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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Jesus Doesn't Like Jerks

Wait till this story blows up:
Azucar Bakery on South Broadway is under investigation for religious discrimination by the Civil Rights division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies stemming from a March 2014 incident.
A customer came into the store and requested a couple of cakes in the shape of Bibles, according to the owner Marjorie Silva.
Silva says the man pulled out a piece of paper with hateful phrases like "God hates gays" and requested her to write them on his cakes.
The baker, of course, refused.

And I have to admit, it's a very clever stunt.  A gay couple sues a bakery for refusing to bake them a cake for their wedding, so this guy is trying to make hay for a bakery refusing to bake them a cake for their own private little ceremony of hate.

It is, I admit, pretty funny that this is all unfolding in the bakeries of America.  I mean, what is it about flour and eggs that brings out the inner asshole of homophobic Evangelicals?

The way I see it, if these Evangelicals weren't uptight, impolite, and unprofessional, we wouldn't even have this problem of people refusing to bake cakes.

That should be the principle we draw from this.  It's not "public accommodations cannot discriminate."  It's "Don't be an asshole."

Monday, January 19, 2015

More Stuff

We apologize for poor judgment shown in a tweet sent earlier. We did not intend to compare football to the civil rights legacy of Dr. King.
A Tweet sent out by the Seattle Seahawks after they tweeted an inspirational MLK quote and then deleted.

Yesterday, like any Bronco fan I hope, I was really pulling for the Packers.  I was at work, so only peripherally involved in the game, but every time I looked up, Russell Wilson was getting picked off or pounded into the turf. 

I like Russell Wilson, but that felt so good.  I thought Green Bay had it.  They should have.  To have that kind of lead and that kind of game, and just blow it in the final minutes....  Man.  Against those bastard Seahawks no less?

On the AFC side, the Patriots beat the Colts, probably cheated too.  Yawn.  This year's Super Bowl is going to be like next year's Bush versus Clinton presidential race:  a snoozer.

Thank God for basketball.  (Kansas is playing tonight.  DVR'd it.)

American Sniper

It's interesting to me, from a business perspective, how this film has become a hit.  Bradley Cooper is "big."  Clint Eastwood is "big," although obviously aging out of his craft.  The subject matter, well, not always a box office draw.  Oscar heat alone can't account for a $100 weekend.  The holiday weekend, probably not either. 

It's January.  On the big release schedule of life, this is where films go to die.

But here we are, and the movie is a blockbuster.  The studio probably didn't count on this.  I know that the theaters didn't.  There are summer movies that won't make this much money in a weekend.

This is what I think did it:  The ads.

Most of the American Sniper trailers focused on tense, dramatic scenes rather than playing like a highlight reel of the movie.  You're not able to dismiss the movie, thinking you've seen the best parts already, and instead are left intrigued.  You want to know how the situation resolves itself. 

Does he shoot the kid with the RPG???

At some point in the near future, I'm going to have to see this movie.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dignity in Death

Item:
LAKEWOOD - A "Dignity in Death" rally was held Tuesday afternoon for a lesbian woman whose funeral last week was moved after a Lakewood church rejected photos that were used in a memorial video.
That last bit is very generous.  The corpse was in the chapel, the mourners were congregating, and the church said, "If you don't take out the photo of the gay marriage proposal, you have to leave." 

This is a familiar story:  Politicized Christians who think they have a religious obligation to discriminate against gay people.  It's a kinder, gentler version of the impulse that leads politicized Muslims to think they have a religious obligation to murder infidels.

And at this point, I'm over it.  I'm not going to waste one breath defending these assholes right to discriminate, religious freedom or no. 

But what really gets me is this kind of thing:
(Chaplain Gary) Rolando says it's a shame that Collier's friends are using her death to push an agenda.
And what "agenda" would that be?  Gay marriage isn't an agenda anymore.  It's how it is.   Seems to me that the only agenda this woman was pushing was "This was my life.  Remember it."

The real shame is that there are still people who think their religious beliefs trumps people's lives.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

More Stuff

Charlie Hebdo

I've been racked with doubt over my mini-crusade against the Social Justice Warriors who watch True Detective and think "How does this show represent my gender to little girls?"  It's not that I want a white male patriarchy to control everything, so why am I busting the balls of the people trying to chip away at it? 

This is why:  Freedom of expression is more important than everyone's fickle sensitivities.

I'm not an unthinking person.  I understand that artistic representations of Islam's most notable prophets are offensive.  I understand that women are often sexualized in movies and that's offensive.  But in almost all cases, it hurts no one to just look away.

Books

I finished Lost Souls yesterday and am sad to report that it was not just about gay vampires.  It was about gay, incestuous vampires.  Subject matter aside, I enjoyed the book.  It left a few threads under-developed, but the characters were vivid and the plot had that tricky momentum that steered the story into regions both inevitable and unpredictable.

I'm not going after Sunglasses after Dark anymore, but I am thinking that next up might be The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood or Dawn by Octavia Butler.  Or maybe just The Hobbit.


Whatever it is, it will be a combination reading/listening experience, as was Lost Souls, as was The Tides.  Switching back and forth on my Kindle (or my phone) is a luxury of reading that I'm happy to enjoy.

Except when it plays something I've already listened to when I'm driving.  Now there's a first world problem.  The audiobook on my smartphone is repeating itself and I can't do anything about it because I'm driving.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Stuff

I've had a lot of stuff to blog about, but just haven't.  It becomes too easy, I've found, to be reactionary.  You see something on the news or someone voices some dumb opinion, and boom...the cannons come out. 

For instance, I saw something earlier this morning about people being upset that Target used a white model in ads for their Annie clothing line.  And my first instinct was to say, "Oh, stow it."  I mean, I was fine when they made Annie a black girl.  It makes sense.  Not only is reimagining old tales a time-honored creative tradition, but the music and the themes of Annie, sampled and hinted at in Jay Z's music, make it a natural fit for a "black-oriented" film.

But let it be known:  If we can have a black Annie, and we should, we can also have white girls in the clothing line ads.  Grow up.

And now onto the stuff that actually interests and inspires me, rather than the stuff that pokes at my soul.

Books -

I'm on a minor retro horror novel kick, buzzy women writers from the 90s.  First up, The Tides by Melanie Tem.  First off, I've met Melanie Tem and once had a long phone conversation with her husband, Steve Rasnic Tem, while I watched a Nuggets game and probed him for writing advice.  (I was young.  They live in Denver.  Their number was in the phone book.)

In her heyday, Tem won several Stoker awards (the horror novel's version of the Oscar) and pumped out a couple of minor classics.   She has a more literary style that her contemporaries, relying less on shocks and scares and more on atmosphere and tone.  Her work is very subjective, a stream of consciousness that is sometimes vague, which is not always bad, and often hard to follow, which is.

The Tides is about a woman tasked with caring for her dementia-afflicted father and also running the failing nursing home in which he is staying.  Weakened by age and disease, her father is haunted by a malevolent spirit from his past -a woman named Faye.

Faye is always a whisper, a scent in the wind, a shadow in the corner of your eye.  Tem's vague subjectivity works well here, showing us what it may be like for an Alzheimer's patient to be haunted, the distorted memories and perceptions, the confusion.  When it comes to moving along the plot, however, the reader does most of the work.

Stylistically, I enjoyed it immensely but the conclusion felt a little rushed, a little anticlimatic to be honest.  But then it dawned on me.  This is one of those books you read to see what happens, how it ends.  It's just one of those books you immerse yourself in, like a warm bath, to enjoy the aesthetics.

Now that I've finished The Tides, I've turned to Lost Souls, by Poppy Z. Brite.  I tried to read it in high school, but it was too "goth" for me.  Even now it conjures up images of those dudes in trenchcoats with long stringy dyed-black hair.  Maybe they had eye-shadow, but maybe you couldn't even see their face.  Chances are, though, that they had a big honking skull ring on their knuckle and a chain on their wallet.

Here is where I pause to mention that Poppy Z. Brite is now known as David Martin, which implies no judgements but does imply that pronouns are about to get tricky.

Lost Souls is more vividly written than The Tides, but all the goth stuff still grates.  It seems like an aesthetic that screams "I'm not cool!" but it's a lie.  Of course, you're cool.  You're so cool the rest of us squares don't even get it, man.  Why must you cling to Dylan Thomas and The Cure?

The story concerns vampires, gay vampires, well, omnisexual vampires.  No, they're gay.  This, I admit, was another turn-off when I was in high school.  We weren't so enlightened back then, but to be honest the casual bisexuality of all the characters still doesn't ring true.   

But I am enjoying the book.  I'm not quite finished with it yet, and though its about vampires -perhaps one of the most boring subjects known to man at this point- it still retains a freshness for being over two decades old.

Next up, Sunglasses After Dark by Nancy A. Collins.  Another vampire story.   Then I think I'll have to read something for grown-ups.  Like The Hobbit.

Speaking of "for grown-ups," I recently saw the Brad Pitt movie "Fury."  It's funny though, all the things I liked about it.  I liked the violence.  I liked the make-up, all the grit and grime on the faces, the tear-streaked eyes.  I liked the sound effects, the visual effects:  glowing tracer rounds pinging off tanks and whistling through the air.  I liked the dumb accents.  I liked all the performances, especially -don't hate- Shia Lebouf's!

I didn't really like the ending, though.  It deserved something, I don't know, grimmer.

Monday, December 22, 2014

King Nerd

So I was looking at NFL standings yesterday and noticed that the Carolina Panthers are leading the NFC South division with a losing record.

They're 6-8-1, which means they're slightly better than the 6-9 Falcons/Saints and the 2-13 Bucs.  That's got to burn teams like the Browns, say, with their 7-8 record and no chance of making the playoffs.  

Suffice it to say, whoever wins the NFC South....they suck.

Gas Prices

For the last couple of years, I've implemented a weird strategy to insulate myself from wild swings in gas prices.  I never put more than $20 in my tank at a time.


I never "topped her off," but I also never got sticker shock.  It was a matter of practical budgeting, of saving a few pennies by not paying last week's prices for this week's gas.

Now gas is just over $2 a gallon and my $20 goes a long way.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Top Ten Feminist Fiascos of 2014

Tyler Cowen says:
This is a good example of how media focus on events which raise or lower the status of particular groups, rather than focusing on events which actually impact human welfare.
Then links to this piece, written by a feminist, about feminists.  What got me about it, though, was the critical tone.  Witness:
#Shirtstorm: In mid-November scientists managed, for the first time in human history, to land a robot on a comet hurtling through space some 25 million miles away from Earth. But the reaction of feminists was: Who cares? They were fixated on the fact that one of the physicists, Matt Taylor, wore a shirt printed with ladies in lingerie during a live screening of the feat. A blitzkrieg of Taylor-bashing Twitter-bombing ensued, on the theory that the shirt somehow discouraged women from entering STEM fields. Yes, feminists thought the best way to entice women into STEM was to disparage a monumental STEM achievement.
YES!  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Blood in the Water and the Sharks are Circling

I think it's highly likely that Bill Cosby is a grabby perv.  But it's been pretty disgusting to watch the pile-on in the media.  Accusers are popping up everywhere, and each one lends credence to the others.  They can't all be liars, right?

And yet, the whole thing makes me uncomfortable.  It seems to me that this is more about ruining an undesirable man's reputation than about seeking some kind of justice. 

If Bill Cosby is a rapist, why is it sufficient to see his projects canceled?  Shouldn't he be in prison?



The other thing that bothers me is that now that Cosby has been pegged, that leaves other people asking "Who's next?"

I swear, sometimes it seems like this country has been possessed by the spirit of Ulrike Meinhof



Monday, November 17, 2014

The Offensive Shirt

There is no hope for humanity.

Perhaps you heard some scientists landed a probe on a comet.  Pretty cool.

Perhaps you heard one of those scientists wore a shirt during the press conference that some people felt was inappropriate.  It covered up all offensive man-parts, it's true, but it did so featuring cartoon images of sexy women. 

That's a big no-no in our fragile culture.  I mean, think about the children. Some little boy is going to see that shirt and start to think women are little more than sex objects.  Some little girl is going to see that shirt and commit suicide because no matter what she does, she will always be little more than a sexy cartoon on a misogynist's shirt.

Meanwhile, the scientist was made to apologize for his shirt.  Forget the comet, scientist dude.  Let's talk about your offensive shirt.


Yes, because we're children...

The Shower Curtain

Even when my bathroom is clean, it's filthy.  Construction is complete.  Final step:  Decorating with profanity.

Huge props to my Mom, who got me an electrician for my birthday.  I've replaced light fixtures before.  Shoulda took a class before I attempted to replace a junction box....

Friday, October 31, 2014

Ghetto Bathroom

So I've been working on my bathroom.  I had to replace the tub spout, redo some of the walls, put up a tub surround, install a new shower curtain rod, and I still have to install a new light and paint.

I didn't take any "before" pictures because it was truly awful, but here's a "during:"
After:
Before:
After:
It's just a glue-up plastic tub surround, nothing fancy.  Someone else can tile it if they want.

I've just got the finishing touches left, a new coat of paint for the whole room --No more blue-- and some caulking.  I ordered a new shower curtain, too, one perfect for a bachelor of questionable taste.

It has a ouija board on it, as well as a couple of Dia De Los Muertos skeletons and scrawled across the top, it say, "Drop dead motherfucker."  I'll prove it next week.

You thought I was kidding about the ghetto bathroom thing.