Monday, June 30, 2014

Let's Court Disaster!

And no, man-boobs do not count.
Today the Supreme Court, well some of it anyway, found in favor of Hobby Lobby: our nation's #1 supplier of pipe cleaners, glue sticks and moral direction. Hobb Lobb, and several other Christian-owned companies objected to having to pay for certain forms of contraception as required by the Affordable Care Act. Care to take a guess as to which justices dissented? Oh go on, I'll give you a hint: three of them actually have the lady parts most directly associated with the ruling.

I don't have a caption for this,
and it doesn't need one.
Justice Bader Ginsburg, who wrote the dissenting opinion, points out that the decision allows:

"commercial enterprises, including corporations...[to] opt out of any law (saving only tax law) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs."

seriously, look at the look on her face

"Yeah Cheryl, I know what it says,
look, Dad had anger issues back then..."
It kind of sounds like the ruling lets employers get away with whatever bullshit they want as long as they say their actions are religiously motivated. It's a get out of lawsuits free card. Uncomfortable with contraceptives? God (and Monty Python) says that every sperm is sacred (Genesis 38:8-10), so today's ruling has you covered. Don't want to put in a ramp for people in wheelchairs? Just point out Leviticus 21:18, God basically hates the handicapped. Does your store have a shoplifting problem? I'm pretty sure you can chop their hands off, it's somewhere in the old testament.

It's just an example. I have the utmost
respect for Baast and her worshipers.
Please don't lay a curse on me.
Look, I'm not saying that Hobby Lobby and the other the companies involved in the suit set out to screw over their employees (although that's totally what they're doing), I'm just suggesting that maybe the Court set a scary precedent today. One that hurts workers and may eventually come back to bite employers and religious liberty in general in the proverbial ass (there's a proverb about asses, isn't there?). At some point someone's going to ask questions like: What exactly constitutes a religious belief? And: are all religions covered or just the big ones? And, of course: my cat just died, can I force my employees to shave their eyebrows?

Holy shit, right? Not to get all slippery slope on you here, but isn't this like a really slippery slope? I mean, how do you measure religious sincerity? Is there a meter or something? Should there be? Is there still time for the Court to issue a writ of Do-Over on this one? What's Latin for mulligan?
According to the PKE Meter, this guy sincerely believes that he is
Vinz Clortho, Key Master of Gozer. Does this mean we should we
ask his opinion about the morning after pill? No? Ok. Shut up then.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Let's join Yensa!

In retrospect, they probably should
have hired Aaron Sorkin's coke habit.
Hey lookit this: there's a new dating site for smart people. It's in collaboration with Mensa and is uncleverly (not a word) called Mensa Match. So what the hell is Mensa? It's sort of a high IQ club where members sit around and ponder life's big questions. Questions like why Commander in Chief (starring Mensan Geena Davis) was canceled after only one season? I mean, it was pretty much The West Wing, except written by a team of writers instead of Aaron Sorkin's coke habit.

We're all stupider because this exists.
Anyway, in order to join Mensa and by extension, their online Yenta-service (which they totally should have called Yensa), you have to have an IQ in the top 2 percentile, which is something like 140 plus. Makes sense, right? Besides, how else can members ensure they won't end up on a date with someone who watches The Bachelor or follows TMZ? So as you can see, in many ways this is a really terrific idea. Of course it could also be a really terrible idea which would very well have dire consequences for the future.

"It's a simple integro-differential equation,
and it's not going to solve itself."
I know that not everyone who finds a partner on the site will be able to, or choose to have kids. But for the successful matches who do spawn, there's a decent chance that any children produced will inherit their parents above-average intelligence (or be forever a source of disappointment). Next, that Mensalet grows up and finds their own mate on Mensa Match and then cranks out even smarter kids and so on and so on. At some point aren't we kind of concentrating all the good genes in one place, breeding a race of super-geniuses?

She takes with her a generation's hope
for heightened intellectual discourse
as well as Beetlejuice 2...
Part of Mensa's stated goal is to "Identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity." Is this really benefiting humanity? If all the Mensans are breeding with each other, what about the rest of the human race? Shouldn't they be spreading the smart around a little? Is a society better off with a room full of Geenas Davis or just one super-Geena? The multi-Geena scenario provides different viewpoints, genetic diversity (they're not actually clones of Geena Davis, stay with me), and insurance against death or illness. I mean, let's not put all our braniacs in the same convertible, right?

Or should we trust Mensa? Maybe this Mensa Match thing is some kind of elaborate long game designed to breed an √úbermensch who will lead us into a bold new age of enlightenment and anagrammatic achievement. After all, it worked for the Bene Gesserit.*
"Paul here is one of my brightest students, he's reading at a third-grade level and has already moved on to fractions.
We're not supposed to say this to parents, but we're pretty sure you've bred the Kwisatz Haderach. Congratulations!"

*add 10 points to your nerd roll, and then tell me of the waters of your homeworld, Usul.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Let's incite a rebellion!

Look at those assholes, getting along,
celebrating their differences. Makes me sick.
"I am tired of the left. They say they're for tolerance, they say they respect diversity. The reality is this: They respect everybody unless you happen to disagree with them."

-Bobby Jindal, fed up with us
liberal-commie queermo's and our
hypocritical intolerance for his intolerance

That was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal harping on the left at last weekend's Faith and Freedom Coalition conference.

Yeah, the Faith and Freedom Coalition annual conference. I'm sure it was a blast...
It's like Fanime, except everyone dresses as the flag and hates Obamacare.
Think the Battle of Minas Tirith,
except with like, really judgy orcs.
Anyway, Bobby went on to make a veiled threat against the government about how our nation's capital is soon to be overrun by angry Christians who aren't going to take it anymore.

"I can sense right now a rebellion brewing amongst these United States, where people are ready for a hostile takeover of Washington, D.C., to preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren."

-Bobby Jindal, shortly before
Homeland Security showed up*

"I don't know, sanctimonious dickweed
has gotten me pretty far. I think I'm going
to ride it out, see where it takes me."
You know, predicting a Jesus-based "rebellion brewing amongst these United States" isn't exactly the same thing as inciting an insurrection, but what is it with conservatives and guns? For a group that can't stop talking about how patriotic they are, and how much they love America, they sure love to talk about overthrowing it. I mean, don't we have elections so we don't have to have rebellions? It's not the left's fault nobody votes Republican. Like, have they even tried making a persuasive argument? Or thought about not being such sanctimonious dickweeds all the time?

Oh, and does that bit about "preserving the American Dream for our children and grandchildren" seem a little weird to anybody else? Like, aren't these the same people who insist that the Earth is only 6000 years old and that they're going to be raptured any minute now? Couldn't they just run out the clock and leave the rest of us alone?
-The rest of us

*I'm joking of course. It's only considered terrorist chatter when non-Christians say it.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rick Perry: Bringer Togetherer of People

Hey, remember that time Rick Perry, in a totally well thought-out move, compared homosexuality to alcoholism? In San Francisco? Yeah, that was great. Also, it was last week.
Above: A typical Wednesday morning in San Francisco.
Anyway, he's just apologized at a luncheon hosted by the Christian Science Monitor:*

*not affiliated with the
Christian Science Fiction Monitor.
"I got asked about issues, and instead of saying 'you know what, we need to be a really respectful and tolerant country to everybody and get back to talking about, whether you're gay or straight, you need to be having a job, and those are the focuses that I want to be involved with. I readily admit I stepped right in it."

-Governor Rick Perry, 
assuming we all idiots 

A more appropriate image would be Perry
flailing helplessly whilst buried in a pile
of the horseshit he himself has spewed.
Oh that Rick, he sure did step right in it, didn't he? 'It' of course, being the completely reasonable outrage felt by the millions of people he just insulted by implying that they need to be cured of who they are. Hmm...You know, now that I think about it, that's not really an apology. In fact, that analogy paints Perry as the victim who unwittingly found his shoes caked in eye-wateringly pungent controversy instead of the cynical politician who voiced support for homophobic junk science because it plays well in red states. How 'bout that?

The diverse tapestry of Perry's supporters:
including old white men and elderly white men.
Now check out out this surprisingly open-minded quote from the same luncheon which he follows up immediately with some state's rights bullshit, awkwardly tacked on so as not to piss off his base:

"We're an incredibly diverse mosaic of a country...A lot of these issues need to be decided at the state level."

-Rick Perry, suddenly a
bringer togetherer of people

"...but that's enough about my hateful,
ignorant comments, let's talk about jobs."
Like since when does Rick Perry care about diverse mosaics or think we need to be a respectful and tolerant country? That seems a little out of character, it's almost as if he'd prefer that we think of him not as a champion of divisive politics and anti-gay rhetoric, but instead as a consensus builder. Jobs? People love those! I've totally forgotten about his heinous conflation of homosexuality and alcoholism. Is there like an election coming up?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Today in surprisingly well-funded fandom:

Pictured: Some guy brandishing a
bladed weapon outside of Comic-Con.
Not pictured: police intervention.
Fan films are the highest form of nerdery, and this one promises to be worthy of song. Songs written in Klingon. Like, by people in homemade costumes. Here, enjoy. It's a trailer for Prelude to Axanar, a short film which will lead to the full production Star Trek: Axanar. The short alone beat its Kickstarter goal by a factor of 10 and put the production team well on its way to funding the movie as well. More than 2100 people pledged over $100,000 just to make the short. In unrelated news, NASA can't afford a mission to Mars.

Anyway, back to Star Trek. 'Prelude' is a fictitious Ken Burns-style documentary about an equally fictional battle between the Klingon Empire and the Federation. The battle itself will be the focus of the movie, Star Trek: Axanar, to which the prequel to which will look back on the events of. I think. It's hard to say, I may be bleeding from the ear.
The film will be dedicated to the memory of the many fictional people who pretended to lose their
imaginary lives on both sides of that terrible conflict we're going to say happened. Lest we forget...
I urge you not to think about it too hard.
Still with me? No? Let me muddy the waters a bit more: the titular Battle of Axanar takes place before the original Star Trek series but well after the more recent prequel series Star Trek Enterprise. Also, it's important to note this is all set in the 'Prime Universe' as opposed to the 'Alternate Reality' established in the rebooted J. J. Abrams movies. What that means is that the movie is set in the past of the future, but in order to be consistent with the look of the 1960's series, Axanar will kind of look like the past's idea of what the future will be like.

Also, he may be a wizard.
Ok, so that's great and all but my question is this: can we get this guy some funding? His name is Harold White and he's a physicist at NASA who's working on building an actual warp drive. And no, he's not a kook, he is seriously looking into ways to shorten the travel time between star systems by bending the fabric of space time thus getting around the universal speed limit of light. How? I don't know, something to do with science I suppose. He's going to science it.

Bo-ring right? Wrong. White recently teamed up with a graphic artist to come up with some super-rad images of what it would look like because, and let's be honest here, physics papers don't beat Kickstarter goals. Behold:
For added authenticity, White plans to hire a drunk Scottish guy to be in charge of the anti-matter.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The first step is admitting that you're a dick...

Rick Perry is genetically inclined
to be an asshole, yet feels compelled
to follow that particular lifestyle.

Hey look! Rick Perry has something to say about gay people. Let's all listen:

"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or no, you have the ability to decide not to do that...I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way."

-Texas Governor Rick Perry
on how alcoholism and being 
gay are kinda the same thing

No, really, that is what he's said today during a Q&A at the Commonwealth Club of California, in San Francisco. Yeah, San Fran-'Third Gayest City in America'-cisco. 
Wait a minute, third gayest? Seriously?
"What? I'm just saying it's similar.
I think of homosexuals as cockoholics."
Coming days after the Texas GOP added support for the scientifically debunked practice of 'curative treatments for gays' to an already crazy platform, Dr. Rick Perry just compared homosexuality to alcoholism and while it's interesting that he-wait, what? He's not a-

"I don't know. I'm not a psychologist. I'm not a doctor..."

No shit he's not a doctor, yet strangely that didn't stop him from offering an opinion about the medical underpinnings of human sexuality. A subject about which he clearly knows nothing. So why then is he opening his leathery face-hole on the topic in the first place? Doesn't he have handlers?
Turns out he had handlers...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Lacking in Conventional Wisdom

Ted Cruz took the opportunity
to propose a new GOP salute.
Hey, get this, today at the Texas GOP convention, the party will vote on whether or not to, as a group, pretend that gayness is a thing that people can be talked out of through therapy:

"We recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle."

-Proposed addition to the Texas GOP
platform, and the reason nobody likes them

Gay people would join dinosaurs, climate change and the human capacity for decent behavior towards one another on the list of things the GOP doesn't believe exist despite incontrovertible proof to the contrary.
"People? Getting along despite differences? Might as well show me a heard of unicorns!
Which is impossible because there aren't any because they fell off Noah's Ark and drowned. Fact."
-Every Republican in Texas
Unfortunately, there's no cure for being
a sanctimonious dickweed either.
Today's proposal would make support for the debunked practice of trying to cure gay people of homosexuality, which the entire medical profession has written off as politically motivated red-state horseshit, a part of the party platform. According to the American Psychological Association the treatments are bogus and can seriously fuck people up, especially kids. It's already been banned in California and New Jersey, but then this is Texas we're talking about; a state where the official plan for drought relief is prayer.

They might as well be
voting on phrenology.
Check out the APA's Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth. It's a resource book which devotes fully a quarter of its text to discrediting precisely the kind of stupidity that Texas Republicans are trying to insert into their platform:

"The most important fact about these 'therapies' is that they are based on a view of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major mental health professions."

-The American Psychological Association,
who, unlike everyone at today's GOP convention are
The American Psychological Association

Support for conversion therapy, if it passes today's vote, will be added to the Texas GOP's already heinously anti-gay platform which opposes gay people getting married, being treated equally and just plain existing. Here's the whole draft, read it and then thank Gay Jesus that you don't live in Texas.
"Whosoever believeth in Gay Jesus shall know everlasting fabulousness."

-The Bible*
Because seriously,
what is up with Texas?
For real.
"Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples. We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against whose who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values. We recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from the their homosexual lifestyle. No Laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy."

-Proposed Texas GOP stance on homosexuality,
you should probably go shower now

Maybe it's ok if you stick to the blue bits.

*Oh come on, like I'm the first person to make something up and then say it's in the Bible...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Shamble faster!

You know, I was finally over the hump. More than half way through these books and now this happens. Yeah, according to to George R. R. Martin's publisher, there might be eight books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Goddamn eight books.
The eighth and final book is expected by 2363 and will presumably
be written by a holodeck simulation of George R. R. Martin.
Dragon Ball Z's plot moved
faster than these books. 
And yes, you heard me: I'm still only on book 4. The fifth book, A Dance With Dragons, came out like three years ago and is, at this very moment sitting on my shelf, unread and staring at with it's accusing eyes...its, uh, accusing book eyes. Look, it's not the best analogy, but the point is that the slow paced slog that was A Feast for Crows was something I read nine years ago. I can't be expected to remember who gouged who's eyes out or who's secretly screwing whose twin, can I?

The knowledge that the author's now going to vamp for another three books before finally letting the ice-zombies feast on whatever likable characters actually make it to book 8 is not making me want to get caught up.
You know, if a certain unstoppable army of undead horror would pick up the pace a little,
maybe we wouldn't have to wait three more books to see what happens.
Technically it's an imaginary
land full of murder and magic
birds, so let's be reasonable here.
This isn't the first time the specter of Octology has been raised, but I think we were all kind of hoping that was just a rumor. And it might have been if it weren't for Martin's editor Anne Groell. Yup, it's all her fault. The author was planning a trilogy, or maybe a quartet but she decided to poke the bear, the bearded, train conductor-behatted bear. Behold:

"He predicted four books. I said Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Then he went to six. I said ... Well, you get it...Only as I learned when editing THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE...there are technically eight kingdoms..."

-Editor Ann Groell
on why we'll never have closure

Monday, June 2, 2014

Head Games of the Rich and Bored

Important safety tip: not everything you
find on the beach will be stuffed with cash
Hey, check it out. Some real-estate developer who made a ton of money doing whatever the hell it is real-estate developers do, hid a bunch of cash-filled envelopes all over San Francisco and San Jose and then tweeted clues about where to find them. Oh, and just in case you live in Los Angeles and were feeling left out, he went down there on Saturday and hid plastic Angry Bird toys stuffed with money around Hermosa Beach. You know, just in case the beaches in L.A. weren't crowded enough on weekends.

Pictured: literally the only thing you
 have to do as a real-estate developer.
According to the mystery cash-stasher, he's doing this because he wants to give long as it's entertaining. He's quick to point out that this isn't charity and he's already turned down a ton of emails asking for financial help saying:

"Don't look for this to be a lottery ticket or a handout to solve your problems...It's not going to change your life. There are a lot of opportunities to make a living."

-A Real-Estate Developer lecturing
everybody else on the value of working hard

If you hear Batdance, run and don't look back.
Now if you're anything like me (that is to say, paranoid and delusional), then this whole thing probably reminds you a little of the Joker's plan in Tim Burton's Batman. Remember? He lured everyone in Gotham out with promises of cash and a rockin' all-Prince street party in the bad part of town, complete with scary balloons and armed goons and then, blamo! He hits them all with Smilex gas. But don't worry, that's probably not what this guy is up to. Probably. I mean, it's a little far-fetched. Right?

For the winner: a $50 gift certificate
to Chipotle, for the loser: death!
Anyway, I might just be cynical (might?), but the game strikes me as a little demeaning. Sure, the man says he hopes to inspire a global movement of people giving back to their communities with similar contests (there's already one in the U.K.), and his warning about not relying on rich eccentrics to lead you on twitter-based scavenger hunts for hidden cash is probably sound financial advice, but it all seems less about doing something nice for people and more about watching them jump through hoops for the amusement of the wealthy. 

Look, I'm not trying to tell him what to do with his money (ok, yes I am), but if he wants to give it away it seems like there are better, less douchey ways to do it. Like dropping it out of a blimp or something. 
Or, I don't know...fucking cancer research?