Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Creepy Christian Censorship Moment

While driving from Nawlins to San Antone yesterday, Jeff and I spent some time listening to radio station 101.3 FM out of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and at one point they played "Life in the Fast Lane," an old song by an old band called the Eagles. One part of the song's lyrics goes like this:

We've been up and down this highway / haven't seen a goddamned thing / he said, call the doctor, I think I'm gonna crash....

But on 101.3 FM, this is what we heard instead: We've been up and down this highway / he said call the doctor, I think I'm gonna crash .... Yup. They cut out the entire line mentioning the word "goddamned."

ADDENDUM, September 2: Driving through Texas today, the rock station out of Dallas kept the whole line, but bleeped out the word "God." Kept the "damned," though.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Syrian Clarification, S'il Vous Plait

Since I'm on vacation and mostly away from Internet or TV access, I'm very much behind on the news. Hopefully you guys have been paying more attention than me, so maybe you can explain: what's this I hear about allegations that Syria's government is using nerve gas on the rebels? I could've sworn that a few months ago, they claimed it was the rebels using nerve gas against the government. Is the US about to start yet another useless war on false pretenses? We've got so many going now, I can't even keep track of them all.

Optimism in an Alcohol Bottle

Apologies in advance for today's lack of eloquence; I've discovered I don't write well after drinking alcohol.

I haven't posted lately because I've been on vacation and largely away from Internet access; this weekend Jeff is attending a science fiction convention in San Antonio, half a continent away from our place in Virginia, and of course I won't fly because I refuse to be groped by blue-glove-wearing kiddie-diddlers so lacking in morality and marketable job skills, they make money molesting airline passengers for the TSA. So we're driving there instead, and stopped in New Orleans (where I am right now) because I'd never seen it before.

Except for a brief visit to an art museum and sculpture garden, we've spent most of our time wandering through the French Quarter--not just Bourbon Street and the touristy parts, but also the residential district. Today we got slightly lost and ended up in what I suppose is the gay district (or maybe just a regular business district hosting a gay street festival): hundreds of men in all stages of sobriety or lack thereof, doing the same things heteros do at a street festival: drinking, laughing, eating, playing or listening to music ... and, yes, there was same-sex hand-holding and even kissing. But everyone was perfectly friendly to me even though it's spectacularly obvious I'm not their type.

After leaving the gay district we walked for a block or two before returning to Bourbon Street, where we stopped to watch four break dancers give a stunning performance. The DJ/narrator cracked several jokes playing on racial stereotypes: "Don't be afraid! We're only three and a half black men; we can't hurt all of you." (Audience laughter and applause.)

We wandered through the Quarter for a couple of hours after full dark, soaking up the atmosphere along with a not-insignificant amount of alcohol, and I thought of various bigots I know or know of -- the ones who freak out at the thought of gay weddings, or of an America where white people are no longer the majority. And I wished they could have joined us in our French Quarter wanderings today so they could see for themselves that there's nothing to be afraid of, here. It's fun. When a little black toddler waved to me and I said "hello" and waved back, his parents beamed with the exact same pride white parents take in their kids. Everybody there--gay or straight, black or white, Asian or Hispanic--wanted the exact same thing: a little harmless fun. Different tastes in music, different tastes in food, different tastes in sex partners, all coming together in a giant party.

I haven't been keeping up with the news much lately, though the few headlines I've seen give me no reason to feel hopeful about the steady decline of American civil liberties: the NSA is still spying on every American who uses electronic communications and the dishonest sonofabitch in the Oval Office is still lying about it ... the headlines offer me no hope for America's future, but what I saw in the French Quarter does.

That said: I learned something about myself, here in New Orleans. I've long thought of myself as being rather open-minded and sophisticated regarding sexual matters; after all, I paid for college by working as a topless dancer, jump-started my journalism career by working on a phone sex line, was pro-gay rights before being pro-gay rights was cool ... but on Bourbon Street last night, when Jeff and I were offered the opportunity to watch a free live sex show, I learned that underneath my free-spirited open-mindedness beats the heart of a prude after all.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Most Implausible Statement ("Credit Where Due" Edition)

Last night, Jeff and I walked to a theater/mini-concert venue near our house. I didn't carry a purse, but put my driver's license in my front jeans pocket (in case they carded, which they did not). When we returned home I was dismayed to discover my license was missing. Fortunately, it's back in my possession now;  somebody found it in the street, not far from where I'd stopped walking long enough to tie my shoe, and turned it into the police.

In other news: I never imagined I'd be happy to report that "This morning the cops came a-knockin' on my  door, looking for me personally."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Spiders Suck; or, Promoting the Manufacture and Use of Poison Gas Bombs

A friend of mine whom I know from an online forum is annoyed because, several days ago, a large and prolific (in terms of web-spinning) spider took up residence in her car's rear-view mirror, and no matter how many times she's tried spraying water, insecticide and other alleged spider repellents into the mirror, every morning she enters her car through the passenger-side door because the driver side is covered with spidery nastiness.

So when she posted a complaint about this on the forum today, I responded with a speculation/suggestion: "I wonder if you could make a mini-spider bomb? Maybe get a plastic shopping bag with no holes or tears in it, spray it full of poison (do this outside, of course), then quickly tie the poison-gas-filled bag around your mirror and leave it there for a night."

She liked the idea and said she'll try it tonight.

I mention this anecdote not to show off my presumed cleverness, nor even because I worry you might suffer similar automotive-infestation issues. I mention it because, after I posted this suggestion, I realized that the NSA search-bots assigned to seek out certain key words in ostensibly private communications are bound to take notice of the fact that, in a single 51-word post on a private forum populated by self-described political radicals (read: civil libertarians), I discussed how to "make" a "bomb" containing "poison gas."

And now you've read these bomb instructions, possibly even downloaded them, on or onto your own ostensibly private computer or mobile device. 

Sorry about that. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have written anything in the first place. Let my friend deal with her own problems. Or at least know better than to just type out and post a quickie response to them; I should have thought about it first, in light of my presumed national-security obligations as an American citizen in a post-9/11 world, should've sat through a cooling-off period and maybe sang the Star-Spangled Banner before posting a carefully worded spider eradication suggestion containing nothing sensitive enough to trigger an NSA-bot programmed for paranoia.

After all: if we're going to keep living here in the Land of the Free, we're going to need a lot more practice at self-censorship.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Alexandra Hill: More Drug War Collateral Damage

It takes a special type of moralizing psychopath to think "A two-year-old is better off living with a violent foster parent than with her own loving family, should someone in that family ever smoke the dread illicit marijuana." Fortunately (from the perspective of violent foster parents who enjoy torturing little kids and getting paid by the state to do so), the state of Texas thinks exactly that, which is why it removed two-year-old Alex Hill from her pot-smoking dad last November, then shuffled her through various abusive foster homes until she died, after foster mother Sherill Small admitted raising the child over her head and flinging her to the floor, multiple times, until she died. But at least Small wasn't a pot smoker.

Over at Anorak, I discuss the Alexandra Hill case for the benefit of any Britons who still suffer from the delusion "America is a free country with sane laws," and to remind everyone "Two-year-old Alexandra Hill wasn’t the first innocent victim to suffer a hideously painful death in the name of transforming America into a druggenfrei Utopia, and she sure as hell won’t be the last."

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Obama's Incredible Sulk

Finally I have discovered a principle in which Barack Obama truly, sincerely believes: he really supports the harsh prosecution of whistleblowers, no? Our esteemed president has cancelled a planned meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin, in retaliation for Russia's granting temporary political asylum to Edward Snowden. Of all the quotes in the Wall Street Journal's coverage, I found this one most facepalm-worthy (the italics are mine):
White House spokesman Jay Carney in a statement said [....] "Given our lack of progress on issues such as missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society in the last 12 months, we have informed the Russian government that we believe it would be more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda."

Yes, the Obama administration, especially regarding Edward Snowden and his revelations, is extremely concerned with making progress on issues regarding "human rights and civil society," much the same way the Ku Klux Klan seeks progress on the issue of racial equality and the Taliban on the issue of women's rights.

I genuinely don't know if I should find such irony amusing or terrifying. Probably the latter. Open, outright nastiness disturbs me far less than delusional or self-contradictory nastiness, and a president who outright admitted "To hell with old-school American ideals like human rights and constitutional limits on government power" would bother me less than one who uses the constitution for toilet paper after shitting on human rights whilst simultaneously (and hypocritically) pretending he still runs this country as a beacon of freedom and liberty. Just knock it off with the gaslighting crap and admit you're dimming the lights, okay?
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