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March 15, 2017

Copy editor, author, and formidable curmudgeon Bill Walsh passed away today. He was just a little older than I, as it happens.

I found out about this accidentally, from an aside within the comments on a Metafilter post about the Oxford comma, which seems somehow appropriate.

He will be missed.


Really, Scott Pruitt, it’s simple…

February 19, 2017

Look, you dumbass. This is what words mean. Federal agencies are agents on our behalf. They’re supposed to be activist. That’s the fucking point. The Environmental Protection Agency is supposed to protect our environment. It’s in their goddamned name, you idiot. So when the EPA is active on our behalf, they’re doing their fucking job.

So even if That Man managed to get you into the job of running the EPA, that doesn’t mean you should stop the EPA from doing its job. Got it?

Honestly, no. I don’t think you do… but you should. And if you don’t… it’s on you, Scott. Don’t fuck this up.

I guess we need to call you President Crazypants now

November 12, 2016

This one is on you, Don.

I was shopping in a local grocery store just after the November 2016 election, surrounded by people speaking Somali and Spanish as often as English, people whose skins were often much darker than mine, and I could not bring myself to meet their eyes. For the first time in my life, I am truly ashamed of being white and male—of being the beneficiary of so much unasked-for white privilege. I do not blame them for my feelings—the people of color who surrounded me were innocent. They had no idea what I was going through, and they did not, as far as I could tell, even notice my shame.

I blame you, Don—you, and the people who got you elected, the people who were, mostly, white and male. People like me, at least physically.

Consider the following:

Everything—and I mean everything—evil that you’ve ever heard or—heaven help us—seen in a meme about Hillary Rodham Clinton was said about her, by someone else, someone with an axe to grind.

Contrast this with yourself, Donald Trump—the things that convict you are the things you’ve said.

Consider the possibility that the reason Congress has never found anything to pin on Hillary despite decades—and I mean decades—of trying is because there actually isn’t anything to pin on her; that, in fact, she is exactly the person she seems to be in public—strong, resolute, often abrasive, but not in any way the criminal mastermind she’s been painted as by others.

Consider the likelihood that Clinton herself had nothing to do with setting up a private email server. She’s not a tech. Some bright lad suggested to her staff that it’d be a good idea, and they ran with it. Remember that no one has ever found anything actionable in any of the email messages Clinton has ever sent, James Comey’s cleverly-timed pre-election announcement notwithstanding.

Consider also this fact: despite those decades of relentless vilification and abuse, despite having a husband whose philandery became very public knowledge, Hillary Clinton has remained steadfast and strong throughout. She has never—not even once—had a public meltdown. That’s the kind of strength we need leading the country. Donald Trump? You have public tantrums every freaking week!

Donald Trump may still rise to meet the demands of the office of President. That is the outcome for which we all must hope as a nation. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, would have been Presidential from day one—she has, in fact, been Presidential material, all along.

The Republic will survive Donald Trump. I do truly believe that. But it would have thrived with Hillary. And the fact that it won’t, now… that one is on you too, Don. And on us—on the white males (not I, because I did vote for Hillary, but men not all that different from me) who somehow got you elected.


May 12, 2016

“Social Network Algorithms Are Distorting Reality By Boosting Conspiracy Theories” points out how social networks (like Facebook, of course, first among others) try so hard to serve us what we’ll like that they fail to challenge our preconceptions and, in fact, lead participants even further into misguided mindsets… like, oh, being against fluoridated water.

One example from the article that hits very close to home:

“People in Portland, Oregon, voted in 2013 to stop the fluoridation of water—a common practice to improve dental health. Depending on which opposition group you asked, fluoridation was either a technique used by fascist regimes to pacify their citizens or a toxic chemical that causes cancer.”

I railed about that one myself, at the time. Not that it changed anything.

This is a good long-form read. Via Waxy

The Dragons of Portland

January 24, 2016

Perched atop the Union Station tower, and various bridges, the Dragons of Portland watch over us as if we were all precious golden coins…

Studio Catawampus showcases “the art of Rebecca Flaum, a Portland, Oregon based artist and illustrator” who often mixes fantasy and local PDX icons to really good effect.

Via a years-old post on a Tumblr called “this isn’t happiness” (sometimes NSFW).

So now I like a Nicki Minaj song?!?

January 1, 2016

Starships! Set to video on Vimeo by “bironic,” and found via the “Abi’s Parhelia” sidebar on Making Light. Abi apparently got it from Ann Leckie, who’s worth reading in her own right…

Old Stomping Grounds

February 16, 2015

Whoa… no less an authority than the New York Times says that the hot new neighborhood in Los Angeles is… Koreatown?!? My wife and I spent five years in an apartment near 3rd and Berendo, but that was a long time ago (yes, we were there during the riots in 1992). Apparently, we were only about 20-25 years too early, this time.

Via Haddock, this time.