Monday, December 22, 2014

Comic Books or Parenting?

It's time for another exciting round of everyone's favorite quiz show, Dialogue. Join us today as our contestants try to figure out whether the following exchanges came from comic books, or from parents and small children.
"It was... pretty horrible. Body parts everywhere. And their heads... where were their heads?"

"No, it's okay. I just hurt my foot a little when I kicked that car out of the way."

"Just put the elemental sword down and surrender, okay?"

"Oh my God. You're trying to kill me. You own loving father, dead of asphyxiation -- that's your evil plan, isn't it?"

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Confidential File Transcript: A Santa Letter

Taken from a classified ad in The Times, published December 18, 2014.

Dear Santa Claus,

You know, I may be persona non grata up in the Arctic Circle, but I still hear things. So I have to ask... did you really open up a whole new assembly line just to produce a Corvette? I'm sure she's a really Nice girl and all, but do you have any idea how petty and corrupt that sounds? Maybe you thought you could keep it quiet, but... no. Just, no. It's a small village. People -- well, Elves -- notice these things. And we all remember the last time you did something like this. The One Horse Open Sleigh Incident? Remember that one? Remember how that turned out?

Does Mrs. Claus know about this? I can't believe she'd be okay with it. You want to spend another century sleeping in the guest room? I guess it really isn't my business, but I still think you ought to consider the probable consequences.

Speaking of business, what are we up to now? Fourteen workers injured this season? You can set aside an entire assembly line for your playmate, but you can't install basic safety equipment? Or provide your workers with a decent amount of rest and food, so they aren't making stupid, clumsy mistakes out of sheer exhaustion? I wish I could say I was surprised.

I know, I know. I'm making myself a target... again. I also know just how much trouble you had getting your oldest friend back into his lair after last year. (Don't bother looking for a leak on that one; I scried it myself. You were too busy to notice.) And I know how busy IntSec has been, too. So send your minions after me if you can spare them, but consider this: the easiest way to shut me up would be to tighten your red suspenders and do the right thing. Safety equipment. Reasonable working hours. That's all I care about. That's all I ever cared about.

As Ever,


Preliminary investigation (as well as the internal evidence of the letter itself) suggests that this is a genuine communication from the renegade elf, Snowblossom Smith. Add it to the file. -ES

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A new stage of life...

Apparently I've hit a new point in my emotional development. I was watching Lethal Weapon the other night (because, y'know, Christmas movie) and I suddenly realized that Martin Riggs, the troubled younger cop played by Mel Gibson, just doesn't resonate with me anymore. He used to; that was the character I identified with. This time, though, it's Danny Glover's character - Roger Murtaugh, the fifty-year-old with the house and the family, the guy who has to put up with all this - that I find myself connecting with.

I guess I really am too old for this shit.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I awaken my child with a song!

The light was out. The comforter was warm. The room was quiet. The boy was deeply asleep.

...Until Daddy arrived.
Deck the halls and buy a Slurpee, Fa la la la la, la la la la,
'Tis the season to be derpy, fa la la la la, la la la la.
Time to rise and put on clothing, fa la la la la, la la la la,
Though we'd rather all be dozing, fa la la la la, la la la la.
Have to turn your homework in, fa la la la la, la la la la,
And you get to see your friends, fa la la la la, la la la la.
{Pause to pull comforter off sleeping boy and toss it on the top bunk.}
Now your comforter has fled, fa la la la, la la la la,
Time to climb out of your bed, fa la la la, la la la la.
That was about the point where my wife came in and asked, "Is daddy torturing you?"

Firstborn said, "Unnk."

Monday, December 15, 2014

While we're dwelling on unpleasant truths...

I am a white person.
I am occasionally a little bit clueless.
I am sometimes a bit racist.

Okay, now, hold on, everybody! I’m not, like, proud of that statement. The only people who are proud of that statement … I actually don’t know anyone who is proud of that statement. White supremacists? Hitler youth? No one wants to be racist. That’s why people begin statements that are usually super racist with the phrase “I don’t want to sound racist, but…”

(Tip: If you start a sentence that way, you are almost always going to say something incredibly racist).

I don’t want to be racist. No one actually wants to be a racist.

But I have been known to say or do clueless, ignorant, or hurtful things before, because of a subconscious prejudice against people who don’t look like me.

Do I enjoy the experience of owning up to that fact? Hell, no. It feels fucking terrible to admit that.

But I know it to be true. I have unpacked some of my past shitty behaviors and understood them for what they are. And I’m afraid — no, I mean it, actually afraid — that as educated as I am, as hard as I try to change this about myself, some of that subliminal bias is just never going to be completely erased.
Read the rest here: Race Ya.

Holidays not depressing enough?

DailyDot has converted the CIA Torture Report into 11 helpful (and fun!) memes. I'm not sure I can actually recommend reading them -- even 11 slides condensed from the entire 525-page report is hugely depressing -- but this is us; this is our government in action, folks.

Author Walter Jon Williams offers a cogent summary on his blog, also. Which, again, is about as much detail as I'm prepared to take.