Election

I try to keep politics out of my blog but it has never been harder than these past 4 years. I know if I were still at it prolifically, I’d have lost the battle long ago. Thankfully, life keeps me distracted enough on social media ranting about politics.

As we approach the election, I’m concerned for our way of life. I remember being worried way back when Romney ran for POTUS. Remember that? Yeah, good times. lol Fast forward to the bar being lowered so low as to be underground, we get to see what a real threat to our democracy looks like. The man has shown nothing but disregard for the rule of law, a basic understanding of how government works, and any sense of decency. We now how multiple instances of his own words telling us what he thinks of the country. Everything from calling our troops suckers and losers and to how truly deadly covid-19 really is…IN HIS OWN WORDS! And yet, he is still polling in a region that could get him re-elected. If enough good people do nothing he will too. Make no mistake, it is not a guarantee that he will lose in November. Granted, polls tend to be skewed toward older generations, but do not take the possibility lightly. We all laughed when he was a nominee and look what that got us.

That said, I truly believe we have a good chance of voting him out of office. Not only has he alienated many of his previous followers, but even many staunch republicans have turned against him. He is dismantling our democracy and leading to the destruction of our way of life. People are motivated to get him out of office. He and his crooked cronies know this too and are plotting to steal the election. It came out this week the Whitehouse has hired an army of attorneys to contest election results in most of the ‘swing states’.  The military won’t support him so they are now pushing to get a uber conservative (and freakishly religious) judge pushed thru onto the SCOTUS. Without any significant voting fraud cases in the last two decades, they are pushing full steam ahead with lies about voter fraud and vote theft. Forgetting for a moment, he encouraged people in several states to commit a felony by voting more than once, he is desperate to sell a narrative our votes can’t be trusted.

Never in my lifetime did I think I’d witness such a blatant act of criminal fraud from a sitting president. Nor did I ever think the American people would stand idly by and let it happen. It is frightening how disconnected so many people are from what is happening. And when they realize it, it will be too late. Our democracy is in tatters right now. If we don’t get out and vote, it could all be gone sooner than we think.

I certainly hope you are registered to vote and will do so. It is vital that we all vote and let our voices be heard. We must make the number so overwhelming from every possible angle, he can’t overturn the will of the people.

“Ma Freedums”

Only in ‘murica do we argue against the entire scientific community1 on proper precautions to avoid the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus. And because we live in a economy with zero safe-guards or systems to survive this kind of crisis, many are forced into the false choice of opening up everything to ‘save’ jobs and the economy or close everything and keep people safe but let the economy crash. This is what comes from unregulated capitalism aka greed.

The right wing propaganda campaign has convinced 10’s of thousands of Americans the pandemic is hoax, and only when it bites them in the ass do they suddenly realize it isn’t. Forgetting a hoax would require the complete and total cooperation of the global medical community, counted in the low millions of people, the rest of the free world is already recovering from the pandemic and slowly reopening their economies. Meanwhile, our new cases and deaths are setting new records almost weekly now.

And when it isn’t ‘hoax’, it is a conspiracy. Depending on which version you read, it was deliberately spread from China, created in a lab who knows where, a giant ploy by the Democrats to throw the election, and/or [insert famous person’s name here] ploy for world subjugation. A global pandemic just to get 45 out of office? You’d rather believe that than the cold hard truth?

Then we get to the mask propaganda, which has reached levels previously relegated to the Hilary/pizzgate drama. Only in ‘murica is being required to wear a mask to protect yourself and others considered tyranny, a democratic ploy, a sign of the end times, an enactment of a world order meant to enslave all humans, or taking away ‘my freedums’. Take your pick.

If you get your news primarily from social media, it is easy to think the majority of people feel this way. Actually, thru repeated polls most people consistently support the restrictions and understand why they are necessary. Unfortunately, the idiots go out and put us all at risk so they can’t just be ignored.

The tyranny theory is usually reserved for the “coming for my guns” crowd. You know the ones. The incels, the darkweb conspirators, or propagandists who go out of their way to correlate completely random events to “uncover” a secret plot with various nefarious outcomes. Yes, we get it, it makes you feel special. Just some random dude (dudette) in the middle of America somehow discovered what every educated scientist over looked. Oh right, they are in on the conspiracy. *wink, wink*

Contrary to popular conspiracies, Obama nor Hillary are involved. Bill Gates is not working on a vaccine2 to enslave us or give us the “mark of the beast.” The Qanon crowd, the racist/nazi groups, the religious fanatics, or the just plain crazy are all out to sell a narrative based on fear. This is the ONLY way they can recruit new members. Logic and reason can’t be used and are universally shunned. And let us not forget the campaigns to paint movements like Antifa or BLM as the same level of dangerous or crazy as the nazis and racists. Sure Jan.

Then we get to all the entitled Karens/Chads of the world. “It interferes with my breathing”, “I have a medical condition,” or “you can’t force me because it isn’t ‘da law'”. Wrong on all counts. There are countless demonstrations of real world use of mask having no impact on your breathing. And the random conspiracies are easily disproved with basic logic. What many people confuse is it does cause you to breath slightly harder, but you are still getting the same amount of air. Because you are unaccustomed to wearing a mask, you notice the extra effort. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, you are a very sick person and have no business being outdoors, period. But let us pretend for a moment you did. The ADA (or HIPAA for the exceptionally ignorant) does not protect you or allow you to disregard health orders when you go out in public. Why? Because your accommodation would put other people at risk. ADA does not allow for that. And as a result of all the ignorance has had to officially go on the record stating as such. The fake cards saying you are exempt or immune are just that, fake.

And then we get to the ‘constitutional scholars‘ who claim because it isn’t the law, they don’t have to obey. Oh, but you do! Thru a century of court cases and law review, the line between public rights and individual rights is clearly drawn. Your ‘individual freedoms‘ do not trump (pun intended) the rights of the public. Businesses can limit your access or refuse to do business with you for failing to comply with legally issued orders to wear a mask.3 Wearing a shirt or shoes indoors isn’t a law, but is universally accepted businesses are allowed to enforce this measure. (Forgetting the very racist roots of said restrictions.) When you are required to produce 2 forms of ID at the DMV it is not a law. When you queue up in line to wait your turn, it is not a law. Just try to cut in line anywhere and see what happens. There is no law that you have to work. However, if you want to have money for necessities or luxuries you get your ass up and go to work. So you see, not everything we do requires a law.

Frankly, being a decent human being shouldn’t require a law. If yo mamma raised you right, you would give two-shits about other people. Caring about the welfare of others shouldn’t need to be legislated.

I won’t even cover the new round of entitled idiots trying to use religion as an excuse. The newest excuse? Wearing a mask interferes with our ability to pray?

smdh

  1. minus the few crackpots []
  2. Even though his orgs work to help eliminate dangerous yet preventable diseases thru vaccinations has saved countless lives. []
  3. These same folks were all about screaming business rights when people could refuse to do business with gays, but now suddenly business rights do not matter. Funny how that works. []

Bias

One of the main reasons I’ve grown to loathe Facebook most days is the growing bias. Selective bias is slowly replacing our idea of logical reasoning. Just pick practically any topic and scroll thru your own friends list. You might be surprised it is closer to home than you think.

When social media came along, I just knew it was going to be a unifying force in the world. I was so excited and hopeful. Sadly, all it has done is allow folks to selectively reinforce their own biases. More and more every day you see people who favor bias over truth, honesty, or any sense of integrity. Talk about an unexpected outcome. hehehe In the past, the rules (and manners) of social interactions helped curb outrageous ideas, conspiracies, and all round nutjobs. they were confined to the fringe where they belong. Now can reach out to others that with like ideas with just the click of a button. This has emboldened them and we see many ideas and concepts considered absolutely insane break into the national consciousness.1

I don’t blame social media so much as our own failings. Our technology has outpaced our ethical ability to keep up with it. Our social media outlets have changed the world, just not necessarily for the better IMO. Oh don’t get me wrong, they do some good. You see fundraisers, goFundMe pages, outreach, etc. Local tragedies can grab national even global attention at times. But I find myself pondering whether the good it does outshines the harm? Sadly, I am beginning to think it doesn’t. The level of vitriol and toxicity is so very disheartening. After all my attempts to ditch FB in the past, this is the one that is slowly pushing me further and further away.

I wish I could say it was mainstream stuff and not local communities. Sadly, no. Be it NextDoor, FB, Twitter, etc. It is all becoming one toxic hole of spite, triggers, and/or attempts to shame each other. It gives new meaning to the idea of mob-mentality. People are tried and convicted based on click-bait articles, regardless of the lack of details. We are seeing the fallout even within our own LGBTI umbrella. We find allies fighting each other over the tiniest slights or misunderstandings. Conversations are polarizing discussions of who is right or ‘more wrong’.

There are times where I just kick myself for even bothering to try to point out distinctions. Our biases and indifference to others are forcing us into a sort of devolution of sorts. For myself, I can only control my actions. I continue to strive to bring things into my life that enrich it and avoid those that stain it. Social media is falling into the latter category more and more lately.

  1. Flat-Earthers, Anti-vaxxers, Holocust deniers, etc []

Kindness 

I had to stop and share this. 

I’m checking in today at SFO on my way to Austin. I’m flying Virgin America and after a rather long security screening I arrive at the flight gate desk to see a very irate man practically yelling at the lady working the desk. He is basically blaming her for his delays in security and demanding all kinds of comps. 
He is just livid and the lady is on the edge of calling security. You can see the moment in her eyes when she goes from trying to console him to being fed up with his nonsense. The guy suddenly turns to me and trys to loop me into his drama-fest as I guess he saw me in the TSA line earlier. Now keep in mind, the flight is on time and we still have another 40 minutes before boarding starts. 

Being already fed up with his BS, I shake my head and in my best southern manners reply, “oh naw, don’t drag me into this, you’re doing a good job of making an ass of yourself without my help.” I then proceed to walk away until his fit is over or he gets hauled away. The latter I was prepared to film. The guy realizes he isn’t getting anywhere and walks away in a huff. 

The very frazzled lady motions me over with a huge smile and twinkle in her eye. She thanks me profusely for being so “patient.”1 She the asks if I needed anything since I had been standing in line. I inquired if there were any aisle seats. It was a full flight but she worked her magic and I was given a much appreciated aisle seat. She again thanked me profusely and I walked away to get food. 

Oh, the story isn’t over. 

I go scarf down some food and am headed back to the gate area when I see the same fellow storming away screaming into his cell phone. He has now been kicked off the flight for his behavior. Oh and he was furious that they had the nerve to put him in a middle seat! 

Now I do not know if my new seat assignment had anything to do with his predicament. There was no indication I was given his seat. It could have been, and most likely was, a random synchronous occurrence. However, I did notice a still present twinkle in the gate agent’s eye as I presented my brand new shiny aisle seat boarding pass for boarding. 

  1. You can read between the lines here, she was gleeful seeing him get served some shade of his own making. []

United We Stand

So I’ve gotten more than a few questions about my opinion on the whole United debacle. I relented and commented on a few FB friend’s posts regarding it. I say relented because I pretty much avoid FB for anything other than fun chat and dog videos. It has become too toxic and successful discourse is rarely possible anymore. 

Anyway, how do you think I feel? I’m appalled. The idea that a passenger who paid full fare for a ticket can be physically yanked off a plane for overbooking is reprehensible. I don’t care if it was United Express (contracted by United). I don’t care that it was a security official not an actual United employee who did the beating/dragging. I don’t care that it’s in the fine print a paying customer can be booted off a flight for virtually any reason. Greed should not be more important that humans.1  I don’t care about all the reasons why he could have complied. This person paid full-fare to board a plane and fly home. It is not his fault the flight was overbooked out of the misplaced idea that profit is more important than good service. None of that matters. We should all be appalled at the very idea this can be allowed.  And lastly, I don’t care another flight might have been delayed or *gasp* other people might have been inconvenienced. You know what?  Sometimes we get inconvenienced. The world does not revolved around our personal bubble of existence. There were plenty of better ways to handle this. 

Don’t get it bent, I’m not dragging out the lynch mob torch for United just yet. Frankly, I think people are missing the forest for the trees here. This could just as easily have happened on any airline. United just ended up being the unlucky beneficiary. I know many United employees (from the both the old Continental and United) who are very dedicated to their jobs and I’m sure many of them are struggling to fend off drama from both sides right now. And being a long time Southwest customer, I can tell you first hand they routinely kick people off flights. All major airlines have the same or similar policy. The big picture here is how many people feel it was perfectly justified. It was NOT ok. And the fallout witch hunt to demean and degrade the victim aftewards was just as disgusting. When your moral code justifies physically dragging a paying customer of a plane to avoid inconveniencing someone else, perhaps you should re-examine your sense of morality. That is the real tragedy IMO. 

Our society is crumbling around us bit by bit. Greed, anti-intellectualism, and personal indifference are destroying our sense of right and wrong. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it as long as I have breath to say it. The one good thing out of this debacle is the outrage was so bad I’m pretty sure no airline will ever try this again. Maybe we’ll see some good reforms put in place to ensure something we used to take for granted would never happen will actually never happen again. Either way, I’m sure everyone will have forgotten all about it next week when the next faux scandal comes along.  

  1. Notice I said ‘should not be’ vs ‘isn’t. This clearly demonstrates it’s past tense now. []

IG: Removed

So I had 2 pictures posted to IG1 removed a couple weeks ago. For the life of me, I’m not sure why. First, they were reported, it wasn’t just some random bot. Second, while they were of me in my underwear, nothing untoward was going on. You could have called them R-rated only because you could see my crotch but even that wasn’t ‘flashy’, nothing see thru, no vpl2, and no arousal. I guess the simple bulge was just too much for the moderator, who removed them. Lol

I had originally posted them to show off my leg growth. I see way more skimpy pics on IG everyday. Hell, half the dudes I follow are because they post revealing stuff!  Anyway, I wasn’t upset. I mean I was a little, but I didn’t go on some long tirade about the unfairness of it all. It isn’t my site so I don’t get to make the rules; however arbitrarily they are enforced. That said, everything I post to IG gets posted to my photoblog as well. If you follow me on both, it’s always there. I might have relented on having total control of my ramblings, but I doubt I’ll ever give it up completely. 

If you read with regularity, you know I’m not a fan of censorship. You’re contrived offense is just another way of saying you don’t like it. Here’s a clue, don’t effin’ follow me then.  As for me, I’ll keep posting whatever I feel like. I gave up worring about other people’s delicate sensibilities years ago. I don’t even worry about my coworkers anymore. They know me well enough to know I’m TMI sometimes. That doesn’t change when I’m NOT at work!  If they follow, they do so because they are adults. I never post nudity or porn so they have little to fear in that regard. And, if you can’t handle a crotch shot, you lead a very sheltered life IMO. 

I guess I’m legit now though. Lol  I mean if people aren’t hatin’ on you you aren’t doing it right, right?3  It’s part of why I’m withdrawing from social media sites more and more. It’s been a blessing for my moods and peace of mind these last few weeks. 

  1. Instagram []
  2. visible penis line []
  3. see what I did there lol []

Kaepernick

I’ve gotten a few requests for my thoughts on this whole faux scandal. I say faux because I love how people go out of their way to “out American” others. It is just another in a series of sad stories showing our growing ignorance as a nation. Anyway, since I work for a law-enforcement related agency, people often assume I’m always gonna side with the police. Wrong. While I certainly have insights that others might not have at times, I always strive to be on the side of fairness and truth. 
First, Kapernick has the right to not stand. He has that right because of the men/women who have fought for it. Being a free American means you can criticize your country’s failings, perceived or otherwise. Actually calling out your leader’s failings is as American as one can get if you read our constitution. As to Kaepernick, he certainly isn’t immune to fallout from said behavior, but stop trying to shame him for it.

As to the man himself, I find his behavior a bit hypocritical. For someone who often uses racial slurs,1 it seems a bit disingenuous to suddenly find a moral compass now. And considering his influence and place in society as a famous football playing millionaire, I’m struggling to find the sincerity in his actions. Rumor has it his new girlfriend is big in the BLM movement and I can’t help but wonder if that has influenced his ideas, not that her influence is necessarily a bad thing. Being enlightened by others is perfectly fine; however, what else is he doing? Is he meeting w/local police agencies? Is he donating money to community groups? Is he doing anything besides his now infamous ‘sitting’ exercise? I don’t need to disparage the man to show the contrast of his actions. 

At the end of the day, there is a very real problem between minority communities and police agencies. But it isn’t always about racism. There are many social, cultural, & economic variables affecting the divide. Trying to conflate it all into one giant polarizing idea of black & white2 is simplistic and often the tool of the biased. As I’ve said before, acknowledging failures by law enforcement doesn’t make me support law enforcement any less. Nor does calling out the bad players within the BLM movement make me any less supportive of fair and equal treatment for minorities.  And  speaking of the bad players, am I only the only seeing the irony here? We proclaim loudly that BLM and others can protest peacefully w/o resorting to violence and the moment someone does, we attack him as anti-American. So what we really want is to completely avoid the inherent problems still festering in our society. 

The sensationalized style of our media and news consumption only lends itself to dividing all sides even further apart. The focus isn’t on truth or even honest reporting. It’s solely on generating outrage which turns into ad-clicks. 

So I accept his right to sit and protest. Just as I accept he probably isn’t doing it for the right reasons. Either way, those are my feelings on the subject. 

  1. He has been fined for them before []
  2. see what I did there? Hehehe []

Wait 

What is it with guys who try to squeeze into the locker right next to you? Is it just my gym where they do that? I’ll be getting dressed or undressed and have someone try to either cram his way into the locker below me w/o so much as an excuse me or act all exasperated at having to wait. Where the hell are said folks going in such a hurry? Is there a fire somewhere and you just can’t wait a few seconds?

If you’re gonna be rude, I’m gonna clown you for it. Last week, I’m all but dressed and sitting on the row bench putting my shoes on. A guy comes along and w/o a word tried to get into the locker directly behind my back. Our conversation goes something like this: 

Me:  *loud* If you wait just 2 damn more seconds I’ll be out of your way.

Him: I just need to get into my locker. 

Me: Ok, say “excuse me” like a normal person or just wait a few seconds. You can clearly see I’m all packed up and figuratively out the door in a moment. 

Him: *indignantly* Well, why can’t you just move? 

Me: Because you were too busy trying to shove me out of the way. Had you stopped and actually said excuse me, I would have moved. Now you can wait your turn. 

Him: *glaring look* 

Me: *glaring look back* as I finish tying me shoe very slowly

And after he storms away in a huff, the guy next to me very loudly says, “He is always a dick like that. He is so rude to everyone anytime he is here.” I’m quite sure the guy storming off could still hear him. *giggle*

I get that manners are all but dead, but damn slow down for two seconds. I know you might *gasp* have to actually interact with someone in a social environment. I’m polite and do my best to share common spaces. My mamma taught me to share and I’ll happy move over.  I’ll even ask if I see someone standing close by to make sure I’m not holding them up while I lolly-gag around. But no, I won’t let you barge thru me or try to “shove” me over by opening your locker door into my back. And frankly, such childish antics will only end up causing you to be delayed longer. 

Top

This is a bit of gay adult themed rant today. You’ve been warned.

I’ve noticed a particularly annoying trend lately in various social media outlets. Basically, someone will show a compliment to a hot or attractive picture by commenting "top" as a one word comment. I must admit, I’m SMDH1 over this one. When I see this I’m immediately hit with a sense of sadness at the failed progression of our community. It is a self-reinforcing stereotype. And lest you think I’m overreacting to a simple comment, I’m not. I’m pointing out one part of a large pattern of self-destructive behaviors. Pick any medium for gay men to connect and you will find 1) people pretending to be something they aren’t or used to be, and 2) people afraid to admit their true desires out of fear of being marginalized as inferior or effeminate.

While the fight for equality is moving right along, we are moving backwards in our attempts to destroy old stereotypes. We seem intent on creating new even more restrictive ones instead I find it incredibly sad and pathetic we are still doing this to each other. The idea that to be considered attractive, muscular, successful, etc one must be a top reeks of insecurity and low self-esteem. How you look, dress, act, or behave has zero determination on your sexual role in bed. The fake bravado and never-ending attempts to appear masculine are just tired. For myself, I’ve just started assuming most of the loudest blowhards online are bottoms afraid to admit it. And I say that as a declarative statement, not a slight. The beard craze has sadly started taking on this role now as well.

We will never overcome the idea that being a bottom or the receptive partner during sex is somehow inferior unless we stop marginalizing each other. My first thought is to block the person because, as the saying goes, "I just can’t…" but that seems counter productive. Of course trying to mention it online just leads to flame wars and who has the time or energy for that? I’m definitely tarting to see why many older gay men withdraw from the community over time. They finally reach a point where they overcome the trauma and fallout from a lifetime of discrimination and they are left with a community at war with itself. I refuse to be like that but I admit I’m at a loss for solutions.

It is no easy task facing our own insecurities, but I’m living proof it can happen. Oh, I still have them but they do not drive my behavior anymore. I got where I am now because I spent over a decade of my life focused on healing myself and growing past my fears. I consider myself very lucky to have accomplished it with so little outside help. I now find myself struggling to find a way to help others and those around me. Don’t fall for the idea that being [insert stereotype of choice here] somehow makes you better or worse. It doesn’t. And you only end up hurting or alienating yourself in the long run. Be true to yourself. Be authentic in all that you do.

For many years, I listed axioms on my About page I try to live by. I took them down as they are such a part of me now I no longer need reminders. I think I will bring them back. One of them, and the most difficult for me to learn, I kept posted on my mirror ever day for over a year. It reads, "no one can make you feel inferior without your permission." I’m not sure who originally made the quote but it’s been used and reused quite often. As I struggled to identify and overcome individual insecurities, this axiom became more and more clear and a part of my daily thinking. It is the foundation for overcoming a need to meet or be a stereotype or unrealistic expectations.

I hope that if you are reading this and struggle with how you feel perceived by the "community", you can benefit from it. And if you’ve been fortunate to overcome it, please share your struggles and success with others when given the chance.

Hope springs eternal…

  1. Shaking my damn head []

View

It is amazing the difference one small act of kindness can make in your day. A point of view of a particular supervisor really made my day today.

I took off the early hours of work for a chiro appt. I found out this morning I wasn’t gonna make it because I got word the doc was out of the office unexpectedly. Change in plans, now I’m gearing up to head in to work for one of the 2 hours I had scheduled to miss. Then I get a call from the doc’s office, he came back earlier than planned and if I arrive soon, he can seem me. Great, but now I’m behind schedule. Said schedule which I allotted 2 hours away from work to avoid getting behind on.

I skip heading back home and straight to work. I arrive to work with a few minutes to spare; however, I’ve not had food or drink yet. Forgetting what a lack of caffeine will do to me, I woof down one of my prepped meals and I’m 2 minutes late to my station. One supervisor walking by commented rather snidely about me missing line-up.1 No concern for my well-being or how I’m feeling, just the snide comment. I brushed it off w/o saying anything as I was late after all.

Another supervisor who witnessed this comes over and immediately asks not only how am I feeling but is there anything she can do to make my morning a little easier. I was so touched by her point of view and approach that my frustration and anger evaporated. There wasn’t a whole lot she could do but the compassion was an act in itself, and in an instant I was back to normal again. I thanked her profusely and let her know how much such small kind words meant to me.

It’s the little things we do that have a big impact on those around us. I normally consider myself immune to such things as I am pretty self-contained. I rarely need justification or validation for my good/bad behaviors. But while I accepted that I was late thru my own fault, it did not help my mood to have someone comment on it rather snidely. The act of kindness made me forget my woes and put me back in a proper frame of reference.

There is no real point other than the obvious one. I just felt like sharing.

  1. If I called in the first 2 hours, yes I’m aware I missed it. []