September 18th, 2011


She Blinded Me With Science

And now, a special edition of fact checking the Repulican debates.  This isn't just the usual lies, where they think on their feet, spin, and hope no one looks to close.  This is blatant stupidity.  This is willful ignorance.  This needs to be addressed.

This is what I do.  And I do it --

First, a little background -- HPV is short for human papillomavirus.  It gets news because it is the first virus that has been proven to cause cancer.  Strictly speaking, HPV is not that big a deal.  Most people get it and their bodies fight off the virus like they would any other virus.  Oftentimes, people don't even know they get it.  It is estimated at, at any given moment, 20 million people in the US have the disease.  The problem is that not everyone sheds it.  Each year, twelve thousand women wind up getting cervical cancer from it.

Because HPV is not statistically life threatening, the vaccine (three separate injections at $100 each as of a couple of years ago) is considered voluntary and not covered under health care plans.  It doesn't help that HPV is classified as a sexually transmitted disease, and any insurance filing involving STI's sends your insurance costs through the fucking roof because you are practicing a potentially risky lifestyle (anyone looking for a bug test goes to a free clinic instead of their regular health plan doctor or finds some way to keep the test off their record).  Remember, insurance companies are in business to make money, and if they even think they have to pay out for you, you're going to pay out in return.

(Note:  this also leaves guys out in the cold.  Guys, obviously, don't get cervical cancer.  However, the virus will trigger a wart outbreak that can't be gotten rid of.  Smart guys get themselves vaccinated for HPV because they recognize the patently obvious -- women are far more likely to have sex with you if you don't have warts on your dick.  They doin' it for the pussy.  Anyway, guys who have tried getting insurance to cover the vaccine are told it won't be covered because, "HPV?  That's a women's disease."  Science makes us smarter, but clearly results don't happen overnight.)

So, on February 2, 2007, Texas governor Perry signed an executive order requiring girls to be vaccinated for HPV (which, presumably, also forced it to be covered by health plans).  Lest you think this is government intrusion, Perry's order included an opt-out for parents who didn't want to do it.  The Texas lege put things in motion to override his executive order.  Reason?  A lot of R supporters (such as in Waco, Texas, the Vatican City of the Southern Baptists) prefer abstinence-only stance when it comes to sex, and anything that even hints that it could enable people to enjoy sex at will (birth control, for example) must be stopped because it will be the downfall of American society and all that rot.  The idea of requiring people be protected from an STI smelled like Perry endorsing sex, and that had to be stopped.  Perry dug in his heels, saying the lege was "on the wrong side of science."  The lege overrode him anyway.  I know I give Perry a lot of shit, but in this instance, my hat is off to him.

When Perry last ran for gov in 2010, his opponent, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, tried using this "endorsement" of sex against him.  Didn't work, Perry squashed her like a grape.  However, the issue is not dead.  At the last Republican debate, Michelle Bachmann tried using it to bash Perry.  "I’m a mom. And I’m a mom of three children. (Bachmann is a mom of three girls, but five children total.  "I love you, son, and I'm sorry I ignored you, but I can't exploit you poitically, so that's how it goes."  -- G)  And to have innocent little twelve-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong. That should never be done. It’s a violation of a liberty interest.  That’s -- little girls who have a negative reaction to this potentially dangerous drug don’t get a mulligan. They don’t get a do-over. The parents don’t get a do-over."  She also tried to redress the order as a gift to the pharacutical industry.  "What I’m saying is that it’s wrong for a drug company, because the governor’s former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company. The drug company gave thousands of dollars in political donations to the governor, and this is just flat-out wrong. The question is, is it about life, or was it about millions of dollars and potentially billions for a drug company?"  After the debate, Bachmann went on and on in interviews, linking the HPV vaccine to mental illness, saying that a mom in the audience told her that, after her daughter got the vaccine, her daughter became "retarded."

Bachmann, you just went full derp.  Not exactly surprising.  Bachmann was described by the New Yorker as "the most intellectually irresponsible candidate in the Republican field."  Among the "science" Bachmann espouses are little gems like this:

"Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful.  But there isn't even on stdy that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas."  (Not only is this bullshit, but on September 7th of this year in Pooler, Georgia, an 80 year old woman died at McDonald's because the fizzy drink machine's bleed line for carbonation was "improperly disconnected within the wall cavity" and built up CO2 levels in the bathroom she was in to lethal levels.  Six other customers and three firefighters had to be treated at the hospital due to the gas.)  "Carbon dioxide is natural, it is not harmful, it is a part of the Earth's lifecycle.  And yet we're being told that we have to reduce this natural substance, reduce the American standard of living, to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occuring in Earth."

The facts about HPV were laid out in Perry's executive order.  It reads, "WHEREAS, immunization from vaccine-preventable diseases such as Human Papillomavirus (HPV) protects individuals who receive the vaccine; andWHEREAS, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection-causing cancer in females in the United States; and WHEREAS, the United States Food and Drug Administration estimates there are 9,710 new cases of cervical cancer, many of which are caused by HPV, and 3,700 deaths from cervical cancer each year in the United States; and WHEREAS, the Texas Cancer Registry estimates there were 1,169 new cases and 391 deaths from cervical cancer in Texas in 2006; and WHEREAS, research has shown that the HPV vaccine is highly effective in preventing the infections that are the cause of many of the cervical cancers; and WHEREAS, HPV vaccine is only effective if administered before infection occurs; and WHEREAS, the newly approved HPV vaccine is a great advance in the protection of women’s health; and WHEREAS, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the HPV vaccine for females who are nine years through 26 years of age;"

Oh, and a bioethicist named Art Caplan is offering $10,000 if Bachmann can produce one shred of proof that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation.  Yes, he's betting serious money.  He feels Bachmann is causing the public to doubt potentially life-saving medicine.

Expect this to pop up more and more as Obamacare becomes the flag the R's use to rally the troops around, despite the opt-out of the plan Perry put in there.  All I want to know is what in the name of all that is holy makes Bachmann someone that should be trusted to determine what is best for US citizens.

Oh, and if your health plan covers it, get those shots.  It could save your life.  It could save your sex life.  Either way, it's good for you.
Peter G

Olney The Lonely

Ever since professional comic industry scammer Rick Olney announced his Adirondack Comic Convention, people have been trying to bail on their appearances, and Olney even upended the plans of Matt Busch and his Indiana Jones adventure map (Olney threatened to burn them all if Busch bailed).

Well, it seems enough people bailed.  Olney has officially canceled the Adirondack convention.  "During my efforts to put this event together, I believe that I was sincere to one and all involved. Adirondathon also feels that it did nothing to warrant such negative attention. That stated, I will close this by adding that the opinion now exists that the hobby and business of comics is a very shoddy and sad place. No modicum of true sincerity and honesty exists in the comic book entertainment industry."

Well, you would know, Olney.
Woody Can't Take It

Is There ANY Innocence Left In The World?

A while ago, my online buddy Rocket Racoon contacted me.  Rocket is a furry, but he's one of the cool furries.  He has a sense of perspective, he doesn't get butthurt over the slightest thing, he genuinely enjoys anthro art, it's not just the X rated material, and he has a variety of interests and can be fun to talk with on a variety of subjects, his personality defines him not the subculture.  In other words, he's different from about 99% of the furries out there.

Rocket had sent me a link to an auction and warned me to be careful, it could potentially break my mind.  I clicked the link, and it was for a stuffed toy Sally Acorn.  Sally Acorn was a character on the American Sonic The Hedgehog cartoon show and comic books from the 90's.  The listing mentioned this was a fan made plushie and had about a dozen pictures of the plushie.  As I started scrolling down and looking at the pictures, I thought, that's actually pretty good.  Looks real professional.  Looks just like the character...

...and then I got to the pictures that showed the plushie had been engineered to include an SPH, or "sexual pleasure hole."  Yes, this guy made a plushie of a character from a kids' cartoon so that guys could have sex with it.

Now, this is actually old hat, I had heard of furries either buying plushies and "modifying" them themselves or even just using them as they are, such as with a Meeko the racoon plushie released at the time of the Disney Pochahontas movie.  But there was just something especially disturbing about that.

Cut to today.  I had shopping to do, and so does my teacher, so I pick her up so we can run our errands and hang out like old friends do.  We went to Target because Target has entered a special deal with Hasbro for My Little Pony merch.  They have an endcap that declares, Welcome To Canterlot and has all sorts of Target exclusive stuff.  Her grandniece is going to have a very merry Christmas.  There's a comforter and playsets and one of those tent-like playhouses and...oh, my God!  A Twilight plushie.  It's a pretty good size, too.  I love cute, and couldn't wait to check it out.  And as the two of us squeed over it....

...I remembered the furries.

"What?" she asked me.

You don't want to know, I told her.

I just know some of these things are being bought up for very questionable reasons.  And it really really squicks me out.

Peter G

Hopefully, Real Heroes Don't Stay Dead

His name was Erik Martin. He was 13. He had liver cancer.

Many of you know of the Make A Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to sick and dying children. They met with Erik and asked him what his wish was.

Erik wanted to be a superhero.

Erik had created a superhero character called Electron Boy. Weilding his mighty lightning rod, Electron Boy fought the evil Dr. Dark and his sidekick Blackout Boy.

The Make A Wish Foundation's response?

Challenge accepted.

On April 28, 2010, Erik was in school, just trying to be a normal kid despite his fate. He went to school when he had the strength. Suddenly, Spider-Man burst into the classroom, saying, with panic in his voice, that the Seattle Sounders soccer team had been trapped in their locker room by Dr. Dark and Blackout Boy and only Electron Boy could save them. Erik changed into his Electron Boy costume and called on Moonshine Maid for help. Moonshine Maid has a DeLorean. She was portrayed by Misty Peterson, who was amazed by the sheer scale. "I thought it would just be me, in the car. They shut down 405 — they shut down I-90." An escort of twenty motorcycle cops rode with them to Qwest Field.

At Qwest Field, frantic fans directed Electron Boy to the locker room where the team was trapped and were yelling for help. Another superhero, Lightning Lad (played by local actor Rod Burges), teamed up to help, and with his lightning rod, Electron Boy freed the team.

The freed team took Erik out to the field for a hero's rally, thanking him, posing for pictures, and giving him an autographed jersey and ball as the crowd cheered. During the celebration, the Jumbotron came to life. A message ran from Dr. Dark and Blackout Boy (played respectively by Edgar Hansen and Jake Anderson of "Deadliest Catch"), saying, "We are here to take over Seattle and make it dark!" It then showed Puget Sound Electric employee Jim Hutchinson trapped in the top of his bucket truck in front of PSE's Bellevue headquarters, and daring Electron Boy to save the day.

More than 250 employees of PSE gathered outside to cheer Electron Boy as he saved Hutchinson. Then, Electron Boy got a tip that Dr. Dark and Blackout Boy were at the Space Needle, having disabled the elevator and trapped the people on the observation deck. The motorcade took off for the final showdown. Electron Boy leapt out of the DeLorean, and Dr. Dark asked, "How did you find us, Electron Boy?" Electron Boy moved it, hit Dr. Dark with his lightning rod, freezing the villain and starting up the elevator. As Bellevue police Officer Curtis McIvor cuffed Dr. Dark and Blackout Boy, Dr. Dark asked, "How can we thank you for saving our souls?"

From there, Electron Boy was interviewed by TV crews while flexing his muscles and sitting on a Bellevue police cycle. Seattle City Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw gave him the key to the city and proclaimed Thursday was Electron Boy Day. Erik even got a custom made Electron Boy comic book. Erik was quoted as saying, "This is the best day of my life."

Erik died a few days ago. He was 14. If you look around on YouTube, you will find footage and news reports of this amazing day. Rest in peace, Erik.
Rat Celebrates

Truth, Justice, And The American Way

"Do good to others, and every man can be a Superman."
"The Final Days Of Superman"
Superman #156

In Granite City, Illinois, lives a man named Mike Meyers. Meyers is mentally disabled and works at a McDonald's. Meyers is also a huge Superman fan. He has two dogs named Krypto and Dyno. He also has a whole bunch of Superman stuff. Comics from the 50's on, lunch boxes, Monopoly, and more.

One day, he met a man named "Gary" at a comic shop. Gary wanted to see the collection, and in fact, pressured Mike to show it to him.

A few days later, on September 6, Gary broke into Mike's place and stole $5,000 worth of Superman stuff.

The comic community rallied together. After looking at the list of things stolen from Mike, people from around the country donated items in their own collections to him, including an industry pro who contacted people who had worked on Superman comics over the years. Mike soon not only had replacements for everything, but extra as well thanks to this show of generous humanity.

Now, that's beautiful. But that's not the end of the story....

On September 16, the fuzz busted one Gerry Arville Armbruster. He was hired for a cleaning job by a 76 year old man who lives in Granite City. The man was then beaten and his jewelry and money were stolen. When the description of the suspect was given, police noticed it was similar to the description of the guy who stole Mike's Superman stuff. Police searched Armbruster's place, and found Mike's stolen stuff. All of it. Nothing had been gotten rid of. The police hauled it back to Mike.

Mike realized that he not only had received 40 items already, but dozens more was coming. All to replace things he had back now.

Mike is donating the donations to charity to a children's hospital. “People were generous to me; this is how I can be generous in return.”

Let this be a lesson to you, Peter G -- there is, in fact, good in the world. Never give up on it. Ever.
Peter G

The End Of An Era

If you have an Easy Bake oven, hold on to it. There is a new redesign coming with it's own heating element and a doubled price tag. It seems with the push to CFL bulbs, the 100 watt bulbs that made the Easy Bake work is becoming less available.

So the Easy Bake joins the radar range and other things that the next generation will never have heard of.