What Gun Fans Will Say …

We’ve all been there – trying to carry on an intelligent conversation with an avid gun lover, one who will argue ‘til he’s blue in the face that his “right” to own as many weapons of any type as he pleases is more important than our lives. It’s hard to carry on such a conversation, but thanks to Ben Berwick over at Coalition of the Brave, I came across this post by Eric Rasmussen that has some really good ideas for rebutting some of the asinine remarks that are frequently made by the gun nuts. Thank you, Eric, for these great rebuttals, and thank you, Ben, for pointing me in Eric’s direction!

Beauty is Imperfection

I grew up with at least three guns in my house in Oklahoma, including long guns and handguns, and learned to shoot them when I was young. So I’ve been hearing the flawed reasoning of gun rights supporters my whole life. We are hearing them again after the mass murder of children in Uvalde, Texas. I myself didn’t care much about the gun issue until 20 children were slaughtered, along with six adults, in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. Then I realized kids were dying every day unnecessarily because people like me were not speaking up about what we knew.

The following is a list of things gun enthusiasts will say to you in the backlash as most Americans demand sensible gun laws. The assertions are going to include outright lies about history and physics, logical fallacies and cute bumper sticker slogans that talk around the substance of the argument. (“Guns…

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A Short Tribute To A Good Man

People come into our lives seemingly at random, some stay a few minutes, some a lifetime, but many stay long enough to earn a place in our hearts and our memories.  They may leave because of death, because of a disagreement, or simply physical distance, though the Internet has done much to shorten those physical spans.  Today, I learned of the death of one such person … a friend … nay, a member of my blogging family … who left an indelible mark on my heart and who will be sorely missed.  Many of you may remember him … Hugh Curtler.

A retired college professor of philosophy, Hugh was among the wisest men I knew.  More than once, he pulled me back to the realm of reality when my take on the political situation went out of bounds, and while I always listened to his wise words, I often failed to live up to his standard.  Like our mutual friend Keith, Hugh was my gold standard for common sense, for knowing how to respond to things said in the heat of a moment.

I knew that Hugh was battling cancer back in 2020, but for a long time he continued to post on his blog, email me fairly regularly, and comment on mine and others’ blog posts.  His last posts were in January and February 2021, and emails to him later last year went unanswered.  I knew … somewhere deep down, I knew … but I didn’t want to think about it, so like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, I didn’t think about it … much … except on those sleepless nights.

I have a book of Hugh’s, Alone in the Labyrinth, that he signed along with a short note and mailed to me back in early 2021.  I will cherish it for the rest of my life.

There is much I probably could say about Hugh … he was a kind man, a good man, a wise man … but it is his own words that are best suited to remind us of who Hugh Curtler was.  Below are links to just a few of my favourite among his many posts.  Today, I am saddened by the loss of Hugh, but enriched for having known him.

Good Folks


How Free Are We?

If, I say

Thank you, Hugh, for always being my rock, my ‘go-to’ when I needed a bit of good sense.  I will miss you, as I know others will … you were a big part of our ‘blogging family’ and I loved you!  R.I.P. Hugh Curtler

A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste …

Woe the poor high school senior living in the U.S. who, looking forward to graduation in May or June, already accepted to the college of her choice, is now told that the schools are closed for the rest of the year and her plans will have to be scrapped.  She will likely have to repeat her entire senior year next year, or perhaps even the year after, since the U.S. seems intent on scrapping life in general for the rest of this calendar year.

First, let me assure you that I’m not necessarily arguing against the closing of the schools.  We must protect our young people as best we can.  What I’m arguing is that there appears to be absolutely zero amount of planning for the education of our youth … it seems that nobody is considering alternate means for these young people to complete the school year that they have already spent 6 months of their lives on.  Where is the common sense???  Must we keep throwing out the baby with the bathwater?  Does nobody in our government think any more?  Just because we have a fool in the White House shouldn’t preclude other elected officials from using their brains for something other than holding their skulls in place.

Once again, state governors have shown their immense capacity for willful ignorance by closing schools through the end of the school year, despite the fact that it is only March, and with callous disregard for both students and parents.

“The governor told California parents the SAT and other standardized testing would be canceled and the state would help with supplies to homeschool.”

Say WHAT???  The entire SAT is cancelled?  Whose brilliant idea was that?  So, even students who technically completed their course work at mid-term will not be able to take the SAT in order to enter college in the fall?  What would you do if you were a student in that situation?  I think many will say, “Screw this, I’ll just go work for the sanitation department,” else “I’ll just kill myself now.” I don’t suppose it occurred to the dolts in the Department of Education that the SAT could, with appropriate safeguards, be administered online???

And “the state would help with supplies to homeschool”?  So what?  Most parents whose children are beyond about 5th or 6th grade are not going to be able to homeschool their children in many subjects.  Only those with advanced degrees plus the time and patience will be able to do so … likely about 10% of the population.

Common sense is seriously lacking in the United States today.  Now, if the states thought shuttering the schools for the next 6 months was such a brilliant move, then they could have had teachers teach their classes online, from the comfort of their own homes, in their jammies if they wished.  Students without access to a computer, modem or WiFi, could have been provided one at no cost by the Department of Education.  Without the distractions, perhaps they would have learned even better, but noooooo … it would have required thought processes that no government official today seems capable of.

The quality of education in the United States had hit an all-time low, even before this.  We no longer teach young people that wonderful art of thinking, but rather teach them technical skills.  We teach little about history, literature, and how governments function, but rather how to program in C++, or how to build furniture.  And now … we teach … nothing.  For at least the foreseeable future, we teach nothing.  Way. To. Go.

To reiterate, just so nobody misunderstands my point as happened in a post last week:  I am not arguing against the schools being closed if that is what the medical community believe is the best way to save lives.  The medical community, not public officials who are sans common sense in the midst of this pandemic.  My point, however, is you don’t just shutter the schools for the next six months without a backup plan to ensure these young people are able to complete this school year.  I, who am not even an educator, can think of a number of ways this could be done, but nobody … not a single person … in our federal or state governments has even bothered to try.  I want our Department of Education employees to get off their arses and earn the money We the People are paying them!  Yo … Betsy DeVos … are you listening?  It’s your turn to earn your keep!

Snarky Snippets — Bah Humbug!

They say that ignorance is bliss.  If that is true, there must be a heck of a lot of really blissful people in this nation!

The height of ignorance?

Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to manufacture, let alone sell, Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments???  Has the Era of Trump, or the populist movement really made people so cruel, crude, classless, tasteless, and effing ignorant?

From an article in The Washington Post

Amazon has halted the sale of Auschwitz-themed products such as Christmas decorations, a mouse pad and a bottle opener, following an outpouring of disgust on social media led by Poland’s official memorial museum.

The items featured images from Auschwitz, a former Nazi concentration camp where an estimated 1.1 million men, women and children died during World War II. An Auschwitz-themed star holiday decoration was described as a “high quality snowflake,” with the seller, going by the name of Fcheng, describing the bottle opener as a “memorable gift, perfect for every festival.”

In 2018, a report from two watchdog groups found that Amazon was continuing to profit from the sale of white-supremacist propaganda such as books, swastika jewelry and baby onesies featuring an image of a burning cross — despite the company’s policy against selling products that promote hatred.

More than a few times I have noted that the 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech is often too broadly interpreted, and that every ‘right’ comes with a corresponding responsibility.  Amazon shirked their responsibility in allowing these hate-themed items to be advertised and sold.  But, perhaps the bigger problem is the fact that there is actually a demand for such items, that people will actually buy this crap.

What the heck are they thinking???

Every now and then, it happens that a fetus will implant in a woman’s fallopian tube rather than the uterus.  Left untreated, this would ultimately result in the death of the mother, not to mention the fetus.  This is called an ectopic pregnancy, and the only viable treatment is to surgically remove the fetus from the fallopian tube.

The state legislature in Ohio, however, has decided that they know more than all the gynecologists in the world, and there is a bill before the legislature, HB413, that would require doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy” into a woman’s uterus, or be charged with ‘abortion murder’.

Lots of problems with this bill, but the main one is that reimplanting an ectopic pregnancy is medically impossible!  The procedure does not exist!  It cannot be done!  Are the lawmakers in this state really that effing stupid???

It is bad enough that Ohio and other states have passed some of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country … the world, for that matter.  Women’s rights?  HAH!  The bozos are spoon-fed by the evangelicals who have an unreasonable desire to ensure that women are given only the rights men see fit to give them.  But now, they are almost ensuring that every gynecologist in the state will be in prison for murder and women who need a doctor will have to go to another state to find one!  Might be a better idea just to sterilize all male babies at birth … there, problem solved!

Sorry … I got a little carried away there, but this is about the stupidest one thing I have seen come out of the state legislature, ever.

Under the bill, physicians who perform abortions would face 15 years to life in prison, and removing an ectopic pregnancy is considered an abortion in this bill.  The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists argues that pro-life physicians should end such ectopic pregnancies as “There is no chance for survival of the child, either inside or outside the womb, but there is a very real, imminent danger of death or disability for the mother.”

But, some people are apparently so appalled by the concept of ‘abortion’ that they would see the mother die in an attempt to save a fetus.  Too bad those same people aren’t equally appalled by children separated from their parents and thrown in cages.  Too damn bad they aren’t equally appalled by children going to bed hungry at night or living on the streets.

Needless to say, doctors aren’t too happy with the bill …ohio-doctor-tweetCommon sense says that the bill is for show only and cannot possibly pass the legislature and be signed into law by the governor, right?  Right?

Okay … I’m going to go do some housecleaning to work off some of this angst & ire.  Have a nice evening, folks!

Use that filter before you speak

Blogger-friend Keith has written a most excellent post that needs no introduction from me. Thank you Keith … you hit the nail on the head with this one!


In my efforts not to curse, the above title is a euphemism for what I would prefer to say. My message is to those who have decided to bypass any filters and say the most inflammatory things.

Two public figures – Johnny Depp and Kathy Griffin – decided that they should make suggestions about the demise of the President. And, a Democrat official was appropriately fired for making a statement about how he was glad Representative Scaliae was shot because of his role in passing unfavorable legislation.

There is no call for these comments or actions. I fully understand the President has incited, promoted and condoned violence against others. He has failed to call out violence against minority groups, but has a quick comment for when a Muslim may be the perpetrator. This is not right, either.

So, let me be frank. One set of actions does not condone the…

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Once Again … We Have Met The Enemy …

Those of us who write, who share our words, thoughts and ideas with the public, have a responsibility.  That responsibility is to get our message out with respect, without crossing certain lines of integrity.  In 2009, a picture spread across the internet depicting President Obama taking the oath of office seen through a rifle scope with the President in the crosshairs.  That crossed the line.  Many, many other disturbing, disgusting and downright grotesque memes have been created, pictures shared, and articles written that crossed the line.  That is one of the downsides of free speech, but since we cherish and protect our right to free speech, we must also use good judgement.  We must police ourselves so we do not open a door for somebody else to do so.

I’m sure you have all seen the photo of Kathy Griffin holding a prop that is supposed to represent the bloodied head of Donald Trump.  I will not place that picture on this post, nor on any other, as it so blatantly crossed a line that it does not belong anywhere, certainly not on this blog.

Ms. Griffin has since apologized, whether with sincerity or not, I do not know.  It does not matter.  There are some things that cannot be fixed with an apology, and this is one of them.  Words spoken in hate can never be unheard, and images such as this one cannot be unseen.  With the far-reaching, long lasting capabilities of the internet, apology or no, this image will be around for a long, long time.  And children will see it and have nightmares.  Donald Trump’s 11-year-old son Barron was reportedly quite upset … understandably.

In order to post such a heinous photo, in order to imagine the idea of doing so, one must possess a warped mind, one without the filter of a conscience.  I neither know nor care who thought of the idea, whether it was Griffin herself, or a publicist, or Joe down at the pool hall … it was wrong.  It is equally wrong for anybody to share that photo on social media, yet some are doing so.

In a conversation this morning about this photo, I said that anybody who shares this photo is wrong, but then, the more I thought about it, I concluded that anybody who does not condemn this behaviour is, in their silence, tacitly approving.  I do not mean that everyone has to post on their Facebook account that they condemn Kathy Griffin and the photo.  However, for myself, since my blog is all about culling out instances of injustice and cruelty, and shining a light on them, how can I ignore this? If I speak against the hate of people like Wayne Allyn Root and Jeremy Christian, then I must also speak out against Kathy Griffin and those who assisted her in creating such a terrible image and spreading it far and wide.

I have no love or respect for Donald Trump, as you all know by now.  However, this really wasn’t about Donald Trump … this was about respect for society as a whole.  How many people have pulled up their Facebook account only to have that image in their face?  Thousands?  Hundreds of thousands?  Millions?  How many of them were children?  How many were disgusted?  How many laughed?  How many shared the image with even more people?

Griffin is a stand-up comedienne who has released six comedy albums, all of which received Grammy Award nominations. She was, until a few minutes ago, slated to co-host CNN’s coverage of the annual New Year’s Eve program with Anderson Cooper, but early this afternoon, CNN announced that they have terminated their agreement with her.  She has basically thrown a lucrative career in the trash bin … and for what?  She lowered her standards and will pay the price, which is as it should be.  Perhaps if she had bothered to think about what she was doing …

I do not feel sorry for Trump, though I’m sure some will.  I do not feel sorry for Griffin.  I do feel sorry for those of us who have to see this sort of trash every day, and I feel sad that some people have completely lost respect, lost compassion for others.  There are so many more important issues, but stupid things like this distract our attention. Democrat or Republican … everyone should find this type of behaviour unacceptable.  Yes, we have freedom of speech, but let us use some good judgement and common sense, let us not forget about respect for others.

Winter Storm Warning!!!

Earlier this week, a winter storm moved through the eastern half of the U.S. … yes, another one … sigh. Now, I know this may come as a shock to some, but it is winter and that means that those of us who are not fortunate enough to live in Southern California or Florida will likely be treated to snow, sleet, freezing rain and cold temperatures when a winter storm comes. A century ago, people read the Old Farmer’s Almanac and tried to predict when a storm would likely hit, but today we have this marvelous thing called Doppler radar and meteorologists to interpret what the Doppler images might mean for various parts of the country. These meteorologists and their minions then proceed to warn us all via television, radio, and the internet of the impending storm, even to the point of telling us exactly when it will start, what will happen, when it will end, and how much snow or ice we can expect once it is ended. Now, I have two points I want to make on this subject

Point one is that meteorology as a science is yet imperfect and in reality, though it may appear that a given storm will take a certain path, Mother Nature has a really sick sense of humour and is just as likely as not to blow it a bit to the south, a bit to the north, or fizzle it out altogether. So, while it is wonderful to have the technology we have, one must always understand that what the meteorologist sees at noon may vary vastly from what he sees five hours later, all of which may have no connection to the reality of tomorrow. Additionally, the meteorologist you see on your television is not a pure science guy and is being paid big bucks for being the most popular “weather guy” in the neighborhood and thus earning ratings for his/her station. What this means is that he may find it necessary or desirable to … shall we say stretch the truth just a bit or expound on the effect of the coming weather, turning a forecast into a major drama, an entertainment event, causing people across the nation to write millions of Facebook posts along the lines of “did you hear that we are going to get two feet of snow?”. Then, of course, every man, woman and child in the area heads to the nearest Kroger to “lay in supplies” ample for at least two weeks of being snowed under. More often than not, the snow is a few inches or never shows up at all, but every household has a full pantry and overflowing refrigerator. Ever wonder why winter lends itself to obesity? Wonder no more. The whole point being that television ratings trump science and, while it is always a good idea to be prepared, if one believes everything he/she sees on Channel 9 or The Weather Channel, one will need psychotherapy by the time spring finally arrives.

My second point is that, while some are stocking up at the grocery store, the other half of the population seems to not heed the warning at all and goes on about their merry business-as-usual. Yesterday morning hundreds, perhaps thousands of motorists were stranded on I-65 south of Louisville, Kentucky, for nearly 20 hours when the highway was shut down due to snow accumulations, ice and jackknifed tractor-trailers. The highway crews, of course, were unable to clear the highway because they could not get around all the cars and trucks that were using the highway as a parking lot. One woman who was interviewed had a young child with her and had been stranded for ten hours. Where were these people when the aforementioned meteorologists were spreading their message of gloom and doom throughout the area? I certainly feel empathy for anyone who is stuck in a snowstorm on the highway for hour after hour, but I must ask why, having heard the forecast at least a hundred times during the 24-hour period before it hit, were these people traveling to begin with? Why weren’t they at home foundering on the potato chips and candy bars they bought at Kroger? Furthermore, my own opinion is that to travel in this weather with a small child in tow amounts to nothing less than neglect and irresponsible parenting, but I won’t delve into that here.

In the words of the immortal Mark Twain, “everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it”. We will probably never be able to alter the weather, nor should we, as there would likely be catastrophic consequences if mankind were given the opportunity to further decimate the earth’s climate. We do, however, have tools at our disposal that should make it possible for everyone to prepare in a rational way and stay safe during the worst winter storm. The key word here is “rational”. A trip to the store is rational, but except in the most rural areas, it probably isn’t necessary to buy every pack of disposable diapers and every stalk of broccoli. And planning ahead, whether it’s cancelling non-essential appointments, preparing to spend the night at the office, renting a motel room, or bringing extra work home, will enable most to stay off the highways so that road crews can do their job and restore some semblance of normalcy as quickly as possible. Winter happens every year and yet every year people seem to be caught off-guard. I don’t get it … I just don’t get it.