We spent most of our weekend watching Queer Eye, which, if you haven’t heard, got rebooted with a new Fab Five on Netflix a year or so ago. If you need something to watch, I definitely recommend it. It’s relentlessly positive and uplifting. Also, it’ll make you want to take care of your skin, clean out your closets, and go shopping.

5 Things to Read Today

  1. Politico: 2020 Dems warm to expanding Supreme Court – This needs to happen. We need to take the SCotUS card out of the “politics wars” deck. And not just in the Supreme Court, either, but in all courts. Courts should always be as unbiased and non-partisan as possible.
  2. CNN: Kellyanne Conway’s husband is trying to tell the public Trump is mentally ill. She doesn’t agree – This thing with Kellyanne Conway and her husband has to be some kind of performance art or schtick or something, right?
  3. AP: Facebook says service hindered by lack of local news – Facebook destroys the news ecosystem, then complains that it can’t find enough news to put on its platform. 🙄
  4. NPR: New Zealand Prime Minister Promises Tighter Gun Laws – New Zealand has its first mass shooting in like 30 years and the next its all, “These guns gotta go.” Wish we could manage the same thing.
  5. Vox: The New Zealand shooter wrote a manifesto. An extremism expert explains what it means. – “It’s definitely clearly signaling that the author is a white supremacist, and anti-immigration and anti-Muslim. We can take that away and draw some insight from it. But when you get down to the particulars, there are a lot of statements in there mainly to try get news coverage, to get people to say dumb things on TV, or to repeat memes or jokes that white supremacists and white nationalists use online to get people to search for them and try to bring attention to that cause.”

I’m pretty sure that the first Terry Pratchett book I read was Jingo. It was… formative, to say the least. It’s a book about warring nations and crazy geniuses and police. It’s also a book about Justice and Politics and Cultures, in the extremely capitalized forms of those ideas.

That’s the thing about Terry Pratchett. He wrote funny little books that were sort of parodies and sort of satires, and they were about goofy characters stumbling into getting the job done at least half by accident, and they were set in a silly fantasy world, and it was all a good, amusing time.

But his books were also about great big Ideas, and uncovered little bits of Truth, and driven by stubborn old women and anti-heroes and cowards and sometimes outright con artists.

And I get that Terry Pratchett might not appeal to everyone. He was an old white British guy, and his books are written from a very old white British guy perspective, but there’s a lot in those books that are universal. Things about hope, justice, truth, and love. Things about accepting people for who they are, and understanding what people are and why they do the things they do. There’s things about democracy and freedom and equality, and power and duty and honor.

I loved his books, and I loved his characters. All of them, even the irritating ones like Rincewind.

Terry Pratchett passed away in 2015, and the world has been a poorer place for not having him in it. But at least we still have his books.

You can pick up any one of his books, written at any point in his career, and get started. You don’t have to read them in order, really, and you don’t have to read them all. Here’s a few of my favorites.

5 Discworld Novels You Should Definitely Read

We saw Captain Marvel this weekend and it was good. There, that’s it. Go see the movie, then spend the next couple of days eyeballing your cat.

Okay, okay. A little more in depth, then. But no spoilers.

It starts off slow. Like the first, eh, third of the movie is slow. There’s a couple of cool fight scenes, but otherwise it’s all exposition and plotwork, and it’s a bit dry. Most of the funny happens in the middle third. The final third is a whole lot of smash-’em-up fun.

Brie Larson did a great job as Carol Danvers. She was funny and tough and a lot of fun to watch.

There’s a good plot twist. Goose kind of steals every scene he’s in. Seeing a young Nick Fury, before he becomes the badass super-spy of the Iron Man and Avengers movies, is kind of a hoot.

The CGI used to de-age Sam Jackson is pretty damn good, but there are a couple of scenes where he’s running or fighting and you can totally see he still moves like a 70-year-old man, and that’s a little bit unintentionally hilarious.

The CGI used to de-age Clark Gregg is slightly less good – looks a bit plasticky in a couple of scenes.

The movie was full of references to 90’s nostalgia, including shot-for-shot remakes of a few 90’s films for some of the action bits, references and homages to other 90’s films, and a Stan Lee cameo that made Kevin Smith cry.

I’m pretty sure they used every decent 90’s song available in the soundtrack, and that came to about 7 songs. The 90’s were a musical desert.

Overall the movie was a good origin story, and left me more excited to see a sequel, now that we’ve got all the exposition out of the way. Also, I’m really looking forward to seeing Captain Marvel in Endgame.

5 Things to Read Today (Mostly with Spoilers)

So Bernie Sanders threw his hat in the ring, to no one’s surprise, and, I mean… Okay, let’s be honest here. I’m voting the Whomever Isn’t Trump 2020 ticket almost irregardless of who the Democrats run. They could run a literal turnip, and that’s probably who I’m voting for.

I mean, at least a literal turnip is not in a criminal conspiracy with Russia, right? That seems highly unlikely.

But am I excited for another Bernie Sanders run? Not really. I was done with Sanders when I realized what a pile of rabidly awful fanatics his fanboys were. No one who inspires that kind of behavior is going to be at the top of my Happy Favorites List.

Anyway…

  1. Politico: Emails reveal coordination between Chao, McConnell offices
  2. NBC News: Bernie Sanders enters 2020 presidential race: ‘Complete the revolution’
  3. NPR: Poll: 6-In-10 Disapprove Of Trump’s Declaration Of A National Emergency
  4. National Centers for Environmental Information: January 2019 was third warmest on record for the globe
  5. AV Club: The Newsroom might come back to finally fix journalism once and for all

Of particular interest today is item number 3, from the News & Observer, which is live-blogging the investigation into the absentee ballot tampering scandal in North Carolina. Also worth a look is #5, where an engineer on Twitter tackles the Monsters, Inc. “scare floor” and redesigns it for better safety and efficiency.

  1. CNN: California AG Becerra says states to sue over Trump’s national emergency declaration
  2. Politico: McCabe: ‘I was fired because I opened a case against the president’
  3. News & Observer: Bladen County operative ‘told us what we were to say’ at hearing, worker testifies
  4. LA Times: Rare L.A. mega-storm could overwhelm dam and flood dozens of cities, experts say
  5. Twitter: Engineer takes on Monsters, Inc. “scare floor”

Settle in for another shutdown, kids. It looks like they’re gearing up for it in Congress.

5 Things to Read Today

🤬 New York Times: Talks Over Border Security Break Down, Imperiling Effort to Prevent Shutdown

Negotiations over the spending bill crapped out on Sunday. If Congress doesn’t get it together by this Friday at midnight, we’re shutting down again. And hell, even if they do get it together, there’s a fair chance Trump just won’t sign the damn thing, because it doesn’t have his wall money.

🛫 The Hill: Flight attendant union calls for general strike if government shuts down again

Meanwhile, Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants, a huge flight attendant union, is calling for a general strike if they shut the government down again. Reminder: it’s usually flight problems that gets the government open again once they shut down, because it turns out senators and representatives don’t like being trapped in DC.

😲 Pew Research Center: About a third of Americans say blackface in a Halloween costume is acceptable at least sometimes

I cannot believe that this still needs saying in 2019. Blackface is never, under any circumstances, for any reason, acceptable. Never ever, not even one time, no matter how “funny” or “clever” or “topical” or whatever you think you are. Do not. Just don’t.

⚕️ Vox: Utah Republicans have officially blocked their state’s voter-approved Medicaid expansion

Back in November Utah voters voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The Republican legislature in Utah decided, Naaaah, and instead passed a bill that only allowed a partial expansion. The bill’s on the way to the Utah governor to be signed.

💉 The Oregonian: Proposal would eliminate personal vaccine exemption for Oregon school kids

In Oregon you can get a personal exemption from vaccinations and still send your kids to school. This is how anti-vaxxers get their kids into classes, and anti-vaxxers are the reason why we have a measles outbreak in Oregon. State rep Mitch Greenlick (D) has a bill proposed that would eliminate non-medical exemptions for kids, meaning you’d have to have an actual reason for not vaccinating your kids to get them into school.

Maaaan. They’re doing another Ghostbusters sequel/reboot/thing.

This one’s going to be in the Bill Murray/Dan Aykroyd/etc. “universe,” not a sequel to the 2016 Ghostbusters, and I just, uugh.

I enjoyed the 2016 Ghostbusters. It was funny and fun, Chris Hemsworth was a gem, and Kate McKinnon’s Jillian was the best. I thought it had a few problems. Leslie Jones was pretty underserved by her character, for starters. They should have given her something better to work with. But overall? Good movie. Laughed my ass off.

Then the Internet’s Pissbaby Men’s League got their knickers all in a twist over the movie because – *gasp!* – there were girls in it. If you don’t remember, it turned into a whole bullshit thing. They deliberately tanked the scores for the movie on review sites. If you mentioned the movie on social media (particularly Twitter), pissbabies ganged up on you and shat all over your account.

It was endless. They chased Leslie Jones off Twitter with horrific, racist abuse. Parts of Twitter and Reddit were wall-to-wall fat jokes and hate for Melissa McCarthy.

All because they put girls in a Ghostbusters movie.

Now they’re doing this sequel/reboot/whatever thing in the “original universe” and there’s already pissbabies crowing about it on Twitter and shitting up women’s tweets about it. And I just…

If I have to listen to one more crybaby who’s mad because he’s such a socially-inept trash person that he can’t get laid so he’s mad about women doing literally anything and turns up for every new inclusive nerd thing to shit all over it, my hand to god, I will lose my entire damn mind.

See, here’s the thing: I grew up watching Ghostbusters. I loved the first movie, I loved the cartoon, I even loved the considerably less-than-stellar Ghostbusters II. I had the toys, I think I even dressed as a Ghostbuster for Halloween once. I loved Ghostbusters 2016.

I want to love this new movie (assuming it even gets made, which is up in the air, since they’ve been trying to make a third Ghostbusters for like 30 years and it hasn’t happened yet).

But now Ghostbusters is a thing. And if I go see the movie, or talk about it, I have to feel like I’m somehow supporting or encouraging the Pissbaby Men’s League. Like, I just want to watch people be funny and fight ghosts with weird laser guns.

I’m living in a golden age of nerddom, and all the nerdy things I love are getting more and more inclusive of women and non-white and non-straight/cis people (well, that one’s moving a bit slower, but we’re getting there), and I feel like the things I love are now more available for more people to love, which is awesome. Except every time someone tries to open up a new realm of nerddom for more people to enjoy, this little clique of assholes rages up and shits all over everyone, and ruins it.

It’s just so tedious and tiresome.

So, assuming they manage to make a new Ghostbusters, I dunno. I probably won’t bother watching it in the theater. Not sure I’ll bother renting it or even Netflixing it. I just can’t stand the idea of encouraging these assholes anymore.