Heaven and hell, robots with lasers and car-eating vultures

“Whatever the sticklers say, data isn’t a plural noun like ‘pebbles.’ It’s a mass noun like ‘dust.’

“They must have made some money — they ran the ads for years — but I never personally knew anyone who ordered these things.”

We’ve also got two robot science labs — one wielding a laser — roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.”

 “They’re not hungry –€” most of the time they don’€™t really even eat the car parts they’ve savaged, just tear them up with their claws for no obvious reason. The going theory is just that they’re bored.”

“Why do I think that when we curb the urge to flatten turtles with our cars, we’ll solve some of our other problems, too?”

A near enemy to compassion is sorrow … that’s me getting wrecked by the picture of the child in the newspaper so that I can’t actually help them.”

“Try doing the opposite of all the networking advice, and talk to the person who probably can’€™t help your work and who doesn’™t have any prestige.”

“When it comes to ‘the church’ i think we have a really jacked up system related to power.”

Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.”

“This Christianity thing isn’t about escaping hell and this world to go to heaven. It’s about bringing heaven to this world and abolishing hell forever.”

“Hell is in business here all the time … heaven too, or we couldn’t stand it.”

“Brady told the conservative publication Illinois Review that the ‘true conservative position is in favor’ of allowing same sex marriage.”

“It could be that we are beginning to convince evangelical lay people that allowing gay people to marry at the courthouse or at some other church does not threaten their right to believe and live as they choose.”

“Because it was the first time I really cared about gay people and they could tell.”

“What does it mean to be privileged? It means not having to think about any of this, ever.”

It’€™s like being pecked to death by feral potatoes.”

“That’s advice I’ve been giving to others for about the last thirty years but I only recently realized where I got it in the first place. I got it from Richard Chamberlain.”

Church Sign Epic Fails: We Serve Minors

 

 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    “They must have made some money — they ran the ads for years — but I never personally knew anyone who ordered these things.”

    I always wondered if they even worked. When I got older, I realized they probably could get sued if the things contributed to sexual harrassment, so I suspect they never really did.

    “Why do I think that when we curb the urge to flatten turtles with our cars, we’ll solve some of our other problems, too?”

    Who on earth would run over a poor turtle?! :( I’d try to miss it if I couldn’t come to a stop in time. :(

    “This Christianity thing isn’t about escaping hell and this world to go to heaven. It’s about bringing heaven to this world and abolishing hell forever.”

    I remember writing on Slacktivist (here or on Typepad) that doing good works as a Christian ought to be about making heaven on Earth because making life as pleasant as possible for as many people on this planet as possible is a good thing in and of itself.

    Glad to see other people think that way too :)

    “What does it mean to be privileged? It means not having to think about any of this, ever.”

    Interesting anecdote. It’s a sad testament to society in 2012 that people still assume a black person walking around has the label “thief” stuck to them.

    As fished out from the Republican memory hole:

    “If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone.

    “Instead, it’s worse for African Americans in almost every way. The
    unemployment rate, the duration of unemployment, average income, median
    family wealth are all worse in the black community.

    Also:

    “Now, if someone had told us in the 1950s and the 1960s that a black
    citizen would serve as the 44th President of the United States, we would
    have been proud and many would have been surprised.

    “Picturing that day, we might have assumed that the American
    presidency would be the very last door of opportunity to be opened.
    Before that came to pass, every other barrier on the path of equal
    opportunity would surely have had to come down.

    “Of course, it hasn’t happened quite that way. Many barriers remain.
    Old inequities persist. In some ways, the challenges are even more
    complicated than before.

    Remember folks, Mitt Romney admitted, on television, that the Republican dogma of blacks being lazy shiftless criminals is, in fundamentals, simply not true.

    If Mitt Romney can contradict received social wisdom on what black people do, so too can anyone else.

    And maybe one day people won’t see a black guy with a TV set and think he stole it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    (Adds Mail-Order Mysteries to “must buy” list.)

  • Foreigner

    I looked up how X-Ray Specs ‘worked’, and it was exactly as disappointing as might imagine.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What do the robots need with car-eating vultures when they’ve already got lasers?

  • Carstonio

    I’m not sure how same-sex marriage is compatible with any of the definitions of conservatism that I’ve heard. We’ve already established that “traditional values” is mostly code for hegemony for people of a certain gender and/or religious affiliation.  Even the conservatives who value tradition for its own sake are subscribing to a type of authoritarianism, and that also describes generic conservatism which is opposition to change. I suppose the only conservative value that might square with same-sex marriage is an authoritarian distrust of human nature, where marriage is viewed primarily as a means for regulating sexual appetites and compelling care for any children. But I might be missing something.

  • Vermic

    When I was a tyke I ordered one of those “print your own money” plastic presses from the back of a comic.

    (They are, of course, a trick.  By twisting the knobs you can feed a bill into and out of a secret compartment in one of the rollers.  Thus, you can only ever get out of the press what you put into it, which is a great metaphor, but its main purpose is to dazzle your friends by putting in a $1 bill, or a blank slip of paper, and “printing” a $5 bill you loaded earlier.)

    The issue where my younger self found the ad was several years old, so before ordering I wrote the company a letter to make sure they were still in business.  “Is the printing press still for sale?  Please check yes or no.”  I think that’s why my parents let me go through with the whole thing: because it was just that damn adorable.

    I recall being vaguely disappointed that it was all a trick, but also excited that I had just learned a new trick.

  • Joykins

    My brother ordered “Sea Monkeys” from a comic book ad once.  They arrived and they are brine shrimp; basically we had a tiny aquarium of plankton which grew to some critical mass and then died.

  • Carstonio

    Some point in the late 1980s or early 1990s, the advertising in comics changed to movies and video games, from advertisers with much deeper pockets. The only prominent national advertiser that I remember from the earlier era was Hostess, and these were the full-page superhero stores penned by Bob Rozakis. My guess is that the X-ray specs and Charles Atlas ads didn’t make much money but didn’t have to – sales were higher and printing costs were lower.

  • Magic_Cracker

    In fifth grade, a classmate of mine actually ordered X-Ray specs and he and another classmate spent two recesses wearing them, loudly identifying which girls (supposedly) had pubes and which didn’t.

    Of course, they refused to let anyone else use them; of course, we were all super jealous of and angry with them for not letting us use them; and of course, they were only doing it to make up for the crushing disappointment that came from the fact that they don’t work as advertised.

    Also, Charles Atlas Ltd. is still in operation. I actually have a soft spot for the paisan himself.

  • Münchner Kindl

    Why do I think that when we curb the urge to flatten turtles with our cars, we’ll solve some of our other problems, too?”

    Wow. I’m utterly surprised that people try to flatten turtles on purpose. Not swerving I can understand, because police and courts alike tell motorists that sudden wide swerves to save a small animal while endangering other motorists (esp. on country lanes which are small so a swerve puts you into the opposite lane) is risky behaviour and thus forbidden. (Swerving to avoid a deer or similar heavy animal is allowed because a collision with 600 pounds of deer has bad consequences for the car, too).

    But to remember all the yards and yards of frog fences nature groups have built here and which are patrolled every spring so that frogs looking for a small lake (and some sex) don’t accidentally get flattened (and go extinct) – and trying to compare that with intentionally flattening turtles… wow.

    (Waiting for accusations of nationalism chauvinism and similar for daring to mention the fact that things are done differently in countries outside the USA in 3 …2 …1…)

  • JustoneK

    Don’t get ahead of folks.

    But I don’t understand flattening anything on purpose.  It boggles me.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I have been specifically instructed NOT to swerve to avoid deer. If I swerve and consequently hit another car or a tree, it’s my fault, insurance won’t pay up. If I don’t swerve and consequently hit the deer, it’s the deer’s fault, insurance will pay up.

    I’m not sure my car’s sturdy enough to ensure I survive hitting a deer, mind, and if I don’t, what the fuck do I care if the car insurance pays to replace my car? (2001 Toyota Camry. Real small. ‘Course my point of comparison is Dad has always driven a bigass pickup and Mom has mostly driven an SUV.)

  • Andrea

    In my head, I’m hearing “robots with lasers and car-eating vultures” to the tune of “My Favorite Things.” You can thank me later.

  • ReverendRef

     My best friend in high school, and his sisters, ordered the Sea Monkeys as well (with mom’s permission, of course).  He said the same thing.

    AFAIK, that’s the only time anyone I knew of ordered something from a comic book.  However, I did order a set of racing stickers from some cereal in order to make my bike look cool.  Those didn’t work either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    There also used to be a lot of ads for Grit Magazine, and similar “sell our products, earn credits to buy prizes” ads.

    These days it’s a lot of ads for movies, TV shows, big warehouse-style comic book retailers, and Web sites.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    I had the experience of sending away for something in a comic book ad, though not one of the types of ads featured in Mail-Order Mysteries, only to be disappointed a few weeks later when I got my money back in the mail and a letter telling me that the product no longer existed.

    One other time I ordered something – I forget what – that also no longer existed – though given that I ordered it from a current comic, I had no reason to suspect that would be the case –  but instead of returning my money, the company sent me something else of equal (or, more likely, lesser) value.

  • ReverendRef

    I think the reason people “Brake for Turtles” is because if you hit one of them that shell might damage your alignment.  They’re slow enough you should be able to go right over the top of them without damaging the car or the turtle.

    Of course, braking for turtles could just be a generic way of saying, “I value life.”

    EllieMuraski also pointed this out, but you do NOT swerve for deer.  Not only are there liability issues if you hit another car or tree, but there’s a real chance of losing control of your vehicle and injuring/killing yourself.  And yes, spending 6+ years in Montana gave me enough actual evidence to that effect.

    Short deer story:  When I was in MT, I was on the volunteer fire department.  We responded to a call early one morning and I was driving the engine.  As we went down a two-lane country road, there was a herd of deer in our path.  My partner said something about swerving and I said, “Not with 5000 gallons of water behind me,” and I drove into the herd.  As he told it, they parted like Moses parting the Red Sea.  He had me drive on all future calls together.

  • JustoneK

    Robots with lasers and car-eating vultures

    Swerving round turtles and merican cultures

    Lovely gay couples just now marrying

    These are a few of my favorite things!

  • Münchner Kindl

    I’m not sure my car’s sturdy enough to ensure I survive hitting a deer, mind, and if I don’t, what the fuck do I care if the car insurance pays to replace my car?

    That’s the reasoning why courts and police allow swerving for big deer: the impact of 600 pounds or more will affect every car – Toyota or Mercedes, doesn’t matter because of physics – and the aftereffects of this collision can throw the car off-lane anyway, so better try and avoid the collision.

    Also, when you see a big dark something coming at you, it’s a natural human reaction to twitch/ flinch/ and try to get away; from a squirrel or dove, not so much.

    That’s why the courts and insurances don’t punish drivers who swerve for deer.

    I remember the mythbusters doing an Alaska special where they tested whether speeding up when hitting a moose was better than breaking – and to everybody’s surprise, I think there was a specific speed where you could hit the moose and flip it over the car instead of it crushing the hood. But a big part of this is that moose are built differently, with longer legs and thus higher center of gravity than deer, from what I recall.

  • Müncher Kindl

    As we went down a two-lane country road, there was a herd of deer in our path. My partner said something about swerving and I said, “Not with 5000 gallons of water behind me,” and I drove into the herd. As he told it, they parted like Moses parting the Red Sea. He had me drive on all future calls together.

    “Deer” seems to mean a different kind of animal in that case – we don’t have herds of them on rural roads. The danger is mostly autumn when they are in heat and thus cross the roads without looking, whereas at other times they are shy and stay away from cars and open places. (Plus the earlier darkness than the long summers).

    A deer suddenly darting out of a wooded area is different than one standing in the road. The recommendation is to remember deer and drive slowly and watch out for them.

  • Münchner Kindl

    I’m not sure how same-sex marriage is compatible with any of the definitions of conservatism that I’ve heard

    That’s what disappointed me about the linked article: they didn’t cite any of the reasons the guy gave (I hope he gave some!)

    My thought was that “Marriage” is a more conservative value than “living together and changing partners often”.

    Or maybe he’s going back to a certain time when government didn’t interfere with people’s sex lives? (Although offhand I’m hard pressed to think what time that could be – laws started out from religion and therefore about sex, and it was enlightment and secularism that put laws on a human right basis without bothering about sex, so earlier periods would have more restrictions on sex).

  • Münchner Kindl

    Ordering meant getting one’s hands on the means to send money through the mail, which usually meant parents would be involved, which usually meant the idea would be nixed because the things being offered were junk or a rip-off.

    This has me baffled. (I read a lot of franco-belgian comics, but not US comics, as child, and lived abroad, so I never saw those ads).

    Why would you need the means to send money through mail – I thought you either put dollar bills or stamps into the envelope with the order, so all you needed was enough pocket money?

    Is it forbidden to send dollar bills through the mail because of the anti-postal-fraud-law, or is it simply “If you send cash money and it gets lost, you’re out of luck, but we won’t prosecute you for sending?”

    Or did they expect kids to pay the money into a bank and send a checqe or similar?

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    From the “feral potatoes” link (emphasis mine):

    What that really means is that the surgical and medical oncology
    departments meet jointly to review difficult or questionable cases.
    Given the scan ambiguity around Ashcroft, my fourth tumor, they’re going to seek some groupthink. I should hear back from my medical oncologist Thursday afternoon or Friday with any updates that come out of that
    meeting.

    “Ashcroft”. Jay Lake names his tumors. After unpleasant political figures.

    This is me, making the little “heart!” hand gesture (how can you not *heart* a person with that kind of sense of humor in the face of medical disaster?) and weeping a little.  (And also thinking up names for my cat’s tumor, because laughing about this stuff helps.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Cash in the mail is illegal? Snopes.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Last year, I went to the Geelong car museum, and they had a bit on crash-test dummies. Which is where I found out that they don’t just have crash-test humans inside the car, they also have crash-test kangaroos that they hurl at the car to see what happens. (Crash-test kangaroos! With little ears! They were so fun!)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Just when I think Australia can’t get any more cool. XD

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    I wanna see a picture of all these together.

  • Carstonio

    My thought was that “Marriage” is a more conservative value than “living together and changing partners often”.

    Brady still needs to explain why it’s more conservative. The latter is not the only alternative to the former.

    Although offhand I’m hard pressed to think what time that could be

    I don’t know if laws started from religion, but religions in many societies centuries ago were the de facto governments, at least on a local level.

  • Münchner Kindl

    I think the reason people “Brake for Turtles” is because if you hit one of them that shell might damage your alignment. They’re slow enough you should be able to go right over the top of them without damaging the car or the turtle.

    Braking suddenly is a bad idea if there is traffic behind you!

    If you drive over the top of them – that is, wheels on either side, turtle in the middle – your car needs enough clearance to not harm them, though. (Depending on the area, sufficient clearance is necessary to get over fallen branches or speed bumps anyway, though…)

    Otherwise, a small swerve to the side – because turtles are small – is enough. It’s sudden wild swerves from panicked people that make the car go out of control.

  • JustoneK

    Would be a helluva wedding theme.

    Data and datum and mass nouns like dust is
    Privileged white people don’t see uppercrustness
    Spirited dialogs on just what that means
    These are a few of my favorite things!

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Who on earth would run over a poor turtle?!

    Someone well on their way to failing the Voight-Kampff test.

  • Carstonio

    I had a near-encounter with a deer a few weeks ago, and I still slow down considerably when driving on that same section of road at night. Later I had a ridiculous fantasy of avoiding a collision through a roof-mounted missile launcher, with enough explosive to liquify a deer in the road.

  • john

    http://wh.gov/mlco help my father be pardoned for being wrongfully prosecuted

    Edit
    Reply

  • P J Evans

     There are people who go out of their way to flatten snakes and turtles. (I don’t know why they feel it’s something they should do.)

  • Foreigner

    So that’s what ‘Grit’ was! As a young boy I had visions, from the other side of the Atlantic to Metropolis and Gotham City, of American teenagers toting great heavy bags of actual grit from door to door, and wondering who in hell would buy the stuff, and what for.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I’m not sure how same-sex marriage is compatible with any of the definitions of conservatism that I’ve heard. We’ve already established that “traditional values” is mostly code for hegemony for people of a certain gender and/or religious affiliation.  Even the conservatives who value tradition for its own sake are subscribing to a type of authoritarianism, and that also describes generic conservatism which is opposition to change. I suppose the only conservative value that might square with same-sex marriage is an authoritarian distrust of human nature, where marriage is viewed primarily as a means for regulating sexual appetites and compelling care for any children. But I might be missing something.

    It depends on how firmly the conservative in question stands behind the values that they extol, and how well they can resolve those values if they come into conflict.  

    For example, someone might hold the value that stable and committed families are a social good for the sake of child rearing or more general economic stability (married people are more likely to be home owners and long-term community investors for example.)  This might come into conflict with a few other values though, say a belief that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.  In such a situation, the holder has to ask themselves “What do I value more?  A specific definition of marriage, or stable families?”  

    In the above example, some people will try to resolve the conflict by claiming that any relationship not comprised of one man and one woman cannot be stable and healthy, though that is a path of thought that leads a person to adopt increasingly stupid though patterns as they continue to try to justify it.  However, a person who resolves the conflict by deciding that the nature of the sexes involved in that relationship are not nearly as important as the results of the family being stable are more likely to abandon one of the values in favor of the other, and probably feel a lot better about it and themselves in the long run.  

    I guess the case here is that a conservative who is sufficiently pro-family would also necessarily have to be pro-gay marriage, though such might involve having some flexibility on other issues.  I understand that is a very troubling and stressful position for many people to be put in.  

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    In other words, they did lead to sexual harassment. As if 10-year old boys need any help in that regard. Wonderful. Where were the teachers? 

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Sometimes you DO swerve for deer. Namely, if the deer is a buck with large horns. Otherwise those horns could end up impaling you.

    (Not my personal experience, but the experience of a friend. Luckily, the horns went through his shoulder, not his chest.)

  • Münchner Kindl

    Later I had a ridiculous fantasy of avoiding a collision through a roof-mounted missile launcher, with enough explosive to liquify a deer in the road.

    You mean the “Nuke from orbit (it’s the only way to be sure)” option?

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Most conservatives in the U.S. have an idea of marriage that is one man and one woman because the man is supposed to be in charge of the woman, though. A conservative who throws out the idea of this traditional marriage has to discard gender essentialism and misogyny as well. In which case they might be “conservative” by the original definition, but they no longer belong in the conservative group in this country.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    In my memory those “X-ray glasses” things tended to be popular in the 1970s and 1980s, and unfortunately back then it would have been dismissed as “boys being boys”, I suspect.

  • GDwarf

     See, I’ve always been taught that slamming on the brakes is usually the wrong reaction to a sudden crisis on the road: If your brakes are on then you can’t control your car (and if you try to turn you’re going to lose control) and given how the roads up here are icy for half the year (which means brakes should be used with caution), trying to slam to a stop is a very dangerous habit to get into.

  • Loquat

    “Gays want to get married, have children, and go to church. Next they’ll be advocating school vouchers, boycotting HBO, and voting Republican.”
     - conservative satirist P. J. O’Rourke

    In other words, you’re missing all the definitions of conservatism that don’t enshrine homophobia as a conservative value. Non-homophobic conservatives have been arguing for years that we should legalize same-sex marriage so as to encourage gays to form monogamous long-term marriages and aspire to exactly the same stable family structure that’s been traditionally held up as the ideal for straights.

  • ReverendRef

     Sometimes you DO swerve for deer. Namely, if the deer is a buck with large horns.

    Yeah, okay.  It’s been my experience, though, that only does are suicidal and jump out into the road.

    I will say that deer behave differently in different parts of the country.  The deer where I lived in Montana were suicidal and would actively look for opportunities to run into cars.  The deer that I’ve seen here in Oregon are rather polite and not interested at all in running into you.

    So, I guess like people, it depends on all kinds of circumstances.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There is this. Even in rainy weather it is possible to lose control of your car. I almost got into an accident a while back because I was misjudging the speed of cars ahead of me on a downhill incline. I only managed to come to a stop by virtue of remembering that without ABS you must pump your brakes to try and keep from sliding.

    As it is, I came to a stop one foot away from the car in front. Whew!

  • Carstonio

    Sounds as if you’re suggesting that there’s no single core value or principle that drives both support for stable families and opposition to same-sex marriage. I would suspect that an irrational bigoted belief that gays and lesbians are incapable of stable relationships would produce the opposition, instead of the belief arising through rationalization such as you suggest. What I want from Brady is his definition of conservatism and his reasoning for why SSM is compatible with that definition. Partly because saying that one supports stable families is like saying one like cute puppies – it’s too safe and convenient and doesn’t reveal anything useful about one’s mindset.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    The insurance company, of course, will recover the money from the deer or its estate! 

  • EllieMurasaki

    I think the idea is that a stable household in which to raise a child requires one parent of each sex. Complementarianism and all that bullshit.

  • Carstonio

     But in principle, everyone sorta kinda agrees that monogamous long-term marriages are a social good. It’s the social equivalent of politicians wrapping themselves in the flag. Rare is the conservative who rants about such marriages without pushing the straw man of liberals allegedly favoring irresponsible promiscuity and single motherhood. Feminists have been pushing back for decades against that libelous charge.

  • Carstonio

     Very true, at least for many of them. But I’d rather hear that from some who subscribes to the worldview instead from someone who shares my opposition to it. Maybe I simply want to argue them into a corner and then cry out, “Aha! So you DO believe that it’s best for society if women have no rights. Either prove it or just admit that you’re a selfish jerk out only to protect your own power.”


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