Today's Mighty Oak

Alright, let’s see what we have today.  First up, it’s almost time for NaNoWriMo!  This will be my 13th year!

Dominic Monaghan has joined the cast of Star Wars: Episode IX!

In case you (for whatever reason) thought otherwise, the SCOTUS nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is opposed to same-sex marriage and would certainly rule against it (if there is a conservative majority on the court, it will be back and I’ll lose my rights).

In other horrifying news, the administration has now directed federal contractors that they can discriminate against LGBT people based on ‘religious beliefs.’  Remember when I said that elections have consequences?  Yeah, this is not good.

The anti-gay baker from the Masterpiece decision is back, and now is saying he doesn’t have to serve trans customers.

2 Political Junkies covers the grand jury report about the Catholic Church:

While the Catholic Church was protecting and covering up the sex-crimes of some of its members, let’s all remember that it was also lecturing everyone else on the evils of:
Birth control
Sex outside of marriage
Not being straight (i.e. being either “L” or “G” or “B” or “T” and so on)
Any number of other issues regarding “sexual morality”

The word you’re looking for is hypocrisy. Huge blatant hypocrisy.

No amount of contemporary apologies will change that.

Okay, onto some better and more beautiful news, there is a fake final image sent by the Cassini probe, which is beautiful (but fake because it wasn’t the last photo sent).  The last photo is also breathtaking:

Week 6 and back at it!  This week included a really awesome and unique group run!

  • Monday – Rest – I did the cross training at yoga after my run on the previous Saturday.
  • Tuesday – 6 miles – Ran with the Frontrunners, doing two miles ahead of the normal four mile route.
  • Wednesday – 7 x 400 repeats – Met members of my Ultra Team at a local track and we ran repeats while the Football team practiced.  The problem was that it was about 90 degrees and almost zero cloud cover.  Went slower than I wanted to, but the heat was killer.  Still got all my repeats in.
  • Thursday – 6 miles – Ran in the gym due to schedule.
  • Friday – 18 miles – Six of us from our team for the GAP relay met at 8 p.m. to run some loops to practice running at night and on tired legs.  We would run a loop, get back to our cars and take some time to get more water/food/etc.

    Our first loop was about 8 miles, we headed out from East Liberty and went through Frick for a while.  Our second loop took us to the Bloomfield bridge and back, along with a stop at a GetGo.  After that loop, which brought us to about 13 miles, three of the six called it a night.  I needed a total of 17 miles for the weekend, so I did the final loop with the two members I did speed work with on Wednesday, taking us around the Highland Park reservoir and bike path.

    We got back to our cars (which we had moved) a little before 2 a.m.  It was a ton of fun, and I’m really glad we did it.  Which is good, considering we’re doing it again in two weeks!

  • Saturday – Rest
  • Sunday – Rest
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Monday and Wednesday.  I was sore after the long run on Friday, so Saturday I just did the planking section of the workout,

This week is also incredibly hot, so it will be a lot of running indoors.  Still anxiously awaiting fall.

The long, overnight run was a blast, but left me drained for sure.  Even though I went to bed tired and late, my body still decided I should get up at my normal time.  I’m just about recovered now, but that part has not been fun.

There’s a couple things I try to do every day: a quick meditation, rolling or stretching my legs, and getting back on track with tracking my calories.  One thing that I was doing daily, for about 10 months or so, was using Duolingo to ‘learn’ French.

My plan had been to attend the Gay Games, which were held in Paris in August.  I ultimately didn’t go, but even after I knew that was going to be the case, I kept with my French practice until my birthday this week.

I learned two things.  One, Duolingo teaches foreign languages in a way that’s not all that compatible with how I learn.  And that’s okay.  I have two friends who are foreign language teachers.  One uses Duolingo as homework for her students to do each week.  The other doesn’t use it, since it’s only based on memorization, not actually learning the grammar rules.  What I learned about myself is that I need to understand the grammar rules, just memorizing vocab and matching up nouns with the right verb form wasn’t helpful.

And two, French is a silly language.  Granted, English is even worse, and I’m sure it was augmented by Duolingo’s format, but there were so many weird quirks that made no sense (and were never explained) that it was frustrating.

So I stuck it out until my birthday, and then with the new year (to me), I decided to drop French.  I was never going to be fluent in it, although I did enjoy picking up a few things, and I hoped that I would have at least been able to not be completely lost while in Paris.

Week 5 was my first down week in the plan.  Maybe it was having a four week climb, maybe it was dropping down, or maybe it was the fact that I’m not great in my day to day hydration, but everything felt tight this week.  Oh well, we carry on.

  • Monday – Cross training – 30 minutes of the AMT trainer at the gym.
  • Tuesday – 4 miles
  • Wednesday – 30 minute tempo run, then met up with friends for some early drinks.
  • Thursday – 4 miles – I ran early, but met the Frontrunners as they went off for their run.  A friend from the club is back to defend his dissertation, so it was good to see him, albeit briefly!
  • Friday – Rest.
  • Saturday – 7 miles – This was a busy day!  I headed downtown to run and then afterwards attended a free yoga class being held at PPG Paints Arena (Iceburgh was there too!).  After that, headed to the Strip, then home before heading back downtown again to see Aladdin!
  • Sunday – 4 miles – Hit the gym on my way to dinner with my family.
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  Not my normal days, but due to scheduling, it worked for me.

This week I’m heading to Ohio for work, and summer has once again popped up, so that will make things interesting to say the least.

We also got an e-mail last week (Wednesday, maybe?) about two in-person meetings and two webinars for this week about the GAP relay race.  I think most, or maybe all, of our team will be attending one of them (although not all together), so hopefully that will help to clear up some confusion.

Week 4 was my last big push before a down week, which I’m very happy for.  This also coincided with a mini PRorER reunion, so I got my weekend runs in with some teammates!

  • Monday – Cross training – 40 minutes of walking.  I’m part of a research study at Pitt, so I made sure to park far enough away to get a good walk in on the way to my appointment and back.  This was the last session of the study, but I was happy to be a part of science!
  • Tuesday – 5 miles – Ran an extra mile before meeting up with the Frontrunners and then did the normal four.  Was a great time catching up with my running partner!
  • Wednesday – 40 minute tempo run.
  • Thursday – 5 miles – Had to get this run in right after work, so I hit up the gym.  Afterwards, spent the rest of the night cleaning and getting my house ready for guests!
  • Friday – Rest.  Friends from my team who were staying with me got in and we headed out to a delicious Japanese dinner.
  • Saturday – 10 miles through Frick, Schenley and the East End, ending at Duck Hollow.  The faster group headed out for what turned out to be either 10 or 16, myself and another member of the team (who is also on my GAP team) and I enjoyed a wonderful morning running through parks and neighborhoods of the East End!
  • Sunday – 5 miles downtown.  Same groups again, and then a quick trip to the Strip District before heading home.
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  Not my normal days, but due to the research study, as well as the ultra team reunion, this is when it fit in the best.

Alright, let’s see what we have today.  First up, a high school valedictorian was thrown out of his house for being gay, and raised money so he could attend college, all while being homeless his senior year.

Jake Shears is back with a new single.  it gets more fun as it goes along:

Someone put together an Iron Man tribute video.  He was always my dad’s favorite character growing up, so this was neat to watch!

Topher Grace edited the three Hobbit movies down to one, two hour one.  Yes to all of this:

Grace told IndieWire that he undertook the ambitious fan edit project in part to unwind from his newest role in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. Grace indicated that he felt stressed from having to portray white supremacist David Duke, and diving into Tolkien’s cinematic world was something of a version of therapy. (He also shared his belief that The Hobbit shouldn’t have been so greatly expanded upon for the big screen in the first place

The Aquaman trailer looks really good, and it’s great to have a minority director at the help and in the lead role!

And the next Harry Potter movie has a new trailer:

Leslie Jones’ latest live twitter was Infinity Wars, and it did not disappoint.

Jeff Session’s new “religious liberty taskforce’ is just a thinly veiled anti-queer commission.  And surprise, it’s being spearheaded by an anti-gay activist group.

A Buffy reboot was announced, but it’s actually more of a continuation, just twenty years later.  How this will fit in with the comics, we’ll have to see.

That’s it for today, have a great one!

Forgot to post this yesterday, but here’s what my weekly training looked like:

  • Monday – Cross training – 40 minutes of walking.  I’m part of a research study at Pitt, so I made sure to park far enough away to get a good walk in on the way to my appointment and back.  The walk back was much more pleasant in terms of temperature, and I enjoyed walking through bits of Pitt’s campus!
  • Tuesday – 5 miles – Ran in the gym due to schedule and temperature.
  • Wednesday – 6×400 at 5K pace.  Although I’ve actually been doing these repeats at faster than my current 5K pace.  So either that means I won’t be able to sustain it as I add more repeats, or my 5K time is soft and I need to do some racing to bring that time down!
  • Thursday – 5 miles – More hot weather, more time on the treadmill for me.
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – 5 miles – One last run inside for the week, but this one was due to scheduling.  Headed out to catch up with a friend and didn’t want to be driving back and forth to the East End twice in one day.
  • Sunday – 9 miles on the GAP trail.  Felt great to be back on my favorite long run location, enjoying the trail.  I thought at one point, ‘what a beautiful, cloudless day.’  Then I swore ‘damnit, it’s a cloudless day, I want some cloud cover!’  It was a bit rough in the direct sunlight, but in the shade or when a breeze picked up, it was delightful.  Had some great ‘long run thoughts’ and really enjoyed myself.  My Achielles acted up a bit afterwards, so I took it easy the rest of the day and with some stretching, is feeling better.
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  Not my normal days, but due to the research study, when it fit in the best.

In June, SCOTUS ruled on the Masterpiece case, handing down a ‘narrow’ ruling.  Basically, they said that how Colorado handled the legal case was in appropriate.

This is still very troubling, and will for sure just open the door and be the first shot across the bow, as it may, The latest tactic against equal rights is the so-called ‘religious liberty’ argument, as we’ve seen with racist house elf Jeff Sessions even putting together a religious liberty commission, specifically to stamp out queer rights.  At the end of the day, this ruling, while narrow, still means that two men were denied service because they’re gay.  But there are larger implications; the court, incorrectly, said that a lawyer for the men was critical of religion, when instead he was critical of what religion was being used to justify (as well as it’s use to justify slavery, segregation and more):

If saying something true, yet critical about religion as an institution is an example of expressing hostility toward religion, then is every comment critical of religion evidence of bias? Are we never allowed to say anything negative about the harms that can be wrought by fundamentalism? It’s now hard to imagine the forces of equality getting a fair hearing if no one can say anything negative about the forces of bigotry when they use religion to justify their hatred.

And of course, the insanity continues.  A GOP lawmaker from South Dakota has said that Masterpiece means business can discriminate based on race.  In good news though, a lower court in Arizona stood by the narrow ruling and refused to allow a a non-discrimination ordinance to be struck down.

We will see more of these, and honestly, I think we are lucky that a larger ruling was prevented due to the technicalities of the legal system.  With a conservative court, without Kennedy, it will only be a matter of time when non-discrimination ordinances are a thing of the past.  As it stands right now, doctors are allowed to refuse to treat patients (for anything, including emergency services) if it conflicts with their ‘deeply held religious beliefs,’ which is why, on all of my race bibs in the emergency information, I have to specify to not be taken to Mercy, the local Catholic hospital.  I have to play the odds, and hope if the worst were to happen and I was already unable to speak for myself, that I could actually get the medical help I need.

All my best,


Two bits of legality today, one good (but currently probably futile) and one bad.

First the bad.  A jury in South Dakota condemned a man to death because he’s gay.  There’s an additional step in there, but that’s what it comes down to.  A gay man is a convicted murderer, but the jury sentenced him to death because they felt “he would enjoy” life without parole in an all-male prison.

Jurors cited his orientation with disgust and said they didn’t want to send him ‘where he wants to go,’ and the Supreme Court refused to step in to take up an appeal.  Currently (and I just learned this) jury deliberations are kept secret, except when there might be racial bias involved in sentencing.  The same does not apply for sexual orientation or gender expression.

Putting aside the sickening notion of the death penalty, the entire episode is disturbing and vile and quite frankly sickening.

But onto some better, if unlikely to pass legal news: Democrats have put forth a bill to put a federal ban on the ‘gay panic’ defense.

A few states already bar it, but this would ban using ‘gay panic’ as a defense in federal court.  Gay panic, for those unaware, is the idea that someone can be found innocent of a crime (usually murder or the like) if they were hit on by a person of the same sex and they ‘acted out of panic.’  So total bullshit.

Do I think this bill has a chance: no.  But, it’s good to see at least recognition that these things need fixing.

All my best,


Alright, let’s see what we have today.  First up, I might have actually linked to this before, but did you know that we have a plan in case we ever find Nessie?  Now you do!

If you haven’t seen it already, stop everything you’re doing and watch the new Randy Rainbow song:

There’s going to be a Baby Groot Chia Pet!

The Downton Abbey movie is finally confirmed and moving forward!

Remember all that money Jill Stein raised for a recount, yeah, she’s spending it on her legal defense for her involvement with Russia.  Raise your hand if you’re surprised.  Nobody?  I didn’t think so.

Gay ‘conversion therapy’ is torture.  Full stop.  And there’s a feature film about it and it looks powerful:

Queen Elizabeth II is a master stateswoman.  She greeted the President last month while wearing a brooch given to her by the Obamas.

Speaking of Britain, an artists has created a portrait of Princess Diana using diamond dust and HIV+ blood:

And in infuriating news, the Health and Human Services have removed all LGBT references from the ObamaCare website.  The erasure continues.

Integrity USA celebrates progress made at the General Convention.

And finally, Stranger Things 3 has a great new promo!

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