Funny and/or Strange Photo I Took

What’s Wrong With White Folks?

I know, entire novels have been written on the subject, but yeah–this (see picture) is a “thing” that is is widespread and common enough to merit signage.  N.A. folks must be thinking: what’s the hell is up with white folks? Then again, they’re pretty much used to our shit by now.

Four Corners Tourist Site, Navajo Res, CO-UT-NM-AZ.



Mandatory Church Attendance?

Silly Sylvia AllenMandatory church attendence?  That’s what Arizona state senator Sylvia Allen wants.  I can’t make up stuff half this funny; or disturbing.  But, it’s true.

In a debate over legislation that would allow good, hardworking Christians to carry guns in public buildings (honestly!) Mrs. Allen careened from the foolishly naive to the zealously theocratic, blurting out “there’s a moral erosion of the soul of America!”

“It’s the soul that is corrupt – how we get back to a moral rebirth I don’t know, since we are slowly eroding religion at every opportunity that we have. Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth.”

What I’m wondering is: if I don’t choose a church, will one be assigned to me?  The prospect is, I’ll admit, a little daunting.  What if I get Jehovah’s Witness?  I really like birthday cakes and, you know, modern medicine.  On the other hand, there’s an element of excitement if the procedure is anything like that sorting hat business in Harry Potter.

“I got Gryffindoor!”

“I got PuffenStuff!”

“I got Seventh Day Adventist!”

“I got a rock.” (Shut up, Charlie Brown).

Incidentally, whatever happened to Charlie Brown?  He moved to east Texas, got a job as a flag guy on a road construction crew, and lost himself in the Pentacostal Church.  No more wiffing on kickoffs for him–dude spends his weekend shaking and baking and speaking in tongues.

But I digress.  Congresswoman Allen is dead serious.

In fact, when reporters caught up with her the next day, Allen doubled down.  Refusing to apologize, she pointed out how things had changed since she was a child in the 1950s. (not her fashion sense, of course).  “People prayed, people went to church,” she said, “I remember on Sundays the stores were closed,” Allen said. “The biggest thing is religion was kicked out of our public places, out of our schools.”

I get how these people feel–it must be highly disorienting to emerge from the monochrome vision of pasteurized, processed America and find that the world contains a vast palette of ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations, gender identifications, political sensibilities far beyond what was portrayed in Leave It To Beaver and The Donna Reed Show.  I feel her pain. It’s how I felt when I visited Orem, Utah.

What I don’t get is how these folks don’t hear themselves. Isn’t this mandatory religion thing one of our core conflicts with eastern extremists such as ISIL, Al Queda, and the Taliban? How is a frumpy Christian woman who wants to legally compel me to attend church any different than  a bearded Muslim extremist who aims to impose compulsory religion?  I would think, in a nation that calls itself Christian but is in actuality experiencing a startling decline in the numbers of individuals who identify as “religious” in general and “Christian” specifically, the God Gang would be a little more warm and welcoming, and a little less aggressively imperialistic.


Thanks, Katy.

Is there anyone reading that didn’t get a kick out of this?  (Speak out, defend yourself!) It was outstanding to see a splash of pop art weirdness smack dab in the midst of a typically overwrought, overproduced, lip-synced morass of distractions.  I admit to appreciating the sense of wink-at-the-camera humor Katy Perry has injected into her stage persona (cue the video for “Roar”), but even this exceeded my expectations.  Still wondering why they let Missy Elliot steal 3 minutes of stage time–I know most folks don’t agree, my facebook page is full of youngsters–the “red bull generation”– gushing over her piece, but there’s little I find more insipid than mass produced pop pseudo-rap.  If these young Divas want to really get some “street cred” (I feel ridiculous just writing that) maybe they ought to trot out Wu-Tang Clan.


Oh, look–a gif!



Photo I Like sheer awesomeness summer photos Uncategorized

Found Summer Photo: Tolerable Vacation Crowds

Tolerable levels of crowding at this vacation hotspot.  I’m in.

Subject of Last “Random” Photo: Georgie White

Anybody miss me while I was out of town and away from the Interwebs?  Well, I missed you–or “yinz guys” as we like to way in western PA.

NAU Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives, Colorado River Plateau Digital Archives. Photo by Josef Muench. Call # NAU.PH.2003.11.4.3.H3828A

I had several ideas I thought I could write about today, but a second look at this morning’s “random” photo inspired me to do a little digging to see who this woman is and what she’s about.  Fortunately, this was an easy one to run down.

As I’ve said before, most of the photos represented in this series have come by way of  Tumblr and Pinterest, and are either unattributed, or have been reposted so many times that it’s difficult to figure out the original source.

This Sunday’s photo has a lot of clues, and while it shows up all over the net, I had no problem figuring out that the woman in the photo is Georgie White Clark, a fairly famous georgiebookand historically significant river guide who made her mark floating the Colorado River through Arizona’s Grand Canyon (among other places) –which she first descended in the mid 1940’s.  It deserves notices that while most people run the Colorado is rubber rafts, Ms White and a friend did a 60-mile stretch by…swimming it, wearing lifejackets.

Just so we’re clear on what we’re talking about, here’s a glimpse of one of the rapids:

NAU Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives, Colorado River Plateau Digital Archives. 1955. Call # NAU.PH.92.17.1

Not only was she the first woman to swim the canyon, she was the first to row a boat through the canyon, and the first woman to run an outfitter service to guide others through the canyon as well.  Her story is easily found spread across the web, and deserves a look.

NAU Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives, Colorado River Plateau Digital Archives NAU.PH.
Glen and Bessie Hyde

And what a good story it is–“controversial” in life–though, for the record, after an admittedly cursory bit of research I’ve found little explanation for her “controversial” resputation beyond the observation that she wasn’t a modern-style feminist and that she liked to pack tin cans for her float expeditions and I suspect, had she been a man that word would not been been applied to her, her legend grew in death. Numerous, but nebulous, clues suggested that her auto-biography was filled with manufactured information, and that she may have been someone entirely different, possibly even a murderer, in the part of her life before she began running the river: Bessie Hyde, who infamously disappeared, along with her husband, on a honeymoon float down the river in 1928 that would have made Bessie the first woman to run the canyon.  Was Georgie actually Bessie, returned 20 years  later to finish what she’d started?  It’s an exciting story that reads like a movie, and can be read in detail here:


Three Cheers For Rashard Mendenhall

I’ve been reading a lot of banter–and a lot of nastiness–about NFL running back Rashard Mendenhall who, at the age of 26, surprised just about anyone who gives a damn about football by announcing his retirement rather than seek a new free agent contract.  I don’t get it.  The hate, I mean.

rashard-mendenhall-gettyI respect the guy for opting out rather than signing another contract and half-assing it until he got cut, a strategy he could have used to reel in another substantial signing bonus–he certainly wouldn’t be the first NFL player to cash in and clock out, nor would he be the last.  It’s not easy to walk away from a million dollars, and he would have got more.  It’s more difficult still to cut the cord on the ego-boosting that comes along with being a famous athlete, but if what he writes in his impressive explanatory letter in the Huffington Post is true, that was never a big deal for Mendenhall.

Barry Foster

This scenario reminds reminds me of another former Steeler: Barry Foster, a hard-hitting pro-bowl quality running back who quit at the pinnacle of his carreer to go bass fishing when he realized he just didn’t feel it anymore.  In a game of inches, where the difference between the great and the mediocre is a razor-thin line made mostly of confidence and commitment, if the will isn’t there, the player is going to fail, hurt his team and probably hurt himself physically in the process.

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh SteelersI think of it this way–at 47, if I was offered a choice between the fame and glory of an NFL career, with all the attendant risks and responsibilities, or $10 million in the bank and a lifetime to do what I want, go where I want, and be myself away from the glare of the media spotlight, I’d take the later.  At 26, I don’t think I’d have made the same choice–Mendenhall made a mature choice–he owes nothing to anyone.  He played out his last contract; the slate is clear.  If I’m him, I’m already gone–a babe on my arm on a slow boat to Bora Bora.


No Homosexuals Allowed!

Just when you think people can’t get any worse, a deeper and more sinister evil oozes out of the black hearts of men.

They’re at it again. Last week I ripped the state of Kansas after it’s House of Representatives passed a bill that, if it becomes law, will bring segregatioinking institutionalized bigotry to The Sunflower State.  The good news, however, was that so many good, angry people are putting so much heat on Kansas’ Governor and State Senate that passage of their bill in it’s present form is not likely to pass–not if the Republican incumbents have any hopes of an easy re-election.

gay-hate-signNow, only a few days later, similar laws have raced through both the Arizona House and Senate, leaving that state teetering on the edge of a full-blown, retrograde, hate-fueled Jim Crow reality.  The question is: who, in present day, twenty-first century America, thinks like this?

Cast members of Duck Dynasty before their Hee Haw make-overs.

It’s rhetorical question, of course–I’ve already pointed at the Westboro Baptist Church, and that Dick Duck Dynasty yahoo made a splash not too long ago spouting his own noxious ideas for revision of The Declaration of Independence and, sadly enough, a small but loud minority of Americans, most of them lazy Christians either too lazy to read what Jesus actually said about treating other people, or too filled with fear and anger to care.  Not that he had anything at all to say about gays.

I suppose that it is natural and expected that bigots push back against the progress our nation has achieved in the past few years, both in securing equal rights in many states, and defending those gains, but I have a hard time taking it.  For most of my life, I was largely ambivalent to the political aspects of sexuality, accepting but not particularly invested, but the older I become the more angry I become, the more annoyed by the inanity of it all.  What is more small and petty than targeting an individual for social and political exclusion on the basis of who they happen to love?  Why can’t people keep their hate to themselves, mind their own business, and get on with their own lives?

The justification is ridiculous–it would be laugh-out-loud hilarious if it oppressedchristiansweren’t so awful. According to the fiends responsible for these attempts to undermine the constitution, requiring Christians–or anyone who adopts a religion or belief that hates homosexuality–to treat gays as actual human beings and citizens, is tantamount to religious persecution.  So, in essence, the vast Christian majority of the USA is supposedly being discriminated by the small percentage of people who are gay.  I’d honestly had no idea that the faith was perched on such tenuous ground.

On the plus side, these backwards-assed redneck regional political assaults on liberty won’t go unnoticed on a national scale, and while they’ll undoubtably find support in aging, rural fundamentalists the Republican party–which just can’t seem to catch a break despite a train wreck of recent Presidential missteps–is going find itself guilty by association with young voters, most of whom don’t see what the big deal is, but will definitely wonder why so much time and effort is being devoted to the persecution of a tiny segment of the population, when young people are facing some of the worst economic realities in recent history.