I’m Back… Or Something

Blogosphere forgive me, for I have sinned. It’s been three and a half years since my last blog post.

Yeah, it’s been a while. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to say (my Twitter feed provides that evidence), but I just didn’t have much I wanted to write at length. Today I decided to be a bit less brief.

Some years ago, I spent quite a bit of time on genealogical research. I ended up posting most of my results to a family tree on Ancestry.com. As with so many other hobby-like pursuits of this ADDlepated hairless ape, I lost interest at some point. Though I do enjoy a dip in the databases, I haven’t really done much with it all in years.

Last May, I got a message on Ancestry.com. The subject, “Extremely Close Ancestry DNA Match” was puzzling, as I’d never had a DNA test done. I was skeptical, but I read on. It seems that the younger of my two brothers had submitted DNA to Ancestry for testing, and that his DNA provided the match referenced in the message.

The message on Ancestry was from a woman helping a friend, who I’ll call D, research her own family history. D was born in 1950, and had been adopted at the age of 2½. She was told that her birth mother was from Wabash, Indiana. The degree of the DNA match would indicate a familial relationship of aunt/uncle to niece/nephew, or half-sibling

Since my paternal grandfather died in 1944, D could not have been his daughter. It is possible that my maternal grandparents had another child in 1950, but very highly doubtful (in my eyes, at least) that she would be placed for adoption soon thereafter. D also knows her birth name, and it isn’t a match. The most likely scenario is that D is the half-sister of my brother, my other siblings, and myself.

My father’s military records indicate that he was serving at Fort Benjamin Harrison between 1947 and 1951. I find it quite probable that he is D’s father.

So, welcome to the family, sister that we never knew of! I’ll be doing a bit more research on this now, and I’ll post any further updates I might have in another blog entry.

Marriage Equality!

It’s official!!

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who fought for marriage equality for all!

Kirby Delauter: Clueless Ignoramus

Kirby Delauter, who represents District 5 on the Frederick County, Maryland County Council has provided evidence that he truly doesn’t have a clear grasp of reality. It starts with a newspaper reporter and a brief article.

Bethany Rodgers is a reporter for the Frederick News-Post in Frederick County, Maryland. She wrote an article, Shreve raises staffing, parking concerns, about some issues with the County Council there. She wanted to get the opinion of Kirby Delauter for the article, but he didn’t return her call when she wanted to ask a question.

Mr. Delauter was mentioned twice in that article: Two whole sentences in an article that wasn’t even about him. What was his response? He responded on Facebook:

Facebook Post by Kirby Delauter

Yeah, I had to read it twice, too.

Hey, Kirby: Are you honestly that fucking ignorant about life? Are you unaware that the news media doesn’t have to get your permission to mention you in a story? Were the two sentences libelous?

The News-Post followed up with another article: Delauter to The News-Post: Don’t use my name without permission. The national media also picked up on it. Mr. Delauter is getting his fifteen minutes of fame by letting everyone know that he doesn’t grasp even the most basic concepts of free speech.

I hope Kirby grows up and buys a clue some day.

Why Do These Guys Get A Free Pass?

It certainly isn’t the first time I’ve seen a headline like this:

Seating Dispute Delays Another Flight to Israel

If these had been Muslim men refusing to sit next to women, they would most likely have been held at gunpoint by the TSA until the FBI arrived to take them into custody. If they had been white supremacists refusing to sit next to a black person, would the flight have been delayed while trying to accommodate their needs, or would they have been ushered off the plane so that everyone else could move ahead with their lives?

Fuck this accommodation bullshit. Your ideas that other people are lesser beings than you are, and that your feelings of impropriety trump everyone else’s rights to go about their day are bullshit. Grow the fuck up and get over yourselves.

Virginia county board says no followers of ‘pre-Christian deities’ allowed to deliver prayers

Virginia county board says no followers of ‘pre-Christian deities’ allowed to deliver prayers (via Raw Story )

County officials in Virginia have apparently violated the constitution by designating which religious leaders can deliver prayers before public meetings, according to the state’s American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU sent a letter Thursday to the…

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Keystone B-1 16mm Movie Camera

Vintage Cameras

Over the past year or so, I’ve been putting together a collection of vintage cameras. I don’t view them as any kind of “investment.” I enjoy cleaning them up and making minor repairs when they need them. They look neat, too.

A few of them aren’t really fit to be used any more, but most of them are fully functional. Finding film for them is often a different story, though. One of these days I’ll actually use one of them to take some shots.

Keystone B-1

Keystone B-1 16mm Movie Camera I received a package on Monday, 18 November 2013, that contained a Keystone B-1 16mm movie camera. I had purchased the camera on eBay on the Friday before. The shipping cost was $8.85, while the camera itself only cost 99¢. Yes, vintage cameras are often available at extremely low prices. Continue reading

Doing and Being

I’ve not blogged in quite a long while. It’s not due to any lack of things I want to write about, certainly. Every day brings something that catches my attention enough that I want to express my thoughts about it. I even start writing posts once in a while, but the drafts never seem to get to a publishable point.

I suppose I really need to make it a habit to write more. Most of my blog posts consist of my opinions on a variety of subjects, which is fine, but I should take more time to let the world see what I’m doing, not just to know what I’m thinking. Who I am is more than just what’s going on in my head.

I don’t “work” at a job right now, but there are always things with which I occupy my time. I should take the time to share some of those things. What good is it to create if we don’t share our creations?

The Tide Has Turned

It was refreshing to read this article at the Rhode Island Public Radio web site this evening: Algiere, Bates join RI Senate GOP bloc in backing bill favored by same-sex marriage supporters. This marks the first time that a partisan state legislative caucus has expressed unanimous backing for a bill in support of same-sex marriage.

Marriage equality is right, and it is just. Denying the ability of two consenting adults to marry has no rational basis. There are religious arguments against it, but as religious rule has no binding on laws within our country, those apply solely to those members of religious groups who choose to follow them.

Here is a portion of the statement released by the GOP caucus on the morning of 23 April 2013:

Our Senate Republican Caucus is deeply committed to the values of freedom, liberty and limited government. In accordance with those values, we believe that freedom means freedom for everyone, and that every citizen of Rhode Island deserves the freedom to marry the person they love.

We support Senate Bill 38 because it rightfully extends the civil aspects of marriage to all Rhode Islanders while protecting the freedom of religion our state was founded upon. Gay and lesbian couples deserve to be treated equally under the law, and at the same time churches, synagogues and mosques in our state must be free to exercise their faith and their sacraments as they see fit. This bill strikes the right balance and should be passed by the Senate.

The mention of religious institutions being able to “exercise their faith and their sacraments as they see fit” should allay some of the irrational fears expressed by some of those who oppose same-sex marriage. Some people, though, will never be convinced by facts.

Many people seem to be convinced that our country should be governed by laws based on their particular interpretation of their holy book. They state (without any justification) that the United States is a “Christian nation.” To them, anything they see as “sin” should be against the law. They are wrong, and they will be on the wrong side of history when the next century’s textbooks are written.

Misinformation Works; Dangerously So

Yes; misinformation works. Places like Fox News excel at it. Nutjobs like Pam Geller and her ilk have been very successful at promoting fear of anything associated with Islam. They achieve this by simply lying, and playing into the xenophobia already present in many members of the far-right-wing.

I follow someone on Twitter named Joe Cienkowski. I’ve given Joe a lot of grief over his lack of understanding when it comes to basic concepts of science, etc., in the past. I still like the guy, though. I really do think that Joe means well. Unfortunately, his gullibility for anything that hypes his existing fears and religious beliefs makes him horribly misinformed about reality.

When misinformation becomes the basis of some people’s mind-set, it can be very dangerous. If you don’t think that’s a problem, perhaps you should check out the Randolph Linn case.

An Indiana man who pleaded guilty yesterday to setting an Ohio mosque on fire told a judge he was motivated by media accounts – specifically those on Fox News – suggesting Muslims were threatening Americans and were in control of parts of the federal government. —Morlin, Bill. “Mosque Arsonist: Fox News Made Me Do It!” Salon. Salon Media Group, Inc., 22 Dec. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2013. <http://www.salon.com/2012/12/22/mosque_arsonist_fox_news_made_me_do_it/>.

That’s why it bothers me when I see things like this posted on Twitter:

If John Brennan converted to Islam, it would pay a conflict of interest for him to be CIA director. He won't even say 'war on terror'.

If John Brennan converted to Islam, it would pay [sic] a conflict of interest for him to be CIA director. He won’t even say ‘war on terror’.

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A Mad Rush

It’s not the rush you’d expect. This one happens to be Erik Rush, and I refer to him as mad not because he’s angry, but because he seems to be rather mentally unhinged.

The Russians Are Coming! movie poster

My story begins with a blog post by Ed Brayton. Ed’s post is “Rush: The Commies are Coming, Led by Obama!” The post was referencing one of Erik Rush’s recent columns; Resurrecting Communism’s Glory Days. You’ll notice that the article is posted on the Canada Free Press web site. The “subtitle” for that site is “…Because without America there is no Free World.” That should give you a hint as to their usual type of content.

Yes, Erik Rush is convinced that we need to be afraid of the Red Menace that is communism. I had to look at my calendar to be sure that the year wasn’t 1958, and that the date wasn’t April 1st.

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