look at that damn word.  Entschuldigen.  Try to pronounce it just by looking at it.  Go ahead.  Then there is this little oddity: Do you understand?  Verstehen Sie?  I understand.  Ich verstehe.  Verstehen.  Verstehe.  It’s the same word.  But it isn’t.  Or it is but only sometimes.  I see that e – en difference in a lot of German words and I think one pronunciation is when it’s about you and the other when it’s about someone else.  Why?  Just…why?

I’m not complaining.  I’m…puzzled.  And my head just wants to crack it now.  There’s a certain someone down in Florida who I would love to impress by speaking a little German to him next time I see him.  But that’s almost beside the point now.  How the hell do Germans understand each other?  I’m not complaining.  It’s bewildering and I won’t have that.  At some level the rules must make sense to them.  I just don’t get it. 

But that’s where you always start from.  Not getting it.  I have some language lessons on my iPod that I’ve been going over.  And over.  And over.  Two weeks now and I’m still stuck on lesson one.  But I made a conceptual breakthrough of sorts the other day.  I’m not so much learning a new language at this point, as learning some new words.  The language is in the rules…the syntax…the grammer.  I’ll learn that when I get enough new words into my head that I can play with it. 

It’s like music isn’t the notes…it’s the melodies and harmonies.  It’s the song.  I already had two ways to say "excuse me" in English.  Excuse me.  Pardon me.  Same thing, mostly.  Yes, there are shades of difference.  But there it is.  Two ways of saying "excuse me"  Now I have a third way.  Entschuldigen Sie.  Three ways to say it.  Two of them are English, and one is German.  But it’s the same thing.  The point is, you don’t learn the words by linking them to other words (what’s German for ‘excuse me’…?).  You have to link them in your brain to meanings.  Imagine yourself in a situation where you mean to say something…(excuse me)…and then say the new word until it digs into that meaning along with the other words that you know, that express that thing…(Entschuldigen Sie).  Then you’ve got it.  The word that is. 

Language comes later.  Language is how the words make sentances…how they link together to tell you a story.  A language is a way to tell a story.  Entschuldigen Sie.  Verstehen Sie English?  Please…because I only know a few crumbs of German…

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

February 22nd, 2009

Great Moments In Chutzpa

Via Slashdot…  Oh look…Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is pleading for openness…

Apple is top of mind for execs at MWC

BARCELONA, Spain–iPhone maker Apple isn’t at GSMA Mobile World Congress 2009 along with the rest of the mobile phone industry, but the company’s growing success is definitely top of mind for key executives in the mobile market.

The iPhone and Apple’s successful App Store got more than a passing mention on Tuesday during a panel moderated by The Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg.

Ballmer argued that device openness was important to give customers more choices. And he pointed to the number of choices that Windows Mobile customers have when choosing a device.

"I agree that no single company can create all the hardware and software," he said. "Openness is central because it’s the foundation of choice."

This from the company that tied Internet Explorer to the Windows OS in order to kill Netscape.  This from the company that penalized computer makers (and for all I know still does) for offering their customers Linux too if they wanted Linux.  This from the man who still insists that Linux violates a number of Microsoft patents, but won’t say which ones.  This from the company that gamed the ISO standards process by forcing through its own 6000+ page "open xml" format, which is riddled with Redmond patents, and Microsoft Office legacy bugs and glitches over the vendor neutral Open Document format, so Microsoft could claim MS Office documents were "open", despite the fact that nobody but Microsoft can implement this so-called "open" format in its entirety.  Openess anyone? 

Yeah…Apple is a closed system.  You can’t run the iPhone OS on any other phone but an iPhone.  You can’t run Mac OS on any other computers but Apple’s.  Apple hardware needs Apple software to run.  Microsoft’s definition of openness on the other hand, is everything needs Microsoft software to run.  When the whole world is locked tight as a drum into Microsoft platforms, then everything will be naturally and seemlessly interoperable.  Openness.

Hey Steve…you want openness?  Publish your file formats.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Great Moments In Chutzpa

February 18th, 2009

Some Minor Blog Improvements…

I’ve just added the list of categories and tags at the ends of my posts…finally.  I’ve been meaning to make them visible at the end of the posts ever since I moved the blog to WordPress. This makes it easier for me, and presumably all of you, to sort through stuff here by the groupings I’ve been assigning stuff.  Hopefully, you’ll just be able to click on a tag to see a list of other posts I’ve given the same tag to.  I want to create a menu of categories later.

This is mostly for my own ability to organize and sort through stuff here.  The blog has mutated over the years from being a simple life blog into a place where I vent about politics and gay rights and where I tell people about current art projects.  Making the categories and tags visible allows me, and you, to filter what’s displayed if I (or you) are searching for something.

This is all "under development" at the moment, so some things may or may not work at any given moment, or I may remove or re-arrange things from time to time until I’m satisfied.   You’ll notice a lot of the posts are in the "Uncategorized" category.  That’s because of my initial unfamiliarity with difference between tags and categories as they’re usually used in blogs.  I think I have a better grasp of the concepts now, and I’m going to be re-arranging some of the categories and tags on my posts over the next few weeks.  Stay tuned…

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

No Common Ground In Mormonland After All…

What a surprise.  What an absolutely shocking surprise. 

Utah Legislature snuffs out final gay-rights bill

A House committee rejected Rep. Jennifer Seelig’s HB160, which would have offered two, unmarried cohabiting adults — including same-sex couples — rights of inheritance and medical decision making for one another.

Nope.  We can’t even allow same-sex couples to have inheritance rights, or make medical decisions if one is incapacitated.   Let alone protect gays from job discrimination, let alone allow them to adopt.  No common ground there.  Same sex couples need to consider this carefully when planning trips that might take either or both of them into or through Utah.  Getting sick or injured could be just the beginning of your nightmare in Mormonland.

I’m going to have a heart attack from this surprise.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on No Common Ground In Mormonland After All…

Common Ground

They’re still searching for common ground in Utah.  Perhaps it’s been looking them in the face all this time…

Gays Akin to Radical Muslims, Pose Greatest Threat to America: Utah Senator

Strong comments against the gay community were made recently by Utah senator Chris Buttars during work on the documentary "8: The Mormon Proposition" just a year since he called a black baby a "dark, ugly thing" on the Utah State Senate floor.

He compared gays to radical Muslims and suggested they may be America’s greatest threat, likening gay rights to "the beginning of the end." Although the footage has only been seen by Salt Lake City’s ABC affiliate, some audio has been released.

Buttars describes gays as having "anything goes" morals, and "the meanest buggers" he’d ever seen; some comments were too graphic to include. He also takes credit for "killing" every bill related to gay rights in the Utah State Senate since 2001.

More Here…including…

"This baby is black…this is a dark, ugly thing."

"What is the morals of a gay person? You can’t answer that because anything goes." 

"They’re probably the greatest threat to America going down I know of."

Common ground.  You folks out there just keep right on searching for that common ground.  And when some gay basher splits your head open because he’s been told that gays, with their anything goes morality, are the greatest threat to America, you’ll have found it.  Common ground.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Common Ground

The Strangeness Of Humans

Andrew Sullivan posts a YouTube under the heading, The Strangeness of Germans

You’d think he’s never seen Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari. There’s nought so queer as folk Andrew. We Americans have our own strange little ways too. Take a trip into Sid and Marty Kroft land sometime.

You want strange Andrew…? Try a little…Walt Disney? Oh yes. This clip is from Alice in Wonderland, and some of the best animation ever produced. The animator who did the character of Alice was a master…simply a master. But the entire film is a masterpiece of animation. The eye candy is everywhere and it all moves and flows perfectly. This clip from the film starts off being your usual Disney cartoon slapstick but the strange comes in at about 2:15 into it. Remember, Disney did Fantasia too…

I’ll bet if I poked around British movies and TV I could find myself some grade ‘A’ strange in there too. We humans are a funny lot. Strange makes the world go ’round Andrew…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Strangeness Of Humans

February 17th, 2009

Just Wait ‘Till They Start Talking About Second-Hand Loneliness

This isn’t exactly news…

Experts: Loneliness Just as Bad for You as Smoking

We’re sure your eight cats are wonderful company, but it might be time to get out more. Join a club. Take a class. Do it for your health.

According to researchers at the University of Chicago, isolating yourself from human contact triggers all sorts of terrible bodily responses, including upping your blood pressure, releasing a stress hormone called cortisol (which, p.s., makes you fat), and makes you a prime candidate for Alzheimer’s Disease. It’ll also probably mess with your sleep habits, ding your immune system, and make you depressed.

In fact, said John Cacioppo, who revealed the research findings at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the overall health difference between a lonely person and a popular person was akin to that between a smoker and a non-smoker.

Swell.  But this isn’t news.  Science has known for quite some time now that being alone deducts years off your life, the same way smoking or drinking too much does.  But the lonely are humanity’s cast-offs. Nobody gives a flying fuck about us.  Until one of us goes off the deep end. 

Save for the occasional misanthrope, most of us aren’t isolated from the world of the living by choice.  We’re alone for a variety of reasons, most of which I have a hunch, have to do with many, many failed attempts at romance, and the resultant fear and self-doubt that comes of it.  The more you fail, the more you begin to see yourself, deep down inside, as unworthy of companionship.

And friends who sit on chances for you to meet someone who might be a good match until that chance is stone dead, like it didn’t really matter all that much to them so it shouldn’t matter to you either, and then tell you its your own damn fault for not having a lover anyway, don’t help that negative self image much.  Yes…I’m talking about you Mr. L.  Oh…and also the ones who tell you you’re too ugly to be boyfriend material.

After a while, you get used to feeling the years being shaved off your life, and vanishing down a dark hole.  After a while, you find yourself wishing the end comes sooner, rather then later…

So even if you don’t smoke, drink, or overeat, you might want to at least join Facebook, or you may as well have been doing shots of Jaeger before breakfast…

I’d as soon drop a cinder block on my head as drink Jagermeister.  German eiswein is lovely, just lovely…if they serve drinks in Paradise then they’re serving German eiswein…but swear to God German liquor is just plain evil. 

But I can see how trying to live all by yourself is like trying to exist on a diet of Jagermeister.  Yes.  Yes…that’s what it’s like.  In fact…I’ll bet a lot of lonely people do literally just that.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Just Wait ‘Till They Start Talking About Second-Hand Loneliness

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