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Dear gun-toting anti-Muslim Irving guys…no, Dear Everyone

November 25, 2015

I read that you staged an armed protest in front of a Mosque.

You’re not helping.

If a group of Muslim Irving residents showed up in front of your church on Sunday to protest something, and they were carrying guns like that, you’d shit your pants, call the police, and duck-and-cover. So yes, I’m pretty sure you understand that showing up to a protest with guns is not helping.

The Dallas times has this:

Wright, who is convinced that America is due for a Paris-style attack by Muslims, also posted the addresses to his personal Facebook page, a couple hours after he wrote in another thread: “We should stop being afraid to be who we are! We like to have guns designed to kill people that pose a threat in a very efficient manner.”

A friend replied below the list: “Abide by it [the consitution] or be treated as the treasonous filth or invaders that you are.”

You’re still not helping.

One: I am ALL ABOUT you protesting anything you like, at any time. You’ve got the right, and you absolutely should, no matter how strongly anyone disagrees with you. Let’s hear it for the freedom to protest!

Two: Mixing your second amendment rights with anyone’s first amendment rights seems like a bad, bad idea. Put your guns away and stop trying to scare people.

Three: Publishing people’s home addresses on the internet is always a dick move. It’s an invitation to harass and terrify. You are, in effect, budding terrorists. Congratulations, dicks.

Four: That internet friend who will treat constitution-haters “treasonous filth or invaders” does not, I suspect, have due process and official justice in mind. Encourage your people to abide by the law, in addition to not being dicks.

Five: All of this applies, no matter what we’re talking about. Whether it’s Sharia law, or gun control, or a spelling bee, or equal rights, or a tax hike, or a new bike law, or Black Lives Matter or All Lives Matter or Macy’s isn’t hiring enough redheads…I don’t care. Protest, yes. Intimidation, no. Doxing, no. Law, yes.

-An Irving Resident

Guns, guns, guns – a side note on a strawman

October 13, 2015

One of the major arguments I’ve seen against gun control is basically, “Well if you take away the guns, then people are just going to use something else. Like bombs!”  (Let’s set aside for the moment that “taking away the guns” is kind of a strawman argument*, because I’m not arguing that the USA should or would or could do so.)

I’ve been thinking about this. I think, of course, that this argument is total bullshit on its face. It’s not a good argument to say that X shouldn’t be banned because people will use Y, which is also banned. “We should not ban heroin. People will just turn to meth!” Well, meth is also illegal. An argument for making a thing illegal – or in the case of my actual suggestion, making a thing more regulated and therefore more difficult to obtain and stockpile – does not depend on the alternatives available. A thing should be banned, or regulated, or not at all regulated because of that thing.

As a further side note: I also think that even if this argument weren’t total bullshit on its face, I rather like the odds of some dipshit blowing himself** up before he gets to the chance to do it to others, as opposed to a gun – which is relatively safe to the shooter. Yes, yes, I know that bombs can be silly easy to make. But (and these are just my thoughts…remember that I don’t think bombs should be part of the gun discussion), a good bomb, or a timed bomb, or a bomb that could, say, be placed inside an elementary school to maximize destruction to the kids there…these are far more difficult things. Far, far more difficult than walking into your local K-5 with a couple of handguns and 100 extra rounds.

But again. Bombs don’t have a damn thing to do with the gun debate. Stop talking about the stupid bombs. What we’re trying to do is to make it more difficult for people who are likely to become violent, to do large amounts of damage.


*It’s only kind of a strawman argument, because I AM suggesting we make it harder for people likely to commit violence to get hold of guns. I get that. It’s something else entirely that people think “fewer guns = just as much violence via bombs”.

**I will stipulate that there are some violent women, if you stipulate that the vast majority of mass murders are committed by men. So shut up about the gender use here.

Previous blogs on guns include Part 1 and Part 2.

Two weeks of study: horror films

October 13, 2015

I’ve never been much for horror movies. Well, I liked reading the box, back in the days when we had actual movie rental stores. But watching them was kind of a bad idea. My cousins, now, they loved horror movies. Well 3 of 4 of them did…Allie and I used to cower in the back room while the rest of them would shout “Yeah, go Freddie! Get him!”  Allie and I set some sort of record, I think, for longest time with ears plugged and eyes shut, when we all went to see Poltergeist 2. Or was it 3? The one with the creepy preacher guy.

I’m off the point, aren’t I?

I’ve seen some stuff. Liked some stuff. Refused to see other stuff. I find torture/gore horror very hard to take, and I’m not entirely certain that it’s, you know, worthwhile.  But anyway, I asked Twitter today what I should see. And now the husband and teenager and I will spend a couple weeks watching some maybe-scary movies that people think I shouldn’t have missed.  And I’ll update this blog as we go.

Tonight, 10/14: Shaun of the Dead

Now I’ve seen this before, but only once. And I didn’t remember liking it much. I liked it better this time around. It’s got excellent timing, some extremely funny bits, some touching bits, and even a few moments where I was half hiding my face. (I did mention I’m a pansy, didn’t I?)

So A for execution, but even so, I don’t think this is a film I need to see more than once every year or four. 

Tonight, 10/12: Children of the Corn

I read the short story by Stephen King. It was fairly creepy. Also, the woman in the story was an UTTER bitch. The woman in the movie is Linda Hamilton, and not really that bitchy. So that’s something of a relief.

  • This is starting out okay, though the kid acting is, ah, we’ll say stilted.
  • Yeesh, that was pretty well done with the car wreck.
  • Oh, stupid. Don’t get out of the car.
  • And suspense. More suspense. Suspeeeeeense…suspenseful music.
  • Suspense and corn. More corn. Well, it was in the title…
  • Oh yeah, let’s separate! Great idea!
  • I went and looked him up. The sneering redheaded kid (actor) grew up okay.
  • Oh, yeah, again, let’s just step into the nice paranormal activity. Nothing wrong here.
  • Aaaand, dude gets distracted when the shit’s down. *sigh* I’m all but shouting “DON’T GO IN THERE, MAN!”
  • Now Sean’s talking about how easy it is to stab children. To be clear, he does mean the psychopathic murdering children in the movie. Not just, you know, kids. I think.
  • Now we’re all yelling at the guy. Sheesh.
  • Well, this isn’t exactly turning out like the story. That’s okay.
  • Sean: “Now, corn eats you.”
  • Kiddo: “Jealous??“. Dude onscreen: “Jealous??”

Well. Okay then.

Movies I’ve Seen – an incomplete list

  • Army of Darkness – I don’t remember much about this.
  • Gremlins – I remember a little. It was pretty scary at age 12.
  • The Prestige – This was just creepy, and damn good. Mmm, David Bowie Tesla…
  • Scream – Don’t remember one damn thing about this.
  • Psycho – The original is one of my favorite movies. New one’s pretty damn good too.
  • New Shining – I don’t remember liking this, because I thought it didn’t follow the book well. I’d like to rewatch it though, see if my opinion has changed.
  • …more coming.

Ginger helps nausea

October 12, 2015

gingerI’ve got a boy down sick today, so I thought I’d mention: ginger helps nausea. It’s often like magic. You can take it in pill form, of course, but I find that fresh ginger tea or ginger soda works best.  Ginger, when uncut and in its skin, keeps for a couple to a few weeks, so it’s good to keep around.

Ginger Tea


  1. Boil a cup or two of water,
  2. shred about a tablespoon or two of ginger into it (doesn’t even need to be peeled!), and
  3. let steep for 3-6 minutes.
  4. Filter,
  5. add sugar or honey,
  6. and drink.

Ginger Soda

First you’ll make a ginger syrup.

  1. Put 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan with about 1/4 – 1/2 cup water.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons shredded or diced ginger, peeled.
  3. Heat on medium high until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Let it cook at a light boil for, oh, 5-10 minutes. Just don’t let the syrup get so thick it won’t flow.

Then add it to carbonated water, to taste.  This much syrup might make 2-3 cups soda.

On the carbonated water: We have a soda stream at home, but you can buy seltzer.

Guns, guns, guns – part 2, the sickening

October 9, 2015

Guns, guns, guns – part 1 was an effort to familiarize myself with some of the pro-gun arguments.

Part 2 is a rant.

I’m done with this. I’m sick of it. We had two university shootings in one day today – in Arkansas, and then in Texas. Between the two, I had a prolonged discussion on Twitter with a handful of folks, ranging from “more guns is the answer”, to “I used to be a gun nut but I’m thinking shit needs to change”, to “ban all guns”. I think that the extreme hardline opinions are too extreme, and unlikely to (a) do a lot of good, or (b) actually be possible to implement well anyway.

But here’s the thing. Enough candlelight vigils. Enough attacking and screaming at the other side. Enough is enough. We’ve got to start with something. Let’s take a decent parallel discussion first.


Did you know that cars, when invented, didn’t have seat belts? Of course you knew that; you’ve seen old films. Did you know that when seat belts became mandatory (not to wear, but for the cars themselves) in the USA, in 1968, people thought it was stupid?  Did you know that New York was the first state to require wearing seatbelts, in 1984?  Wearing a seat belt was not required until I was over eight years old.

And people thought the law was ridiculous, and that government should get the hell out of our lives. My mother had to convince her adult sister to buckle her kids in the car, in the late 80s. Depeche Mode was popular before seat belts were popular, guys.


We hang on to this weird idea that I think we developed in childhood: that the world was fully formed as we first perceived it, and that’s more or less the way things should be. “Things don’t change, they’ve always been the way they were when I first noticed them!” Of course it’s a silly idea when you think of it that way, and we really do think we know better. But even so, we find ourselves thinking of change as something dangerous and new.

The world as it is today is not fated to be so. Things change, and we can make them change, even if some think it’s stupid and intrusive.


I’m not an expert on any of this. I’m a citizen, which makes me uniquely qualified to talk about this, to know about it, to shout about it. It could be my kids’ school that makes it on the news next for a shooting. Hell, we made it to international news for a fucking clock, why not a gun?

You’re not an expert. And you’re uniquely qualified to talk about this and shout and change. So let’s start with a few things. Some suggestions:

All of this seems like really good, reasonable stuff.

All of this seems like really good, reasonable stuff.

And, let’s get that research machine going again; rescind that legislation that’s in the way.

I’m pro gun control. And I know I don’t have all the answers. Neither do you. Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk to the representatives. Let’s try some things, then try some more. We’ll see how it works out.

Let’s make change, guys. It’s happened before.

The five rules of the world

October 8, 2015

Rita reminded me of something I’d told her once, about the five rules of the world as arrived at by this Catholic priest named Tom Weston. The first rule, he says, is that you must not have anything wrong with you or anything different. The second one is that if you do have something wrong with you, you must get over it as soon as possible. The third rule is that if you can’t get over it, you must pretend that you have. The fourth rule is that if you can’t even pretend that you have, you shouldn’t show up. You should stay home, because it’s hard for everyone else to have you around. And the fifth rule is that if you are going to insist on showing up, you should at least have the decency to feel ashamed.
So Rita and I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed.

Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year

Quick race report: Color Half

September 27, 2015

Had a good run today. 
I still set multiple, staged goals for myself for races. Because, you know, progress and all. For this half marathon I wanted to keep an overall pace of 11:30; and/or, finish in 2 hours 30 minutes or less. 

I had a great pace for the first 8 miles, and then not tired. Change socks, eat more gel, recover and keep going. That’s about the time it was getting pretty hot. 

The last 2 miles were a bit rough. I was tired, and I had not managed my salt intake well. I have to get into the habit of that, especially in longer races. 

But I finished happy. I missed my overall time (not pace) by one minute eight seconds, with an official time of 2:31:08. 11:32 pace average overall. But that’s damn close, and still a personal record! 

Got my medal, cooled down, recovered. Feeling pretty good about it all. 



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