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March 3rd, 2015

Beauty Is Only Heart Deep (To Whom It May Concern)…

This came across my Facebook stream just now…

beautiful young heart

What is doubly so dehumanizing about “people who look like that want people who look like that”: it not only denies the humanity of the person you are calling ugly, it is denying that humanity to the person you think is more beautiful than they are.

But of course, it depends doesn’t it, on what it is you think people “want”.

by Bruce | Link | React!

February 9th, 2015

How About We Both Share The Road

The cyclists got a new law passed here that requires cars to stay at least three feet away from them while passing. It’s a good and necessary safety measure, but this morning I could see the coming spring downside already. In many city streets cars simply can’t pass a cyclist unless they go into the oncoming lane of traffic. And at least one cyclist I saw on the way to work this morning was taking full advantage of that fact to quite deliberately slow traffic to a crawl. Because I guess, cars are evil things and people who own them in the city deserve it.

I know the mindset, it’s why the Washington D.C. suburbs have a horribly inadequate highway infrastructure. If we don’t build the roads we won’t get the cars the thinking went. So they didn’t build the roads…but they kept on building the offices and shopping centers and condominiums and the cars came anyway. Lots of them. And now the joke is someone gets a flat tire in College Park and it backs up traffic in Tyson’s Corner.

I appreciate that continued reliance on fossil fuels is unsustainable. I appreciate that bicycles have to be a big part of the solution, along with walkability, especially in the urban and residential zones where speeds are low to begin with. Mass transit is not a magic pill. Unless we’re talking about putting Disney’s “people movers” everywhere in cities like he had planned for E.P.C.O.T., his prototype city of tomorrow, urban mass transit can’t even come close to solving the problem. But having cyclists and automobiles together on the same pavement is a recipe for accidents, not to mention road rage. They need to be kept physically separated and for all the same reasons as automobiles and pedestrians need to be kept apart. It’s the simple physics of it. But at least pedestrians in the city have sidewalks. Many city streets simply aren’t wide enough to support a dedicated bicycle lane. I see those “share the road” signs everywhere now, but someone peddling along at 7 miles per hour in a twenty-five mile per hour zone and nobody can get past isn’t sharing the road, they are appropriating it.

I don’t know the answer. But I know this because I’ve seen it over and over: Americans are never more obnoxious than when we get started on moral crusades. At least consider letting traffic go by if you’ve got a bunch of it backed up behind you and you can’t peddle any faster than 30 percent of the posted speed limit. You’re not making the drivers any more likely to reconsider owning a car by bottling them up behind you. Most of them probably live in the suburbs and can’t do without a car.  You are not making them any more likely to reconsider commuting from the suburbs either.  In the current economy you go wherever the job you were lucky enough to have is. You are not making them any more likely to consider relocating to the city. You want to do that, improve the fucking schools and crime rates. Trust me, I love my city life and I have tried often to talk my co-workers into it.  And always what I hear back is yes, But…schools…crime.

God how I would love for the cities to undergo a big fat urban renaissance.  It’s so lovely…you can walk to your job, and to the grocery store and nice restaurants and bars and if you decide to go out drinking it’s no problem for the highways because you just walk back home and everyone stays safe.  I have just about everything I need within walking distance of Casa del Garrett and I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for the suburban life I grew up in for anything. Every day I am out and about in my neighborhood I find myself thinking, This is the life! I But transforming American commuting habits isn’t going to happen overnight. It will take decades and in the meantime you have to let the cars use the city streets.

Understand this if you understand nothing else: You are not saving the planet by slowing traffic down. You are keeping those fossil fuel burning engines burning those ancient forests for longer periods of time where they are least efficient. Show your concern for planet earth get off your high horse if not your bicycle and let the damn traffic get by you from time to time.

Or not. I don’t care. I normally walk anyway (and get treated like shit by both drivers and cyclists from time to time) and even if I’m driving in to work, because of the weather or I have cargo I need to transport, it’s only a mile away from my house and if you got off the bike and walked in front of my car I would still get there at the speed of walking. But I’m an outlier in the traffic bottleneck behind you. Most of those commuters probably just got off I-83. You are making them furious, and furious people do stupid things and I don’t want to have to see it when it happens.

[Update…]

Yes, as a pedestrian most of the time in my neighborhood, I am well aware drivers can be complete assholes too. I was reminded of that fact just today as I was leaving work, when I saw a co-worker almost get run over by a driver who just blew through a crosswalk like it was a mere suggestion. The road in front of the Space Telescope Science Institute building where I work, San Martin Drive, is within the campus of Johns Hopkins University and there are signs all over the place telling drivers to be aware of the students. Students jog that road all the time…it’s a nice road that borders Wyman Park on the other side. It has several blind curves and you can hit someone if you’re not careful. And there are raised crosswalks periodically along the road to give pedestrians some safety and to slow traffic the f*ck down since it’s a 25mph speed limit there. They have these little signs posted in the middle of the crosswalk telling drivers pedestrians have the right of way and if one is in that crosswalk you have to stop.

This lady apparently thought that was optional. She almost hit my co-worker who was In The Crosswalk (I saw it happen) and if that wasn’t enough, rolled her window down and shouted at him to get off the road. Most drivers in my experience will stop for you, but there are assholes everywhere.

Some days I think instead of telling people to Share The Road what’s needed are signs saying Don’t Be A Dick

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

February 2nd, 2015

Why I Hate The NRA…Part The Upteenth…

This came across my Facebook stream just now…

morons at target practice

More Here.  This is incredibly idiotic. As a gun owner I cannot fathom…I am actually at a loss for words…as to how anyone who has ever shot a gun cannot grasp the level of danger here.

In my younger years, a friend of mine and I would go to another friend’s house to shoot our guns in their backyard. But they lived in the sticks, far away from anything and we could do that safely. There was a county law prohibiting shooting within a certain designated distance from any home or structure. And they had lots of property surrounding their home. Enough that we could just walk far enough away from the back of the house to be legal, and still be on their property.  At the edge of the cleared area was a fence and over that a forest that went on for miles. My friend and his often went hunting back there. I knew it as a place where we could blast away to our hearts content and not bother anyone.

I remember quite well as we fired at various targets propped up on a board in the backyard…cans, bottles, plastic jugs…the sound of our bullets ricocheting off trees in the woods behind the fence. I’d be there with one of my .45s and I’d touch off a round and if I missed we’d listen for the sound of the slug bouncing around in the forest off one tree and then another and then another…bip…bip…bipbipbipbip… It was a warning: just because you’re aiming at something that doesn’t mean that’s where your bullet is going to stop. It can take a bounce and then it might go anywhere. This is why the law was you couldn’t be shooting anywhere near another structure and never mind which direction you’re pointing.

I remember once we were shooting at a stack of empty soda cans we’d propped up on a large piece of scrap metal. One of the folks living there was a welder and we found something in the yard we thought we could use to raise the height of our targets. I was shooting my single action .45 with rounds I’d hand loaded with soft lead bullets. I took a shot and missed and immediately felt something brush up against my right leg, looked down and saw several shards of lead embedded in my blue jeans. The bullet had hit the piece of scrap metal and fragmented and some of the fragments had bounced back at me with enough force they almost penetrated my pants leg. Occasionally the lessons you learn are non-fatal. We never propped our cans on anything bullets couldn’t easily punch through at that distance after that.

That target shooting so close to other people’s homes (look at that photo again) is much too dangerous is something anyone who has ever shot a gun in their lives should know. But of course this isn’t about guns, let alone public safety, it’s about culture war…

So Florida law is cool with this. The cops are not cool with this, but tell me there’s nothing they can do. The city attorney says he can do nothing. The NRA threatens any town that dares try to pass an ordinance against this. And best yet, crazy governor Scott made certain in 2011 that any public official trying to pass a local ordinance or otherwise prevent this would be removed, fined $5,000 and barred from using public resources to defend him/herself.

They’ve degenerated down to outright idolatry now. Guns have become the new crucifixes of the right, the fetish you keep close to protect you from evil spirits and wave at the heathens to keep their demons away. And their sins are so many it isn’t enough that Jesus died for them. Their neighbors have to die too.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

January 14th, 2015

The Militant Hurricane Bolt Agenda

The table is running out of dominos.  South Dakota’s constitutional amendment reserving marriage to heterosexual couples only was struck down the other day by a federal judge…

Federal judge: South Dakota ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional

Judge Karen Schreier ruled in favor of six same-sex couples who challenged the South Dakota ban on gay marriage and put her decision on hold pending appeals.

Well this didn’t sit well with Bob Ellis over at The American Clarion, owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005, 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, political reporter and commentator and founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance…

Marital requirements exist for a reason. It takes a man and a woman to form a marriage. Two men or two women sodomizing each other performs no useful function whatsoever for society, and there is no benefit whatsoever in having government serve as a “friendship registry” for two people who want to sodomize each other on a regular basis.

…a point he really drives home with the following illustration:

real_unreal

Never mind shop class, you start to wonder after a while if the sex education classes in certain parts of the country would actually benefit from a trip to the hardware store.  Because when the dimwit you’re arguing with starts reaching for the nuts and bolts to prove their point about sex it’s a safe bet they’re not much of a do it yourselfer.

hurricane_bolt

Hey look…it screws in the wall…and then another a screw goes into it. Hardware bisexuality!  Or…versatility of you like.  Pissst…Hey Bob…if you think the militant homosexual agenda is a threat to our very existence, you really need to investigate the militant hurricane bolt agenda.  Seriously.  This is probably why they have hurricanes in places that allow this.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

January 9th, 2015

It Stinks For A Little While, And Then It’s Gone…

This, concerning the reality show My Husband’s Not Gay, came across my Facebook stream just now…

 

doughnuts

I listened to someone compare it to farting once.  In retrospect I’ve wondered if he wasn’t telling me he’d become asexual since we were both teenagers.  Oh well…most Disney characters are after all…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

November 3rd, 2014

Feeling Persecuted Are We…?

Serendipity in my Twitter feed just now…

persecution

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

October 13th, 2014

Disease Vector

Ebola Vaccine Would Likely Have Been Found By Now If Not For Budget Cuts: NIH Director

Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has “slowed down” research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe.

“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,’” Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”

“I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
-Grover Norquist

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

September 3rd, 2014

Renewable Energy Is A Good Thing…Pouring Sludge Into My Car’s Engine, Not So Much…

Link to this post here on my blog about the problems with running biodiesel in modern diesel automobiles, from a MB Sprinter owners forum, leads me to this MB fact sheet (PDF document).

Biodiesel Information for Mercedes-Benz Vehicles 2014 Edition

I had a brief argument with a guy in Kansas about all this. The problem here is the religious zeal of the ideology behind it. Weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels is a Good Thing. Mandating bio fuels without regard for what they’ll do to modern engines isn’t getting us there if what people experience is catastrophic engine failure and massive repair bills.  Two winters ago, before taking the drive out to California in my new ‘E’ class diesel, I worried about what I was hearing regarding the proliferation of biodiesel my car can’t drink. What I was told by a mechanic at a Mercedes dealership, was I could always get pure petroleum diesel at an oil company owned filling station because that was all they sold. Truck stops and independently owned filling stations might sell bio, but the oil company ones didn’t. Now the oil companies are not very high on my list of things I approve of, but I found this to be a big relief.  Not any more.  Several states have apparently now mandated at least B10 only, everywhere.  I suspect paying for the repairs to people’s engines when a steady diet of B10 has completely trashed them, let alone paying owners for the lost value of their automobiles, because basically those states have made all the passenger car diesels that can’t take that fuel worthless, isn’t in the cards.

There’s a lot of bullshit going on here in the biodiesel camp, and a lot of deliberate misrepresentation of what some diesel automobile makers are saying. In the above document Daimler makes it abundantly clear that they do Not approve biodiesel in their vehicles in percentages above B5, and even then only those biodiesel blends that meet ULSD specification ASTM D975. The document says straight up: “Diesel fuels between B6 and B20 or higher pose risks of engine and fuel system damage, and are not approved by Mercedes-Benz.”

I don’t know how you can interpret that as “Mercedes approves B20 so long as you keep an eye on the oil level” but that is what some people are saying glassy eyed on that MB Sprinter forum. No…what they are saying is if you can’t avoid using diesel higher than B5 (thank you jackass state legislatures!) then here is what you can do to minimize the risk of damage to your engine:

• Fill up with ULSD (B5 or less) whenever possible, from a name–brand fuel station.
• Regularly monitor your engine oil level if you have to use B20 fuel. (this is because biodiesel has a tendency to accumulate in the crankcase oil)
• Strictly follow the oil change intervals quoted in the instrument cluster and within your maintenance booklet, and use
ONLY engine oils and filters approved by Mercedes-Benz for use in the vehicle.
• If you do not plan to drive your vehicle for several weeks, fill your vehicle’s fuel tank completely in advance with ULSD
fuel. (this is because biodiesel has a tendency to sludge up when it just sits in the tank for not very long periods of time. Even the states mandating B10 or higher are saying during the winter months filling stations can sell B5 because it does not have the cold weather sludge characteristics higher percentage biodiesel blends do.)

That does not constitute approval of B10-B20, it only acknowledges a problem they have no control over…the one H.L. Mencken noted when he said that an idealist is someone who, noticing a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes it will also make a better soup.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

August 13th, 2014

The Gutter Speaks…

“He had it all, but he had nothing. He made everybody else laugh but was miserable inside. I mean, it fits a certain picture, or a certain image that the left has. Talk about low expectations and general happiness and so forth…”  - Rush Limbaugh on the death of Robin Williams.

I would rather suffer the burden Robin Williams had and let it beat me down like it did him, than endure that empty void Limbaugh has where a conscience ought to be and let it put a smile on my face while it tells me I’m so much better than all those bleeding hearts.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

August 11th, 2014

Life’s Little Ironies Only A Gay Person Of A Certain Age Will Fully Appreciate…

#1: Having “Dude, Get Real!” hurled at you by someone who will probably be buried in his closet because not even the Grim Reaper will be able to pry him out of it.

you wish

…collect the entire series!

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

July 23rd, 2014

This Article On Soil Conservation In Oklahoma Proves That Same Sex Unions Are Unstable…

Over at Waking Up Now, Rob makes this catch…

Mark Regnerus has gotten a lot of flack lately for publicly criticizing a positive Australian report on same-sex parenting, a classic example of the pot calling the kettle incompetent. Hidden in his critique, though, is a little nugget that deserves more attention.

Regnerus writes that

On the one hand, we know that same-sex relationships in general—across multiple datasets—remain more fragile than opposite-sex ones (and to be fair, no group is performing all that well).

…and the link there goes to a study whose author actually says…

In this paper I show that while same-sex couples in the US are more likely to break up than heterosexual couples (Hypothesis 1), the difference in couple longevity is explained by the lower rate of marriage among same-sex couples. Once marriage (and marriage-like unions) are controlled for, same-sex couples and heterosexual couples have statistically indistinguishable rates of break-up…

So…dig it…he uses a study to boost his claim that same sex unions are instable, that itself concludes they are just as stable as heterosexual unions when they can legally marry. The study he cites actually makes a strong case For same-sex marriage, and that instability is due to discrimination, not anything innate about being homosexual.

Citing studies that actually prove the opposite of what they claim is such common behavior now in the kook pews that it’s tempting not to even bother following the links.  But this example shows how it’s always a good idea to follow the links.  Yet you watch people scratching their heads over it. Did he not read what he just linked to??  Understand…it isn’t stupidity, as the commenters of this post suggest, and it isn’t intellectual laziness. Eric Hoffer said propaganda doesn’t fool anyone, it allows people to fool themselves. Regnerus knows his audience isn’t going to follow the links because cites don’t matter, cites never matter, cites have never mattered. What his audience wants from him isn’t facts, what they want is an excuse to keep hating homosexuals. He could have linked to a Consumer Reports article on washing machines and they’d all be nodding their heads in agreement that it proves same sex unions are unstable.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

June 12th, 2014

You First

My cartoon for Friday’s Baltimore Pride issue of Baltimore OUTLoud.  Oh you think she was a nice lady do you…?

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

May 22nd, 2014

Wherever the people are as green as the money…

I suppose the first thing most people hitting this blog post over at Towleroad are thinking about is Phil’s knuckle-dragging prejudices.

phil in church

“They were mad at me…You say, why’d they get mad at you? Cuz instead of acknowledging their sin, like you had better do, they railed against me for giving them the truth about their sins. Don’t deceive yourselves. You want the verse? The news media didn’t even know it was a verse! They thought I was just mouthing off. Is homosexual behavior a sin? The guy asked me. I said, ‘do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?’ Don’t be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor the idolators nor adulterers nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

…and so on and so forth.  I’m seeing what a con artist the man is, and what a bunch of rubes his audience are. By now everyone has seen the family dress code before redneck became marketable.

the-robertson-boys-without-beards (1)

Never mind that for a moment. Look at that photo of Phil again. Really look at it. Ignore for a moment the ostentatious shaped like a cross pulpit. Look at that allegedly god fearing man behind it, speaking of his reverence for the Word against the godless secular world outside. See…I actually went to church when I was a kid. I was raised in a Baptist household. I went to Vacation Bible School. Did a mercifully brief tour of duty in the Royal Ambassadors. If I’d tried to walk into a church looking like that mom would have spanked me all the way to next Sunday. If I’d tried to do it on Easter Sunday no less I wouldn’t have been able to sit down for months.

Now look at that shot of the Robinsons before redneck became a business Theme, and look again. That is not a poor old country man coming to Easter worship, in the words of the old Baptist hymn, Just As I Am, this is a millionaire businessman wearing his TV costume, and his act along with it, into a church on Easter Sunday.

I’m telling you friends you’ve got trouble…right here in River City…with a capital ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘G’ and that stands for GAY…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

May 4th, 2014

My Boot On Your Neck Is Proof That I Love You!

You find yourself just staring in awe and wonder at the rags people will dress a pig up in, as though it’s actually hiding the fact that it’s a pig. This bullshit from Rick Warren for example…

bullshit

Swear to god if I see that in my Facebook stream one more time I’m going to explode.  Yes, yes…you just Love gay people don’t you Rick. And your love is worth its weight in gold.

The weasel word there is “disagree”. Yes, Rick…you Dis A Greeee with my Lyfe Sty El. And if I call you a bigot for reducing my humanity to a Lyfe Sty El that would be so unfair of me. And I suppose it would also be unfair of me to call Al Capone a crook just because he disagreed with the police about things like robbing banks and murdering people. They threw Al Capone in jail just because he disagreed with them! People just aren’t fair are they Rick.

And oh goodness I know Exactly what you mean there about agreeing with every fucking little annoying thing people do. Like for instance watching football. I know so many otherwise lovely people who can’t tear themselves away from the TV when football is on. It just boggles my mind how they can get any pleasure out of watching that. I can’t begin to tell you how much I loathe having to watch football. I go into a nice local bar for some good drink, good food and a little company, and the goddamned playoffs are blasting at me from every fucking screen in the room. I absolutely hate it. That said, people would have reasonable grounds to doubt how much I loved them if I waged a ferocious multi-million dollar political campaign to deny any of them the right to marry, simply because I can’t stand their entertainment choices. And if I went to Africa and stirred up violent religious passions against people who like football, those people could reasonably doubt how much I loved them while the mobs were beating them to death. So many doubting Thomases in this world aren’t there Rick?

I know…I know…God forgives you because you love Jesus. Poor Jesus doesn’t know what he’s in for.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

April 30th, 2014

I Have Cut The Ring Fingers Off Of Some Of My Best Friends…

Le Dance Pathetique…as choreographed by Richard DeVos

Q: You gave $100,000 to the effort to defeat the recognition of gay marriage in Florida. Why did you choose to put money behind that cause?

Un…

Because I believe in it.

Deux…

That’s just a sacred issue of respecting marriage.

Trois…

I have been hung in effigy by the gay community for a long time, from when I was on President Reagan’s first AIDS commission…

Quatre…

From that point on, that’s when they were hanging me in effigy because I wasn’t sympathetic to all of their requests for special treatment.

Cinq…

And I said, “You are responsible for your actions, too, you know. Conduct yourself properly,” which is a pretty solid Christian principle. You’ve got to take responsibility for your actions.

Six…

It went from there to a series of requests for special treatment…

Sept…

Call [gay marriage] something else. Call it anything you want to. But marriage is a sacred document, OK?

Huit…

A sacred sacrament in the church and in the world. Don’t mess with it.

Neuf…

Go do something else.

Dix…

I deal with a lot of wonderful gay people. I hire a lot of them. I use a lot of them. I respect them. They’re terrific. I am good friends with them.

 

Le Curtian…Applaus a vous…

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

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