October 1, 2015

The pope's BFF: Kim Bigot Davis

Really disgusting news from pope-land. I'll let Jerry Coyne say it for me. This is from his post, "Pope Met Secretly with Kim Davis":
I have yet to see a mainstream American venue, like the New York Times or the New Yorker, point out in an editorial the disparity between Francis’s words and his actions (or rather, his inaction in changing repressive Catholic dogma). Those who claim that Francis really is a liberal pope, committed to changing Church dogma, but moving very slowly because that’s the only way to do it, must explain this secret meeting with Davis as well as his encouragement of her actions. If he really wanted the Church to eventually deep-six its position on gays, the worst way to do it is to provide succor for those who want to deny gays their legal rights.

The Pope is not liberal: he still opposes women’s equality, abortion, and rights for gays. He won’t even mention population growth as a factor causing degradation of the environment. At best his values are those of a Reagan-era Republican. So let us not call the man “liberal”, for while he gives lip service to Enlightenment values, he secretly meets and encourages bigots like Kim Davis.
It really was disgusting. I have no other word for the pope's actions. And, in accordance with my longstanding suspicions, it turns out this was his anti-gay trip. He just did it "secretly". Ha. Secret my ass. He knew we'd learn all about it after he left the US. So it was not only disgusting, it was cowardly.

UPDATE: The gooey aftermath. I don't buy it. The pope knew who Davis was and what she stood for. He practically applauded her in his comments to reporters about conscientious objectors. I figure the pope was trying to send smoke signals to the conservative dingbat wing of the church, and got caught in the act. What do you think?

September 27, 2015


I love walking on the farm. I can amble around for many miles without seeing another human being. That's so cool. And all along the way, I see these guys. Here are two shots.

See that little guy, the white one? He's some sort of dwarf horse and the larger one is his best friend. They're always together. This is a shot from feeding time. All the trainers say the little guy is "nasty". We're told not to go near him. Poor thing. Someone dwarfed his genes and now everyone calls him nasty. There's something wrong with that.

Here's another shot, this time of three mares with their offspring. Again, it's feeding time.

Isn't it sweet, the way the little guys eat with their moms? They always do this. In fact, they walk around in pairs all day with the mother keeping close watch over her foal. Families work the same, no matter if you're a horse or a person. 

It's heaven here.

Lest you think

In case you thought I was off the beam in my expectation that the pope would trounce gay marriage in Philadelphia, know that I'm not alone in this.

Read this article in the NYT. Conservatives expected Francis to denounce gay marriage and stand up for every pinhead principle that the American bishops have identified in their hateful, pogrom-like reign in the United States. And to be fair, Francis did give tiny shout-outs to these principles, but in oblique language. He just wasn't having it -- at least not on this trip.
On a stage set for a blockbuster papal endorsement of the American bishops' religious liberty battle, Pope Francis didn't deliver. He side-stepped the bishops' most burning religious freedom issue — marriage — and spent more time greeting immigrants.
It's not just me.

UPDATE: Also, see this.

Maureen Dowd can write

It's stylish among many liberals to make fun of Maureen Dowd. I understand this, given that her columns often include descriptions of reality that sound like they were written by someone still in junior high school. But she can knock out a great column now and then -- and the woman can write.

Dowd has a column in the NYT today. It's called "Francis, the Perfect 19th Century Pope". It's terrific. Here's a bit, but I suggest you read the whole thing:
Francis preaches against the elites while keeping the church an elite boys’ club.

As he arrived to say Mass on an altar designed by students outside the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the pope was surrounded by hundreds of white-robed male bishops, male priests and a sea of seminarians as he nonsensically canonized Father Juníipero Serra, a missionary agent for the Spanish empire in California, a man who flogged Native Americans who broke the rules of Catholic teachings.
And she notes a very strange thing about Francis (though admittedly she's quoting someone else):
As the noted religion writer Kenneth Briggs told me: “People here are ardently projecting a lot of things onto this pope, including a liberal new day for the church. But there hasn’t been any change in the moral teachings. It’s to Francis’ credit, I guess, that he gets credit for things he hasn’t done.”
Remind you of anyone, perhaps a certain president and his unearned Nobel Peace Prize? Francis still has work to do. But to be fair, I think he knows this. It's just that he works for a misogynistic church and he leans this way himself. This causes him to be unable to see women clearly -- and it also prevents him from confirming the rights of gays and transgender people. It's all about looking down on women, and on femaleness itself. Why would a man choose to be a woman?! Or even to be like one? Horrors. That's the official Catholic viewpoint, as far as I can tell. It verges on disgust toward all things female. But hey, that's just how I see it. Read the article and if you have the energy, drop a comment. How do you see this guy?

PS: Of course, the pope's intention of making this the Hate Gays Tour for the Ages was sidetracked by the migrant crisis. And more power to the pope for putting aside his personal bias and doing something by speaking up forcefully for kindness and for seeing the migrants as valuable, decent people who are simply avoiding danger -- just as any of us would. They are us.  

The pope is not a bad man. I just wish he'd work on the sexual issues. Straight men are not the only people on the planet -- and we are all equal and worthy. You'd think a guy like Francis would understand this simple concept...Oh, wait a minute. I just remembered that he works for an evil, misogynistic, death-worshipping cult. Okay, never mind. It's hopeless.

But I'm still glad he's speaking up for migrants and telling the world that it must address the threat of climate change. No one's perfect.

September 15, 2015

Spiral aurora over Iceland

I wish we had these in the US. It must be insanely interesting to see something like this in person. Got the image at NASA's Astronomy Pic of the Day site.

September 12, 2015

The view from down here

If you follow this blog, you know I've tossed my bed in the garbage. I sleep on a cushion on the floor now. In part, this is because my new apt is pretty small. The only way I could have an office here was to take over the bedroom with my two large desks, which left no room for a bed. But that's okay because I like it down here.

The view from the floor has disappeared from modern lives, at least in America. Sure, rugrats hang out there but adults shun floors. Bad move. It's cosmic down there.

And yes, this comes from my hippie days. In the 1960s, when we budding hippies visited a friend's house we'd all sit cross-legged on large floor cushions assembled around a low, round table. One or two poor slobs would sit apart, in the torture machines we referred to as butterfly chairs. Poor gits. They missed out on the lower vantage point. It was great on the floor. It just seemed so damned friendly. When you're on the floor, everyone's equal; you can feel it.

Now I find that going to bed, since my "bed" is on the floor, gives me that same feeling (okay, minus the crowd and the marijuana). It just feels right down there. Try it. Grab a friend and sit on cushions on the floor. It's way nicer than up here.

That is all. You may resume your lives now.

September 9, 2015

Vatican remains evil despite Frankie

The Vatican recently stated that it is "impossible" for a transgender person to be a godparent. It's true, they really said this.
The Vatican's report says being transgender "reveals in a public way an attitude opposite to the moral imperative of solving the problem of sexual identity according to the truth of one's own sexuality. Therefore it is evident that this person does not possess the requirement of leading a life according to the faith and in the position of godfather and is therefore unable to be admitted to the position of godfather or godmother."
Can you imagine the sexual confusion that went into that Vatican statement? I mean, being trans is "an attitude opposite to the moral imperative of solving the problem of sexual identity"? If you're trans, switching genders is, in fact, the only solution to the "imperative of solving the problem of sexual identity". To turn the trans quest for normalcy on its head with this type of  statement is utterly bizarre. Seriously, what is wrong with priests? These old Vatican men are so hateful. They just had to reach out and slap trans people? Why? What did trans people ever do to them?

The linked article goes on to remind readers that Francis has condemned "gender theory". Uh, there are actually genders, Frankie. It's not a theory. And sometimes they get mixed up. It's seen in nature and of course it's seen in humans, since we literally are nature. We were born of this Earth, just as all the other creatures were. And this happened without the need for a magic man in the sky. (BTW, this means your religion is a pile of nonsense. I'm just saying.)

The Vatican cannot keep its greasy fingers off sexual matters. It just can't. These men in dresses are literally obsessed with penises and vaginas. It's what they do.

September 6, 2015

Local wildlife

One of the painful things about leaving my old house was that I was leaving the wildlife behind. I had so many geese and crow friends, not to mention squirrels and groundhogs and all sorts of other critters. I hope someone takes care of them now that I'm gone.

As soon as I got to the new place, I scouted out the terrain and I'm happy to report that -- due to the miracle of peanuts -- I've established a great relationship with the local crows. Already, they wait for me on a particular fence at about noon. They know I'm coming. It's so sweet to see five or six crows waiting all in a row. It's hot outside today and I might have skipped my walk but I had to feed the crows. I mean, how could they possibly get by without me? So I trotted out into the breezeless humidity and suffered for my pals. One treat: on the way back, they followed me and settled into the tree right outside my house. From there, they serenaded me with friendly caws. I find crows always want to give back. They're actually sweet. (I know, I know; they murder little birds. But that's what they're supposed to do.)

Moving right along, I've also made friends with a horse. Okay, okay, so horses aren't exactly "wildlife". But they're so new to me, they may as well be. This horse is hurt with a muscle sprain and has to spend her days in a round, covered pen that has a radius of about 20 feet. She has room to pace, it's cool in there, and there are two windows she can stick her head out of, which she does all the time in an attempt to find people to play with.

The first time I saw her I could tell she wanted company. And did she! This is the huggiest horse ever. I'm 6'5", so I'm way up there, right around a horse's head. This makes it especially nice to hug with her. And all right, so it's me that's doing all the hugging. But she presses back with her head and nuzzles it into my chest and stomach. And at some point, she does something very friendly -- she snurfles my hand! I don't know what else to call it. She kind of puts my hand in her mouth, but not where her teeth are. She lays her huge wet lips over my hand and slobbers on it in a very friendly way. It's so sweet! I guess it's kind of like when dogs lick your hand. Have you ever had a horse snurfle your hand? It's not to be missed.

[PS: A horse trainer told me this is fine but you never want to stick your fingers directly into the mouth. Apparently, the horse might bite you without meaning to. (Or it might want to; there's always that.) She said "lips are fine". And they are!]

That's kind of it, so far. I'm sure I'll make more friends out there but this is a great start. I had no idea what I was missing by living in Manhattan most of my life. Concrete ain't it, kid.

September 1, 2015

Allergies are weird

Last night I woke up with a mad itch. First it was just in one place, then two -- and then it spread. When I finally stumbled out of bed and looked in the bathroom mirror, I discovered I was having yet another major allergic attack.

My lips were all swollen, as were my gums. And something inside my ears must have blown up because I couldn't hear a thing. The front of me was purple and my back was a whitish yellow. It was hard to breathe because something was swollen inside my nose, but I was able to breathe through my mouth. I felt like I couldn't stand and was close to passing out.

Luckily I've been through this before. I didn't have an epi-pen on hand but I had the next best thing: a full prescription of prednisone. I've gone to the hospital in this condition before and all they did was give me prednisone. So I asked my doc for a spare prescription. Thank goodness. I was able to start the medicine immediately.

I also breathed albuterol through my nebulizer to ensure that my lungs kept working. And then I headed back to bed, because why not? There's nothing to do but wait these things out. Today I still have swollen lips and I feel a tad shaky, but the big problems have diminished and I'm on my way to being well. I'm not looking forward to seven days of prednisone, but what can you do? (It makes you shake like crazy. It's instant crazy-guy.)

Seriously, allergies are weird. And I don't even know why this happened. I didn't eat anything unusual before bed, and it's the same bed I always sleep in. So why did I experience this attack? Who the heck knows. At least I've got the symptoms under control. That's all I can ask, really.

Here's hoping you slept well last night.

Pope to hold Jubilee Forgiveness Sale. Hurry, hurry!

Did you know that the Roman Catholic church sometimes has special forgiveness sales celebrations? It's true, they really do this. Pope Francis wrote a letter about an upcoming "Year of Jubilee, a celebration of forgiveness based on a biblical ritual of debt forgiveness." Now, isn't that sweet? At all other times, you go straight to hell -- but the Jubilee Year is coming and it offers hope, even to fornicating Jezebels!

It seems it's easier to be forgiven during this spiritually special year. Essentially, Jubilee Years are the equivalent of a church sale on forgiveness. But what about that letter the pope wrote? 
[H]idden within today’s letter — which offers various particulars for the coming celebration — is a discussion of abortion, something Francis describes as a “tragedy” but which he insists can be forgiven. Francis then declares a new church policy: During the jubilee year, women who have abortions will be able to receive forgiveness from a priest, an action that has historically required a bishop.
Now, isn't that marvelous? So, for a short time only, women who did what they thought was best for themselves and their families -- by having an abortion after careful thought and consideration -- can be forgiven for their giant, unspeakable sin. 
Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, told ThinkProgress that he found the pope’s words “refreshing,” but still flawed for many Catholics.
“The letter really tells us about the approach Francis is taking generally to his papacy, being more pastoral and less political than his predecessors,” he said. “However, Francis gets it wrong, because Catholics who have abortions at the same rate as other women have stopped looking for forgiveness a long time ago. They recognize the reality of their lives is one they can embrace, and they recognize as good Catholics they can make decision about contraception and abortion in good conscience. They don’t need to be forgiven or look [for] forgiveness.
You tell 'em, Jon. They can stick their forgiveness where the sun don't shine.

(You can probably see how the gay issue will go down the very same road. Francis is changing nothing. He's just holding sales and saying meaningless things. Thanks, Frankie!)