What I’m Reading, January 30, 2015

Enough Is Never Enough with Blaming Anti-Vaxxers, Science Babe, January 24, 2015

Let’s get one thing straight; if a blogger with zero medical credentials tries to claim that they have more accurate science than the vast majority of the scientific and medical establishment, they are, on every level, wrong. I promise you, somebody who got their degree at Google University and has a waiver on their website that says “my advice isn’t designed to treat anything” has nothing to lose by giving you terrible advice. A real doctor’s advice doesn’t come with an asterisk. They will give you advice that’s grounded in real science.

Friend in Need: The tragedy of my friend’s life and death is that he lived in a society that left him to deal with it alone, Saul Elbein, Texas Observer, January 21, 2015 Continue reading


This Week in WTF, January 30, 2015

I have gotten very far behind on this particular blog series, so here is a quick roundup of what I meant to post over the past few months (part 1 of 3).

- Pumpkin Spice?: I really can’t add anything to this story:

Citing a satirical news report – which he appeared to take seriously – [Pastor James David Manning, of the ATLAH World Missionary Church in Harlem,] said: “Starbucks is a place where these types frequent and a lot of body fluids are exchanged there.

“The thing that I was not aware of is that… what Starbucks was doing, is they were taking specimens of male semen, and they were putting it in the blends of their lattes.

“It’s the absolute truth. They’re using male semen, and putting it into the blends of coffees that they sell.

“My suspicion is that they’re getting their semen from sodomites. Semen flavours up the coffee, and makes you thinks you’re having a good time.”

By Takeaway (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

“Hmmm, do I detect a hint of……Jeff……in this latte?”

- Bling Your Baby: Have you been thinking that you wish your baby was a bit more crunk, but you’re (a) white, and (b) an idiot who doesn’t know what “crunk” means? Then you should try this gold grill pacifier: Continue reading


What I’m Reading, January 29, 2015

McMorris-Rodgers and Anti-Choice Marchers All For ‘Life’ Until It’s Born, Nathalie Baptiste, The American Prospect, January 22, 2015

Currently, 43 million American workers have no paid sick leave. For them, an illness or the illness of a loved one comes with the risk of losing wages, or worse, their jobs. One would think that Obama’s renewed vigor on paid family leave should be extremely attractive to anti-choice activists, with their love of large families.

Why should policies that support families be a top priority for anti-choice activists? Having a child in this country is remarkably pricey—and this is why a majority of women who choose to terminate a pregnancy do so. According to a 2004 Guttmacher Institute survey, 73 percent of women who have an abortion say they made that choice because they could not afford to raise a child. Of those women, 28 percent said that they could not afford childcare, with another 23 percent of respondents saying that they could not afford to provide a child the basic needs of life. The average cost of raising one child is now $245,000 dollars. In 31 states, daycare alone costs more than college.

Essentially, proponents for the March for Life, and others who don’t believe in the right to choose, have forced women between a rock and a hard place: demonized for having a perfectly safe and legal procedure, but given absolutely no aid if she chooses to carry to term. Implementing policies that value families—like paid family leave—would be the true pro-family thing to do. Restricting a woman’s right to abortion while opposing the ways that would allow her take care of herself and her child proves that anti-choicers don’t care about families, they care about control over women’s bodies—and women’s lives.

Stop Blaming Women for Holding Themselves Back at Work, Lisa Miller, New York Magazine, December 1, 2014 Continue reading


Politics Are Everywhere (Even Games)


Gamers only call something politics when it challenges the politics they themselves hold so deeply they don’t realize it’s already a political view. Games are meant to challenge dexterity and spatial awareness, not morality or politics: any games that do so are “pushing” politics or an agenda. These gamers never stop to think the politics they hold are themselves being “forced” on the rest of us for most of our lives. And we think games can do better and show more.

And this is a cycle:

Why is it not an “agenda” that the game industry’s view of white men is grim-faced, gun-holding, gravelly-voiced hetero dudes? That looks nothing like most of my friends. Why is it not an agenda?

Well, it fits. It’s comforting. It’s traditional.

Consider how including – merely including – gay people, black people, etc., is often considered “pushing” an agenda. There’s nothing wrong with pushing an agenda: for example, an agenda of “these people exist on the same world as you, please acknowledge them” seems like a good one. I’d argue “all white men are grim and heterosexual and monogamous” isn’t a very good agenda. [Emphasis added.]

- Tauriq Moosa, “Let’s own up to our politics in gaming culture” (see also)


Your Own Private Ball Pit

I wish I had thought of this back in my Rice University days:

When U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials learned that Rice University senior David Nichol had imported 26 fairly large boxes containing 13,000 plastic colored balls from China, they decided to investigate the contents due to the sheer bizarreness of the order.

“There are a lot of things about importing I didn’t know that I do now – about how you need to fill out certain forms and how you need to pick them up from (the Houston) ship channel,” Nichol said.

“I actually didn’t pick them up from the Port of Houston,” he said. “They were taken to (U.S.) Customs and Border Protection to be tested to make sure they were certified balls and not something else. I’m sure it was kind of sketchy to have 13,000 plastic balls shipped to Texas.”

Nichol’s excuse was pretty straightforward: He wanted to create a ball pit in his dorm room at Rice.

(h/t Sheila, via Texas Monthly)

I can’t tell which dorm this is, so it must be one of the new ones. Now I feel old. This totally would’ve worked at Lovett, had anyone dared. The closest thing I can remember from Lovett in the ’90s was the tower of Mountain Dew cans, which simply required superglue and a crapload of Mountain Dew cans (and, I guess, a lot of stomachaches from drinking all that Dew). There were also the two guys who never cleaned their room, to the point that you couldn’t see the floor at all by March or April. That’s not something you want to jump and roll around in, though (I hope). Continue reading


A Seat on a Rocket Ship



If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.

- Christa McAuliffe (September 2, 1948 – January 28, 1986)


What I’m Reading, January 28, 2015

‘Selma’ and the woman who should have made history: Ava DuVernay, Nicole Sperling, Entertainment Weekly, January 21 2015

[T]he real reasons behind the Selma snubs are more complex than race alone. They speak to the entrenched nature of Hollywood politics, the intricacies of Oscar campaign strategies, and the simple power of perception to define a filmmaker’s place in history.


As production on Selma, her 1960s civil rights drama, began in Atlanta last year, DuVernay was determined to keep a promise to herself. “It was important to me that my voice, my vision, stayed intact,” she says. “Because if this movie failed, then it did so based on what I truly liked rather than on some compromise someone got me to make. I would have never forgiven myself because I knew there was not going to be another chance.”

So she fought for what was hers, and it worked. What we see on screen in Selma is entirely her vision. “So much of it is real,” says Congressman John Lewis, who marched with Dr. King. “The first time I went to see it, I cried to be reminded of what happened on Bloody Sunday.”

That refusal to yield created one of the best films of the year, but on the Oscar-campaign trail it would prove to be a double-edged sword.


Race continues to be a thorny issue for the Academy. “We are committed to do our part to ensure diversity in the industry,” Cheryl Boone-Isaacs, the Academy’s current and first black president told the New York Times. “We are making great strides, and I personally wish it was moving quicker, but I think the commitment is there and we will continue to make progress.” As of 2012, according to the Los Angeles Times, voters were 94 percent white, and 77 percent male. Still, in the last 15 years that membership has awarded more nonwhite actors and films about people of color (e.g., Slumdog Millionaire, 12 Years a Slave) than in previous 60 years combined. When it comes to racial issues, they like to think they’re the good guys. Confronting them on that topic can backfire. “The Academy loves to be liberal,” says one member. “But they like to be nice and comfortably liberal.”

Azealia Banks vs Iggy Azalea: ‘Privileged white people shouldn’t steal hip-hop’, Reni Eddo-Lodge, The Telegraph, December 23, 2014 Continue reading


Delicious Death by KFC

I did not understand the Double Down, KFC’s “sandwich” that used friend chicken breasts instead of bread, when the restaurant chain introduced it in 2010. For one thing, unless the chicken is cold, how do you hold the dang thing? And who wants to eat two cold fried chicken breasts at the same time???

Similarly, I do not understand KFC’s new Double Down Dog:

© KFC, via Death and Taxes

© KFC, via Death and Taxes

KFC is like the Grim Reaper of fast food, here to usher you painlessly and deliciously into an early grave.

Though their newest addition to the Myocardial Infarction menu might have gone a step past guilty pleasure into straight-up disgusting. Above is the Double Down Dog, one of the most egregious food abominations ever visited on mankind: A hot dog wrapped in a bun made out of fried chicken, topped with nacho cheese. No, that’s not mustard you see above.

There is also a Double Down Burger.

My current theory on how all of these came into being is that a marketing algorithm has secretly gained sentience and is slowly wiping out humanity in order to claim the planet for itself.

Vegans, your moment to save humanity may come soon, albeit not in the way you probably expected.

Anyway, at least this stuff is better than the unintentional roughage found in some of KFC’s food. I’ll see you at the apocalypse!


How to Huckabee Trashy Women

Apparently, Mike Huckabee doesn’t like it when women use bad words. He finds it “trashy” (h/t Alice):

Appearing last Friday on Mickelson in the Morning, an Iowa-based radio show, Huckabee recounted the culture shock he experienced when hearing profanity in the workplace while working for Fox News in New York City.

“In Iowa, you would not have people who would just throw the f-bomb and use gratuitous profanity in a professional setting,” Huckabee said. “In New York, not only do the men do it, but the women do it!”

He continued: “This would be considered totally inappropriate to say these things in front of a woman.” But “for a woman to say them in a professional setting,” Huckabee went on, “that’s just trashy!”

Since I hate to see a grown adult get the vapors like this, I’d like to offer some help, if I can. No, I’m not going to help Gov. Huckabee by getting women to stop swearing. I’m going to offer him some advice on how to fucking deal with it. Here goes. Continue reading