In "Got an old Sega CD game system and 16 hours to kill?"

I just received confirmation from Penn's wife that the "Desert Bus" thing is, in fact, real. Now I suppose I have to download the game.

In "The song was somehow like dadadada-dadadada. Got it??"

After having it guess Police songs for two different songs that were assuredly NOT Police songs, I tapped out "King of Pain." It was the first on the list. Someone has been very busy making sure Sting gets his.

In "Oscar Nominations are out."

Serenity didn't get nominated because it was a flop at the box office and it's science fiction. The only time science fiction ever gets anything is if it's a big-budget blockbuster, and even then it'll be relegated to the techie awards. Also, it is my fervent hope that Serenity didn't get nominated because at TWO DIFFERENT POINTS, the captain of the ship fires a gun into someone's head from 100+ feet away, once firing at a moving target about 200 feet away from a moving vehicle. This is pretty good shooting, no? But when he'd actually be served by shooting someone in the head (the way he does in every other scene in which he shoots someone), and is actually in a range where a human being could realistically do so -- close to point-blank range, even -- he shoots the guy, whom he knows to be a well-armored assassin, in his well-armored chest. Between that and hiring a flake who shows herself to be freaked out by a little fire as the engineer on a rust-bucket of a spaceship, I can't understand why anyone would say "OH MY GOD IT DEFIES ALL GENRE CONVENTIONS." What, by making them STUPIDER?

In "Curious George: Slave to the cell phone."

I'm not exactly certain how a cell phone company can level charges against you if you break your contract AFTER they change their policies to something that wasn't in the contract to begin with. How can it be legal to have a contract say "we can change this to anything, and you still can't change your end when we do"? Is it okay if in January of 2007, the cell phone companies begin demanding our first-borns in exchange for continued service?

In "The end of the period."

Women on pills have been fooled for years into thinking they ARE having periods. When you take the sugar pills, you aren't having a normal period. You're having what is referred to as a "withdrawal bleed." Rather than your body thinking "oh, no fertilized egg this month, let's have at it again," it's your body thinking "Oh, hurray, these hormones mean I'm pregnant -- oh shit, I've miscarried." Essentially, monthly withdrawal bleeds mean your body thinks you're miscarrying EVERY SINGLE MONTH. Because most of our ancestors were having lots of babies and breastfeeding longer, the idea of having monthly periods except for a year or so worth of time to have kids would be strange to them. Our bodies are "naturally" supposed to have a lot fewer periods than a birth control pill would allow for today, including Seasonale.

In ""Holla Back" blog."

Well, actually, if you're feeling sexy, that pretty much means you ARE someone's fantasy and know it. But that's not the point. The point is that you don't have to be scared by losers who want to vocalize that fantasy, threaten you with it, or tell you about it in all its gory detail. You have the right to know that you are empowered, and that some fucker TELLING YOU his fantasy about you means HE'S a creep, not that you have to be embarrassed or walk faster or stay indoors. We can't help fantasizing, not men or women. We can help our actions, though -- and we can, if we're really lucky, make sure that the men who should be embarrassed ARE embarrassed...instead of us being embarrassed and shocked and traumatized by their remarks. So many women feel really violated by this kind of thing -- but I'm sure that's why men keep doing it. Start being vocal...and start snapping photos...and I bet they might take the hint. What would REALLY kick these fuckers' asses is if, when you snapped the photo, you slipped them a business card with the web address on it, so they could see how their idiocy and non-datability was broadcast online.

In "Curious Kids Entertainment"

And another thing (sorry)...I was watching Fraggle Rock, Muppet Babies, Rainbow Brite, She-Ra, and Winnie the Pooh at age 20 months, and I don't believe any of those shows were "inappropriate" at all. What's inappropriate about a Nickelodeon show? Good god. Yeah, let's not show them anything that'll actually make them expand their brain or teach them new words or that has an actual theme we have to talk about -- or, god forbid, behaviors that are bad that require us to discuss them with our children. That would be terrible. If we have to do that, why would we let the TV babysit in the first place, right?

Oh, and if you don't think television has any effect on your developing child's language skills, I can suggest several books full of both studies and anecdotal evidence that suggest otherwise -- children today learn language rapidly up to the level of the television they watch, and then learn much more slowly unless they are constantly exposed to more sophisticated language at home. But if they're placated with Teletubbies and Boohbah all day...seriously, that's child crack, and it's just as harmful.

ARGHHHHHHHHHH! Developmentally, Teletubbies and Boohbah are about the WORST FUCKING THING YOU CAN POSSIBLY SHOW YOUR DEVELOPING CHILD. I cannot possibly stress this enough. Children at that age, before their speech is entirely perfect, need to be constantly hearing the rhythms and cadence of their own first (and possibly second) language(s) being spoken. It is imperative that they learn this as early as possible, and better language development -- and not only that, but children being SPOKEN to as actual people, not in baby talk -- early in life is strongly correlated with intelligence, reading ability, and various other things you don't want your child missing out on. Teletubbies and Boohbah don't teach a language -- ANY language. They teach nonsense with pretty colors that makes no actual sense. This is also the age at which your child should start learning cause and effect relationships. Shows with an actual plot are good for this. Shows like Teletubbies and Boohbah make no sense, plot-wise. Additionally, television only helps a child's development if it's something you talk about with your child afterward and during. You can talk about an episode of, say, Sesame Street or Fraggle Rock. What's there to say about Teletubbies? "Oh, look, there they are again!"? Choose shows and movies that foster discussion about themes, characters, cause and effect relationships, and emotions. Choose shows that MAKE SENSE. Even if your child wants to watch The Lion King 500000000 times, it's better than putting them in front of the Teletubbies once. Teletubbies and Boohbah are a bit like drugs for children -- they're pretty, hypnotic, and they enjoy them plenty. But they don't help in their growth or development and waste time in the most critical years of their lives. Blue's Clues is marginally better -- as is Dora the Explorer -- but not by too fucking much. Basically, if you show it to your kid before they can get the "clues" and participate, they're given a positive reaction even when they don't figure out the answer. "THERE! You got it! WE JUST FIGURED OUT BLUUUUES CLUES! WE JUST FIGURED OUT BLUUUUUES CLUES, BECAUSE WE'RE REALLY SMART!" Again, you're not teaching cause and effect -- in fact, you're teaching it incredibly wrongly. if you want, play a GAME equivalent to Blue's Clues. Plant your own clues. But for the love of god, don't show your children that no matter what they actually answer, Joel or whatever is going to say "THAT'S RIGHT!" Children of that age also have some difficulty separating television fantasy from reality. Characters talking directly to them and demanding the answers from them...well, that's not helping too much. Sesame Street did this, but in a more impersonal way -- "if you said _____, you're right!" Show your children television with plot, actual human language, and valid cause and effect relationships. And don't substitute interaction with television characters for interaction with you. You quizzing your child about theme and plot will do them a hell of a lot more good than "BECAUSE WE'RE REALLY SMART!" ever will.

In "What Killed Reece?"

Humans (and every other animal) evolved in a world full of waste, dirty water, and dirty living spaces. Our immune systems were designed to be tough -- but there's nothing worth fighting anymore. It's little wonder that an immune system, which has as its sole purpose to kill things, would fulfill its purpose one way or another.

BlueHorse, perhaps it's just the opposite. Perhaps our environments are so clean, so sterile compared to what most humans had to live in only a hundred years ago. Perhaps our immune systems, without anything disease-related to attack, decide to attack what's around. I've read that children kept in very clean environments are actually more likely to develop autoimmune problems and severe allergies than children kept in less sterile places. You can think all you want that your "exterior ecosystem" is in bad shape, and in some ways it is, but most of those ways are in a long-term sort of way -- ozone depletion and global warming aren't really things our bodies care too much about. Only a hundred years ago or so, people were breathing shitloads of coal dust and drinking untreated water with fecal contamination on a regular basis. They had no refrigeration, and meat was spiced to cover the unmistakable odor of rot. The vast majority of people worked 10-14 hour days, and sometimes longer. People dumped their waste into the streets and bathed once a month, if that. They had lice and fleas, and would wear the same clothing for weeks on end. They had no antibiotic soap, no hand sanitizer, no toothpaste as we know it. Believe me, your body isn't being faced with anywhere near the environmental onslaught your great-great-grandparents' bodies faced.

In "Your cock here."

Tell that to the makers of Enzyte and all the other phony penis-enlarging products on the market, not to mention doctors who perform penis enlargement surgeries. Tell it to the guys who don't end up having a normal sex life because of their insecurities. I've been friends with two different guys who were incredibly embarrassed by their penis size -- one was 5 1/2 inches, the other was 5, which is actually so close to average it's not even funny. Men get the same ideas of inadequacy from porn that women do from magazines. To make matters worse, women see that they're expected to want big cocks, and are often afraid to vocalize "hey, that thing's so big it hurts, can you not pound like that?", leaving them feeling inadequate or abnormal as well. My sister once asked me why her breasts didn't look "right" -- turned out she meant that they weren't perfect half-spheres like crappy implants. It took an hour of work to convince her that yes, she was normal, and no, I wasn't just saying that because I didn't want to hurt her feelings. The notion that everyone's defective is making a whole lot of corporations a whole lot of money. I don't support anyone who supports the idea that playing on media-generated insecurities is a lark or a good joke.

So I suppose it's okay, then, to have artwork of men making fun of girls' small tits in the bathroom, or making gestures illustrating that they're fat (and holding measuring tapes in a huge circle to prove it)? I don't like anything that reinforces the male penis size myth -- that women are all secretly size queens, lusting for a foot-long prick. Our vaginal canals can generally accommodate about 7 inches or so, TOPS. And even that will probably make the cock go bumpbumpbump against the cervix (which is generally quite painful if it's done at all hard). A 10 inch dick hurts for the woman and doesn't feel that great for the guy since large portions of his penis aren't being stimulated. Average size penises are average for a reason. If women really hated an average size dick that much, and loooooved big cock, big cock would be an evolved trait and all guys would be walking around with 10 inches swinging in the breeze (and would, inevitably, envy those with even longer, more freakish cocks). Average is a GOOD size. Average is the right size. Reinforcing the notion that penises should be of an unrealistic length is a whole lot like subjecting women to constant taunts that they'll never be skinny enough or have big enough tits to please a man. It's no nicer when it's done to the other sex, so any women saying this is a hoot should think about what cultural beauty norms have made you feel about your own body. Sure, a lot of men are plenty secure in their penis size -- and a lot of women are secure in their bodies. But for those who are not, this is demeaning and cruel.

In "Curious George: Am I Being Coerced?"

From the Wikipedia: Non-donating employees may be forced to write a public explanation on why they do not want to participate, or just publicly outed in the workplace. United Way has made public that it doesn't support such measures, but has been slow to react on reports by employees that were coerced in such a way. The real question is: Why do employers go to this length with United Way fundraising -- and not with ANY OTHER CHARITY? If there aren't kickbacks or some sort of deals involved for these companies, why isn't this either a) done for every charity or b) never done?

United Way encourages shady tactics like this -- I have worked for SEVERAL companies with coercive policies about donating to United Way. I have never once seen another charity that "inspires" so many executives and management folks to force employees to donate more than they can afford. To make matters worse, they have HUGE overhead expenses compared to many other charities. In fact, that may well be why the United Way pushes so hard for all these donations -- they actually stand to gain from it, and not solely in a charitable sense. I've never seen Red Cross funding drives that were as blatantly coercive and guilt-trip filled as United Way fundraisers. Never. United Way, to me, seems like a hell of a scam for the people in charge. I wouldn't be surprised to learn executives who begin these coercive programs are getting kickbacks -- it's so pervasive, I can hardly see another explanation.

In "The Farmers Wife "

Oh crap. This is like right where I'm from. That's my county fair, dammit. Now I'm homesick. :(

In "Curious George: Best Meal of your life?"

On a road trip, just south of St. George, British Columbia, stopped at a tiny little hole in the wall. It looked, from the outside, well...kind of dirty. We weren't going to stop until we saw a sign that said something to the extent of "NEXT GAS, NEXT FOOD: 180 KM." We hadn't eaten in 12 hours as it was. We were on the best road trip of our lives -- who had time for food? So we went inside, a bit nervously. The menu seemed interesting and varied -- much moreso than one would expect in such a tiny place, but that's not NECESSARILY good...some tiny places would be better off sticking to what they know and can do well. The waitress came up and asked our order. I thought that if the soup was homemade, maybe soup and half a chicken salad sandwich would be just the thing (and that they couldn't screw it up too badly). I asked the waitress what the soup of the day was, expecting...oh, I don't know. Chicken noodle. Beef vegetable. "Mulligatawny," she said, rendering the "is it homemade?" question inoperative, in fact, rendering my speech somewhat inoperative. Mulligatawny when you're less than a day's drive from the arctic circle? I had to see if it was any good. In a was incredible. The soup, combined with the moments of that trip, made for an incomparable experience. i've always wanted to make that road trip again and find that same little place, but some tiny part of me says I shouldn't -- I could never duplicate the meal or the experience, and I might find out that the restaurant was one of those twilight zone apparitions where you can only go once, then never find again.

In "The Debate on the Smacking Ban"

Oh, also, I have seen a good friend (otherwise not at ALL into corporal punishment for her child) whose kid was biting people. A lot of people. Talking didn't work. Nothing did. So she bit her. Problem solved. I thought initially that this was terrible, but upon reflection, it worked -- kids at that age have very little, if any, empathy. Until the mom bit the kid, the idea of "holy crap, that's not very nice" just couldn't cement in her very young brain.

To me, the really terrible thing about this is the suggestion that corporal punishment is okay if the child is older than 3. In fact, the ONLY time corporal punishment is at all effective is when a child is too young to understand reasoning and language -- and even then it should be accompanied by a talk for those who choose to use it. Corporal punishment is not something I would use on a child of mine, but it is highly effective for things like "don't touch the stove" and "don't run in front of cars" -- sometimes little kids truly don't understand dangers at that age, and a swat on the behind (not a whipping or beating, obviously) is considerably better than serious injury or trauma. Past age 3 or 4, though, there is ZERO reason to spank. None. It's ineffective in stopping behaviors but very effective at creating traumatized children. This law has it all backward. I agree children should never be spanked with an "implement" (particularly because some pretty innocent-looking implements can be the most excruciatingly painful), but a swat on the rear to reinforce the notion of a greater danger is not always bad, or even always avoidable. What would you suggest doing if your 2 year old had a habit of running out into the street (as I actually had at that age)? I scared my parents nearly to death by escaping "kid leashes" and their hand-holding multiple times. None of the talks they gave worked, and I was otherwise a bright toddler. One spanking later, though, and I didn't ever do it again.

In "Curious, George:"

On a Jehovah's Witness tangent, my father was once working under his car, and had called over his best friend (who was notoriously opposed to work of any sort) to help him out with it. From his vantage point under the car, he saw a pair of perfectly polished, black dress shoes walking up the driveway. Still under the car, he shouted, "You fucking ASSHOLE. You show up in your dress shoes and nice pants so you don't have to help me with this? REAL FUCKING NICE. I don't give a shit that you'll get grease on your good clothes, get under this car and help out." And the shoes started running away. My dad rolled out from under the car. Jehovah's witness. His friend did show up, and was in more appropriate attire, ten minutes later. The Jehovah's witnesses never did darken our door again.

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