Destroy

I’m in a mood today.

Why is it anytime something happens the so called "devout christians" don’t like god is going to destroy America?’ Every other day now there is some hypocritical blow-hard declaring we are going to be destroyed if [abc person] gets elected or [xyz law] passes. SMDH

Out of all the atrocities occurring in the world on a daily basis ‘god’ is going to smite us because they don’t get their bigoted way? I guess having a monopoly on the idea of what a god would/wouldn’t say means one gets to deftly ignore everything else in favor of cause de jure. These folks always ramp up their rhetoric during elections. They can’t use common sense or logic so they fall back on fear and ignorance. They are utterly predictable now.

What is sad in all of this is they are gaining influence. As we let our children continually be deprived of a decent education in this country, ignorance and anti-intellectualism are on the rise. The ignorant are often easily swayed by emotions. Add in the mind-numbing influence of social media these days and it is a perfect platform.

Here’s a newsflash for said folks. Your god isn’t going to do anything. We; however, will most likely wipe ourselves out. It won’t be because of who won/lost an election or what law passed or didn’t. No, our blind indifference to the devastation we are causing this planet will mostly likely be a contributing factor. And we’ll never do anything about it because our greed is too powerful. Our never-ending obsession with wealth and control will be our end.

In brighter news, [insert choice] sports team won something! That is totes more important than any tree-hugging hippie news right?

Q-word

I ditched one of my regular news reads today.

Based on what appears to be a completely internal narrative, the Gay Voices section of the HuffPo1 decided to change their name to Queer Voices. The explanation is that gay is too limiting and Queer is somehow more inclusive. Really? Are you effin’ kidding me? One of the most vile hateful words out there and it’s more inclusive? Hell naw! Even the normal definition is divisive.

I just can’t bring myself to support a news org that willingly uses a derogatory slur to describe us. Actually, I can but I won’t. I am the last person to be the word police but this isn’t about being politically correct at all. The rambling article they put out to announce the decision was full of self-serving justifications. If anything the tone was we refuse to every be considered normal or part of the whole so we are changing our name to prove it. The entire piece felt insulting and condescending wrapped in a smile of ‘we’re just trying to stay current.‘ Well, they can stay current w/o me and go straight to hell. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to hell.

I normally don’t put much stock in hearing people talking about how ‘offended’ they are at [action of choice]. Being offended usually just means you don’t like something. As with a lot of things these days, people conflate ideas/actions/behaviors that are considered offensive to society at large with general every day actions they don’t like. Regardless, I was offended and deeply. I grew up listening to that awful word being hurled around as an insult and slur. While I was fortunate enough to escape childhood with only a little physical gay-bashing, I did not escape the jeers, taunts, and never-ending cruel names. ‘Queer’ was front and center and I will never willingly refer to someone that way. It has not lost its bite or derogatory meaning.

The argument that we are somehow reclaiming the word is absolute bullshit. It is not slang, it is a slur!2 Even here in SF said term is not accepted. Oh there is a contingent that feels the need to refer to themselves that way for sure. And that is their right. You can call yourself whatever you wish but don’t presume to speak for the whole. It’s flat out disgusts me we could consider naming a section of an online publication with global recognition with such a shameful slur. And I’m not alone. The reaction was swift and almost unanimous. The decision is not being met well at all. At last count the article was up to 200 comments and almost all were against it. At one point comments appeared to disappear; however, the site is notorious for outages and glitches with the FB commenting tool.

I am not queer, I am a man who happens to be gay. My orientation adds to my uniqueness but it does not define me. The idea that being queer somehow exclusively makes me special or different is foolish. Call it the LGBTI voices, rainbow voices, etc but don’t call it queer and pretend it’s OK now.

So far there have been no updates, no apologies, no "we had the best intentions" acknowledgments, nothing. I’ve taken them out of my news reader and told FB to not ‘show me stories from HuffPo’ at all. There are plenty of welcoming places online that don’t decide, based on the ideas of a few, renaming themselves an offensive slur is "looking to the future." I won’t be going back to that site as long as they demean us.

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  1. Huffington Post []
  2. I’m struck here by the irony we can’t say tranny anymore which is just simple slang but we can use a slur to refer to ourselves. SMDH []

Bash

I can understand the Repugs eating their own but I’m struggling with the Dems doing it now as well. More and more lately, I’m seeing vitriolic and viscous attacks online between the Hillary and Bernie supporters. Even more surprising is seeing a lot of it from within the LGBT umbrella.

I don’t get it. Since when is it ok to disrespect people because they like a different candidate than you? Having a difference of opinion or even a healthy discussion on the pros/cons of [candidate] is great. However, resorting to baseless accusations, name calling, and personal attacks is counter productive at best. Last time I checked this was still a free country where every citizen had the right to freely vote or support the candidate of their choice. And for the few I’ve seen making comments like, "well if [candidate] wins, I won’t vote", you don’t deserve a vote. Voting is a privilege for adults not petulant children. And how is it helping the situation by alienating people who might be convinced to support your candidate of choice? I know I sure as hell don’t feel sympathetic when someone tries to shame me into changing my opinion. If anything, it solidifies my thoughts. I blame the lack of face to face interactions that social media creates. People are emboldened to behave poorly w/o fear of retribution.

I rarely unfriend or unfollow folks but I’m reaching a point where I just don’t care anymore. And it’s never folks I know personally because they honestly wouldn’t remain in my life as a friend with such behaviors. Anyway, I unfollowed several folks today and even unfriended two who were just awful. The comments ranged from insults, personal attacks, and even threats. I just don’t have time for that. Rather than starting a flame war, it is easier to just unfollow or unfriend said folks.

Politics is always a sensitive subject because most folks often project their own views onto others. When they abruptly discover said view isn’t shared, discord arises. That’s perfectly fine and acceptable. However, when your behavior is in question, you take away any chance of success at winning your case in the minds of others. And if you really really really want your candidate to win, get off your ass and join their campaign. Get out and shake hands, talk to people, share your thoughts on how great said candidate is. Don’t whine and bash others on social media who don’t agree with you. Frankly, said behavior does way more harm than good.

War

It has become normal for this time of year to include a contingent of haters claiming there is a "war on Christmas." Someone explain it to me. Where is this alleged war? Are they referring to the fact that more businesses and people are aware enough now to recognize not everyone celebrates Christmas? Is that the war? Really?

No one who has complained about said war can show any real proof other than personal bias. I’ve yet to see or hear any real attempts to eliminate or stifle someone’s holiday. A coworker was lamenting they felt Christmas was diminished by generic ‘holiday wishes.’ After asking the coworker why, they could only come up with their own personal preference in a greeting. News flash, that is not a war on your holiday! I just shook my head and walked away.

Frankly, if your personal holiday is ruined because someone wishes you a good holiday with the wrong greeting, the problem is with you. Seriously, just be happy someone took the time to wish you well. I personally don’t care if you wish me Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holiday, Happy Festivus, Happy Solstice, etc. You wishing me good will is enough. I don’t correct you or go out of my way to clarify I celebrate Brand X holiday. I accept your kindness and move on.

I personally tend to wish everyone a Happy Kwanzaa. People often either have no idea what it is but have heard of it, or giggle a bit and wish me one as well. Yeah, it’s a tiny passive aggressive act but it tickles my funny bone.

So Happy Kwanzaa!

Helpless

My little brother had a medical scare recently and I watched as his FB profile filled up with ‘prayers​.’ My first thought was to be angry. The I remembered most people grow up being conditioned to accept their religion as-is. It is just part of the "known" to be filed away and referenced when needed.1

Afterwards, I began to ponder why people always want to pray for everything. And I don’t mean people who are devoutly religious. I’m talking about every-day folks who offer to "pray for you" anytime life isn’t going your way. The obvious answer is they feel helpless to do anything. Therefore it is to be turned over to the [insert made up deity of choice here] to handle and take responsibility. The act allows said person to feel like they’ve done something, no matter how meaningless the act may be. It also means they don’t have to feel guilty over the outcome.

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Religion spans back to the earliest days of human existence. It spawned from our inability to explain the unknown forces around us. If you’ve looked at the origins of religion of any culture you see similar history trails. It is perfectly understandable in human nature even today; in the absence of knowledge, many will fill in the details with an explanation. And having no concrete denial or refutal, that theory becomes truth. Is it really that hard of a stretch to realize we simply turned our gods (the moon, sun, and stars) into beings, then into a being.

But why did religion persist? Why do we continue to cling to it in abject fear of having it taken away? IMO, at our core, we cannot reconcile the idea of mortality with our own awareness. To do that would mean admitting in the grand scheme of creation we mean very little. If humanity disappeared today, the universe would not even notice. And instead of realizing how precious that makes us, we fear and resent it. And instead of valuing life that much more, we turn to making up fables to inflate our importance.

On a different tact, I also think for many it is a cop-out. They really don’t want to help or be involved. Your drama is yours and they want no part of it. So the easiest answer is, ‘I’ll pray for you.‘ How convenient? I’ll just mumble some words into the ether and a magical being will hear me and fix whatever is wrong with you. Totes logical, right?

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In my eyes, religion is no longer a benefit to humanity. It routinely does more harm than good and continues to do so in an exponential manner. It is time for us to shed our fears and grow up as a society. I realize it won’t happen anytime soon. However, the more we talk, learn, and grow, the more the idea will catch on. We can no longer hide our own failings behind misguided (and often blatant bias) religion. We cannot cloak our hatred and fear of others in belief. We cannot continue on this path if we hope to survive.

  1. The brother is doing fine. He is getting treatment for a blockage []

Majority

I’m a big believer in facts. Numbers matter but context matters just as much. It seems to be a common tactic these days for people to throw out a number and then try to twist it to fit an ideal. While sometimes the confusion could be forgiven, when it is obvious the fact is presented after the ideal as validation, one should be suspect. lol

Point and case, I got into a debate with a conservative person the other day over marriage rights. It was online and the topic diverged into a discussion about Fox News and said person’​s argument, ‘if Fox news is so bad, why does it routinely rank very high in viewers?‘ Said person was quite smug and very matter-of-fact about how the ‘majority’ of Americans got there news from Fox.

No, no, and just no. The failure in logical reasoning here is the assumption it is a one or the other choice. It isn’t. The rest of us aren’t limited to just one other option. We have a plethora of outlets to get our daily consumption for what passes for news these days. The idea that Fox is somehow the voice of Americans due to a large viewing base is categorically false. What it does show is that the extremists have limited choices and Fox is pretty much it. Not surprising, said person then resorted to typical diversionary tactics to avoid further debate.​

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On a side note, Fox news went to court in 2003 on whether it was required to report factual news. Fox won as the judge ruled there was no legal requirement for them to do so!

I’ll just let that sink in for a bit.

Because there is no actual law that requires news agencies to report factual news, they don’t have to? Where is the moral and ethical obligation? Concurrently, Fox has since gone from a reputable news agency to a propaganda arm for extremist views. Welcome to “murrica”.

Bait

No, I’m not dredging up stories of child hood fishing trips or late night trolling for booty. I am referring to the out of control click-bait you see polluting most social media sites these days.

Headlines are written to provoke a click. It doesn’t matter if the headline isn’t true or so twisted to barely represent the story, as long as you ‘submit’.1 Most of the time said person sharing the click-bait hasn’t even read the link. It it is annoying to the point that I’ve started unfollowing people who do it a lot.

It is one thing if it is specifically related to you or your life. Beyond that, I don’t care what animal you are. I don’t care what cartoon character you are. I don’t care what your wanna be porn name is. I don’t care what character in any movie ever made is. I don’t care if you are a unicorn who burps glitter and shits rainbows. And here is a news flash, no one else does either!

And you people who share fake stories or scams “just to be safe” need to be punched in the dick!  Knock. It. Off!  No Bill Gates and Yahoo are not joining forces. No, the IRS is not sending the sheriffs to your house to arrest you unless you send them money. No, the quadrillionaire in [insert county here] did not die and leave all his money in limbo so his [insert relative or estated holder] can ask your help in getting the money. No, VI@gR@ will not help you ‘get the girl.’ No, “if you are a real ______, you will share this like I did.”  And for fuck’s sake, NO YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE A LOT OF MONEY BY MAGIC IF YOU POST THIS TO 10 OTHER PEOPLE’S PROFILES.

Now get off my lawn!

  1. Reference to a very funny Simpsons episode btw []

Less

I find that I spend less time on social-media sites these days. One, I’ve been super busy so less time and two, it just seems to be more and more tedious and boring. There is so much crap and filler meant to generate ad-clicks, it just gets to a point where the purpose is lost. It is no secret I loathe FB but it does allow a connection of sorts to friends. I’ve threatened to dump FB in the past and still might but it is more likely I’ll just end up posting less and less until it becomes a place-holder.

Part of my frustration is witnessing the dumbing down of America. And it is getting worse. Our indifference to anything outside our immediate environment is contributing to the decay of our society. Integrity, honor, respect, honesty, truth, it’s all becoming buzz-words. Social media was meant to unite and bring us together and it seems to be doing just the opposite. I can’t say I wanna be a part of that. Don’t even get me started on the whole anti-intellectualism movement again. OMFG! 

Then you have the “stories” that often catch on like wild-fire that turn out to be hoaxes or flat out lies. Almost every day now I encounter stories that are fake or have just enough of the truth to seem plausible. And of course, no one can be bothered to check around or fact find, they just read a story and assume it is true and then continue to spread the ignorance. Even credible news outlets have been falling prey to this.1  As my maw-maw always used to say, “…believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.”

Unlike previous moods, I’m not saying I’m leaving vs just expressing a growing dislike for said sites. They have some use but I’m finding the cons are out-weighing the pros more and more.

  1. One has to look at the recent Turing Test story going around about a supercomputer finally crossing a threshold of believability as a human. Total fabricated story but it spread to even many of the tech sites []

Beautiful

The outrage over the recent Coke commercial during the Super Bowl is quite the laugh. Didn’t hear it? It was a multi-language mash up America the Beautiful. It also featured a quick view of a gay-couple. While you might have issues with said company right now over it’s support of Sochi,1  you cannot deny they have been a long time staunch supporter of gay rights. Anyway, the song sparked outrage from the far right and many of our less ‘edumucated’ folks spawning their nastiness on the web via social media.

The outrage was specifically over the song being in different languages, which had my laughing in fits. Seriously, the irony is overwhelming. For those of you who don’t know, the song was originally a poem written by a Lesbian. But wait, it gets better. It was set to music from a foreign song. Many have been pointing it out but the best quote so far has been,

Katharine Lee Bates, author of the poem “America the Beautiful” studied Greek in college and spent four years in foreign travel and study. Her life partner was Katharine Coman, a social activist and strong advocate for European-influenced Social Insurance and policies.

Her poem “America the Beautiful” was put to the tune of “Materna” by Samuel Ward, which was originally intended to be the accompaniment for “O Mother, Dear Jerusalem” written by David Dickson.

In short, a homosexual woman who studied Greek (and whose life partner advocated European Socialism) wrote a poem which was put to the tune of a song with a Spanish title, composed to accompany text written by a Scottish Minister about a Middle Eastern country

Folks, it doesn’t get much funnier than that.

Our country was founded by immigrants and the ideal of welcoming people from all walks of life to this land.2  Blind ignorance and patriotism makes you a puppet. The Repugs are depending on the ‘dumbing down’ of America so they can use petty squabbles and base emotions to control the masses. Meanwhile, they keep screwing us over and over and over again.

/rant

  1. Greed will do that []
  2. Not forgetting that we stole this land from it’s rightful owners, mind you. []

Happy Festi-Hanna-Kwana-solti-xmas

In other words, happy holidays, whatever you celebrate!  It’s always funny reading about the war on christmas. A holiday based on Christianity but all the
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‘traditions’ were stolen from so-called pagan religions. And just because we realize we aren’t a one-religion country and try to show others the courtesy doesn’t make it a war on your particular made-up holiday. *yawn*

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Whatever floats your boat, I hope that you are having a good one. I don’t get all crazy over holidays. The Pup and I didn’t even put up a tree this year. I like to think I don’t need a holiday to appreciate the ones I love. I don’t wait for a special event to show someone I care. That being said, I can still appreciate the spirit of the holiday. We are exchanging gifts. We told each other nothing extravagant or expensive. We are doing one gift each. Even though, mine turned into two gifts. ‘Let me es’plain’. I originally ordered online to avoid all the drama with in-person shopping. Problem solved. That is until I got a notice saying “it was on back-order” and I had to brave the madness. It actually wasn’t as awful as I expected. Oh it was a mess but not the all out craziness. Anyway, I started out by just looking for a simple gift to get him over the holiday till his original gift arrived. Well after I bought the new gift, I found a better version of the item I ordered online. So that’s how I ended up with two gifts. Ironically, all the shopping got me a little more into the spirit. I totally almost blew off the rule about one gift.

I’m working this year, as usual. If it falls on my work day, I work it. Since I’m still doing the project at work, even though I go back to Ops on holidays, I’ll be on day shift. I’ll miss most of the evening drama that comes from families that, after lots of booze, realize why they only see each other once a year. hehehe

I hope that whatever you’re doing this year that you’re safe and warm. And if your holiday isn’t all perky and rosy, well the year is almost over. Hang in there a few more days.

And in those immortal words….’Be good to one another’