Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Photos and Words, Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Here's my version of a pithy travel article based on my time in Rothenburg ob der Tauber....

Rothenburg ob der Tauber has a fascinating history for sure, and if you are a fan of Rick Steve's as-seen-on-PBS travels, you know that he is a fan of this completely walled medieval city located on Germany's so-called Romantic Road in the Franconia region of German Bavaria. However, you won't find it on many of the "best-most-whatever-walled city" lists populating the web.


I have no idea, but maybe because its history is checkered with one really glaring modern sin: it expelled all it's Jewish citizens in 1938 and became used as a propaganda tool for the Nazis as a kind of "perfect German town."

It was also famously saved because of the intervention of U.S. Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, whose mother had visited as a tourist and had a depiction of the town hanging in their home during his childhood (according to the Night Watchman, Hans Georg Baumgartner, on his entertaining tour).
He personally called US Army General Jacob L. Devers and halted further bombing. An offer to spare the town in return for a peaceful exit by the Nazi soldiers was accepted and the significant damage was repaired in part because of the international donations that flowed in to this well-established tourist destination.

Indeed, that is the only reason I can imagine it being excluded from any "best-of" lists, as it is lovely. The cobbled streets, tiny alleys, shops, buildings and museums are as charming as one could hope for, and Rothenburg hosts many tourists and visitors each day. Every turn takes you onto a quaint street filled with shops and restaurants, private homes, and a museum or two.

Fantastic views can be had from above.

The wall can be walked via a rampart on the inside for nearly the entire circumference, and the layers of rooftops, mostly terracotta red, lead your eyes to the towers and steeples of Rothenburg's historic buildings.

The inside of the wall is home to many personalized bricks that commemorate the donations from all over the world that financed the post-war repairs, and the walkway is, while in great condition, not designed for people with mobility issues. If you can manage the stairs up to it, you will be rewarded with some truly marvelous views.

Outside the walls is a typical German town as well, but a modern rather than medieval one. if you turn you camera outside the walls, you may see a factory or a swingset, or just the wooded surroundings of the Tauber River.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Gallup Does Mention One Thing....

This is an interesting bit of data, certainly, and I'm not here to minimize the effect of the HodgesObergefell decision (I've (jokingly) mentioned that I've known Jim was gay longer than he has, right? College friends from back in the day), or even really comment on that. As usual, I have this odd take on this bit of data (and one point that isn't mine at all)

LGBT marriage rates have increased, but not as much as you might think. Indeed, as the text of the article points out, it may have actually slowed a little after the big push last year when it all became legal.
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued the Obergefell decision. As would be expected, the number of same-sex marriages has increased, though the rate of increase has slowed.
One thing I can't figure out is the two different numbers cited:

Two years after the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that states could not prohibit same-sex marriages, 10.2% of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) adults in the U.S. are married to a same-sex spouse. That is up from 7.9% in the months prior to the Supreme Court decision in 2015, but only marginally higher than the 9.6% measured in the first year after the ruling.

But then says:

As a result of these shifts, Gallup estimates that 61% of same-sex, cohabiting couples in the U.S. are now married, up from 38% before the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June 2015, and 49% one year ago. 

Anyway, here's someone else's point (Rush Limbaugh): not as many gay people want to get married as everyone seemed to think, so the issue was overblown in many ways. Yes, there were plenty of folks that wanted to get legally married, don't mistake the point, it's just that the storyline overstated that number, and therefore the reach of the "historic" decision was far smaller than the average ally thought. There is data to support that idea in this story:

An increasing percentage of LGBT adults now identify their marital status as single or never married. That has always been the dominant status among LGBT individuals, but has increased from 47.4% to 55.7% over the last two years.

Now, I immediately noticed a line in the data (my emphasis below) that I am impressed that Gallup chose to include:

 LGBT Americans are still more likely to be married to an opposite-sex spouse (13.1%) than a same-sex spouse (10.2%), but the gap is narrowing. According to prior research on LGBT identification, roughly half of those who self-identify as LGBT are bisexual, helping explaining the high proportion of LGBT individuals who are married to opposite-sex partners. Gallup's question does not probe specifically for whether LGBT individuals are lesbian or gay or bisexual or transgender.

Interesting, eh?

With Gallup reporting that according to their research
Overall, 4.3% of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to Gallup's latest estimate from its June 2016-June 2017 tracking data. That is up from 3.9% a year ago and 3.4% in Gallup's initial estimate in 2012. 
I find it interesting that it's still a tiny percentage of the population that was affected by this massive media story (although it's still a largish actual number: 2015 census says 247,773,709 adults, so that's like 10.6 million people), and the subset of that number that got married in light of the Supreme Court decision is pretty small. Let's do some math.

Using the 2015 number above, and that 4.3% percentage according to Gallup, there are approximately

  • 10,654,269 adult LGBT people in the US.
  • 841,687 married prior to HodgesObergefell (7.9%)
  • 1,086,735 married after two years (10.2%)
  • so 245,048 adults got married as a result, so far. (this is off by a little, as we are using 2015 numbers, I get that.)
That's .000989% of the adults in the US. 

That's a lot of hubbub for a very very small group. I have said that the US Constitution has been described as a document to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority (not my line, obviously), so this fits into that mold, I guess, but wow, what a lot of attention given to an issue that has a ridiculously tiny reach. Perspective, people. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Organic Foods Have Downsides? Who'Da Thunk It?

Life is a balance between all the choices we have presented before us and all the decisions we make. Yin and Yang, karma, The Secret, et cetera, all speak to this idea that everything has an effect (and affect?) on something. I have written before about our hubris in toying with nature, and our old friend The Law of Unintended Consequences.

Here's an interesting look at the research from some sources (and I am sure that there are others with different results) from a writer at the UK Telegraph, or, more appropriately, a professor that has been known to write about how the environmental/climate movement doesn't pay attention to the above-mentioned Law. I say that to be sure that you read this with a critical eye, knowing that I feel the same way he does and could be experiencing some Confirmation Bias (as I admittedly do, do you?).

Norman Borlaug, who got the Nobel Prize for starting the Green Revolution, liked to point out that organic farming on a global scale would leave billions without food. “I don’t see two billion volunteers to disappear,” he said.
Exactly. That's just one zinger, read the article to see the research about how organic fails at feeding large numbers. Here's an interview with this guy, Bjorn Lomborg, called The Reasonable Environmentalist, which I love, as that's exactly how I've described myself (conserve! reduce, reuse, recycle!), indeed, I try to be reasonable above all else.

His recent column, Trump’s climate plan might not be so bad after all, lays it out. The pledges agreed to in the Paris treaty would cost $1 to $2 trillion a year by 2030 to implement, with virtually no impact: At most it would reduce global temperature by a fraction of degree by the end of the century.
He says money would be better spent developing breakthrough technology that would truly be transformational to our economy (not solar and wind, which are piddling) and funding efforts to combat malnutrition and provide safe drinking water in the developing world.
The upshot is, if you truly care about two billion people living in dire poverty, the Paris treaty is the wrong way to help them.
THIS!!!! I once had an article from the "founder of Greenpeace now a skeptic" that had a great chart about the costs/benefits of spending allllll that cash on AGW versus not that came to the same conclusion, a reduction of a fraction of a degree. I can't find it!!!!

Oh, here's another article of his about the fact that there are good things about a warming world that don't get discussed because of HOW DARE YOU. I have said this as well, that fewer people will die because cold kills more people than heat....

Don't be led around by your nose, think, doubt, and verify from scientific sources not PuffHo, or WinfoArs and their ilk.

Friday, March 10, 2017

I Must Rant For A Moment. Triggered, Indeed.

I admit it, I was "triggered" by a Facebook post of a high school friend, a clickbait headline about Science Disproving Transphobia or some similar drivel.

Are people phobic about trans people? I don't think so. I mean, that's a catch-all kind of statement in the first place. Yes, there are people who are scared of trans people, the idea of trans people, etc, just as there are people in the country (and the world) that are racist, but I believe we are no longer what any sane person can call a "racist nation."

The entire bathroom flap about trans people was started by the prog/lib/dems deciding that there was a problem for this unbelievably small number of people and THERE NEEDS TO BE A LAW to decide that THEY CAN USE WHATEVER BATHROOM I IDENTIFY WITH BECAUSE they said so.

Now, is it reasonable that people should be able to go to the bathroom? Yup.

Is it reasonable that people should not be bullied or assaulted because of this? Yup. How often was that happening? I dunno. Too often, no matter them actual number

However, when you say PAY ATTENTION TO THIS TINY ISSUE, WE ARE MAKING A LAW ABOUT IT, people pay attention.

This resulted in conservative/repub lawmakers saying YOU CAN'T MAKE US ACCEPT THIS LAW because Religion and stuff! Dems lit a fire, Repubs threw gasoline on it, like always.

So, the last POTUS signed an order about schools and bathrooms, then the new POTUS signed an order rescinding it, saying clearly "this isn't a federal issue, schools can make whatever policy suits them about bathrooms without a federal mandate." **It's worthy to note that Trump has been by far the most LGBT-friendly presidential candidate in our history, if you are paying attention.

This, I assume caused the post (and article) that "triggered" me.

So, where's the rant?

People aren't afraid of trans, they are afraid of perverts and pedophiles. That's the objection. We have been carefully taught (catch the South Pacific reference?) that ALL MEN ARE PREDATORS by the extremist lefty prog anti-rape-culture feminist pogrom for my entire time on earth and maybe longer than that. All. Men. Are. Predators.

Every class, training, sensitivity session that has taught our young men and women about harassment, rape, etc, has emphasized how bad men are, and this is the fruit of this education, folks.

We all now know beyond that shadow of doubt that men cannot be trusted with children, or women. I cannot even so much as coach my children's teams without approval from the school, archdiocese, FBI and state police. I cannot be alone with the team even after that (2 adults always!) because I still may be a predator or perv (or may still be accused of predatoring or perving if alone without a corroborating witness, who is there to protect me and my reputation just as I am there for them). When I first went through the vetting process as a M Ed student, we were carefully instructed to never being alone with students, or if conferencing, keeping the door open and alerting a colleague to the sensitive situation if no one could chaperone so that we couldn't even be accused of the unavoidable, expected sexual assaults we couldn't help but perpetrate on our students....

So, excuse us if we think giving adult-males-that-may-be-predators the legal ability to share our daughters' (and sons') bathrooms and locker rooms. We aren't afraid a trans kid is going to hurt them, we are afraid a predator is going to waltz in right in front of us instead of having to sneak in while we are trying to protect our kids.

Friday, February 10, 2017

New Year, New Job, New Post

Sorry that it's been so long since I've posted on here, what with the election and all, and another new job (that seems to be an issue in my life, a lack of job satisfaction (not a lack of security, I tend to leave of my own volition mostly)), but it's time to talk about a few things that are on my mind.

Firstly, let's talk about an avocation of mine, acting. I don't perform very frequently, although I have representation, but I have gotten the odd job here and there, including some barely-noticeable-paid-extra work on actual movies shot here locally (but not as many as I would like). I've seen a couple of "Urgent casting for volunteer extras" posts on Facebook from a local casting agent and shared them, but I personally won't do those. Why? I value what I do. I gladly volunteer at church and school, but if they are going to make money on the movie (it is a capital project, no?), why should it expect my labor to be free? I understand it's not a big deal, and there are many that will happily volunteer to be a part of a film, but if I'm doing this work for pay (thanks, agency), it devalues me to do it for free.

Trump derangement continues unabated all over. I've been clear about my feelings about the guy, but, boy am I enjoying the derangement. Seriously, to see him poke the hive successfully over and over again is pretty amusing. Maybe, just maybe, some of his opponents will see the merit of advocating for a smaller government. Ok, just kidding, they won't.

There have been openings in the freakouts, however. A Jewish H.S. classmate of mine actually posted a blog from a guy saying "my Dad was obsessed with Hitler and the Nazis, and he was a killer and maniac from day one. Trump isn't and isn't going to suddenly become one," which was perfectly timed for me to read, as I had been pondering that very line of logic. Did Hitler "grow" into Hitler-ness, or was he like that all along? Because, to say that Trump is a modern Hitler leading us down the same path ("I have studied Nazi Germany and this is how it started" say so many idiots), means that he actually wants to KILL A BUNCH OF PEOPLE RIGHT NOW, right? 

Scott Adams of Dilbert fame (among his many accomplishments) has been on fire explaining the persuasiveness and success of the Trump campaign, if you haven't read him, do it. He's all over Twitter, too.

I still say the best line about the new Prez is that progs and libs take him literally rather than seriously, when it should be the other way around. He also continues to play the press like a fiddle, which is hilarious. One NBC person has it right (I can't find the tweets), that covering his rantings (specifically, it was the "under reported terror attacks story) only brings attention to the issue (and she was totally correct), but the media can't not cover him, just like it couldn't during the campaign. It's worse for them now that he's POTUS! That's how he won, right? Well, that, and his opponent was the worst Dem prez candidate since Mondale.

I am amazed at the cognitive dissonance on both (all) sides of the aisle. Most recently, this Nordstrom Dropping Ivanka's Clothing Line Flap has me chuckling at the lefties that actually believe that it was a business decision. Seriously. It was political, as is TJMaxx's, and my wife is pissed off about it because she actually like the quality of some of the clothes in her line! 

Everyone thinks they are thoughtful, everyone thinks they have formed their opinions based on reflection and education, but, as has been described well by others, that's just not true. I give people the benefit of the doubt, but there's just so much stupid out there, and the Internet makes it inescapable. Alas.

Photography continues to amuse me, so if you aren't already, follow me on instagram. I get the honor of an episode of the Hashtagged Daily Podcast here in a week or so, look for episode 77. If you like instagram and photography, it's an interesting podcast! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Current Events! Yay!

Snarky comment #1

Wasn't Donald a Democrat in 2005? (and when all these incidents reportedly occurred?)

Here's the thing,people, and remember please, I don't like Trump: politicians have groupies just like other entertainers (see what I did there?). See my post on Anthony Weiner from back in the day.

So, it seems clear to me, at least, that words were given to all the players here by Weiner or his people. What this tells me is that we have yet another set of Democrat parents willing to sacrifice the truth, theirs and their daughters' credibility for a skeezy congressman that they "admire" and think "has done nothing wrong." Does anyone else remember all the support the parents of Chandra Levy gave Gary Condit, even though, while not a murderer, he had been engaged in an inappropriate relationship with her? Monica Lewinsky's parents?
While it is much more rampant among liberals, this cult of personality isn't just for Democrats, either, as Lisa Baron says about sleeping with Republicans in her new book "The Life of the Party,"

"'To be able to say, 'I'm with the such-and-such campaign,' or 'I work for Senator So-and-So' is to us political junkies what "I’m with the band" is to Pamela Des Barres."

I can't speak for you, but this all disgusts me.

There were some pictures of women in t-shirts at the Trump rally last night here in Cincinnati, one was very homemade and said "Trump can grab my" with a big arrow pointing below her belt...the other read "Hey, Trump, talk dirty to me!!!"   These are groupies, and they think any attention from Trump would be just dandy. Therefore, they have given consent, after a fashion.

Consent is the big buzzword over all this, I see on Twitter. It seems to me that that was what he and Billy Bush were talking about, groupies letting you do whatever because you are famous. Consent,eh?

He's a creep, but so are soooooo many people that are in any kind of public role. He's not Hilary.

It really bugs me that the kind of political, crony corruption being exposed by the wikileaks emails is going under the radar because of this perfectly timed release of Donald smearing. Typical, expected, but still frustrating. This was all known, you know it was, and the media and all made sure that he got the nomination so they could bring this out in time to get Hilary elected. At least, we have the emails to prove that, even though it won't matter.

Lastly, I am laughing at the professional sportsters that are all offended with the phrase "locker room talk" like that never happens where they are. Seriously? How many kids by how many baby mamas do our athletes have? Ever heard of Wilt Chamberlain? Here's an old baseball joke that I pull out from time to time to show my disdain for our professional entertainer class, sportsters included:
What's the hardest part about going on a road trip? Not smiling as you kiss your wife goodbye.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tulsa, Charlotte, BLM, Police Shootings and Whatnot

I have precious little to contribute to the whole discussion, frankly, as so much has been said. I found this interesting article about the difference between Tulsa and Charlotte's reactions to the shootings in their cities, and it echoes one of the points I learned here in Cincinnati as a result of our difficulties in the past and the change in how the CPD now deals with controversial policing events: get the information out ASAP. That's what Tulsa did: released the video to the family and the public and made quick (but not hasty) determinations about the event and the charges against one of their own officers. Delay feeds unrest. Charlotte finally released the footage they had. It's not good.

70% of the arrests made in Charlotte's protests and riots (there was both and they weren't necessarily related) were of out of state people. That's right, the professional protesters are real and they were there. No conspiracy theories necessary. Rush\ thinks that fact that Oklahoma isn't going to vote for Hilary anyway, so why send them there? North Carolina, however,is in play, and mobilizing the black vote for Hilary is important. That's his spin, can't see any fault in it, whether or not I agree.

Now, my input is that it is possible to have two views of these events. Clearly, there is no reason for the cops to have approached these men and cars the way they did. I believe it was because of their skin color. I also believe that there was no indication that any of the officers were in mortal (or really any kind of) danger. That's disturbing, methinks. the job of the police is tough, but these filmed incidents aren't helping.

That being said, it is also, I think, reasonable and fair to ask why the men, innocent or not, didn't simply comply with the officers? That's a factor, folks. Clearly the guy in Tulsa didn't follow the officer's instructions, even without audio, you don't back away from the cop towards your vehicle. Ever. He shouldn't have been in the situation, but that made a stupid situation worse, it took a "hey, I'm stalled here asking for help, why is your weapon out, Ma'am," to a fatal encounter. Should she have been scared? I can see no reason for it. She WAS, though, justified or not. I'm sure he could have talked her down and de-escalated the situation by just standing still and complying with her.

Again,let me re-iterate: I am not blaming him or excusing her. More information may come to light. But, if I'm confronted with a scared cop that has her gun out (wtf, amiright?), I'm frozen, compliant, and talking calmly "I'm just having car trouble, I'm not sure why you are handling me this way. I'll remain frozen till your backup gets here so we can all go home tonight safely. Just wait for your backup and I'll stand right here." I am not walking back to my car under any circumstances, even if I'm promising to get my license and registration, or shut the car off (was his running, even?). Nope.

The Charlotte, well that looks really bad. No call was made reporting the guy as far as I know, and to have several officers show up like that, it's strange. He was definitely not being threatening when he was shot, as far as you can see on the video. Three shots? Really? Toxicology will reveal more, but he seemed compliant to me. Even if he had a gun in his ankle holster, that's legal. The cops say it was in his hand, of course, but the video isn't conclusive either way (to his credit, that's what the family's attorney said as well). Yikes.

Here's the rub, though. There's some social media about a white kid that got sold some pot by an undercover, then they tried to arrest him and he kept driving...and got shot to death. No media coverage at all.

There's also this article about 2016 shootings indicating that in raw numbers far more whites get killed by police. Interesting. Also, of hundreds have been shot, why do just a few cause riots and get all the national attention. That, I believe, is very political, which takes us back to Rush's claims. Something to think about....

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Once A Weiner, Always A Weiner.

Let's start with me showing some restraint...a nephew of a sweet friend of mine from years ago was part of a team that won a fricking Sundance award for their documentary on serial reprobate Anthony Weiner, and I'm not going to ask on Facebook how they are all dealing with this latest news that the rest of us were right all along and HE IS A SCUMBAG!!!!

He's at it again. I am sick of the apologists. He has been able to continue being a predator because of the Democrat party and his connections to Hilary Clinton. Sick. Read the story, see how this girl actually admired him. Pathetic. Her father allowed this because he didn't want to mess with her already fragile mental state? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. People putting politicians on pedestals allows this mentality, this idol worship, this cult of personality. It sickens me.

I wrote what I think was an exceptional short post about this asshole a few years ago.... I linked it last time his name came up, because he's a SERIAL SCUMBAG.
What I find most disturbing is that the parents of the High School girls that are a part of all of this willingly parroted the Weiner Talking Points, same as given to the former porn star.

Politics over morals and family, I guess. Disgusting. Yet, it happens every time. Chandra Levy's family loved Gary Condit who, while not a murderer, was involved inappropriately with their daughter. Monica Lewinski's parents just looooved Bill Clinton (well, at first). Yuck.

Wonder what those parents are saying today?

Let's see who defends him this time.