Saturday, August 26, 2017

Already! My Fifth Wedding Anniversary. Happy Times Fly By

Jeff and I marry, August 26, 2012.
Here's an open letter to my husband Jeff to note our fifth wedding anniversary which is today.

Dear Chief:

They say time flies when you're having fun, and as far as I'm concerned our marriage proves it.

I can't believe it's already been five years since we got married. Life goes by fast, especially when I have somebody like you in my life to make it so awesome.

I've learned to savor every day, as I know things will keep whipping by us, even as we settle further into the wonderful routines of marriage.

Big life events blindside us every now and then. We both lost our fathers since we've gotten married. I lost a job, gained another. We've watched each other gradually turn a little older. We deal with our mini-crises that all couples face. The furnace breaks. We need a new roof.

We manage.

We manage because you're always there to keep me propped up. Since Day 1, you've been the one to steady me when I worry too much, or when I wrongly begin to see my glass as half empty.

Because with you, my glass is always full to the brim. And I'm not talking about the glass full of beer I sometimes have in the evening.

What's full is my life. With you. It's unimaginable to think what I would be like right now if you hadn't come into it.

You remember when we first started dating  all those years ago I resisted.  You persisted. Thank God you did.

This will sound odd, but as I resisted you way back then, thinking I didn't deserve someone as fine as you, lyrics from an old Eagles song kept nagging at me.

"You'd better let somebody love you before it's too late."

So eventually, I popped the question. And on August 26, 2012, we married. Thanks to you, it wasn't too late. It wasn't too late to be in love, to have you, this big hearted, kind, strong, smart, compassionate loving man in my life.

You know I'm grateful every day.

Five years in, we are kind of an old, married couple, aren't we?  You've remodeled the house to truly make it a beautiful, comfortable home. I'm coming along nicely with the garden projects outside.  You inspire me to spread beauty, so I'm just going to keep planting those flowers until I'm no longer capable of doing so.

The dogs bark, telling us they're hungry, so we feed them. Then we all go out for a dash around the yard. All great moments in life, again because you're there with me.

In the evening, we sit in front of the TV, gnashing our teeth in anger when Rachel Maddow explains the latest Washington scandal, or we marvel at the teenage ventriloquist on "America's Got Talent," or thrill to the athletes on "American Ninja Warrier."

All routine stuff. But really, it's not routine. Because you're sitting there with me.  It's all something to embrace and savor. I lose my concentration with what Rachel is talking about - it's not important anyway. because you're there.

So I sit on the couch and stare at you as you sit in your nice big easy chair. And I  think about how empty my life would be by comparison if you weren't taking the journey with me.

Yes, this message was mushy and gooey and oh so sticky sweet, but it had to be said. I also understand this message is similar to the one I gave you last year on our anniversary.  I feel the same as last year toward you, only even more so.

You've made me a much better man, and nothing compares with the joy of being in love with you.

Happy anniversary, Jeff!  I feel so lucky to love you more and more each day.

Love, Matt

Thursday, August 24, 2017

This Is The Most Unflappable New Anchor You'll Ever See

Over in Britain, ITV anchor Alastair Stewart interviewed a mother about her childrens' milk allergies.

One of the toddlers took over the set. Stewart was incredibly calm in the storm. If he was able to do his job amid this chaos, he can do anything.

Watch this viral video. It's funny:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Watching People Watch The Eclipse Was Part Of The Fun.

People watch Monday's solar eclipse at Burlington,
Vermont's waterfront park. 
Up here in Vermont, we didn't get a total eclipse of the sun yesterday. Just a partial one.

It was still neat, but of course not as wild as being in a total eclipse.

The most fun up here was watching people watch the eclipse.

I went down to Waterfront Park in Burlington to find a festive atmosphere as the eclipse got under way.

It was a hazy day, with smoke from Canadian forest fires giving a brassy hue to the light. As the eclipse progressed, obscuring up to 60 percent of the sun, the hazy blue sky took on a grayish tint.

A woman looks through a hastily made contraption to
view the solar eclipse Monday in Burlington, Vermont.
The brassy light became kind of a sickly yellow tan.

Sounds awful, but it was fun, as people in the park peered through eclipse glasses or watched the spectacle through home-made cardboard contraptions.

I didn't have either of those things, so I was content to duck under some trees, and watch the dappled sunlight that passed through the leaves of the trees form crescent shapes as the eclipse developed.

There was some of the inevitable price gouging. Somebody was selling eclipse glasses for $20 a pair at Waterfront Park.

As you can see from this post, people had a lot of fun. It was an excuse for an impromptu party.

An entrepreneur sells eclipse glasses
for $20 a pop in Burlington Monday
Scroll down for a couple more photos.  

A man enjoys the view of the solar eclipse,
safetly behind special glasses, at Waterfront
Park in Burlington, Vermont Monday

Monday, August 21, 2017

Surprise! White Supremacists Are A Bunch Of Doofuses.

The best thing we can do with our current crop of young
American Nazis and white supremacists is
mercilessly mock them. 
What happened in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month is no laughing matter, but you can't help but mock some of those white supremacists who caused such havoc.

Mockery is one of the best ways to erase the so-called legitimacy of awful subsets of people like that, and luckily, the white supremacists make it easy.

Chris Cantwell, was caught on film by Vice in Charlottesville, talking tough about how he doesn't think Donald Trump is racist or anti-Semitic enough because he let his daughter Ivanka marry a Jewish guy - Jared Kushner.

Cantwell is later seem sobbing like a little boy who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar because he feared he might be arrested for his actions in Charlottesville.

Too bad, baby. You gotta own what you do.

Fun fact: Cantwell was also part of "Free Keene Squad" a few years back in which he and his fellow band of "saviors" harassed parking meter readers in Keene, New Hampshire for some reason.

We also have the reporting on how the white supremacists are taking DNA tests, you know the ones you can get through outfits like, the ones that tell you what your background is.

These idiots took these tests to prove their ever so white, non-Jew bonafides, except the tests keep proving the morons have Jewish and African blood in them.

Bummer, dude.

This past weekend, we had the humiliation in Boston, when the alt-right wingers held their so-called Free Speech Rally. Something like 30 of them showed up, compared with, oh, I don't know, 30,000+ counterprotesters.

Talk about being outnumbered!  An organizer of the Free Speech rally said it kind of fell apart on them.

Ya think?

For a closer, let's watch two videos to send our white supremecists on the way. The first, by Sandy and Richard Riccardi, is a sweet song called "Tiki Torch Nazis," to commemorate the idiots in Charlottesville more than a week back.

The second shows how a tuba can really deflate a Nazi march.

First, "Tiki Torch Nazis"

Now, even better, is the tuba. Video is from a couple years ago, but still relevant. The "Flight of the Valkyries" is a nice touch:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

No, The Eclipse Won't Poison Your Food And Won't Mean You're About To Die

If you haven't heard that a total solar eclipse is going to cross the United States on Monday you really have been living under a rock.
No weird space aliens or anything are going to
get you during the eclipse, so relax

Everyone who has seen such an eclipse says it's just an amazing experience as the darkness descends. It is otherworldly, and probably for some a little scary. That's understandable.

What isn't quite as understandable is the beliefs some people still hold about eclipses. NASA felt compelled to put out a fact sheet to debunk some popular theories as to what might happen.

For one, you won't go blind during the eclipse, unless you insist on looking directly at the sun as the eclipse unfolds.  Some people apparently think blindness happens just if you're in the path of it, ignoring all the people who remained just fine and eagle-eyed after they experienced an eclipse.

Then there are wackier notions. An eclipse is really just a shadow. The moon gets in the way of the sun, so you can't see it, and things go dark. It's that simple.

So, no, there won't be any strange, dangerous radioactive or cosmic rays killing us, poisoning our food if you prepare it during an eclipse, or killing your fetus if you are pregnant. So fix that sandwich during the eclipse and if you're a mother-to-be, go out and look at the event. Your kid is going to be fine.

I can understand that in ancient times, before we understood what eclipses are, that people would think the world is ending, or that something bad was about to happen. After all, who'd expect to be out on a sunny day and then the  sun suddenly decides to gradually fade to black. Pretty weird, huh?

Still, a few people nowadays have a bad experience shortly after an eclipse and think the celestial event caused it. When really the bad experience was just random bad luck.

So no, if you get sick after the eclipse, it's probably because you used spoiled mayonnaise when you made that sandwich during the eclipse.

Eclipse paths are random, and some areas over time have seen them more often than others. Here in Vermont, the last total eclipse hit parts of the state in 1932. A total eclipse is scheduled for northern Vermont in 2024.

Which means a corner of northeastern Vermont will have seen a total eclipse twice within a century.

However, as I listened to VPR yesterday, I learned the poor city of Rutland, Vermont keeps missing the path of total eclipse.

Rutland last had a total eclipse in the 1300s and won't have one again until the 2300s. So about 1,000 years.

Sorry, Rutvegas.

Monday, August 14, 2017

1940s Anti-Fascist PSA's Getting New Attention After Charlottesville

A 1940s-era anti-fascist PSA has become
newly relevant, unfortunately.
Back in the 1940s, as Nazis tried to take over the world, the U.S. government released a bunch of public service announcements and films denouncing fascists.  

Made sense then.

Makes sense now, especially after Charlottesville and when we have a president that pretty much gives a wink and a nod to the Nazis and white supremacists who caused death and heartache over the weekend.

There's a 17-minute version of the film you can see by clicking on this link from The Atlantic. 

There's another video, below, that's a more streamlined version of this very relevant clip.

In both versions of the film, we hear words from a blustery fascist American politician that we are now hearing some version of today:

"I see negroes holding jobs that belong to me and you. Now, I ask you, if we allow this thing to go on, what's going to happen to us real Americans?"

The loudmouth then blames blacks, Catholics, Freemasons and immigrants for the nation's problems.

In the clip, a young man is almost persuaded by the rhetoric until the idiot speaker mentions Freemasons, as he's one.

Then a man with an eastern European accent - an immigrant from Hungary who became an American citizen - schools the younger man on just how dangerous this rhetoric is.

The clip should be required viewing for all of us. Here it is:

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Charlottesville: When White Supremacists/Nazis Snowflakes Turn Violent

A striking image from Charlottesville today: A black
cop trying to keep the peace while racists and the
KKK rally behind him.
It's a horrible day in Charlottesville, Virginia as a bunch of white supremacists and Nazis descended into town, and as of 1 p.m., there had already been violent clashes between these turds and counter-protesters.

Many of the so called white nationalists (read complete ass wipes) are toting guns, so it'll be a miracle if nobody gets killed.

I'm technically a target of theirs, too. Yeah, I'm a white guy, but I'm also gay. Last I heard, some of these jerks were chanting "Fuck you, faggots," at counter protestors. 

The Nazis that descended on Charlottesville last night with torches was a nice touch, too. Nothing like a good old revival of the violent KKK to cheer things up, right?

It does take two to tango, and if there is violence and fights, it's the fault of both the KKK types and the counter protesters.

However, the white supremacists are the aggressors here, and the stupidest people are the ones that think they'll get their way through violence and intimidation. Exhibit A of this stupidity is on full display in Charlottesville today.

And everybody, please start calling them the alt.right. They're not cool, like or alt.whatever hipster trend is out there.

Call them what they are: white supremacists, Nazis, horrible people, whatever.

Meanwhile, we set a low bar for President Trump, so given that low bar, I have to appreciate Trump for condemning the violence today.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has understandably declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville, so that the state can aid in keeping the level of violence down.

Even if Virginia and police manage to keep injuries and destruction to a minimum, that doesn't solve the bigger problem.

We all hear about terrorism perpetrated by Muslims, in America and abroad.

But so far, it seems we Americans have more to fear from white supremacists terrorists than Muslim extremists.

In June, we learned from The Nation Institute's Investigative Fund and The Center for Investigative Reporting's Reveal that most terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between January, 2008 and the end of 2016 where perpetrated by right wing extremists.

The problem is when a Muslim does something hateful, it's called terrorism by politicians and many members of the media. When a white guy does something similar, it's dismissed as just a lone nutcase.

But the database we got in June shows that 115 of the 201 terrorist attacks cited in the report were carries out by right wing extremists. This includes people like the supremacists, militias and "sovereign citizens."

Another 63 cases were done by Islamic extremists, and 19 were from left wing extremists, wuch as ecoterrorists and animal rights militants.

So when you hear ultra conservative snowflakes whine that they're being terrorized by maurading liberals, don't believe it.

The white supremacists can be violent, no doubt about that. But oppressed? Don't think so, bud.  Maybe get smarter, shut your trap when you want to spout hate speech and mind your own business and then you'll be more successful in life.

The reason nobody is hiring you is not because there's a big affirmative action thing going on. They won't hire you because you're a complete turd.

Still, complainers gotta complain. One incident crystallizes this. According to Gizmodo, idiot white guy Richard Spencer, en route to the Charlottesville shindig, said he stopped at a restaurant but they wouldn't serve him. He says it was based on his viewpoints, that he was being treated like African Americans attempting to go to lunch counters in the 1960s.

But the real reason why the restaurant wouldn't serve Spencer is because at the time he stopped by, the eatery wasn't serving anybody. It was morning, and they don't open until 5 p.m. The place was closed.

Restaurants tend not to serve would-be patrons when they are closed, dude.

Anyway, here's hoping the white supremacists in Charlottesville display their extreme dimwittedness today for all the world to see, all the while avoiding this devolve into violence.

However, as I write this, I just learned a car slammed into a crowd of people protesting against the white supremacists, and there are multiple injuries.

Let's all work together to call out all the white supremacists, expose them to harsh daylight of reason, and watch them wither away.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I like Minions, But Stephen Miller Is The Worst Yet. Thanks, John Oliver

John Oliver's right. The odious Stephen Miller is
really an evil minion.
I'm a fan of the minions from the "Despicable Me" franchise.  

You know what they are: Those googly-eyed cartoon characters that resemble yellow pills and get in all sorts of trouble.

Now I have to re-think my fandom, thanks to John Oliver.

Stephen Miller, the odious, self-absorbed evil Trump aide, really, really looks like a minion, John Oliver points out.

He's right.

Check out this clip of Oliver, which ends inexplicably with footage of an enthusiastic Seattle gardener, I guess to sweeten the bad taste in your mouth left my Minion Miller.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

What If Obama Said What Trump Said?

I hear this a lot: 
This Obama impersonator said things Trump actually said
on Real Time With Bill Maher last night.
The result was jarring

Republicans keep their mouths shut when Donald Trump says something outrageous, but imagine if Barack Obama said the same things. They'd go ballistic.

Bill Maher went with that last night by hiring an Obama impersonator to say some of the things Trump said. It's jarring. But fun.

Here ya go:

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Solar Eclipse Of The Heart

Lots of people are getting excited about the big solar eclipse that will cross the nation diagonally from Oregon to South Carolina on August 21.

Most of the rest of us, including us here in Vermont, will see a nice partial eclipse, which will be cool.

To get in the spirit of the event, we have a great parody of Bonnie Tyler's 1983 classic and odd music video of her song "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

This time, though, we get an odd, but fun video, "Solar Eclipse Of The Heart." Totally worth the watch: