Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Graham Muffins II - Fanny Farmer 1896

Graham Muffins II
Fanny Farmer - 1896

1 Cup Graham or Entire Wheat Flour 1 Cup White Flour
1/4 cup sugar 3-1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp salt 1 Cup Milk
1 Egg 1 tbsp Melted Butter

Mix and sift dry ingredients. Add milk gradually, egg well beaten and melted butter. Bake in Hot oven in buttered gem pans twenty-five minutes.

Modernized: Mix and sift together the dry ingredients into your mixer bowl. Begin pre-heating your oven to 375F and butter your muffin/cupcake pan. Into a small bowl, crack and beat 1 egg. Start the mixer up and slowly add milk, the well-beaten egg, and the melted butter. 

When batter is well beaten and smooth, spoon into the cups in your muffin/cupcake pan. Place pan in pre-heated 375F oven for 25 minutes. Remove muffins from pan by running table knife around the edge of each cup and then, using a hot cloth, removing muffins to serving plate of choice.

Comments: I've tried this recipe with both Graham and Whole Wheat flour and I like the Graham Flour better - if you can't get it locally, Bob's Red Mill Graham Flour is available via Amazon and elsewhere. The graham flour gives things a sweeter and yummier flavor and I like the texture better as well.

Sifting - you can, as suggested elsewhere fake it with a bowl and a whisk, but a real sifter is faster, easier, and less messy. You can still get sifters (I reccomend 3 cup size or better) at Amazon and elsewhere.

This is a fairly quick and easy recipe (guesstimate half an hour, on average) that adds a homey and delicious touch to either breakfast or dinner and likely could become considered as a family treat, over time. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gun Blogger Rendezvous Coming Up?

Do you write a blog? Read a blog?
Enjoy Shooting? Like things that go BOOM!? 

This is the event for you.

Gun Blogger Rendezvous fires up again in Reno, NV for the 8th Annual Grand Adventure Soldiers Angles Fund-raiser based out of the Silver Legacy Hotel and various range venues running from September 4th to September 8th, 2013!!

Beginning with a festive early bird dinner at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday night (September 4th) at the El Dorado Buffet Restaurant, GBR kicks off into four and a half days of fun, fellowship and firearms as gunbloggers, readers and their fan-boi's fan-gals gather to celebrate together, network, learn a thing or two about whats going on around the gun community, shoot, and play with the MIGHTY BOWLING BALL MORTAR generously provided by the fun folks at GunAuction.com.

Thursday morning we'll all meet (yes, I'll be there!) at the GBR Hospitality Room at the Silver Legacy, have a quick sip of coffee and wander down to one of the restaurants for breakfast before leaving at 1:15 p.m for a Cabela's run and guided tour for purchases of anything we forgot and the annual Cabela's Fudge'n'Ammo buy. On the way back to the Silver Legacy we'll stop someplace and buy snacks and drinks for the range trips and at 6:00 pm meet up at the GBR Hospitality room and head out for an amazing dinner followed by ruminating (and gossiping) deep into the night back at the hospitality room - bring your own food and beverage!

Things really get going on Friday with a breakfast in the GBR Hospitality room sponsored by the NRA. A NRA representative will be speaking to us over breakfast and after breakfast we'll be leaving for the Washoe County Shooting Facility followed by a show and tell session back at the GBR Hospitality room - take a look at what fellow GBR attendees have brought! 

Dinner on Friday is provided courtesy of Attorney and Author Bryan Ciyou and GunLawsByState.com at Dos Gecko’s Mexican Restaurant.

Later in the evening Bryan Ciyou of GunLawsByState.com, a speaker from the Second Amendment Foundation and a variety of other folks from industry and the shooting sports will share insights on legal and societal issues affecting Second Amendment Rights - followed by an innovative new shooting competition in the GBR Hospitality Room featuring the Optical Computer Aided Training Simulator from Outwest systems - with one lucky winner taking home an OCATS system of their very own.

Our friends at GunAuctions.com begin the day on Saturday by sponsoring breakfast in the GBR Hospitality room before we all return to the Washoe County Shooting Facility where courtesy of  the Western Nevada Pistol Action League and the Pyramid range GBR folks will get an introduction (or refresher!) to Steel Challenge Action Pistol Shooting, live fire use of the OCATS system and more.

Bring lunch and beverages. Plenty of beverages. It gets toasty out there on the range in Nevada.

If last year is any indication, we should be back from the range around 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. with time to catch our breath before a presentation in the GBR Hospitality room by the folks from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the pizza dinner they generously host. An opportunity to hear their viewpoint, get fed, ask questions and segue into the Fund Raiser Raffle for Project Valour-IT and the drawings for door prizes, followed by another evening of networking and discussion (bring your own food and beverages, again).

Sunday has some changes this year. We'll still be doing the 8:00 am meet'n'find breakfast bit, but when we finish eating we'll be heading back out to the range where we'll get, for the first time, to play with the Black Powder Bowling Ball Mortar brought by our friends at GunAuction.com (among other amazing surprises).

Events are still being added and and news is popping up all the time. With limited space, now is the time to register - contact organizer Mike Galleon at blog@whidbey.com for details, or register using the printable form!

Look - I was lucky enough to go Gun Blogger Rendezvous last year and it was a blast - but that was only the icing. That I had a lot of fun was great, but what really mattered was the friendships I was fortunate enough to make and the relationships I was able to build. Today I can call people I met there and get their views (and sometimes their help) and if I'm in the right towns - have someone that I can either hang out with and talk guns, go shooting with, or just get the inside skinny on where to get good barbecue.

That GBR supports a project like Soldiers Angels Project Valor-IT only makes it more amazing. If there is any way you can break away from daily life and make it to this event, I'd urge you to do so. You'll likely never learn more, laugh more or enjoy more over the course of a single weekend. That you get to talk with some of the leading gun bloggers, industry figures and activists is a yet another bonus.

Be there. Tell them I told you to...

Not From Fannie Farmer (But another Retro Recipe coming soon)

It's in the oven now, and will get the usual maple frosting, but trying an older (and modified) version of spice cake. Most spice cakes are a little mellow for my taste, so I turned up the volume.

Spice Cake A La GC

2-1/2 cups SoftAsSilk Cake Flour 1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda 3 tsp Cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp nutmeg 1-1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt 1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup butter 1-1/4 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
This cake is more than a bit old school and actual involves *sifting* some things together. If you don't have a sifter, grab a bowl and a whisk - whisking dry ingredients together is a bit of a cheat, but much faster than waiting for Amazon to ship you a sifter.

Before doing anything with ingredients, butter and flour two 9" springform round cake pans - and set your oven to 350F. Now, sift flour into a large mixer bowl and then sift together into bowl sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, salt. Next add brown sugar, butter and buttermilk to bowl and begin mixing at low speed.


Now, add eggs one at a time and wait for mixture to cream together - stop mixing when the batter is smooth and creamy and pour into pans. Bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes, testing with knife to determine if done.* While cooking there will be an amazing spicy aroma floating in the air...

When done, cool on a rack. After cooling take a dollop of your preferred frosting (maple) and drop it in the center of your designated cake plate. Place your first cake layer on top of this (the idea is that if you are going *anywhere* with this cake, this gives it a fighting chance at staying in place and arriving intact).

Frost top of first layer (I tend to like about 1/4" of frosting between the layers), add 2nd layer of cake and then frost top and sides. Make as pretty as your whimsy dictates.

I'd reccomend the maple variant of Butter Cream Frosting (next post).

*To test a cake with a knife, take a sharp knife and insert it point down into the center of a cake and then withdraw it. If the knife comes out with batter, the cake is not done. If the knife comes out clean, it is done. If the knife will not come out, you should be worried.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A new project...

A bit ago I got myself the 1896 edition (reproduction) of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, having been pleased with more recent editions and curious about what original (and amazing) recipes had gotten lost along the way. Tonight was the first one out the gate, Corn Meal Gems, and it came out fairly well.

Now, there are some bits of assumed knowledge that I've already run into and some equipment I'm beginning to lust after. First off, for Fannie Farmer back in the day, "Gem" translated into "muffin" and a "hot oven" is someplace between 380F and 390F - useful knowledge in these days of precise oven settings and after a century of linguistic evolution. Fortunately the  mom-unit was around to translate (may of these terms were still current in Depression-era South Dakota where she grew up) and additionally, Google is our friend. Secondly, while I was able to fake it with an aluminum  muffin/cupcake pan from the 1940's the pictures I've been able to find show a cast iron pan with shallower and broader depressions for the batter - I'm curious to see what, if any, change I'd get by taking the next step towards authentic.

Corn Meal Gems
Fannie Farmer - 1896

1/2 Cup Cornmeal
1 Cup Flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Melted Butter
1/2 Tsp of Salt
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
Mix & sift dry ingredients. Add milk gradually, egg well beaten, and melted butter. Bake in hot oven in buttered gem pans for 25 minutes.

After Action: Mom's guess that "hot" was 400F wasn't far off. Other sources indicate 380-390F is closer to what the cooks of the day considered "hot", and certainly the crust in the pan was a bit crunchy - hinting that a cooler oven might be a good thing. At the same time, this recipe "stuck together" when served far better than most cornbread variants I've run into (something I approve of) and was less sweet than many modern incarnations - a faint hit of bitter was intriguing.

Worked well on their own with butter, and also as a bowl-filler with chili. Both the mom-unit and I approved - her, I suspect, for the sake of nostalgia....and me because "hey, this is good stuff!"


Friday, July 19, 2013

Discussing "Shall Not Be Infringed" viewpoint on WA Initiative 591


Secretary of State website, "Initiatives to the Legislature", under Elections.

If you can exhibit restraint and refrain from inquiring if their family tree has but a single branch, any arguments you make will likely make more of an impression. I've run into this line of pseudo-argument before (aka the No True Scotsman or Purity fallacy) and the most fundamental flaw, IMHO, is that it fails to recognize the basic principal that the perfect is the enemy of the good.

Ideally, about 15 minutes from now Obama & Co would be struck with the sense God gave a slightly demented duck (unlikely) and suddenly realize that the entire Bill of Rights (including the 2nd Amendment) protect near-absolute rights and about half an hour in we'd see the ATF turn into a civil rights agency, the DOJ struggling to promote repeal of Federal and local anti-gun laws, and apologies published in every newspaper as a result of this magical epiphany.

I suspect even the dullest among us can figure out that the above is a deeply unlikely set of events. There is a slightly better chance that Olympia will be pummeled to the ground by a regiment of Anastasia's Imperial Flying War Elephants (complete with brass howdahs).

"Shall not be infringed" is a lovely goal. We can all gather to celebrate with tea and cake when it is finally achieved. But if we choose to dwell in reality (as opposed to a state imposed by chemical imbalance, natural or otherwise), we are actually faced with a trail of ten thousand steps to get anywhere close to there. While we've gotten a long way down the road in the right direction and a few dozen steps are great - we've got thousands of steps to go.

We have a crisis in leadership in our community as we discover that our leaders - actually age and suffer from the dread disease of being human. We currently enjoy an administration at the state and federal level that is fundamentally hostile to gun ownership (and any individual rights that do not provide them or their agenda immediate political benefit). The nation is cursed with a resurgence (we can only hope it is the dying throes of a philosophically bankrupt anti-2A group) in anti-gun laws and politicking by collectivist loons.

I-591 is a step along the path to get to the ultimate goal of Constitutional Carry. Sign it, vote for it, and get ready for the next fight. We live in interesting times, and with the opponents we have any time we're not trying to actively advance the cause we need to be nailing down our successes so we can lay our next layer of triumphs as a community upon them.

Hope that helps -

Seattle, WA

On 7/19/2013 6:24 AM, A Sensible Gun Person wrote:
> Can someone point me to this? The following was just posted to a local
> patriot Facebook page and I'd like to refute it, but preferably with the
> text in front of me.
> "Please DO NOT sign ANY gun petitions...both are bad. The language of I-591
> "...unless a uniform national standard is required."...means that if the
> federal government passes a 'uniform national standard', i.e. registry, you
> have already given away your 10th Amendment rights to oppose any federal
> laws. The 'uniform national standard' has not been written yet...no one
> knows what it will look like. Besides, we already have a 'uniform national
> standard'....it is called the 2nd amendment. How can you improve on
> "...shall not be infringed."?"
> A Sensible Gun Person
> Brinnon

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In which a liberal gun-owner attempts discussion...

Anonymized Author -

I am honestly unsure if you are simply trying to work through the available list of logical fallacies (https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/poster), testing us all on whether we can accurately identify which one you are engaging in on a given day, or engaged upon some more subtle misanthropic endeavor. The only thing we can be certain of is that you are not engaged in intellectually honest discourse, though whether that is at a conscious or unconscious level is not able to be determined from the evidence at hand.

However, in the spirit of good sportsmanship, I will assume that you are engaged first in a grand game of "guess the fallacy" and I call "Straw Man Argument!" I will accept a Rock Island Armory 1911 as my prize if goodies are being handed out to the first person to accurately identify the fallacy du jour, though I would also be open to the Chiappa .45-70 lever action.

Second, it would appear that after falsely stating my position in a manner specifically meant to make it easy to deride that you are engaged upon further illegitimate diversionary tactics as you engage in an "appeal to emotion" class of fallacy in dragging in the uncited alleged comments of the juror - which in turn brings us to your next pair of fallacies, the "False Cause" in assuming that simply because a juror may or may not have a special animus or affection towards a given group that they are thus incapable of rendering a just or logical decision, and then the second fallacy of the pair - a return to an ad hominem attack directed at the juror based on her alleged statements.

Moving right along, we see you leap to use the "appeal to emotion" (or arguably bandwagon) fallacies to attempt to guilt readers into an opinion or course of action.

Having identified and quantified the volume of distilled intellectual dishonesty contained in your last missive, we can then move on to the meaningful content (if any) in your email to the list. Despite accusations of wild and uncontrolled optimism, I continue to believe that you are neither stupid nor ignorant so I cannot cut you any slack on those accounts.

As others have pointed out, bad judgement in the course of a series of events leading ultimately (but not necessarily rising to being causative) to the death of some party does not necessarily reach to the level of manslaughter or murder or a great many other things.

I await a reply that actually addresses the merits of the issues at hand rather than bloviating.

Seattle, WA

 7/16/2013 7:14 PM, Anonymized Author wrote:

  So GayCynic, then you don't believe Zimmerman is guilty of using bad judgment, as one of the jurors who spoke to press has said. Bad judgment where someone is killed seems a textbook example of manslaughter.

Then there is her, the juror, comment about "these people" that again appears to point to a racially motivated decision.

Collective bad judgment by a few can reflect poorly upon a great many others.

Anonymized Author
SumCity, WA

Anonymized Author-

That's dreadfully ingenuous, bordering on the offensive.

Trayvon Martin was 17, 6' or more (depending on which source you believe), and 160 lbs (a rough median of reported weight) of reasonably fit young man. In other words, just as equipped to - without complex tools - wreak serious mayhem upon others. His hue or heritage do not affect "young, fit, capable."

It has been a deceitful tactic of those attempting a high-tech lynching of George Zimmerman to poison the media (often willing accomplices), contaminate the potential jury pool with a media conviction (beginning before charges were even brought), and plow the field for rioting  should Zimmerman be acquitted to portray Martin as a helpless child of some sort when in reality he was physically adult - not the innocent 12yo shown in the most common pictures. His often glossed-over history of petty criminal conduct and his recently released cell phone records (partial, http://tinyurl.com/qfqc584 , http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/26/justice/florida-zimmerman-defense) also lead to significant doubts about Martins "innocence" and indicate a predilection for physical fights, perhaps even assaults.

Martin may or may not be a victim, but he was to all but the dimmest of bulbs or the ideologically motivated neither an untainted innocent nor a helpless child.

Given that I do not believe you to be stupid or ignorant and that the above data is verifiable from multiple readily available sources, I must then question the motivation for your snide suggestion in response to Esteemed2AElder. I might even go so far as to suggest your comment borders on an ad hominem attack

Seattle, WA

On 7/13/2013 1:56 AM, Anonymized Author wrote:
Esteemed2AElder   wrote:

> Stop the "poor unarmed li'l teenager" meme.

I forget. It's open season on black kids. My bad.

Anonymized Author
SumCity, WA

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Zimmerman Verdict, Obama's response and a few thoughts....

"I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher," he said.

"I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we're doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities.

"We should ask ourselves if we're doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis," Obama said.

 First off, what makes "gun violence" so special? Isn't the goal to reduce all unjustified violence and reduce crime generally?

That said...

I'll play. Five simple rules to teach *all* youth that will reduce needless violence. This approach is even better, because it's not racist.

1. Don't start shit. That is, don't be the first to throw a punch or pull a gun or a knife - or back someone into a corner where they think you are about to do those things.

2. Be polite. Assume everyone you meet is carrying a gun and knows how to use it. Don't volunteer for perforation.

3. Don't get sucked into dipshittery. Call it thug culture or whatever, it is a trap - and likely to get your ass dead.

4. Respect/disrespect is a trap for morons - also likely to get your ass dead. Don't be a moron.

5. Don't initiate the aggressive use of force. Whether it's taking someones stuff, kicking in their door or sticking up a bodega - in most of the country, there can be major *fatal* surprises waiting. 

As someone else put it, summarizing the above - don't be a dumbass.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

An Open Letter to Mike Huckabee

Mike -

May I suggest contemplation of "And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him." Mark 12:17 and then meditate upon it in paralell with a review of the Establishment Cause of the First Amendment - "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the founding fathers had the wisdom, often bought by bitter experience, to recognize the virtues of separating church and state (see the Danbury letter, http://www.usconstitution.net/jeffwall.html) as preserving to the extent possible the virtues of both.

Is not the highest and best practice of faith (and its teachings) that performed voluntarily, free of government compulsion?

Nothing in recent decisions regarding same sex marriage compels any faith to endorse any particular form of marriage, nor do they compel any faith to deride any form of marriage - rather, and simply, the decision regarding Section 3 of DOMA decision states that the Federal Government may not choose which marriages authorized under the laws of the various states the Federal Government will shower their benefits upon.

The Court found that the civil elements of marriage (benefits, privileges, responsibilities) were and are defined by the states within broad limits and then went forth to hint rather strongly in dicta that those limits would be held (at a minimum) to the "rational basis" level of scrutiny and that laws prohibiting the granting of marriage licenses to same sex couples were roughly comparable to those banning granting of marriage licenses to interracial couples, laws already found to fail that minimal test.

I would suggest that you are entitled to hold any view of marriage and what version may or may not be godly that you wish - however, that you are *not* (nor am I) entitled to dictate that a particular view of marriage be the only one recognized by the federal government.

May God bless and guide you to the realization that the civil elements of marriage are the business of civil government - and that the religious elements, including which ones a given faith might recognize or conduct, are the business of that faith.

- GC

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

After Action Report - Pride 2013

Ok, the annual after action report.

Parked at around 9:30 a.m., having learned my lesson about showing up early if you want a comfortable spot years ago, and moved right along down 4th to Virginia where I ended up sitting in front of the Dahlia Bakery and Lounge. This isn't exactly my first Pride rodeo, so I packed in a comfortable camp chair and after setting up someplace shaded, bagged a snack and some water. Round 1 to the Dahlia bakery.

As always the Dykes on Bikes led off the Pride Parade - both on traditional and purely practical grounds. No matter your view on tradition, having a bunch of overheated dead motorcycles littering your parade route is almost never a good thing - putting motorcycle in front gives you the best odds of keeping them moving (and thus cooling) as they avoid the inevitable "route delays" due to buses crossing the route and other trivia.

To my slight surprise, the Dykes were all be-shirted this year unlike the past when letting it all hang out was the norm - yet, oddly enough, there was quite a bit of both male and female full nudity in other contingents. If this is due to Parade Organizer policy, it seems a bit inconsistent.

In any case the lead bike flew the Pride flag proudly and the rumble of Harleys joined with the scream of crotch rockets as they rolled down the route.

A high point of the Dykes was a young Navy Lieutenant riding in her dress whites, a far cry from the bad old days of 2011 when active duty personnel riding in Pride (in uniform or not) were at risk of court martial and expulsion from the service. Slowly, things get better...and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" went away.

Courtesy of the Seattle Times
After years of legal and societal wrangling, in May of 2013 the Boy Scouts of America announced their decision to allow gay Scouts to retain their membership and to participate in Scouting activities - though continuing a ban on LGBT Scouting leaders.

For a lot of us, whether former Scouts or folks who've known Scouts ejected from the BSA over the years for the crime of being gay, this was a particularly heart-warming moment. I never got beyond the Cub Scout phase of affairs myself, but I've seen more than enough of the hurt and rejection such policies caused.

To see the beginning of the end of that era left me a bit choked up as the Scouts passed - and a bit distracted to be taking pictures. My thanks to the Seattle Times for capturing the moment.

Pride grand marshals Jane Abbot Lighty and her wife,
Pete-e Petersen, were the first same-sex couple
to legally marry in Washington
Before the Scouts marched past, though, we had Jane Lightly and Pete-e Petersen (the first same-sex couple married in Washington State) roll past in Fiat-borne splendor after a 35 year courtship.

These two graceful ladies opened a new chapter in Washington, and now with the recent DOMA decision will enjoy the full range of federal and state benefits and protections to which they are entitled - the precise same set as any other couple.

At about this point, I lose track of the order of the photographs as I'm writing two days later and after resting up.

To put it mildly, there were a whole bunch of different contingents - some very different indeed. The Wells Fargo Bank stagecoach was one of the many (Starbucks, Microsoft, Boeing, and countless others) businesses and employee groups represented in the event .
Beloved of the LGBT community, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (Abbey of St. Joan) were well represented. The Sisters have a long history of good works in the LGBT community but are often misunderstood by folks unfamiliar with them.

They are without doubt fabulous, festive and flamboyant and are magnets for any camera within miles. But to quote from their website "“Why are you mocking nuns?” Well, we ARE nuns, silly! We recognize what “women of the cloth” have done over the centuries. They raise money for the needy, we raise money for the needy. They tend to the sick, we tend to the sick. They build their communities, we build our community. They have taken vows of celibacy, we… we have raised money for the needy. We are nuns for the 21st Century!"

The Sisters have raised thousands of dollars over the years for a wide variety of causes, not least for HIV/AIDS education. The national, and perhaps worldwide, history of the Sisters is covered at the website of their Mother Chapter
Yes, they are pretty.

Yes, they are pretty. Very pretty. You seriously think that a post on Pride by a gay man isn't going to have at least a couple of beefcake shots?

This years Pride Parade in Seattle wasn't quite record-setting in length or number of contingents but the event seems to be working its way back up to peak numbers, at least based on length.

The 11 a.m. kick-off fired up a parade that was still rolling when I figured out that 92F and a lack of food and water was a very bad combination, indeed.
Very Pretty.
I'd cleverly bought sunscreen, but hadn't quite anticipated the length of things - and at 2:30 p.m. folded my chair and adjourned to the Dahlia Lounge where food, water and many-many espresso shots combined to revive me from my torpor - even as I was able to watch the rest of the parade wind down at around 3:30 or so.

The Dahlia Lounge has my enthusiastic recommendation - even with the reduced menu forced on them by the massive event surrounding them, they pulled off an amazing brunch and their home-made sausages were some of the best I've had in quite awhile. I look forward to trying them when they are *not* recovering from being mobbed.

Back to the parade pictures (did I mention the beignets at Dahlia?) the "Legalize Gay Cupcakes" contingent was led by a handsome and particularly flamboyant young man  - the picture truly does not do justice to the festive air he brought to the procession.
As always, the Pride Parade brings out an exceptionally diverse population, and how much diversity any one person can embrace is highly variable. Sometimes one must simply mumble "but I don't *understand*" and let it go.

This was one of those for me. A moment of discombobulation and remembering "they all look to be adults and reasonably happy" I swiftly moved on to "none of my business"....
Seattle Police Department

I like old cars, particularly *authentic* police vehicles of prior eras. The history interests me, so I've been pleased to see these old cruisers in the Parade the last couple of years.

What does an old patrol car have to do with LGBT Pride? I don't know - and don't care. It's just plain neat and my only kvetch is that there weren't as many of them this year.
King County Sheriff's Office
With SPD, the King County Sheriff, and the State Patrol represented the basics were covered - but I would have liked to have seen more than a single representative from each department (surely the various jurisdictions did not spring miraculously into motorized operation one day in 1967) with representative vehicles from more and different eras and a
Washington State Patrol
broader array of jurisdictions.

The Seattle Fire Department was represented, but regrettably only with modern gear. Needless to say I was saddened by the absence of the Seattle Last Resort Fire Department and their amazing array of apparatus ranging from a 1913 Seagrave Ladder Truck across 13 other rigs before they even begin on the list of member-owned former Seattle Fire apparatus and the list of  "other interesting member-owned apparatus."  I first saw them at a Pride Parade back in '95 and always enjoyed seeing them - perhaps, at some level I remain a kid at heart.
Flying Spaghetti Monster & His Noodly Appendages
While many faiths congregations were represented among the Pride Contingents (not least among them "Mormons for Same Sex Marriage," that I found startling, confusing, and pleasing in equal parts - though a friend involved with LDS tells me attitudes are changing within the church regarding the LGBT community), the Church of the Flying Spaghetti monster came closest to a full out live and in person manifestation of a deity when this thing appeared on the route.

As I've said elsewhere, I love the Pride Parade for many reasons. Every year it can be a celebration and not an angry protest of injustice is a year to be thankful for. Each year Pride remains Pride and not a re-enactment of the Stonewall Riots - because a reprise of those terrible days is not *necessary* - is another cause for gratitude. That we are able to come together as a community in a spirit of celebration is itself worthy of celebrating. And for the closeted and/or wounded souls who desperately seek some image of the LGBT community that either feels "like them" or "hey, if someone THAT bizarre is ok, I must not be all that bad" Pride is the best chance each year for either need to be met - because if you show up at enough Pride events you'll see most of the available expressions of humanity within a community from the bizarre to the mundane, from the briefcase-carrying suit-wearing square dancers to the group of naked blue people. Some of it will please, some will offend and some will just plain confuse...this is a parade of folks who live life as square pegs in a world of round holes, and learned to do so with pride and dignity.

Monday, July 1, 2013

On Paula Deen, Circumstances, and Proportionality...

It seems the circumstances of Paula Deens so-called verbal mis-step in using the dread "n-word" are coming to light, courtesy of Inside Edition. If this is the case referenced in all of the hullabaloo, that Deen used the "n-word" in the context of a former bank-robber sticking a gun in her face in the course of an armed robbery - I think, just perhaps, Deen need not apologize. That in fact, her detractors should be getting down on their knees begging her forgiveness for putting her from what all appearances is a personal hell as well a fiscal one.

Let me be clear - ethnic and other slurs are tacky, rude, often hurtful and generally poor form. That said, if I am given a choice between associating with an otherwise good person who occasionally drops such a slur and some sanctimonious hyper-politcally correct twit constantly in search of something to be offended with - I will consistently choose the generally good person and enthusiastically reject the twit.

Worthwhile people do not come without flaws.

Further, if someone is busily engaged in a criminal assault the intended victim is excused from any social faux pas they might engage in - whether it involves filling the assailant full of lead or saying what Arlo Guthrie would describe as MEAN AND NASTY THINGS unto the assailant while being assaulted. I will go so far as to say that if a proposed victim of assault is able to come up with words so pungent as to cause the attacker to spontaneously combust in a flash of heat, light and sulfurous smoke - they will only get my admiration and a request for the specific verbal formula.

Finally, I would point out the fundamental irrationality of designating terms - whether those terms be faggot, nigger, queer, wop, dyke, wetback, spic, homo, chink, jigaboo, queen, gook or whatever offensive phrase springs up - as so uniquely offensive as to justify either physical violence or social annihilation of the person uttering them.

The standard  in any civil society for when social or physical violence is justified must be higher than a mere offensive utterance. Such an utterance certainly merits opprobrium and a yellow flag, but alone does not justify action.

Particularly and especially when those same words are allegedly "perfectly alright" when spoken either by a member of the referenced group or by a sufficiently "cool" entertainer trying to be "street," it tends to render the protestations a bit obviously hypocritical.

So. If the facts are as I understand them, I will go out of my way to support Ms. Deen as I (pending further data) believe her to be wrongly treated in this matter, and believe that the motives those harrying her are at best,  suspect. It begins to appear to me that such critics motives have far more to do with seeking ratings and/or perpetuating a fiscal/power base founded far more in fostering racial controversy for fun and profit than in any genuine interest in actually reducing such controversy.

After all, what can an activist group do to keep the money and ego boosts flowing once it has *won*?

It is, of course, far too much to ask or hope that they seek out some *other* socially worthy cause upon which to bring their many talents to bear once they have succeeded in their original crusade.