October 24th, 2008

camo at halloween


I have just had a troll. Not the run of the mill... “You stupid bastard” troll (I get a few of those a month, people telling me how much I hate America because I don’t love Bush (or lately, McCain), but someone who decided I needed to talk about his pet peeves, and that those who didn’t share his view were ignoramouses

The former is semi-tolerable. The latter... well I have rules, and they aren’t hard to find. The one which I care most about is “don’t be rude to my guests.”

He broke that. So, as I can’t disemvowel him, I can point out the errors in swseat’s behavior. I can say his estimation that there are many people on the internet who are smarter, and better informed than he is, is most certainly correct. A great many of the people who are kind enough to grace my little corner of the web with their presence happen to be among that coterie.

Want to disagree with me... fine. Happens all the time. I don’t care. Want to engage in topic drift, also fine. If it bothers me, I will mention it. If I say it bothers me, pay attention. Threadjacking to your personal peeve, without actually addressing the topic initially mentioned, more likely than not to get such a warning.

Telling people what they can and can’t do... not on. That is, no matter how carefully phrased, rude. Full stop. So too is telling them they have to do the research to support your assertions. You want to make an argument, go to town. But you have to make it. Merely saying, CNN and Fox have said, “x” and if you google “y” you will see how wrong they are, and how right I am,” is both pointless (because it will be ignored) and rude. If you have facts, bring ‘em to the table, if you don’t; you have no one but yourself to blame when you get shot down.

As a final note... flouncing will not win you points. For someone who has just arrvied, it is actually almost certain to cost you whatever small bank of good credit you might have gained from otherwise reasonable arguments; badly delivered.

We write letters

I don't know if the LA Times will print this, but there was a letter yesterday which merited a reply, so I sent them this.

Re: Catholic Choice

Mr. Philen makes a fundamental error when he says the doctrinal issues of abortion are governed by the bull Ex cathedra. Ex cathedra only comes into play when the Pope invokes it. It has been invoked but rarely and some of those precepts are from inference. Since the bull codifying the doctrine was published the only ex cathedral edict has been the bodily assumption of Mary.

The Holy See has reversed itself on other issues of great weight (the earth going round the sun, which was heresy, as well as the recent doctrinal declaration that evolution is not incompatible with scripture, and is therefore to be accepted). We, the faithful, are therefore to use the guidance of the doctrines and dogma of The Church, in concert with the reason God gave us to make the best decisions we can.

On the issue of abortion there is dispute within the church. John Kerry's bishop said he would not refuse him the sacraments. Justice Scalia, who personally supports capital punishment (which the Holy See has condemned as mightily as it has abortion) is still admitted to the eucharist.

When judging between McCain and Obama, the person who believes there is nothing which the pope says which can be questioned is in a moral quandary. His Holiness has condemned abortion, which Obama does not promise to use his office to outlaw. His Holiness has also condemned the war in Iraq, which McCain has said must be waged to victory, even if that takes 100 years.

To vote for either is to go against a papal decree.

Rather I have looked at the policies, not the rhetoric, and seen that where McCain's policies have been put into place, abortion rates go up, and women die from lack of care. Where Obama's policies have been put into place there are fewer abortions, and women get the care they need.

I know which of those outcomes seems more in keeping with the ideals of The Church, and can therefore, with clean conscience, cast a vote for Obama

Paying off a debt

I have been asked to explain why I love California. My quick response, “what’s not to love?” is silly. And it’s not exactly true. There are things not to love about my state. But, as with the quirks of a beloved partner, love can conquer all and the painful bits (Kern County) can be abided, even; perhaps, ignored.

I came to California at eight years of age, beyond what the church calls, “the age of reason.” I did not love it at first. There was a lack of green, the autumn seemed dull, and there was no snow. Spring was anticlimactic. I was not merely strange, but odd. A skinny white kid in a brown neighborhood. It’s not that I minded the shades of non-white, in the places we’d lived before (Cleveland, the South Side of Chicago) there were blacks, and I had no problem with them. My best friend in the second grade was black, as was Ernie, into whose lap I preferred to climb when at Mass (it was a Vatican II parish, located in a school, with kids rambling about during the Mass to sit where they would. The classes preparing me for my first communion were both exciting (the mystery of the Eucharist is a funny thing) and painful, because they took us away from the rest of the church, but I digress), it’s that I was the minority, and got grief for being different.

We moved about LA. Maia’s family gives me grief about how many parts of LA in which I’ve lived; you can add the barren sweeps of the Mojave Desert to that. As an adult I’ve been in Monterey, Petaluma and San Luis Obispo, with ties to SF, San Diego and San Bernardino.

My dad lives in Eastern Tennessee. It’s lovely, and the people are more tolerant than they are given credit. When I had long hair I got more hassle in LA, then I did in Oak Ridge.

20 years ago I went out there and got a car. A couple of weeks getting the hang of it, the driving test, and four days later I was driving it back to California. As I crested the 15, coming out of Barstow and into San Bernardino, the radio started to play Randy Newman’s, “I love LA”.

And I realised I did. California, in which I’d lived for 13 years, was home.

Why? Hell if I can say. Why was Lee so attached to Virginia? It’s everything. It’s the people, who tend to start trends. Palimony happened here. Civil disobedience leading to the recognition that denying marriage to gays happened here (in that blessed bellwether of progressive thinking which is San Francisco. Sodom on the Bay, a mad mix of neighborhoods, hills, leftover history rolling on the streets [not just the cable cars, but the F-Line, which has old trolleys from around the nation; and BART] As SF Goes, so Calif. goes, and as Calif. goes, so goes the nation?). Cesar Chavez happened here.

So too did crazy people. McMartin happened here, and Manson, and Zodiac. The Hillside Strangler, and Richard Ramirez happened here (the latter in the area I was living in). I can see celebrities, and I do. When I was delivering pizza in Encino, we had Cybil Shepard and Wayne Gretzky as customers. Tom Petty has a great license plate on his green MG: YTTP MT. Imagine seeing it in your mirror. People think we affect to be blasé. Nope. We are blasé.

The sun shines all the damned time. We have seasons, but they are local, and temperate. Where I live (Pasadena, home of the Rose Parade... it’s an all week event in LA. Here in Pasadena its wake up, watch it live on television, should you wish, and then walk to the parade route and see them march by, tired and proud and happy and giddy. If you want to sleep in, that’s ok. It will be repeated, three times. Bands from all over the country showing off. The Friday before, go to the equestrian center and watch all the horse events showing off. The days after, go look at the floats up close. Go out to the roads in the middle of the night and see the floats, drift across the overpasses in ghostly glory, as they are staged for the start).

If I want snow... it happens. Come December (or at the latest, January) and the mountains north of my house, are whitecapped. Mt. Baldy will be white until March. It has the highest recorded numbers of avalanches in the nation; almost every year. I’ve studied avalanche rescue there. I love snow, but it scares me. It scares me because those mountains behind my house, are the steepest range in the world (they are also the fastest growing, and the fastest eroding... which is why they are so steep).

I live at 900 feet. Mt. Baden Powell (the highest peak in the Angeles Crest) is 9,892 feet. That peak is about ten miles, straight line, from my door. Go the Sierra Nevada, I can get to 14,500 something feet. I can have all the seasons I want.

The deserts.... oh how I love them. Sere, and splendid. With a modicum of preparation they are abundant (you have to know what to look for, but food is there). The first place I saw the Milky Way was in Joshua Tree. No moon and you can still see to walk. Rocks to climb, plants to see, more kinds of cholla than you really want. Barrel cacti, and desert tortoise, kangaroo rats and rattlesnakes, skinks and hummingbirds.

Humboldt: Famous for weed, deep and dark and dense with redwoods, and moss and shadow and sunlight. A parable written wood and grass and stone. If you've never been, there's nothing more I can say to describe it. If you have, you know what I mean.

The Central Valley: home of the most conservative parts of the state... Texas has nothing on Bakersfield for “C”onsesrvative. Put a seed in the ground, add water and stand back. They use more water than they should, but they grow more food than the mind can compass. Driving five is hours of nothing but serried rows of green flashing by. Grapes, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, almonds, apricots, oranges, tomatoes, cotton, peppers, alfalfa, psyllium, you name it, someone is growing it.

The coast.... Land of balmy. This is what people think of when the think of California, Pismo, and Santa Monica Monterey and Malibu. This is where the seasons are really tempered. The summers aren’t too hot, the winters aren’t too cold and spring happens overnight... so too the autumn. February is when the hills go green here, and, most years, the riot of flowers, and grasses has faded to an infinite variety of browns. When Maia was in England, for a semester, she found herself staring at a dead tree, until she realised she was looking at it because it was homely; with it shadings of brown, the colors of summer.

There are people who wear shorts year round.

We get rain. Not rain the way most places do. We get it in torrents. Seattle only gets about three times the annual rainfall we do, but we get it in an average of about 21 days, they get it over 300. We get flooding, earthquakes and fire. Tornadoes are rare (thank God. If I never have to huddle in the corner of classroom, or hunker down in the storm cellar listening to the radio again, I will be a happy camper).

We have food. There are restaurants of every stripe, and street fairs. We have wine. A friend was in Missouri, under imported wine they had Californian. I’ve become spoiled. I can go to any supermarket, and find labels I’ve never seen before. I can gamble 5 bucks on a strange bottle and (eight times out of ten) get more than my money’s worth. Moonshine? I’ve had it in Tenn. Swell stuff... the guy had an old sherry cask he mellowed it in. I know some people here, who make their own grappa.

A limousine oak cask, and it mellows up pretty good. No need to pay through the nose for it in a bar, I can get it from a jug, and sit around as the sun fades, the bats come out, the chickens roost and the wildturkeys gobble: small tumblers of wine and grappa, homemade sausages; good cheese and some saltine crackers, passing the time of day with old friends and new.

This is my place.

What’s not to love.
Pixel Stained

Dear God in Heaven

There are people worrying about Black Magic being done in Kenya to keep McCain from winning.

Dear friends:


Minutes ago I spoke with friend Dr. Norman G. Marvin, M.D. and he is so concerned at what he has learned about Barack Obama's family in Kenya that he is calling a special prayer meeting in his home to pray against the witchcraft curses attempted by them against John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Dr. Marvin sent me the below e-mail from Flo Ellers. Flo is credentialed with the International Fellowship of Ministries which is based in Washington State. She is also a member of EndTime Handmaidens and Servants of Jasper, Arkansas.



So there you have it... the Forces of Eeeevil! Are rooting for Obama. Don't believe it...?


From Flo Ellers. Excerpt. (Emphasis supplied in bold and underlines.)

Two days ago, I listened to a 9-6-08 message by Bree Keyton, a young woman evangelist who had just traveled to Kenya and visited Obama's home village and what she found out about his relations with his tribal people was chilling. And his "cousin" Odinga was dreadful. She said the witches, warlocks and those involved in satanism and the occult get up daily at 3 a.m. to release curses against McCain and Palin so B. Hussein Obama is elected.

Look at the nasty little racsist crap in there... B Hussien Obama He doesn't use that form of his name (as someone who uses a diminutive of my middle name I may be a bit oversensitive to that, but it's not honestly done), but they do. It lets them imply he's muslim, and reminds people of terrorism.

Then there's the "home village" crap. Obama's home is Hawaii. He's not from Africa (if he were he'd be ineligble to run for president). So they get the two-fer of "foriegn, not like us" and "nor a real american"

And it's terrible theology. The rest of it is just words fail me... a twisted mish-mosh of rumors and unsubtantiable fairy tales of genie worship (thus making Obama a bad Muslim, or false Christian, and a supporter of Black Magick). The mind (my mind at least) boggles.

I cannot fathom this being taken seriously, but I am sure it is.
Pixel Stained

Ok... these bastards need to go down, Big.

Yes on 8 Supporters Admit to Blackmailing People

The letter from Yes on 8 came by certified mail, demanding at least $10,000. Jim Abbot knows exactly why he's being targeted - his business gave $10,000 to a group called Equality California, which supports No on Prop 8....

The letter says if Jim doesn't give an equal donation to Yes on 8, the name of his company will be published. It reads in part, "It is only fair for Proposition 8 supporters to know which companies and organizations oppose traditional marriage....

Yes on 8 confirms they sent around 30 companies the letter.

It's probably not illegal, but I want to find out every single business owner which supported it, publish their companies' names and start a boycott.

With a statement that their support for 8 is the reason why.