Star Wars will have gay characters. Bigoted heads presumably explode like Alderaan.

Director JJ Abrams has announced that there will be gay characters in future Star Wars films.

“When I talk about inclusivity it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course there will be gay characters.”

“I would love it. To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world.”
— JJ Abrams

My first thought:

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of bigoted, small minded, homophobic voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.

I love it when the news can ruin a bigot's day.

Let languages die.

A man in Hawaii is facing criminal charges for blocking the construction of a telescope on a mountaintop. His trial is being delayed because even though he speaks perfect English, he is insisting on being tried in Hawaiian, which happens to be the official language of Hawaii. 

The only problem:

No judge speaks Hawaiian, and only about 8,000 people in the world speak the language, so finding jurors who speak the language would be almost impossible. So the man is insisting that the trial be conducted through an interpreter. 

The man's guilt or innocence is not my concern. My bone of contention lies in the NPR report on this case. Specifically, this exchange between NPR host Rachel Martin and the defendant Kahookahi Kanuha: 

MARTIN: It's my understanding that more than a generation ago, the Hawaiian language was almost gone. It had almost been wiped out.


MARTIN: What brought it back? What's to account for the resurgence?

KANUHA: Yeah, so in the early 1980s, actually, it was estimated that there were less than 50 speakers under the age of 18. It was almost guaranteed - approximately guaranteed - that within - within 20 to 30 years, perhaps, the language would be dead. And so what they did was they implemented a preschool system, and it's known as Aha Punana Leo. And as the kids graduated from preschool, those families wanted them to continue their education in Hawaiian language. And that's what created that push and the pressure for the implementation of Hawaiian immersion programs and ultimately, within the last 30 years, we have taken those numbers from less than 50 to about 8,000 or so.

I will never understand the desire to preserve languages and fight against their extinction.  

Languages are not birds or animals or plants. They are not integral parts of an ecosystem. They do not carry the potential for life-saving medicines. They do not preserve biodiversity. 

Languages are human constructs. They are a means of communication that developed differently across the globe only because of geographic limitations on humankind thousands of years ago. They are not in need of preservation. In fact, I think they are in need of eradication. The sooner human begins drill down to one worldwide language, the better off we will be. The ability to communicate freely and openly to anyone in any corner of the globe would be a remarkable feat of human progress.

The process of achieving a single, worldwide language begins by allowing languages to die rather than spending time and money preserving them.

In 2007 the New York Times reported:

Of the estimated 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, linguists say, nearly half are in danger of extinction and are likely to disappear in this century. In fact, they are now falling out of use at a rate of about one every two weeks.

Some endangered languages vanish in an instant, at the death of the sole surviving speaker. Others are lost gradually in bilingual cultures, as indigenous tongues are overwhelmed by the dominant language at school, in the marketplace and on television.

The good news in this report is that languages are dying at a rapid clip. But the New York Times - and many other publications - use words like endangered and extinction to describe the precarious state of languages, as if their elimination hurts the planet or humankind. 

It doesn't. It only serves as one small step in bringing us closer. 

It's important to note that I am not promoting the active eradication of languages. I'm not looking for people to intentionally eliminate languages. I just don't think them worthy of preservation.

This also doesn't mean that I am overlooking one of the primary agents in the elimination of languages. The genocide of the Native Americans of North America, for example, wiped out hundred of languages in the process. I am aware that all too often, the eradication of a language was accomplished through forced subjugation and genocide. Obviously, this is not the kind of action for which I am advocating. 

Languages should die of natural causes. And they are.

A report in Science magazine from 2014 indicates that the primary agent responsible for the eradication of languages today is economic growth. As previously isolated and otherwise struggling communities of people begin to interact with the world economically in order to raise their standard of living, they begin to adopt the primary language of commerce, and over time, their original language falls away and dies.

This makes sense. People want to be able to communicate as fluidly and inexpensively as possible. They want to understand and be understood. When you realize that participation in world markets will improve your lives of your future generations, you will engage in that market as fully as possible. 

This includes language. 

My hope - and my expectation - is that somewhere in the distant future, humankind will continue to winnow down from the approximately 7,000 languages today to a handful of languages and perhaps even one. And I don't care what language we eventually settle on. I'm not looking to preserve English as the language of the world. Whichever language rises to the top is fine by me. 

The language is irrelevant. It's singularity is paramount. 

The sooner human beings across the globe share a common tongue and can speak without barrier or misunderstanding, the better off we will be.

Don't seek the eradication of language. Just don't invest in its preservation. Spend your time and money on more important matters. Implementing a preschool program on the island of Hawaii in order to teach children a language that was nearly extinct and is useless outside of Hawaii strikes me as a terrible waste of resources. 

Oh, and in case you were curious, Kahookahi Kanuha was granted an interpreter at his trial, and last month he was found not guilty of obstruction. 

I'm happy Kanuha isn't going to jail. If you read the reports from the trial, it's clear that he was acting with noble intent. 

I just hope he doesn't use his newfound freedom to promote a language that clearly wants to die.

Hire this guy. And please don't do anything like this to my Wikipedia page.

My favorite story of the week, including a man who you should hire immediately. 

At a recent concert in Melbourne, Australia, one fan managed to sneak backstage by convincing a security guard he was related to one half of the duo Peking Duk. How? By editing the band’s Wikipedia page on his phone. He simply showed his ID and the Wikipedia entry to the guard, who waved him through and told him to wait.

“I stood out there for five minutes and I started to think this isn’t going to work,” the clever fan, David Spargo, told The Guardian. But then band member Reuben Styles popped out and invited Spargo into the green room.

Styles and his bandmate, Adam Hyde, were so impressed by the stunt that they weren’t creeped out or concerned by the security breach.

“It was probably the most genius, mastermind move that I’ve ever witnessed,” Hyde said. “We ended up having a bunch of beers with him and he was an absolute legend. He wasn’t a creep or anything. He was like the most normal dude we’ve ever met. That’s what makes it more hilarious.”

The question:

What can you do with my Wikipedia page to take advantage of me?

Also, please don't.

Peking Duk

Don Featherstone was an interesting man for at least two reasons. Also, the mysteries of 57 and matchy-matchy remain unsolved, and it's really bothering me.

Don Featherstone passed away last month. He was known for two fairly remarkable things:

1. He was the creator of the pink plastic flamingo that adorns so many American lawns even today. He and his wife kept 57 pink flamingos on his front lawn in Fitchburg, MA.

I have yet to figure out why he chose the number 57 and it's really bothering me. 

Side note: The fact that his last name was Featherstone and his greatest career achievement was a sculptured plastic bird is a likely signal that we are living in a computer generated world with surprisingly ham-handed naming algorithms. 

2. Don Featherstone and his wife, Nancy, dressed alike for more than 30 years.  

No explanation for this wardrobe decision that I can find, either. It's also really bothering me. 

A note to my children regarding the shame and embarrassment of 2015

When you read about the year 2015 in the history books, little ones, please remember this:

Yes, it’s true. It is still perfectly legal in much of the United States in 2015 to terminate a person’s employment because he or she was gay.

But please know that many of us – and perhaps even most of us – are nothing like the bigoted, cowardly elected officials who allowed such laws to persist.

I don’t know a single person who supports this form of discrimination, little ones. I know these bigots exist. I see them on television from time to time, holding up grammatically incorrect and poorly spelled signs and expressing their support for the predominantly old, white men who either believe in this form of discrimination or are too cowardly to stand by their own convictions and oppose their constituency.

image   image

The country is changing fast, little ones. Same sex marriage is now legal in a majority of the states and for the vast majority of Americans. Ten years ago, there was just one state where same sex marriage was legal. The shift in attitude has been profound.

I have no doubt that by the time you are my age, the ability for an employer to fire an employee because he or she is gay will seem as archaic to you as Jim Crow seems to me. And like Jim Crow, a large majority of Americans opposed those laws at the time, too. But changing the law is oftentimes more difficult than changing attitudes and beliefs. 

Thankfully, the country is changing more quickly than anyone would have ever imagined. Just not quick enough if you are gay.

I don’t know Kathleen Hampton, but based upon her lawsuit, I suspect that ‘entitled and insufferable” are likely descriptors.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the woman who wished to dine solo at a Portland, Oregon restaurant on Valentine’s Day and is now suing the restaurant because she claims she received rude service.

Kathleen Hampton is asking for $100,000 in damages and apologies both in person and in print in ‘the news and local newspapers,” so we already know – regardless of what actually happened that night – that she is insane.


Insane is probably the wrong word. There are better choices:
Entitled. Myopic. Despicable. Miserable. Haughty. Insufferable. Undatable.  

Hampton claims that the restaurant refused to seat her because her reservation was for two but she was dining alone. She claims that the manager also refused to provide her with takeout service.

The restaurant’s manager tells a very story.

“She made reservation for two and when she got there, said: ‘Oh just by myself.’ We offered for her to sit at the bar with other single diners since Valentine’s Day is very busy and all we know is she got up and left without paying after she drank two glasses of wine.”

It was an amusing enough story on it’s own, but when I read the complaint, which Hampton filed herself, amusing quickly transformed into hilarious. I suggest you read the whole thing (which isn’t very long but is filled with hidden gems), but if you’re pressed for time, the section that Hampton has labeled “WHAT I WANT” is entertainment enough.


I want to be made whole by public apology both in person and in writing in news and community newspapers. I don’t want this to happen to anyone in the inner North/Northeast area. When you don’t have business owners that don’t live in the area they don’t have a vested interest in community. I also want $100,000 to make sure all business owners on N.E Alberta know we are serious about our community

I chose not to reproduce the random spaces or superfluous capitalizations that Hampton frequently uses in her complaint, mostly because the actual demands that she makes say more about her character than any amusement that I might have at the expense of her writing skills.

It’s hard to imagine that people like this exist outside of fiction. Even if Hampton’s complaint is true, it’s hard to imagine why her husband or a family member or friend didn’t advise against these genuinely stupid demands, suggesting instead that perhaps this was not as big a deal as she seems to think and maybe restitution in the form of a free dinner or two at a restaurant of her choice might make more sense, rather than attempting to bankrupt a restaurant for what amounted to rude behavior.

The Play-Doh sex toy was a mistake, but making a big deal out of it is much worse.

Yes, it’s true. Play-Doh blundered big time with the design of their “extruder.” It’s kind of impossible to understand how this was produced without someone in the company noticing the problem. 


Regardless, the outrage that parents have expressed is ridiculous. The complaints on Play-Doh’s Facebook page about how this phallic piece of plastic has ruined their Christmas would be amusing if they weren’t so annoying.

Everything doesn’t have to be something.

This is one of my favorite new phrases, and I’ve been using it a lot lately. In fact, most things don’t have to be something. If you’ve taken to the Internet to voice your concerns about how this Play-Doh sex toy has destroyed your holiday joy and damaged your child’s self esteem, I suspect that you are probably the one whose self esteem is damaged.

Find a hobby. Start training for a 5K. Go volunteer in a homeless shelter.

Do something productive with your time. And smile. Play-Doh has clearly made a mistake with this product, but it’s pretty hilarious, too.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association have demanded an apology, which unfortunately has made them look like middle school brats.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association is upset with the St. Louis Rams  football players who entered the field displaying the "hands up don't shoot" pose.


This seems like a perfectly reasonable response. The “hands up don’t shoot” pose has been adopted by protestors who accused Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson of murdering Michael Brown. The gesture has become synonymous with assertions that Michael Brown was innocent of any wrongdoing and attempting to surrender peacefully when Wilson gunned him down in cold blood.

If I was a police officer, I might be upset, too.

However, the St. Louis Police Officers Association demand that the players apologize and be disciplined strikes me as petty, purposeless, and ridiculous and only serves to cast the police officers in fragile, vindictive light.    

"The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology. Roorda said he planned to speak to the NFL and the Rams to voice his organization's displeasure tomorrow. He also plans to reach out to other police organizations in St. Louis and around the country to enlist their input on what the appropriate response from law enforcement should be.”

I recently listed the eight lowest forms of human communication. The demanded apology is first on this list.  

When you demand an apology, you are asking to person you have offended you to utter a set of words that may express regret but with no guarantee of sincerity. There is no way of knowing whether or not the apology was heart-felt, since you never allowed the offender the opportunity to apologize without prompting.

Besides, what is the value of a demanded apology? Will an expression of forced regret make the police feel better?

I hope not. It’s pretty pathetic if that’s the case.

A demanded apology is nothing more than an adult version of “Take it back!” It’s a form of passive-aggressive punishment that typically results in the petty, meaningless satisfaction in knowing that you made someone say something that they would rather not have said.

When I revise my list of the eight lowest forms of communication, I’ll have to add the cliché demand that an employee to be disciplined or terminated, because this is just as bad if not worse.

Will the punishing of these five football players made the police officers feel better?

Do they think that the punishing of these players for exercising their First Amendment right will somehow deter demonstrations by other football players or other groups in the future?

If anything, a punishment would only serve to incite additional demonstrations. It’s been a source of ridicule on social media and by people like Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. 


The St. Louis Police Officers Association go on to threaten the players and anyone who thinks that this form of protest represents freedom of speech under the First Amendment:

Roorda warned, "I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well I've got news for people who think that way, cops have first amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours.

Not only is there a veiled threat contained within the statement, but it’s not logically sound. The first half of the statement:

“I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well, I’ve got news for people who think this way…”

… seems to indicate that the police reject the notion that this demonstration is protected speech. The use of the word “simply” as a modifier implies that the players actions went beyond First Amendment rights, and the use of the phrase “people who think this way” implies that this belief is not universally acknowledged. It seems to express a belief that “people who think this way” are separate from what is right and just.

Yet the second half of the statement:

“… cops have first amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours.”

… seems to express a belief that what the players did was right and just under the First Amendment and the police plan on engaging in similar, legally justified actions.

You can’t have it both ways, St. Louis Police Officers Association.

There’s also no way in hell that the police will ever follow through on this threat. What do they plan on doing? Protest the NFL? Draw even more attention to their pettiness?

I doubt it.

The police are in a tough spot. They should not make it worse with ridiculous, illogical statements like this one.

I went to the movies and met an amazing young woman and a loud-mouthed racist.

I went to a late showing of Interstellar last night. I’m in Indiana and alone, so I figured, “Why not?”

It was a good movie


The cashier who handed me a Diet Coke and a box of Junior Mints was a young, black woman. As she poured the soda, I asked her if she had seen the movie yet, hoping for an informed opinion.

“No, not yet,” she said.

“But you get to see the movies for free,” I said. “Right?”

“Yeah,” she said. “But I have four jobs, and I’m a fulltime student at Purdue. So when I come here, I do my job, and get back to my homework or one of my other jobs. No time for movies. Or anything else other than work and school. At least not yet.”

I told her that if I lived in the area and owned a business, I would hire her on the spot. As someone who worked 50-60 hours a week while double majoring at Trinity College and Saint Joseph’s University, I know the amount of effort, tenacity, and determination required to put yourself through college all too well.

I wished her luck with her studies and headed to my movie with a bounce in my step. I felt like I had spoken to someone special. Someone who would do great things with her life.  

I sat down in front and to the left of two middle aged, white couples. The trailers for upcoming movies came on. We watched the trailer for Selma, a Martin Luther King, Jr. docudrama about the civil right’s marches in Alabama.

One of the men to my left scoffed and said, “Another damn nigger movie.”

“Jim!” the woman (presumably his wife) sitting beside him whisper-yelled.  “Don’t talk like that in public.”

I wanted to tell Jim and his wife that if I owned a business where they worked, I would fire them immediately.

Frankly, I wanted to drag Jim out of the theater by the scruff of his red neck and introduce him to the cashier who was working four jobs and attending school fulltime. Tell him that she was already more than he would ever be.

I didn’t say anything. I wanted to so badly, but the voice of my wife spoke to me, reminding me that my repeated confrontations with strangers will one day land me in a lot of trouble.

If I’m going to end up in trouble, at least let it be in my home state.

But my respect and admiration for the cashier whose name I wish I knew grew tenfold. While she and I both fought our way through college by working like dogs, I didn’t also have to deal with the Jims of the world.

Racism was not an obstacle for me.

The five years that I spent in college, two at Manchester Community College and three at Trinity College and Saint Joseph’s University, were hard enough without racists and bigots blocking my path and clouding my world.

I can’t begin to imagine how hard that must be on someone like that cashier.

I can only hope that when that young woman graduates from college and is ready to shed her four low paying jobs for one good one, there are fewer Jims in the world than there are today.

And for the Jims who are still standing when that day comes, I hope that they at least listen to their racist wives and keep their hateful remarks at home where they belong.


A race to the bottom: Which state will be the last to legalize same sex marriage?

Over the weekend, a judge overturned Alaska’s ban on same sex marriage.

On Tuesday, Alaska and North Carolina began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples for the first time.

Thirty states and Washington, D.C. now allow some form of marriage for same-sex couples.

Can you believe it? This seemed impossible just a few years ago, and now a  majority of Americans live in states that permit same sex marriage.


The states that are still resisting same sex marriage must understand by now that resisting is only delaying the inevitable.


As the number of states in which same sex marriage is still illegal continues to shrink, we have to ask ourselves:

Which state will be last to legalize same sex marriage? And does that state want to carry the stigma of being the last to recognize this right?

Depending on how you define integration, Alabama, Arkansas, or Mississippi were the last states to integrate their school systems. Alabama has the unfortunate honor of often being thought of as the last to integrate, with Governor George Wallace refusing to do so until the military intervened and forced his hand.


Isn’t that amazing? The military had to forcibly integrate schools in Alabama and other parts of the South.

I can’t imagine that the people of Alabama are proud of this moment in their history.

Alabama is one of 20 states that in which same sex marriage is illegal. It’s currently engaged in a race to the bottom.

Which state will earn the unfortunate distinction of being the last to allow this basic human right? If these politicians in these final 20 states were smart, they would try like hell to avoid being the last. It’s an honor that no state should want.

Unfortunately, intelligence and wisdom tend to be in short supply when it comes to the bigots and hypocrites who struggle to keep these bans in place, so it’s likely to be a shortsighted, clawing, ugly battle to determine which state is run by the largest percentage of them.

Grandparents kicking millennials’ asses

I have recently learned that identifying oneself as a “grandma” is a growing phenomenon among twentysomethings who refuse to leave their apartments over the weekend and are adopting a binge-watching, sedentary lifestyle. Apparently many millennials take are taking pride in calling themselves old people trapped in young people’s bodies.

A far cry from The Greatest Generation.

As annoyed as I am about this recent trend, I’m thrilled over the reaction of the elderly, who apparently want nothing to do with these uninspired, sloth-like beings.


A piece in The New Yorker entitled Grandmas Ride Up Against Millennials’ Grandma Lifestyle is full of quotes from bad-ass old people who sound ready to kick these millennials in the ass.

I’ll be saving these quotes for future use as a life coach.

Many senior citizens argue that being associated with millennials is detrimental to the credibility they’ve been cultivating for, quite literally, decades.

Early yesterday, seniors across the country staged protests in their retirement communities, calling this trend downright offensive.

Grandparents are speaking out, disavowing any affiliation with the millennials who take daylong naps punctuated by brief scrolls through Twitter.

“It’s insulting. Today, I went to my water-aerobics class, played bridge for three hours, made progress on a Sudoku puzzle that has been stumping me for months, and tried a new recipe. Who has time to sit around like those kids, watching the Netflix all day?”

“When my lover Hal left me for my canasta partner, I got myself a new canasta partner. I sure as heck didn’t stay inside and drink three bottles of Pinot Grigio by myself!”

“He was wearing a raggedy maroon cardigan, a bowtie, suspenders, and pants that suggested that he didn’t really understand the purpose of suspenders. I didn’t have the heart to tell my darling granddaughter that her boyfriend looked like a bankrupt magician.”

“Knitting is a means to an end not an act of frivolity. It’s what puts Christmas presents under the tree and keeps my grandsons warm during the winter. What these young things don’t realize is that it does irreparable damage to your fingers.”

I live in a country where Janet Jackson’s boob receives more attention than net neutrality.

I just learned that the FCC received 1.4 million comments on their website regarding Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl. This is the most comments that they have ever received about an issue.


I’m not saying that the world needed to see Janet Jackson’s nipple-covered breast at halftime of a Super Bowl, but do we really live in a country so prudish that more than a million people ran to their computers following the reveal to complain?

It’s just a boob.

But I guess we do.

The FCC is currently soliciting comments on the issue of net neutrality, which is about a billion times more important than a televised boob, and thanks to HBO’s John Oliver and his recent call to viewers to voice their opinions, the FCC has received just over a million comments on the issue.

Not as many as they received for a boob, but still a lot.

There are many reasons why the death penalty should be abolished. But one reason should be reason enough.

Will Saletan lists six reasons why support for capital punishment is evaporating in the United States. All six are perfectly valid, and I actually agree with all of them, but really, there’s only one that matters:


Since 1973, 144 death row inmates have been exonerated of their crimes.

It’s impossible to think that the our government has not executed innocent people.


As a person who was arrested and tried for a crime he did not commit, I understand the how easily an innocent person can be accused of a crime and how easy it is to be wrongfully convicted.

In my case, the judge said, “I think you’re probably guilty, but there isn’t enough evidence to convict you. I hope you realize how close you came to going to prison.”

The arrest and trial, which took almost two years from beginning to end, changed my life forever. Had I gone to prison, I can’t imagine where I would be today.

I will never understand how supporters of the death penalty are able to ignore the dangers of executing an innocent man or woman. In the past 41 years, more than three people per year on average have been released from death row after proving their innocence.

These are statistics that cannot be ignored. And yet they are. Even with capital punishment rapidly losing support in this country and executions on the decline, more than 50% of respondents to a recent Gallup poll expressed support for the death penalty.

I suspect that their opinions on the matter would change if they were arrested for a crime they did not commit.

Faced with the evidence that this is happening, these people are unmoved. I have to assume it is the result of one of two things:

  1. An inability to empathize with people in positions different than their own
  2. A failure of imagination. They are simply unable to envision themselves or a loved one in a situation that they know is routinely taking place in this country.

Either way, it’s ridiculous. We need to end capital punishment (as most Western nations already have) because we cannot be a nation that accidentally, unintentionally execute innocent people.

Boy fakes his own kidnapping to avoid dentist. A hero emerges in the process.

A 12-year old boy in France faked his own kidnapping to avoid a dentist appointment, appearing in a town 100 miles from his own after claiming to have escaped his captors and sending police into a month-long search for his kidnappers. 

The boy is reportedly terrified of the dentist.


Obviously, this was not a good thing. The boy wasted hundreds of man hours and thousands of dollars on a wild goose chase. He scared the hell out of his parents. He risked the safety of others by occupying law enforcement officer’s time attention on something ultimately meaningless.

Also, it’s important to go to the dentist regularly and face your fears.

Still, I love this kid so much. The guts, the creativity, and the sheer audacity required to fake your own kidnapping at the age of 12 is astounding.

This boy is my new hero.

The New York Post’s Kim Kardashian - Kanye West wedding announcement was quite educational.

A couple days ago, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West got married.

I wasn’t aware of their wedding (or their engagement, for that matter) until I saw it mentioned on Twitter.

I know who Kanye West is. As a wedding DJ, I play his music from time to time. I couldn't pick him out of a lineup, but I know a few of his songs.

He sings Gold Digger, which brides occasionally ask me to play despite the obvious stupidity of this request for their wedding. 

I still can’t pick Kim Kardashian out of a lineup either, and other than the existence of her reality show, I never understood why she was famous.

Thankfully, The New York Post’s wedding announcement has cleared up all of my confusion (though I’m not sure why Bruce Jenner was walking Kim Kardashian down the aisle):


I am happily clueless about many things. It seems to make people very angry.

More than a week after Jill Abramson’s firing as executive of the New York Times, This American Life’s host Ira Glass still hadn’t heard the news. image

This is surprising. The story of Abramson’s firing was covered by many media outlets for many, many reasons.

I’ve been reading and listening to news about it all week.

Glass’s response:

I hate reading media news so I actively sort of — I'm not interested in someone getting fired. No disrespect to people that are, but I literally had no idea who she was, or that she got fired until this moment.

I loved this response.

Like Glass, I often wall myself off from certain aspects of the news that I am not interested in.

For example, I know that there was a fight in an elevator recently between two famous people (Beyoncé might have been one of them), but I know nothing else of the incident. I’ve seen plenty of tweets and heard plenty of jokes alluding to the incident, but I have yet to uncover the details of this story, because I just don’t care.

Yesterday, someone questioned my ignorance of this matter.

“Oh, c’mon. You’re telling me you have know idea what happened? You never saw the video?”

I explained that I knew that there was a fight in an elevator between two famous people, and that one may have been Beyoncé, but that was it. Sorry.

In fact, how would I know?

I don’t watch any television news. I acquire all of my news via Twitter and podcasts, clicking and listening to only what headlines interest me.

I haven’t spent time with anyone who has discussed the incident in detail.

I’m not sure if my wife is even aware of this incident. If she is, she hasn’t mentioned it to me.

In order to find out what happened in that elevator, I would have to actively seek out the information.

I chose not to.

I experienced the same inexplicably angry doubt when I told someone that I couldn’t pick a Kardashian out of a lineup if you paid me.

I still can’t.

Unless I watch their TV show (which I’m not sure even exists anymore) or read a People magazine, how would I ever know what any of the Kardashians look like? I’m not even sure why they are so famous, or how many of them there are.

If I wanted to, I could search online for an image of the Kardashian clan and include a photo of them below this text, but like Ira Glass, I don’t waste time on things that don’t interest me. This is not to say that being interested in the Kardashians is a bad thing.

How would I know?

I don’t question or doubt or become inexplicably angry at people who don’t know who George Saunders or Vince Wilfork or Doyle Brunson are. Unless you are interested in literature, football or poker, why would you?

So of course I don’t know who possibly-Beyoncé fought in an elevator last week? Why would I care?

Honestly, why would anyone care about some fight between a possible pop star and someone else (maybe the elevator operator?) in an elevator, but asking a question like that would mean that I am judging people for their personal interests.

I try to only do that in my head.

If no one believes your lie, what’s the point?

North Korean reports that dictator Kim Jong-un has been “reelected” with 100 percent of the vote. Kim also won every single vote in his district on Mount Paekdu with 100 percent turnout.

I understand the value of propaganda, but wouldn’t it make more sense to have your propaganda sound believable?

Or at least mildly plausible?

I don’t get it. What’s the value of making a claim that no one believes?


Exit the bigots

The Boy Scouts of America have lost six percent of their members since changing their policy on gay participants, the group recently announced.

Some may think this is bad news.

I think the opposite.

They’re merely weeding out the bigots.

It’s true that in some cases, unbiased boys may be denied the benefits of Scouting because of their bigoted parents, but I think the greater  percentage of the decrease in membership is the result of the elimination of bigotry.  

As a former Boy Scout who loves Scouting and owes a great deal to the organization, my hope is that they reverse their decision on allowing gay adult leaders soon, too.

Scouting may lose another 6% of it’s membership or more by allowing openly gay adult leaders to serve, but I’d much rather see a smaller organization that adheres to the tenets of the Boy Scout Law and Oath than a larger organization populated by bigots and fools.


North Korean nightmare

Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, is the one point of light in the middle of darkness between South Korea (on the right) and China (on the left) in this recent image taken from the International Space Station.

A good reminder that as proud as you may be for your accomplishments, geography plays an enormous role in the outcome of your life.


Big news does not mean big numbers when it comes to same sex marriage.

Arizona, Idaho and Kansas are the three most recent states to attempt to legalize discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

Arizona’s law passed through the House and Senate before the governor vetoed the bill.

The Kansas bill passed the House on a clear majority before dying in the House.

The decision on the Idaho bill, which is the most egregious of them all, is pending.

It’s easy to see these state legislators take positions against same-sex marriage and civil rights and think the sky is falling, but before you start sounding like Chicken Little, remember this:

The combined population of these three states barely exceeds the population of New York City.

Legalized discrimination is big news, as it should be, but these three states combine for a little more than 3 percent of the total US population.

The most recent polling indicates that 53% of Americans now support same sex marriage and 17 states now recognize same sex marriage with three more pending appeals.

It’s true. The sky is falling. It’s just falling on the bigots.