Thursday, March 31, 2016

If You're Stabbed With A Knife, What Do You Do?

We've seen it a million times in movies and television shows. Someone gets stabbed with a knife or other sharp object (scissors, pitchfork, pencil). Immediately, a person rushes in crying and screaming, only to pull the weapon out and let the victim bleed to death. So... what do you do?

Well, the answer is counter-intuitive, but you should leave the weapon inside the person until they can receive medical attention.

"I say to the bloke... better not pull this out or you'll cark it! Well, he carked it."

Let's say you get in a fight with a knife-wielding killer. They happen to stab you in the gut with a long blade, leaving you to bleed to death in the floor of your overpriced apartment. Ahhhh, you didn't take out the trash or delete your browser history. You can't die now. What do you do?

By all means, do not take the knife out of your stomach. Leave it there and call for help. That knife, whether you believe it or not, is keeping more blood from spilling out of you. Your blood is clotting around the knife, thereby keeping you alive longer. Be still as to keep the blade from doing further damage and await medical attention.

Don't say Uncle Jared never did anything for you. Leave the knife in!

A few band-aids and a dab of antibiotic ointment and you'll be as good as new.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ideal Conceal Smartphone Pistol Makes Accidental Child Death Easier.

Coming later in 2016 is the Ideal Conceal .380-caliber pistol. It is shaped like a standard smartphone, as to make concealment all the more easy. With a simple twist, the handle slides down revealing the trigger of the camouflaged gun. The pistol can fire two shots with a hammerless internal mechanism. When collapsed, the Ideal Conceal looks like any other smartphone device, belt clip and all.

Honestly, this gun scares the utter crap out of me.

Let me be more specific. It's not the gun itself that frightens me. It's the forthcoming accidental shootings with the Ideal Conceal involving children that frightens me. The Ideal Conceal website is emphatic about taking proper care and safety with a firearm -- they explicitly state that guns should be secured for the safety of children. I can't blame Ideal Conceal; they've done their due diligence.

Yet, there are parents out there that recklessly leave their firearms (including the forthcoming Ideal Conceal) within the range of a child. How long before we hear a report of a young child digging through their mom's purse to play with her phone, only to find the Ideal Conceal and accidentally kill themselves? What about a young child grabbing daddy's phone off the nightstand, only to accidentally shoot their sibling in the face?

You and I both know this can AND WILL happen.

In this day and age, I can't support the notion of making guns more invisible. As a tool with the power to give life or death, firearms are not a weapon to be cloaked in secrecy. I'd like to know who has a gun around me, much less around children. Sure, it would not be comfortable when a crowd stares at you for carrying a legal firearm. Is that not the price we pay for freedom, though? If you want to carry a firearm, you have to be comfortable with the strange glances that some uneducated citizens may take.

The Ideal Conceal will sell like hot cakes, but I'm counting down the days until the first kid has an accident with it. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Magenta And Blue.

Wrapped together like braided rope
Thrown longways across a neverending bed
There, watching the most wondrous colors
Through a window, magenta and blue
I lost sight of me and faded into you

In my dreams I floated elsewhere
To a home nestled in a valley, surrounded by mountains
The flood had come, sending water to our doorway
And yet you swam in the deep mountain rain without worry
Just let it all go, you told me over and over
Peace begins with opening your own cage
And learning how to be free

I awoke to the coming of the cool, breezy night
But somehow, I emerged on the other side of the window
Though the color had faded, I could now see with clarity
My mind saturated with magenta and blue
Finally found in a dream, envisioned with you

Monday, March 28, 2016

North Carolina House Bill 2: Relax! No One Wants To Look At Your Junk.

As you're probably already aware, the North Carolina General Assembly recently passed House Bill 2. This is a state law which prohibits transgendered individuals from using the correct bathroom. Instead, such persons must use rest facilities which match the specific gender identified on their birth certificate. Obviously, this creates a dilemma for the transgendered community. More importantly, House Bill 2 is state-sponsored discrimination.

My take on this whole debacle isn't from the perspective of a transgendered person. I was born a male and I identify as male. I can't fully understand what it's like to be born with one set of physical sex organs, but feel like the opposite sex (or even somewhere in between) on the inside. Yet, I can certainly relate to the struggle that comes with being discriminated against. For that reason, I wholly support the right of a person to use the proper bathroom.

What bothers me most about House Bill 2 is that it attaches a stigma of perversity to a transgendered person. This is the same myth that was attached to homosexuality for years (and in many places, still is). You know, the old notion that the gays are perverts and want to molest little children. The gender you are has nothing to do with your sexual orientation, much less your propensity for sexual assault. A rapist will rape and a molester will molest -- heterosexual, homosexual or transgendered.

The law, at its core, is a statement made in total fear. Champions of the bill, including Governor Pat McCrory whom signed it into law, supposedly want to protect the safety of "normal" people from those whom might be different.

Protect them from what, though?

Without a shadow of a doubt, I know that I have shared a bathroom with a transgendered man. I won't relate personal details of a routine bathroom trip to you out of common decency, but you can imagine what using the toilet entails. And you know what? I survived just fine. This transgendered man didn't try to touch me, proposition me or even talk to me. They did their "business" and I did mine. Why? Because we were two human beings doing what human beings do. We were taking a crap -- a gross, disgusting and ultimately unarousing act that no one likes but everyone has to do.

There is absolutely nothing sexy about this.

That's the biggest point to take away from this nonsense. No one in the bathroom, transgendered or otherwise, is trying to look at your junk. People go to the bathroom to do their natural business. We're not in there to have raucous, unorthodox sex (gay or straight). You'll never catch me putting on a dress and a wig and trying to spy on women taking a dump in the ladies' room. I would wager a large some of money that you wouldn't either. So, why would you expect a transgendered person to do it? Is it because they're somehow different than you? Is it because they don't fit into your strict cultural expectations of gender? Is it because you fear what you don't understand?

Fear, my friends, is the problem here. Fear is the great divider. Fear makes some of us do silly things. Fear makes some of us hate. Fear makes some of us pass laws like House Bill 2.

I don't care if the person next to me taking a poo has a penis or not. I'm not so egotistical to think that a transgendered person has entered the bathroom solely to become turned on by taking a peak at my genitalia. I don't live in a bubble of fear, and neither should you. Odds are, you have already used the bathroom with a transgendered person and didn't even know it. Why? Because transgendered people are just like everybody else.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Draw Something: Sad Cloud

As I sat down to draw this evening, the rain began to pour hard. The beautiful pitter-patter of the storm hitting upon my roof was pleasant and calming. And yet, have we ever stopped to consider the lonely cloud? Are raindrops but the tears of a weeping cloud passing by? Perhaps.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Laqunah: Part V

Hultran, by any degree of measure, was not wealthy. Born to a demon mother and stone imp father, he'd worked his way through the recesses of Laqunah's Limbo Quarter as a simple messenger. Being a shard demon of impure blood, Hultran wasn't well accepted among his peers. Finding work as a messenger was one of the lowest positions available to those of his kind. One of Hultran's travels deep into the city led to a chance encounter with a professor from the Persimmon Institute. This professor, a Sir Talroy Talltale, took Hultran under his wing as an apprentice. During this period, the professor shared with him the secret art of vision card interpretation. Through a mystical perceptive ability not fully understood, Hultran gained the power to see faint shadows of the coming future via enchanted cards. These cards bore various totem sigils, each indicating a potential action or result. Talltale emphasized one simple rule, though – never was Hultran to use this knowledge to see his own fate. Abiding by that principle, Hultran purchased a run down lot at the edge of Laqunah and set up shop.

For years, Hultran had used various vision card techniques to make predictions for his clients: when love would blossom, if a bone sacrifice was going to prevent a plague, or how successful a potential necromancy harvest would be. Considered one of the best and brightest future seers in the city, Hultran had garnered a moderate but dedicated group of clients. While being a vision card reader wasn't revolutionary, it was enough to pay the bills and keep a roof over his head. For that, Hultran was quite grateful. Sir Talltale had rescued Hultran from a life of poverty and despair, whether he realized it or not. In the city of Laqunah, that was a powerful measure of gratitude that does not often come along.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Random Suds Review: Shiner Ruby Redbird Lager.

In 2015, I completed two sets of weekly seasonal beer reviews: the Brew Spew (autumn) and the Yule Grog (winter). With each set of reviews, I took one beer a week for an entire month to task, analyzing their pros and cons. Ultimately, I produced some amazing results with beers I had never tasted before.

I figured, why limit such a successful article series to just two months out of the year?

At random, I will continue to review new beers on Fridays throughout the entirety of the year. Of course, I will have new installments of the Brew Spew and Yule Grog for 2016. Instead, these upcoming random reviews will not be limited by seasonal availability. If I see a beer that I want to try for the first time and review, then I'll do just that. Appropriately, these reviews will be known as Random Suds Reviews.

The first Random Suds Review will be the Shiner Ruby Redbird Lager. It is produced by Spoetzl Brewery of Shiner, Texas. Initially produced in 2011 as a summer seasonal beer, Shiner Ruby Redbird was so successful that it's now available year round. Shiner Ruby Redbird is 4.01% Alc. by volume and brewed with two key ingredients: grapefruit juice and ginger.

As with my previous beer reviews, I'll break my taste testing into two segments: cold and at room temperature.

Bottoms up!

  • No head.
  • Grapefruit odor is very strong.
  • Initial taste is tart but not sour.
  • Very pleasant and wonderful upon first impact on my tongue.
  • Carbonation is light.
  • The ginger flavor is faintly sweet and removes any bitterness from the grapefruit.
  • Aroma is like a bouquet of fresh citrus fruit, really opens the nose.
  • Doesn't froth in my mouth.
  • No bitter aftertaste upon swallowing.
At Room Temperature:
  • Tartness has increased somewhat.
  • No bitterness that often comes with warmer beer.
  • Sweetness has dropped only slightly.
  • Not much difference in taste with the change in temperature.
  • Very impressed with the consistent grapefruit-filled perkiness!
I've enjoyed many other Shiner beers in the past (Holiday Cheer and Prickly Pear to name a few) and the Ruby Redbird continues this trend. This beer is PHENOMENAL! I insist you go out and try the Shiner Ruby Redbird right now. Your tongue will thank you. I finished this review feeling highly impressed!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Lin -- Between -- es Of This Poem.

How did I get here
Every map has a hole where my home should be
Left is the same as right
Lets escape before the sun hits these bars
On the verge of collapse under these stars

Caught in a thunderous storm of falling ash
Rising and falling with the breath of a sleeping demon
You wait ever calmly for a break in the waves
Slicing your way through a patch of briars
Thorns create memories that scars can't heal
Atop a mountain of pulsing hearts
Last to die is the first to live

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spinach Tofu Dip Recipe.

I just had this amazing spinach dip for dinner. Now, don't let the ingredients fool you. Despite what you may think about tofu, it's quite delicious and takes on the flavors it is surrounded by. Think of tofu as the chameleon of foods! I give you...


4 ounces of tofu
2 ~ 4 large handfuls of spinach leaves (to taste)
2 teaspoons of vinegar (white or apple cider)
1 ~ 2 cloves of garlic (or a few dashes of garlic powder)
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon of oil
Salt (to taste)
3/4 Cup of Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Mix all of the ingredients except for the mozzarella cheese gradually in a food processor, beginning with the tofu. Then add the spinach. As the mixture is whipped together, add each successive ingredient. Mix until the consistency is as you would like it. Pour the mixture into a serving bowl and add the mozzarella cheese, stirring manually. Once the cheese is evenly distributed, it's ready to eat!

This dip is great for raw vegetables, crackers, fresh bread or even on meat (like fresh grilled chicken). Plus, it's health conscious and much better for you versus other traditional spinach dip recipes (they're full of sour cream and cream cheese). I promise you'll like it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The International Baby Exchange.

The idea I'm about to toss out is a wild one, admittedly. Some of you might even be offended by what I'm about to say. That being said, understand this: my concept is not one based in malice or cruelty.

I attempted to write an emotionally-sensitive preamble to this article, but everything I came up with simply didn't work. Instead, I decided to just be blunt and lay it all out there.

Sometimes, people have babies they either don't want or can't care for.

Imagine a scenario where a woman gives birth to a child she doesn't necessarily want, completely for superficial reasons. It's the wrong gender or skin color, for example. What if she could place that baby with an International Baby Exchange to trade for another recently born child? An even swap, one baby for another. The possibilities are endless! A child born in Canada could be swapped with one born in Chile. A French baby for a Chinese baby. An Icelandic baby for a Turkish baby. The potential combinations could only be limited by the number of participants involved. Obviously, the sooner a child could be added to the exchange, the better. The less a parent becomes attached to their offspring, the easier the trade will be. There's no going back on a trade!

Alternatively, what if a woman has an unexpected or unplanned pregnancy, but doesn't want to abort the fetus?

This situation would work much the same way as the aforementioned, but instead of trading one baby for another, the child would be swapped for something of monetary value. Obviously, this system could be exploited by the slave trade, so potential participants would have to be thoroughly vetted. Their items of value would have to be held by a third party clearinghouse to verify legitimacy. Once all concerns were satisfied, a child could be traded for an automobile, a piece of land, or college tuition. Sure, the child is reduced to a piece of living currency, but if the biological parent is unable to care for the child, then it becomes a win-win scenario. What has the traded child lost besides an unwilling or incapable parent (and gained a loving parent in the process)? This is what I consider making the best of a bad situation.

At this point, you think I'm probably nuts... but this idea goes one step farther.

Genetic diversity in any species is important for its survival. Pockets of any species lacking genetic diversity, whether humans, elephants or antelopes, develop terrible health problems. By swapping children across all parts of the globe, we'd be introducing new human genetics into a region to better its breeding pool. The more a species cross-breeds with diverse participants, the better their overall genetic structure can become. Just look at mixed-breed dogs -- they usually live longer and are healthier than their pure breed counterparts. Why? Because their genetics possess less inter-breeding, which promotes faulty biological traits if carried on for generations.

So there you have it. An International Baby Exchange that would satisfy many problems with a simple solution. Obviously, such a platform would be controversial. It raises any number of ethical concerns, but it's a debate we can and should be having anyway. What are you thoughts? Please share them!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Punctuality: The Importance Of Being On Time And Meeting Deadlines.

Over the course of the past few weeks, I've encountered some calamity while attempting to sell items via Craigslist. Namely, my (potential) customers have been extremely late or simply failed to show up.

I attempted to sell a printer a few weeks ago to someone whom contacted me. They asked if I could meet them in a public location that's approximately twenty minutes from my house. I arrived ten minutes early and waited over an hour, only for the buyer to never show up. The buyer had the nerve to email me the next day and ask if I could meet them again. When I stated that they would need to come to me because they stood me up, they complained and then never wrote back.

A few days after that, an interested party asked to purchase a marble chess set I had for sale on Craigslist. They sent me an endless stream of emails asking me all manner of questions, some of which were repeated. When it came time to meet me (again, another twenty minute ride to accommodate their distance), they stood me up. They also contacted me after the fact to make an excuse and asked if they could meet me another day. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I said I could. They never wrote me again.

Back to the printer! Another buyer wrote and asked if they could purchase it. We agreed upon a public place and time to meet. Yet, instead of showing up when scheduled, the buyer called me three separate times saying they were "a few minutes away". They finally arrived an hour and a half late, without so much as an apology! What baffled me is how they just assumed I'd wait that long. Honestly, I probably should have left out of pure disgust.

A second buyer contacted me about the same chess set last week. They asked if they could meet me at a gas station on Sunday (yesterday) at 11:30 AM. What time did they actually show up? 12:20 PM. That's right... fifty minutes late. How serendipitous of them to arrive literally as I was about to pull away. My blood was boiling. I looked at this woman's face with a deeply sour expression and was about to give her a piece of my mind, but she had a child with her. I bit my tongue because I didn't want to make a fuss in front of the kid. She never apologized or explained why she was late.

In every one of these instances, the customer had my contact info. They could have called or emailed me at any point to let me know of their tardiness, much less their not coming.

So what am I getting at?

Americans have developed a genuine problem with being on time. As a whole, we've become lazy, prone to lateness, inconsiderate of others, and simply don't follow through with tasks. If you say you're going to do something, or be somewhere at a certain time, then you need to do it. No excuses. At the very least, if you do encounter a delay, let others involved know that you're going to be late. It's just a matter of common decency.

Flaky, undependable, rude, discourteous -- this is no way to go through life. On some level, I'm ashamed to share a country with these plebeians. And yet, this will continue to happen, over and over. Our self-serving culture promotes being wayward and capricious. Where did we go wrong?

The scary part? It's only getting worse.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Draw Something: Germ

As I reported yesterday evening, I'm not feeling too swift at the moment. But, feeling ill won't stop me from completing my Draw Something segment. So... here's a germ.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Little Under The Weather. Time For Vienna Sausages!

Stomach aches. Head aches. ACHE-ACHES!

Yeah, I know. Cry me a river. Either way, our regularly scheduled programming this evening will not be seen. In its place, here's a guy trying to eat 100 vienna sausages... and failing.

Friday, March 18, 2016

How To Take A Fake Butt Picture.

Thanks to hearing from an old friend this evening, I thought I'd share something comical, goofy and down right immature.

Here are a few instructional videos as to how you can take a fake butt picture.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Really Funky Retro Jell-O Recipes.

Up until the 1950's, Jell-O gelatin was more than just a tasty dessert. Jell-O also wanted you to eat their product for dinner. Yuck! After scouring the internet, I found some of the grossest Jell-O meals I never knew existed. Who can believe folks used to eat this stuff? I mean, I love Jell-O, but not as a savory meal. Prepare to be nauseated!

This is a fish-flavored Jell-O dish comprised of green olives, tuna, mackerel and radishes. The catch of the day looks a bit spoiled.

When I think of tasty Jell-O flavors, celery is obviously at the top of my list, right next to cherry and vomit.

Here's one of the various uses for the aforementioned celery flavor -- you can mix it with tomatoes, green peppers and cauliflower. I can feel my stomach churning.

You could also get Jell-O in a mixed vegetable flavor. Mmmm...!

Oh look, it's like someone took a house salad and encased it in Jell-O... because they did.

And perhaps the grossest of all, a 'lime cheese salad' used to present a seafood salad. It even comes with cottage cheese to make the recipe perfect. Separately, I like cottage cheese and seafood salad. But wrapped in lime jello, vinegar and onions? I'm going to barf everywhere.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Dating Life of Cardinals.

The Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) comes in two different colors: bright red (males) and dull olive brown (females). Males are red because their plumage is used to attract a mate. To produce red feathers, male Cardinals feature a unique adaptation involving carotenoids. They can metabolize custom carotenoid pigments to generate a color different from the ingested pigment of food. Hence, they generate various shades of red pigment from their food, no matter the original color.

As the male Cardinal comes into maturity, all dressed in scarlet, it begins to seek out a female partner. When the male encounters a female that is receptive to his advances, he begins courtship. The initial action is for the male to find food and feed the female, beak-to-beak. Should the female be pleased with the courtship, she will accept the male as her partner. To let the male know that she's happy with his performance, the female may dance or flex her neck to signify acceptance. Once two Cardinals partner together, their union is for life. Cardinals are monogamous. The act of beak-to-beak feeding is sometimes carried over into the prolonged relationship, up until death.

When a female Cardinal becomes pregnant, the male retrieves building materials for a nest: twigs, sticks, vines, leaves, etc. The female is typically responsible for composing the nest. Within a week of completing the nest, she lays her eggs (usually 2 - 4). Incubation for the eggs is nearly two weeks. During winter months, the male may help to incubate the eggs when it's cold, though rarely. While the female is caring for the eggs and offspring, the male Cardinals retrieves food. Within a year, a Cardinal pair may raise between two and four batches of fledglings.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Gasoline Has A Short Lifespan.

A short note on gasoline this evening, thanks to an uncooperative lawn mower...

A can of gasoline blended with ethanol will not last as long as you might think.

The average shelf life of E10 gasoline is approximately three months or less. With the adaption of blended fuels in the modern automotive era, the life span of gasoline has grown much shorter. This is chiefly due to moisture absorption. Ethanol-blended fuel absorbs water at a much faster rate. If E10 gas is left in a can with any manner of leaks, or in an area prone to temperature fluctuations, it will absorb the ambient moisture in the air and become unsuitable for use in an engine.

Remember folks -- keep your gasoline stored in a secure, airtight manner. Do not let water mix with the gas. Keeping the cap on is important!

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Ketogenic Diet.

I'm on day twelve of a new ketogenic meal plan. Without a doubt, eating this way produces results. I've dropped eight pounds since I started. Currently, I am clocking in at 267 pounds, the lowest I've ever weighed as an adult. In total, I've lost 76 pounds since I started my weight loss journey. The ketogenic plan is easy to follow (as long as you like meat) and my drive to continue is unwavering. It's a shame I didn't discover it sooner.

All that being said, the ketogenic method is kicking my ass.

What does it mean to eat a ketogenic diet? Well, it involves consuming a high amount of fat, a moderate amount of protein and few carbohydrates. By eating in this manner, the lessened amount of carbohydrates puts the body into a state of ketosis. During this metabolic state, the liver begins to break down stored fat in the body to create ketones. Since the body is starved of carbohydrates, the ketones are used as the primary source of energy for functioning. Hence, ketosis forces your body to burn your stored fat to survive. Right now, I'm eating less than 20 grams of carbs per day, and some days as few as 10 grams.

Obviously, that means I can't eat anything with a high amount of sugar, whether natural or processed. No fruits, starchy vegetables, breads or grains. Thankfully, I already cooked and ate in a healthy manner with real, unprocessed foods. Moving into the modified ketogenic meal plan wasn't too hard to do. I just had to cut out starches and fruit.

So, what am I eating? Lots of eggs, protein shakes, tuna fish, sardines, olives, pickles, green vegetables, chicken, pork and beef. Honestly, that's the best part about eating a ketogenic meal plan -- all the meat. I LOVE meat.  Don't get me wrong, I like vegetables and fruit, too. But, if I were a dinosaur, I'd definitely have been a carnivore.

"Feed Me!"

As I edge closer to completing my second week on the plan, I'm encountering the normal side effects of transitioning my body into ketosis -- general weakness, lethargy and some brain fog. It's to be expected, but will eventually pass as my body burns the last of my stored sugars. From that point on, my body will rely completely on stored fat reserves for energy.

Be advised -- the ketogenic meal plan isn't for everyone, especially people with diabetes. It takes a fair amount of research and dedication to make a ketogenic diet work. That being said, I'm glad to finally be in the in the 260's (haven't been here since middle school) and look forward to eclipsing 100 pounds of weight loss.

Further Information:

A Guide to the Keto Diet
Ketogenic Diet Plan

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Draw Something: Honey Bee

Insects are such wonderful creatures. I love how their exoskeletons seamlessly lock together like a perfectly designed robot. Each and every segment is connected in just the right manner. Here we have a beautiful honey bee, ready to harvest the pollen from a field of wildflowers.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Toilet Poem.

Down and around and back again
No way of knowing why or when
Aches and bubbles gurgle 'round
The pain inside can make you frown
Rushing, running, speeding fast
Grip your belt and start to blast
Uh-oh it's time to take the seat
Made of white to hold your meat
Hang on tight and spread 'em wide
A mighty force to change the tide
Grit your teeth to hear a splash
Leaps from you in a flash
First one, then two, then many more
Nothing to be sorry for
Relief has come, no need to blush
Just remember to always flush
Wash your hands and dry them too
No one wants to touch your poo

Friday, March 11, 2016

How Do The Transformers Rubsign Stickers Work?

Every child of the 1980's remembers the original Transformers toys. They featured these really cool, heat activated stickers that you could touch. Moving your finger back and forth across these rubsigns, as they're known, revealed the allegiance of the robot. Were they an Autobot or a Decepticon? All you had to do was check the rubsign!

Shockwave's rubsign was on the left side while in blaster mode. I'd bet $20 he's a Decepticon. When's the last time you saw a purple Autobot?

Implementing the rubsign was a novel idea by Hasbro, the creator and manufacturer of the Transformers. While the sticker served as a bit of a gimmick for the toys, it also acted as a mark of authenticity. Beginning in 1985, many toy competitors started to flood the market with cheap knock-off Transformers. The legally patented rubsign was in place to prove that a Transformer was authentic.

At its core, the rubsign sticker is like a flat mood ring. Inside the sticker are thermochromic liquid crystals. These crystals change shape as the heat they're exposed to increases. As such, this molecular change reflects at different wavelengths of light. The more a rubsign sticker is heated up by touching it, the brighter it gets. Over time, as the rubsign cools down, the liquid crystals return to their original structure and lose their color.

This is an original commercial from 1985 proclaiming the importance of the rubsign to indicate a genuine Transformers toy.

Who knew that the Transformers were using cutting edge science in their implementation of the rubsign and fending off crooks at the same time? That's radical!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Honduran Death Machine Backed By Hillary Clinton.

One of the many riots that took place following the 2009 coup in Honduras. Seen here, supporters of the ousted President Zelaya clash with riot police.

On June 28, 2009, a violent coup d'état erupted in the Central American Republic of Honduras. The death and turmoil that took place have not ended since. Many indigenous activists, defenseless citizens and those deemed unworthy by the new regime have been cleansed.

That coup was wholly backed and facilitated by the US State Department, led by Secretary Hillary Clinton.

Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was a progressive leader. In his time as President, he supported making the morning-after pill legal. He wanted equal civil rights for LGBT citizens. Zelaya also supported numerous rural peasant and indigenous movements within Honduras, in an effort to preserve ancestral lands from mining, deforestation and dispossession.

Since Zelaya's removal in 2009, the morning-after pill has been made completely illegal in Honduras, to be punished with the same severity as performing or receiving an abortion. Nearly two hundred known LGBT residents have been found murdered in the street, as of 2014. Even worse, multinational corporations seeking to generate valuable bio-fuel sources have moved in with ease, claiming land belonging to impoverished farmers. The Honduran countryside, once extremely rural and quiet, has now become a militarized death zone propped up by corporations and their private execution squads. Anyone that challenges the current Honduran leadership is apprehended without trial or simply eliminated. For forty five days after the coup, constitutionally-backed civil rights were paused -- no freedom of speech, movement, or assembly. Even worse, habeus corpus was suspended, meaning the government could detain anyone, anywhere, without probable cause or reason. If the members of the coup didn't like you, then they could jail you permanently without due process.

Needless to say, Honduras is not a country you'll want to visit any time soon. So how does Clinton tie into all of this bloodshed?

In the time before the coup, President Zelaya's willingness to help protect rural farmers against corporate interests was not supported by the American government. Making the situation even worse was Zelaya's policy of working with Venezuela via trade and mutual defense. If you'll remember, Venezuela (then led by Hugo Chavez) has long been a thorn in the side of the US foreign policy agenda in Central and South America. The drama with Venezuela is ongoing.

After the coup took place, Zelaya and his government were removed and taken to Costa Rica by the Honduran military. Typically, events such as the coup that took place are deliberated by the Organization of American States (OAS). The OAS is a multi-national union of North, Central and South American countries, of which the United States is a member. And yet, when Zelaya arrived in San José, Costa Rican president Oscar Arias (a strong ally of the US), was tasked with moderating isolated talks with the leaders of the military coup and the deposed Honduran President.

 Clinton met with President Zelaya only once during the unrest in Honduras.

That's right -- Clinton's State Department formulated an off-the-books mediation process, granting those whom committed the violent take-over equal footing with the legally elected Zelaya-led government. The OAS was to be circumvented. How do we know all of this? By law, US Government emails are routinely declassified for the public to read. The proof is right there in black and white. At least, the parts that haven't been redacted. The messages exchanged between Clinton (known as 'H' in email correspondence) revealed an intensely calculated series of maneuvers to keep the talks in Costa Rica going for as long as possible, even though they knew the talks would fail. That was the whole point, though.

One of the many emails exchanged by Clinton during the turmoil in Honduras. Note the large swathes of her text that have been redacted.

Long story short, Clinton and the State Department got what they wanted. The negotiations in Costa Rica ended miserably, leaving Zelaya deposed. The upcoming Presidential election in Honduras went as planned in November, 2009. Zelaya was restricted from completing his elected term. The new Honduran government, led by Porfirio Lobo, immediately became corporate friendly, flooding numerous international energy groups and US military assets into Honduras. In the eyes of the Clinton-led State Department, Honduras was suddenly on good terms with the US again.

It couldn't be any more obvious that the turmoil in Honduras was a strategic play by the US and its mutual corporate interests, all in the name of profit and war. Not once has Clinton ever called what happened in Honduras a military coup. She's side-skirted the issue at every opportunity, as to never go on record specifically naming the atrocities that happened. And yet, Clinton claims to be a proponent of peace and prosperity.

When you step into the voting booth and look at Clinton's name on the ballot, I ask that you to think of the people that have been affected in Honduras. Is this who we want to lead America?

Further Reading / Sources:

The Guardian: Honduras and the dirty war fueled by the west's drive for clean energy

Common Dreams: The Hillary Clinton Emails and the Honduras Coup

The Nation: The Clinton-Backed Honduran Regime Is Picking Off Indigenous Leaders

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Ant-Man's Stomach Could Solve World Hunger.

I recently watched the Marvel film Ant-Man. I enjoyed the movie as it was -- a simple, straightforward redemption / heist movie that didn't take itself too seriously. The plot was fairly thin, but oh well. What more could you expect? It's about a guy that can shrink.

The movie got me to thinking, though. Ant-Man could solve all of the problems of the world, if he were real at least. As a fictional character, his abilities create a massive plot-hole in the Marvel Universe.

While we all know that Ant-Man can become incredibly tiny, but what most casual film-goers and comic readers don't realize is that he can also grow upwards in size. Ant-Man is also known as Giant-Man! His growth powers work in both directions, both smaller and larger.


The Pym Particles that give the Ant-Man suit its powers cause the wearer inside to grow or shrink in proportion. His or her body maintains its structural form, but the ratio at which it changes stays as-is. Hence, the wearer looks and changes a great deal, but the alteration to size is totally relative.

Now, consider the contents of the Ant-Man's body when it changes size. What about the food and water in his stomach, which also grows or shrinks directly proportional to the Ant-Man? If he ate a corndog and drunk an eight ounce glass of water before growing into the Giant-Man, the items in his stomach would also become larger. There'd be a chewed, partially digested corndog in his stomach. That eight ounces of water would compound, becoming hundreds (perhaps thousands) of gallons of water.

The power of the Ant-Man suit could solve world hunger in a flash. It could also solve the rapidly worsening drinking water crisis. Those Pym Particles could eliminate hunger and starvation, thereby ending the chaos and violence associated with it. Imagine that... a world with a food and water surplus. Want to create the world's biggest bread loaf? Have Ant-Man swallow a capsule with a tiny piece of bread, then let him grow into Giant-Man. After twelve hours and a moment on a humongous toilet, you'd have a titanic piece of bread.

It's like Jesus feeding the multitudes with two fish and fives loaves of bread, only far more plausible!

Yet, such a notion would never be applied to the fictional Marvel Universe. If Earth were suddenly free of the genuine problems facing humanity, there'd be very little reason to fight and destroy super-villains. Many of the evil forces that heroes like Ant-Man / Giant-Man face would simply disappear. Humanity would enter into a golden age of peace and prosperity.

All because Ant-Man could grow stuff in his stomach.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Monkeys Are Evil.

Crystal and I worked like dogs today. We reset one of our backyard garden beds. Took us all day and into the night, but it was well worth it. That being said, I am extremely tired. In light of my brain essentially not working from exhaustion, I'm going to share with you some videos of monkeys being violent, pushy assholes.

Never trust a monkey.

Monday, March 7, 2016

My Conversation With A Crazy Donald Trump Supporter.

While selling two computers today (remember my Dumpster Computing article from a few weeks ago?), I met an honest-to-goodness Donald Trump supporter. Not just your average blue-collar, red-blooded American Trump supporter. Oh no! I met the conspiracy theorist, whack-job, Alex Jones listening, 9/11 Truther, I moved to Southeast Asia to find a wife Trump supporter.

Needless to say, things got interesting.

In total, I spent a good forty-five minutes talking with this person today. For the sake of anonymity, I'll refer to him as "Harry". Harry was a perfectly decent fellow. He spoke politely to me and didn't make any ill-threats. Our conversation began by him noticing the Bernie Sanders sticker on my vehicle. At first, he chided me slightly for supporting Sanders. He said he had nothing against Sanders and liked that he's not taking corporate money. Yet, the conversation quickly evolved into a discussion about his strong support for Donald Trump. I didn't necessarily mind the conversation; I greatly enjoy talking about politics. I saw an opportunity to hear the perspective of a staunch Trump supporter and took it. What I didn't expect was the following to become evident about Harry. Here were some of his talking points:
  • The 9/11 attacks were a Saudi Conspiracy allowed to happen.
  • The World Trade Center was blown up with secretly planted thermite charges.
  • Mexicans are taking American jobs by the millions.
  • More than 40-50% of Americans are unemployed.
  • Illegal aliens are voting.
  • Trump may be assassinated like JFK.
  • "5 or 6 people" control the entire planet.
  • Obama was selected to be President in 1994.
  • China is going to take over the USA.
  • George W. Bush operated a secret CIA black-ops hit squad.
Over the course of our conversation, my eyes were wide open. I was intrigued by Harry's far-out accusations and assumptions. The truth became clear...

I had encountered one of the kooky Trump supporters that everyone warns you about.

The conversation itself reflected less upon Trump as a candidate and more on the type of people that actively support his campaign for the Presidency. While there are undoubtedly sane people whom support Trump, this guy fit the negative stereotype perfectly.
  • Caucasian
  • Older
  • Lower Class (told me so)
  • Dislikes Immigrants
  • Big Gun Advocate
  • Scared of Other Countries
All in all, it was quite the comical experience. He spoke of the World Trade Center attacks being an inside job by the Saudi Arabians (of course, there was thermite planted in the WTC). Harry was emphatic that Trump could potentially be assassinated, much in the same manner as John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert. He was sick and tired of Mexicans flooding into America by the tens of millions and sending money back to their families. Even worse, these illegal aliens are supposedly going to the polls and voting! I can go on and on, but you get the idea. Towards the end of our conversation, I jokingly alluded to many of his concepts being talked about on the wildly speculative Coast to Coast AM talk show. Immediately, he said...

"Yeah man! I listen to Coast to Coast! Alex Jones, too."

I wasn't shocked.

I'm glad I met Harry. He really gave me a laugh and provided me with a unique insight into a portion of Trump's support base. Though, he made sure to let me know as we parted ways...

"I'm not the only one who knows the truth. Lots of people know what I know... and we're all voting for Trump."

Somehow, I can believe it.


I'd like to reiterate my personal position on this article. In no way am I saying that Trump believes or supports what Harry told me. While I don't necessary agree with many of Trump's social policies, I also don't think negatively of him. Should the 2016 Presidential election become a race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and I had to pick one, I'd definitely vote for Trump. At least he's an outsider with his own money, not beholden to any special interests. Hillary is a continuation of the status quo, bound to ruin or nation even more so than it already has been.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Draw Something: Kraken

I've been sketching nature and wildlife for the past month in my Draw Something series. This week, I'm keeping my subject in the realm of the wild, but depicting a creature slightly more fantastical. I took a bit of inspiration from the Kraken featured in the classic '90s 'Monster in My Pocket' toy series.

Release the Kraken...

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Laqunah: Part IV

“Not much farther. Don’t quit now.”

It had been a rough couple of city blocks. Feeling as if he’d run through a war zone, Jobe couldn’t help but barely drag himself along. His energy had long since left him. Sheer will alone now pushed Jobe to keep moving. Without it, he’d already be dead.

“How did this place get the name Garfield? There’s nothing cartoonish about this hellhole.”

One of the more notorious communities within Chicago, West Garfield Park served as the home of the roughest the Windy City had to offer. Only the strong survived here. So far, Jobe was failing miserably. While cupping an exposed rib protruding from his left side, he’d managed to tread the filthy sidewalks without getting mugged or shot. Stumbling against a nearby brick wall, he rested for a moment. Swallowed by the dank alleyway, he caught his breath. The smell of mildew-covered bricks and rotten fish rushed his nose. As it invaded his head, Jobe ever-slightly gagged and tasted the bile in the back of his throat.

“Damn, that burns.”

Whispering into the dark alleyway, Jobe spoke to himself with candor. The taste of stomach acid doesn’t sit well with anyone. It didn’t help matters that the bile was also mixed with a little blood. Jobe knew better than to linger too long. Pulling himself off the wall, he stepped forward again and started moving once more. Crushing a few chirping, unsuspecting cave crickets beneath his shoes, the snapping of their exoskeletons seemed to echo into the aether.

The crickets wouldn’t be the only things that died tonight.

From the darkness itself, translucent hands tore through the atmosphere and gripped the back of Jobe’s head. Making no sound, the hands squeezed tighter and tighter. Jobe wasn’t able to let out a whelp, even if he’d wanted to. The dark hands fully engulfed his head, locking his jaw closed. Pain ripped through Jobe’s face as he felt one of his teeth begin to shatter. Both hands increased their pressure, making Jobe’s pain pulsate deeper and harder. Instead of flashes of his life, Jobe saw only his next move. Jumping purely on adrenaline and willpower, Jobe left the ground a few feet. Now given the freedom to dangle his legs, he swung backwards and donkey-kicked his attacker. An unforgiving shrill erupted from the unknown foe, letting Jobe know he’d landed his blow. The hands released half of their pressure, giving Jobe the chance he needed. Falling on his knees as the silent aggressor dropped him to the ground, Jobe absorbed the shock. Not giving the mystery threat a moment to spare, Jobe swept his legs around and turned to face the villain.

Emptiness. All he found was emptiness.

Not one to waste time, he took cover against the nearest wall. With a solid surface against his back, he could at least protect his rear position. Still wincing from his broken rib, Jobe pressed the cold bricks against his skin and braced for another attack. Usually prepared, Jobe uncharacteristically did not have one of his trusty knives on his person. If he was going to use a weapon, it would have to be one that was improvised. Looking around quickly, Jobe tried to find something that would efficiently dispatch his attacker.

“Trash can lids, old hubcaps... nothing but junk. I need something with some weight.”

Looking again, Jobe scanned for anything with enough bulk to actually do some damage. It seemed the luck was not on his side. Slamming his back against the wall in disgust, Jobe let out a sigh of anger as he gazed towards the stars. What a shame some old, rusty fire escape blocked portions of the heavens above. Then a brilliant thought struck him. The fire escape’s ladder was dilapidated and in poor shape. Some of the rungs were hanging loosely. Surely, Jobe could twist one of the bars off and use it as a baton. Jobe set to work before his aggressor returned.

“If only this thing will snap loose. Ughhhh... got it!”

Finally breaking the rod free, Jobe gripped the rusted piece of metal and again took a defensive position. It was surprising that his assailant hadn’t already tried to take him down. It wasn’t just surprising. Strange was perhaps a better word to describe the situation.

“Come on you bastard. Show yourself!”

Growing slightly agitated, Jobe blinked as the sweat on his eyebrow ran into his eye. The salt burned ever faintly, but enough to irritate Jobe. He wiped his forehead with his dirt-covered arm, leaving a smear of filth across his face. As he did, Jobe began to notice a soft burning smell. Darting his eyes around the alleyway, Jobe knew where the smell was emanating from.

“The gigs up. I know you’re out there. I can smell you!”

All but the dank breeze fell silent for a moment, letting the ghetto’s putrid odor whip against Jobe’s face. Without any rumbling or forewarning, a truly demonic figure burst forth from the wall against Jobe’s back. Bricks, mortar, mold and grime dissipated into the night. Bits of various pieces of matter flew in Jobe’s eyes, blinding him momentarily. Swinging wildly with his makeshift baton, Jobe could feel his despair begin to set in.

He knew he was about to die.

Not one to simply give up without fighting back, Jobe tried feverishly to strike his unearthly attacker. With bricks from the broken wall beneath his feet, he was having a hard time maintaining his balance. Finally stumbling, he prepared for the sharp impact of the rubble. Shockingly, he did not fall. Something halted his descent.

“I couldn’t have you die from wounds I didn’t inflict. Your demise will be my pleasure and mine alone.”

With his large, scaly palm wrapped tightly around Jobe’s right shoulder, the fiend raised his prey to eye level and sneered gleefully. Not being gentle, the beast grinned as he made a sudden jerking motion. Jobe’s arm popped out of socket. Making another quick snapping motion, Jobe’s arm crackled like a crushed can. Jobe yelped with horrendous pain as his arm became clearly dislodged from his skeleton. Dangling by pure flesh, he was at the whim of his captor. Like a kite in a windstorm, the demonic apparition whipped Jobe back and forth with no effort at all. As the beast let Jobe dangle, he shoved his free claw into his victim’s stomach. Cutting deep, the grotesque and malformed nails of the creature’s claw entered Jobe’s abdomen. Writhing through the intestines and organs, the fiend staunchly took hold of the crimson bowels and yanked them forward. All Jobe could do was whimper as his entrails shot forth with massive force like a cannon blast. Blood and organ meat exploded into the night, leaving chunks scattered all about the ground. With little life left in him at all, Jobe stared at what would be his last sight. Jobe could see the fiend begin to savagely shove his innards into its massive mouth. Had he still possessed a stomach to vomit from, Jobe would surely have done so. Feeling his heart slow, Jobe could no longer hold out. Fading away, his life force extinguished.

The wind slowed. Crickets began to chirp once more. Yet, they could hardly be heard over the aberrant slurping and licking of the bestial chops.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Absolute Dumbest eBay Customer Ever.

In my line of work, I cross paths with lots of people. Most are average, decent human beings. A few can be a little obtuse. And sometimes, I encounter a special breed of idiot. One that transcends the normal boundaries of moronic behavior. A person so stupid... I'm surprised they know how to breathe oxygen.

This story is about one of those idiots.

Last week, I sold a Transformers Bumblebee toy to a person in California. My store front is on eBay, so transactions are processed through their web interface. As with all buyers, their shipping address is provided to me by eBay based upon the personal information entered by the customer.

Who knew that this Transformer toy would cause one person so much trouble?

A few days after shipping Bumblebee to the buyer, it was returned to me. The post office had marked the package as 'not deliverable' due to an insufficient address. I double-checked that the address I shipped the package to matched the one provided to me by eBay; they were identical. Logically, this implied that the address entered by the customer was incorrect.

Now here's where things got interesting.

I messaged the buyer and explained that the address they provided must have been incorrect in some manner, due to the package being returned to me. I asked them to confirm their shipping address so that I could mail the box to them one more time. The customer, whom I'll refer to from here on out as Ms. Bag of Rocks, wrote back. Quickly, I noticed the discrepancy -- this customer failed to give eBay their specific apartment number. Never mind the fact that Ms. Bag of Rocks misspelled her own name and provided a zip code with only three of the five numbers when confirming her address... but I digress.

After having the customer pay for the second round of shipping (I normally ship for free, but this was the customer's error), I sent the package again. The package was mailed on Monday, February 29, 2016 and arrived Thursday, March 3, just three days later.

This morning, Friday, Ms. Bag of Rocks sent me a message.

"Did you send it yet? Or can u send a tracking number pls"

All of my packages come with tracking for free, which I give to my customers on eBay. The tracking info is attached to the purchase history and is plainly visible. See the image below for an example.

Click image to enlarge.

The tracking info showed that the post office placed the package in their mailbox on Thursday. And yet, Ms. Bag of Rocks wanted to know where it was. I reiterated the tracking information and suggested they look in their mailbox, as quoted below.

"Yes I already sent it. The tracking number is attached to your purchase in your eBay dashboard. The tracking information shows that it was delivered yesterday to your mailbox."

Twelve hours pass, with no response.

A few moments ago, Ms. Bag of Rocks contacted me back. They said...

"I m a lil consern about it cause i havent recive anything?"

Ignoring the atrocious spelling and grammar, I replied with...

"The post office tracking info says the package was delivered at your mailbox. Have you checked your mailbox? If the package is not there, take the tracking number to your local post office and they will assist you."

Notice the key question I asked there? "Have you checked your mailbox?" I can't believe I had to ask such a question, but it's a good thing I did. Ms. Bag of Rock's reply was...

"How big is it? No i havent yet"


How does this person imagine the mail works? Do fairies deliver packages magically onto your lap while you aren't looking? WHAT THE HELL! If you're looking for a piece of mail, wouldn't your mail box be the FIRST place you would look before contacting the sender and asking where the package is?

I have officially met the stupidest person I'll ever do business with.

This customer has yet to write me back. Perhaps they fell into a bird bath and were savagely eaten by wild pigeons. Either way, this customer really takes the cake.

Ms. Bag of Rocks, you're officially the dumbest eBay customer of all time, and perhaps the...

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Why Lock Up The Condoms?

While in a Wal-Mart just a few hours ago, I was shopping for some cocoa butter lotion. I happened to pass the 'family planning' section and snapped the photo shown above.

Of all the things to be locked behind a glass case, condoms shouldn't be it.

I realize that these condoms are locked up because some people may steal them. And yet, there's an entire store filled with items that could be stolen -- shoes, make-up, food, fishing tackle. Wal-Mart's Loss Prevention team can probably identify a hundred other products with a higher risk to loss potential.

So why lock up the condoms?

This country desperately needs to slow it's birth rate across the board. We should promote the active use of birth control, especially condoms. They're cheap and proven to be effective. And yet, Wal-Mart (and surely other retailers) wish to prohibit their sale. A customer wishing to purchase them must seek assistance from a store associate. Many people won't bother because of the extra hassle or potential embarrassment factor.

I say release the condoms from their cage and put them in the hands of the people... so there's less people.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Visiting Chippokes Plantation.

I visited Chippokes Plantation State Park today, located in Surry, Virginia. Walking along the banks of the James River, I picked up numerous seashells, barnacles, fossils and old pieces of worn iron. I suspect the iron came from old ships used in the settlement of the Jamestown area hundreds of years ago. Though windy and a bit chilly, the excursion was deeply enjoyable and satisfying. The ancient sea bed fossils found were intricate. Even more astounding was a collapsed cliff side. It revealed a layer of buried fossils and shells from when the entire area was under the ocean -- tens of thousands, perhaps millions of years ago. If you're ever near Chippokes Plantation, I recommend you visit.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Agony Of Defeat.

Don't you hate it when nothing will go your way? I'm typically prepared to write my articles when away from home (as I am this week), but that's not going to happen as planned. My laptop has experienced a critical registry error due to a failing hard drive. Considering my Dell Inspiron 9100 is twelve years old, I can't be but so upset. It does mean I'll have to install a new hard drive when I get home, though. That being said, it seems I'll be writing my articles from my mobile device for the next few days. Alas, thank goodness for smart phones.