Tag Archive | National Parks

Shit that Pissed me Off – 4/7

Trump Corner – We Bombed Syria

Look – as someone who has done a lot of improvisational theater in my life, I have a lot of respect for improvisation.

But Donald Trump feels like an improvisational President.  Syrian President Assad uses chemical weapons on his own people and Trump’s first response is “we should do something.”

So everyone responds by saying “yeah – OK – can you be a little more specific?”

And Trump responds by saying “BOOM!  Just bombed a military base!  How do you like that something?”

Well, Donald, you did the second part but I don’t think you really understood the first part.

And everyone is like “?????”

Never mind that Trump pretended to be a dove on the campaign trail and managed to convince far too many people Hillary Clinton would have us in a war with Syria before she finished her inauguration speech.  Never mind that this bombing run did nothing to prevent the next chemical weapons attack on civilians.

In the end, it is military theater.  It makes Trump look tough without actually risking anything.  Nobody really cares about what is going on in Syria anyway.  I mean, we care in the sense that it sounds awful but we don’t care in the sense that it affects our lives in any tangible way.

Kind of like the way that military strike affected the actions of Assad.

Read More…

Shit that Pissed Me Off – 5/27

Just a quick note: I was on vacation for two weeks so a few of the things that pissed me off this week are old. I didn’t want to forget about them, though.  So you’re welcome, I guess?

Meteorologist is Handed a Sweater While on the Air Because Viewers Complained About her Dress

Let’s count all the ways this is wrong.

  1.  On the air?  Are you fucking kidding me?
  2. Her dress was not indecent.  You could see her shoulders.  If that was distracting people from the regional temperatures, those folks have some serious issues that go far beyond what their weather person is wearing.
  3. Although they were not, apparently, so distracted that they were unable to text and e-mail while she was still on the air.
  4. They asked her to cover herself while she was on the air!

Guys – assume for a moment you are a weather person and you wear a shirt someone finds objectionable.  Or, you decide to do your morning report in a muscle shirt.  Do you think you’d get half the e-mails that this young woman did?

They would probably be trying to get his co-host to shove cash down his pants.

They would probably be trying to get his co-host to shove cash down his pants.

The fact people made it their business to whine about her dress should be embarrassing. To them.

It shouldn’t have been embarrassing to her.  Except it was because the station made the incomprehensible decision to fix it. On the air!

Point is, women in media are subjected to this kind of scrutiny all the time.  They have to think about every style choice they make because the “wrong” choice might just result in an embarrassing situation like this one.  Men in media basically need to decide which tie to wear.

People don’t send a lot of e-mails about ties.

Read More…

Shit that Pissed me off – 4/17

Atheists put up a Billboard and After Five Days, It Gets Taken Down

Apparently, the owner of the lot where the billboard was posted told the advertising company that they needed to remove the ad or remove the billboard.  I would seem Jesus was threatened by the following sign:



Holy fuck!  They were telling people who didn’t believe in god that they might not be the only ones!  How offensive!

Let’s turn this around for a moment.  Had a billboard read “Believe in god? You’re not alone,” would anyone have complained that the message was offensive?  Had an atheist owned the land where that billboard was posted, would they have demanded it be removed?

Of course not.  But if you don’t believe in god and you tell people about it, that’s offensive.  You are attacking their faith!

Except you aren’t.  You aren’t saying “aren’t people who believe in god stupid???”

Because you don’t think that.  Unless we are talking about the dude who bitched about this sign.  I think he’s kind of stupid.

Read More…

Shit that Pissed Me Off – 1/30

Oklahoma Works to Make Same-Sex Marriage Harder

They lost in the courts so now some legislators are trying to make same-sex marriage harder by preventing judges from signing marriage certificates.  Instead, Representative Todd Russ wants to ensure that only priests or “ecclesiastical dignitaries” will be able to sign marriage certificates.

In case you were wondering if “ecclesiastical” could refer to anyone who wasn’t a Christian, it can’t.

This bill, most likely, has no chance of becoming law so it isn’t really worth a lot of bile.

And yet we see the ugliness in the desire to prevent gay people from entering into a legally binding marriage.  Not only would this bill prevent homosexuals from being married unless they could find a supportive Christian minister, it would prevent Muslims, Jews, atheists and every other group from legal marriage.

Before I say the homily, I just wanted to welcome all the same-sex, atheist, Jewish and Hindu couples who have suddenly converted to Catholicism.

He’s willing to discriminate against everyone to make sure gays can’t get married.

But don’t call him a homophobe because that’s offensive.

Read More…

Shit That Pissed Me Off – 10/24

Felicia Day Speaks Up About GamerGate and is Almost Immediately Doxxed

For those unfamiliar with the term, doxxing is when people take personal information (like home address and private e-mail accounts) and share them with everyone on the internet.  The intent is to encourage others to harass the individual in question either online or in person.

Because people are assholes.

Chris Kluwe wrote a profanity ridden rant against GamerGaters earlier in the week.  Was his contact information splashed all over the internet?  Of course not.

What is interesting about the Gamergate phenomenon is that they claim this issue is not about women in gaming and yet when women speak up, they suffer harassment almost immediately.  I’m not saying Kluwe didn’t get called names.  He probably did.

The difference, though, is Kluwe (and Wil Wheton) were called names.  Day had her personal information tweeted out within an hour.

This is not Felicia Day's house.  Or Chris Kluwe's.  Because where they live is none of your damn business.

This is not Felicia Day’s house. Or Chris Kluwe’s. Because where they live is none of your damn business.

Now I’m fairly certain a brief internet search could have yielded her home address.  That information may be private but it is hard to protect.  Her personal e-mail would take a little more digging but probably isn’t too hard to get.  Privacy is an illusion the internet is rapidly dispelling.

None of that changes the fact doxxing is an asshole move.  The only purpose is to harass the victim rather than engage in civil discourse.

GamerGate is not about ethics.  It is about being pissy because female gamers (and their allies) would like a few games for themselves. It also has an unoriginal and stupid name.

Read More…

Shit that Pissed Me Off – 8/29

Swimwear Company Massively Photoshops a Model’s Body and Gets Caught

I think we all get that standards of attractiveness/beauty are messed up in the fashion world.  Here, you can see how much work went into taking someone who looked fine and creating a lie about her body.

What is most upsetting is the company’s apology.  In essence they used the “everybody does it” argument.  They took down the photoshopped picture but they didn’t put up the original picture to replace it.

OMG!!  Look at her fail to swell swimwear because she's not thin enough!!!!

OMG!! Look at her fail to sell swimwear because she’s not thin enough!!!!

Then they admitted that they made the changes to sell a product.

Well that’s honest, I guess.  What they fail to recognize is the product they are selling when they do something like that.

They are no longer selling swimwear.  They are selling body image.  They are telling young women who look like Meghan Kausman that they aren’t thin enough to wear this product.  Their apology indicates that they are completely OK with that.

I know (and I hope most of us do) that advertising is inherently dishonest.  Fruit Loops have never been a healthy addition to a balanced breakfast.  Pick up trucks don’t have great gas mileage.  Ever.

Things are getting out of hand, though, when a size 8 is too fat to sell a swimsuit.

Read More…

Shit that Pissed me off – 8/8

Awful People Who Don’t Deserve Pets Are Abandoning Animals Because They Don’t Look Good In Pictures

All of my cats are humane society cats.  The hardest part of adopting a cat from the humane society is reading the reasons the cat is there.  One of my cats was abandoned when her owners moved.  They left her to starve to death. If I ever met the people who did that to her, I’d want to punch them in the face.

While the headline for this article is misleading, I’m still annoyed to learn there are a large number of black cats who aren’t being adopted because people are shallow.  You can’t find a good pet with a picture.  You have to meet the animal and see if their personality meshes with yours.

Fair is fair.  You have to send the cat your picture to see if he poops on it or not.

Fair is fair. You have to send the cat your picture to see if he poops on it or not.

The thing about people who abandon animals is they all have excuses.  Aside from allergies, though, most excuses come down to failure to take responsibility for the animal.  Pets are a responsibility and not a right.  You have to be prepared to scoop up their shit and feed them and pay attention to them.

If you didn’t know that before you picked the animal up, the animal that needs to be returned is you.

Read More…

Shit that Pissed Me off – 5/23

I’m on vacation this week so my column will be a bit short.  However, much like last year when I was visiting National Parks for my Spring vacation, the other people in the parks had ample opportunities to piss me off.  So I’ll probably just focus on that.

Use a Trash Bag or Get Out

About twenty years ago, I visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with my wife, mom, and brother.  At one stop, we stepped out on to pitch black lava floes that had covered the highway on their way out to the ocean.  In the distance, we could see where an active lava flow was pouring into the Pacific.  It was amazing.

As I walked across that pitch black lava rock, I glanced down and saw a cigarette butt.  And another.  And another.

So I started to pick them up.  By the time I left that part of the park, I’d filled a large plastic bag with trash.

Every time I go to a park, I bring a bag and fill it with trash.  If I’m there for several days, I might fill several bags.  And there is never a shortage of trash.

It took nature millions of years to make this view?  I can ruin it in five seconds!

It took nature millions of years to make this view? I can ruin it in five seconds!

I’m not talking about a hat that blew off in the wind.  I’m talking about candy wrappers, kleenex, and scores of cigarette butts.  Nobody drops a cigarette butt by accident.

If you throw butts on your kitchen floor, that is your business.  I’m not telling you that you can’t smoke in Yellowstone.  I’m telling you that a fumarole isn’t more impressive with your finished Marlboro lying on the side of it.  If you can’t respect that, you should do the rest of us a favor and stay in the car.

Other People Want to Look at That Thing Too, Asshole

Hey, guess what?  If you are at Old Faithful and it is erupting for about 90 seconds and you are sitting on a bench and there are people standing behind you, don’t stand up and block their picture so someone can take a shot of you standing in front of the geyser!

NOT more impressive with a person in front of it.

NOT more impressive with a stranger in front of it.

If you wanted that picture, you should have found a different place to watch the geyser.  Because when you block the view for other people, you are really saying that you don’t give a flying fuck if they want to see the geyser because it’s really just there for your enjoyment.

Not that you are enjoying it because your back is to the fucking geyser.

Stay on the Path or Die

In Yellowstone, the ground around thermal features is quite brittle.  If you walk on it, you could break through and find yourself in water that is near boiling.  There are signs all over the place telling you this fact.

There’s also the simple fact that the ground around these features is made of very soft rock and when you walk on it, you crush it.  Unless you are a complete idiot, you should realize that the terraces at Mammoth hot springs are a lot more impressive than your footprint.


All those people who aren’t on the footpath? They are standing on the edge of an erratic geyser so they can get a great picture just before it erupts and scalds them to death.  At least that is how the scenario plays out in my dreams.

If you need a picture of yourself standing really close to a geyser, try Photoshop.  You will look at that picture a couple of times.  If you cook that leg off, you’ll have something that lasts a lot longer but is that really the souvenir you were looking for?

The Reason There Are Signs Telling You to Stop Being an Idiot is Because a Lot of Other People Have Already Been Idiots

Here’s a picture of a sign with a warning that should not have been necessary.


At the bottom of the sign, you are told that removal of this sign could cause injury to others.  Because they won’t know there is a BEAR nearby.  Probably a mother bear with cubs, given the time of year.  Exactly the kind of creature you don’t want to encounter.

So why do you suppose they have to tell you to leave the sign alone?  Because someone has removed one of them before.

Whoever did it probably thought it was funny.  Won’t it be hilarious if a hiker is mauled by a bear because I took away the sign that might have saved them?

No.  It really won’t.

If Someone is Taking a Picture of Something, Don’t Walk in Front of Them

I’m not a birder specifically but I like to figure out what animals I’m watching.  Frequently, that means I’ll try to take a picture of the bird I’m looking at to identify it later.

For those unfamiliar with birds, a lot of them are fairly skittish and if someone does something like walking in front of a photographer, they’ll fly away.

I think that what most folks at these parks fail to understand is that the park isn’t there for them.  It is there for everyone.

That means when someone is trying to take a picture, you can give them five seconds to get the shot.  How hard is that really?  Unless there is a geyser erupting right now, the odds are you can wait five seconds to look at the next hot spring.  I’m sure it looks really cool because they all look really cool.

Trust me, I’ve taken pictures of every single one of them.

Lame pools

Yes. Even these two.

But those pools don’t change too much in five seconds.  So let me take a picture of a damned bird, OK?

Bear Asses

My family is traveling to Yellowstone National Park in about a month and my mom has been getting a little bit concerned about bears.  Apparently, there are a lot of bears at Yellowstone and she’s worried we may run into one. She’s been reading up on bear spray and assures us we’ll be able to get some as soon as we get to the park.

Actually, I guess you can buy the stuff at 7-11 in that part of the country.

I don’t know why she’s so concerned, to be honest.  When it comes to National Parks and bears, I have the worst luck.

About ten years ago, Pat and I took a trip to Washington DC.  We spent most of our time in the city but for a day trip, we went to Shenandoah National Park.  It was a foggy day and unfortunately, most of the views of the valley were obscured.

As we were driving, Pat suddenly shouted “BEAR” and pointed across the road to where a bear was clearly hanging out waiting to be noticed.  I fumbled with my camera and took one picture:


As you can see, it is a blurry picture of what might be a bear walking back into the forest.  Looks like the butt of a black bear from what I can tell.  I’m sure it was a bear but this picture could be used as proof of Bigfoot about as easily as it could be used as proof of a bear.

That would not be my final failed encounter with a bear in a National Park.

Read More…

Shit that Pissed me Off This Week – 7/12

Death Valley Officials Have Asked Tourists to Stop Frying Eggs on Rocks and Pavement

OK, those National Park Rangers just don’t want to let tourists have any fun!  I mean, why are we going to Death Valley National Park if not to engage in science experiments that…don’t work?

Turns out that you can’t just fry an egg on the pavement.  It isn’t quite that hot.  You could do it if you have a frying pan and the video that is inspiring all of this failed egg frying even mentions that it doesn’t work without one but facts are unimportant when you are trying to do science!

Check out the SCIENCE!

Cleaning up after yourself is also, apparently, unimportant.  Better to just leave eggshells and unfried eggs all over the place because you were too stupid to follow directions.

The message here is clear: don’t tell people how to do cool science experiments because they will probably just fuck it up.

Read More…