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Where are the Eisenhowers of Yesteryear?

1956 Labor Day flyer

The GOP was encouraging union membership!

In August of 1956, the Republican Party gathered in San Francisco to re-nominate President Dwight D. Eisenhower as its candidate in the upcoming presidential election.

The party that year adopted a platform that emphasized that the GOP was "proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs."

This included boasting that Eisenhower had overseen a hike in the federal minimum wage that raised incomes for 2 million Americans while expanding Social Security to 10 million more people and increasing benefits for 6.5 million others.

Today's Republican Party has made weakening labor unions a priority, but the 1956 platform noted that under Eisenhower, "workers have gained and unions have grown in strength and responsibility, and have increased their membership by 2 millions."


Eisenhower cut the military budget by 27 percent following the Korean War, and used his bully pulpit to highlight the tradeoffs of military spending. "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed," he said in a 1953 speech.

In his farewell address in on January 17, 1961, he highlighted the rise of what he called a "military-industrial complex" -- a war industry that he cautioned could exert "undue influence" on the government.

Something that wouldn't change under a Clinton presidency either.


By min | July 22, 2016, 9:17 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Handle Your Oatmeal Cookies With Care

Just going through first level cleric and magic user spells to convert for our steampunk session and i came across this (emphasis mine):

By means of this spell, the magic-user changes a volume of water to a volatile, flammable substance similar to alcohol and likewise lighter than water. If this substance is exposed to flame, fire, or even a spark, it will burst into flames and burn with a hot fire. Each creature subject to firewater flame will suffer 2-12 hit points of damage. The firewater created will evaporate and be useless within 1 round, even if it is securely contained and sealed, so it must be utilized (ignited) within 10 segments of its creation. The material components of this spell are a few grains of sugar and a raisin.


By min | July 20, 2016, 12:02 PM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link

Strawberry-Picking Robots

Fnord12 just last night told me they couldn't yet make robots that could do the work of harvesting delicate produce. I say to him "Fie on you, sir!"

Most agricultural robotic systems still require some form of human management, whether it involves watching over a swarm of bots to ensure nothing goes haywire or turning a strawberry-picking robot around once it has reached the end of a row.


But unlike the SciAm article, this Carnegie Endowment op-ed makes the opposite argument - robots will indeed take away the jobs.

Worries over new technologies destroying jobs have become chronic -- and up to this point, unfounded.

Thanks to new technologies, new industries emerged that created more jobs than were destroyed and increased not only productivity, but also workers' incomes, something the economist Joseph Schumpeter predicted in 1942. He called this phenomenon "creative destruction" -- a "process of industrial mutation ... that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one."

His theory has held true. Until now.

There are those who believe this time is different and that the job destruction created by technological advancements is of unprecedented speed and magnitude. As economist Eduardo Porter recently wrote, "new technology does seem more fundamentally disruptive than technologies of the past."

The worry is that new industries and occupations that will potentially be created won't come in time and won't be enough to provide jobs and incomes for the millions of workers displaced by new technologies.

Universal basic income? Anyone?

Recently, Switzerland held a referendum vote to decide whether the government would give citizens about $2,500 a month for doing absolutely nothing. Although the vote didn't pass and was never expected to, it may be a significant precursor to an emerging global trend.

In fact, many countries are already testing the idea of giving their citizens a minimum, no-strings-attached income. In Finland, the government will choose as many as 10,000 adults at random and will give them between 500 and 700 euros a month with the purpose of measuring the effects the money has on their propensity to work and on their life decisions. If the trial is successful, the Finnish government could implement the policy at a national level. Similar experiments are taking place in Canada, the Netherlands, Kenya and other countries.

The problems and defects with this idea are obvious. Having a guaranteed income could discourage work. Giving someone a material compensation without something of value produced in exchange is questionable from economic, social and ethical standpoints. The risks of corruption and political favoritism in the selection of beneficiaries are high. And, of course, this isn't a cheap initiative. These types of subsidies could turn into a huge burdens for the state and create enormous chronic deficits in public budgets.

And yet, despite all its defects, a minimum income guarantee may well become an inevitable policy. There is no doubt that globalization and new technologies have created infinite new opportunities for humanity. From reducing global poverty to medical advances and empowering historically marginalized social groups, progress is obvious.

But the negative effects are also obvious. Increasing inequality, the destruction of jobs and shrinking salaries -- especially in the U.S. and Europe -- all have some link to globalization and new technologies. And all these negative effects feed into the populism and toxic political extremism that we see taking hold of many countries today.

By min | July 20, 2016, 8:56 AM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (1) | Link

Steam Horde

When i got my Bones Kickstarter, there were a bunch of figures that had guns and the like. And since i've been running a pure fantasy setting for years, i just put all those figures in a separate bag, figuring i'd never paint them. But now Min is going to run a campaign in a steampunk setting, and i thought it would be good for us to have miniatures that fit the campaign. The characters i picked aren't necessarily steampunk, per se, but they are closer to it than most of the swords and sorcery type miniatures that i have.

The first group are the most steampunk. The guy has a high tech gun and a weird power glove while wearing vaguely Victorian looking clothing, and the lady is dressed like a mechanic and has high tech looking boots in addition to the gun.

These three are just wild west gunslingers, but when we were trying to describe the steampunk genre to those that hadn't heard of it, the most mainstream example we could think of was Wild Wild West. Min's campaign will take place in England, but there's no reason that characters couldn't come from America. The guy in the middle is a pretty good ringer for High Noon Yasuo from League of Legends, so that works out even better (i considered kit-bashing a sword in place of one of the guns; maybe i'll do it if we keep playing). The lady needed a bit of de-nudification; apparently the designers thought that female players would like to play a gunslinger whose boobs hung out.

These two characters were from a set that were obviously meant to be some kind of space marines. But i painted them a combination of brown, tan, and bronze, hoping that they could pass as steampunky suits along the lines of the Big Daddies from Bioshock.

Finally, some more modern looking characters. The one on the left was warped at the base. I tried to do the old 'dip them in boiling water' trick, but i was holding her with a pair of pliers by the head and i guess i let the head get too close to the water and it melted and now permanently has groove marks from the pliers. So she's a little deformed and probably isn't usable except as a scarred NPC. The one in the middle is obviously meant to be used in a modern horror setting, but who's to say that you couldn't have a steam-powered chainsaw? The third guy fits the campaign just fine.

By fnord12 | July 19, 2016, 3:47 PM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link

Straight from your steampunk campaign

It's Professor Wrigglesworth! We saw this guy while flipping through channels at a friend's house and were very impressed. Especially since he was showing off his skeletronic exo-skeleton, which is entirely human powered and so could be used in a steampunk era (you can use it at fancy dress parties, and for reaching fruit!).

But a google search reveals that the guy is more stand-up comedian than electrical engineer, and that makes him a lot less interesting.

And before you say it, Frank Zappa would never wear that ascot.

By fnord12 | July 18, 2016, 5:21 PM | D&D & Science & TeeVee | Comments (1) | Link

Great acheivements were acheived

Broke out the Intellivision last week and got further than i ever did before. Never got to the guys with the stun staffs before. They take 4 (!) hits, and kill you instantly. I did manage to take out a few before dying.

By fnord12 | July 18, 2016, 5:19 PM | Video Games | Comments (2) | Link

Ranger Danger Horde

Whenever i'm taking a break from my comics project i try to tackle the pile of miniatures that i got from the Bones kickstarter. But i wasn't really feeling like painting, so i actually just picked out some of the least interesting figures, figuring that i'd just knock them out and it didn't matter if i wasn't feeling particularly inspired. I deliberately picked out figures that could be painted in similar color schemes (for the most part) to save time and thinking. So that worked out to be three rangers and a few others randos. Actually, four of these figures are not Bones; they were given to me by a friend.

Here are the rangers. The two with the round bases are not Bones. As usual, the Bones are frustrating in the way the detail smushes together; the third Ranger has a blob for a face.

Here are two bards. I actually painted the halfling a little earlier and gave him more attention because i'm playing a halfling bard in a campaign run by a (different) friend. The other bard is posed like a rock star and has a lute that looks more like an electric guitar, but i didn't take the bait and i painted the instrument brown. I did let her have some punk rock stripes in her hair. This picture came out a little blurry but i've already noted my apathy.

This is probably the most nice looking figure in that she's standing on a giant dragon head. Of course, that's not very useful in a game. Does she drag that head around with her the whole time, reminding people how awesome she is because of that time she beheaded a dragon?

Another non-Bone. Another blurry pic, but he's got a cool looking face, and armored guys are always easy to paint.

The final figure (excluding the scorpions, who aren't worth a close-up) is also a non-Bone. And he's pretty interesting, actually. He's got a normal barbarian human kind of body, but his face is some sort of insectoid thing. Not sure if it's meant to be mask or if he's some kind of insect-man hybrid. He'll work either way.

By fnord12 | July 8, 2016, 1:46 PM | D&D | Comments (4) | Link

Media Failure to Examine Brexit Thoughtfully

This will make fnord12 happy - a Brexit discussion that doesn't oversimplify the argument to "ignorant xenophobia". But it's Glenn Greenwald, so in the end, no one will be happy.

Media reaction to the Brexit vote falls into two general categories: (1) earnest, candid attempts to understand what motivated voters to make this choice, even if that means indicting their own establishment circles, and (2) petulant, self-serving, simple-minded attacks on disobedient pro-Leave voters for being primitive, xenophobic bigots (and stupid to boot), all to evade any reckoning with their own responsibility. Virtually every reaction that falls into the former category emphasizes the profound failures of Western establishment factions; these institutions have spawned pervasive misery and inequality, only to spew condescending scorn at their victims when they object.

The Los Angeles Times's Vincent Bevins, in an outstanding and concise analysis, wrote that "both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very wrong answers to legitimate questions that urban elites have refused to ask for 30 years"; in particular, "since the 1980s the elites in rich countries have overplayed their hand, taking all the gains for themselves and just covering their ears when anyone else talks, and now they are watching in horror as voters revolt." The British journalist Tom Ewing, in a comprehensive Brexit explanation, said the same dynamic driving the U.K. vote prevails in Europe and North America as well: "the arrogance of neoliberal elites in constructing a politics designed to sideline and work around democracy while leaving democracy formally intact."

In an interview with the New Statesman, the political philosopher Michael Sandel also said that the dynamics driving the pro-Brexit sentiment were now dominant throughout the West generally: "A large constituency of working-class voters feel that not only has the economy left them behind, but so has the culture, that the sources of their dignity, the dignity of labor, have been eroded and mocked by developments with globalization, the rise of finance, the attention that is lavished by parties across the political spectrum on economic and financial elites, the technocratic emphasis of the established political parties." After the market-venerating radicalism of Reagan and Thatcher, he said, "the center left" -- Blair and Clinton and various European parties -- "managed to regain political office but failed to reimagine the mission and purpose of social democracy, which ­became empty and obsolete."

By min | June 29, 2016, 12:56 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (6) | Link

Yeah, that's what we mean by "rocks"

Well then you suddenly got a lot less interesting, Mr. Joe Cool Dinosaur. And what's with the bait and switch? You're obviously eating some kind of actual rock thing in the first two panels, and then suddenly you're handing out poor man's gummie fruit candies. In 5 awesome fruit flavors, all distinguishable only by the finest of palates, since they're all apparently purple.

One thing that is historically accurate is that in the 90s there were so many dinosaurs going around in letter jackets that they were only interesting if they had unusual diets and/or handed out candy.

By fnord12 | June 29, 2016, 10:53 AM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link

Who Would You Choose to Save?


A self-driving car carrying a family of four on a rural two-lane highway spots a bouncing ball ahead. As the vehicle approaches a child runs out to retrieve the ball. Should the car risk its passengers' lives by swerving to the side--where the edge of the road meets a steep cliff? Or should the car continue on its path, ensuring its passengers' safety at the child's expense? This scenario and many others pose moral and ethical dilemmas that carmakers, car buyers and regulators must address before vehicles should be given full autonomy, according to a study published Thursday in Science.

The study highlights paradoxes facing carmakers, car buyers and regulators as driverless technology accelerates. Most of the 1,928 research participants in the Science report indicated that they believed vehicles should be programmed to crash into something rather than run over pedestrians, even if that meant killing the vehicle's passengers.


Yet many of the same study participants balked at the idea of buying such a vehicle, preferring to ride in a driverless car that prioritizes their own safety above that of pedestrians.

Ofc. "Who cares about some random kid? Save me!" People are great.

By min | June 28, 2016, 9:45 AM | Science | Comments (6) | Link


autochthonous [aw-tok-thuh-nuhs]


  1. aboriginal; indigenous
  2. of or relating to ideas that arise independently of the individual's own train of thought and seem instead to have some alien or external agency as their source
  3. (of rocks, minerals, etc.) formed in the region where found

By min | June 28, 2016, 9:21 AM | Good Words | Comments (0) | Link

Oh... it's over?

We enjoyed Netflix's Voltron despite the fact that they only say "And I'll form... the head!" once the entire season (and mostly as a joke). But i do agree with this from IGN's review (warning: video will autoplay):

It's also worth mentioning that Legendary Defender is tailor-made for binge-watching, and feels less like a TV show and more like one, big movie. Like a lot of Netflix Original Series, Voltron's episodes don't really have "endings"; they just kind of stop and go into the next one, which really makes the season fly by. Unfortunately, that's also a byproduct of the finale, which cuts off right in the middle of a big action scene. The ending is so jarring, in fact, that I had to double-check to make sure it was the last episode...

I've been thinking a lot about how decompression has increasingly affected television the way it's already affected comic books, and we now seem to be a post-season finale society, where the final episode of a season doesn't necessarily have to result in a climax or, in this case, even really feel like an ending at all. Unlike, say, Walking Dead, the Voltron series did have an actual plot each episode, so the fact that the season ends on a cliffhanger doesn't feel like as much of a cheat as shows like, again, Walking Dead, where things only seem to happen in the first and last episodes and things still end on a cliffhanger.

By fnord12 | June 21, 2016, 9:58 AM | TeeVee | Comments (1) | Link

Cheese 3-PO

C-3PO's tell-all memoir about the prequels is out:

By fnord12 | June 21, 2016, 9:45 AM | Star Wars | Comments (0) | Link

Feminist Frequency - Lingerie is Not Armor

Just yes to all of this.

And not just in video games. Fnord12 and i just watched the Batman: Assault on Arkham animated movie and the outfits for Harley Quinn and Killer Frost were ridiculous when compared to what the male team members were wearing. An acquaintance tried to make the argument that they needed to be half undressed for ease of movement. Right. Because Deadshot and the Black Spider didn't also rely on agility. And that's in addition to the plan that for some reason required Killer Frost to be nude from the waist up and the various shots of both women from behind as they employed extra hip movement to their walk. There's a FemFreq video on that, too, btw.

By min | June 21, 2016, 8:52 AM | Comics & TeeVee & Video Games | Comments (3) | Link

Action Figures Nobody Wanted

They made a special edition Walking Dead 2-pack of Negan and Glenn which includes a "Smashed Glenn head".

Why? WHY???

By min | June 21, 2016, 8:47 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

Thank you Bernie

By fnord12 | June 8, 2016, 11:10 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link


By fnord12 | June 3, 2016, 12:28 PM | My stupid life & TeeVee | Comments (0) | Link

More Super-Deformed Marvel Horrors

They're not playing in an orchestra, but they're still pretty darned cute. I'll take these guys over the X-Babies any day, and a crossover wouldn't be unwelcome either. I'm still not sure about the long haired non-monster, but maybe the wolf insignia on his belt will be a clue for someone. Or the fact that he's on a dinosaur. Or the fact that it's now clear that he's not wearing a shirt under that harness thing. Update: It's Gullivar Jones, Warrior of Mars. See the comments.

By fnord12 | May 26, 2016, 2:11 PM | Comics | Comments (4) | Link

Defensive Flooding

This is something i've almost worked into an entry or category description on my Marvel Timeline project a few times, but it's too big for the category pages and too general for any specific entry, so i figured i'll just put it here. This is from a coffee table book called Marvel: The characters and their universe, published in 2002 for Barnes & Noble:

In 1987 Marvel was bought by an entertainment company called New World, and that same year Tom DeFalco took over as editor in chief, replacing Jim Shooter. Marvel's fortunes at this time were greatly improved by the success of two movies, but ironically they were not Marvel movies.

"The Batman movie and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie came out and helped to promote comics by bringing people into the comic book stores," explains DeFalco... "Marvel didn't have any movies coming out, so we came up with a defensive publishing plan, figuring that everybody's going to be coming into these comic book stores looking for Turtles and Batman. DC didn't do a lot of publishing behind the first Batman movie, and Turtles didn't have a lot of extra publishing either, but we got a lot of stuff out, so when people came into the comic book stores, having seen the movies, the only thing they could buy was Marvel product."

This flood-the-market strategy may have started specifically in reaction to the Turtles and Batman films, but it clearly remained in effect, with Marvel's output continuing to expand each year. 1987 was peanuts compared to 1992, which saw the launch of over a dozen new titles. There was always something to be "defensive" about, be it additional movies or the new line of Image books. But i'm sure Marvel realized they could use this strategy offensively too. When we wonder why Alpha Flight never got canceled or how Silver Sable or Nomad merited their own books, this is probably a big part of the explanation. This of course wasn't a surprise, but it's nice to got confirmation from the editor in chief at the time.

By fnord12 | May 19, 2016, 2:40 PM | Comics | Comments (5) | Link

They Made a Babelfish


The device is called The Pilot system and Waverly Labs is the company behind this brilliantly simple yet potentially groundbreaking idea. When it hits the shelves in September, the system will allow the wearer to understand one of several foreign languages through real-time in-ear translation. A handy app will allow you to toggle through the languages you want, and the selection includes French, Spanish, Italian, and English. It'll retail for $129, and you can pre-order one here. Or you can just keep talking to people really loudly and slowly in English. Good luck with that.

Is it as good as Google Translate? Cause if it is, i foresee the ensuing of hilarity. Or better yet, is it as good as the Hungarian Phrase Book?

By min | May 17, 2016, 10:24 AM | Science | Comments (0) | Link

Recap 73

It was a disappointment to all that we faced Takos, Not Tacos.

By min | May 13, 2016, 3:26 PM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link

Can we agree that they're terrifying?

Somehow, the Gin-Gins never caught on like the California Raisins. And are they eating ginger candies? I'm pretty sure that's cannibalism, and against the rules.

By fnord12 | May 10, 2016, 8:27 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link

We're doing what now?

Fight drug dealers AND bullies with candy!

I'm not sure if i ever saw Shock Tarts, but if i had known they were sent from the future i might have tried them, and i certainly would have worn those sunglasses.

I'm not sure what i like better, the idea of sending kids out on the streets to fight drug dealers (excuse me, "dealer types"), or telling kids to eat little round pill-shaped candies as a way to convince them to NOT get into drugs.

By fnord12 | May 3, 2016, 10:19 AM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

Rescue Wolverines


A pilot project out of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and the Kroschel Wildlife Center aims to replace rescue dogs with rescue wolverines in the search for those buried under the snow.

Clocking in at about the size of a standard poodle, the stocky animals are known mainly for their ferocious natures and remarkable hunting abilities - deer, caribou, and lynx are standards on the wolverine menu, and there have been reported incidents of the creatures tussling with black bears over kills. All in all, it might not sound like the furry face you want to see digging you out of a snowbank, but it's partly the tenacious predator's hunting skill that makes it a good candidate for rescue duty.

A good candidate until the hunting instinct takes over the rescue training, that is...

By min | May 2, 2016, 1:22 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link

Frank Cho is Gross

Also, having made the mistake of actually reading some of his Facebook posts, i've decided he's an idiot douchebag.


As you know, straight men are the most persecuted group in the world today. They used to live in a utopia where everything was tailored to meet their needs, but that's changed. There's a female Ghostbusters movie coming out! The video game Rust randomly assigns gender! Two different Star Wars movies have female leads! And also, sometimes there are naked women on Game of Thrones that they don't want to bone!
Thankfully Frank Cho was on hand to protect the struggling marginalized voices of men who want women's bodies to be used to sell products regardless of intended audience. And though that Manara cover came out two years ago, Cho hasn't given up the fight.

Cho started paying tribute to Manara's Spider-Woman cover early in 2015, first with his own version of the original, and then with a cover that presented a teenage girl from an all-ages book -- Spider-Gwen -- in the same sexually objectified pose. This drawing of a teenager's elevated buttocks was not well received by the character's co-creator or many of the character's fans.

But Cho is a maverick, and when people step to him to say, "this is creepy and weird," he fights back by drawing more pictures of women with their butts in the air, and selling them on eBay and at conventions. Cho has now reproduced this pose -- and generated others like it -- over and over and over again for the benefit of paying fans, because he will not cave to the PC police.


But Cho has not been content to fight back in the trenches of sketch covers. He recently created a new cover for a publisher of video game comics, which again features a female protagonist in the same butt-up pose. You can see it on his Facebook page. Cho claims that the company's art director wanted Cho to recreate this pose (yet again) because he, like Cho, is "anti-censorship".

Thank God for these brave men, willing to risk everything -- or at least risk someone on Twitter saying they're gross and sleazy -- to ensure that there will still be women's butts on comic book covers.

Because only an idiot douchebag would think this is a valid argument (FB post about his Cami sketch):

HA! This is too funny.

Some of the overly sensitive people are upset that I drew a sexy image of a sexy highly popular video game character who runs around in a thong. Talk about hypercritical and being upset over nothing.

It's like you buy a Superman comic and you're upset that he's flying on the cover.

I wish people would stop giving him money to draw comic porn. Especially comic porn of a teenaged character. Skeeve.

By min | April 29, 2016, 12:43 PM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link

There Used to be a Museum of Menstruation

And i totally missed out on visiting it!

Finley, 73, and I are in his New Carrollton basement, which from 1994 to 1998 housed the Museum of Menstruation.
The collection, which by Finley's count has more than 5,000 individual pieces, is an interesting intersection of history and function and societal expectations. Amassing the collection and running the museum remains for Finley the most important thing he has done, and his efforts have garnered praise and vitriol alike. A story in the New York Times from 1998 called the museum's website "an odd, funny and well-researched site (created by a man) on the history of menstruation as told by women around the world." An anonymous letter writer from Wyoming was less enthralled: "The anger it stirred in our circle is enough to burn you at the stake figuratively speaking," she wrote.

Not really sure why people would be quite so upset about this museum. I think it's pretty awesome. The products advertised to women for "hygiene" are pretty horrifying. Lysol and borax! In the hoo-hah! *shudder*

My favorite is the ad for Pristeen way at the bottom of the page.

Oh, look! A forlorn girl, sitting in a decimated patch of grass. What ever could be the matter? Pristeen knows: "The trickiest deodorant problem a girl has isn't under her pretty little arms," the ad warns, capitalizing on the fear of "feminine odor."

Totally worth risking death with some Lysol to avoid that odor problem. Yup.

By min | April 27, 2016, 10:34 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



The City of Cleveland announced on Monday that it will pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit by the family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was tragically killed by police officers in 2014 while holding a toy gun.

The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association released a statement responding to the settlement. Rather than acknowledging any error on the police's part, the association suggested that the Rice family use the funds to "educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms."

I think when you get away with shooting a 12-year old kid, you should prolly just shut the fuck up for forever and not issue asshole statements.

By min | April 26, 2016, 8:20 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link


I'm not the only one! This lady has an inguinal hernia, too!

The thing is, the hernia itself wasn't really ever painful. An inguinal hernia is basically just a lump of fat or intestines that decides to break through a weak layer in the abdominal wall. It ends up looking like a weird, soft lump on your groin that can easily be pushed back in -- or at least, mine could -- and it didn't exactly stop me from living an active life. I still went to gym classes two or three times a week, jogged, played sport, and skied or hiked on the weekend. There is an excellent chance that this active lifestyle is what caused Henry to show up in the first place.

But because inguinal hernias (there are many many other kinds of hernias) are generally considered more of a men's health issue than women's, it took awhile for me to figure out what was even wrong. In the last few months, Henry started to show himself more, and I felt a dull sense of discomfort every time he popped out. Because of the general region of my discomfort, googling symptoms (never a good idea) made it seem as though I had anything from ovarian cysts to cancer, until I finally spoke to some people IRL who suggested it might be a hernia.

It is really difficult to get a doctor to realize you have a hernia if you're female. I had to tell the first 2 doctors i saw that it was a hernia. I diagnosed myself using Google. How sad is that? You should have seen how confused the urgency care doctor was when the lump disappeared when i was prone and reappeared when i was standing.

The first surgeon i saw was focused on getting me open and repairing the hernia. Right away! I was like "Whoa! Can we talk about it some more first?". And when i asked him if i should cut back on my weight lifting, he just stammered and seemed to be confused by the question entirely. I felt like i needed to enunciate more slowly - "Ex-cer-cise? Lift-heavy-things-with-body?". So, needless to say, not filled with confidence.

Which led me to my second surgeon who understood my question about lifting (he said i didn't need to change anything) and wasn't in a hurry to cut me. He said that since it wasn't currently causing me pain and because it was very unlikely to become strangulated (where the intestine gets trapped so that things inside can't pass through), i should wait on the surgery. Once i had the surgery, i would forever feel some discomfort from the scar tissue and whatnot, so why do that to myself if i wasn't currently in pain, was his reasoning. But he was willing to repair the hernia for me if i wanted it done.

Obviously, this was the answer i wanted to hear, so how much did that influence my feelings about his judgement? But at the same time, it's been nearly 3 years and things seem fine. I do wish i could just squish the stupid thing back in and hold it there until my muscles knit themselves back together and closed the hole, but apparently, that isn't how things work. Balls!

By min | April 22, 2016, 8:36 AM | My stupid life | Comments (0) | Link

Well, first of all, i would've rebranded

I appreciate the tagline at the bottom.  It's issue #78 but they're still sticking very specifically to the Strange Tales theme.

I have no idea why this guy decided to call himself the Worm Man. He shrinks and grows and runs around! Like a worm!

Worm powers activate!

His original name was Surprise Naked Man

To continue to answer the question of what i would have done if i were the Worm Man, first, i would have sued the hell out of Henry Pym. This story was in Strange Tales #78, with a Nov 60 cover date, over a year before Tales To Astonish #27. Maybe we need to see the Worm Man's origin story. Ant-Man's first adventure involved him falling into an ant colony. Maybe this guy first fell into a pit of worms. Maybe he even developed a way to talk to worms, but realized talking to worms isn't very productive.

Second of all, i would stop storing my growing pills in my crotch.

Listen, unstable molecules hadn't even been invented yet.  You can't imagine how tight my underwear gets when i grow again.

By fnord12 | April 21, 2016, 7:33 AM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link

Netflix's Sub-Category Codes

Why can't these categories just be available thru their UI?

The codes are actually Netflix's way of categorizing movies into various sub-genres, which it then uses to surface suggestions for subscribers. But if you're willing to do a little manual labor, the payoff can be pretty big.

"We categorize our content into thousands of subgenres to help match the right content to the right member based on their viewing history," Netflix spokesperson Marlee Tart told Mashable.

To view the categories, go to http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/ and enter the category code (listed below) at the end of the URL (example: http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/2676).

By min | April 20, 2016, 8:46 PM | Movies & TeeVee | Comments (0) | Link

Unbemused Groan at the Coen Brothers

Old news because the Oscars happened ages ago, but it's new news to me, so here you go.


When Joel and Ethan Coen were asked about #OscarsSoWhite they responded with "matching bemused groans" and commented that while "diversity's important," "the Oscars are not that important."
By making such a big deal, you're assuming that these things really matter. I don't think they even matter much from an economic point of view. So yes, it's true--and it's also true that it's escalating the whole subject to a level it doesn't actually deserve.

The Coen brothers themselves have been nominated for 13 Academy Awards, and won four so it's possible that they're a bit more blasé about the whole affair.


Their most recent movie, Hail, Caesar!, set in 1950s Hollywood, has a huge star-studded, and mostly white cast. When asked why the main cast lacked diversity, Joel responded:

Why would there be? I don't understand the question. No--I understand that you're asking the question, I don't understand where the question comes from.

Not why people want more diversity--why they would single out a particular movie and say, 'Why aren't there black or Chinese or Martians in this movie? What's going on?' That's the question I don't understand. The person who asks that question has to come in the room and explain it to me.

The groan escalated to mentally smacking my head on my desk as i continued reading the Coen brothers' quotes.

I, like the Mary Sue, especially appreciate black people and the Chinese being lumped in there with Martians. They've now ruined my enjoyment of their movies with their diarrhea of the mouth. Thanks a lot.

By min | April 20, 2016, 3:43 PM | Liberal Outrage & Movies | Comments (1) | Link

Who Wants to Go to Vegas?


What happens in Vegas won't be staying in Vegas, if companies like VR Bangers have their say. The charmingly named company is behind the latest amenity offered at some Las Vegas hotels, where guests can shell out just $19.99 to use a headset programmed with interactive, virtual reality sex scenes, billed as the "VR Bangers Hotel Experience."

"You will then choose a girl or guy of your choice, and see your hotel room replicated in the VR headset, making the experience much more realistic," VR Bangers said in a statement. "Next you will hear a knock on the door (in the virtual reality world), and the girl or guy will come into your room in order to enjoy an erotic or sex experience with the viewer."

Yup. 3-D porn. The next frontier. I'm pretty sure there's not enough disinfectant in the world to sanitize the visor enough for the next patron to use safely. Will it come with a tarp? There should be a tarp.

By min | April 20, 2016, 2:47 PM | Science | Comments (0) | Link

More Democracy, We Deliver


In the 2002 speech against the Iraq War that helped propel him to the presidency, then-state Sen. Barack Obama denounced not just the looming invasion of Iraq, but also human rights abuses by our "so-called allies" in Saudi Arabia...

And he spoke out against the U.S.' role as weapons supplier to the world...

But arms sales in general -- and specifically to Saudi Arabia -- have been a consistent element of Obama's tenure.

"Many Americans would be surprised to learn that his administration has brokered more arms deals than any administration of the past 70 years, Republican or Democratic," said William Hartung, a senior adviser to Secure Assistance Monitor, a progressive group that tracks arms sales.


To put that in context, in his first five years as president, Obama sold $30 billion more in weapons than President Bush did during his entire eight years as commander in chief.

So, it's really no wonder that Obama would be concerned about opening the possibility of lawsuits against the U.S. by people in foreign countries.

Rose also asked about legislation that would allow the relatives of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudis, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, but has yet to be voted on by the full body.

Obama has said that he doesn't support the bill, due to the possibility of foreign citizens - presumably victims of US wars and drone strikes - suing the government.

"If we open up the possibility that individuals in the United States can routinely start suing other governments, then we are also opening up the United States to being continually sued by individuals in other countries," the commander-in-chief said.

Between our arms sales and our drone strikes, we'd be buried in lawsuits. Is that really the best answer he could think of? He couldn't come up with one that sounded less self-serving?

By min | April 20, 2016, 2:27 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Tubman on the $20

This is pretty awesome:

Former slave Harriet Tubman will replace former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is expected to announce on Wednesday.
Alexander Hamilton, who created the Treasury Department, was originally targeted for replacement, but will remain on the $10 bill after public outcry.

Critics called for Jackson to be replaced based on his decision to violently remove Native Americans from their ancestral lands. He is likely to remain on the back of the bill, according to Politico.

Hamilton has gained popularity recently, thanks to the Broadway hit musical based on his life. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created and stars in 'Hamilton', was a leading lobbyist for the former Treasury secretary to remain on the $10.


Although, if they keep changing what our money looks like, i'm going to be so confused. As it is, half the time i don't think the new quarters are real currency.

By min | April 20, 2016, 1:27 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link

Meat-Eaters: Contributing to the Superbug Problem


Antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" are on track to kill more people than cancer, the UK's chief financial minister will warn Thursday.
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, for example, said in 2013, "Right now, 80 percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are used for industrial agriculture, and most of these drugs are routinely fed to animals to make them grow faster and compensate for filthy conditions. This is done to help the meat industry execute on its highly consolidated business model for profit. And the American public pays through antibiotic-resistant infections."

Plus, there are still doctors who prescribe antibiotics to "see if this works" when someone shows up at their office sick. Stupid doctors.

By min | April 18, 2016, 3:25 PM | Science | Comments (1) | Link

Changing the debate

I find the "Bernie has already won because he's changed the debate and pulled Hillary to the left" comments to be subtly self-defeating, because it takes the urgency away from fighting to win the primary (yes, yes, however unlikely), which is how the debate is being changed. But i really was struck watching last night's debate about how much the conversation really has changed. It hit me on social security. Eight years ago, i was shouting at the television for Obama to challenge the moderator's framing that social security was going broke and does he have the strength to stand up to his base and make the cuts that are necessary. Last night, Wolf Fucking Blitzer was pressing Hillary Clinton on whether or not she was on board to expand social security, and she was tripping over herself to say that she is, despite her past and current equivocations.

The fact that Bernie has found his footing on foreign policy has made a big difference, too, as Hillary was entirely on defensive on that subject, having to defend her interventionist policy. And i think we had a serious conversation about Israel for the first time ever on national television.

It's also been true in proxy appearance on cable news. We've had people like Nina Turner, Michelle Alexander, Jeffrey Sachs, Robert Reich, and others repeatedly on television pushing views that would not have gotten the attention otherwise. It's also given Tulsi Gabbard a spotlight, and if she can't be my vice president next year there's now an opportunity for her to become a Senator and beyond in the future. So i do think the debate really has been changed, and not just in a 'Hillary might endorse more moderate versions of Bernie's positions for now and then pivot back to the right for the general' sort of way. The cable news pundits now have new ideas bouncing around in their empty heads.

On that last topic, though, one tangential thing i want to get off my chest, about Hillary's strange parsing of her minimum wage position. By definition, the minimum wage is a floor. Saying you are for a $12 minimum wage as a floor but that you're ok with local areas going higher is a truism, designed to mislead. I was glad to see her flailing to explain that last night, and getting booed.

By fnord12 | April 15, 2016, 7:17 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

Our Building Runs on Witches

This might explain why the temperature in this place is never reasonable and consistent.

By min | April 14, 2016, 10:12 AM | My stupid life | Comments (0) | Link

Big Donors Provide "Oversight" to Those They "Invest In"

Sorry. It's an Intercept morning.


In a USA Today op-ed headlined "Big Donors Can Save Democracy From Donald Trump," Hoffman tries to make the case that Trump has gone off the rails because he doesn't have people like Hoffman telling him what to do.

Here's how Hoffman puts it: "Large donors ... often serve as an executive board of sorts, challenging campaigns to act worthy of their investment."

Hoffman writes, "Trump brags that he is without big donors. That may be true. But it also means he is without restraint. ... In business and politics alike, oversight is a good thing."

If you're not paying close attention, that makes the whole process sound public-spirited and inspiring. If you are, however, you realize Hoffman is telling us that he and his cohort see their money as buying them seats on the board of a corporation they ultimately control.

Hoffman acknowledges a possible downside of the system: "Raising seven figures for a candidate grants you access that the average voter will never see. This unfairness has been a source of major voter ire this cycle. Injustice makes people angry. And it is angry voters who have been pulling levers for Trump."

But he dismisses it in favor of an even loftier goal. Big donors aren't just backing a candidate, he says; they're also investing in their ideology.

"Even his critics would agree that Jeb released the most detailed set of policies and reforms in the race," writes Hoffman. "Seeing these ideas thrive and live beyond the candidate makes for a worthy investment. In my heart, that is a proper and just use of big money in politics."


That's one reason why money in politics matters even when it's backing a loser. Al Hoffman is telling us straight up: Big money in U.S. politics isn't just about buying individual elections, or individual candidates. It's also about buying space in our minds.

So, tell me again how having Wall Street and Big Pharma donors doesn't influence a candidate's policies cause it sure sounds like that's exactly what they believe they are buying.

By min | April 8, 2016, 9:29 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Pirate Party Leading in Iceland's Polls After Panama Papers Leak


Opinion polls suggest that the government would be trounced in any immediate election, and most likely replaced by Iceland's branch of the Pirate Party, a pan-European movement founded in Sweden in 2006 to fight for internet freedom and direct democracy. The Icelandic branch currently holds just three seats in the nation's parliament, the Althing.

By min | April 8, 2016, 9:15 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Invasion of Privacy for Those in Public Health System


Because clearly, if you're poor, you must be a criminal.

IF YOU'RE RELYING on the public health care system, you're living your life under surveillance, says Khiara Bridges, a law professor and anthropology researcher at the Boston University School of Law.

All sorts of incredibly invasive details about your life, including sexual experience, eating habits, and job history, are stored in databases that are accessible not only to your caregivers, but potentially to law enforcement, too, she says.


These "case management services" are officially there to provide help in "gaining access to needed medical, social, educational, and other services."

But Bridges argues that the questions sometimes stray into the unnecessary, invasive, and non-medical territory. She calls it "a gross and substantial intrusion by the government into poor, pregnant women's private lives."


Bridges is particularly concerned about exceptions in the law that allow for incredibly personal information to be shared with law enforcement. As she writes in a section of her forthcoming book:

Crucially, the Privacy Act contains exceptions that allow for the nonconsensual disclosure of collected information. Intriguingly, one of those exceptions "allows disclosure to other jurisdictions for law enforcement." The result of this exception is that when a population is imagined to be inclined toward criminality, then that population exists in a state of exception under the Privacy Act: Its information can be disclosed as long as it is for law enforcement purposes. ...

... Undeniably, welfare beneficiaries are one of those populations that are thought to be comprised of criminal elements. The irony should be apparent: The act that provides protection from the disclosure of information, and thereby saves the constitutionality of information-collecting regimes, itself provides for disclosure.

Other researchers and groups, such as the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, are concerned about the surveillance of people who enroll in Electronic Benefit Transfer programs to buy groceries, or take advantage of other public benefits.

By min | April 8, 2016, 9:05 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

No need to stop here. There's plenty more SuperMegaMonkey where that came from.