September 23, 2014

Came as news to me

I had no idea that Yogi Berra was and is an ally of LGBT athletes. Very cool. Joe Jervis wrote a post about this on his blog, so I don't have to.

Go read it. And stick it out till the end, when Joe hauls out his favorite Yogi-isms. A couple of them were new to me. The one about towels is really funny, but then they all are.

What an amazing life Yogi's had. And everyone loves him. That is one hell of an achievement, right there.

Medical adventures

My hernia surgery was a week ago today. I must say, it's been a painful week - but I'm definitely on the mend. I even went for a short walk yesterday, so I assume it won't be long until I'm fully healed. In the meantime, here are a few medical oddities.

A day or two after you return home from surgery, the back of your hand blossoms in a big, mottled yellow-and-green bruise. I'm sure you've all had this experience. It's the result of a nurse's sad attempts to stick an IV in your hand. (Must they always miss a few times before hitting the mother lode?) In any case, I've decided this bruise should be called a hospital hickey. 

Afterward, people come up to you and see the hospital hickey. Their response is to cluck their tongues knowingly and say, as they waggle a finger at you, "Uh, uh, ah, ah. I know where you've been: you've been letting a hospital have its way with your body!" And then they want all the sordid details. Tch. Must hospitals leave these hickeys behind? The least they could do is offer a little hospital hand make-up as they wheel you out the door.

Oh, and I'd mentioned that I was offered a choice: being fully out during surgery or being semi-out. The latter would allow you to be aware of what happens during the surgery, but then the drug they use would wipe away your memories. They call this retroactive amnesia and it is so strange. I went for the semi-out version of anesthesia. And sadly, I don't remember a thing. Darn. No tales from the operating table.

While I'm on medical stuff, I have to share something. I see a female doctor who is very sweet and supportive - but says odd things. When I bring up something that she doesn't consider important, she says (in a female version of Rodney Dangerfield's voice): "You're killin' me, Keith. You're killin' me!" And she has a male nurse who, no matter what you say to him, responds with "Roger that!" Yes, he just got out of the military. They're actually both quite sweet; I don't mean to malign them. It's just that I find these responses funny.

So here's hoping you don't have a hospital hickey on your hand. And if you do, what hospital did you let have its way with you, you scamp?

Whatever. Recovery continues and I'll be back to blogging some point. In the meantime, hang on.

September 22, 2014

Catholic church wants same-sex couple to bend over for punishment

Honestly, the Roman Catholic church is disgusting. Check this out:
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A Roman Catholic bishop says a central Montana parish is about evenly divided over a new priest's decision to prohibit a gay couple from receiving Communion unless they divorce, live separately and write a statement affirming that a marriage is between a man and a woman.
Yes, because that's exactly what a loving church would command two men (who are in their 70s, BTW) to do: bend over and receive a public caning. Well, okay, they didn't actually require that. But they want to 1) destroy the men's lives; 2) separate them forever; and 3) force them to admit in public that they sinned and that the church is totally, fabulously right in its insistence on limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Jesus would be so proud. In case you're not clear about this, the Catholic church is the sinner here and it is the one that needs to repent. Of course, why these two men want to be a part of this backwater church is unclear. Perhaps they're masochists. To each his own. But religions can't spurn their gay members, not if they want to survive.

Let's hope the men wise up and leave this particular church behind. And let's also hope that this hateful church goes the way of the dodo.

Great post on America

Tom Sullivan has been blogging over at digby's place for the past couple of weeks, and he is something else. He's perceptive and has a magical way of saying things. I'm totally impressed.

Now, blogger rules say that I should paste a telling paragraph or two here, to lure you in. But you know what? His post is short and I want you to read it in full. This way you'll feel the magic.

And then, of course, you'll feel sad about this failed country of ours. But hey, you read a good writer! I hope Sullivan sticks around. He's a gem.

September 21, 2014

Bruni today

Go read Frank Bruni's column in today's NYT. If you thought you were disappointed in the media before reading the column, just wait.

September 20, 2014

Bad guy out, semi-good guy in

Thankfully, Pope Francis pushed out one of the most anti-gay cardinals in the United States, and installed a seemingly reasonable bishop in his place.
The bishop chosen by Pope Francis to be the new head of the Archdiocese of Chicago says that people should not read too much into the decision about the Catholic Church's future direction.

Bishop Blase (BLAHZ') Cupich (SOO'-pihch), of Spokane, Washington, has been described as a moderate and has called for civility in the culture wars.
Civility would be nice. Let's see if he churns any out.

The only hint in the linked article of the monster who preceded this appointment is given here:
During a news conference Saturday in Chicago, Cupich was asked several times about whether he would shift direction as a successor to Cardinal Francis George, who is particularly admired in the church's conservative wing.
You know what it takes to be "admired" by the "church's conservative wing", doncha? This kind of thing. Yup, he actually compared gays to the KKK. He is a full-fledged monster. So good riddance, though who knows if Cupich will be any better.
Seriously, there's a "wing" of the Catholic church that consistently cheers vicious statements? Says a lot about the god those people worship, doesn't it?

And of course, the clincher is that there is no god. All this hate, for no reason at all. As I often say, religion is a magic fence surrounding nothing.

September 18, 2014

Apple turns government surveillance off with iOS 8

I think this is pretty damn cool:
Apple is rolling out new privacy protections for iPhones and iPads, with a new system that makes it impossible for the company to unlock a device even with a warrant.
"Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."
Simply and easy. I wonder how our surveillance-mad government will respond to this news. Like a spoiled child, I imagine.

A black sociology professor's take on child abuse

Michael Eric Dyson has an opinion piece at the NY Times this morning about the rampant child abuse that takes place in many African American homes. The article was occasioned by Adrian Peterson's physical abuse of his four-year-old child and his reliance on religious excuses for this behavior.
If beating children began, paradoxically, as a violent preventive of even greater violence, it was enthusiastically embraced in black culture, especially when God was recruited. As an ordained Baptist minister with a doctorate in religion, I have heard all sorts of religious excuses for whippings.
It's good to see light thrown on this shady practice. To be clear, this also happens in white families. And the abusive white parents often cite the same "religious" excuses for their behavior. God is such a convenient fall-back position. But of course, there is no god. These folks are simply evil for beating their children.

Beating a child is never okay. All parents who engage in such abuse perpetuate a cycle of violence, guaranteeing that their children will grow up to beat their children. This makes no sense. And bringing god into it doesn't help at all. The mass murders being committed by ISIS are the final, logical extension of this way of thinking. God made them do it. Sorry, but that doesn't fly.

September 17, 2014

What if people became telepathic?

In one of my sci-fi novels (not yet released), I dabble in telepathy. It's a fascinating concept, especially when you reel it out and look at it closely.

In the movies, we see telepaths sending a thought to someone else. Is that "reading a person's mind"? If it is, I'm not impressed. We'll soon have our communication technology implanted, so we can always send a thought to someone. We call that a "phone call". So that kind of telepathy gets a meh from me.

But what would it mean if some technological miracle allowed people to truly share people's thoughts, to hear how they think and discover what they're thinking about? People would find this hugely threatening. Everyone has thoughts they're ashamed of. Everyone's done something they don't want others to know about. Total mental access? Most would find it abhorrent.

But what if telepathy was forced on everyone through technological advances -- all in the same instant? Yes, they'd initially be horrified at their mental exposure -- but in the long run, would people learn that everyone is basically the same no matter what they look like, what they wear or how many buildings and companies they own? Would it bring humanity together by brute telepathic force?

There might be an added bonus. The vicious people of the world might not be able to survive in such an environment. Once others could see into their dark hearts, they would be scorned by virtually everyone. They might even be pushed into becoming decent people by the force of opprobrium directed their way by the telepathic mob.

Does this sound familiar? (Think of the way social networking is driving the news today. Ray Rice, anyone? Adrian Peterson? Roger Goodell? Without social networking, their sins would remain hidden, or be brushed aside by the powers that be. Make no mistake about it: social networks are driving the American story right now.)

What will happen when telepathic social networks become the norm? I'll bet it's in the cards.

PS: Sorry to be absent from the blog but I'm recovering from hernia surgery. Hurts a lot, even with oxycodone. But if the surgery fixes the problem, I'm willing to put up with it. I'll be back soon.

September 14, 2014

Isn't it funny how some traits go together?

Now, where have I heard news about Adrian Peterson before? I'm sure I saw something last year about him. Let me think. In the meanwhile, there's this:
It's another scar for the NFL and this time the victim is a 4-year-old boy, beaten in the back, buttocks, legs and scrotum by his dad, running back Adrian Peterson.
Oh, wait - now I remember! He's the NFL player who felt compelled to share his distaste for gay marriage.
Peterson says he considers Kluwe [Chris Kluwe, a football player who is in favor of marriage equality] a good friend but he differs with the punter on the subject for gay marriage.

"To each his own, [but] I'm not with it," he said. "I have relatives who are gay. I'm not biased towards them. I still treat them the same. I love 'em. But again, I'm not with that. That's not something I believe in.
He simply had to say that. Couldn't stop himself. And now he's being looked at for beating his four-year-old child with "a switch or a branch". On the scrotum!

I wonder if he was trying to beat heterosexual marriage into the boy.

Isn't it funny how people who are literally scum are the ones who fight against marriage equality? I wonder if there's a connection there. Hmmm.