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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A Festering Holiday Song

(To the tune of “O Holy Night”)

O holy crap
A shambling horde of zombies!
The walking dead are now
coming for your brains.

How can they move?
Their bodies are decaying.
They should collapse,
into piles of dead remains!

We try to barricade
ourselves up safely
in hopes that we can
make it through the night

Aim for the head!
Or else, they’ll keep advancing!
Reload while you can,
and maybe, we’ll see the dawn!

And if
I get bit
Please don’t…
Don’t let me turn.

Leslie Fish & Mrrrp the Magnificent

So judging by the length of that last post, I really shouldn’t let them build up like that. Clearly I need to write more often.

While I work on that, here’s something I’ve been meaning to share with a few of you, which everybody will probably enjoy. Three stories of Mrrrp the Magnificent, a cat who should live on in infamy if there’s any justice, as told by the remarkable Leslie Fish, who raised him as part of her project to breed domestic cats for intelligence. (And had to clean up the mess)

the pope on gender identity

So long as there shall exist, by virtue of law and custom, decrees of damnation pronounced by society, artificially creating hells amid the civilization of earth, and adding the element of human fate to divine destiny; so long as the three great problems of the century – the degradation of man through pauperism, the corruption of woman through hunger, the crippling of children through lack of light – are unsolved; so long as social asphyxia is possible in any part of the world; – in other words, and with a still wider significance, so long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth, books of the nature of Les Misérables cannot fail to be of use.


This is the preface to my Kindle edition of Les Mis, which I was looking at in anticipation of seeing the movie on Tuesday. It seemed particularly appropriate to this article about that vile old tyrant, the pope, attempting to be relevant by discussing gender identity and trans people.

The article is written by one Deacon Keith Fournier, who does not feel at home with the idea of writing for clarity. The formatting is odd, broken into three pages for no apparent reason and with a footer on the second page that makes the article appear to trail off mid-sentence. I found it difficult to tell whose words I was reading at any one time, as Fournier frequently quotes people who are themselves quoting others and makes poor use of the tools language and html provides for clarifying such things. I mention this as a pre-emptive excuse in case I mistakenly attribute one party’s words to another, not to nitpick the superficial weaknesses of the article, as the substantial ones are quite sufficient.

The title of this article is “Pope Benedict XVI Exposes the Profound Falsehood of the Philosophy of the Gender Identity Movement”, and perhaps the pope does so in his speech, but Deacon Fournier felt no need to relay this information to us, the readers. At no point in the article is the philosophy of any gender identity movement or movements discussed, nor is any falsehood established therein. In fact, it consists almost entirely of other people’s words, with Fournier occasionally chiming in to bemoan these “new rights” he is being “forced” to “recognize”.

To which I accuse him of, as the preface says, “artificially creating hells amid the civilization of earth”, because his wailing of the restructuring of society is because people who don’t easily fit into hetero-normative categories are insisting that they shouldn’t have to. Because the terrible burden they place upon him is their inclusion in anti-discrimination laws. Read the rest of this entry

NaNoWriMo update for the 49th of November

Not gonna lie, this is going slower than I’d hoped. But I’m making progress again and hope to have Chapter 3 up before the weekend. It’s interesting how ideas fade when you suddenly don’t have time for them, some plot elements are stronger in my mind now than they were before, while others are completely forgotten.

This is a shorter post than expected, because I just realized how late it is and I have to go! So take this as reassurance that I haven’t forgotten and will be working on it some more in the next week. Good night!

Happy Holidays

“Home for the holidays” is an interesting phrase to me right now. I’m in a transitional time of my life and I don’t really feel like I have a home at the moment. I don’t quite belong anywhere. But it’s still nice to see Mom & my brothers.

I feel like I have a lot to say on many subjects, so I’m going to make this a very short post and see if I can get some other writing done. But in honor of the holidays, I thought I’d share one of my favorite Christmas songs, “White Wine in the Sun” by Tim Minchin. It’s the only explicitly atheist xmas song I know, and since it’s written by an Australian it also has some bits that sound strange to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

But I think that whoever you are, if you’re reading this you’ll probably agree with the sentiment of this song, and with what Tim (and myself) finds really important about the holidays.

Whether you’re celebrating a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a blessed solstice or a sexy Saturnalia, enjoy your holidays. And enjoy the company of each other. It may not be true that all we need is love, but it certainly makes what we have far more enjoyable. Take care everyone.

Winter Searching

It’s that time again, time to dig into my site stats and see what search terms bring people here. This is a post from my phone, as I still don’t have access to a proper keyboard, so it may be a little shorter than most months.

As usual, search terms are bold while my commentary is italic.

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Supremes to hear Prop 8 & DOMA

No, sorry, that’s the Supreme Court of the United States, not the Supremes. But that’s the big news today, the Supreme Court will be hearing Prop 8 and DOMA.

As usual, P8TT has the details here.

So what does this mean?
Read the rest of this entry

Blackberry app!

Coming out of hiatus briefly to plug a Blackberry app for this very blog! A friend of mine made this, and I’m just tickled pink that it exists.

If you’re a Blackerry user & reader of this blog, download it free here!

In other news, things have gotten a little sticky for me since my last post, and I don’t have a full computer with a proper keyboard at the moment. So, unless I see something that piques my interest enough to blog from my phone, it’s probably going to be quiet here for a while longer yet.

That’s all for now. Take care everyone!

Radio Silence

I’m moving cities soon, so the blog will be quiet for a while. I’ll try to post something short and quick from time to time, but I doubt I’m going to manage much writing in the next few weeks.

Take care, everyone.

The threat of Madonna

Okay. I’m going to start with the link and the headline that went with it: RUSSIA: Court Acquits Madonna Of Threatening National Birth Rate By Promoting Homosexuality

Hard not to laugh, isn’t it?

The short version is that “homosexual propaganda”, and the promotion thereof is now a crime in St. Petersburg (they’re considering expanding this law to the federal level) and nine claimants brought charges against Madonna for voicing her opinions in public at a concert there.

It’s actually very tempting to just quote the entire Joe My God article here and point and laugh, but it stops being funny when you see what they considered “promoting homosexuality”. Here’s what Madonna said at a concert in August,

I am here to say that the gay community and gay people here and all around the world have the same rights – to be treated with dignity, with respect, with tolerance, with compassion, with love

This is promotion? Saying that gay people are human beings with rights?

I’m pretty sure in one of these blog posts I said that I expected anyone’s rights to be respected, up to and including Space-Zombie Hitler. Was I promoting Undead-Space-Nazism by doing so?

Well, as the headline says, the judge didn’t think so. But it really bothers me that people thought they could win this suit, and though that it was worth even trying to win.

Read the rest of this entry

Giving Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. A day where we celebrate the good times by eating too much, arguing with our family, and maybe going off to wait all night in the cold to buy a cheap television. What’s left of my family went to a local hotel that had a lovely buffet dinner with bottomless champagne.

This may be a little unsteady, due to that last part.

This morning Bonita, a Christian acquaintance who writes A Word Fitly Written, posted this to facebook.

Today I’m thinking, though, that if I were to thank God for a thousand things each day this year, it would only account for such a tiny percentage (if even that) of all I’ve been given, and all I have been blessed with.
Every breath is a miracle.
Every day of life.

Every hug from a child is a blessing.
Every note from a friend.
Every enjoyable conversation is something to take note of.
Every good night’s sleep.
Every dream I hold in my heart.
Every bit of love I’ve been given.
For these and an endless number more, I give thanks to the One Who created all good things and freely gives them to us.

Moments after reading that, I read this in my email from the Poem a Day list.

The Thanksgivings
by Harriet Maxwell Converse

Translated from a traditional Iroquois prayer 

We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here to praise Him.

We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth.

We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products to live on.

We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs for our lands.

We thank Him for all the animals on the earth.

We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming from them for us all.

We thank Him for the branches of the trees that grow shadows for our shelter.

We thank Him for the beings that come from the west, the thunder and lightning that water the earth.

We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun that works for our good.

We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.

We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thank all its trees.

We thank Him for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.

We thank Him for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs, the stars.

We give Him thanks for our supporters, who had charge of our harvests.

We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.

We thank the Great Spirit that we have the privilege of this pleasant occasion.

We give thanks for the persons who can sing the Great Spirit’s music, and hope they will be privileged to continue in his faith.

We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies on this occasion.

I was struck by how similar the sentiment is in the two, even though they share almost nothing in common in the details. To human emotions, the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.

As far as I know, all cultures, everywhere, set aside time to look at the good things in life and appreciate them. For all our differences, in many ways we’re all the same.

I can’t really be thankful for these things, (who would I thank?) but there is nothing listed in either of those prayers that I’m not glad for. And I am certainly thankful to you, dear reader, whomever you are, for reading my words.

I am also thankful to the staff where we had dinner, who kept my champagne glass full at all times. Mind you, this post seemed to have a lot more to it before the champagne, I’d have sworn I had some deep and fascinating cultural observation to make that I just couldn’t remember after dinner. Perhaps it’s better this way, though.

Transgender Day Of Remembrance


I saw this taking a late night walk last week, and meant to share it much sooner than now. Better almost-late than never, I suppose.

If you’re having trouble reading that poster, it’s announcing that November 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance. Here in Fresno there’s a candlelight vigil march at 4:30 pm in Fresno Courthouse Park, that’s 1100 Van Ness Ave, and a reception celebration at 6:00 at the Downtown Community Arts Collective, 764 P. Street.

It’s estimated that one in twelve trans-women is murdered. If you only count people of color, that number rises to one in eight. Statistically it’s very likely that at least one of the trans women I’ve met will die by violence. Or already has.

I’m really not okay with that.

I don’t think anyone should be okay with that.  Read the rest of this entry

Another month of search terms.

Spending an evening with friends cooking and canning and drinking mulled wine is a fine thing, a good idea. Continuing until after three in the morning is less good. Then sitting down & chatting is probably not a great plan, but hey, you need to get your laid-back socialization in. But opening the bottle of blackberry brandy was clearly a bad idea.

That was Wednesday night. Yesterday one of these people there fell ill, and today I’m feeling sick. At least there’s rain to cheer me up!

If you’re thinking that I’ve missed my search terms, fear not! I didn’t get the post written yesterday, but I did get the search page loaded up with the proper 30-day period listed. So the post is a day late, but the terms are correct! I’ll be skipping the repeats unless I think of something to say that makes me laugh, and as usual the search terms are bold while my commentary is italic.

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Why Churches?

A conversation on facebook got me thinking about this. Why do people go to churches? I mean, in theory what purpose do churches serve? From my outsider’s point of view churches don’t seem to do anything but bore people, ask for money, and protect child abusers, but clearly people must be getting something out of it.

I only ever attended one church service, when I was about eight years old. I went along with the neighbors after their kids invited me. I don’t remember much, mostly being very bored and very uncomfortable, there was something profoundly creepy to me about all these grownups talking so seriously about stuff that seemed obviously make-believe. I never went back, and I’ve never felt that I was missing anything by it.

But many people go every week, sometimes more than once. Why? This is something I hadn’t really thought of before, it was always just something lots of people did, but the more I think about it the weirder it seems.

If you’re a church-goer I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment and tell me what you get out of it. From your point of view, what do they actually do?

Uganda set to begin reign of terror.

I hope my title turns out to be hyperbole, but only time will tell. Uganda is apparently going to pass the “Kill the Gays” bill. They’re calling it a “Christmas Present”. Personally, I wouldn’t want a stocking full of injustice for the holidays.

Box Turtle Bulletin has the text of the bill as submitted in 2009 and a summary of its revisions, should you feel like reading it, but it was this post about the 19th clause that inspired my title. The image of a jackbooted corps or queer-hunters led by a man who’s part Robespierre & part Torquemada is a striking one, and sadly sounds far too plausible to me.

In the 1950’s, United States Senator Joseph McCarthy ran a series of witch-hunts which destroyed careers and even lives trying to find communists. Being a communist is not a crime in the United States, and was not at the time, either, yet McCarthy was able to hound people about it anyways with the fear of Soviet spies.

By comparison, this is a law that will imprison people for three years for the crime of not turning in suspected gays within 24 hours. Advocating for gay rights would be a crime, trying to repeal the law might even count. Hell, I’m pretty sure this very blog has enough posts “promoting homosexuality” that I’d be subject to five to seven years imprisonment if I ever went to Uganda.

People convicted of homosexuality itself seem to only have life imprisonment or death as possible sentences, though I may have missed something in there. The death sentence is limited to “aggravated homosexuality”, which requires additional crimes such as “being HIV-positive”.

This is a terrible bill, with terrible purposes, and it sounds like it’s pretty much going to pass. I don’t see what it can possibly accomplish except for an awful lot of human misery. I suppose those in power can use it against their enemies, just call them gay and hang them.

It never ceases to amaze me how much work people will put into causing needless suffering.

NaNoWriMo update, and Chapter 2

I got off to a strong start on National Novel Writing Month, but that didn’t last. I got stuck trying to figure out what to do next, and wound up spinning my wheels a lot. I’m trying to adopt a philosophy of “I’ll fix it in the second draft!” but it’s not coming easily.

I don’t know what my wordcount is right now, but I’m sure that I’m far behind. It may already be too much for me to get to 50,000. And that’s okay, I’m going to keep working on it anyway. For all my whining about this project, I’ve gotten more actual story written than I have for the space opera setting I’ve been planning for over a year and a half now!

Chapter 2 could be subtitled “In which there is much pointless talking, and very little happens.” Neither me nor my characters knew what to do next, so I wound up writing dialogue as they flailed around trying to figure out what to do. There are a few good moments, but mostly it’s just boring.

NaNoWriMo is about quantity, not quality. I’m trying to remember that. When I’m done, if I hate it, I’ll fix it in the second draft!

I honestly hadn’t planned to post any more of this, but since I’ve had multiple people ask me when I’m posting the next chapter I may as well. This means, of course, that you have only yourselves to blame. Read on if you dare!

(Or, go back to Chapter 1)

Read the rest of this entry

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