October 20, 2014

It's the same illogical argument

I've been reading articles about the aftermath of the Catholic bishops giving gays the finger last week. I mean, really. Raising gay Catholics' hopes and then stomping them into the ground is not, I'm quite sure, what Jesus would have done. But then, there never was a Jesus. So there's that.

Today I noticed that the hateful bishops who put the kibosh on the welcoming language used in the first synod draft document last week are relying on the exact same argument that nitwits use against gay marriage.

For instance, consider this article:
After an initial draft of the synod's final document was released on Monday, conservative bishops vowed to row back on the upbeat tone adopted regarding gays, cohabitation and re-marriage, saying it would create confusion among the faithful and threatened to undermine the traditional family.
There it is: the Great Anti-Gay Non Sequitur. How, precisely, does a church's welcoming language to gays undermine the traditional family? The two are utterly unrelated. If the church welcomes gays, traditional families will break up like ice floes in a warm ocean? That makes no sense.

And it's the same idiotic argument that homophobes make against gay marriage: it threatens traditional families. How, exactly? Can they offer even one example of this happening in the real world? Gay marriage has been around for quite some time. So where are the traditional families that were threatened and broken apart by the mere existence of gay marriage? They don't exist.

There is no argument against gay people that is anything but idiotic and hateful. But see, we're here, we've always been here and we're never going away -- so you'd better get used to us. And our existence and our relationships have precisely nothing to do with what goes on in "traditional families". (And btw, it's those traditional families that give birth to gays. I'm just saying. We didn't come from Mars.)

Hate is hate. And that's exactly what the Catholic bishops showed when they jumped on the synod's welcoming language and killed it. It's what Catholic bishops do, especially American Catholic bishops: they attack gay people. And you really, really have to ask yourself why. What is wrong with these bishops? Could it be their unnatural way of life, eschewing sex? Ya think?

October 19, 2014

CDC head Tom Frieden

Tom Frieden Mr. Rogers
The dolt who heads the CDC, Tom Frieden, used to be NYC's health commissioner. Basically, he's Mr. Rogers in a lab coat. Frieden enacted every single item on Bloomburg's nanny-state list -- and did so with enthusiasm. He is a complete nitwit so I'm not surprised that he screwed up the early Ebola response. He's that kind of a fella.

Just to give you an idea of what his NYC "health" policies were like, let's talk cigarettes for a moment. At the time, I smoked four packs a day and was quite happy doing so.

Frieden, in a half-assed effort to stop fires caused by unwatched, lit cigarettes, removed the chemical that makes cigarettes burn in a steady fashion. In its place, he added a new thickness to the paper. So how did this play out on the ground (i.e., in smokers' lungs)? The cigarettes were much stronger after the change. They really whomped your lungs, in a way that cigarettes never did before. As a militant smoker, I was thrilled.

And then he arranged for the price of cigarettes to soar. This had a predictable effect: we now smoked our cigarettes down to the barest nub, which...uh, causes cancer. We had to because we couldn't afford to smoke casually anymore; it was too expensive. So we smoked with a new sense of determination, instilled in us by dear Dr. Frieden. In fact, many of us, myself included for a time, switched to non-filter cigarettes so we could smoke more of the cigarette. We didn't want those damned filters to get in the way. You should have seen us, smoking our unfiltered cigarettes until they were hardly there anymore. At times the tiny lit stub actually flew into my lungs as I tried to snatch that last puff.

That's what Tom Frieden did for cigarette smokers. So just imagine what he'll do for people with Ebola.

Don't get your hamshtring in an uproar

Shtrickly speaking, we'll have to reshtrain our emotions until we can shtrand those shtruggling with Ebola in the Ashtrodome. This is no shtraw man. This is shtrickly on the up and up.

Chrishtians may be eckshtra helpful in dealing with this dishtressing problem. When people are too ill to shtride in by themselves, perhaps a willing Chrishtian will roll them into the Ashtrodome in a shtroller, using a long piece of shtring to avoid contact. Once inside, the Ebola-shtricken masses will essentially have to shtraddle two worlds. Will it be shtressful for them? Absolutely. Some victims might even have a shtroke -- but it's better than being out on the shtreet.

In the meantime, don't get your hamshtring in an uproar. Watch our shtreaming video to learn more about these shtrange times. We recommend you shtrap on your big-boy shoes, maybe eat a bit of shtrudel or some pashtrami at a reshtrant, listen to a little Shtrauss -- you know: de-shtress. Just forget about Ebola. (And forget about shtray bullets too, for that matter.)

But whatever you do, make sure you put eckshtra letters in your words.

(I swear I hear this pronunciation tchwelve times a day. Oy.)

October 18, 2014

U.S. behind the times

So how come we don't have a giant Xmas butt-plug in a public plaza in the United States? I mean, Paris has one. Why don't we?

The United States used to lead the world. "Not no more", as my local friends like to say. Jeez, I really want us to get one, like for Rockefeller Center or something. Real trees are so tired.

(And have you noticed that it's already Xmas? I've seen several Xmas commercials on TV lately. Santa's almost here! Speaking of which, have you read "Xmas Carol". Gasp! You haven't?! You poor thing, you!)

Catholic church to remain hateful toward gays

Don't worry, conservatives. The hate is back!
Catholic bishops scrapped their landmark welcome to gays Saturday, showing deep divisions at the end of a two-week meeting sought by Pope Francis to chart a more merciful approach to ministering to Catholic families.

The bishops failed to approve even a watered-down section on ministering to homosexuals that stripped away the welcoming tone of acceptance contained in a draft document earlier in the week.
I hope Catholics learned a lesson from all this. If you don't hate gays with proper venom, you won't get into heaven. That's the rule and it's really that simple. 

Oh, and the Christian god, as understood by Roman Catholic conservatives, is a pig. That's also included in the lesson. I love stories with morals, don't you?

Siri and autistic kids

There was a great op-ed in the NYT yesterday. It's by Judith Newman and it's about how much Siri has helped her autistic son. Seriously, Siri is this kid's best friend and Newman writes about their relationship (the kid and Siri) in a touching and very funny way. You must read "To Siri with Love". Ah haz spoken.

I don't want to excerpt sections that reveal the child's interaction with Siri. If you want to check that out, you'll have to click on the link above to read Newman's words. But here's a bit from another part of the op-ed:
But the companionability of Siri is not limited to those who have trouble communicating. We’ve all found ourselves like the writer Emily Listfield, having little conversations with her/him at one time or another. “I was in the middle of a breakup, and I was feeling a little sorry for myself,” Ms. Listfield said. “It was midnight and I was noodling around on my iPhone, and I asked Siri, ‘Should I call Richard?’ Like this app is a Magic 8 Ball. Guess what: not a Magic 8 Ball. The next thing I hear is, ‘Calling Richard!’ and dialing.” Ms. Listfield has forgiven Siri, and has recently considered changing her into a male voice. “But I’m worried he won’t answer when I ask a question,” she said. “He’ll just pretend he doesn’t hear.”
See? Newman is a smart, funny writer. G'wan, go read it!

Misplaced modifier of the day

The fun thing about this is that it's on-topic. Here's a terrible sentence AP used as the lede for a story today:
ROME — The gay marriage debate arrived within walking distance of the Vatican on Saturday as Rome's mayor registered 16 gay marriages celebrated abroad in open defiance of Italy's government.
So...the marriages were celebrated abroad in open defiance of Italy's government? No. It's just a badly constructed sentence. You've got to watch your modifying clauses, people. I keep tellin' ya that. Here's how it should have been written:
The gay marriage debate arrived within walking distance of the Vatican on Saturday as Rome's mayor, in open defiance of Italy's government, registered 16 gay marriages celebrated abroad.
Note that I simply moved "in open defiance of Italy's government" closer to the word that it modifies (mayor). Yes, it requires you to set it off with commas, and I know this trick may be difficult for those of you who are punctuationally challenged. But it's really not that hard. (Of course, the whole sentence should simply be rewritten. It still stinks. But what can you do? It's AP.)

Luckily for us, the story is on-topic. Here's a bit more about this terrific Italian mayor.
Marino said Saturday was an important day in the fight for equal rights for all and that "the most important right is to say to your companion 'I love you' and to have that be recognized.
Sounds like a smart guy with a good heart. And of course, the biggest bonus is that this happened within shouting distance of the Vatican. Yay!

October 17, 2014

English-speaking bishops muck up translation of Vatican synod document

It's time for the latest chapter of "Backtracking for Jesus". Earlier in the week, we were all shocked when conciliatory language about gay inclusion was used in a Vatican synod report. Well, it seems the inclusive language persists in the original Italian document, but the English-speaking bishops have been having a field day editing the document to appease their vicious inner selves.
But the Vatican reversed course at a press conference on Thursday, when officials announced the release of an edited English version of the report that alters passages that affirm gay people. For example, the new version changes the translation of the Italian phrase “Accogliere le persone omosessuali,” which was initially rendered in the English version as “to welcome homosexual persons,” a literal interpretation of the text. Although the original Italian document remains unchanged, Thursday’s revision edited the English version to read, “providing for homosexual persons,” a shift that Thomas Reese of the National Catholic Reporter said was “clearly … not an accurate translation.”

The new document includes other subtle alterations as well, although virtually all of the edits deal with the Catholic church’s position on homosexuality. Thursday’s version of the report, for instance, changed a phrase that previously referred to same-sex unions as “precious support in the life of the partners” to “valuable support in the life of these persons.”

The revisions appear to be an attempt by the Vatican — or at least English-speaking bishops — to control the media narrative surrounding the release of the original document.
So the English-speaking bishops still hate gay people. What else is new? Will the Vatican ever put these homophobes in their proper place? (The trash, in other words.) Stay tuned. But the fight will be intense. Here's a last bit from the Think Progress article:
English bishops are now calling for even broader changes to the document, insisting that the Synod offer a “fuller presentation of the church’s theology of marriage, more encouragement for those who are faithful to church teaching, and the elimination of … confusing passages in the report.”
Confusing indeed. But they're the ones who are confused. We're gay, we're here and we're never going away. These bishops had better wake up. They're living in the distant, ugly past and they really, really don't want to let go. It's quite sad.

October 16, 2014

Vatican kindness to gays was typo

Ah, well. It was fun to think that the Roman Catholic church might welcome gays. But we all knew in our hearts that it was too good to be true. Turns out, the whole thing was just a typo.
The original text contained an entire section "Welcoming homosexuals," that asked the church to provide gays a "fraternal space" and said their unions constitute a "precious support" for the partners. The new English version is entitled "Providing for homosexual persons," speaks only of "fellowship" and "valuable support."
I was toying with an alternate headline for this post: "Church tightens sphincter, expels gays". But I figured I'd stay classy. Either way, it's the same news. The Catholic church hates gay people, again.

October 14, 2014

Auroral corona over Norway

Isn't this photo incredible? Apparently, this happens when the aurora begins right over where you are. Click on the photo to see the huge version.

So when is the United States going to get auroras? I swear, we're always behind the cool countries.

You can see images like this every day at the Astronomy Picture of the Day site, operated by NASA.