My friend Joi likes to say that a person needs six hugs a day to maintain their sanity. And there’s enough research behind that thought to warrant consideration. Having your personhood affirmed by tactile reinforcement can go a long way in our increasingly disconnected world. I was reminded of this today as I was walking home from the library and spotted a woman wearing a Superman shirt like mine. Hers was a rebirth era, and mine is classic, but Superman is Superman. So we laughed, claimed a bond only true comic book fans can claim, and then, catching me completely by surprise, she hugged me. We held there for a moment, wished each other well, and went our separate ways. You know what? The world needs more random hugs. And if you can’t do that, hug someone anyway. You’ll thank me when you do. [Read more…] about Free Hugs!
Back in the ’60s two guys named Otto Klement and Jerome Bixby wrote a story about how science could shrink people and inject them into other people to solve urgent medical issues. In the case of the story it was a soon-to-be lethal blood clot. The story was so cool that Harry Kleiner wrote a movie script about it and Richard Fleischer directed it, and they called the result FANTASTIC VOYAGE. If you click that link you’ll be subjected to 1966’s common sexism. Sorry about that. The film was made in 1966. But you’ll also see something unthought of at the time; the use of the human body as a location. Up until then all depictions of humans in sci-fi had the humans being sacred beings who did things, not some vessels that could have things done to them. The movie fascinated many, terrified some, and made stupid money for its time.
[Read more…] about Let’s Get Small
The things that set people off into ALL CAPS rages continues to amaze me. From pumpkin spice anything to the colors of the new line of Hyundai’s. Now, if they made pumpkin spiced Hyundai’s then I could understand. Nah, I still wouldn’t care. Even so, high dudgeon appears to be attainable via the slightest provocation. And never is that more true than in the world of superheroes. What? You thought I was going to dive into politics? Sorry buddy, I gave up low hanging fruit when I dumped all my Florida stories. From Ben Affleck ruining Batman for all, he didn’t, to Gal Gadot not being American, neither was Wonder Woman, to Robert Downey Jr. being a horrible actor, he’s not, to Black Panther being a waste of white people’s money, it wasn’t, etc. On and on it goes. This will ruin civilization, or that will destroy all human morals, or something even more dire. None of the arguments have any validity when looked at logically, but people keep making them.
[Read more…] about Controversy
If you’ve wandered near the internet lately, and managed not to run and hide from all the politics, you’ve heard about how Elon Musk wants to nuke Mars and Jeff Bezos thinks that moon hotels are a spiffy idea. Both of these men are smart, stupidly rich, and capable of making their own dreams cone true. There is just a little, teensy, thing that neither man is comfortable admitting; they’re going to cause a lot of people to die for no reason. You see, in layman’s terms, both ideas are stupid. I mean fatally misguided. Essentially, without wasting the rest of your week on boring math, it all comes down to this; on a planet with basic Earth gravity, air pressure, and wind currents, their ideas are fine. Neither location even remotely fits that description.
[Read more…] about Let’s Nuke Some Sh*t
Back on January 10, 2013, I wrote a whimsical missive about how Floridians may be the stupidest, and most dangerous, morons on Earth. Not much has changed since then. Back then they authorized regular citizens to wander the Everglades and hunt pythons with handguns. For those who don’t party with giant constrictors, pythons can get to twenty feet long, a couple hundred pounds, and can kill and eat a four or five year old child without effort. Hunting them with handguns is akin to hunting rogue elephants with a slingshot. It can be done, but your aim better be amazing since you won’t get a second shot. Long time fan of the Friday edition of The Big Wake Up Call, the weekly radio companion to this blog, Roger (last name withheld by request) over at Smithsonian Magazine, sent me THIS LINK to update me on how well things have gone since then. [Read more…] about The Joys of Extinction
Before the Comics Code Authority comics told stories. Yes, many were silly, some were obvious rip offs of others, but, in the main, they told stories. They tended to love America, wish all people were treated equal, and offered new ways to look at old problems. To be honest, they had problems too. Societal racism was a constant thing and comic creators were no more immune to it than anyone else. Some confronted it, others continued it. I could do an entire dissertation on race in comics and still not scratch the surface. But, after the Comics Code, any sense of nuance died. Any attempt to tackle social issues was shelved. For a simple example, Batman, in 1939, was a vigilante who killed and worked with the seedy underbelly of society to mete out a larger theme of justice. After …? Bang, zoom, pow. The Batman of the ’60s. [Read more…] about Stay Home and Ignore People
Unlike my usual stuff, this is tied directly to Chicago sports, and the early part of the century. It’s a part of my life that’s gone, but which I still take pride in. Even if you don’t get all the references, I hope you enjoy the story.
Jay the Joke was started out by Patrick Dahl (son of Steve & Janet) and his partner in crime, Matt Lynch. It was built exclusively to belittle Jay Mariotti. Yes, I know, low hanging fruit and all that. Still and all, they got a lot of pub, made the site into something fun, and used it, in part, to springboard their careers.
I bought the site in 2008 and turned it into more of a local sports site which still managed to take nasty, and hilarious, swipes at the little man*. With help from MLB.com I was able to get access to stuff no one else had and the site became the guilty go-to stop for real sportswriters, several of whom I am friends with to this day. More than once I had a story days or weeks before the regular media. [Read more…] about Those Halcyon Days of Yore
It’s easy to yell at the news and find fault with anything that disagrees with your worldview. That’s not your fault. It’s a byproduct of evolution. We needed to stay with our tribes, support those around us, ensure our survival by any means necessary. Sadly, evolution hasn’t quite caught up with where we’re at now. We’re not sitting on the veldt hoping to find the next mammoth so dinner would be assured. We no longer need to hunt our food. Our community, thanks to electronic communications, is the world, not what’s just within our sight. And that’s difficult to grasp. It’s easy to say a million of this or a million of that. But what does that mean? The human brain isn’t built to conceptualize numbers like that, so it retreats into the familiar. The same applies to global concepts. What does global climate change mean? Can you sum it up in a quick blurb? If not the mind will try to do so anyway. What does rampant gun violence mean if you have to take action against members of your own tribe? More often than not it becomes something the mind shoves aside. [Read more…] about Narrowing Your Field
Last week I wrote about how human limb regeneration research had hit a roadblock and wasn’t advancing at its projected pace. This was, and is, true. But, as several readers who are smarter than me, HI EVERYONE WHO READS THIS BLOG, pointed out, some stunning advances had still taken place. For those of you who haven’t followed my various articles over the last few years, I’ll just toss in a brief synopsis. Several invertebrates, such as worms, and some amphibians, including a variety of lizards, can regrow their limbs after they are lost. This renders a tragedy into a minor inconvenience. Humans, you may have heard, do not possess this ability. But, since we are all evolved from the same basic life forms, we do carry some of the genes other animals do which could allow this to happen in us. [Read more…] about This Could Grow On You
In 2018, Scientific Reports, a prestigious scientific journal, published the scientific equivalent of a fart in church. And I mean a loud one, that covered six rows in stink, that you may never live down. Or, so I’ve been told. Under the austere sounding title of Prominent exostosis projecting from the occipital squama more substantial and prevalent in young adult than older age groups they claimed that using digital devices caused horns in young people. Specifically millennials. Words can’t even begin to describe the many flaws in this mess, and most scientists ignored it when it first came out, but we’re now forced to give it a try. You see, someone in the “mainstream media” decided this was news, managed to not check a single claim and, WAH-LAH, the Washington Post reported “Horns” are growing on young people’s skulls. Phone use is to blame, research suggests. And we were off to the races. Somewhere between the evangelical freak out and toddler level humor, any semblance of truth got got mangled and ignored. [Read more…] about Do Cell Phones Make You Horny?