Please Don’t Vote: A Note from the Republican Party

The Republican party is counting on poor voter turnout to win back the Senate on November 4th, 2014. Do your part to help the GOP and STAY HOME.

The Midterm elections are often thought of as a different thing from the Presidential elections. I am sure that is not an accident. The midterms are where we vote for Congress, members of the House and the Senate and a bunch of local offices most people could give a damn about.

But that idea needs to change. We need to understand the President is only one branch of the government. The Congress is another. And if they are not in sync, they cannot work together, then you get what we have been having for the last six years, the worst Do-Nothing Congress in the History of the United States. No, really, look it up. I’ll wait. Back? Good. Now I want you to enjoy the video up there because it IS funny. In the way watching a parkour acrobat not quite make the jump from one building to another and he plummets…er…my wife says that’s not funny.

Anyway, watch the video. Laugh and then get your asses down to the voting booth and get some of these crazy people who don’t believe Congress should do ANYTHING out of office. Please.

About Rogue Kite

Rogue Kite is a collaboration between Michelle Boley and Taylor Gill. Michelle Boley is a comedy writer and director with a passion for social satire, parody, and general silliness. Taylor Gill is a cinematographer, editor, and Young Turk.

Follow them on twitter http://www.twitter.com/roguekite and http://www.twitter.com/taylorcgill
To see more sketches, visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/roguekite andhttp://www.funnyordie.com/roguekite
Check out their other work at: http://www.roguekite.com

 

A book we all want to see written:

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Racism Insurance: It doesn’t exist but you wish it did.

Insurance

If you’re an adult, you hate paying for it. Car insurance can double the cost of your car payments, if you own a home, you need to have a variety of coverage plans depending on where you live and for some things you just can’t afford it no matter what you do. See: Earthquake insurance in California…

Well, now there’s a new insurance we wish existed but until it does, you can laugh at these poor guys who wish they had… Racism Insurance!

Why is No One Talking about How Diverse Gotham Academy Is?

Originally posted on thenerdsofcolor:

I’ve been excited for Gotham Academy since the book was first announced back in July. While the revamped Batgirl got most of the mainstream media attention, my sights were set on what I thought was the most interesting and out-of-the-box books in all of DC Comics. Now that it’s out, I can confidently say that I am all in on Gotham Academy!

In just 22 pages, Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher have accomplished what the rest of the DC brain trust have not been able to do since the company rebooted in 2011; namely, make the DC Universe an interesting and relevant place to visit every week. It helps that Karl Kerschl’s art is gorgeous and 180 degrees from the “house style” the publisher has employed post-New 52.

The best thing about the book, though, is — interestingly — the one thing that hasn’t really been covered in all…

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Taking the Battle to the Trolls; Rhetorically, of Course

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Logical or Rhetological Fallacies

With Internet troll-dom at an all-time high, with bloggers being paid to dishonestly haunt comments areas of well-trafficked websites to undermine and dispute perspectives they are paid to torpedo, it has become incumbent upon decent citizens of the Internet to be able to fight back using reason and logical thought. But what if you discover a perspective you do not understand or an argument which posits an idea you cannot mentally parse?

Odds are, it may contain logical fallacies which make the point without actually explaining how it got there. Logical fallacies undermine arguments by using a form of rhetorical shorthand which, to the unaware, seem to make logical assertions without the intervening logical steps being shown. Kind of like when you were a kid and your teacher would ask you to “show your work” on the math assignment you were given. Rhetorical fallacies skip over the work, by slight of hand, and leave you to present your case to the person while trying to handle their cognitively dissonant statements in your own head.

Fallacies are common errors in reasoning that will undermine the logic of your argument. Fallacies can be either illegitimate arguments or irrelevant points, and are often identified because they lack evidence that supports their claim. Avoid these common fallacies in your own arguments and watch for them in the arguments of others.

I arm you with this chart because of its beautiful simplicity, providing the name of the fallacy, what it means and a simple example of the fallacy. The types of fallacies are broken into sections: Appeal to the Mind, Appeal to Emotions, Faulty Deduction, Manipulating Content, Garbled Cause and Effect and On the Attack. I enjoyed the simple graphical icons associated with each, helping to further cement them into your subconsciousness. These fallacies are worth remembering particularly if you spend any time on the Internet or watching modern media.

Our thanks goes out to Informationisbeautiful.net and the charts creator, David McCanless. Kudos, sir!

As an exercise, take them to your favorite newscast and play “Spot the Fallacy” while you watch. Don’t make this a beer game unless your goal is to become very, very intoxicated…

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Hundreds Of Flight Cancellations, Delays Expected For Days To Come After Fire At Illinois Radar Facility

Originally posted on Consumerist:

Chicago is still pretty miserable right now. (FlightAware.com)

Chicago is still pretty miserable right now. (FlightAware.com)

If you thought those poor souls lined up for all eternity at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Friday were the only people who’d have to deal with the aftermath of a fire that torched an air traffic control center, I have some very bad news for you: Hundreds more flights are expected to be canceled in the coming weeks, and there will be plenty of delays as well, while officials scramble to fix the damage to the system.

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Why are people in the Marvel Universe more upset about mutants than any other metahumans there?

On the Scifi.stackexchange someone posits a question after watching this video of the Honest Trailers series on the X-Men trilogy. His question reads:

“As CinemaSins snarkily wisely noted in “Honest Trailers – X-Men Trilogy“:

In the world where people cheer the Fantastic Four, Avengers, Spider-Man, those same people will inexplicably hate the X-Men.

Why is that so? As far as I know, all these superheroes exist in the same exact comic universe, yet X-Men seem to always be significantly more disliked.”

While the most popular answer from the Stack article answers the question from the rarefied air of intellectualism, saying

“It’s the tyranny of evolution. Sooner or later, you have a species that will have a genetic or technological advantage and that species will always conquer a species without that advantage. Carthage, the triumph of the Homo sapiens over the Neanderthal showed us that. Now what do we have? We have Homo superior versus Homo sapiens. On a level playing field, Homo superior wins every time.

That is a quote by the character Wade in season 4 of Babylon 5, explaining why he believed all telepaths in that universe needed to be either murdered or enslaved for use by “normals” (homo sapiens). The same guidelines clearly apply in the Marvel Universe.”

I posted a link so you can read the entire article at your leisure.

However, I disagreed strongly with this answer.

It is unlikely my answer will gain any traction because his is a rather easy to understand perspective but I posted my own answer by trying to look at the problem differently.

Rather than approaching it from a purely intellectual perspective, I tried to see the problem from the perspective of a person living in the Marvel Universe rather than from the viewpoint of a person looking at the Marvel Universe from the outside.

Why Fear the Mutant?

There are factors which play into the fear of mutants more than most metahumans from the perspective from a person living in the Marvel Universe.

Uncertainty

A person living in the Marvel Universe has a life very different from yours and mine. His world is an uncertain one.

  • One day Mr. Average is on his way to work and there is suddenly an invasion of Kree warriors bent on battling the Avengers right on the freeway he’s driving over. The battle ties up traffic for hours, costing him money and prestige at his job. Hundreds of people are injured in the collateral damage of buildings and cars being destroyed. (See: Kree-Skrull War)
  • A month later, after they managed to repair the bridge, the Mole man ventures up from his subterranean lair and battles the Fantastic Four. Mr. Average’s car is destroyed as one of the Mole Man’s monsters trudges through the city before being put down by Ben Grimm. Hundreds of people are injured or even killed. (See: Fantastic Four #1, 1962)
  • Three months after that Mr. Average, riding the bus to work now, finds his bus under attack as a powerful and hidden mutant is riding the bus with him, in disguise. Mr. Average escapes with a few burns and a deep abiding fear of giant robots which randomly attack buses full of normal people to reach “dangerous” mutants. (See: Master Mold, X-men #16, 1962)

Mass Hysteria

  • Every day after each attack news pundits like J. Jonah Jameson espouse about the dangers of mutants, Spider-Man and superheroes in general. But mutants catch special flack because they could be anyone. You. Your neighbors, the person on the bus next to you could be a mutant.
  • Look how powerful hysteria is on our modern Earth when the random threat of terrorism is used to manipulate how people feel about other HUMANS. We created the Patriot Act, we dropped bombs on foreign countries for the FEAR of terrorism. The single act of the destruction of the World Trade Center over a decade ago STILL has people in the grip of fear.
  • Now imagine you had events like this happening every year, some of them, not all of them are due to the mysterious mutants living among us, with fantastic powers capable of wiping out all of humanity with the blink of an eye, (so the news media sells it, no matter that it in the case of certain mutants is actually TRUE).

A Legitimate Fear of Incredible Power

As an individual without fantastic powers and a need to go to work, protect your family, pay your taxes, be a decent individual and maintain a role in society, the very fact that you may feel insignificant compared to the mutant superbeing carrying away the stadium you were hoping to watch tonight’s baseball game in undermines your self esteem, hell, your very sanity as you see the impossible being done before your very eyes.

  • Imagine Mr. Average learns the person carrying away your stadium is a mutant, a being who was born this way and whose probably manifested as a teenager. He has a twelve year old daughter and a ten year old son. Could this happen to him? Is it possible that his children could have this mutant gene you hear so much misinformation about?
  • What about that town that was blown off the map out there when those Young Warriors fought that criminal Nitro? Everyone was killed. Could that happen here? Should mutants and superbeings be registered? (See: Civil War)
  • Maybe Strucker has the right idea. Maybe the best thing that could happen is we kill all the mutants before they take over the world. (Not knowing that it has already happened more than once and been reversed; See: House of M). Being an ordinary human in this world would be a terrifying experience akin to living in a warzone where you had no options but to run and hide whenever anything happened.

We Have Seen the Enemy…

Why do mutants have it worse than the rest of the metahuman community?

  • Most of the metahuman community makes an effort to be seen as being on the same side as normal humans. At least some of them have been revealed to be normal humans (Tony Stark, Hawkeye, Black Widow) resemble normal humans (Thor) or were once normal humans (the Hulk).
  • But mutants were born this way, their appearances vary wildly, along with their powers, many in learning to control their powers, harm innocents and even if they become “good” mutants have blood on their hands. When they are evil mutants, they seem to relish their powers and kill without reservation. There are reports (however unreliable) that more mutants are being born every day.

What is a normal man to do in a world where the uncertainty of his very existence depends on a very thin line of metahumans to protect him from the ever-growing menace of mutant power on an Earth in an ever-expanding hostile universe of threats? Aliens, gods, intelligent machines are terrifying but they are the Other.

Mutants? They are us. And they are everywhere. 

What are the shiny circles on Thor’s costume?

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Asgardian Fashion 101

Writing for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange, I came across a question about the Mighty Thor that has piqued my interest only in that I had never seriously considered the classic Thor costume and its design. What are those circles on his costume supposed to be? <empty stares; looks of confusion>

I left the question alone for a few days while other writers on the site tackled the problem. My writing calendar was full and I was sure some of the site’s capable admins and moderators would find some worldly wisdom that I, even with all of my superhero history, did not have an instant answer for.

You know what they came up with? Nothing. Fan rumors. Suspicions. European Defense Initiative Bio-Mechanical Suit, from Earth 1610’s Ultimate Thor.

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I was compelled to intervene. Here I was a Thor aficionado and I didn’t know the answer but I knew the European Defense Initiative Bio-Mechanical Suit wasn’t it.

Here is what I discovered. <cue fanfare> Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Bupkiss.

My Official Answer

“There is little in the way of historical references in Marvel canon for the circles on Thor’s chest tunic. He has had this costume since his first appearance in Journey into Mystery #83 (1952).

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If you know anything about me, you know that wasn’t going to be enough. I did a cursory scan of the Journey into Mystery series and the early Thor comics with no results. Then I knew I would have to go meta.

What follows is my research and speculation about those circles. If you know something more concrete, please share it with me through the comments below.

Can history be our guide?

With that said, we can look perhaps into history and see if we can determine what the artist Jack Kirby was hoping to show in this costume design. If we can assume this design was inspired by Thor being an ancient god of war, then perhaps it would be considered a stylized armor design. Since Thor is a superhuman being, he might have little use for armor in his day to day life, but might want to remind his enemies of his valor with a costume that resembled an armor he may have worn at one time. It was a good idea but nothing in my historical rummaging in Journey into Mystery or early issues of Thor, showed this.

Case in point: Here is a picture from Tales of Asgard, Journey into Mystery 101. In it young Thor is seen wearing his costume as we knew it from the classic Kirby era. Since he is wearing it into battle, it is safe to assume it must double as armor for the young godling. Everyone else is festooned in armor that looks like armor, though they resemble classic Earth Vikings wearing platemail instead of chainmail.

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Tales of Asgard, Journey into Mystery 101

If his costume is indeed supposed to be armor, then perhaps what we should look for is an example of an armor with similar properties. Having a bit of history under my belt I remembered an armor accessory I thought might be a match. It was called the Lauersfort Phaelara.

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A closeup of the Lauersfort Phalera, Burg Linn Museum Center, Krefeld, Germany

One of the first and earliest potential armor designs which bears more than a passing resemblance would be the 120 AD, Legionary Roman armor. The phalerae medallions, the large shiny metal disks share a similar placement (though not exact) on the Roman armor. The disk were usually covered with the faces of prominent leaders or mythical beasts denoting bravery or skill in battle. Legion armies also carried them on their banners as group awards for the regiment.

Roman Legionary

From the Augustan period, both infantrymen and cavalry men received the same award when an opponent was killed and his equipment seized: a series of nine phalerae which gravestone reliefs show were worn on leather straps on the upper torso. Once again, these decorations were intended for soldiers up to the rank of centurions. –Armed Batavarians: Use and Significance of Weaponry and Horse Gear, by Johan Nicolay; Amsterdam University Press.

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Turkish, Antique char-aina, (chainmail with mirror plates), Russian Zertsalo (Ottoman inspired)

The phalerae medallions were not unique to the Romans. The Celts wore similar devices for religious reasons and similarities could be found in ancient Mongolian, Chinese, Russian, Ottoman and Japanese armors, often designated mirror armors for their shiny appearance.

Art Imitates Life

Thor has had many different costume designs, many actually resembling armor rather than the cloth or leather of his early designs. These later designs were more inclined to use actual armor plates to depict the circles in his early costume designs, strengthening the appearance to phalerae medallions, even including ornate designs in some of them. I suspect this was a design issue that came about when later versions of Thor’s costume were reimagined by new artists.

I am willing to be one of those artists knew what phalerae were and decided to incorporate that design element into the armor. We don’t know that Kirby wasn’t influenced by phalerae but some of these on the newer armors are too similar to miss.

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Conclusion

While we have no definitive proof the circles on Thor’s early costume were indeed a representation of phalerae medallions, it is at least historically possible the original design may have been inspired by early armors from the Roman, Ottoman and Persian armor designs which incorporated similar elements.

Note: While Vikings did wear armor into battle, it has not been shown to be an integral part of the armor designs to wear phaelara into battle. Most vikings wore leather furs, cuirboilli (boiled hardened leather) or chainmail tunics with shields into battle.

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A fairly realistic depiction of Viking armor and weapons circa the 5th century AD.

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Asgardians, warlike yet fashionable.