Exploit Disaster for Fun and Profit!

But wait! There's more!

August 31, 2011

So Hurricane Irene was not the apocalyptic disaster the press made it out to be. The earthquake a few weeks ago did damage, but it wasn’t anywhere close to Japan’s damage. Still, both disasters caused damage and lives were lost. As a nation, we should look to these affected areas and at the very least hope the people there get the help and resources they need.

And wouldn’t you know it? Conservatives don’t like that sort of thing.

What? The American Right Wing is actually mad that tax dollars are being spent helping people who just suffered through a natural disaster? Surely, I speak lies!

No, my friend.

Summer storm by *Chris-Lamprianidis on deviantART

None other than Glenn Beck himself is outraged that the government is providing aid. No, seriously. See, in his mind, to accept help is to be weak and subservient. If the people in Vermont, for example, didn’t plan on what to do when horrendous flooding and winds destroyed their infrastructure, then they have no business asking their government to help. I wish I could make this up, but it’s true.

To top it off, Fox is having a field day asking if we even need The National Weather Service. That thing that lets us know when bad weather is coming? Since it doesn’t make money, it must not be doing its job. I guess since police departments and firefighters don’t bring in the big bucks for the government, either, we can get rid of them, too. At least we have Bill Nye defending it.

Finally, I wish I could be surprised at this, but Pat Robertson, who thinks Harry Potter is the emissary of the devil, and Michelle Bachmann, a woman so dumb that her argument about global warming could be destroyed by a second-grader, have taken the opportunity to use these disasters as a message from God.

Buchannan claims that the damage from the earthquake, a tremor that cracked the Washington monument, is akin to the split curtain in the Gospels. God is mad at us for what we’re doing, for our liberal policies. Bachmann claims the hurricane is a sign from God that we need to cut back spending and embrace GOP economic policies.

Are you there God? by =Phatpuppyart on deviantART

Maybe it’s just me, but out of ALL the problems in the world and the nearly 6.7 billion people on the planet, could the hurricane and earthquake be for something else? Maybe it’s God telling New Jersey to do something about The Situation. Maybe sharks swimming through streets in Puerto Rico is a sign telling them there are enemies in their midst. Maybe having millions of people without power is a sign that we need to go back to nature and embrace neo-Luddism.

Or maybe all these people are trying to profit out of the misery and death and chaos created by shifting global climate patterns.

Remember, folks. When you think a hemisphere-spanning event relates specifically to you, that’s called “rampant narcissism,” otherwise known as “votes Republican.”

ignorance. by ~freckledmystery on deviantART

Earth First! Nuke Mars!

It's true. If we don't put Earth first, the Martians win.

August 30, 2011

People still believe the sun revolves around the Earth. And no, these aren’t some loony fringe group in some backwaters compound. This is an actual splinter group of the Catholic Church. They held a conference at the University Of Notre Dame. And if this story is to be believed, it is growing in numbers.

Really? That’s what we’ve come to? The sun revolves around the Earth?

Let me break it down for everyone. If a book written during the Bronze Age says one thing, but centuries of observation and data say something else, if the OBSERVED information contradicts said book, the SCIENCE is still right.

A theory, in scientific terms, is not a “guess.” That is a “hypothesis.” Something cannot be called a theory in science unless it has stood up to decades, often centuries, of scrutiny and testing. The “theory” of gravity doesn’t mean we’re guessing gravity exists. It means we’ve observed that objects tend to gravitate towards each other and larger objects create much more pull. Maybe it means planets and moons love each other and want to be close together, but we have no evidence for that, just evidence for the mechanics that govern the motions of stars and galaxies and everything else.

Stop trying to use “vocabulary” to discredit science.

The Earth is Round flat by ~rnd79 on deviantART

You know what? I’m pissed. Whenever one of these backbirth groups pops up, they usually take to radio, or television, or the internet in order to broadcast their ignorance. I guarantee you these groups are shooting videos and getting the words out electronically.

You know what made those technologies possible?


If you have no respect for scientific advancement, for the fruits that science has given us, get off the internet and go back to the Pony Express. This is a place made possible by scientific discoveries, everything from the electron to the microprocessor. It is engineers and scientists reaching to make the most of the knowledge they have. Science has cured diseases. Science has extended our lifespans. Science took us to the moon and makes it possible for me to stream Hellraiser while I type this.

Science is the act of observing the world and discovering the rules that govern reality based on those observations. It is impossible to “prove” something, but highly possible to “disprove” it. All it takes is ONE piece of evidence. Something we can all measure equally.

If you want to dispute said observations, fine. Science welcomes your challenge. Scienc change as new observations come in. This is not a weakness in the process, but rather a strength. Religion doesn’t do this. It has to get dragged kicking and screaming to accept change. Old theories don’t just vanish. Relativity didn’t overthrow Galilean physics. It supplemented them, much like quantum mechanics didn’t replace relativity.

Pseudoscience by ~Vampiraldi on deviantART

All I’m saying is…

Just don’t walk up to science with snot in your nose a juice box in your hand. If you want to argue, come with something better than, “Magic book from desert nomads says so.”

And people wonder why fundamentalists aren’t taken seriously…

And to wash that taste away, here’s a short film based on Portal 2. Enjoy!

The Declaration of Independence (Beck-Style)

I would have written something funnier if I weren't so exhausted.

August 26, 2011

Beck finally held his much-lauded rally in Jerusalem. He had a few hundred people there, judging by the photos. He went into full televangelist mode. He said he’d be bringing his message to other continents and that anyone who chose to follow him in his quest might be killed by the liberal progressicommunazi conspiracy.

The weirdest part, though, was his unveiling of his Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities, a manifesto that just begs a closer look. It’s 1,227 words that, well, tell us so much about this man and the people who think like him. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

I’ve taken the liberty of copying it word for word so you don’t have to go to his site and give him more page hits.

As the American Declaration of Independence clearly states, when in the course of human events it becomes necessary for people to band together and collectively declare their rights and responsibilities to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle and bind them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should disclose the causes which impel them to such.

Okay, so like any manifesto, we’re going to outline how we got here. Makes sense. After all, Beck seems to be the only one who sees the vast web of conspiracies in everything from skin cream to schools. Let us continue.

beck scoundral by *sketchoo on deviantART

Therefore let us declare that we still hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But with those rights come responsibilities.

Nice historical allusion. Okay, I’m with him so far. We have rights. True. We also have responsibilities. We have to go to jury duty. We have to pay taxes. We have to vote. Nothing crazy so far.

In order to continually experience life, liberty and happiness as promised, nature’s God demands obedience to His law to protect those rights. This is where we have fallen short and therefore, in order not to lose the blessings of freedom, the people of the world must turn from the sole focus on rights, and recognize the inherent and required responsibilities that we have.

Aaaaaaand hello, Crazy Town. Rights come ONLY from God, folks. That’s the argument. Our rights are not simply there. God can take them away. Let that sink in for a moment. That right to worship as you choose, read and say what you want, and not be a slave? That’s from the same God who made the infidels drink gold, has followers who wish to censor literature, and advocated the owning of slaves won in times of war.

Among the responsibilities to which we must adhere to maintain our God given rights are honor, courage and vigilance.

You know, what? I’m going to say it. He missed a hyphen.

Over time, we believe that these basic human responsibilities have been trampled, and replaced with degradation, fear and apathy.

And this is a passive sentence. Who or what replaced these responsibilities? Also, you put an extra comma after “trampled.”


Possible Sarcasm Punctuation by ~Tailsfan95 on deviantART


But when a long train of abuses of the people and conscience by the media and by other segments of society, pursuing the same path of reducing them to ridicule, scorn and even sub-human status, it is their right, it is their DUTY, to peacefully, but vehemently take a stand.

Men want to be king, and the more we concentrate on our rights and the more we are told not to worry about our responsibilities, the more we lose our rights.

Actually, the more we focus on our rights, the more we see when said rights are abused. As it stands, we really don’t have to do anything to keep our rights. Even Beck himself has admitted that the Civil Rights Movement is over since we in the West have all the rights we want. They cannot be taken from us unless the Amendments themselves get rewritten, so what does Beck mean by “the more we lose our rights?”

He and the Right in America have been constantly called out for the bigoted, anti-science, anti-progress, anti-poor myopic idiots that they are. They want to bolster the rich and crush the poor. They want to make it possible to once again treat people like crap just because you worship one god and they worship another. They want the right to treat employees like servants. They want the right use religion to dictate law.

But moving on…

Just as physics show, for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. The time has come to declare that at least for the western world human rights are generally accepted and moving in the right direction however a new movement is required a movement of human responsibility.

Punctuation punctuation punctuation… *headasplode*

The media, politicians and large institutions both academic and political have been lying to us, and we must demand the truth be told.

With that demand, comes the responsibility that we tell the truth first, in ourselves. Too many of us delegate our responsibility to the media…and too many believe there is no personal responsibility at all.

Okay, I think I’m nitpicking now, but does ANYONE working for Beck know how to use a fraking coma?!

By the way, the line about people delegating their responsibility to the media? Guess which network continually boasts to be the top-watched network in the country? I’ll give you a guess. It’s the same network that doesn’t know the difference between journalism and opinion and couldn’t care less about journalistic integrity.

Old fashioned journalism by ~artifexa on deviantART


Political correctness has polluted our language and clouds our every discussion.

What was once accepted as good and right, is now considered bad and evil, and that which was bad and evil is now presented to the world as good and decent.

I could not follow on a boat. I could not follow with a goat. I could not understand you, Glenn. I want to stab you with a pen. You cannot use a comma. Your rants are full of drama.

Doctor Seuss, I ain’t. I hate when people make a blanket statement like this. I’d like to know when evil became decent, for one. I’d like an example. What was the point in which we thought, for example, that murder was acceptable? Theft? Racism? Anything? Anyone?

Opposing thoughts or opinions are referred to as crazy, insane, non-factual and utterly without merit. Furthermore, we are told, they should not even be heard.

Who said this? Who said we should not have ideas out on the field? If he’s talking about creationism (and he has), then he’s right. It should not be taught as a science because it is a religious idea.

Of course, he could also be referring to the fact that his own attacks on progressive policies have constantly been debunked by the simple fact that Beck refuses to use simple things like research.

Now, the time has come to take a stand by exhibiting the traits – honor, courage and vigilance.

What is honor? It is being honest in all of our dealings. It is showing loyalty and fairness, and being a beacon of integrity in all our beliefs and actions. It is showing respect for others.

Ruth honored Naomi when she told her that she would not leave her. That she would go wherever Naomi went, that she would live where Naomi lived and die where Naomi died. Her God would be Naomi’s God.

To be fair, that’s not honor so much as it is loyalty.

Courage is the ability to face danger, criticism or scorn – not without fear, but while overcoming fear to deal with that which comes our way.

When no one else in the Kingdom wanted to face the mighty giant, Goliath, young David was willing. David must have felt fear at the sight of his foe, but overcame it, and courageously vanquished his enemy.

Vigilance is being watchful for all forms of treachery and tyranny, lies and deceit. The person in the watchtower, waiting all night, suddenly sounding the alarm that the enemy is coming. The careful observer of the markets and economies who proclaims to the world, all is not well, there is trouble ahead and the outspoken critic of the powerful, going against societies’ grain, warning that all is not as we’re being told. These are the vigilant.

So the people who call you and others like you out because you’ve poisoned the political discourse are vigilant? They’re not, you know… your enemies?

This is actually kind of funny. Beck is asking people to pay attention to the world around them and tell others what they are doing. At the same time, Beck has asked his own viewers to look at progressive websites and monitor them. But not conservatives, because that would be wrong. The problem is that they don’t call out Beck himself when he almost causes an international incident. They don’t call him out when he is part of an effort to keep health insurance from the hands of 98% of the population. He wasn’t called out when he said things so offensive that he galvanized the Jewish community against him.

So, if his viewers are so vigilant, why do they keep missing all this?

Patriotism by ~raun on deviantART


We implore all people to stand with these characteristics – honor, courage and vigilance.

To that end, we must restore honor in our own lives. Seek after the truth. Declare right now, that no longer will we simply accept what is told us by the media or anyone else.

The media has the responsibility to tell the truth, we have the responsibility to learn it.

Stand with courage, even if it means the end of our jobs, the end of our positions in life…or even the end of our very lives.

Here we go…

We are not at some point where we must risk life and death to tell the truth. You want truth? There are actual journalists out there covering news around the world. Anyone with an internet connection can report what is seen and heard around the world. Are there tyrannical regimes and groups that would kill to suppress the truth? Of course.

But Beck is not in danger. Neither are we. We live in a country where we can say what we want.

The only people in danger are the people Beck targets with his rhetoric. No, really. His theories and monologues have gotten people killed.

We must have the courage to be peaceful, while recognizing the courage to defend and respond to threats and/or attacks when necessary.

Turn the other cheek when possible.

I want someone to find me ONE instance of Beck doing this. Please.

We must be vigilant. We must think the unthinkable. The holocaust occurred because no one could imagine it, but evil never sleeps, and neither must we.

No, Beck. The holocaust occurred because Germany was looking for a scapegoat and Jews were, historically, a minority blamed for everything from economic strife to the theft of Christian babies. It occurred because we didn’t have instant media like we do today and could not know what was happening on the other side of the world. It occurred because fundamentalist radicals got power and pushed a Right-wing agenda that focused on war and the delusional belief that their patriotism made them right. They believed they were doing God’s work.

As Edmund Burke said, “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” We must DO something. Stand watch. Speak up. Become involved.

“Sign up! Buy gold! Follow me! Give me your money!”

Preacher Man by ~JamesBirkbeck on deviantART


Thus, we the people do hereby declare not only our rights, but do now establish this bill of responsibilities.

1. Because I have the right to choose, I recognize that I am accountable to God and have the responsibility to keep the 10 commandments in my own life.

Religious rules that should apply to the rest of us? Sign me up, Glenn!

2. Because I have the right to worship as I choose, I have the responsibility to honor the right of others to worship as they see fit.

Okay, so now it’s clear. This is only for Christians. Just Christians. Got that? All you dirty heathens can go now.

3. Because I have freedom of speech, I have the responsibility to defend the speech of others, even if I strongly disagree with what they’re saying.

Exhibit A. Beck yells at a caller to shut up.

4. Because I have the right to pursue happiness, I have the responsibility to show humility and express gratitude for all the blessings I enjoy and the rights I’ve been given.

Exhibit B. Beck goes on, and on, and on about he is an anointed prophet of God.

5. Because I have the right to honest and good government I will seek out honest and just representatives when possible. If I cannot find one then I accept the responsibility to take that place.

Exhibit C. Beck insists politics in this country have divided us… yet he’s never expressed a desire to seek office.

6. Because I have the God given right to liberty, I have the personal responsibility to have the courage to defend others to be secure in their persons, lives and property.

Exhibit D. Beck has attacked groups that help the poor and less fortunate.

7. Because I have the right to equal justice, I will stand for those who are wrongly accused or unjustly blamed.

Exhibit E. This is the same as an earlier link, but Beck smeared Nivea because he thought the company was siding with Palestine against Israel. When confronted with an explanation, he continued to smear them.

8. Because I have the right to knowledge, I will be accountable for myself and my children’s education…to live our lives in such a way that insures the continuation of truth.

Exhibit F. Beck’s “university” is filled with instructors who wouldn’t be able to pass basic logic tests for lab rats. He actually touts self-education as something on par with an actual education where you interact with people who, you know, have spent their lives studying something.

9. Because I have the right to pursue my dreams and keep the fruits of my labor, I have the responsibility to feed, protect and shelter my family, the less fortunate, the fatherless, the old and infirm.

Exhibit G. Beck wants to defund FEMA and basically roll back every major social welfare program of the last century.

10. Because I have a right to the truth, I will not bear false witness nor will not stand idly by as others do.

Exhibits H through Z… I just don’t have the time to summarize them all. Beck is a master of the falsehood. Do you want to know how to know when he’s lying? He opens his mouth and words come out.

You tell all those LIES… by ~simplyxinsane on deviantART

Unconditionally, while maintaining my responsibility to compassionately yet fiercely stand against those things that decay the natural rights of all men. And for the support of this declaration, and with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives, fortunes and sacred honor.

Okay, I am officially exhausted. The only reason I talk about him is because, even without Fox, he still has a huge base. He’s losing sponsors and stations, but people still buy his books, go to his rallies, and he’s still a voice on the Right that can move mountains. It’s not about shutting him up. I hope he keeps talking so people have more evidence to show just how much of a manipulative bastard he is. Just reading through his declaration shows everything that’s wrong with conservatism and the Tea Party.

Actually comparing its goals to Beck’s actions?

It shows that his audience either just responds “yes” to everything he says, they can’t read, or they have a twelve-hour memory. Either way, they should go back to playing with crayons and wearing diapers.

He and his audience are so full of shit they must change undies ten times a day.

Beck by ~OnlyObsessive on deviantART

Michelle Bachmann: Serial Killer

Yes, the eyes are Photoshopped. No, the base image is not fake. Yes, she really does look insane ALL THE TIME.

August 24, 2011

As Mary and I watched The Silence of the Lambs (again), something happened that made me sit up and take note. No, it wasn’t that Buffalo Bill is now apparently Captain of the San Francisco Homicide Division. Apparently, Michelle Bachmann is a serial killer or agrees with their actions.

Now, hold on. I’m going to employ some Right-Wing thinking to connect the dots.

Bachmann was adamant she wanted to use Tom Petty’s “American Girl.” Petty insisted she couldn’t, but Bachmann went ahead anyway. That same song played in Silence of the Lambs right before Buffalo Bill took his sixth victim.

Bachmann also said she was proud to be from the same town as John Wayne… Gacy. She insists she meant John Wayne, but THAT Wayne was from a different town.

Finally, Bachmann mixed up Elvis’ birth and death dates, which could be a simple result of her staff being comprised of chimps and barely-sentient mayonnaise. However, this would seem to indicate a need to celebrate death.

What’s the result of all these incidents? Bachamann must either be a serial killer or sympathize with them. It’s the only explanation that makes sense.

Fluttershy Bachmann by ~GonzoTheAnime on deviantART

Of course, this is nothing but wild imaginings. It’s the kind of logic that makes Beck see a world-wide conspiracy from progressives that is both well-funded and coordinated and somehow has escaped everyone else’s investigations. It’s the kind of logic that people like the NRA use when they claim that any form of gun legislation is some attempt by the United Nations to get their guns. It’s the same kind of logic bad students use when they claim teachers are out to get them when said students don’t even do the work.

It’s the logic of the conspiracy theorist. Take a series of events, however random, and link them to a preconceived notion. Beck, for example, believes he is right about everything, which for anyone else would be simple narcissism and delusion. He’s an addict, a former druggie and alcoholic, and his brain works by latching itself to things it likes. The idea of being persecuted, of being special, is at the heart of all conspiracies involving cover-ups. That’s like candy for Beck’s brain.

conspiracy theory demote by ~marsmar on deviantART

Making weird connections like this is usually glamorized for shows like House. Finding the patterns in the chaos is the whole point of this site, in fact. However, just seeing connections is not enough. You have to be able to prove each step. Don’t start with the conclusion and then find evidence for it or you’ll invite others to have to disprove your theory.

For example, anyone out there care to disprove my Bachmann serial killer theory? Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Conspiracy by ~stevensonalexj on deviantART

The Tax on Good Grades

Back in my day, we didn't tax the high GPA makers! That creates more students!

August 19, 2011

Well, it’s back to school again, and, as most of you know, those with the highest grades will be asked to give away some of those GPA points to students who didn’t try as hard so everyone can have a chance at a better education and job later on.

Oh, that’s not how that happens?

Fox sent out a camera crew and recent college graduate to a few campuses to ask students how they would feel if they were asked to give some of their GPA to lower students so the people with lower grades could have higher GPAs. Obviously, this did not sit well with ANY student. How then, Fox asks, do we justify taking MORE money away from the wealthy in the form of increased taxes and giving it to the lower and middle class? Isn’t that the same thing? Taking away from the people who worked for their money and giving it to people who don’t work hard so they don’t get as much?

I think you can already see the problem here.

Students by ~dpoephoto on deviantART

A student earns a GPA over a long period of time. It takes years. To get that grade, you have to study hard, do your work, and if you want to bulk up with transcript, you have to take AP classes that sometimes don’t even give you extra points or anything like that. They didn’t for me, and while part of the Honor Scholars Program at DePauw University, I had to take classes that were an order of magnitude harder than any other class I’ve ever taken, and said classes didn’t even count for extra points. And I still made the Dean’s List several times.

That’s not how taxes and economics work.

For several decades, the upper class has received what can only be called “corporate welfare.” They actually get taxed less than people who make WAY less and can write off any number of expenses. For Fox’s analogy to make sense, students with higher GPA should have had to do less work to get better grades over time AND people with lower GPAs should have had to give up a portion of their grades to people who were already getting good grades.

Let me put it another way. Billy works hard but can only ever get a 2.5 GPA. Tommy lucked out nearly on his freshman year and got a 3.8 average. The school then took some of Billy’s points and gave them to Tommy to keep him in the highest percentile. Now, Billy has to work harder for his points, but Tommy can cruise along knowing the points he gets from the bottom of the ladder will offset his lack of work and keep him higher up.

Fox News by ~Darren-Kelly on deviantART

Students with high GPAs generally work VERY hard to get those grades. I know I did. The upper class in this country gets a free pass and politicians in their corner to make sure they stay up there. There is an entire infrastructure just to keep the rich rich. There is no such system in place for students. Lower grades don’t always mean you’re not working hard. Most students give it their best. Job-wise, I work my butt off and make less per hour than the dean’s secretary. Stop pretending like people who are poor don’t work hard. Try teaching. Try being a sanitation worker. Try being a gardener, migrant worker, police officer, firefighter, or even a babysitter. That’s damn hard work.

People who rely on hedge funds to GIVE them money? Must be nice.

In short, Fox sucks, students rock, have fun on the first week of school, students and teachers, and I’ll see you Monday with the new Weekly Muse story. Keep voting!

first day blues by ~misternow on deviantART

The United States of Randomology

There are rocky shores ahead for some very rich libertarians...

August 18, 2011

Ever get the feeling that life is just too stiming with all its rules, regulations, and silly things like social norms and boundaries? Hey, if you’re filthy rich and want to start over, why not pitch in and start your own country out at sea?

That’s just what an intrepid group of libertarians are doing. They’re going to set up artificial islands and start new societies outside of the reach of other nations. Basically, these places will have all but the most basic laws, regulations, and even then, it sounds like they’ll be free to build, do, and conduct themselves however they want.

For my part, I’m going to just wait for the first pig head on a stick to appear.

Lord of the Flies by *skottieyoung on deviantART

It’s not that I don’t think humans can function without rules and regulations. It’s that those rules and regulations are there to keep the people who would abuse the system in check. Minimum wage? That kept me fed for several years. Gun laws? They keep the nut down the street from saving up and buying an M60 to put on his roof. Building and health codes? They make it so that people have to make sure offices and homes won’t catch on fire and our food isn’t filled with yummy lead.

But, I can hear the libertarians say, people are smart enough to not sell products that kill, build buildings that won’t collapse, and buy guns responsibly.

Really? Is that why so many Right-wingers and libertarians want these rules taken away? Because they think they’re redundant? I got news for you. Libertarians want these rules taken away because THEY DON’T WANT TO FOLLOW THEM.

Things like minimum wage and health codes are things that lower the bottom line. Business cares about profit. I wouldn’t be surprised if these islands collapse under the weight of human greed and self-centeredness within six months.

libertarian demotivator by ~Party9999999 on deviantART

The idea, though, did make me ask myself what I would do if I was given a small island to make civilization. I think I’ve narrowed down my list of rules to a few choice rules.

  1. All people are free to worship or not worship as they see fit. They do not, however, have the right to use their religious views as facts and must still base all arguments on things other people can verify.
  2. Any performer that lip-synchs or auto-tunes during a concert will have to refund every ticket. And no, you can’t just put a disclaimer on the ticket.
  3. There will be NO political parties.
  4. Librarians, teachers, and educators will be heavily sought-after and will be compensated accordingly.
  5. School policy will be decided by teachers and educators. Parents and politicians can stay out of the final decision.
  6. Students will be held responsible for their work.
  7. Parents will be held responsible for students once said students leave the school.
  8. Happy Hour will be like Siesta. Everyone gets to go out for a few hours and just relax.
  9. If you own a truck with aftermarket shock-absorbers so that the whole thing is fifteen feet tall, you MUST own a ranch or otherwise justify having your headlights at eye-level with everyone else.
  10. High-speed internet is a right.

And what about you? What rules would you institute in your little island nation? See you tomorrow!

Anarchy by ~wildhearted on deviantART

Felonious Use of Carnal Knowledge 2: The Word Salad

...and a lot of people apparently DO let the words hurt them.

August 17, 2011

It’s no secret that the words and language we use color our perceptions of the world. Having grown up in Mexico, my thoughts often start out in Spanish even though I speak more English than anything. That syntax and sound are the things I use to measure beauty in speech. I think, though, that there is no better recent example of this ability for early language to shape our perceptions than this little article.

In short, Johanna Gohmann talks about how her parents used euphemisms for certain words, especially things pertaining to sex or bodily secretions. From her article:

Perhaps not surprisingly, my parents’ modesty spilled over into s-e-x terminology as well. To be fair, we didn’t exactly live in Berkeley, Calif., with 9-year-olds openly shouting, “Mommy, my vagina itches!” This was the ’70s and ’80s in the suburbs of Indiana. Many families employed a certain slang with these words, and not just because “rectum” is a difficult word for a toddler. For many, it’s a given that girls have their “coochie” and boys have their “weiner.” But not us, thank you very much. A brief dictionary sampling displays words that were all our own.

Boo (verb) — to defecate: “Mom! The baby just booed in his pants.”

Tink (verb) — to urinate: “He just tinked into a root beer can while driving!”

Tote (noun) — both the male and female genitalia: “Jo kicked Marty in the tote!”

Bo (noun) — buttocks: “Where’s the Benadryl? A bee stung Graham on the bo.”

Giving him elbows (verb) — breast-feeding: “Mom is busy. She’s giving the baby elbows.”

Did you catch all that? It reminds me of a child a coworker once taught. He didn’t know any words for animals or numbers. He knew the baby words. Instead of dog, he’d call said animal a “bowwow.” A seven? That was a “stick w’nother stick.”

My niece, being all of six years old, is actually a very eloquent young lady who can speak a few English phrases and has near-perfect Spanish diction. Why? Her parents never baby-talked to her. I’m assuming my boss and her husband did the same thing with their daughter, a precocious little thing that has syntax down.

Imagine all the people. by ~audreymarlett on deviantART

I hope you’re seeing the problem with raising a child knowing euphemisms for common, everyday things the rest of us freely discuss. I understand a person might be uncomfortable with certain images and topics, but to alter the word itself will not get rid of that image or that topic.

Check this out. I’m going to substitute the word “Funyun” for “spic,” and all death-related verbs will be switched with “splooge.”

Okay, you see those Funyuns over there? They come here, they steal our jobs, and leave us with nothing. I’m not saying we need to splooge them. No one is saying anyone needs to get splooged. I’m just saying that something needs to get done about the Funyun problem or some of the more radical elements in this country might splooge them if they feel they’ve been pushed too far. And it’s not that I’m racist. My best friend is a Funyun. I just don’t want to see splooge on the streets of this great country.

Back in the third article ever posted here, I said that words have power when we give them power. Unless you have synesthesia, changing one word to another will not take away the meaning of a word. It might make it silly, but it doesn’t mean your subject’s changed.

Don’t be afraid of using the correct words and terms for something. Granted, there is such a thing as being polite in casual conversation, and certain words are funnier than others, but don’t sugar-coat the conversation because the topic upsets you. If the topic is what bothers you, don’t even talk about it. Be honest with yourself. Words have meaning for a reason.

Stop blaming the phonetics and start confronting the vocabulary.

And now, I present to you the only good thing to come out of Final Destination 5. You have to admire the self-awareness these actors and actresses had towards the entire project. They’re comfortable making fun of their movie even before it comes out. Enjoy the campiness!

Breaking the Nerd Hierarchy

Weekend warriors...

August 16, 2011

Welcome back, folks! I hope you like the new site design. If you haven’t read it yet, the first Weekly Muse short story, “Treats,” is up and I’m working on the second one for next week. Vote here or on Facebook, but you can only input more than one option on the main site.

And now, let’s talk about the nerd hierarchy.

Larp – group picture by ~kickfoot on deviantART

I have friends who are LARPers. I myself enjoyed a little Kanar back in college. I experimented a bit with some friends. We just messed around with it at Sigma Nu. It was fun, and I can already hear you snickering at the double entendre. Overall, though, LARP always held this aura. It was like the lowest rung on the nerd ladder. It was barely one step above furries. It’s one thing to play D&D with your buddies, but it was something else to dress up and run around a field with foam weapons. It was the kind of thing little kids played.

But something really struck me. As I talked with these guys and gals, all different ages, all out there, willingly, in the 112 degree heat of South Texas, I realized something.

Okay, they’re fraking nerds. No getting around that. We all loved Lovecraft, made Star Wars references, and could quote Monty Python.

But it’s damn hard.

LARP 04 by ~k-w-a-k on deviantART

Forget trying to figure out the attack bonus of a Star Destroyer when its crew isn’t skilled. Never mind trying to figure out the intricacies of 3.5 d20 spell mechanics or whether Pass Through Metal applies to constructs or just walls.

YOU try sword fighting out in the sun without any shade, high humidity, and temperatures best suited for making a five-course meal.

LARPers, I now fully realize, are like the sports fans that wear the jerseys and drive to another state to watch the big game. It’s a level of commitment other hobbies just don’t ask for, and, much like my beloved Cortex or Dungeons and Dragons, it’s all made up. I guess the real stumbling block for me was all the effort it takes to create the scenario.

Don’t get me wrong. I won’t be trading my dice bag for foam shortswords any time soon (although I did get a couple of kills). Personally, it takes WAY too much effort to have the same amount of fun. And all they’re doing is the same stuff the rest of us forked over $40 a book or a monthly subscription for. All I’m saying is…

Deva LARP armour set by ~Mishutka on deviantART

Can’t we all just get along? Nerds, unite! From the chainmail-wearing LARPers, to the Funyun-covered D&D player, to the guy at the Star Wars premier dressed like a Sith… let’s all embrace our collective love for roleplaying. United, we are stronger. Let’s look past the petty squabbles about which Doctor Who is better. We need to put aside the debates of Trek versus Wars or at what point Anne Rice jumped the shark. We can unite into a global force that knows no bounds!

But we still don’t want the furries. Sorry, guys, but that shit’s weird.

furries by ~strangemage on deviantART

What I Learned from Moving (Again)

August 8, 2011

So I just barely got my internet hooked up and have a ton of boxes to open. Also, we need to find the fraking peanut butter or I will cut someone.

In the meantime, let me enlighten you with a few things I discovered while moving.

  • I still own Super Nintendo instruction manuals. I also have an N64 cartridge for Banjo Kazooie that I REALLY want to play.
  • I found a manuscript I wrote in high school. It was a science fiction story that involved a race of cat-like humanoids that live on a moon orbiting a gas giant in a nearby star system. Their technology is organic since they revere nature and they prove to be fierce warriors when needed. Cut to 2009
  • I have never filled every page of any journal I’ve ever used. At most, I’ve used half, and I’m still using the same Moleskin from 2006.
  • I have way more phone chargers than can possibly be healthy.
  • Combined, we have books from several major religions. They’re on the same shelf as the Communist Manifesto and a faux-manuscript on dragonology.
  • The surest way to confuse a dog is to move her to a new place REALLY close to her old apartment so everything smells the same, yet is laid out differently.