Happy first-week-of-school, suckers.
And here are a few more fun education-based bits from throughout Calvin & Hobbes history.
Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).
Happy first-week-of-school, suckers.
And here are a few more fun education-based bits from throughout Calvin & Hobbes history.
Three billion human lives ended on August 29th, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day.
(I'm just kidding, of course. The robots haven't killed us. Yet. And neither has that new Terminator reboot with the corny puntmanteau name. But once again, I should qualify it: yet.)
God I love this movie.
Fortunately — or unfortunately, if you were really hoping that your visions of an Endor-like future were finally near — this is only a model, created by Malloy Aeronautics. As it turns out, the bike itself is less than four feet long, and the combined weight of the robot and the bike is a mere 15.4 pounds. On the bright side, the robot has a GoPro camera for a face, so at least they'll get some cool footage out of it, right?
The MA Hoverbike is a 1/3-scale model but Malloy Aeronautics is trying to turn the full-size bike into a reality. They've got a Kickstarter campaign going that ends this Sunday, so you better act fast if you want to get your own GoPro'd Hoverbike drone for the low, low price of $1000. Just think of it as a donation to a good cause (the cause of escaping from AT-STs and destroying the shield bunker on the Forest Moon of Endor so that the Rebels can destroy the second Death Star, obvi).
My friend Jeremy is one of the most wickedly funny people I know. His previous venture White Bored Funnies provided me with endlessly entertaining stick fingers for several years, and now he's outdone himself once again with one of those stupidly brilliant ideas that you hate yourself for not thinking of first (that is, if you're the kind of person with a similar sense of humor and taste of music as me).
Enter: NEUTRAL MALKOVICH HOTEL, my new favorite meme. Neutral Milk Hotel lyrics superimposed over screenshots from John Malkovich movies. It's like The Diaries of Anne Frank meets Being John Malkovich. It's everything I've ever wanted.
He'll be adding more as he goes on, I'm sure, but you can check out the Neutral Malkovich Hotel tumblr right now for all your carrot flower needs.
I've mostly stayed out of the whole ALS Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon, mostly because I'm ambivalent — it's clearly successful in raising awareness (although I don't know how much money it's actually raised, or how important that awareness is in the grand scheme), but I can also be a bit contrary and resistant to jumping on band wagons. (Mostly I just don't care to pour a bucket of ice water on my head or to offer some cleverly deconstruction of this voyeuristic online ritual, so I've resigned myself to leaving it alone, but I don't begrudge anyone who does choose to participate)
That being said, my friend Jason shared this link with me on Facebook, and it was just too good not to share. One of the earliest bonding experiences that Jason and I had as roommates back in 2008 involved David Lynch and a creepy dude Kristoff who had a lisp, an Asian fetish, and a weak stomach, so this felt particularly appropriate.
Also Vladimir Putin. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
For those who don't know, The New York Times recently posted an article about the life of Michael Brown, the teenager who was recently gunned down in Ferguson, MO. The piece, which ran opposite of a flattering profile on the life of the (surviving) police officer who shot the poor boy six times for the crime of walking down the street, criticizes the dead teenager who can't even defend himself for being "no angel." His numerous faults include occasionally disagreeing with his parents, drawing on the walls as a toddler, trying to escape from his crib, dabbling in drugs and alcohol, and listening to "the rap music." These behaviors reflect a common psychological condition known as "being a god damn kid" — a condition which, yes, is fatal, but usually not for another 70 years or so.
If you're struggling to understand why painting a dead black teenager as a "thug" because he did the things that teenagers do, The Boston Globe offers a particularly eloquent takedown of the problematic of this piece. I suggest you read it. Meanwhile, I've rounded up some of my favorite responses from the around the web (read: seen on Twitter), comparing Brown's obituary to similar mainstream retrospectives on other individuals who are almost universally accepted to be more deservedly reviled.Read More
Continuing my apparently never-ending coverage of Guardians of the Galaxy for Tor.com, this week's article suggests some theories about the identity of Star-Lord's mysterious absent father, as alluded to at the end of the film (oops, sorry, spoilers). Check it out, and share your thoughts in the comments below!
Oh, and also, there's this:
As of today, donors have raised over $200,000 in support of the police officer that shot the unarmed — while a similar campaign on GoFundMe in support of the family of the unarmed teenager who was brutally shot 6 times by a cop has only raised $150,000.
There are literally more people willing to shell out money in support of a police officer who has not been charged with any crime and is currently on paid vacation, than people who could monetarily support the family who has to deal with the fact that their innocent son was gunned down for absolutely no reason.
Please tell me that you see what's wrong with this.Read More
The late Joe Strummer would have been 62 years old today, and probably just as pissed off at the world as he ever was. To celebrate, here are his original handwritten lyrics for "London Calling."
And as a little added bonus, here's the Joe Strummer version of "London Calling" from the 2003 Grammy Awards, featuring Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, and pretty much everyone else ever.
Hee-hee. Cheesy intellectual humor. Hee-hee.
Who says women's rights activists don't have a sense of humor? Judging from this satirical piece from 1915, posted on Twitter by iRevolt, suffragettes knew how to make a good joke.
Writer, poet, activist and general badass Alice Duer Miller outlines five (obviously tongue-in-cheek) reasons why men should not be afforded the right to vote. These reasons include the fact that "men are too emotional to vote" and "because a man's place is in the army." The piece was published in Duer Miller's 1915 book of satirical poetry, "Are Women People?" based off of her New York Tribune column.
We all know I'm a sucker for a good remix / mashup, and in addition to appealing to the Vonnegut fan in me, DJ Kilgorian Tralfamadore has put together this sweet mashup version of the complete Guardians of the Galaxy "Awesome Mix #1" (which is also apparently the #1 album in America right now? Weird).
(Admittedly, some of the grooves are a little sloppy — but I'm pretty sure he pulled off my second-favorite off-beat sampling of "I Want You Back" after "Jump" by Kriss Kross)
Have you or anyone you know ever been made to feel safer in the presence of Riot Police? No? That's what I thought.Read More
Bleeding Cool shared this great look at how the Ninja Turtles have evolved over the years, from a parody of Frank Miller's gritty ninja noir obsessions to a kids' TV show to a....whatever the hell Michael Bay to them.
(sadly, this chart does not include the ill-fated Star Trek Ninja Turtles line...)
I saw a lot of people sharing this monologue on social media, in light of the news of Robin Williams' passing. I thought I'd post the original pages, in case there's anyone out there who still doesn't get the joke.
Mr. Williams clearly had a profound effect on the lives of many people, and of course his death is tragic. But before you start thinking or talking about how that loss affects you personally, please consider the struggles of those like him who are suffering inside and don't know where to go for help. If you've ever lost a loved one to suicide, then you know how hard it is to keep going after that — dealing with all the questions that constantly flow through your head. If you yourself have ever dealt with depression on any level, then you know what that's like. If you haven't experienced either thing, well, then consider yourself lucky. No one should have to deal with that — but unfortunately, many of us do.
I'll leave you now with an excerpt from Matt Fraction's tumblr. Matt is a comic book writer that I often enjoy, and last October, someone asked him:
Sorry to put this on you but I have an honest question about depression an suicide. Isn't it completely possible for it to be a alternative for someone. Can't there be someone out there who genuinely is tired and doesn't want to continue. I know there is beauty and wonderful things in this world. There are things to look forward to. There will be more pain but also more laughter. But what if I'm not interested?
To which Mr. Fraction replied:
well… well first off, i’d say, seek professional help immediately. because i am wildly unqualified to answer your question with anything but experience. and first off, my experience says, if you are in such a deep and dark place where you say things like this to total strangers on the internet, you need to be in contact with someone that can help you start to heal.
second, i’d say… you’re wrong. i’d say the things any of us don’t know, especially about tomorrow, could blanket every grain of sand on every beach of the world with bullshit. And to simply assume you are done tomorrow because you are done today is a mistake. a factual mistake, an error, a critical miscalculation.
And i’d say — i’d say i felt that way before too, and i was wrong.
And then i’d tell you something i don’t even think my wife knows. this happend years before we met — shit, more than a decade — and it’s not the first time i came close to suicide was on a thanksgiving night. i’d eaten well and then as the house shut down i went into the bathroom, drew a bath as hot as i could manage to stand, and climbed into the tub with a razor blade.
As i started to cut, as the corner touched my skin and that jolt of pain fired into my head, i stopped and thought — y’know, last chance. Are you SURE?
And i was tired. I sounded like you, that i knew there’d be ups again and downs but i was just so fucking TIRED i couldn’t stand the thought of having to get there. I felt this… this never-ending crush of days that were grey and tepid but for some reason i was supposed to greet each one with a smile. the constant pressure of having to keep my shit in all the time was just exhausting.
I wondered, then — well, is there anything you’re curious about. Anything you want to see play out. And i thought of a comic i was reading and i’d not figured out the end of the current storyline. And i realized I had curiosity. And that was the hook i’d hang my hat on. that by wanting to see how something played out I wasn’t really ready. That little sprout of a thing poking up through all that black earth kept me around a little longer.
I realized then that it had been so long since i’d laughed. I was numbed out and shut down and just… i missed laughing. maybe if i laughed a little i could get moving again. so i’d wait for my comic to conclude, try to find a few laughs, and then reevaluate.
So I’m in the bathtub and i got this real sharp-ass razor, right? And i look down and there’s all my bits floating in the water like they do and i thought okay, let’s get funny and i got to work.
I shaved off exactly half my pubic hair vertically. The end result was a ‘fro of pubes that looked like a Chia Pet that only half-worked. I started to laugh as I did it. And every time i’d piss, looking down made me laugh.
Because JESUS what a nightmare.
Shortly thereafter I got very heavily into Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. Way less chafing and way more funny.
jesus. i was still in high school at the time. dig if you will a picture of the chubby weirdo that was always giggling at his dick in the bathroom. that was me.
And then I guess I’d tell you about Dave, who did the same thing as me a few years later, only DIDN’T have my hilarious Chia Dick strategy in mind and got the razor in and up. And as he started to bleed out “Brown Eyed Girl” came on the radio and he realized he’d never get to hear that again so, in a bloody comedy of errors — I swear to god this is true — he got out of the tub, tried to get dressed the best he could, went downstairs calling for help only to find his family gone, went out to his car, and drove to doug’s house only to find doug not home and so, then, finally, he blacked out from blood loss sitting there in his car, playing a van morrison CD on repeat, until, by luck, Doug’s mom came home and found him.
Fucking Van Morrison, y’know?
A song, a comic, something dumb, something small. From that seed can come everything else, I swear to god.
I guess last I’d say… I’d say that, look — if you reached out to me for an answer, than I have to reach back out to you and insist you hear it. Because it means, what, you know me? My work? You read my stuff and thought, well, fuck, if anyone would know why I shouldn’t end my life, if anyone alive is QUALIFIED TO SAVE ME it’s the guy that had britney spears punch a bear? okay — okay, then, so as THAT GUY I’m saying: Get help. Now, today, tonight, whenever — get to a phone and find a doctor that can try to help you heal, that can try to recolorize your world again, that can help you start caring again. All you need is that one tiny thing, that speck, that little grain of sand. the World Series, AVENGERS 2, Tina Fey’s new show, the first issue of PRETTY DEADLY, some slice of the world you’ve never seen, some drink you love, who the fuck will love your dog like you do if you’re gone, what if jabrams KILLS it on the new STAR WARS, the hell are you doing for Halloween, you ever feed a dolphin with your bare hand? because i have and I am fucking telling you IT IS A THING TO EXPERIENCE and oh god WHAT FUCKING FONT WILL STARBUCKS USE ON THE CHRISTMAS DRINK SLEEVES THIS YEAR — i don’t care what or how dumb but i promise you somewhere in your life is that one fleck of dust that can help start you on the road back. That’s all it takes. One fucking mote, drifting through your head.
And because you asked me I am answering you because i know, motherfucker, i know, i know, i know the hole you are fucking in because I was there myself and if you look hard you can still see my writing on those walls and if you stare long enough i swear to god it’s pointing to up
If you're hurting, or know someone who is, please seek help. Please don't be afraid to talk about it. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or find the solidarity of community at To Write Love on Her Arms, or just talk to someone, anyone.
This little robot is hitchhiking across Canada, from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. It's an interesting sociological experiment, and though I personally find "facial expressions" to kind of awkward, I definitely get how it makes him come off as much less threatening than, say, this guy:
They make the point right around the 4:20 mark that an experiment this could only ever work in Canada, because Americans are definitely way too trigger-happy, paranoid, and generally crazy, and would probably destroy the poor little Hitchbot. Especially once he got started making small talk. Hell, I got annoyed just listening to the short clip of his Wikipedia rambling. I'm not even sure how long I'd last in the car with this Canadian C-3PO.
I do kind of wonder about what a robot experiment like this could do in studying the dangerous aspects of hitchhiking, especially if it's recording its interactions. I've never actually hitchhiked myself, but at least in America, we're told that you're expected to trade "ass, cash, or grass." Sexual assault in particular is a major threat for women. But Hitchbot, he's just a freeloader!
...or is he? Hrmmm...
A friend of mine recently contacted me about a friend of his who had been diagnosed with Adult ADHD (and no, not in that "asking for a friend" kind of way). As I'm generally very publicly and ashamed of my condition, I was delighted to give him some advice, and as I typed to him and organized my thoughts, I realized this was something that was probably worth sharing with other people as well — especially those who don't have ADHD, but know someone he does, so they can better understand the daily struggles, including the mental and emotional exhaustion of basically having your brain on overdrive 24-hours a day.
Despite what you've been told, living with ADHD is not all fun and games and shiny objects. It's both a challenge and an asset, and often at the same time. Our brains don't work in quite the same way as everyone else's, which isn't necessarily a bad thing — it's just different. This is probably why people don't tend to take it as seriously as other learning disabilities or forms of mental healthcare. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, "being really annoying to go grocery shopping with" is a far cry from, say, being bi-polar (although that can sometimes be a symptom as well). But that still doesn't mean it's easy.Read More
I had the pleasure of seeing an advanced screening of Guardians of the Galaxy last week which was, well, everything I dreamed it would be from the very first preview I read of the first issue in 2008. You can read my full review over on Tor.com (with whited-out spoilers, for those of you worried about those kinds of things).
You can also listen to this totally sweet Star-Lord jam by nerd-rapper extraordinaire Adam WarRock (although I personally would have preferred it if he had sampled from "Hooked on Feeling" or one of the other delightfully anachronistic songs from the movie soundtrack like he did for his Firefly mixtape, but that's a minor gripe).
Frankly, I'm kind of disappointed in Massachusetts for being so susceptible to something as lame as Death by Wind Farms, but then...what else don't I know about the vast global conspiracy?!
As for my other home state of Connecticut, I actually think that the frequency of deaths by antimatter is fairly common knowledge.
Same with Florida. Everyone knows that Florida is the leading cause of everything wrong with Florida (and most things wrong with the rest of the world as well).
UPDATED: This map was originally created by Moe Lane (with a little inspiration from Slate), and not whichever lousy Lame-Metal band that one of my Facebook friends liked. Thanks, Moe, and sorry for stealing all of your traffic from Tor!