Friday, September 4, 2015


Last night, I had a close encounter with one of the neighbors:

The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), the only marsupial in temperate North America, is an unlovely beast, often characterized as looking like a rat's ugly cousin. In the picture I posted, though, the face evinces a certain cuteness, looking more like a wallaby's face than a rat's.

Its profile is less flattering... Montgomery Clift it ain't:

Possums are stupid beasts, and slow, but they are proficient arborealists. I came upon this critter while on the walkabout, and it took a while to get hip to my presence, whereupon it started climbing. It got to about head height, but I probably could have nabbed the sucker if I had wanted to. Possums are extremely short-lived creatures, largely because they are easy prey- on one particular island off the Georgia coast, they tend to live for a couple of more years than usual. Despite being dumb, slow, and short-lived, they are increasing their range... if anything, they are survivors, as put-upon as they are. I happen to like them, they have an underdog's undeniable charm.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Gays Ruined Her Marriages!

M. Bouffant is on the case, posting about the checkered marital history. Being a typical "born again" Christian, she would claim that she isn't the same person she was when she went through a spousal revolving door, but that sort of bullshit is the biggest cop-out in the world. Sorry, you may be "washed in the blood of the Lamb", but all of your less-than-savory deeds are part of your history, you don't get to wipe the slate clean.

Meanwhile, this crazy craw-thumper would have denied my friend a marriage license, even though he's been with the same guy for thirty-seven years.

The one benefit to the hypocrisy of the Christian Right is that, with their mean-spiritedness and their utter lack of decency, they have lost the war on LGBTQ people. They are fighting a, pardon the expression, rearguard action, and as their influence wanes, they become smaller and meaner. Soon, even their small-town tyranny will be a thing of the past- thank you Kim Davis, for being a total shitbag.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media coverage of this sordid little kerfuffle has been downright crappy- for the most part, they have been eliding the right-wing theocratic connections of crazy Kim's lawyer. Is there any "conservative" who isn't given a pass by the so-called liberal media?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

All Hands on Deck

Just about two years ago, the organization for which I worked hired a new employee for my department (a prior hire didn't work out, hilarity ensued). The new hire is a guy whose resume was eerily like mine. He's a big fellow (bigger than I am), he has a similar work ethic, similar values, and is a voracious reader. When he was hired, one of my subordinates joked, "When the boss hired him, he was hiring you again."

Last week, one of my subordinates fell and broke his arm- in the best-case scenario, he'll be out for six weeks. The "new guy" was on vacation last week, enjoying some time off from both of his jobs. He returned yesterday, and the department head called him to inform him of our co-worker being on the injured reserve list. The boss danced around the subject of covering additional shifts, but he needn't have worried- the guy is willing to work seven days a week to ensure coverage. The guy is a solid citizen. When I called him yesterday, I couched the question with a qualifier:"I hate to even bring up the subject but could you?" He's such a good sport, he joked, "It'll help me pay off the vacation bills."

I've always maintained that you are only as good as the people that have your back. It's going to be a rough couple of months, but everybody is pulling together. Did I ever mention how much I value my co-workers? And not just the furry ones!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sad Sacks

We've had another loss of a notable person... this time, neurologist Dr Oliver Sacks succumbed to cancer after a long, productive life.

Dr Sacks was one of the great popularizers of science- writing entertaining, accessible books, some of which were made into popular movies. My personal favorite book by him is Seeing Voices, a book about the development of sign languages and the rise of deaf culture. Dr Sacks had a knack for covering neurological topics in an approachable fashion, and his compassion was evident on every page.

We lost one of the good ones- anyone who is able to teach scientific concepts to lay persons is doing important work, and Dr Sacks was prolific. In a culture which seems to be sliding towards idiocracy, people like Dr Sacks are more important than ever- we are sadly diminished by his passing.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ten Years Post-Katrina

It's been ten years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the Gulg Coast and damn near wiped a major U.S. city off the map. Ten years since a jackass president played air guitar while a national tragedy was unfolding (at least Nero was reputed to have fiddled while Rome burned), ten years since an out-of-his-league frat bro botched the rescue efforts, ten years since a TV jackass described U.S. citizens in a racially insensitive manner usually reserved for victims of third-world disasters. Ten years after the media's racial bias was made clear in stark black-and-white.

Besides the loss of life, the worst legacy of Katrina was the destruction of a neighborhood marked by a high degree of home ownership among the African-American population, the destruction of family property that made exacerbated intergenerational poverty. The population of the devastated Gulf Coast was not only displaced, it was disinherited.

I spent an hour this afternoon listening to a post-Katrina on This American Life. The stories of individuals who survived the hurricane and subsequent failure of the levees and flood walls will drive home the horror of the tragedy better than dry prose from a high-and-dry guy thirteen hundred miles away ever could.

Better keep some hankies on hand.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Found Another Time-Sink

Today, I found the Piece of Shit Book Club- they read shitty books so you don't have to. The glorious thing about the site is that, purportedly, they invited the internet infamous Chuck Tingle to review a children's book. From creepy PUA how-tos to creepy fundamentalist child-rearing how-tos to creepy dinosaur erotica, they run the gamut of, you got it, piece of shit books.

Be forewarned, though, this site will have you wondering how the hell you lost so much time reading these reviews. That's better than losing that time reading those shitty books, though.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Media Shows Again and Again how Rachel Points out the Folly of Men

Over the course of my five years and eight months of blogging, I have only written about Donald Trump a handful of times. I've avoided writing about him in this campaign season because I think he'll get bored with campaigning and drop out of the race in a few months. I figured I'd mention The Donald in light of Rachel Maddow's comparison of his feud with Fox News as a Godzilla vs Mothra style battle. Yeah, Trump is kinda like Godzilla, stomping the GOP that awakened him from his slumber in abyssal slime, and Trumpzilla has become a meme, with this image being a particular favorite of mine. I don't see myself giving much coverage to The Donald, but snark is paramount to me, so without further ado, here's my concise take on Trump's campaign:

With a purposeful grimace and a terrible rug,
He stinks up the TV with his godawful mug.

Helpless people on the campaign trail.
Scream bug-eyed as he rants and he rails.

He picks up a mic and he talks with a frown
As he blames all the problems on the people who are brown

Oh no, they say he's got to go go go Trumpzilla
Oh no, there goes Rubio go go Trumpzilla

Media shows again and again
How Rachel points up the folly of men

This doggerel, based on a comment of mine on the linked story, is a parody of a classic Blue Öyster Cult song:

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I cribbed the BÖC-lyric-as-post-title schtick from these fine folks- if you're going to steal, steal from the best.