Undermoderated

This is what happens when shit gets unreal

Category Archives: Random

Twerking-Class Girl

If you haven’t heard about Miley Cyrus’s performance on the Video Music Awards last night, congratulations and apologies. Congratulations for staying out of the mess which is popular culture and mainstream media. Apologies, because I just spoiled that for you.

I’ve got a mixed opinion of Buzzfeed, but this list provided a pretty good overview of the hot mess which was Miley’s performance. Completists can find the entire performance here on Mashable, and it doesn’t make a lot more sense in context, either. She looks like someone who’s trying too hard to be edgy, sexy, and naughty, in hopes someone will forget she was ever a virginal Disney princess and cash cow.

Wonder why that is.

While the entire internet, including mainstream media sites which theoretically carry important world news, all run around in circles and shout about the risque content of the performance, I keep wondering, Is this really what we’re most concerned about in this dance routine? Slut shaming? That’s all we’ve got? That’s our biggest problem. Because I can think of a few other ones we might want to consider.

  • Our entertainment culture all but requires artists to escalate bad behaviors for marketability. What Miley Cyrus did was the same thing artists have done forever. Put on a controversial show, get some attention, and that will sell. Lest we point a finger solely at the music business, television does this as well. Throw a dart at a programming guide (use Nerf if your guide is on the television or computer monitor), and it’s almost guaranteed to hit a “reality” program. These don’t drum up viewers with people who behave in an acceptable manner.
  • Miley used a black person as a stage prop. Two white, privileged entertainers (if you want to call either her or Robin Thicke that) pranced around on stage, surrounded entirely by black backup dancers made up as toys. At one point, Miley sashayed up to a woman who almost had “stereotype” flashing over her head in neon, and motorboated her ass. Whether or not this was intended as racism, it had every appearance of it.
  • A young woman is having a public meltdown and people are more concerned with her ass in short shorts. Age 20 is damned awkward. Almost everyone goes through a period of trying to find themself, or discovering adult sexuality, or what have you. Most of us have the luxury of doing it in private, without hordes of screaming pundits staring at our every move with a finger on a camera shutter. Child stars don’t get that luxury. Her behavior, and her choices, all remind me of a defiant kid who’s acting out without really thinking of the consequences.
  • What did the Cylon Bear have to do with anything? Or any of the bears, really? Bored, dancing bears stomping around on a stage? What?

But maybe the most important question we should ask is…

Why is this news?

I’m more confused about that than the dancing bears.

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Rebecca Watson and the Can of Worms

Several days ago, Rebecca Watson of Skepchick fame posted a video blog about a conversation she had with a man in an elevator. Shortly after, big chunks of the internet exploded into righteous indignation. It was like opening one of those prank cans of peanuts, only instead of a snake on a spring, it was a big, writhing pile of wiggly worms.

Or maybe the spring-snake was a trouser snake. Some of the opinions on the matter seem to think all penises are ready to spring into action given a moment’s notice.

To summarize, Ms. Watson was speaking in Ireland about sexism in the atheist community. A man followed her out of the bar at four in the morning and into an elevator. He said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting and I would like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?” Her blogged response to this…

Um, just a word to wise here, guys, uh, don’t do that. You know, I don’t really know how else to explain how this makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I’ll just sort of lay it out that I was a single woman, you know, in a foreign country, at 4:00 am, in a hotel elevator, with you, just you, and — don’t invite me back to your hotel room right after I finish talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner.

She’s got a point. Following someone to an elevator so you can ask them out is not the way to make them feel comfortable. Doesn’t matter what his intentions were. It was really stupid. No one, man or woman, should go back to a stranger’s hotel room. This is a great way to wake up in a bathtub full of ice, short a kidney and all dignity.

Her response isn’t my issue with this. She was reasonable, realistic, and polite. No blanket blame of men, no hating, nothing. The community’s response, though… Here’s a little sampling. From a Salon article

Surely not all of the men who reacted angrily to Watson’s video are woman-hating sociopaths. It’s probably the case that many were indirectly responding to past personal rejections that made them feel confused and wounded. I’ve known kind, decent men who express supreme frustration over how unclear women can be. Resentment builds up and some become hypersensitive to any female complaint about being hit on.

From PLoS

Therein lies the problem. Many men who don’t think of themselves as misogynists have a blind spot: they become obtuse about women’s feelings that might conflict with their own desires. The rancor they’re directing at Rebecca now suggests they don’t like being called on that flaw.

From ScienceBlogs, regarding how his wife was harassed for wearing low cut clothes…

That’s just how it is when you show some cleavage. If anything, she felt like it was her mistake not to wear something different, or to have altered the dress to be less revealing.

Ladies: This doesn’t happen to men. Ever. I’ve seen cartoons and stuff from the ’50s, and I’ve watched Mad Men, so I know there was a time when that happened all over the place, but honestly, I thought society had grown out of that. I simply didn’t think this happened anymore to anyone.

Guys: This happens all the frigging time. You don’t know about it, because women don’t do this to us, and we don’t do it to each other, but it’s a real thing.

This is where I call bullshit.

Recently, while working in an office filled with women, my husband and his partner found themselves treated like sides of meat. Whispers. Looks. Women asking them to come fix something underneath the desk, where the “ladies” could ogle their asses better. Women asking the two men to pick things up for them. One woman trapping my husband, who was occupied in an activity he couldn’t escape, and spewing ten minutes of innuendo about blow jobs.

Want something a little more public? How about what happened to Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan in a London airport?

“I was a little scared. Something happens [inside the scans], and I came out. Then I saw these girls – they had these printouts. I looked at them. I thought they were some forms you had to fill. I said ‘give them to me’ – and you could see everything inside. So I autographed them for them,” stated Khan.

Yeah. Women don’t sexualize men at all. Never happens. That’s not what upsets me about all this, though. What upsets me most about all these screeds is this: When did men become the enemy?

Sexism is real. Women do get harassed for showing too much cleavage, for walking through the wrong part of town, for simply being female. They are often sexualized and discriminated against. Take a look at the list Emily Finke has posted of things which have happened to her:

I live in a world where I’ve had to change my work schedule because I was afraid of being alone with a coworker.

I live in a world where I have to (regularly) suddenly find some reason to go back to the lobby because I don’t want some man following me to my hotel room, or grab a random acquaintance to ride the elevator with me.

The list is worth reading. These things happen, and should never be trivialized. No one, though, seems to want to talk about what happens with men. So I’d like to.

We live in a world where even an appropriately worded and timed request, or compliment, can be seen as sexualizing a woman. Where a man protesting his or another man’s innocent intentions earns insulting psychoanalysis. We live in a world where many people seem to assume a man only looks out for what he wants, and no one else.

We live in a world where a man cannot take his child to the local playground without earning suspicious looks from hovering mothers. Where some people will first assume a man is a pedophile, not a father or uncle there to watch his child play. Heaven forbid he stands outside a school to wait for his child to get out of class.

We live in a world where a man cannot stop to help a lost child in a mall, on a street, or at a grocery store without fearing suspicion and arrest.

We live in a world where people think talking like a television announcer makes them sound serious and dramatic.

All these things happen, too. I’ve seen them. Think having a large cross-section of people believe he’s a rapist and pedophile doesn’t weigh on a man? Think having to dress unassumingly and be careful where he stands at a playground doesn’t bother him? Think knowing people are judging him because of his gender isn’t painful?

Women are the targets of attacks in far more cases than men. No denying the numbers. They have to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings in a way men don’t. It’s an ugly fact of the world, and I hope to hell it changes. As we fight toward that goal, however, we have to remember not to create more casualties. No one should have to feel slighted and afraid because of her – or his – gender.

PLoS said it very well:

The principle is: be sensitive to others’ feelings and don’t make them pointlessly uncomfortable. Simple human decency, not some special consideration that some of us should show to the rest of us.

Men aren’t the enemies. Assholes are the enemies. Pussy or cock, doesn’t matter. Don’t be a dick.

Olly Oxen

When I was a kid, we used to play Hide and Seek. The game went like this:

Someone was It. Everyone else was Not It.

The It Person would count to some pre-designated number. If playing “fair”, the person would count at the top of his lungs and at a slow, measured pace which resembled seconds. When playing “dirty”, the person would count under their breath and at a speed which would have made Billy Mays reach for more blow to keep up.

Those who were Not It would run and scatter to find the most obscure hiding place possible. Most times, they didn’t even end up going to the emergency room for having shared a spot under the shed with a black widow.

The It Person would traditionally yell, “Ready or not, here I come!” Then the hunt would start, hopefully to find the kid who ended up with the spider before the allergic reaction to the venom got too bad.

Now, sometimes, a kid couldn’t find a hiding spot before time ran out. Or perhaps they’d found two, and had trouble deciding. One could endure no greater embarrassment than to end up caught out, choosing between behind the tree or under the car. In such a situation, only one solution could provide any relief: blame the It Person.

“You didn’t yell, ‘Ready or not, here I come!’ No fair!”

I bring up this slice of childhood because I read something which reminded me of those younger, simpler times. Mayor Bloomburg of New York authorized “stings” at gun shows in Arizona to see if one could buy guns illegally there, especially those such as what were used in the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

To no one’s surprise, private investigators came back with a well-exercised Second Amendment.

The investigators bought a Glock 17 9 mm handgun without a background check and two 33-round extended magazines from private sellers. Investigators also bought a Sig Sauer Pro 9 mm handgun and a Smith & Wesson handgun from two private sellers who continued with the sales even after being told by the undercover buyers that they probably could not pass a background check.

The Arizona Attorney General was horrified, of course, and vowed to do whatever he could to bring gun shows in line with the law- No, haha, just kidding. He bleated like a goat about the entire thing.

Bloomberg’s office didn’t bother to give Arizona police any advanced notice of the plan, Attorney General Tom Horne said.

“The fact that no such notification was made indicates this so-called sting is nothing less than a public relations stunt,” Horne said.

This sounds really familiar to me. “You didn’t yell, ‘Ready or not, here I come!’ No fair!”

All right, so it was rude. I get that. Bloomburg didn’t play nice. He didn’t count out loud, he counted too fast, and he didn’t say he was coming. I hate to tell Mr. Horne, but the people looking to chlorinate the gene pool a little by shooting up a Walmart aren’t going to, either. Public relations stunt or no, it brought up a valid point.

Maybe, though, the AG in AZ is right. We need to go back to the days of our youth. We don’t need gun control laws. We need Ready or Not Laws! If everyone who wanted to maim, rape, shoot, bend, fold, spindle or mutilate another person would just yell, “Ready or not!” then there would be no problem. Everyone could find a hiding place. If we got really fancy, we could tack Olly Olly Oxenfree laws on the end where, if the shooter couldn’t find someone to hammer in a set amount of time, everyone got to come in safely. Then they’d have to file another Ready or Not Notice and try again.

In closing, I leave you with what a rational discussion about this might look like:

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Dain Bramage

I recently spied this article on BoingBoing.net and, like many things that they post, it got me to thinking.

Go ahead and go look at this, I’ll wait: Alien Hand Syndrome sees woman attacked by her own hand

… mmmMMmm hmm hmmm…

I said go look, don’t just sit here.

You’re still here aren’t you? I mean it, go at least skim the article, there’s even a nice video for you to watch. Ok, so shoo and leave this window open and come back.

Ok, now close the pop-up ads and pay attention again.

Before your corups callosum is severed, your brain is fairly happy. There’s an Alpha side and and a Beta side and they work together well to do all of the tasks that you have to do during the day.

OMG, I

After the operation, suddenly the relationship turns rocky. It turns out that the left half of the brain never really loved the right half and still secretly hoped that it was half of the brain from a twin that was absorbed in the womb.

The right half of her brain was free from the shackles of her left brain and, like a child on Christmas morning, went berserk. With no one there to put it in timeout it started doing whatever the hell it wanted which, in her case, involved slapping her in the face, hard, repeatedly. Ok, so now imagine that you are in this woman’s unfortunate situation where your corpus callosum has been severed and suddenly the two hemispheres of your brain were no longer on speaking terms with each other.

Join me for a theoretical tour of “shit that would be hard to do if half of your brain didn’t want to listen to you”.

  1. Masturbation. You would have to get the other half of your brain “in the mood” before you could masturbate. Especially for the women if you want your disobedient hand to help out with the vibrator or the anal beads, you’re going to need cooperation from both hands to have a good time.
  2. Toss the perfect pizza crust. Ever see one of those guys throw a pizzs crust one handed?
  3. Play the theremin. Well, I suppose you could make some noise on it (which to be fair is all some people think is possible from it), but you certainly won’t be playing the Super Mario Brothers theme.
  4. Play Super Mario, or any console game for that matter. “Move left, godamn it! Now jump!” Your Call of Duty squad would frag you and leave your corpse for the birds.
  5. Give someone the “double bird”. I guess if both halves of your brain were pissed off at the person it might work. There’s also a chance that one of your hands would flip you off instead though.
  6. Yawn in peace. If your alien hand is annoyed it can try and gag you every time you get in the middle of a really good yawn.
  7. Play a musical instrument other than a kazoo. Not gonna happen.

Of course the flipside of having independent brains is that there are some activities that you can only do if you were the man (or woman) with two brains.

  1. Thumb wrestle yourself and have it be a fair fight.
  2. Roast two marshmallows perfectly at the same time.
  3. Play doubles tennis even if your partner was sick. If you and another person from the split brain support group got together, you could play a full set of doubles tennis with just the two of you.
  4. Perform magic tricks for yourself without knowing how they were done.
  5. Text and drive in perfect safety, possibly even sext and drive though that is a higher difficulty.
  6. High five yourself and mean it, yay us!

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Your Heroes Are Morons

ASVAB for Dummies

No doubt

Our Congress has referred to the men and women of our armed forces as “our Nation’s most precious treasure“.  Let me tell you as someone who served along side of some of these precious gems, there are some very stupid people in the military.

“But”, you say, “every soldier and sailor has to pass the ASVAB to be accepted into the armed forces before they can serve!”

How important is the ASVAB test?

Your scores in four critical areas — Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension and Mathematics Knowledge (see below) — count towards your Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score. The AFQT score determines whether you’re qualified to enlist in the U.S. military.

These are very basic assessment tests at about a ninth grade level.  Once you’ve taken this test, you have to meet certain minimum standards according to “The ASVAB Explained“.

One of the most critical of these scores is the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which is used to determine if you are qualified to join the military service. Each service determines the qualification AFQT score for enlisting in their service.The AFQT is comprised of your test results in Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Math Knowledge (MK), and Verbal Composite (VE) x 2. Your Verbal Composite score is a combination of your Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension scores. Check out the following AFQT qualifying scores for each branch of service.

Service Branch Required AFQT Score
Army 31
Navy 35
Marines 31
Air Force 36
Coast Guard 45

The AFQT is out of a possible 100 points.  If you got a 31% on the test and are trying to get into the Army well, congratulations!  31% is a passing grade, please remember that the pointy part of the gun goes away from you!

“But”, you say again, “I was raised in a meth lab and lived off of rat carcasses and paint chips, how will I ever be able to serve my country?”

Gunship Grey

As a Boatswain's Mate you will see this color a lot.

Well buck up my mouth breathing latrine cleaner, it is possible to get a special waiver to allow you to serve with scores even lower than those.  Rejoice!  You too can be like the young man I served with in the Navy.  Let’s call him Seaman Recruit Smith.

SR Smith was a Boatswain’s Mate.  Boatswain’s are responsible for maintaining the lines, deck and hull of the ship.  Part of this involves using pneumatic chipping hammers and needle guns to blast off old rusty paint off of the decks and hull.  Once the old paint is stripped off you then put primer on the bare metal and repaint it.  Try to remember these steps because you will repeat them roughly sixteen billion times over your career.  That’s a lot of work though so sometimes you just put new paint on over the rust, especially if time is short and an Admiral is coming for an inspection soon.   This paint and, especially the primer, is very toxic stuff.

Forget the lead based paint chips that you were raised on, this paint probably has more heavy metals than the steel hull that you’re painting it on.  Breathing the fumes from the primer kills as many braincells per breath as hard night of binge drinking.   All of these toxic, flammable and dangerous paints and primers are all kept in one central location on the ship: The Paint Locker.

The Paint Locker

The place braincells go to die

Whenever the paint locker is open, someone has to stand watch in it.  I’m not sure exactly why anyone might want to steal/sabotage/huff toxic, flammable paint from the locker but someone has to stand there and make sure that all paint is signed in and out or the terrorists win.  This person is also is responsible for mixing up the toxic epoxy-like mix that is the primer on the ships and gets a face full every time someone needs it.

This was the prime job for SR Smith.  SR Smith thrived in the paint locker!  He had responsibilities!  He was in charge of all of the paint in the ship!

I guess the guys in charge of the deck division figured that no further damage that could be done to his mind since his remaining functional braincells had already been compressed inside of his head into a small lump with a hard protective shell like cerebellum gobstopper.  He was always in the locker when it was open.  They may have moved his bunk in there at one point, I’m not sure.  After spending a couple of years on board with him, I managed to engage him in conversation one day and found out how he was able to get into the service.

Try to cover your amazement, but he had a waiver for his ASVAB score.  His combined AFQT score was… 13.  This makes him marginally more sentient than the paint that he so lovingly tended to.  He might even have passed the Touring test.

I have a sign!

MMMM... Toasty! Like my brain!

So next Veteran’s Day just remember, not everyone who has served in the armed forces was doing it out of a sense of nobility and duty to God and Country.  A lot of them joined because they really didn’t have any other options.

SR Smith, wherever you are, I hope that you stayed in for 20 years and retired with a nice fat retirement and disability check for the physical and mental damage you suffered sustained while serving your country.  You will no doubt need that income to help support you in your new career as a Quiznos sign holder.

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What the hell THIS all about, anyway?

To be honest, I don’t really know.

There’s been a feeling of “over connectedness” in my life and this site is an attempt to say, “F’ all that” and let me drop the filters and BS that I usually have up.  Whenever I go on Twitter or Facebook or my family blog, sure, I can share “OMG I JUST POOPED! LOL!” which is very “OMG LIKE!” but I can’t really say things like, “I was looking at some porn the other day and this guy reached up and fisted this chick while she was cooking a meal and she got this really weird look on her face.  I’m pretty sure that she thought she was going to be on some sort of local access cable cooking show right up until the point where this guy wearing the cheap rolex knockoff turned her into a slut muppet.”

Topics here I expect to range from politics to video games to sex and whatever other random crap my brain is feeling constipated by.

If by some strange chance one of my friends or family members stumbles across this blog some day and connects the dots to say “Holy crap, I’m going to KILL HIM for saying that!”, allow me to just say this:

“I am so, very, VERY sorry.”

EDIT: Moved this to the helpful about page.