A Dangerous Precedent?

It seems like every time I check my news feed I see half a dozen articles that piss me off.  I should really just stop reading the news, it always puts me in a bad mood.

Today I read a piece on the Huffington Post, “Why the Boy Scouts new policy on gays sets a dangerous precedent.”  Article.

Before I go into the wrongness of the article I’ll give you a little background on myself.  I was an active member in boy scouts for many years, during that time (fifteen years or so ago) were the first debates about homosexuals in scouting.  I came down firmly on the side of gay rights.  It was too early then, the changes were shot down.  Many boy scout troops are also sponsored by religious organizations, mainly Christian, something else I was not a fan of, but that was the driving force behind the ban on homosexuals in the organization.

However… I think the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) just made a step in the right direction and opinion pieces like the one in the Huffington Post are steps in the wrong direction.

To summarize the writer’s problem with the BSA, they lifted the ban on homosexual scout leaders, something that has been in place for a long time, but the BSA isn’t forcing individual troops to accept homosexuals.  In other words, it’s up to each sub group of scouts to decide whether or not to allow gay leaders.  This is a huge problem for the writer of the article because it still allows for discrimination.  He basically calls this a “cop out”, a way to side step the issue without looking like they are discriminating.

But that’s really, really a stupid way to look at things and contributes to the rising tensions between LGBT groups and religious organizations.

Look at it like this, LGBT groups want acceptance and respect for their beliefs and lifestyle… but want to force that acceptance and respect on others?  You’re a religiously sponsored scout group, well you have to accept homosexual scout leaders.  Or, if you want to broaden the argument, forcing other Christian businesses to provide services to support homosexual marriage, etc.

Wait?  Isn’t that what LGBT activists have been saying that religious groups have been doing to them forever?  Forcing their religious beliefs on society and LGBT people?

The bottom line here is that if people want others to respect them and their beliefs the first step should be respecting other’s.  We’re all different, with different experiences, expectations, and backgrounds.  Either side trying to force their beliefs on anyone else is going to create even more distance between diverse people instead of finding middle ground.  A religion has no more right to impose on others than someone else has to impose on them.

In the case of the BSA, I think they made the right call.  They lifted the ban, allowed each troop to make the decisions that are right for them, without forcing the changes on everyone.  I think that’s a win, it opens the doors to change without hammering the issue.  You can’t change decades of tradition (good or bad) and long held belief systems overnight, and trying to will only make them dig in their heels and resist even more.  Over time homosexual leaders will be more accepted and more widespread, but it’ll happen organically and without pressure.  That’s how real change is made, over time as people understand and accept them, not through legislation or force.

In the larger picture with social issues, what really needs to happen is for all these groups on both sides to step back and take a deep breath.  If everybody gives a little maybe we can all find a way to happily coexist, and isn’t that the goal?

How to fix your icon in the reader

I mentioned previously that I really hate the new changes to the WP reader.  Well, at least we can fix one small part of them.

When WordPress made its most recent changes all the sudden our Gravitar stopped showing up next to our names by our posts.  WP stopped putting the Gravitars up and started putting up something else (Why do we have Gravitars if they aren’t going to use them?), which is stupid on so many levels and took me forever to to fix it.  I thought I should show the steps here and maybe some of you can avoid the headache.

In your reader click “My Site” on the top left.  On that page, click “WP Admin” to go to your dashboard.  Yes, you cannot fix this stupid update in the new blue screen.

Once you’re on your dashboard scroll down on the menu on the left hand side to “Settings”, a window will pop up with sub categories, select “General”.

On the general setting page, upper right will be a section for “Blog Picture/Icon”.  That’s where you can add the pic that will show up next to your posts.

My Site > WP Admin > Settings > General > Blog Pic/Icon

**Your experience may differ but it took WP about 12 hours to ‘accept’ my photo and update it in the reader.**

Know the rules

This is not a blog about writing, however, it is a place for ranting.  Many of the bloggers that I follow also write stories, some even write books, but over and over I see the same mistakes and it’s driving me nuts.  If you’ve been following me for long enough you might remember the series of posts I did about poets last year, I’m just as hard on fiction writers.  What bugs me is how few of these writers really focus on learning their craft before putting it out for the world to see.

I’m not talking about a missed comma here and there, I never pay much attention to them and as long as it isn’t frequent it’s forgivable, I’m talking about the style rules.  If I see a book blurb, a first page, or the beginning of a post that violates these rules I don’t even bother reading further.  Nope, it’s not worth it, the rest of the story/poem/book is probably just as bad. Continue reading

I’m a cranky old luddite

Fridays are supposed to be nice, easy, laid back days.  Most of my Fridays are like that, thankfully.  However, today was quite the opposite.

Work ran really late and it was hot out.  Really hot out.  It was an eleven hour day and by the end I felt like half a cave man, stubble thickening on my jaw, sticky with sweat, so hungry I was ready to beat something to death and so agitated that seemed preferable to stopping at McDonalds.  I was a fucking monster, angry at the world, smelly, and frustrated.

As a little gift to myself, I decided to spend a bit of the work bonus I got this month on a new laptop.  My good laptop died last year and I’ve been making do with one of my old netbooks that hasn’t quite died yet.  I was thinking, hey, it’s Friday, work sucked, I deserve a little something nice and I have the cash. Continue reading

WordPress Changes

In case you hadn’t noticed WordPress changed their Reader layout over the last 24 hours.  I’m sure it makes the site more smartphone-friendly, but as someone who only ever checks WP on a laptop the changes are ridiculous and annoying.  Am I the only one that absolutely hates the newest change?  Seriously, WP,  WTF?

Endings and endings

It’s a kind of hard to write much about the breakup with Stephanie, like most of our relationship it was pretty unremarkable.  I suppose that’s a good thing but it does complicate writing about it.

When I first met Stephanie and we started going out I knew I was going to break her heart.  While we’re the same age, she was far less experienced than me in relationships.  She still harbored fairy tale dreams.  It was interesting because on a superficial level she’s far more successful, good professional job, connections, but behind closed doors it was like she was 17 instead of in her thirties.  I’m not going to go into her personal life here but she had some familial issues at a young age that delayed her sexual/romantic life.  Think forty year old virgin but not quite as bad. Continue reading

A Reserved Feminist

**Those of you who are regular readers will know I have nothing against feminism.  I make jokes sometimes but I also have four sisters and was raised in a family that was very firm on everyone, all people are equal.  This is just a story and some thoughts about a particular individual and situation.**

As this relationship with Stephanie winds to its inevitable end (I’m seeing her tomorrow, break up time), I find myself reflecting on relationships and life.  I’ve been remembering the great loves and losses, the good times and the bad, what really worked for me and what didn’t.

During this reflection I came to think about one of my first relationships.

In high school I started dating Anne (not to be confused with Ann St. Vincent, that was later).  The story of the relationship is interesting, I’ve written about it previously (Anne pt 1, Anne pt 2).  I’m not going into all the details, you can read the previous posts if you want that, but I’ll give a quick summary.   Continue reading

Sucky Week

Well, for it being a short week with a long holiday weekend it’s somehow turned into something utterly crap-tastic.  One of those weeks that you wish would end but somehow you aren’t optimistic that the next week will be any better.

I got screwed over by the property managers I hired to take care of the townhouse that Cat and I still own thousands of miles away.  They needed over three grand for mysterious repairs, denied sending me the necessary paperwork, declared it all an emergency, and now won’t even answer my emails.  After I sent the money, of course.  Money that I didn’t really have to spare.  I’m sure it’s just a crappy agent and not a scam, I’ve worked with them for over five years, but it’s got me tearing my hair out at the roots -and I didn’t have that much hair to begin with. Continue reading

Conservative Hypocrisy

I read an article today that irked me.  This happens most days, which is why that cabin in the middle of nowhere seems more and more hospitable.

The article is an “idea” piece for the Time website: “Orthodox Christians Must Now Learn to Live As Exiles in Our Own Country“.  Essentially the piece is about how marriage and societal views have shifted away from the writer’s values, as though he and those like him are somehow now an impacted minority. Continue reading

I can be an asshole sometimes

I often tell people I’m an asshole, it’s surprising how few people believe that.  I might not be one all the time but I have flashes just like everyone else.

This evening I was having dinner with Stephanie.  She was talking about how videos were more and more common, cameras everywhere.  In some ways that’s pretty awesome, the ability to hold everyone accountable for their actions and record meaningful events.  On the other hand it’s a terrifying, 1984-esque concept.  It led to the following conversation.

Stephanie: “Someday soon we’re all going to be recorded 24/7, all accountability all the time.”

Me: “No way, uh uh.  I’ll move to a tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere if we ever reach a situation even close to that.”

(That’s not an uncommon comment from me, I often talk about how I’d rather be a hermit than live in a society I don’t like.  Which is more and more likely every day.)

Stephanie gave me a sly look: “You always picture yourself alone in that cabin or do you see someone else with you?”

I thought about that for a moment before giving her the honest answer:  “Nope, all alone.”

That pretty much ended our almost romantic evening.  No regrets.