The biggest ego in Texas?

Most of the time, I’m proud to be a Texan, and specifically I’m proud to be a Houstonian. I have spent a grand total of around 2½ years of my life living outside of Houston city limits, and even that time was all in what most people would consider the “greater Houston area.” However, we have a few times where certain elected leaders do certain things that I refer to by the highly technical term “stupid shit.” This is one of those times, and this is the kind of thing that makes me a bit ashamed to be a Texan.

I am referring to this Houston Chronicle article on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton encouraging county clerks to ignore the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. As you may know, judging by the number of rainbow Facebook avatars, this past Friday the Supreme Court struck down bans on same-sex marriages throughout the country (including Texas). However, it seems that Mr. Paxton thinks he and the county clerks who just don’t want to obey the law, are above the law.

As those who have read my blog in the past know, I have a rather low tolerance for stupidity. Obviously, this crosses the line, but it’s shameful because I’d expect better from someone who is in fact the attorney for the entire state when it comes down to it. There’s some consolation in knowing I didn’t vote for this idiot. A lot of us have known for a long time that love knows no boundaries. The hypocrisy of conservative religious groups protesting regarding the sanctity of marriage, yet remaining deafeningly silent on the subject of things like divorce doing far more harm to said sanctity, has completely discredited those groups in my view. It is archaic to restrict marriage based on gender.

To make matters worse, Texas’s marriage license forms went as far as to have one space for male partner, and one space for female partner. I couldn’t find the news stories covering this, but I do know this fact in and of itself got news coverage as the Supreme Court prepared to hear Obergefell v. Hodges. Has it always been like this? Did someone make this change on purpose, to make it as difficult as possible for same-sex marriages (requiring a scratch-out on the form for one gender or the other)? I’d be willing to bet it’s the latter case but it will be difficult at best to prove.

In closing, it is frustrating to me that the Supreme Court’s decision is not only getting a lack of respect, but is being flaunted on purpose by an attorney general who is doing an incredibly poor job of representing Texas. To the rest of the US (and the world): we aren’t all like this, and a significant number of us did not vote for this clown.

With new word additions, has Scrabble just jumped the shark?

I saw this recent story about Scrabble featured on the NPR website and honestly, found it quite horrifying. In essence, the maintainers of the official Scrabble word list have added quite a few words that, well, certainly aren’t what I’d call real words.

The most egregious examples include “lolz” (you’re kidding, right?), “lotsa”, “newb”, “obvs”, “pwn” (this is actually a misspelling of an existing word, “own”, not a word of its own), “wuz” (oh come on), “cazh”, “cinq” (I thought there was a rule against foreign words?), “wojus” (another foreign word), “zeda” (supposedly, this means “grandfather” somewhere, but not in the English I was taught), “ridic” (Scrabble isn’t text messaging, people), and “shizzle”. Somewhat more reasonable are a few additions like “podiumed”, “devo”, “geocache”, “hashtag”, “showrooming”, and “checkbox”. I can even see the logic behind “cakehole” making the list. But this doesn’t offset in the least the number of non-word turds that will now be tournament-legal Scrabble plays.

Look, I hate drawing letters like Q, X, or Z in a game of Scrabble as much as almost anyone else who hasn’t memorized the list of words with those letters in them. It’s one thing to put some of these words in a real dictionary, but another entirely to call them legal Scrabble plays. To me, Scrabble has always been about real English, not idiot babble, half-assed abbreviations, and obviously foreign words. Allowing “lolz”, “wuz”, and “ridic” is just the first few feet on a very slippery slope. (At least some of the time, retribution is possible given the right hand: adding “ulous” to the end of “ridic” and hitting a triple word score in the process would certainly be an appropriate response on someone who dared play it.)

There is still a small chance that WESPA (the World English Scrabble Players Association) and/or NASPA (the North American Scrabble Players Association) will veto some of the new words this coming September. I’m not holding my breath, but it is technically possible.