mellowtigger: (all i have)
Peace For Paris by Jean Jullien #PeaceForParisIt's probably a disservice to the songwriters to connect their nice song with recent events in Paris, but my mind has already done it.

By now, you've probably heard that DAESH has accepted responsibility for the mass murders in Paris. You might not know that the Arabic name "al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham" was previously shortened to names likes ISIS and ISIL. We should be calling this group by the abbreviation now given to it by French officials, DAESH. This new name can be construed to also mean things like "to trample down and crush” or “a bigot who imposes his view on others.” It seems appropriate, so let's call them DAESH.

Paris, France, and the empathetic world obviously need a moment to collect their thoughts. People worldwide are probably doing the same thing that I did: contacting people they know in France to confirm they are alright. I've mentioned before that I once dated a foreigner. I didn't mention that he was French. I confirmed last night that he is unharmed and not in Paris.

After that immediate confirmation, there will probably be a lot of reassuring hugs passed around social circles. And that's where we get to this song that I mentioned.
Something happens when I hold her
She keeps my heart from getting older
When the days get short and the nights get a little bit colder
We hold each other
We hold each other
We hold each other, mmm

Something happens when I hold him
He keeps my heart from getting broken
When the days get short and the nights get a little bit frozen
We hold each other
We hold each other
We hold each other, mmm

People judged us they couldn't see the connection
When I look at you, it's like I'm looking back at my reflection
I don't see nothing different, our pigments they coincide
We hold each other so tight they couldn't break us if they tried
My eyes are those of the blind, I see no color or size
I feel the love in your touch and I trust what's inside your mind
A little reassurance, a little comfort... it's probably a good thing now for the many who were affected directly or indirectly by the attack in Paris.

Of course, this song was special in its own right, because the straight and gay performers each kept their pronouns correct in their lyrics. That bravery is rare. They demonstrated a recognition of their common experience and humanity, which lends itself to thoughts of this weekend's aftermath.

It is also a sentiment likely to continue annoying bigots worldwide, especially the likes of those who committed these recent atrocities. I must admit to feeling some smug and unhelpful satisfaction in the apoplexy that loving compassion can provoke in some hateful minds. How broken and injured someone already must be for them to experience additional pain in others' loving compassion.

So... hold each other, and find what relief that you can. The world wants to help, if only we knew concrete actions that we could take.  Meanwhile, I'll continue singing along... "When the days get short and the nights get a little bit frozen, we hold each other."

mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
Today's theme song comes to me from Ryan Van Sickle, a singer whose music has a country quality that I like. The original song was John Lennon's, but Ryan sings it now as part of the ONE campaign. This global effort hopes to take protest songs of years past and broadcast them to a new generation to inspire continuing social and political change.  (Vote for Ryan at the link above if you like his rendition too.)

As soon as you're born they make you feel small, by giving you no time instead of it all.
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all. A working class hero is something to be...

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV, and you think you're so clever and classless and free.
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see. A working class hero is something to be.

There's room at the top they're telling you still, but first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill. A working class hero is something to be.

If you want to be a hero well just follow me.

This song is still relevant in too many ways, nearly half a century later. We have plutocrats who are 1) beyond the reach of prosecution, 2) unwilling to compare the value of workers lives with their own comforts, 3) insisting that they alone are responsible for their wealth, and 4) evaluating people as mere commodities from whom they can siphon more value.

Or, as this nice old lady succinctly puts it as numerous states roll back various legal protections for women...

Yes, today's post is entirely political.  It goes with the territory of this song and the ONE movement.

mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
I've had plenty to complain about lately, but I guess it's time for a little good news.

Minnesota marriage equalityFirst, Minnesota is officially changing its laws today to recognize gay marriages. Our state governor signs the legislation into law today. It's a good change brought to us through the hard work of many gay people coming out of the closet and even more straight people who listened to the pleas of gay couples who wanted their government to grant them the same benefits as other couples. The Saint Paul mayor even renamed the "Wabasha Street Freedom Bridge" to the "Wabasha Street Freedom To Marry Bridge" for the week, and pride flags line the bridge.  They're expecting a huge celebration in Saint Paul tonight.

I can't emphasize enough the importance of straight allies like Chris Kluwe.  It matters who speaks because it changes who will listen. It shouldn't matter, but it does. Ideas should be sufficient on their own merits, but they aren't. America abolished slavery because the free fought to share their rights. America allowed women to vote because the voting men agreed to share their privilege. America is slowly granting homosexuals equal protection under the law because heterosexuals are voting to share their benefits.

Second, T'Reese is doing much better. The veterinarian found no evidence of problems in the stool sample. Apparently old cats are prone to constipation, and it happens to cause great pain for T'Reese when that happens. I'm adding wet cat food to her diet to help avoid this problem in the future.

Third, I'm back to using a cane for mobility rather than crutches. I can even walk very slowly around my bedroom without the cane. I'm still prone to painful muscle cramps when I use my left leg, and I get electric shocks down the length of my leg, and my left knee hurts a lot when I put too much weight on it. Progress is progress, though. I'll take it.

Fourth, I estimate that I can have all of my medical bills paid off by the end of this year. It depends entirely, though, on not having any car problems in 2013. That condition seems unlikely, though, since I spend almost $1500/year on car repairs. It's been pretty consistent over the last decade. Car repairs are the big unnecessary drain on my finances. I wish I could live and work someplace where I could ditch the car altogether. I think I'll have to move to a larger metropolitan area, though, to succeed at that kind of lifestyle change.

Anyway... celebrate the good news while it's happening, right?

There's a local paper rolled up in a rubber band.
One more sad story's one more than I can stand.
Just once how I'd like to see the headline say,
"Not much to print today, can't find nothin' bad to say" because

Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town.
Nobody OD'ed, nobody burned a single buildin' down.
Nobody fired a shot in anger. Nobody had to die in vain.
We sure could use a little good news today...

How I want to hear the anchor man talk about a county fair;
And how we cleaned up the air, how everybody learned to care.
Whoa, tell me,

Nobody was assassinated in the whole Third World today;
And in the streets of Ireland, all the children had to do was play;
And everybody loves everybody in the good old USA.
We sure could use a little good news today.

So today's theme song is this country music chart topper by Anne Murray from 1983: A Little Good News.
mellowtigger: (penguin coder)
Yay!  I finally have my Raspberry Pi configured to do what I intended!  It's currently playing Aqua's "Cartoon Heroes" repeatedly, so it is now officially today's theme song.  :)

I have now successfully configured my Raspberry Pi headless (without monitor, keyboard, or mouse) to autoplay a music file continuously after bootup.  This solution will be a cheap setup we could use at work across all of our sites for:
  1. phone "music on hold", 
  2. enrichment music for the cat and dog areas, and
  3. remotely updated music files (and volume control) from our central office.
I'll eventually blog to document the many details of the process.  The Pi seems inherently unable to play music files outside of cd-format.  I couldn't get alternatives to work well, so I just resampled "Cartoon Heroes" to 44100 Hz at 16 bit so it would work on my Raspberry Pi.  I also somehow ran out of drive space temporarily on my 4GB SD memory card.  At least it does finally work, though.  Details of the process later, I promise.

Time for the tech support superhero dance.  (see the animated penguin icon at the upper left)  *laugh*
mellowtigger: (flameproof)
Today's choice of theme song is brought to you by recent shenanigans in Texas. I can accept simple dismissal of secessionist rants from other southern states, but I caution everyone to think differently about that mindset in Texas. Of course, the federal executive branch has no authority to release states from the union, so I don't expect anything interesting to come from this petition.  The mere existence of the petition, though, is surely stirring rumblings from like-minded folk in Dixie.

Freeze a yankee!, Drive 75 and freeze 'em alive.
Freeze a yankee! Let your thermostat rise and give 'em a surprise.
Governor Briscoe promised us that if any damn Yankee raised a fuss,
He’d turn off the gas, cut off the oil, and let 'em all freeze and boil.

They don’t want an oil rig around their seashore. Lord, it’s a terrible sight.
And don’t you try to drill in their dirty old water. If you do, you’re in for a fight.
Senator Kennedy told me himself
that he wouldn’t let us drill on the continental shelf.
So, when they tried to get Texans to drill another well
We can tell them all to go to …… Hyannis Port!

Now, President Carter was a good ole boy, a southerner thru and thru.
But when he asked all Americans to sacrifice, he really meant …you know who.
He wants all our oil and our nuclear fuels
What does he take us for? Silly fools?
The President wants us to pass our gas
Now ain't that a kick in the..

Cram them yankees in little bitty cars while we ride around in limousines.
There ain’t nothing in the world any more fun than pumpin’ gas in those big mo'chines.
Us Texans love our Cadillacs,
Big Continentals and Pontiacs
We’re gonna keep all the gas we can make
And let them yankees shiver and shake.

Well, them yankees say they need our oil, and they gotta have gasoline.
But don’t you put no refineries a way up north, they wanna keep their air real clean.
They only got enough lignite to last 'til midnight, not enough fuel to keep their beer real cool.
But we'll send you lots of oil, now don't you fear, if you promise not to move down here.

Freeze A Yankee
Save your Confederate credit cards
The South want to rise again

(Note: southern drawl turns 'want to' into more of a 'wonta' sound.)


About 20 years later, they did a live show and talked about the origin of the song, which is interesting.  The song mocks liberals for wanting energy independence from the middle east.  (America learned something after its long and continuing wars there.)  The song mocks liberals for wanting to keep their shoreline unpolluted.  (America learned something after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.)  In short, the liberals were right about the very things that this song mocks.  I wonder what they'd say about it if they did a live show today.  Even the group's name, "The Folkel Minority", conjures the image of last week's election and the realization that old conservative white guys are a diminishing minority voting bloc that throws a loud tantrum when they don't get their way.

Anyway, "the South want to rise again", regardless of any obstacles imposed by that pesky liberal-biased reality.
mellowtigger: (all i have)
It is possible for a closed mind to open. The dangerous can abandon their violent paths. I have seen it happen. I've been hunted, you see, and one day the hunter admitted his fault to his prey. That's reason enough for hope.

Long ago, back during my first stint in college, a gay man warned me to stay away from his roommate who had accidentally (he was supposed to be out of town all weekend) walked in on the two of us smooching in the dorm room. Oops! I didn't understand the prohibition, since I wouldn't even recognize the guy if I saw him again. I mentally filed away the warning with every other nonsensical statement I'd ever heard. I went about my life as usual.

I don't remember how many weeks passed before I saw him again. It may have even been the next semester. One day, that burly black Christian guy came up to me and introduced himself. He explained that he'd been following me ever since our first unintentional meeting. He was trying to catch me "doing something wrong", as he phrased it. He intended to unleash his self-righteous fury on me in that moment of vindication, beating me to death. I remembered the previous warning, and it finally made sense. He intended to hurt me. Now, here he was standing before me, talking about his intentions. As with most of the important conversations in my life, I stood there confused and silent while he continued speaking at me.

This guy explained to me that he never did catch me "doing something wrong", and it perplexed him. The poor guy had chosen to stalk a homosexual who was effectively celibate, so he had lots of spare time to ponder his actions. He eventually realized that his hatred was twisting him into something far worse than the monster that he had imagined me to be. I had not acted as he expected from his preconceived stereotypes. He found himself questioning his stereotypes because of the evidence before him. He told me these things because he wanted to assure me that I was safe from him. I hadn't been worried at all until that confrontation, since I'd been my usual oblivious self. Just as well, I suppose. He realized the error of his ways by himself. He finally understood that everyone should be free to live without interference.

Which leads me to today's theme song: "Gay Pirates". :)

They say they're gonna kill me if I look at you once more.
(They) pissed in my hammock yesterday, so I'll sleep on the floor.
I'd be under the sea, but you hold me above.

And they put glass in my sandals, so my feet would bleed all day.
And they forced me to wear them, or they said they'd make you pay.
I'd be under the sea, but you hold me above.
Cuz you're the man I love.

Yo, ho, Sebastian, let's go far away, somewhere where the captain won't be mad.
Yo, ho, Sebastian, I want to love you good, and we deserve much better than we've had.

In spite of the violent situation they describe, the lyrics are still quite nice. The music is catchy too. They all did an amazing job performing the whole video sequence in one unedited take. The kissing isn't very convincing, but all can be forgiven since Cosmo Jarvis is a heterosexual male performer who obviously understands the core issue.

monsters under our bedPeople can change, but someone must interrupt their fevered dreams of bogeymen. The horrors they imagine are worth opposing. As long as they mistake queer folk for their imagined monsters, they'll continue wasting everyone's energy on pointless hatreds. The solution, as Harvey Milk said so long ago is to "Come out, come out, wherever you are." Truth makes a difference.

The conversion of my potential gay basher is exactly what queer folk everywhere can hope for. I never reported his confession to the police. I can't remember for sure, but I think maybe I've never repeated the details of this story for anyone. I find it relevant now because of recent events in the news.
  • President Obama spoke out in favor of gay marriage. I find it less relevant that he's the "sitting" president, but it's very important that he's a "black Christian male" president. The big question for me is whether his statement will hold any persuasive power over this traditionally hardline group.
  • Colin Powell stated plainly that gay families are as stable as his own.
  • Some churches hear the message and offer powerful reason to maintain hope.
  • Even if they're successful, then we still have white churches to contend with. Some of them are quite enthusiastic as they celebrate the indoctrination of another generation into learned bigotry.
We deserve much better than we've had.
mellowtigger: (changed priorities)
It's happening again. Direct reporting is suppressed while police violence ensues.  So far, the best photos and stories come from a New York Times blog article. Colin Moynihan reports about various incidents of police violence, intimidation, and suppression of recording.  You can see where police smashed a guy's head into a window at this video (the video immediately starts very loud).

The best weapon for a peaceful protest is the truth. Document everything that happens. Which brings me to today's theme song.

I'm not a fan of rap music, but this video does a good job of capturing the response of local governments to large Occupy gatherings.

Film the Police. Run a tape for the underclass!
Get the face, name and number on the badge.
They flash, we flash back when they act disorderly.
React accordingly and capture all that we see…
Nightstick, Zip-ties, and Tasers.
Think they’re licensed for type vicious behavior.
Make a tight fist with a video trained toward the Pigs,
Like this. They trip & you make ‘em famous.
Explain to a Judge the bounds you oversteppin’.
2011 time to change our method.
We aim lenses at the State’s weapon,
‘Til they remember whose goddamn streets they’re protecting.

Rapper B. Dolan wrote this song for everyone, not intending it just for Occupiers. Wherever authority is found, someone will abuse that authority. This song is meant to teach people how to keep justice and equality in the equation... which is certainly one of a few core principles behind the Occupation movement. 

Maybe it doesn't go far enough.  Perhaps we need a song reminding us to "Film The Government", now that we know about the existence of secret laws and secret courts.  I believe that the Occupation has only just begun.


Oct. 29th, 2011 10:15 am
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
It was announced at general assembly last night that Wookiefoot will be playing at the plaza on Halloween night.

Share the news with locals.  It will be a lively evening at the Occupation.  :)

mellowtigger: (the more you know)
Another child dies. I promise to stop harping about it when the children stop dying, okay? I'd rather have these kids in the world than the emotional songs that their absence inspires.

I recently encountered a song that makes the necessity of Allies quite plain.  I've decided that it is today's theme song.

We don't learn the significance of this chorus until the end of the song.

I was young and caught in the crowd.
I didn't know then what I know now.
I was dumb, and I was proud, and I'm sorry.

If I could go back, do it again,
I'd be someone you could call friend.
Please, please, believe that I'm sorry.

Allies in the majority power are necessary for social change. Male allies gave American women the right to vote. White allies gave American blacks their freedom from slavery. Heterosexual allies will be necessary for giving American homosexuals their legal equality. As I wrote back in 2003:

"Decide to become an Ally for the autistic community
(as with GLBT Allies, this title means taking a stand against any form of bullying when you have the chance to defend autistics either in person or in principle, and it means speaking to educate about their concerns when possible)

This 14-year-old kid named Jamey Rodemeyer created his own video on YouTube four months ago as part of the It Gets Better project.  He talked briefly about the bullying that he survived.  His school friends said that the new school year started 3 weeks ago with the same bullying as he experienced before.  He didn't survive it this time, though.  He killed himself yesterday.

Recently, someone asked Michelle Bachmann what she would do to stop the bullying that happens in schools in her own district.  She replied that it is "not a federal issue" (since she is running for federal office).  The trouble, though, is that it's never a matter for government intervention if it's only the right people who die.  That particular contradiction can be found throughout history.  I'll stop complaining about it.  Really.  When the children stop dying.
mellowtigger: (bicycle)
It's August 31st, and I've officially bicycled 1,000 miles this summer while commuting. I'm "simplifying" the math in a few ways, but I started bicycling on June 1st and after traveling 82.7 miles each week for 3 months, I've finally reached 1,075 miles total. I can think of only 1 song that's appropriate for today's theme song.

"When I come home, yeah I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who comes back home with you.
And if I grow old, well I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who's growing old with you.
But I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more
just to be the man who walked 1,000 miles to fall down at your door.

The weather is already turning cool. I checked and found this record (click photo to see larger version) of temperatures in September for my postal code. The record low temperature here is freezing as early as September 3rd, which arrives on Saturday. Luckily, I don't expect the weather to be that cold, since I don't have any cold weather bicycle clothing.

I need to get a vehicle soon. I called to turn on my car insurance on Monday. The account was kept in "frozen" status. I've already gone to a nearby lot to ask about test driving one of their vehicles.

Nevertheless, my commute by bicycle did some good.I never did acquire that strength and stamina that I wanted. I never set any speed records during my commute. I was actually passed a few weeks ago by a roller blader. A roller blader! I still did a good thing this summer, though.  I wish I could continue, but winters here are too harsh.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
I think it's time for a little more energy and optimism, so today receives the music of the Imagination Movers to help it along. I don't think it can wait until next year's St. Patrick's Day holiday.

Roll on down. Take a look around.
We won't rest 'til we find you the luck of the Irish.
Shades of green cover everything.
Your eyes will be smiling when finding the luck of the Irish.

I enjoy the Imagination Movers. Their show is another live-action, musical television series for kids. I think it's aimed for an older audience than The Wiggles (who creep me out), the Doodlebops (slightly less disturbing), or maybe even Lazy Town (a good show). The Imagination Movers, though, seem to have a much broader range of musical talent. Their sounds seem to have very different "feels" to them rather than everything blending into one common theme. Consider these songs in comparison. Don't they represent a wider range of musical composition than most of these kid shows?
Sure, they have an occasional dud too, but everyone's allowed an off day. *laugh* Still, I think they're very creative in their music, which suits the topic of the show very well. Whoever works on their stage sets must have lots of fun too. Their warehouse magically includes a theme room for every topic imaginable. Some of them are very well done. Sadly, I wasn't able to find a YouTube clip for [personal profile] bitterlawngnome featuring the intentionally bland character Knit Knots, which is what prompted this foray into Imagination Movers memories.

Anyway, the nation and the world seem far too depressing in recent weeks so I'm taking a mental vacation to put blinders on, then I'll whistle my way to oblivious happiness until I absolutely have to face reality again.

"I think what the situation needs is some imagination." - The Imagination Movers
mellowtigger: (all i have)
Rarely do I run across two independent artists whose efforts together are even better than their separate works. This video is one such combination. It's not fair to call it a collaboration, since the songwriter didn't envision the video. But, well, just watch the magic.

The lyrics alone tell such a haunting story...

She stops going out, she just lies there in bed
in hotels in whatever towns they are speaking.
Then her face starts to set, and her hands start to fold,
And one day the dried fig of her heart stops its beating.

Long ago on the ship, she asked "Why pyramids?"
He said "Think of them as an immense invitation."
She asks "Are you cursed?" He says "I think that I'm cured."
Then he kissed her and hoped that she'd forget that question.

... but a previous line about "girls in bulrushes" recalls the imagery of yet another poem/song.

Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears
Her noblest work she classes, O:
Her prentice han’ she try’d on man,
An’ then she made the lasses, O.

Green grow the rashes, O;
Green grow the rashes, O;
The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,
Are spent amang the lasses, O.

Obviously "The Curse" is a lot more complicated than mere recollection of youthful indiscretion.

This song offers storytelling that isn't simplistic.  I may have to buy the guy's cd just to support and encourage more of his creative work.
mellowtigger: (Pride)
I don't know that I've ever really had an "angry song" before, something with lyrics to keep me energized about a particular angry emotion. I have such a song now.  It motivated me to spend half a day collecting the information for this post.

The Southern Poverty Law Center explained in a report last year that gays remain the minority most targeted during hate crimes. "Gay people are more than twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews or blacks; more than four times as likely as Muslims; and 14 times as likely as Latinos." And the people that youngsters are supposed to rely on for protection are also likely to punish them. You can understand, maybe, why some people living in the "land of the free" may desire to add a few special caveats to their pledges and anthems.

"Make It Stop (September's Children)" by Rise Against

From a nation under God, I feel its love like a cattle prod.
I'm born free, but still they hate. I'm born me; no, I can't change.
It's always darkest just before the dawn.
So stay awake with me, let's prove them wrong.
Make it stop; let this end. Eighteen years pushed to the ledge.
It's come to this, a weightless step. On the way down singing...
Woah, woah.
The cold river washed him away, but how could we forget?
The gatherings hold candles but not their tongues.
And too much blood has flown from the wrists,
of the children shamed for those they chose to kiss.
Who will rise to stop the blood? We're calling for, insisting on,
a different beat, yeah, a brand new song.

Bullying in its various overbearing forms needs to end. It's so obvious, it's almost pathetic that anyone still has to explain why.

Jadon Higganbothan2011: Jadon Higganbothan, 4 years old, is killed by religious leader in North Carolina.

"Prosecutors said Moses killed Jadon because he thought the child was gay..." - WRAL
Steven Anderson"You want to know who the biggest hypocrite in the world is? The biggest hypocrite in the world is the person who believes in the death penalty for murderers and not for homosexuals. Hypocrite. The same God who instituted the death penalty for murderers is the same God who instituted the death penalty for rapists and for homosexuals - sodomites, queers! That's what it was instituted for, okay? That's God, he hasn't changed. Oh, God doesn't feel that way in the New Testament ... God never "felt" anything about it, he commanded it and said they should be taken out and killed." - RightWingWatch
Asher Brown2010 Aug 26: Asher Brown, 13 years old, shoots himself in the head. He was a student at Hamilton Middle School in Houston.

"Asher Brown's worn-out tennis shoes still sit in the living room of his Cypress-area home while his student progress report — filled with straight A's — rests on the coffee table. The eighth-grader killed himself last week. He shot himself in the head after enduring what his mother and stepfather say was constant harassment from four other students..." - HoustonChronicle
Rich Swier"This is not bullying. It is peer pressure and is healthy. There are many bad behaviors such as smoking, under age drinking and drug abuse that are behaviors that cannot be condoned. Homosexuality falls into this category. Homosexuality is simply bad behavior that youth see as such and rightly pressure their peers to stop it." says Rich Swier of Tea Party Nation - LgbtqNation
Justin Aaberg2010 July 9: Justin Aaberg, 15 years old, hangs himself in his bedroom. He was a student at Anoka High School near Minneapolis.

"In testimony she gave to the Anoka-Hennepin School Board on Monday, Aaberg said her son was bullied because of his sexual orientation. She blamed the district for not intervening to stop the bullying, accusing district administrators of tying teachers’ hands with a policy that kept teachers from being able to “reach out and help these hurting students.”" - TheColu.MN
Michelle Bachmann“It’s part of Satan I think to say that this is “gay.” It’s anything but gay.”

“This is a very serious matter, because it is our children who are the prize for this community, they are specifically targeting our children."

“Normalization (of gayness) through desensitization. Very effective way to do this with a bunch of second graders, is take a picture of “The Lion King” for instance, and a teacher might say, “Do you know that the music for this movie was written by a gay man?” The message is: I’m better at what I do, because I’m gay.” - The BachmannRecord
Seth Walsh2010 Sep 19: Seth Walsh, 13 years old, hangs himself from a tree in his backyard. He was a student at Jacobson Middle School near Los Angeles.

"Seth Walsh was an ordinary everyday kid who just wanted to live his life except there were cruel kids around him who won't let him. Why you ask? Walsh was a young gay kid and there were kids that would not stop tormenting him while school officials ignored the problem despite being aware of the bullying." - SFGate
Bilal Philips"In a Thursday interview, Philips cheerfully advocated death as a punishment for males who “confess” to homosexual behaviour, or are seen performing homosexual acts by four reliable witnesses, in countries governed by Islamic law. Lesbians should only get lashes, he said." - TheStar

There are indeed monsters in this world. I learned about some of them while I was still a student at Texas A&M. It's sad that these young people get infected by hatred after years of learning it from the words of their elders and peers. They claim we're the ones who recruit.

You understand the irony, of course, when the evil people doing the harm actually blame the victims for their fate. Who is targeting whom?
mellowtigger: (dna)
Today's theme song selection is about the audio mood and the visuals much more than the lyrics. As I've said before, creation never stopped. Evolution is a beautiful concept that ties everything in the universe together. The interconnected web is a beautiful thing, wondrous to behold.

ant on moss with dewlunar eclipse during thunderstorm

I finished reading this week a book of historical fiction about Galileo, "Galileo's Dream" by Kim Stanley Robinson. It involves time travel, and Galileo's fate is changed from burning at the stake for heresy to (our actual, current history) simply having to lie and state that the Church's view of the universe is correct while his telescopic observations of Jupiter and the planets is wrong. He denied the beautiful truth in order to satisfy the demands of the religious reich of his time.

The end of the book provides an interesting message from a near-immortal human of our future (and past), one of the people attempting to change human history for the better.

"I joined his attempt to make a retrojection that would shove the nightmare a different way. If people would only understand earlier, we thought, that science is a religion, the most ethical religion, the most devoted and worshipful religion... Clearly I was wrong even to try. It isn't really possible. The paradoxes and entangled potentialities are the least of the problems. Worse by far is the enormous inertia of human weakness, greed, fear - all the sheer bloody mass of us. It's been a nightmare."
- Cartophilus in "Galileo's Dream"

One of my favorite quotes in this matter of obscuring simple truth comes from another fictional realm. It comes in a scene from the movie "Hogfather", a movie about Santa Claus and Christmas in a very different kind of world.

"Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know that in a world so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom? Quite astonishing."
- Death, regarding humans and their unique creativity

Why anyone would want to "settle the matter" and fix an unchanging story of the universe is beyond my understanding. There's so very much to explore and learn and do.  I wouldn't want to lose the opportunity of such a thrilling adventure.
mellowtigger: (mst3k)
I read this weekend that Jeff Conaway died. He was an actor that most people would recognize as Kenickie (Grease in 1978) or Bobby (Taxi in 1978-1981), but I'm more likely to picture him as Zack (Babylon 5 in 1994-1998) or even Willie (Pete's Dragon in 1977). Apparently Jeff suffered a back injury on the set of Grease during the "Greased Lightning" scene, and it eventually led to lifelong problems. Back surgeries failed to correct the injury, and he became addicted to opiates as a way to dull the pain of his injury and his traumatic childhood. The opiate addiction eventually led to his death.

I ended up watching Pete's Dragon again this weekend, in memoriam, even though Jeff was just a minor character in it. There are a few good songs in this old Disney musical. This song is one of two that I remember from childhood. The other one, "Candle on the Water", even received an Academy Award nomination. I recognize the many other songs when I hear them in the movie ("Passamaquaddy" and "Bill of Sale" are still kind of funny), but I remember the message of this one.

He has the head of a camel, the neck of a crocodile. It sounds rather strange.
He's both a fish and a mammal, and I hope he'll never change.

'Cause it's not easy to find someone who cares. It's not easy to find magic in pairs.
I'm glad I found him. I love him. I won't let him get away. 'Cause it's not easy.

You say the head of a camel, the neck of a crocodile. And the ears of a cow.
It's clear that friends can be different. Yes, I understand you now.

It's not easy to find someone who cares. It's not easy to find magic in pairs.
Now that you have him, hold him, treasure him from day to day. It's so easy.

So that's today's theme song. A magic story about an oddball kid who gets to live a happy ending. What little I've read about Jeff makes him seem like the kind of person who hoped in spite of the obvious, so I think we could have chatted together easily about this film and life in general.
mellowtigger: (penguin coder)
There was a moment at work today when I mentioned that a particular manual process could be automated.  The people involved responded that yes they agreed, and that's why they were looking forward to me moving into my new job position.  I'll start being a programmer again (for the third time) on Monday, May 9th.  I think.  I don't even know what my title is any more.  It's all very squishy and vague and confusing.  Nevertheless, the moment seemed to deserve a theme song, so ...

Twin Cities Code CampI went to Twin Cities Code Camp a few weeks ago on Saturday, April 9th.  I was curious about the event, since I'd heard about it before.  I also wanted to see the PowerShell presentation that day.  It's an event hosted by the University of Minnesota but attended by programmers throughout the local community.  It's a chance for people in the industry to present sessions, listen to a wide range of topics, and chat with other techies.  I stayed all day Saturday but skipped Sunday.

At the end of the day Saturday, they recorded video and audio of us shouting certain refrains from the theme song they created for the event.  I can be spotted three different places as a blur in freeze frames, but this image is the best I could capture.  I'm the shiny balding head in the orange frame.  *laugh*

Wanna learn somethin' new, don't wanna get complacent
Twin Cities Code Camp!
Your apps are nothing short of magnificent
Twin Cities Code Camp!


You can find the YouTube video, full lyrics, and the audio download at that page.  Yes, I did shout the lyrics.  No, I didn't pump my fist.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
I was already in a weird mood last night before going to the Bear bar event at the local Eagle.

It probably didn't help that while I was sitting upstairs avoiding the loud music downstairs, they showed the music video for Madonna's song "Express Yourself". This is the song that Carl would sing/quote to me. :)

YouTube disabled embedding on the official video, but here's someone else's low quality recording of a rehearsal.

So this is today's theme song:

Don't go for second best baby
Put your love to the test
You know, you know, you've got to
Make him express how he feels
And maybe then you'll know your love is real

Express yourself
You've got to make him
Express himself
Hey, hey, hey, hey

So if you want it right now
Make him show you how
Express what he's got
Oh, baby ready or not

I'm sure I'll have this one in my head for much of the day.


Apr. 21st, 2010 11:10 am
mellowtigger: (Default)
I went to the live music show last night, and it was good.  They both had some really nice songs, although sometimes I have trouble making out distinct words in a noisy environment (my problem, not theirs).

I'd already had my fill of "people time" that day (we had an all staff meeting at work to prepare for the upcoming Walk fundraiser).  I found myself spacing out sometimes and fixating on their hands strumming the guitars, wondering how that works.  I don't know if I have the dexterity and manual strength to do that.  I should try to learn guitar sometime, just to see if I could do it.

I'm poor this month (bicycle repair supplies, garden supplies, federal and state income tax), so I didn't drop much money into the jar going around.  I'll need to wait another month or two before splurging on music online.  Both of them deserve the financial encouragement to continue.  Hopefully someone out there with more money is feeling experimental and can buy their cds today to help them out.

I still don't understand what makes some people willing (and even desiring) to play music for other people.  I consider it a deeply personal experience to make sounds that convey emotion.  Emotional exhibitionism?  Is there such a thing?  Or, then again, maybe it's just the same self-indulgent urge that drives some people to blog in public.  *whistle nonchalantly*
mellowtigger: (astronomy)
A good song for ending this day.  Obama has only 257 days remaining to announce the extraterrestrial inhabitants already on our planet.  (Everything that I read on the internet is always true, of course.)

I watched the movie "Contact" for the umpteenth time tonight.  I still like it a lot, as much as I liked Carl Sagan's book.  Few movies accomplish that feat.  I even liked it better than the new Doctor Who episode.  I was flipping channels to watch both, and I found myself pausing Doctor Who so I could spend more time watching Contact.  The television series is supposed to inspire hope and optimism, but I got more of that experience from the old movie tonight.  Here, that optimism spills over into this song too.  "We'd like to make a contact with you, baby."

The closing lyrics of the song:

Calling occupants
Calling occupants
Calling occupants of interplanetary, anti-adversary craft
We are your friends

Saturn's hexagonhexagonal fluid flowOn a related note, physicists have been able to produce hexagonal currents in a fluid.  (Image on the left.)  It has something to do with differential rotation, meaning that some parts spin faster than other parts.  Instead of the typical whirlpools that I'd expect to see, they managed to get hexagons.  The news article includes video footage of the effect which is also cool stuff.

This discovery is important, because it means that we don't need to invent hyperdimensional physics in order to explain the same effect on Saturn's north pole.  (Image on the right.)  There was already an alternative sonic explanation too.  The important thing, though, is that Occam's razor allows us to leave the pan-dimensional mice out of the explanation now.  We can recreate Saturn's hexagon in a lab, so it loses its mystique.

Score one point for the lonely sentients in the backwaters of this short galactic arm.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
Some 12+ years ago (many years prior to autism diagnosis), I pondered the choice of finding either a boyfriend or a cat. I figured the overall unhappiness in the world would be lowered if I avoided attempts at romance, so I decided on the cat (pictured to the left).

Several years before that, I went through a rough period when I would have begrudged people their companioned bliss.  Once I finally accepted that it was probably not something that I would experience, I got a lot more accommodating. These days, I think it's a good thing. I like to believe that "the story" works out for some people. Happy stories are a good thing. Dreams are nice too.

So here is today's theme song: "Till The End" by Tom Goss.

You lie awake now, and you’re smiling like you do.
Your eyes aglow now, you see my face look back at you.
It's what we know now, it’s for what we’ve always yearned.

Sinking swiftly through those dreams of bittersweet,
You take your fears, and you can lay them at my feet
Cause I swear that I’m here till the end.

I lucked out.  I gave up on the Avenue Q show as too expensive for me.  This guy, though, is performing next month at The Wilde Roast (a local gay establishment) on April 20 Tuesday.  Their prices are closer to my meager means, so I'm looking forward to attending that night.  If any locals are also interested, expect to see me there.  I look forward to hearing this song performed live. :)


mellowtigger: (Default)

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