No Forehead Tattoos, Please

I really don’t care that Jared Leto’s Joker looks more like a Juggalo than an insane criminal mastermind. I am trying very hard to resist the temptation to make negative comparisons to Heath Ledger’s interpretation of the character. I don’t even care that Leto looks more like a fan of the Joker—who got way too carried away at the tattoo shop—than like the actual Joker.

© DC Comics / Warner Bros., via Twitter / @DavidAyerMovies

© DC Comics / Warner Bros., via Twitter / @DavidAyerMovies

Any time I think a modern-day portrayal of the Joker is in any way ridiculous or unworthy of the character, I just remember that Cesar Romero’s Joker was once the only live-action screen portrayal of the Joker in existence. Continue reading

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Blue Bell Agonistes

It’s hard to convey to someone who isn’t from Texas just how big of a loss the recall of Blue Bell Ice Cream is. Even if other types of ice cream are most likely still safe (h/t Bob), this hits us deeply here in Texas. Blue Bell isn’t just a Texas-based ice cream brand that lots of people passionately love. To many Texans, Blue Bell is ice cream.

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We have lost OUR ice cream!!!

(Image h/t Lindsay)

Yes, yes, Ben & Jerry’s makes some phenomenal ice cream, but they’re from Vermont. Vermont is not Texas. They don’t understand ice cream the way we do. I’m not saying Blue Bell is better, per se, it’s just………well, it’s Texas.

We also have the phenomenally-awesome Amy’s Ice Cream here in Austin, but Amy’s is something of a destination, while Blue Bell is intended for home consumption. It’s just not the same.

It didn’t seem real to me until I went to the grocery store, and there they were….the empty freezer shelves, where once sat gallon upon gallon of creamy Brenham-made goodness: Continue reading

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Monday Morning Cute: Mood

This doesn’t really depict my mood on a Monday morning, and it’s not “cute,” per se, but here it is anyway:

(h/t Karnythia)

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If They Could Turn Back Time…

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If the Civil War had not taken place, we might not have the Fourteenth Amendment. But it did, and we do. Laws that once might have applied only to the federal government now apply to the states as well.

By the same token, if the Articles of Confederation had worked, we would not have the Constitution. But they didn’t, and we do. We cannot go back and undo the Civil War, and we can’t go back to the Articles of Confederation. Time only flows one direction.

– Hrafnkell Haraldsson, “It’s Getting Hard to Tell Where Sovereign Citizens End and Republicans Begin“, PoliticusUSA, April 24, 2015

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The Revolution Will Be Sponsored

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There’s no way getting around it: Coachella ain’t cheap.

A three-day pass alone will set you back $375. Add in the costs of getting to and from Indio, after-concert Uber pickups, hotel rooms, vittles and other incidentals, and we’re already near $1,000. VIPs, trustafarians and other one-percenters can easily spend three, four or five times that. Even the grungiest, tattooed bro camping in a tattered tent and subsisting on booze, dope, cigarettes and dust can expect to spend around $500.

Compare that to Woodstock. In August 1969, advanced tickets to “3 Days of Peace & Music” cost $18, the equivalent of $120 in 2014 dollars. Not a bad deal to see The Who, Sly & The Family Stone and Jimi Hendrix all in their primes, especially since most concertgoers got in for free.

And the Woodstock Generation came to Max Yasgur’s farm clad in the counterculture uniform of jeans, beads and T-shirts — or nothing at all. Turns out it cost a lot less to be an actual hippie than a wannabe playing dress-up at Coachella.

– Marc Ballon, “How the Hell Do People Afford Coachella?Westword, April 13, 2015

(This is my obligatory annual I-don’t-get-hipsters post, roughly coinciding with Coachella.)

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New York Travelogue 2015, Part III

Friday, the second full day of our NYC adventure, began with the sort of intense muscle soreness that only those who live in commuter cities and don’t exercise enough can truly understand. For my part, I understand if your cup doth not run over for our plight. Stiff legs aside, we set off for Brooklyn via the bridge of the same name.

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After marveling at a truly impressive feat of 19th-century engineering (seriously—they used glorified diving bells to put the supports in place under the East River, which is really hardcore), we descended into the subway system again.

After the previous day’s subway (mis)adventure, I figured I had this whole public transportation thing down. I was wrong. For reasons I still don’t understand, it was announced that our train would be skipping our intended station, which led to a sort of circling around the stop we wanted. I hope one day it will seem funny.

On the plus side, the Brooklyn Museum has some amazing stuff. Continue reading

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The NTIs Are Here

The bloodbelly comb jelly appears to offer evidence that aliens have already arrived on Earth and found the oceans preferable to land.

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New York Travelogue 2015, Part II

Picking up where we left off yesterday, let’s talk a bit about the New York City subway system. See, you might think that you are pretty adept at navigating a city’s rail system, based on the fact that you had no problem with the metro systems of Washington, D.C. and multiple European cities*, not to mention the bus systems of Washington, D.C. and Reykjavik. You might think that, but you still might not be prepared for the rainbow-hued, alphabet-soup, spaghetti-like clusterf*ck that is the New York City subway. See, from the map, it looked easy: hop on at the nearest station in Queens, about five blocks away, take the only line running out of that station (the purple one) to Grand Central, then take the green line going towards Brooklyn for 2 or 3 stops (I forget at the moment), and presto! You’re two blocks from your new hotel!

I didn’t account for two words, because I had no idea they were an issue: “local” versus “express.” We did eventually get to the hotel, and were able to reflect on how this was, on the scale of vacation f***ups, pretty close to the bottom.

From here, we began the walking. Oh, how we walked. I kept expecting my exercise tracker to ask who I was and why I stole an exercise tracker from a guy who takes an average of 3,000 steps a day. Continue reading

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Kill All Men

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The more time you spend thinking about the patriarchy, the more you’re genuinely like UGH DUDES AMIRITE. Because the thing is, patriarchal culture actively trains men to be awful. They’re not born thinking that they’re in charge of women’s bodies, or that their opinions hold more weight and should get more credit, or that orgasms are their birthright! They have to get poisoned with those ideas by steeping in a culture that uses individual men as a tool to advance male supremacy.

Part of the reason misandry jokes take off, and part of the reason men who see the patriarchy matrix are some of the most enthusiastic misandry jokers, is that men are encouraged and rewarded for behavior that is, on the face of it, downright awful. Once you see through that horrible joke that patriarchy is playing on you, individual men start hating men-as-a-group in the same way that feminists hate them — not a way that encourages automatic hostility towards members of the group, but a way where you want to see the group disbanded and its charter destroyed and cast to the winds and forgotten.

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To my male friends who have complained — gently! Respectfully! But still infuriatingly — about the “misandry thing”: I do not really want to send you to an island. I do not want to light you on fire, or send you into space, or put you in a box and put the box in the ocean. I do not need to drink your tears to live.

But I do think the concept of “manliness” needs to be taken out and shot. And when (not if, but when, because this is how privilege works) you slip up and do something sexist, when you shout down a woman who knows more than you or act like her body and clothes are designed for your pleasure or just ignore the inequities around you because you can, because you were told all your life that this was okay and only learned recently that it isn’t and you have to fight to remember that and it’s hard, that’s the guy I want to banish. I want to banish That Guy so you can be the generous, just, compassionate human being you are, and one day when all of Those Guys are banished we can be human beings together.

– Jess Zimmerman, “Men, Get On Board With Misandry,” Medium, August 8, 2014 (see also)

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Secondhand America

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In America, class lines run parallel to racial lines. At the very bottom are people of color. The Caucasian equivalent is me—an Appalachian. As a male Caucasian in America, I am supposed to have an inherent advantage in every possible way. It’s true. I can pass more easily in society. I have better access to education, health care, and employment. But if I insist on behaving like a poor white person—shopping at secondhand shops and eating mullet—I not only earn the epithet of “trash,” I somehow deserve it.

The term “white trash” is class disparagement due to economics. Polite society regards me as stupid, lazy, ignorant, violent and untrustworthy.

I am trash because of where I’m from.

I am trash because of where I shop.

I am trash because of what I eat.

– Chris Offut, “Trash Food,” Oxford American, April 10, 2015

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