“Politically Correct” is a stupid and meaningless term.

February 28, 2014 Politics / Religion Comments (0) 364

I quote the rapper Paul Barman:

“If someone uses a non-offensive vocabulary
then that person is considerate, not PC
If someone has a heavy-handed agenda,
that person is narrow-minded, not PC”

Just a quick note, apropos of nothing.

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Religious Imposition, Not Religious Liberty

February 28, 2014 Gay and Lesbian, In The News Comments (0) 445

Gay_friendly_churchAs a rule these days I try to avoid investing time and energy in online debates, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Yesterday I got sucked into a debate at the Matt Walsh Blog about Arizona’s rightly-vetoed Senate Bill 1062, the “Turn Away the Gay” bill. I was more than a little startled by the outpouring of right-wing support for SB 1062 that followed Governor Brewer’s veto, and the arguments mounted at MWB grabbed me because they were especially heinous.

For starters, of course, there’s the standard refrain of the straight, white cisgendered libertarian male: “The solution is simple, just don’t do anything.” In this case, Walsh argues that the proper solution to anti-gay discrimination is for the government to do nothing, and the free market will eradicate discrimination. I’m not even going to spend a lot of time refuting this position because (a) it’s so incredibly stupid; and (b) if you’re here reading, you probably already agree that it’s incredibly stupid, so I won’t waste your time. Let’s just agree that if LBJ were alive, we could all share a hearty laugh about what a fantasy world some libertarians live in.

The reason I write about it here is to point out how ludicrous it is to call SB 1062, or the many similar bills in other states, “Religious Freedom Laws.” The so-called ‘right’ of Christian business proprietors to turn away LGBT people is presented as a protection of their religious observation. A government mandate to treat LGBT customers identically with other customers is, according to the bill’s defenders, a tyrannical denial of religious liberty. This is absurd on several levels. Continue Reading

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More Silver Age Marvel (AKA Iron Man’s Rocket Skates)

February 27, 2014 Comic Books, Pop Culture Comments (0) 655

iron man roller skates

We’ve now had four Iron Man movies (counting The Avengers) by three different directors, and not once has he deployed his rocket skates. I can only assume they were saving that big reveal for the battle against Ultron. Or maybe Galactus. At what point does one reveal the trump card that is a pair of rocket skates?

I just cannot express how much I am loving the Kree-Skrull War. I definitely need to pick up more Silver Age comics, because I didn’t realize how much fun they could be.


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Bottled Water and Drought, Part 2

February 27, 2014 In The News, Politics / Religion Comments (0) 529


Empty Water BottlesA thing happened in the comment section on a previous post to which I’d like to call a bit more attention, for two reasons: One, because I may be guilty of being a needless alarmist, and Two, because I think there are still some valid questions pending.

Earlier this month I posted an entry in which I speculated about the impact of industrial water bottling on California’s dire water shortage. I raised alarm at the fact that California does not disclose the amount of groundwater going into bottles to the public or to its legislators, and wondered what impact that might have.

Two weeks later, I received a comment from Chris Hogan at the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), which I unfortunately did not notice for almost a week. Sorry, Chris. I present that comment here, unedited in its entirety: Continue Reading

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Silver Age Comics

February 26, 2014 Comic Books, Pop Culture Comments (0) 356


Yesterday I stopped by JHU Comics in Midtown and picked up some Silver Age comics from the 1970s (specifically, the Avengers Kree/Skrull War storyline) and I’m just enjoying the hell out of them. The dialogue and narration are so overblown and hackneyed, and yet full of energy and enthusiasm, and the art is incredible.

I started reading comics in the late 80s (I still remember the first comics I bought, from the X-Men Muir Island Saga) and the peak of my comics readership came in the mid-1990s. My concept of what comic art should be came from Jim Lee, but I was a huge fan of Joe Madureira, and later Mike Mignola and Chris Bachalo. I remember thinking how comparatively awful the art was in comics from the 70s and before–and now I’m realizing how wrong I was. Neil Adams is just phenomenal, and I find myself wishing constantly that I had his command of anatomy and proportion.

There’s also something to be said for Silver Age coloring. Modern comic coloring (done on computers) is an art unto itself

The inspiration behind my purchase? I’m a regular listener to the Nerdist Writer’s Panel podcast, and my favorite episodes are when Len Wein appears to talk about his incredible career in comics. I’m pretty sure my next acquisition will be a collection of Wein’s early work on Swamp Thing.

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Out the Window, 2/13/2014

February 13, 2014 New York City, Personal Comments (0) 270

Snowy Harlem


…and I’m thinking about going out for baking ingredients.

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Creationism and the misunderstanding of science

February 6, 2014 In The News, Politics / Religion Comments (3) 793

Lucy, AustalopithecusIn the wake of Bill Nye’s “Evolution vs Creation” debate with whats-his-name, Buzzfeed published a photo essay, 22 photos of creationists sending hand-written responses to Bill Nye. A few express philosophical or religious objection (“Where do you derive meaning,” for instance) a number are based on a frightening lack of education or understanding of science. A few examples:

“How did the first single-celled organism originate? By chance?

“The only [in-between] found has been Lucy” / “Why have we only found one Lucy?”

“If evolution is a theory (like Creationism or the Bible) why [is it] taught as fact?”

“Does metamorphosis support evolution?”

I find this, frankly, upsetting. I feel bad for these individuals. Personally, I have nothing against people choosing to subscribe to Creationism, or any other religious or philosophical position. As I’ve said before, when one accepts as premise the existence of an omnipotent creator-deity, most religious beliefs make total sense as conclusion. That’s not a dig; it’s sound logic based on premises that are different from mine.

What upsets me is not the positions these people arrive at, but the lack of good information that goes into their thought process. To me these photos are evidence of nothing more clearly than the failure of the American education system. Continue Reading

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California, Drought, and Bottled Water

February 5, 2014 In The News, Politics / Religion Comments (3) 1156

California DroughtCalifornia is running out of water. So is the entire American Southwest, for that matter, but the crisis in California is in particularly dire straits. A number of farms in the state are already out of water, and officials estimate drinking water will run out in many communities in the next 60 to 100 days. This is Grapes of Wrath territory, and forecasts say it will only go on, and likely worsen, over the coming years.

What’s shocking to me is that California lawmakers, who monitor and regulate water use very strictly, have no idea how many gallons are leaving its aquifers in the form of bottled water. At least, not as far as I can find.

As of 2008 there were more than 100 water bottling operations in California. The State’s Department of Health requires them to report how much they are removing from groundwater sources, but this information is not made available to the public or to lawmakers in the state. A proposed 2008 law would have changed this, but it was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger, who cited a state budget crisis that would only allow him to approve bills of the “highest priority.” One has to wonder how anything could be higher priority than access to drinking water. Continue Reading

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Have a Coke and a Smile

February 3, 2014 Artwork, Comics, Politics / Religion Comments (0) 613

Have a Coke and a Smile

There’s an old urban legend that Fanta originates as “Nazi Coke,” which isn’t true actually, because as you can see, Coke was Nazi Coke. Those posters behind Max in the first frame are both closely drawn from actual promotional materials.

Now we have Coke as sponsor of the Sochi Olympics, of course, in which their role is not only to help fund the oppression and abuse of LGBT people, but to provide cover to the Russian government.

I have to wonder, though, who’s bright idea it was to put the sponsor’s logo on the security guard uniforms.

Unrelated: I had to explain to my girlfriend who Max Headroom was, which turns out to be pretty challenging. I guess you had to be there.

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I Cracked the Black Treacle Top Five!

February 1, 2014 Personal, Writing Comments (0) 220

Nainaine of the Bayou by Christopher Keelty

I learned recently that Nainaine of the Bayou was the third-most read story at Black Treacle in 2013! This is according to their Terrifying Treacle Top Five.

Of course I’m thrilled, and proud to be among such great company. If you haven’t read the story yet, now’s a good time.

Young Nell wanders the swamps and flooded ruins of what used to be New Orleans, accompanied only by her zombie grandmother. With her village all dead, Nell’s only hope is to find the witch Nainaine Laveau, who might have the magic to return grandmother from undeath.

Nainaine of the Bayou is a story of Murka, and shares a world with Toll Road.


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