Mar. 31st, 2015 06:29 pm
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
- If you'd like a dent in your forehead, try going through the "homosexual agenda" tag on tumblr. Guaranteed headdesking.
It's all: "Don't you see that intolerance of intolerance is intolerant? You should let me 'live and let live', the way I don't let you. So stop being such a hypocrite."
No, I'm not a train wreck enthusiast, really. :)

- I am so unfit. I started a simple daily 5-10 minute exercise routine last week and now I ache all over. Owwwww...

- On the other hand, books I have read so far this week:
Hero, by Perry Moore
Princesses #2: The Mermaid's Madness, by Jim C. Hines
Princesses #3: Red Hood's Revenge, by Jim C. Hines
And it's only Tuesday. What am I doing with my life?

- Where have all the lesbians gone in TV and film?
I was just thinking about this last week. Plenty of shows currently featuring queer men, but not so much women. It sucks that I don't like prison shows, so Orange is the New Black is right out for me. Glee is over, Lost Girl is ending this year, what does that leave? Maybe Orphan Black, but the lesbian on that show is dying, and clones don't really interest me (I'm making myself trudge through my sister's DVDs, hoping the show will hook me, but no luck so far). There's not a lot of options out there right now.

- I'm still trying to untangle all the historical threads of Christianity, so I love this quote:
"One of my Calvinist friends... describes the branches of the Reformation this way: If you picture the Church as a chest of drawers, the Lutherans went drawer by drawer and discarded items they felt were wrong. The Calvinists dumped out all the drawers, then methodically sorted through the stuff and returned only that which they thought was essential. The Anabaptists took an axe to the whole thing and resolved to start over with a new chest of drawers."


Sep. 19th, 2014 11:15 am
elfinblaze: (me writing)
- BBC article on my most despised game!! I quit playing it in a huff at age twelve and haven't played it since. I refuse to.

- What Sydney will look like once sea levels rise. You can see where not to buy land.

- Norfolk Island could be the first second Australian territory to marry same sex couples.
‘This Bill has been drafted to withstand the constitutional problems that sank last year’s [Australian Capital Territory]’s Marriage Equality Act and, should it pass, I urge the federal government to let it stand. But if the federal government has outstanding constitutional concerns these should be aired in the High Court.’

Keeping in mind that the ACT was the first territory to pass similar legislation, that resulted in a High Court challenge. The High Court nullified that legislation by finding that only the federal government had the power to make laws on marriage. State and territory governments can't make legislation surrounding marriage (gay or straight) at all. That decision still stands.

So I'm not expecting this to last. Just like federal governments in the past have nixed other territory legislation when they felt like it, this won't last. If Norfolk Island were a state it might have slightly more standing, but as it is, this is just a do-over of the ACT.

- This, however, will most likely stand: NSW introduces bill to clear historical gay sex convictions.
Under the proposed law, people convicted of consensual gay sex before 1984, when it was illegal, can apply to have their criminal records expunged.
Victoria has also introduced a similar bill.

- Chelsea Manning on the IS: How to make ISIS fall on its own sword
Based on my experience as an all-source analyst in Iraq during the organization’s relative infancy, Isis cannot be defeated by bombs and bullets... I believe that only a very focused and consistent strategy of containment can be effective in reducing the growth and effectiveness of Isis as a threat.

- Catholic Church on track to becoming a shrinking cult
Young Catholics are increasingly turned off by the attitudes and actions of some American bishops -- the failure to address the child abuse scandal, the harsh opposition to civil gay marriage, the cluelessness of church teaching on contraception, and the refusal to consider women priests.
You think?!

Oh, and my favourite bit?
The priest, in attempting to influence soon-to-be voting age seniors, told the students that single parents and adopted children are not normal.
Fuck you, priest.


Aug. 18th, 2014 03:02 pm
elfinblaze: (Torchwood)
- Just found out that Michel Foucault died of AIDS in 1984. I always thought of him as a mid-century theorist, but this actually happened in my lifetime, in the gay community, at the start of the AIDS epidemic. I always thought of Foucault as that theorist I respect who wrote about power and its uses and abuses, but this personalises him for me.

I also didn't know that Jacques Lacan was a womanising dickhead, or that Roland Barthes was run over by a laundry van after coming back from a dinner party. [/things they don't teach you at school]

- I own the game, Village. I did not know it had an official theme song.

- Cheesiest songs of the 90s. Oh lordy, the flashbacks! But I have to protest. Where the hell is Aqua's "Barbie Girl" from 1997? That was the cheesiest song ever!

- Comment: Forget quotas for women MPs, it's time to limit the number of men
It is time to reframe gender quotas as quotas for men. We should introduce quotas to limit the number of men in power, ensuring that only the best and brightest of both sexes prevail. This would mean placing much more scrutiny on the credentials of men, rather than taking their competence for granted.

What a fascinating idea...

- There's a discussion on reddit on whether or not the Catholic Church is a fertility cult.

I'd say no, because all the fertility cults I'm familiar with (panganism, some strands of animism and hinduism, etc) have a goddess at their centre, rather than a god. Fertility cults also generally allow women to take the leading role in their rituals and fertility. Also menstruation is sacred in those cults.

The Catholic Church doesn't have nearly that level of respect for women. It places males at the centre, and fetishises fertility, not worships it.


Jul. 1st, 2014 09:41 am
elfinblaze: (quiltbag)
- This should not be happening!
LGB people who received therapy from a medical professional were no less likely to attempt suicide than those who did not seek help, but assistance from faith-based counselors were associated with a higher suicide risk.

- Unpopular, but I would have been interested to see this (now cancelled) talk on defending honour killings. Especially because I suspect the presented argument would have been, "this is how some people justify such an abhorrent thing." This blog post keeps popping into my head, and it's got me thinking of how cultures differ, but also how remarkably similar they are. If anthropology tells us anything, it's that we aren't all that different from each other across the world.

Then again, I do like the read other people's arguments and perspectives, because I like to see where other people are coming from, even if I think they're wrong, wrong, wrong.

- And on that note, I skimmed the instrumentum laboris out of pure curiosity. It says:
110. On unions of persons of the same sex, the responses of the bishops' conferences refer to Church teaching. "... according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies 'must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.'"
I find that disturbing.
It reads like: "I'm only treating you with respect because my church says I should. Not because other people are human beings and just the same as us, no, but because I imagine someone would get angry at me if I treated you how I really felt."

ETA: Oh, this is rich:
112. The responses describe a third context, one where States have introduced legislation recognizing civil unions or so-called “marriages” between homosexual persons. In some countries, the situation reflects a real redefining of marriage, where the couple is viewed only in legal terms, with such references as “equal rights” and “non-discrimination” without any thought to a constructive dialogue in the matter based on the deeper anthropological issues involved and the centrality of the integral well-being of the human person, especially the integral well-being of the children in these unions.

Excuse me, but... without any thought to... the deeper anthropological issues? No consideration of anthropological issues??! Let me tell you about anthropological issues, you pompous dicks! Anthropological issues that have nothing to do with the culture of the Catholic church, and out of which the church should butt the hell out! Yes, really! Anthropology teaches us to leave other cultures alone, and that includes secular culture! Do not talk to me about anthropology without knowing anything about it!

Anthropological issues include recognising that we are all equally human (at least since Franz Boas in the late 1800s and early 1900s). Including queer people like me! Moreover, there is actually an anthropological argument to be made for the fact that gay people are nature's babysitters (since children do better with more adults around, some adults not having their own children but helping raise children that already exist raises the ratio of adults to children in a given community). Not to mention the socio-cultural benefits gained from people who can form those interpersonal connections within the same sex and the value those connections contribute to a wider community. It might shock you to learn that Anthropology actually supports the value of queer people and their inclusion in family life. I repeat, do not talk to me about anthropology without knowing anything about it!

Ignorant, pompous asses in the church.

ETA2: There are many more pieces of head-desking hilarity further on in the instrumentum laboris, but I'm going to quit quoting them because this entry would never end. Oh man, this will be good reading...
elfinblaze: (me writing)
Bill Lindsey inspires me to write all the time, and again today, mostly because I agree with him and there are so many idiots in the world who don't.

Every time a conservative windbag declares that the word "family" should be restricted to a man, a woman, and their children, I get offended. But not because I'm queer. The queer part of me just rolls her eyes at the stupid. I actually get offended on a far more obvious level: I have two adopted siblings. What that declaration is implying, is that my brother and sister are not my family because they aren't my parents' biological children. And that is more offensive to me than anything else.

Sure, sometimes having adopted family members makes for some interesting turns of phrase: I can say my brother is half Greek, half Lithuanian, and it makes complete sense to say I'm German in the same sentence. Or my sister's brother died when he was little, but he wasn't my brother. Or I can joke that I'm not related to my brother or sister, and I'm not even lying. And that's not even getting into the conversation I had with my brother about our family tree (my family tree) where it's all about the culture that got passed down, not the genes. You see? Interesting ways of thinking about family.

But they are unquestionably family. No one gets to tell me otherwise. They are my little siblings - not so little anymore - and they are my family.

So when I hear some puffed up arse claim that just "living together" is not enough to create a family, steam pours out of my ears because that's exactly what creates my family, screw biology. And when I see claims that Biological = Natural, I get insulted on behalf of my siblings because they might not be my biological siblings, but that doesn't make our family unnatural.

So every time someone talks about "traditional" families, but then hurriedly qualifies by adding that two straight parents adopting kids is totally okay, I'm struck by how they only think of adoption as an afterthought. Because my siblings are not an afterthought! They are the literal definition of "family" to me. They are who prove that family is not about biology, but about love. They are who prove to me, that whoever claims family can only be biological isn't worth my listening to. My siblings are my reality, and my experience of family, and anyone else's words just can't compete with real life experience.

A definition of "family" that rests on only the biological, is a lie, and always has been. It makes me angry when people spread lies, and it makes me angry when people ignore my family. My family, you arseholes!

I think I need to go calm down.


Jun. 21st, 2014 07:14 pm
elfinblaze: (fire dancer)
- I'm not a Coldplay fan, but their new video makes me smile. It's just so happy!

- With thanks to the weekend's Column 8: Citroën are launching a new vehicle in Australia at the moment, and it seems they didn't look into Australian English before naming it. The new model is called the Citroën Cactus.
We can picture the ads already. "The new Citroën sedan - it's COMPLETELY CACTUS!"

Then again, citron is French for lemon, so maybe it's supposed to be a pun? As in, "this lemon is completely cactus." Because that would be funny and make sense.

Ok, I'm reaching.

- I've just discovered the ABC's religion/spirituality/ethics section, and it has some great articles, like this one:
Indeed, if measured by the urgency and effort of our political engagement alone, our Christian value system might be summarised as: "It's fine if Australians live in poverty, as long as gay people can't get married."

- More on the School Chaplaincy case
The services of a chaplain or welfare worker for the objective described in the FMA Regulations is not a provision of 'benefits to students' within the meaning of s51(xxiiiA) of the Constitution.

Or as the plaintiff puts it:
The fact that it can't be lawfully regarded as a benefit to students is a cold, hard constitutional judgment. It's not philosophy. The justices are not interested in religion or not. The chaplaincy program is praised [by politicians] as being for students, families and the community, so you can't really say it's of benefit to students if its influence reaches far beyond that. It may be wonderful, but it can't go in a horse race, because it's a chicken.

Or as I would put it: It's not a benefit to students (particularly QUILTBAG and non-Christian student), therefore it breaches the Constitution.


Jun. 12th, 2014 09:40 am
elfinblaze: (me writing)
Ok, so "seeing red" is not just a figurative expression. It's a quite accurate description of what happens when you are so enraged you see a red film over your eyes. Also, the Catholic Church is pretty special. Why? Because it still manages to make me see utter red! Picture me hardly being able to see my computer screen as I type this because I'm so full of rage after reading this.

When asked whether he knew if it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a child in 1984, St. Louis archbishop Robert J. Carlson stated, "I'm not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not. I understand today it's a crime."

After I got over being speechless with fury, I just have one thing to add: I'm neither a theologian nor a historian, but even I know that the religious prohibition against sex before marriage stems from a time when girls were married off when they hit sexual maturity. So the rule is essentially "don't have sex with children," which is actually a sensible rule. Forget secular law for a moment, but here is a religious prohibition, and I'd expect an archbishop of all people to know that. Or are archbishops routinely ignorant of the origins of Catholic instruction?

Just, no. His response basically boils down to either, "I'm lying or obfuscating," or, "I couldn't be bothered thinking about it, and am therefore unqualified for this job."

Why do I not have a punching bag around when I need one?


May. 29th, 2014 12:58 pm
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
- If you want to get depressed, try reading the comments in newspaper articles about the Santa Barbara/Isla Vista massacre. The number of people chiming in with: "it's not about hating women, it's a concern with mental illness/guns/media!" I mean, obviously most events are the result of multiple factors, it's just... The guy was a mysogynist. There's no guessing at his motive, when he tells you what his motive was! The fact that he killed more men had to do with the fact that he couldn't get into a sorority house when he tried. But he did try. The fact that he killed more men doesn't mean he didn't hate women. It means he failed to get at his intended target. But the above-linked article is the best one I've read so far. ( This one is also good.)

- On the other hand, my brother is the most awesome feminist. He went on a rant about exactly the same thing yesterday morning over breakfast. "It's male privilege and entitlement!" (direct quote). I've never heard him so passionately talking about gendered injustice before. My brother is a good man.

- This is why I left the Catholic Church: Why Can't the Vatican Hear Women.
It's almost hilarious that the powerful single men who own the Vatican think that Catholics ignore them because they aren't "explaining their view well enough." No, Catholics hear them, they just choose not to listen, because no matter how well you powerful single men explain the view from where you are, lay Catholics are just not seeing life from the same viewpoint as powerful, single, or male, in the first place. The old saying is still true: Catholics have the most authority [of any church], and the least obedience.

So I agree with Bill Lindsey that when the Church says it wants discussion, what it's really saying is, "listen to me! Why is no one listening to me?"

- Still, it took me years to un-learn the whole "suffering is redemptive" bullshit I was taught. Suffering is not redemptive. It's just suffering.

- My sister, meanwhile, is dealing with trying to find a Catholic church to get married in, which won't ask to see a baptism certificate (because she'd have to get that reissued all the way from Germany). She's thinking of just hiring a church for the day and bringing along her own (German) Catholic priest for the ceremony, to skip that bureaucratic mess.


May. 24th, 2014 12:41 pm
elfinblaze: (me writing)
- I just got an SMS that said, "Hey, Sandrav, sorry about the hickey." Visualise me popping devil horns when I ask: what do I write back?

- If I get this job I've just applied for, I'm buying myself this ring to celebrate. Yes, it's expensive (10x what jewellery of that mineral is usually sold for), but I consider it a donation for a good cause. Guess which finger I'm planning to wear it on?

- This made me laugh: Urgh, that's so straight! I don't mean straight in a heterophobic way! I just mean, you know, dumb and stupid.
I didn't expect it to be funny, since it's so over the top, but that's exactly what made me glad I wasn't drinking while I watched it.
I'm always correcting my brother and sister when they say, "that's so gay." I tell them, "No, it's stupid." I know it's mostly them just slipping up with a phrase they grew up with, so I don't think badly of them for it, I just want to keep drawing attention to it, until they get used to paying attention themselves.

- I've hated Amazon since Amazonfail (which kept happening even after the initial public outcry, by the way), and this latest uproar just proves it's still a horrible business. Of course Amazon is bullying and petty. How many times does it need to be bullying and petty before people see a pattern?

Please don't buy from Amazon. I don't care who else you buy from, but Amazon is an evil company that doesn't deserve support. (This is basically how I feel.)

- I freaking love this artwork!
Jesus kneels, naked and vulnerable, as a knife-wielding soldier grabs him by the hair. War dogs bark at him like hounds of hell, baring their teeth. A leering soldier flips the finger at him while another brandishes an assault rifle. Behind them a skull stares out from a gaping black hole.
I love it because it's confronting, jarring, and throws into reality stories that many people have become desensitised towards due to pure repetition. This is what those stories would be like in reality, sans romanticisation or mythologising. They would look like Guantanamo Bay photographs.

- Wearing a Crucifix
I believe God is found among the victims of the world. God is hanging on crosses all over the world. And so I wear a crucifix to remind me, to help me see.
elfinblaze: (quiltbag)
- This week I bought my first Darren Hayes CD since Savage Garden, "Secret Codes and Battle Ships". Because his solo stuff finally reached me and resonated. Finally. It only took a decade. Oddly enough, it clicked for me late one night, while I was busy sticking tentacles on the Vatican. Okay, not that odd; I was being creative and someone else's creative voice reached me while I was in that space. But it's funnier to tell the story that I was pasting an Elder God on the Church at the time.

- Speaking of... Does anyone reading this want to be a Saint? If you would like to be a Saint, here's a handy check-list to tell you your chances. Male? Excellent start. Female? Well, you better not procreate. What? You have children? Oh dear... I'm sorry, I cannot write this point without getting cynicism all over it. Does it surprise anyone that the Catholic Church has more male saints than female? Anyone? Going once...

- Meanwhile, allow me to introduce to you Saint John Paul II, patron saint of paedophiles. If St Adrian is the patron saint of arms dealers, and St Caedwalla is the patron saint of serial killers, it's only fair for paedophiles to be patronised by someone who concealed and facilitated their crimes. May he always be remembered for his deeds.

- Okay, I'm going to go eat some sugar to counteract all this bitterness here.

- I should probably point out again that I don't actually hate Christianity. I hate the Catholic hierarchy, although I recognise there are good people in the hierarchy too. I hate the structure, and I hate the focus on rules and rituals at the expense of thinking!

At the same time, nothing peeves me quite as much as smug atheists. If you're going to criticise something, at least know what you're talking about.

I disagree that "ideas of semi-literate Iron Age goat herders who believed in magic and superstition are not worth listening to." (actual quote I read) There are some wonderful ideas in the Bible, such as treating others the way you want to be treated, and embracing those who are shunned by society. Now, I don't "believe" in the Bible in the sense that I don't believe it deserves all the weight it's given above other philosophical texts, but if someone wants to live in a way that exemplifies how this figure - Jesus - is said to have lived, I think that's a worthy way of life to aspire to and worth respecting.

I just dislike ignorance in general. :)
elfinblaze: (fire dancer)
You know when sometimes you read something that makes you sit up and crow: "Yes!" because it just rings so true?

That happened to me this week when I was reading William Lindsey's theology blog and the comments here. I read it regularly because I love philosophy and Catholic theology is just a subset of philosophy to me, so it's interesting, especially because these are the ideas I was raised with. Even though I reacted against the dogma, it's still interesting to see how it developed and still influences people today.

Someone in the linked post made a comment on the Catholic position that gay people are "intrinsically disordered."
My reading of "intrinsic disorder"... [Gay] people hearing those words won't hear them as a specific kind of philosophical speech. They hear those words as a distant, diagnostic statement from someone who simply does not know the person hearing those words in any substantive way. The hearer hears and feels "You're calling me a walking birth defect." Its like being slapped in the face by a stranger. The best thing that can be said about the phrase "intrinsic disorder" is that it is anachronistic. The worst thing about that phrase is that the Church is handing people stones when they ask for bread, and then says "Owe, no fair!" when that stone is thrown back.

I sat up and thought: "Yes! It is like being slapped in the face by a stranger!" Mainly because you're confused as to why they're slapping you for no reason. But yes, that is exactly what it feels like.

Other people's theoretical discussions always remind me of that one episode of Insight where they discussed gay marriage, and one person burst out in frustration: "Because I'm not an issue; I'm a human being!"

For the record, I also agree with this post.
When religion becomes unbelievably corrupt - which is certainly the case with child sexual abuse and the structures of violence aligned against women, sexual minorities, the impoverished, and people of color - the temple is due to be destroyed - from within or from without.

The proof that this is exactly what's happening is in the fact that in many Western countries (including Australia) the number of Catholics is in fact steady or growing due to immigration, and yet there is a shortage of pastors, and churches are closing for lack of attendance (the glut is in the clerical sector). That proves to me that the real church, the living, breathing church is among the people. I know anecdotally of churches that meet in pubs, so the community still exists, but they've rejected the hierarchy and the capital-C Church with its clericalism. In my opinion, that's exactly as it should be.

Happy Easter everyone. Or Ostara, Mabon, equinox, or whatever you may be celebrating this week.


Apr. 2nd, 2014 01:28 pm
elfinblaze: (quiltbag)
- I love my dreams! My latest awesome dream involved me and a friend pinning carpets to walls, using them as portals, and gathering clues there to defeat the White Witch and her pet crow who were oppressing that other world. Of course I woke up before I got to be a hero, but it was still awesome. Carpets for portals!

- I bought the Godzilla (1999 - 2004) box set! I'd forgotten how much cheestastic fun these movies were. Bring on the popcorn!

- My phone has a little heart that pops up in the battery space when it runs low on battery. I find that beyond adorable. Can't help but read it as, "I love you. Feed me?" I'm pretty sure a low battery isn't supposed to make you want to cuddle your phone.

- I have a tag called faith in humanity if you ever need some. These are the stories that always make me smile. Unfortunately I have too few of them in my own blog.

- Apparently the World Vision fiasco in the USA was the last straw for many young Christians. I've seen one or two blog posts confirming exactly that. This is what the future looks like. (For the record, this is World Vision Australia's policy.)

- I'm going to keep plugging this: Peter Montgomery's global LGBT roundups, because they are impressive in scope. A few years ago I would have passed over anything that had the word "religion" in the URL, but these days I'm a little wiser, so I can recognise that good work comes from all corners, and these weekly posts are very informative.

- Waleed Aly is one of my favourite commentators in mainstream media, and this column on changes to the Racial Discrimination Act is no exception. I am in awe of this man and his ability to hit the nail on the head.
To "intimidate" is "to cause fear of physical harm" according to the draft Act. Now our ordinary reasonable white person is being asked to tell, say, black people whether or not they are "reasonably likely" to be fearful of physical harm. Black people – reasonable ones – might actually be fearful, but ultimately a hypothetical white person will decide that for them.

I can see the arguments now: "I'm a reasonable Australian and I'm not intimidated," the implication being if you're intimidated you're being unreasonable. And by definition, one can't reason with an unreasonable person, so their concerns can only to be ignored until they start being reasonable again. Or at least until they stop unreasonably complaining about being intimidated.

Can you be in an abusing relationship with your government? Because that's what this sounds like.


Mar. 23rd, 2014 11:29 am
elfinblaze: (Torchwood)
- The only fantasy map you'll ever need. I love this! Very clever.

- Star Wars: Episode VII will be set 30 years after the original trilogy ended, just like in real life.
It's just over 30 years since the release of Return of the Jedi, which means the actors from the original trilogy will be – wait for it – 30 years older. And given that Chairman Bob Iger said that there will be "very familiar faces returning."

- News for fellow virology geeks: Guinea Confirms Ebola As Source of Deadly Epidemic
To date, no treatment or vaccine is available for Ebola, which kills between 25 and 90 percent of those who fall sick, depending on the strain of the virus, according to the World Health Organisation.
[Other reports from the BBC, and Reuters.]

- Some faith in humanity: Westboro's picket against Lorde met with messages of sympathy for the family of Fred Phelps
The majority of the attention turned to a banner on the other side of the street which read: 'Sorry for your loss.'

- This is a really good article on the Catholic church in Australia today.

If I were a priest I would tell fellow priests to hand themselves in to police if they have done wrong. Forget coming to me for confession, make the police your confessional and the law your penance. They wanted responsibility by becoming priests, they need to take the consequences and accept their responsibilities.

Sometimes I don't understand why no actual priests have yet said exactly that. Then I remember that they're all drinking the same kool-aid where women, children, and other minorities don't matter, because we hardly count as human beings to them. Because we're just their "other."


Mar. 14th, 2014 10:16 am
elfinblaze: (quiltbag)
- March in March, this weekend.

- Boosting my faith in humanity: Australian Government MP slams colleague over opposition to gay parents
I've been a single parent, I know what it's like to do the washing at 3am in the morning to make sure the uniforms are ironed. I think it's the quality of the role model, male or female, not the sexuality of the parents that matters.
The fact that this conservative party member was applauded after speaking up, by members of the same conservative party, gives me hope.

- I haven't said this enough, but every time I see or hear a straight person speak up for my rights I want to thank them, for taking up the fight even though they don't have to, for not leaving it to queer people to carry that burden all by themselves. Because fighting all the time, every day is exhausting. So it's nice when someone fights the battle for you every once in a while. It makes me feel... important. Important enough to be defended, at least. So thank you, Allies.

- This is specific to America, but it applies in other Western countries too: We need to hold hand more, not less.
Now that it’s obvious it’s not necessarily safe to hold hands even in Greenwich Village, NYC, where gay people have been out of the closet for longer than probably anywhere else on earth, maybe it’s time we showed solidarity by holding hands MORE in protest.
I'm sceptical of Spirit Day and Wear It Purple Day, because I think wearing purple for a day is just too obscure to have any impact. Many people wear purple every day. Some people who don't know about those days will happen to wear purple on the same day. It's just not evocative, or rather, provocative enough. I'd rather have a Hold-Hands-With-A-Member-Of-The-Same-Sex Day, which is less catchy, but far more dramatic and more likely to have a lasting impact. Because that would get attention.

- In news that should be no news to anyone: Catholic Hospitals endanger women's health.
The range of women’s health care options that Catholic facilities offer is limited — sometimes, like when a pregnancy goes wrong, to a deadly degree. And while most doctors have an ethical obligation to inform patients of all their options, Catholic facilities routinely refuse to offer even abortions necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life; their doctors are also barred from telling a patient with a nonviable pregnancy that there are other, often safer options available elsewhere, lest the patient seek care at another facility. (LGBT patients may also run into problems, whether it is with hormone therapy for transgender patients or simply the right of married same-sex partners to be treated as next of kin in making health care decisions).
elfinblaze: (quiltbag)
- I'm now putting my Glee Squee posts up under this tag at my tumblr. Mainly cause I can't be bothered screen-capping anymore. And because there's more fandom on tumblr than on LJ these days.

- If you can't make it to Sydney, Australia, in the next two hours to watch the Mardi Gras, it will be broadcast online worldwide by SBS 2 tomorrow. My brother's going with his friends. I'm staying home where it's warm and dry, and I'll watch it on TV tomorrow.

- March in March for a vote of no confidence in Tony Abbott's government. As if any of us here had any confidence in his government in the first place, but this is the legal, official expression of despair and hopelessness and garment rending.

- The rise of torture on television.
One major difference that jumps out when you compare them is the huge amount of torture that happens in Fringe compared to the X-Files.

- On the one hand, the fact that Cardinal George Pell will head the economic and administrative affairs of the Vatican is a huge promotion. On the other hand, he goes to Rome and we (in Australia) finally get rid of him! Instead of him raising our ire in the public eye, he gets an administrative job, or as I like to think of it, confined to an office.

Now... anyone have any ideas on how we can get rid of Fred Nile or Tony Abbott while we're at it?


Feb. 14th, 2014 10:21 am
elfinblaze: (me writing)
- Screw Valentine's Day. More importantly, awesome people who share my birthday include Galileo Galilei, Susan B. Anthony, and the amazing Amber Riley!

- I have to highlight MobiCity as a company with great customer service and sensitivity. I've just got my order from them and they were fantastic in answering all my questions and being on top of everything, so that impressed me. And now I have new stuff to play with!

- I love this thread, which shows how often board gamers come in last place. The same is illustrated by Wil Wheton's series TableTop, where he never, ever wins even his own games, and no one who ever plays against me will need to worry about coming last because I've got that covered like a pro. I think it's because most board gamers just play for fun, for the experience, and occasionally for the experimental what-happens-if-I-do-this?

- This is a fantastic article on the man who was Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and on his first year as Pope Frances.
Among Bergoglio’s influences was the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, a friend whom Bergoglio happily recalled as “an agnostic who said the Our Father every night because he had made a promise to his mother.”

And this is the bit I want to staple to Tony Abbott's office door:
Francis spoke of “immigrants dying at sea, in boats which were vehicles of hope and became vehicles of death.” ... “In this globalized world, we have fallen into globalized indifference,” Francis said. “We have become used to the suffering of others.”
Because what's the use of having a Catholic (also Jesuit) Prime Minister if you can't correct him, with words from the Pope no less?!

Then again, the Catholic Church stopped being about supporting the underdog a long, long time ago (I'd say, when it became the religion of the Roman Empire), so I shouldn't be surprised when it's used to uphold power instead.


Dec. 30th, 2013 09:04 am
elfinblaze: (me writing)
Stuff that might interest some of you:

- Tinnitus discovery opens door to possible new treatment
Disruption of timing from sensory nerves underlies "ringing in the ears" that plagues millions, including many veterans.

- Tony Abbott is a Wrecking Ball.

- Surviving Anxiety.
This made me feel all anxious just reading it, but boy can I relate.

- Xenophobic tilt in Europe
Britain, France, and Austria have also been challenged by the growing popularity of the far-right movements, exposing minorities to escalating hate speech and violent attacks.

- I have a few Catholics who read this blog, so this call went out to those of you who, based on Catholic principals, want to stop the new "life in prison" law for gay people in Uganda. The link includes a mailing address for Archbishop Michael Blume in Kampala, Uganda, if you'd like to write to him.

- This is a hopeful sign: Sr. Jeannine Gramick Comments on Pope
In other words, [the Pope] wants men - priests now - who are in the trenches with the people, who are pastoral and not people who are obsessed with cultural issues.
Or to put it another way, the Pope wants bishops who talk to and know the people they lead, not some disconnected scholars in a cultural echo chamber.

I'm a 31-year-old queer woman, raised Catholic, who left the church half a lifetime ago. I'm not going back even IF the church starts making some sense on birth control, the ordination of women, abortion, and homosexuality, because I can't force myself to believe in stories that I just don't believe are true anymore. I was raised to value truth, and now the true history of the scriptural compilations keeps me from seeing them as anything other than made up metaphors and fairytales with moral lessons.

But I'm cautiously hopeful about Pope Francis. If he can institute enough changes in the church hierarchy to last beyond his leadership he'll have done enough good for more changes to come. The fact that American right-wingers hate him speaks well of him too. ^_^
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
Happy St Nicholas Day to anyone who celebrates it! It's Magpie's first Christmas and first experience with German Christmas traditions. We've had to keep her away from the Advent candles already, and she'll love the boots full of goodies from St Nick just as much.

This morning, we woke up to find this by the fireplace wood burner:

click for photos )

In other news...

- I just dropped a bottle of nail polish on my carpet. Thankfully it's so pale it's almost clear so you probably won't be able to see it once it dries, but right now everything smells of nail polish.

- I can't believe we're back to the days of women warning each other over their back fences, but don't go to a Catholic hospital if you get pregnant, even if you want the child, because in the case discussed in that link they didn't even warn the woman that her life was in danger. They just sent her home with a miscarriage "to wait." So this is me, warning you over your back fence.

- Fascinating article on the history of science and its relationship with theology and Western cultural thought in general:
Science Challenges Doctrine
This is a guest post by emeritus and octogenarian biologist Frank Lawlor examining at some depth the serious disconnect between science and religion in the area of human reproduction. Whatever wounds religion has suffered from the encounter with science in this regard have been self-inflicted. Certainly it is uncomfortable for everyone to be faced with having to abandon cherished beliefs and adjust to reality. But the Catholic Church's insistence that it was in possession of the absolute truth in these matters has made the eventual and inevitable adjustment more than uncomfortable, it has made it an embarrassment … and embarrassment has entailed denial. For, how embarrassing is it to admit that both your premises and your methodology are shown by the facts to be flawed?


Nov. 25th, 2013 09:05 am
elfinblaze: (me writing)
- Oh god. Michael Jackson's "Black or White" is considered a musical flashback on one Sydney radio station. I remember when this song came out. Now I feel old.

- Last week I watched a news piece on feral camel culling. Only in Australia.

- I'm banning myself from buying any more books. Because my "currently reading" pile is nine books high, and I'm avoiding even looking at my "yet to read" pile.

- Why 'Arrow' Is The Best Superhero Show On Television
Arrow's major villains matter, is the point: they challenge Oliver both as a person and a hero, and don't leave without a major impact on the characters viewers have come to feel for.
(Full of spoilers)

- When We Lose Antibiotics, Here's Everything Else We'll Lose Too
If we really lost antibiotics to advancing drug resistance — and trust me, we're not far off — here's what we would lose.

- Deliverance: The True Story of a Gay Exorcism
It's impossible to know how many young gay people have undergone exorcism in the thousands of Pentecostal and Evangelical churches across the country—not all of which, to be sure, condone the practice. However, youth workers say they regularly deal with the aftermath of these rituals. And not just in the parts of the country where Evangelical Christianity is traditionally strong.

And in case anyone on my FList thinks , "only in America," a few years ago my sister - who is bisexual - got involved with a C3 Church here in Australia, and they wanted to perform an exorcism on her. She left. They came to our door, demanding to see her. Quote: "I can see the Devil in her eyes!" My mother had to block the door and tell them to bugger off.

It happens more than you might think in more places than you might think.


Nov. 16th, 2013 12:39 pm
elfinblaze: (quiltbag)
- I'm going to link to my tumblr again, in case anyone thinks I don't update my LJ enough. XD

- Aldi is currently selling Gingerbread House building kits. I have one. ^_^ I get to be the witch building a gingerbread house for Christmas! Woohoo!

- Sue-Ann Post made me laugh when I read her book The Confession of an Unrepentant Lesbian Ex-Mormon. She writes:
I think for many gays and lesbians who grow up in fundamentalist religions the equation goes something like this: the Church says gays and lesbians are immoral and perverted. I think I might be a lesbian so therefore I must be immoral and perverted. It may have been inherited Dutch arrogance but my line of thinking was more like this: the Church says gays and lesbians are immoral and perverted. I think I might be a lesbian but I'm not immoral and perverted. Therefore the Church is wrong about gays and lesbians.
That's pretty much how I felt about the Catholic Church and its stance on women. "The church thinks women are less important than men because they can't be church leaders or Popes. I'm a woman and I'm not less important than men, therefore the church is wrong."

- You'll have to excuse me for not being surprised:
Vote on gay marriage fails in first Australian state
A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the Australian state of New South Wales has failed in a narrow vote of 19 to 21.

- Older people freaking out over "kids these days" is nothing new:
Freaking Out over Adolescent Rebellion . . . during WWII
In these days when juvenile delinquents fill the jails, when homes for fallen girls are crowded, when teenage prostitutes throng every city and run after soldiers, when smoking, drinking, immoral, criminal youth has become the greatest moral problem in America, some educators frown on discipline of any kind.


elfinblaze: (Default)

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