You will not censor me

SOPA is back, people. I wish I had more time today to write about how dumb this law is, and how bad it is that we have a government that is scared of it’s citizens, that we have this divide between “We, The People…” and “Government” that is widening with every passed bill by our do-nothing-good, take-a-month-long-break-after-doing-nothing-good congress. There is nothing good about censorship. Not. One. Thing. And if bills like these are allowed to even be presented, we have a problem.

That they are considered is dangerous. Very dangerous. That they might pass and become law is terrifying. It must be stopped. Please stand with me, stand for what’s right, and let’s stop this madness.

The End is Nigh

Johnny, Nick, Seamus, Pi, Ella, Haley, MJ, Lotus, Sophie, Molly & Aelish, the best crew of kids in comedy!
Johnny, Nick, Seamus, Pi, Ella, Haley, MJ, Lotus, Sophie, Molly & Aelish, the best crew of kids in comedy!

You know, even the best things must come to an end, and so must the CTC Kids Camp, which has been an awesome experience for all of us, from the youngest kids to the oldest adults, we’ve all had a great time.

We’ve played about SEVEN BAZILLION games this week, and we’ve settled on a few good ones that the kids are going to show off to their parents and some other friends tonight at The Shop. It will be awesome.

And while I’m glad I did this, and glad that every single kid was here, and I wish we had more kids, I’m very happy to be done with it. A week is a long time, and we bit off a huge chunk and it was a bit touch-and-go there for a while on if we’d bitten off too much. We didn’t, but it was close.

I can’t wait for the show tonight, and I know the kids are just as excited. Be sure to swing by if you can, because I’ll be having what we all need – an adult… beverage!

The Camp Continues

James and Brad teach the kids a new game as the day winds down.
James and Brad teach the kids a new game as the day winds down.

So it’s Day Three of the CTC Kids Camp, and while we’ve had a few of the normal moments that you expect when you’re dealing with kids ranging in ages from 7 to 14, it’s been a really amazing time.

The kids are funny, creative, and smart, and they are getting the games pretty quickly. They are also kids, and it’s fun to watch them try new games, especially after we’ve told them they will fail.

ASIDE: “You tell them they’ll fail?!? What kind of monsters are you?!?!” I hear you cry. And to you I answer, we are not monsters. We are teaching improv, which is a skill made up of making things up. And when you’re making it up, sometimes you go down the wrong the path, and things go off the rails, and you crash and burn in the valley of darkness and then your metaphors are as bad as this one. It can be horrible. And it absolutely will happen. I’d be a monster if I didn’t tell the kids that the games are hard, really hard, and there is a good chance that they will fail – the adults have failed, so why let the kids face that without warning? So we don’t. We tell them they’ll fail. We embrace failing. And we pick ourselves up and continue on. END OF ASIDE.

So today we decided to play the Alphabet Game. This is a deceptively hard game. Why? You know the alphabet; you have for years. Same thing for the kids. And all your doing is telling a story where your line has to start with the next letter in the alphabet and you go back and forth with a partner, starting someplace random in the alphabet, and you have to get all 26 letters in the right order, and you know what? It’s really complex. But the kids thought we were lying.

Till we had them play it.

Good news: All the kids over 9 years old got through it, and the 10 years or older were pretty good at it after an hour or two. You read that right: AN HOUR OR TWO. We played the game starting with two students, then added two more, and then had the whole group try it, then just took the last few younger kids to see how they’d do. And they made it, at least once, but it was a long game and they all agreed that:

  1. They like the game, and
  2. They want to play it again, and
  3. They really want to not play it right now, tho because it’s hard.
  4. It’s really hard.

So while everyone got to play, and it was a lot of learning, it was a tough game and a long day for all of us. I can’t wait for tomorrow!

Cow Tipping Kids Camp

Andy works with Piper, Molly & Lotus on the Gibberish game.
Andy works with Piper, Molly & Lotus on the Gibberish game.

Today was the first day of the Cow Tipping Comedy Improv Kids Camp, and it’s been a raging success from the get-go. With 11 kids here today (one is a half-day camp only) and two more joining us tomorrow, we’ve got a great group of really bright, creative kids that we are guiding into being able to play the improv games that we do at our regular shows.

Like I said, it’s been a great start, and the kids are having a lot of fun. The morning was spent doing the basics of trust and some quick-thinking games, and this afternoon we’ve divided the group into three smaller teams, which is giving the kids less downtime and more play-time refining those games into scenes for the show.

Oh, that reminds me, the kids are doing a show a on Friday at 6pm, and it will be at The Shop Helena. This space is kindly being donated by Matt Gorecki for the show, and will have enough space for parents and friends of the kids to see them, but it won’t be as overwhelming as a full stage would be.

There’s no charge for the show, but we are taking donations to put into a scholarship fund for kids for next summer’s camp. You know that will be awesome. Hopefully we’ll see you there.

And because I was left to my own devices, I called the kids’ show “We Need An Adult… …Beverage!

You know you love it.

A Thinking Game

putin-gulagWith all that’s happening in Russian re: LGBT Propoganda and citizens, you’d think it would be easy to discuss, understand, and digest. That’s not the case at all, but only because when most straights who aren’t already allies spend any time thinking about ‘the gays’ and what we do, they think of butt sex and kind of lose their minds.

I totally understand that, as when I think of butt sex, it knocks everything else out of my head, too. Go figure.

If we put the discussion in terms more easily digested for the masses, it might help, and that’s exactly what I’m going to try to do here. Wish me luck. Or bourbon. Both? Why not.

If Russia had banned discussing Christ, and any christian propaganda as well, you might understand the issue. At the Sochi Olympiad you’re going to see many people wearing crosses, as they are christians and that is their wont to do. More power to them. But that’s also propaganda. It’s showing your faith, yes, but it’s also espousing a viewpoint, and that, by definition, is propaganda.

And if you brought your bible to the Sochi Olympiad? Well, that’s also illegal. Never mind if you hadn’t opened it, it’s illegal, and you go to the gulag. Oh, you just happen to be a devout person who has published a blog and your pic is there, and we saw you on NBC last night and then found your blog, and BAMMO! Gulag for you, too!

Yes, it’s hard for us here in the U.S. to imagine that this is what’s going to happen, but I can guarantee that it is. This is exactly what they are trying to do – make scapegoats. The demonization of LGBT people is exactly that bad. Especially because, and I can’t stress this enough, ANYONE can be thought to be gay. And that means this attack is on EVERYONE.

The IOC has demanded some clarification, but there’s really no need. They are doing it because they realize, FINALLY, that they are in the very rough position of having to stand up for what’s right, and they have always been cowards before.

Move the 2014 Winter Olympics to Canada. They’ve had equal marriage for nearly a decade. I believe they’ll even let Russians in, provided they don’t attack anyone else while there.

Maybe, Marco. Maybe not.

Gruber points out that it is a small win against Lodsys Nathan Myhrvold’s bullshit Intellectual Ventures today. Marco then dampens the parade by saying it can’t be repeated.

But one of the greatest things of the legal system is precedent, so one would think there’s a way to inflict precedent on Lodsys Nathan Myhrvold’s bullshit Intellectual Ventures for their trolling on this. Legal friends, please advise.

Another strike against U.S.

Yes, Snowden started something, but before it’s over, we’ll see more of this:

without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States. – Ladar Levison
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC

I can’t say I’m surprised, just saddened by this. How have we fallen so far?

Bitchy Brendan vs. Stephen Fry

Don’t worry, Stephen, I’ve got this one.

Brendan-ONeill-3-600x250

Dear Brendan,

While it’s interesting that you have no grasp of history, and apparently can’t read a complimentary close with any accuracy at all, it’s a pity that your tragic misinterpretations of current events, historical facts, and personal situations have co-mingled into this affected spout of a vitriol that simply outs you as a member of the whinging uneducated.

Let’s start with the title of your piece:

Just when you thought Stephen Fry couldn’t get any more pompous, he declares war on Russia on behalf of ‘the civilised world’

Your imagination is incredible. If you’d actually read the article, you note that Stephen uses the phrase “civilised world” twice, once in saying, “At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.” and another time “The Five Rings would finally be forever smeared, besmirched and ruined in the eyes of the civilised world.”

Even without reading the rest of the article, it’s patently obvious from just reading those two quotes that Stephen isn’t acting on behalf of the civilised world. In the first, he’s suggesting that a civilised world doesn’t attack a minority simply for being. Do you disagree?

The second quote is a bit murkier as it’s not fact, but it does follow from the whole “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” way of thinking. After all, the IOC was fooled once by a tyrant attacking and vilifying a minority and, in 1936, they thought it would be ok to ignore it. Repeating history is the hallmark of the foolish, and it seems that both the IOC and you, Brendan O’Neill, seem willing to repeat it.

But let’s cut to the heart of your issue:

First there’s the shrillness and infantile historical illiteracy. Throughout the letter Mr Fry compares Putin’s treatment of homosexuals to Hitler’s treatment of the Jews. He says Putin is “eerily repeating [Hitler’s] insane crimes”. This is deeply offensive – to Jews. And to historical memory. Putin is not rounding up gays, putting them in disgusting ghettos, and plotting to execute every last one of them, as Hitler did with the Jews. Mr Fry is exploiting the greatest crime in human history in order to give his campaign against Putin some extra clout. In the process he is denigrating the uniqueness of the Holocaust against the Jews by implying that similar things are happening now, in Russia, and presumably also in other places where certain minorities are oppressed.

Your  willful ignorance of history is showing. You know the pink triangle that the gays use as a symbol for ourselves? That is a relic of Nazi Germany, it was the insignia required on all gays by Hitler’s decree, and yes, that was part of what he was doing, part of what was completely ignored and tacitly agreed to by the IOC of the time.  And yes, concentration camps were part and parcel of what Hitler did, but they didn’t appear magically in an instant. Stephen is pointing out that a minority is being vilified, and then being attacked by thugs, with the state ignoring (at best) and supporting (at worst) the actions of these gangs. This is exactly what happened in Germany, at the beginning, and it leads to the ghettos and concentration camps as its next steps. Concentration camps and ghettos appeared after Hitler had divided the populace into “us” and “them” and the “us” had enough power and anger at the “them” that the “them” had to be shunted away from the rest of “us” to keep “us” pure. This is fact.

Stephen, whose mother is a jew, gets to speak about anti-semitism and the holocaust, as it’s part and parcel of his personal history. You, apparently not unlike me, are of Irish origins, and should perhaps not attempt to appropriate another’s history to attack them. In other words, shut it.

Furthermore, Brendan, your  interpretation of Stephen’s missive is idiotic. That you can’t understand how history evolves shouldn’t surprise me, and yet, I do hope for more from those given pulpits with some power. Learned people are able to see the sequence of events that took a society from the Weimar Republic to the Nazi Empire at the center of World War II. It didn’t happen all at once, it’s a process with a very specific recipe.

A recipe that’s being followed by Putin.

I’m curious, if we printed your knowledge of history on cardstock in a 36pt font, could we fill a pill bottle? I’d guess not, but then you decide to double-down, Brendan, and become a shrew worthy of Shakespeare with the following:

But why should Russia’s mistreatment of homosexuals be a justification for banning it from holding Olympic events while Britain’s various massive political cock-ups of recent years – let’s take its disastrous and bloody invasion of Iraq as just one example – are not a block to its holding of Olympic events? Mr Fry says the Winter Olympics should be held anywhere but Russia. “Stage them in Utah”, he says. So it is okay for nations which invade and occupy other countries, which launch drone attacks on Pakistanis, to host Olympic events, but not countries which pass laws forbidding the mention of homosexuality in schools? On what basis are these judgments being made? Why is it worse to silence homosexuals than to kill Pakistanis? Who decides what is a respectable country and what isn’t?

To the first question, because it’s a vilification of a subset of their own people in a way that is reducing the freedoms in the world. It’s a policy of hate, a tactic of the cynic, and the targets are not just the people in Russia, it’s the LGBT citizens of the world. Remember, the new law includes restrictions on adopting of Russian orphans by anyone who resides in a country that accepts marriage equality in any form. As I’ve said before, this policy isn’t just targeting the LGBT community and its allies, it’s targeting everyone who Putin disagrees with because, after all, everyone looks a little bit gay. But I digress.

As for your ear-splitting tirade about what countries are good versus which are bad, let’s have a chat about that. In the world of the LGBT community, Pakistan, Iraq are certainly problems, but Egypt, Libya, Iran, and most of the middle east are shit holes that want me and my tribe dead. Russia used to not be on that list. It’s since reclaimed its place.

No, I’m not going to justify the actions of our governments. Both your United Kingdom and my United States are in the wrong when it comes to the invasion of Iraq and the current idiocy that’s continuing in the middle east, but you can’t say that what was there before was better.

In Russia, tho, it was better.

Russian is repealing its advances, becoming less free, less safe, and ultimately less stable. Let’s not forget, Russia, for all it’s foibles, is still a super-power, with nuclear capabilities, a vast population, and, should it fall far enough, will become a very real danger for the planet. Not ‘The West’ as many would like to believe, but the entire planet.

Brendan, your false equivalence belies the truth of what’s happening in Russia. No one is saying that destroying equality is worse than killing someone, and for you to try to compare the two is inane.  They are both wrong and only related because they  both involve humans. Given that Pakistan barely tolerates LGBT citizens, something that Russia has recently devolved to, they are on equal footing in this regard. We shan’t be holding the Olympics in Karachi either.

And don’t try to think I’m blind or ignorant, because yes, the UK and the US are responsible for several wrongs, throughout history.

One of which was not standing up in the 1930s to the regime that was projecting it’s hostilities towards others in a very aggressive and focused way. Imagine that.

Are we perfect now? No. Can we be better? Yes? Should we allow a country that is regressing into chaos and strife be seen on a world stage and held up as an ideal for the Olympics? Absolutely not. I’m sure you can name a few thousand other crimes that the US or UK or both have committed, as could I, but let’s be clear, we may not always get it right, but we’re at least trying.

We need to change Russia’s trajectory. There’s no doubt about it. We should also change the path that the US and UK and Uganda and all the rest are on, and I promise to do my part. But I refuse to let regressions occur without consequence, especially in dangerous ways that scapegoat a community that extends far beyond ethnicity, race, creed, color, language, or locale.

The whole debacle shows what a mess you get into when you, Brendan O’Neill,  attack thinking with childish ranting. If we disallow countries that endanger olympians and fans based on intrinsic personal characteristics while visiting  – whether it’s their own people or to guests – from hosting the Olympic Games the entire system would recognize that humanity is as important as athletic prowess. Or maybe they should take place in Switzerland every year. And who wouldn’t at least enjoy that? Politics and  sport are two parts of the same whole; and talents like Mr Fry should keep speaking up, because otherwise we’ll end up with an imaginary defense made of the illusions of thoughtfulness and intelligence that reside in the expansive-yet-empty cavity behind Mr. O’Neill’s eyeballs.

Move to Russian, then, Peter

Russians do not want to follow America’s reckless and decadent promotion of gender confusion, sexual perversion, and anti-biblical ideologies to youth,” said Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), a group “dedicated to exposing the homosexual activist agenda,” in a statement on the organization’s website.

Well, Peter, here’s your chance – move to a country that thinks like you do: Russia.

до свидания мудак

Russian Rainbows

crayons__by_aiirobreeze1I’ve been spending a little time thinking about the Russian issues that are happening right now, and I’ve got to say, I think the west has disastrously underestimated the political will of Vladimir Putin and his thugs in the Kremlin. The idea they aren’t a very real threat is now laughable. The proof is in the targeting of LGBT citizens of the world, but it’s not there alone. It’s also in the targeting of gay propaganda.

LGBT people are of every race, of every creed, of every nation, of every color, and of every walk of life. The things that make us LGBT are sometimes flamboyant, sometimes subtle or invisible. There is no one thing that makes us who we are, but our tribe is vast and varied, and it’s diversity is impressive. It is, and in many ways always has been, our greatest strength.

It’s also been our greatest weakness, because it allowed for many members of our tribe to remain hidden while those who couldn’t hide were forced to stand up and fight. Often alone. Our history has many poignant moments when we were targeted, and when you look at who the targets are, they are the ones who stand out the most. It was drag queens and street kids who fought back at the Stonewall Inn – not because they chose to, but because they had to. They were the targets. Those who could hide, did.

As they are doing now, in Russia.

Putin’s law is not about LGBT citizens.

Putin’s law is about having a weapon he can point at anyone at anytime and destroy them.

Yes, he’s chosen to scapegoat the LGBT citizens, and our allies, and that’s a gross injustice in and of itself. He can use those laws on anyone, at any time, because either he has proof that they have supported the LGBT community in some way (propaganda) or he can claim they are gay, have someone else lie about being propositioned by the accused, and have them locked up and out of his way for many years.

Again, LGBT people are of every race, of every creed, of every nation, of every color, and of every walk of life. You can’t identify all us by the shape of our nose, the color of our eyes, the turn of our cheek or the way we walk.  Sure, there are some stereotypes that you can assign to us, and I’m sure that the Russian government is going to do just that, but there are people who aren’t LGBT who can have those stereotypes applied to them, too.

This law isn’t just targeting LGBT citizens and our allies. It’s targeting every Russian, and it’s doing it in a way that any defense against the law can easily be framed as breaking the very same law.

So maybe you don’t know any LGBT people. Doesn’t matter. This law targets you, too. You might want to consider that when you order your next drink.

Montana Leg should study this

Imagine if Montana were this efficient. We already get a lot of garbage from our neighbors, generally it’s their weirdos looking for a new place to spout their drivel, but if we could build this model here, think what it would mean for all Montanans.

Yes, it’s a dream, but as Sweden has already proven, it’s also a reality we could  achieve. Easy? No. Doable tho. And that’s what we should be focused on in the next election cycle.

I bring this up now because, yes, we are going to start seeing political ads now, more than a year before the elections. But We, The People, need to start looking at new ways of doing everything. Because we can make it a better day, tomorrow, by fixing some of this stuff now. Let’s do it, shall we?