The Selfishness of Selfies

I’m not a “selfie” person, and I shudder when I see “selfie sticks”, those things look like cattle prods to me. I don’t see the virtue in constantly taking photos of yourself, but if that’s what makes you happy, go for it. Just leave the art out of it. A great deal of art work gets damaged by those seeking selfie perfection in the never-ending I can top that! selfie competition.  The latest victim to selfie-ism is a statue of Dom Sebastiao, who ruled Portugal from 1557 to 1578, at Lisbon’s Rossio train station.

The statue of Dom Sebastiao before it was destroyed. Courtesy of Peter Burka, via Flickr Creative Commons.

The statue of Dom Sebastiao before it was destroyed. Courtesy of Peter Burka, via Flickr Creative Commons.

The statue of Don Sebastiao was broken by a young man taking a selfie. Courtesy of Infrastructure Portugal.

The statue of Don Sebastiao was broken by a young man taking a selfie. Courtesy of Infrastructure Portugal.

The 126-year-old statue shattered after a 24-year-old man reportedly knocked it over while climbing on it to take a photograph. The suspect, who has not been named, is said to have attempted to flee the scene before being apprehended by police.

A spokesperson for Infrastructure Portugal told the Daily Mail that he did not know when the statue would be repaired. Before the unfortunate incident, the sculpture was perched in a niche between two doorways at the station, which is a protected monument.


Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Last May, a pair of tourists damaged a statue of Hercules in the northern Italian city of Cremona while taking a photograph with it. In 2014, an Italian student tried to pose sitting in the lap of a 19th-century cast of an ancient work at Milan’s Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, only to smash the sculpture in the process.

Some museums have taken steps to protect their art by banning selfie sticks, which extend the reach of the photographer, and may increase the likelihood of inadvertently striking a work of art. (Even without selfies, accidents happen, like the boy who lost his balance and punched $1.5 million painting, or the woman who tripped and smashed an ancient Greek vase.)

Artnet has the full story.

Don’t Teach My Kid To Be Accepting!

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress (Photo via Screen capture)

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino. (Photo via Screen capture)

A Forest Hills Public Schools’ elementary parent in Ada Township, Michigan wants to ban the anti-bullying book “Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress” because he opposes boys wearing dresses.

In the story, Morris is laughed at by his classmates, but eventually, he helps them to understand that he likes wearing the dress because it’s the same color as a tiger, the sun and his mom’s hair. The story aims to teach children acceptance and stop bullying.

The parent who has such a big problem is a 35-year-old Army veteran and fundamentalist Christian, Lee Markham. […] “What the heck is going on?” Markham said. “This book is not just talking about accepting another viewpoint, it’s promoting another life.”

“We’re talking about one way to live life, but what about the other way, y’know, sorry to say it, the normal way what’s the benefit of actually adhering to societal norms,” Markham said.

Amid the many positive reviews on Amazon, there was another very angry [Christian] parent, most upset by the ‘don’t bully’ and ‘it’s okay if people are different’ message of the book:

I seldom write reviews, but this book was read to my child in 3RD GRADE!!! Parents were not notified, and some teacher thought it was good since there is ONE child whose parents let him wear skirts to school. Teaching boys to ACCEPT this is WRONG!!! THIS BOOK IS AGAINST GOD!!! You parents who let their children ‘express’ their gender inappropriately at school should know better!!! Boys are boys, and should behave and dress as such. This is not tolerance, and this is not about bullying. This is a scathing indictment of the breakdown of American morality. We are literally celebrating perversion!!! You can bet there will be a lawsuit at our school.

Markham went on about how awful the book is:

“His First Amendment right to his freedom of religion wasn’t addressed at all and instead another way of life is just put right in front of him. I just wonder who’s gonna correct all the damage that was done,” Markham reiterated.

Superintendent Dan Behm stated that the book will not be taken off the shelves, even though a parent is upset. Good for you, Superintendent, and thank you.

Full story here.

Trompe l’oeil Mural

Lots of wows here, amazing work by Collin van der Sluijs. Van der Sluijs was most recently in Chicago where he completed a tremendous mural in the south loop as part of the Wabash Arts Corridor that depicts two endangered Illinois birds amongst an explosion of blooms. He also opened his first solo show in the U.S. titled “Luctor Et Emergo” at Vertical Gallery, featuring a wide range of paintings and drawings. You can follow more of his work on Flickr.



Via Colossal Art.

NC: Cops Say No

Police in several major North Carolina cities told NPR they will not penalize nor arrest a trans person for using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Photo: Shutterstock.

Police in several major North Carolina cities told NPR they will not penalize nor arrest a trans person for using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
Photo: Shutterstock.

While legal battles rage on over North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law known as House Bill 2, law enforcement officers in the state won’t be arresting any restroom deviants any time soon.

Damien Graham, a spokesman for the Raleigh Police Department, told NPR on Tuesday that his department will not enforce the sweeping law, which requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that do not match their gender identity, because “the bill doesn’t speak to enforcement nor penalty.”

Raleigh Police had attorneys review the language of HB 2, but since there “wasn’t any specific language that spoke to enforcement or even penalty,” the department wasn’t sure how its officers could enforce the law, Graham told NPR.


If the police receive a complaint about someone in the “wrong” bathroom, the department will respond, says Graham, but officers will not penalize or arrest anyone for using the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.


Christina Hallingse, the public information officer for the police department in Asheville, told NPR that it would be nearly impossible to enforce HB 2. Doing so would drain the department’s resources, because it would require officers to stand guard outside public restrooms asking people to present their birth certificates before entering these gender-segregated spaces.

“It would take them off the streets, off patrol and having to put them at bathrooms,” explained Hallingse of the logistics of enforcing HB 2.

Full Story at The Advocate.

While it’s very nice to see police paying attention to reality, and doing the right thing for a change, McCrory continues on in stubborn asshole mode. Apparently he thinks he has a chance in the upcoming election, and is selling these bumper stickers for a donation:


“It’s just common sense” has been McCrory’s increasingly plaintive defense of HB 2 and the indefensible. I’m expecting he’ll be utterly trounced by Roy Cooper in the November election, and I’ll be happy to see it.

Ash Dome



In 1977, sculptor David Nash cleared an area of land near his home in Wales where he trained a circle of 22 ash trees to grow in a vortex-like shape for an artwork titled Ash Dome. Almost 40 years later, the trees still grow today. The artist has long worked with wood and natural elements in his art practice, often incorporating live trees or even animals into pieces. The exact site of Ash Dome in the Snowdonia region of northwest Wales is a closely guarded secret, and film crews or photographers who are permitted to see it are reportedly taken on a circuitous route to guard its location. Nash shares in an interview with the International Sculpture Center:

When I first planted the ring of trees for Ash Dome, the Cold War was still a threat. There was serious economic gloom, very high unemployment in our country, and nuclear war was a real possibility. We were killing the planet, which we still are because of greed. In Britain, our governments were changing quickly, so we had very short-term political and economic policies. To make a gesture by planting something for the 21st century, which was what Ash Dome was about, was a long-term commitment, an act of faith. I did not know what I was letting myself in for.

Via Colossal Art.

America the Beer


Anheuser Busch’s decision on Tuesday to rename its signature Budweiser brand “America” did not taste great to critics on Twitter.

As The Atlantic reported, the Dutch-owned company announced that it would rebrand the beer through the November elections, which the company’s branding firm defended by saying, “We thought nothing was more iconic than Budweiser and nothing was more iconic than America.”

There has been a Twitter outbreak over the news, and it’s not a positive one.


There’s more at Raw Story and Twitter.

Oh FFS 2



A North Carolina high school will allow students to carry pepper spray, razors and other items which one board member suggested they might need to defend themselves against transgender classmates they encounter in the bathroom.

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education removed prohibitive language in its policy on defensive weapons this week but will continue to debate which items will be allowed on campus, reported the Salisbury Post.

One school board member said pepper spray and other chemical irritants should be allowed in case a court strikes down the state’s controversial HB2, better known as the anti-LGBT “bathroom bill.”

“Depending on how the courts rule on the bathroom issues, it may be a pretty valuable tool to have on the female students if they go to the bathroom, not knowing who may come in,” said board member Chuck Hughes.


Board members agreed to allow students to carry disposable razors, as well — although they maintained a ban on straight-edge razors.

After some disagreement on razors, board members agreed to specify that personal razors should be used for shaving only while at school.

Full Story Here.


Joseph Martone Jr.

Joseph Martone Jr. The sign on his walker reads “Trust God End Abortion”.

…But minutes later, he was able to walk inside the store [Target] on North Powers Boulevard and North Carefree Circle as a customer and enter the women’s restroom unchecked.

Wearing a blond wig, a skirt and his salt-and-pepper beard and using his customary walker, the Colorado Springs resident said he was sad to have proved his point.


In recent days, customers in Jackson, Miss., and Layton, Utah, have protested with the same fears as Martone.

“Anyone can dress up like I have today and easily access the women’s bathroom,” he said.

Oh, please, all you fucking idiots out there, could you please get this into your brain: there was nothing stopping you from accessing the women’s bathroom before. Nothing at all. You didn’t even need to play dress up. Nope, just walk right the fuck in, because that’s what anyone can do in any public lav. Fuck, these people are beyond thick and annoying.

Story here.

Bigger in Texas: Transphobia

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick at left; Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at right

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick at left; Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at right

Two of the state’s top elected officials — the lieutenant governor and the attorney general — both went on transphobic, fear-mongering tirades as North Carolina ramped up its defense of a controversial anti-trans law.

Moments after North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory announced Monday that he was suing the federal government over its determination that his state’s sweeping anti-LGBT law violates federal civil rights law, Texas’s top lawman rushed to his fellow Republican’s defense.

Local LGBT publication Dallas Voice posted the full statement from Attorney General Paxton, who is currently facing a federal securities fraud lawsuit, on top of similar charges filed against him  last year in state court. Paxton previously earned the ire of marriage equality supporters (and a formal ethics complaint) last year when he falsely informed Texas county clerks that they did not have to abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling bringing the freedom to marry to all 50 states.

Paxton said:

“The people of the United States, through their representatives in Congress, enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure, in part, that men and women are treated equally. Congress has not changed this law to mean that individuals may choose whether they want to be male or female for the purpose of public accommodations. One’s sex is a biological fact, not a state of mind, and this threat to North Carolina is the latest in a long series of efforts by an unaccountable federal executive branch. My office stands with Governor McCrory and the people of North Carolina regarding this unconstitutional form of federal overreach.”


The same day, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — himself no stranger to transphobic fear mongering — took aim at a school superintendent who had approved a modestly trans-inclusive policy regarding bathroom and locker room access for students in the district.

Patrick suggested Monday that Kent Scribner, Fort Worth school district superintendent, should be removed from his position following the April 19 adoption of a district-wide policy that allows trans students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Full Story Here.

Saudi Cleric: Homosexuality should not be punished.

Salman al-Ouda talking to young YouTube producers (Emad Alhusayni/Flickr)

Salman al-Ouda talking to young YouTube producers (Emad Alhusayni/Flickr)

A leading Saudi cleric has publicly stated that homosexuality should not be criminally punished, during a visit to Sweden to visit Syrian refugees.

“Even though homosexuality is considered a sin in all the Semitic holy books, it does not require any punishment in this world,” Dr Salman al-Ouda said in an interview with the Swedish Sydsvenskan newspaper, adding that homosexuals would be punished “after death.”

Homosexuality has long been a controversial topic in much of the Muslim world. LGBT people still face the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.


“Homosexuals are not deviating from Islam,” continued Ouda in the interview. “Homosexuality is a grave sin, but those who say that homosexuals deviate from Islam are the real deviators.

“By condemning homosexuals to death they are committing a graver sin than homosexuality itself.”

He added that Islam did not “encourage individuals who have same-sex attraction to show their feelings in public.”

His comments have already provoked controversy in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East.


He also condemned the abuse of the concept of Sharia law by Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

“Sharia is a very broad and wide concept and it is a concept that has been kidnapped,” he said.

Though still a controversial topic, Ouda is not the first senior Islamic figure to propose changing the legal status of homosexuality.

Middle East Eye has the story.

Trump Presidency: Forget Canada, Go to Russia!


Several celebrities and liberal politicians have threatened to move to Canada if Donald Trump becomes president, but Vladimir Putin would like American political refugees to consider moving to Russia instead.

Putin is offering 2.5 acres and citizenship to any Americans fleeing a Donald Trump presidency who would be willing to live in Russia’s remote Far East for at least his first term.

Like the United States 19th century western land rush, the Russian Homestead Act was designed to lure hardy settlers and political asylum seekers to help settle the largely undeveloped region.

Inquisitr has the full story.

Absolutely. Terrifying.


The newly described dinosaur Zhenyuanlong suni measured 5 feet in length and was a relative of the velociraptor. The fossil’s well-preserved wings bore complex feathers, not simple hairlike structures. Illustration by Zhao Chuang.

Click image for full size. I don’t know about you, but if something like that was chasing me…godsdamn. Feathers, much more terrifying than scales, hands down.

They Had Feathers: Is the World Ready to See Dinosaurs as They Really Were?  (Via Pharyngula.)