Crock-Pot BBQ Ribs Recipe

The meat falls off the bone as you take them out of the crock pot!

Ingredients:
4 pounds Ribs of your choice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoons vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 bottle of sweet baby rays BBQ
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoons oregano

Directions:
In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients except for the ribs themselves.
Place ribs in slow cooker. Pour sauce over ribs, and turn to coat.
Cover, and cook on Low 6 to 8 hours, or until ribs are tender.

Continue ReadingCrock-Pot BBQ Ribs Recipe

My Coat of Arms, drawn by me at age 11

This is my coat of arms, that I drew when I was 11 and I was in love with Princess Diana and all things British, so I read books on heraldry and ignored most of what I learned and drew some badass unicorn horns and swords and arrows. And some gender ambiguous people hanging out, chilling.

My Coat of Arms

Kate Middleton had to make up her own coat of arms now that she’s a princess, and she put some acorns on it. That is not very badass.

28S-WILLS KATE COAT OF ARMS

Continue ReadingMy Coat of Arms, drawn by me at age 11

The Pope’s “new stance” on homosexuality

Let me do the TL;DR up front – it’s the same as the old stance.

Several new stories have come out today about a recent interview Pope Francis did where he expanded on his comments from July on homosexuality and women’s roles in the church. I’ll link to some articles about what he had to say in a moment, but first I want to say this – my issue with what he’s saying is the same as it has been since July – it’s all PR and no substantive change. The articles note specifically that “The pope’s comments don’t break with Catholic doctrine or policy, but instead show a shift in approach, moving from censure to engagement” and that “The catechism, the Catholic Church’s book of official doctrine, condemns homosexual acts, but says gays and lesbians ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.'”

That is not real change. Not at all. For gay people, we need concrete, specifics, and here’s why:

Here’s the story, for the first time I’ve ever told it in any explicit detail, on why I quit attending the Catholic Church just after college, way back in the dark ages, back in 1992. At that time, I went directly to the priest that was in charge of my mother’s church and asked him straight out what the church’s policy on gay people was. I had begun “coming out” in 1987, and in the years after that I fought with my mom tooth and nail over going to church. In July of 1992, this specific paper was released by John Paul II on gay people and the Catholic church [Some Considerations Concerning The Response To Legislative Proposals On The Non-Discrimination Of Homosexual Persons] and it was discussed in some of the gay newspapers at the time. I looked it up at the library, made a copy of it, and took it to the priest of my mom’s church Our Lady of Grace in Noblesville, Indiana. This specifically bothered me:

1. The letter recalls that the CDF’s “Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics” of 1975 “took note of the distinction commonly drawn between the homosexual condition or tendency and individual homosexual actions”; the latter are “intrinsically disordered” and “in no case to be approved of” (No. 3).

2. Since “[i]n the discussion which followed the publication of the (aforementioned) declaration …, an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it “neutral or even good,” the letter goes on to clarify: “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not” (No. 3).

I told the priest that I was gay, that I intended to fall in love with and marry a woman someday. I wanted to know, specifically, what that meant in relation to the church.

The priest told me, straight up: “You will not be welcome in the church if you maintain a sinful lifestyle without any remorse or desire to change your behavior. We expect you to not engage in sexual behavior with women, to confess to your sins in confession, do penance for them, and to be celibate before you would be allowed to take communion. If you don’t, you will be able to attend mass with your family on holidays, but you won’t be allowed to take communion. If you regularly attend church without going to confession or renouncing your sinful behavior, we wouldn’t continue to welcome you in the church on a weekly basis, and we would ask you to stop attending.”

That told me everything I needed to know about where I stood with the Catholic Church, and other than attending on holidays with my family for the sake of family harmony, I haven’t been back.

This is still the Catholic Church’s position.

Nothing in the interviews Francis has given in July or now changes what I was told by my priest back in 1992. What Francis is saying is basically “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” They aren’t going to inquire what I’m doing with my wife under the covers, but it’s still considered a sin. My wife and I still aren’t considered a family to them, and if we were a part of the church, they would expect us to keep our relationship on the downlow. I imagine if I went to confession and told them that I regularly have sex with my wife, they would be forced to confront the issue somehow, and what would come out of it would be exactly what I was told back in 1992, more or less. They might not tell me never to come back, but they would still think my romantic relationship with my wife is a sin.

CNN’s coverage of the interview:

Pope Francis said the church has the right to express its opinions but not to “interfere spiritually” in the lives of gays and lesbians, expanding on explosive comments he made in July about not judging homosexuals.

In a wide-ranging interview published Thursday, the pope also said that women must play a key role in church decisions and brushed off critics who say he should be more vocal about fighting abortion and gay marriage.

Moreover, if the church fails to find a “new balance” between its spiritual and political missions, the pope warned, its moral foundation will “fall like a house of cards.”

And a summary of his remarks from the New York Times:

Pope Francis, in the first extensive interview of his six-month-old papacy, said that the Roman Catholic Church had grown “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he has chosen not to speak of those issues despite recriminations from some critics.

In remarkably blunt language, Francis sought to set a new tone for the church, saying it should be a “home for all” and not a “small chapel” focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings.

“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” the pope told the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, a fellow Jesuit and editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal whose content is routinely approved by the Vatican. “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.

“We have to find a new balance,” the pope continued, “otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

Pope Francis

As I was going over this post, I did a bit of looking through things I’ve written or noted here on this blog about the Catholic Church and the crazy, offensive and hostile things they’ve done over the years. Here’s a short list of bullshit the Catholic Church has been up to in the time I’ve been keeping this blog… Interesting how much Pope Francis’s new statements resemble that link that I posted in November of 2006.

Continue ReadingThe Pope’s “new stance” on homosexuality

NaNoWriMo 2013 Preparation

I decided to get serious about plot, rather than just pantsing-it completely. I transferred the handy chart I got at GenCon to my bulletin board. And noted the troublesome spot where my plots commonly end up.

Plot Prep for NaNo

The chart is from the “Fiction Fundamentals Part 1: Plotting and Planning” led by Lawrence Connolly & William Horner III, which I got a lot out of.

I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to work on my past novel until it’s done or noodle on one of the other two ideas I’ve got, but I figure I’ll try to get real outlines in place for all three before I start and decide which feels best.

Continue ReadingNaNoWriMo 2013 Preparation

erg workout playlist for 10 minute/3 minute intervals

This one is still in progress; I’m trying to arrange so lower intensity songs land in the intervals, but it’s difficult to get it exactly.

Brave – Sara Bareilles – 3:43
Roar – Katy Perry – 3:45
I Love It – Icona Pop – 2:39
Feel This Moment – Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera – 3:52
Come & Get It – Selena Gomez – 3:54
A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) – Fergie, Q-Tip & GoonRock – 4:01
I Was a Teenage Anarchist – Against Me! – 3:15
It’s A Beautiful Day – Michael Bublé – 3:21
My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light Em Up) – Fall Out Boy – 3:07
Scream and Shout – will.i.am Feat. Britney Spears – 4:47
Heart Attack – Demi Lovato – 3:34
Daylight – Maroon 5 – 3:48
Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke – 4:25
Bang Bang – will.i.am – 4:39
Play Hard – David Guetta Feat. Ne-Yo & Akon – 3:23
Radioactive – Imagine Dragons – 3:09
Closer – Tegan and Sara – 3:29
Troublemaker – Olly Murs Feat. Flo Rida – 3:09
Stay – Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko – 4:03
We Can’t Stop – Miley Cyrus – 3:55
Right Now – Rihanna feat. David Guetta – 3:04
Stompa – Serena Ryder – 3:42
I Need Your Love – Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding – 3:57
Clarity – Zedd Feat. Foxes – 4:34

I’m not a fan of hardcore songs when I’m on the erg. I don’t want to listen to music that sounds like people being tortured while I’m trying to work out; negative association. I like to pick happy, encouraging music.

Continue Readingerg workout playlist for 10 minute/3 minute intervals

My DC Comics Pull List Purge

The only comment that DC Comics has made so far about the epic fuck-up that they have made with Batwoman and refusing to allow her to be married [Batwoman writers leave DC Comics over ban on same-sex marriage] is this:

“As acknowledged by the creators involved, the editorial differences with the writers of BATWOMAN had nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the character.”

This has been their statement to many media outlets, and is, apparently, in reference to this tweet by J.H. Williams:

Annnnnd here’s why that is complete and utter bullshit on the part of DC

Like it or not, comics are not immune to the political realities of the real world we live in. Comics don’t exist in a vacuum; they speak to us as readers because they have some significance to our everyday realities. Otherwise, why bother to introduce a gay character into a comic book at all? The point of course, is that we want to identify with the heroes of comics – that we want to related to them and imagine being them. For gay people, seeing a character like Kate Kane existing, carrying out her job and also balancing the realities of romantic relationships is appealing because it touches on our real lives. She has to go through some of the same difficulties and triumphs that we do in order to keep our attention.

And like it or not, same-sex marriage is a huge, emotionally-complex thing that we as LGBT people are dealing with. It has relevance to gay characters in comic books as much as it does to us in the real world. There’s just no way to side-step that issue with any gay character right now. And because of that, there is simply no way that you can separate the subject of Batwoman’s romantic relationship from her sexual orientation.

Because the character’s sexual orientation and romantic life are on the table as subject matter for the comic book, allowing or disallowing her to marry is inextricably bound to the current global climate on the subject of same-sex marriages. And banning her from getting married has a very different connotation than it does for heterosexual characters. There’s no way that doesn’t resonate with real people being banned from getting married and amplify the issue to all readers, no matter whether DC wants it to do so or not.

As Williams said, specifically for this character – “but it still should not be a story to be avoided, but embraced fully.” If you are going to have gay characters in comic books, marriage HAS to be addressed. There’s no way this subject CAN’T come up.

Two days have passed since this news hit the press. Comic Book Resources is running a poll – Will You Be Interested In “Batwoman” Once J.H. Williams & W. Haden Blackman Exit the Series? The current results stand at 83.6% – No. 16.4% – Yes.

Batwoman Rain

Given that there are 6,697 news articles on this issue currently out there on the web, almost all with some completely damning version of a headline like “Batwoman Writers Quit as DC Comics Prohibits Lesbian Marriage” I would have expected a much more complete and thoughtful response on the part of the company at damage control. But… apparently not. I’m not inclined to give the company any more time to craft a satisfactory response, given that they have been wrangling over the issue with Batwoman’s authors for quite some time on the issue, and they didn’t seem to be prepared with any sort of complete or statement about their position.

I can’t imagine they didn’t realize what a massive mistake this would appear to be, and yet… no real acknowledgement of their LGBT readers at all other than a terse statement.

My pull list from my local comics shop yesterday was this:

  • Ame Comi Girls
  • Batgirl (I’m so sorry to do this, Gail Simone)
  • Batwoman
  • Birds of Prey
  • Captain Marvel
  • Fearless Defenders
  • Katana
  • The Movement (Again, really sorry, Gail)
  • Red Sonja
  • Supergirl
  • World’s Finest (Power Girl & Huntress)
  • X-Men Now
  • Young Avengers Now

And my pull list as of this afternoon, when I dropped in to change things around:

  • Batwoman (until issue 26, the last Williams/Blackman book)
  • Captain Marvel
  • Fearless Defenders
  • FF (the fantastic four spin-off by Matt Fraction)
  • Hawkeye
  • Red Sonja (I had to keep at least one Gail Simone thing)
  • X-Men Now
  • Young Avengers Now

There are some other independent books that I’ll probably add in, too. I’ve been meaning to investigate other publishers, and now I’l have time for that.

It kills me that my childhood favorites – Wonder Woman and Batgirl – are no longer in my comic book reading, and that the thing that pulled me back into comic books after I stopped reading in college was the DC New 52 reboot. They got me back into comics, and then turned around and kicked me out again. So – good job, DC at attracting women to your readership, only to alienate them again and push them on to better work.

Continue ReadingMy DC Comics Pull List Purge

Batwoman writers leave DC Comics over ban on same-sex marriage

J.H. Williams III and Haden Blackman — longtime writers of the Batwoman comic book — are leaving DC Comics over a dispute about editorial changes to their planned story lines, including being forbidden to show the main character marrying her same-sex partner. Cross-posted by the authors to both author sites:

Unfortunately, in recent months, DC has asked us to alter or completely discard many long-standing storylines in ways that we feel compromise the character and the series. We were told to ditch plans for Killer Croc’s origins; forced to drastically alter the original ending of our current arc, which would have defined Batwoman’s heroic future in bold new ways; and, most crushingly, prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married. All of these editorial decisions came at the last minute, and always after a year or more of planning and plotting on our end.

In response to questions about the issue, J.H. Williams clarified:

Batwoman Kiss

DC Comics has had serious problems in the past with public disputes with authors over comic book story lines. In December of last year, the comic book company fired fan favorite Batgirl writer Gail Simone only to turn around and rehire her after an embarrassing public backlash. Simone didn’t delve too deeply into specifics, but did say that last-minute editorial decisions and push-back on treatment of a transgender character were involved.

Back in 2010, DC Comics also had difficulties with the previous Batwoman writer/creator Greg Rucka over editorial control of his work on Batwoman. Except for saying ‘he realized that he “needs to [tell] the stories he wants to tell again,” rather than getting complacent at DC,’ Rucka didn’t get specific about what the issues with DC were, but in retrospect it seems safe to speculate that Batwoman’s love life may have had something to do with it.

DC Comics has also been embroiled in controversy about same-sex marriage issues in the past after they hired famous homophobe and same-sex marriage opponent Orson Scott Card to write a single-issue of a Superman comic. Public backlash caused the book to eventually be put on permanent hold when no artist was willing to work on the book due to the publicity.

For DC Comics, this is a fuck-up of epic proportions. The blog DC Women Kicking Ass suggests that it’s not necessarily a problem with homophobia but an anti-marriage-in-general stance on the part of DC, since they’ve broken up Superman’s marriage to Lois Lane and some other prominent super-hero marriages. I’m not sure whether I believe or care if that’s the issue. Another set of tweets between authors Gail Simone and J.H. Williams support that theory:

Tentatively, my plans are to keep getting Batwoman through the end of Williams/Blackman’s story arc – issue 26 – but after that, I’m going to cancel it. Based on the news over the next few days about this, I’m probably also going to cancel – right away – every other DC title I’m currently getting. I’m not going to continue supporting a company that seems to have such a public problem with gender and sexuality issues. I have better places to spend my money – like Marvel and independent publishers.

UPDATE: the only official statement from DC Comics, so far:

They may wish that, but it isn’t the case. The fact is that one of the only same-sex marriages in comics was just banned; there’s no way it could be about anything other than sexual orientation. It has huge implications. It was, as I said above, a fuck-up of epic proportions.

Continue ReadingBatwoman writers leave DC Comics over ban on same-sex marriage

Road Trip: New Jersey

We have a number of weddings to attend this fall, and the first is Stephanie’s cousin Alex’s, which is taking place in New Jersey. This road trip we’ll be seeing the other half of Stephanie’s family; we saw most of her mom’s family last fall.

Lance ready to road trip
Lance is ready to roadtrip.

First Road Stop - new shades
The ear pieces from my shades were making my head hurt, so I got this new pair.

Lance gets new shades, too.
Lance took my old sunglasses.

My Orange Crush
Stephanie Driving

Monkey demands shades too
Hector needed shades, too.

POTUS roadtrip entourage
The rest of the entourage poses for picks.

Pennsylvania Turnpike
Pennsylvania Turnpike Memoribilia

Supreme Court Justice Supreme
Ruth Bader Ginsburg enjoys her notoriety.

Continue ReadingRoad Trip: New Jersey