PJ Lifestyle

PJM Lifestyle

Wonder Woman Loses Director: Was She Hired for the Wrong Reasons?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

Not long after it was announced that Warner Bros. and DC Comics would be producing a Wonder Woman feature film starring Gal Gadot in the title role, the studio made clear their intention to hire a female director for the project. In November, they secured Michelle MacLaren, whose credits including episodes of Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Better Call Saul.

Now, MacLaren has departed the project over “creative differences.” AMC Movie News editor-and-chief John Campea expresses his concern in the above clip.

Adding to his observations: was MacLaren hired first and foremost because of her gender? Could these “creative differences” have been avoided had the creative vision taken precedence from day one?

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Forget Small Wars! Pentagon Invading Entire Internet

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 - by James Jay Carafano

DARPA, the military home for mad scientists, doesn’t think humans can think big enough for future wars. The agency is building a machine that can process 2.5 quintillion bytes (that’s 2.5 followed by 18 zeroes) and predict the future. FYI: that’s how much information is created each day—about what would fit on 57.5 billion iPads.

The science shop famous for “out-there” projects (like building a real-life Terminator) has tried grappling “big data” before. Congress shut down the controversial Total Information Awareness (TIA) Project.

DARPA’s latest lab experiment raises all kinds of questions. Is it possible? Will the project (like TIA) get derailed over privacy problems? Does the Pentagon have any choice?

How else is it going to stay ahead in the information war?  If the military can’t out-compete enemies in cyberspace, it will lose wars — and there will be no freedom left to protect.

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What’s the Best New York Movie?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 - by Robert Wargas

I just learned by accident that the actor Paul Sorvino turned 76 on April 13. You’ll recall that Mr. Sorvino played the role of the mob boss “Paulie” in Goodfellas, the classic New York gangster movie released in 1990. Seeing this news, and reflecting on the 25th birthday of Goodfellas itself, I have to ask myself: Is Goodfellas the greatest New York movie ever made?

I will doubtless get pushback on this for all kinds of good reasons. Maybe you think the best New York movie is Taxi Driver, or When Harry Met Sally, or The French Connection. Those are all fine choices, to be sure. Or maybe you don’t think there is such thing as “the best New York movie.” I admit the question presupposes its own importance.

But I bring it up because casual conversation is full of such unanswerable questions as “what’s your favorite movie?” In fact, I was asked this recently… twice. I always find myself answering Goodfellas. It has become a reflex. I generally trust my reflexes.

Maybe it’s because I’m from New York and half Italian, and despite the fact that my Italian heritage includes no mob connections, I can still see flickers of my past in the way the characters talk, act, and eat. How many people’s favorite movies are merely those which remind them of their childhoods?

In any case, there are fewer movies with better dialogue than Goodfellas. (Perhaps The Last Boy Scout?) And New York retains a certain mythical quality for everyone, including those who hail from its streets. It’s a city simultaneously full of immense beauty and ugliness. What better way to represent this duality than the mob, which is itself a bizarre combination of opulence and violence?

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This 5th Grade Singapore Math Problem Has Some Experts Stumped. Can You Solve It?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

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This problem from the Singapore Math series was posted on Facebook by Singapore TV personality Kenneth Kong. He wrote, “This question causes a debate with my wife …. and its a P5 question.” The Singapore Math curriculum is used by the country of Singapore with enormous success (their students are usually ranked at or near the top in international rankings). P5 is roughly the equivalent of 5th grade math in the U.S., but this question is actually from the recent Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad, which is given to the top 40% of students in the country.

So, are you smarter than a 5th grade Singapore Math Olympiad student? (You can find the answer here.)

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How Is This Not Kidnapping? ‘Free-Range Children’ Picked Up by Cops Again

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard
Photo Credit:  Scott Davidson -  Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Scott Davidson – Wikimedia Commons

From WNEW in Washington:

The Montgomery County parents who let their children walk around their Silver Spring neighborhood alone are being investigated again after authorities found the two kids at a park on Sunday.

Police say officers responded to a call to check on children without an adult at a Silver Spring park Sunday afternoon and took the children to Child Protective Services.

Meanwhile, the children’s mother, Danielle Meitiv, says they began searching for her 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, who were expected home at 6 p.m. She says they didn’t learn where the children were until 8 p.m.

The children were eventually returned to their parents, but not until 10:30 p.m. that night. Their mother wrote this on her Facebook page:

The police coerced our children into the back of a patrol car, telling them they would drive them home. They kept the kids trapped there for three hours, without notifying us, before dropping them at the Crisis Center, and holding them there without dinner for another two and a half hours. We finally got home at 11pm and the kids slept in our room because we were all exhausted and terrified.

Despite the fact that violent crime — including crime against children — has been declining for decades, hysterical, sensationalized media coverage in the 24-hour news cycle makes it seem like every community is a crime-infested ghetto with hundreds of predators roaming the streets looking for unsupervised children to rape, kidnap, and murder. Parents who reject the false “danger everywhere!” narrative and allow their children to walk down the street or play in the park without a parent hovering nearby are judged as neglectful. What used to be considered normal parenting — letting kids play outside without supervision — is now cause for removal of children from the home.

Here’s the problem: Parents like the Meitivs, who reject helicopter parenting and allow their children a little more freedom, are taking a different kind of risk. While statistically their children are going to return home from the park unmolested by murderers and rapists, nothing can protect them from the busybodies who call the police to report an unaccompanied child and the resulting interactions with police and county social workers who are going to be looking for reasons to teach these parents a lesson about their “free-range” parenting style.

When we were homeschooling, we were advised to never let the “authorities” into our home without a warrant. If the police or social workers ever showed up at our door (say as the result of a bogus complaint from a busybody neighbor) we should allow them to have a glimpse of the kids so they could see that they were alive and not in any obvious distress, but unless the authorities had a warrant, they should not be permitted to come into our home and should never, ever be allowed to talk to our children. While it may sound a little extreme and possibly paranoid, the advice came at a time when homeschooling was still viewed as a fringe movement and parents were being dragged into court on truancy charges — or worse — because they chose to remove their children from public school. Part of the advice was to always be polite and never confrontational. We were warned that county social workers had a great deal of power and could destroy a family that didn’t cooperate with their edicts. “You don’t want to go there,” we were told.

The thought that social workers can pluck a child out of his home for not attending government schools or that police can grab a child off the street for the crime of playing in a park without a parent is truly astounding — and terrifying. Once a child falls down that rabbit hole of the child welfare system, his life will never be the same. It could be days, weeks — even months — before he returns home and in the meantime, he will be subjected to terrifying interviews, rides in police cars, and being moved around from place to place while the authorities investigate every nook and cranny of his parents’ lives to determine whether they’re more qualified to raise their own child than the state.

Parents need to think long and hard before they challenge government authority with their children. You may be able to hire a good lawyer and prevail in the end — and you may be absolutely, completely morally right in your parental decisions — but at what cost? It’s a backwards system where the “authorities” have all the power at the front end. The children are held as little hostages until the parents agree to attend state-approved parenting classes or they promise to be helicopter parents who never again let their little darlings out of their sight.

It’s an ingenious way to keep you in line, isn’t it?

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Should Christians & Jews Fear a Muslim Majority?

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

Should this projected demographic shift worry non-Muslims?

Some controversial research suggests that an increase in the percentage of the Muslim population in a country correlates to increasingly aggressive rights-violating behavior from that population. Taken at face value, the numbers present a concern.

However, for Christians and Jews in particular, it would help to remember that minority status does not necessarily translate to domination. The early church was a minority from its conception and remained so for centuries.

Plus, when Christians look at their shared heritage with the Jews, scripture demonstrates that God reveals his sovereignty most dramatically when His people appear to be on the ropes. If a time of persecution approaches, we would do well to retain our faith – not in birthrates and conversions – but in God alone.

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Is This Book Really ‘the Best Account of the Whole of the Human Experience’?

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Dave Swindle

To my brother Jeremy,

I know I’ve already sent too many book titles to start sorting through and deciding what you like and what you don’t. But now here’s another to add to the pile. I’m going to try to grab this at the library this afternoon:

If you could have dinner with any three historians (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?

William H. McNeill, the world historian (born 1917): because he has the largest vision of the human condition. Bernard Lewis, the Middle East historian (born 1916): because he knows best the region I study. Richard Pipes, the Russian historian (born 1923): because I have known and learned from him all my life.

What books are you reading now?

Pierre van Paassen, Days of Our Years (1939) and Rodney Stark, How the West Won (2014).

What is your favorite history book?

McNeill’s The Rise of the West (1963), the best account of the whole of the human experience.​

I haven’t read any McNeill yet, but I’m very inclined to dig in because Pipes is one of the historians who has influenced me the most. His focus is the Middle East, but I’d encourage you to start first with his book on conspiracy theories and their accompanying ideology, Conspiracism. You’d probably find that the most interesting and applicable to your explorations in popular culture. Conspiracy themes have often been popularized throughout movies and TV and Pipes’ book can be very helpful for picking up on some of the more obscure ones.

Best wishes, bro, thanks for your great, fun writing,

Dave

P.S. A discussion prompt and challenge for all of PJ Lifestyle and Liberty Island’s contributors: if you could pick 10 history books for every American to read what would they be? If every American family was provided by the federal government with the 10 best books to understand America and Western Civilization what would they be in your estimation? (Top 5? Or a top 20?)

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When Salon Went Hunting for Christian Terrorists…

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Robert Spencer

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Ever heard of the Army of God? Or Concerned Christians? As far as Salon and other leftist media outlets are concerned, they’re just as lethal as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda – and the only reason why you haven’t heard of them but have heard of the Islamic terror groups is because of the mainstream media’s deeply ingrained “Islamophobia.”

If this sounds absurd, it’s only because it is. The mainstream media, especially organs like Salon that are even more leftist than the others, are always avid to exonerate Islam and establish the claim that Christianity is just as likely to incite its adherents to violence as Islam is. To try to do this, they have to resort to increasingly desperate stratagems, in an effort to convince you that these nefarious Christian terrorists are all over the place, and you would know that, except for the evil right-wing media’s constant Islamophobic ranting. So it is with Alex Henderson’s “6 modern-day Christian terrorist groups our media conveniently ignores,” which Salon reprinted from Alertnet on last Tuesday.

It’s all about the vile Right, you see: “In the minds of far-right Republicans,” Henderson writes,

Obama committed the ultimate sin by daring to mention that Christianity has a dark side and citing the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition as two examples from the distant past. Obama wasn’t attacking Christianity on the whole but rather, was making the point that just as not all Christians can be held responsible for the horrors of the Inquisition, not all Muslims can be blamed for the violent extremism of ISIS (the Islamic State, Iraq and Syria), the Taliban, al-Qaeda or Boko Haram. But Obama certainly didn’t need to look 800 or 900 years in the past to find examples of extreme Christianists committing atrocities. Violent Christianists are a reality in different parts of the world—including the United States—and the fact that the mainstream media don’t give them as much coverage as ISIS or Boko Haram doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.

No group has a monopoly on evil, and certainly Christians have in history committed terrible atrocities in the name of their religion. The difference is that the Christian perpetrators of these atrocities did not and could not justify them by pointing to exhortations to such violence in Christian texts and teachings, while Islamic jihadis can and do justify their actions and make recruits among peaceful Muslims by pointing to Islamic texts and teachings exhorting the believers to be violent.

Salon, nonetheless, is determined to obscure that fact and prop up some “Christian terrorist groups” that Americans ought to be as wary of as they are of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. Yet none of these groups enjoy anything like the broad support among Christians that the Islamic State or al-Qaeda have among Muslims — have 25,000 Christians traveled from all over the world to join the Army of God? Nor does any sect of Christianity teach that Christians have a duty to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers.

What’s more, almost all of the violence listed in Salon as having been committed by these Christian groups took place many years ago, suggesting that these groups are more or less moribund today — which, unfortunately, cannot be said of the Islamic State or al-Qaeda. And even if all these violent acts had actually been committed recently by Bible-quoting Christians with the full approval of numerous Christian clerics and churches (which is not even close to being true), they still don’t add up to anything remotely comparable to the 25,000+ acts of jihad violence that Muslims have committed since 9/11.

Henderson’s first Christian terrorist group is the “Army of God,” which he describes as “a network of violent Christianists that has been active since the early 1980s.” According to Henderson, “the Army of God openly promotes killing abortion providers.” He then lists a handful of these killings and other acts of violence by the Army of God, mostly in the 1990s and none more recent than 2009. Then he adds:

Although primarily an anti-abortion organization, the Army of God also has a history of promoting violence against gays.

No Christian sect teaches that it is right to kill abortionists or gays. And as the Army of God has apparently not killed any since 2009, it seems to have been effectively neutralized.

Henderson’s next Christian terrorist group is “Eastern Lightning, a.k.a. the Church of the Almighty God,” which was “founded in Henan Province, China in 1990.” Henderson informs us that “Eastern Lightning believes that the world is coming to an end, and in the meantime, its duty is to slay as many demons as possible. While most Christianists have an extremely patriarchal viewpoint (much like their Islamist counterparts) and consider women inferior to men, Eastern Lightning believe that Jesus Christ will return to Earth in the form of a Chinese woman.” Despite this oddly feminine emphasis, however,

they are quite capable of violence against women: in May 2014, for example, members of the cult beat a 37-year-old woman named Wu Shuoyan to death in a McDonalds in Zhaoyuan, China when she refused to give them her phone number.

I never heard of this group before, and it sounds very strange: with its Jesus-is-coming-back-as-a-Chinese-woman thing, it is hardly anything close to mainstream Christianity, Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant. Also, Jesus never says anything in the Gospels about beating women to death if they refuse to hand over their phone numbers.

Does Salon really seriously think that this gang of psychopathic thugs is equivalent to an organized international network of dedicated jihadis such as al-Qaeda?

Henderson follows this odd group with the inevitable reference to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the most commonly referenced group by those who try to claim that Christianity is just as likely to incite its adherents to violence as Islam. “The LRA, according to Human Rights Watch,” says Henderson,

has committed thousands of killings and kidnappings—and along the way, its terrorism spread from Uganda to parts of the Congo, the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan. The word “jihadist” is seldom used in connection with the LRA, but in fact, the LRA’s tactics are not unlike those of ISIS or Boko Haram. And the governments Kony hopes to establish in Sub-Saharan Africa would implement a Christianist equivalent of Islamic Sharia law.

In reality, the Lord’s Resistance Army is funded by Sudanese jihadis, and reflects a Christian theology that is held by no Christian sect anywhere — in stark contrast to the undeniable fact that all the mainstream sects of Islam and schools of Islamic jurisprudence teach warfare against and subjugation of unbelievers.

Henderson then introduces us to the “National Liberation Front of Tripura,” which, he says, is “a paramilitary Christianist movement that hopes to secede from India and establish a Christian fundamentalist government in Tripura.” He says this group perpetrates violence against Hindus, but offers no examples more recent than 2003.

Another neutralized group.

Then comes the Phineas Priesthood, which is, if Henderson’s description is accurate, a white supremacist group. Yet no sect of Christianity, Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant, teaches the supremacy of any race.

In fact, Christianity teaches that all people are made in God’s image and are equal in dignity before God. Islam does not.

Salon’s last group of Christian terrorists is the Concerned Christians. “In 1999,” says Henderson, “Israeli officials arrested 14 members of the Concerned Christians in Jerusalem and deported them from Israel because they suspected them of plotting terrorist attacks against Muslims.” After that there was apparently nothing until 2014, “when Adam Everett Livix, a Christianist from Texas, was arrested by Israeli police on suspicion of plotting to blow up Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.” Harming his own case, Henderson adds that

in 2008, Denver’s KUSA-TV (an NBC affiliate) reported that members of the Concerned Citizens had gone into hiding and that Miller [the group’s founder] hadn’t been seen in ten years.

Here again, Christianity doesn’t teach that Christians should blow up the holy places of other religions. It doesn’t teach “slay the non-Christians wherever you find them” (cf. Qur’an 9:5) or fight them “until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.” (Qur’an 9:29) It doesn’t teach that non-Christians are “the most vile of created beings” (Qur’an 98:6).

All of the groups Henderson describes are eccentric, marginal sects, with nothing remotely comparable to the following that the Islamic State and al-Qaeda have among Muslims. Accordingly, there is no real equivalence between them and jihad groups. Probably even Salon knows that. But it continues to do all it can to try to ensure that you don’t.

*****

image illustration via shutterstock /  

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The Case Against Freedom, Part IV: You Didn’t Build That

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

Robert Kuttner, professor at Brandeis University’s Heller School and senior fellow of the think tank Demos, believes that libertarians suffer from a delusion. He claims that the market is incompetent to price certain problems, and must be tightly controlled by government to prevent excess and abuse.

In a piece written for The American Prospect, where he serves as co-founder and co-editor, Kuttner submits examples which he believes demonstrate market failure. We rebutted his analysis in parts one and two of this series. Unsurprisingly, Kuttner’s assertions arise from a Marxist worldview wherein natural disparities in both wealth and knowledge require government activism to equalize “power.” We explored a couple of the fatal flaws of that perspective in part three.

Now we turn from Kuttner’s critique of the market to his reverence for government. Where the market fails, Kuttner argues, government boasts great accomplishments:

Government can invent things that markets never would have imagined. Apple has created wonders, but it has piggybacked on government investment in advanced semiconductors and the Internet. America’s biotech industry’s success was reliant on massive government investment in the Human Genome Project and other basic research. Later in the special report in the magazine’s Winter issue, Fred Block’s piece describes the indispensable government role in innovation. Commercial broadcasters were disinvesting in radio as a serious medium of news, public affairs, culture, and humor, when along came public radio, partly underwritten by government and partly by listener-subscribers. NPR demonstrated that ingenious and high-quality noncommercial programming could attract an audience that for-profit companies did not know was there.

This echoes the sentiment of a government-adoring MSNBC promo featuring Rachel Maddow at the Hover Dam, claiming the private sector could never build it. Perhaps, but that hardly stands as justification for the means by which it was built.

The pyramids may never have been built without slaves. That doesn’t justify slavery. Nor do modern monuments to “the public good” or “national greatness” justify the theft utilized to construct them. That’s the best argument against Kuttner’s point, the moral argument. A thief doesn’t get to cite “the good” he did with stolen money as a justification for stealing.

Beyond that, we ought to question the value of these so-called public goods. If indeed, as Maddow asserts, the private sector never would have built the Hoover Dam, then perhaps the Hoover Dam should never have been built.

When we say that the private sector “can’t” do something, we’re really saying that it won’t.

We recognize, in other words, that the public good in question has insufficient value to warrant private investment. More to the point, it does not adequately serve those who pay for it.

Therefore, when we claim government must produce some good which the market “can’t,” we’re really saying that people should be forced to pay for something which does not serve them. There’s no getting around this point. Statists like Kuttner don’t even try. Instead, they argue that those stolen from to produce public goods deserve to be victimized on account of their “privilege.” The whole point of public goods is to benefit those who don’t pay for them at the expense of those who do.

The NPR example demonstrates this redistributive motive. Kuttner claims that the public radio audience eluded private sector investors. That’s an odd way of looking at the interaction. Is it really any surprise that an audience exists for free stuff? If investors were willing to throw their money away on a private venture that looked like public broadcasting, there would undoubtedly be an audience for it. But that audience wouldn’t be sufficient to make the venture commercially successful. In that light, what Kuttner is actually saying is that the NPR audience benefits from the theft integral to NPR’s production. Again, this fails as a moral justification.

It’s the height of arrogance to assume that technological developments like the internet or scientific research would not occur without government.

We have no way of measuring what hasn’t happened as a result of government interference in the market, no way to know the precise opportunity cost of resources seized, productivity displaced, or innovation prohibited. Even so, we can stand on the certainty of human nature and economic law, which suggests that people do not die of atrophy without government prodding them to action. Populations only starve when enslaved.

Despite its many immoral excesses, government retains a legitimate function. Kuttner comes close to articulating that role:

…The market itself is a creature of government. As Karl Polanyi famously wrote in a seeming oxymoron, “laissez-faire was planned.” Markets could not exist without states defining the terms of property ownership and commerce, creating money, enforcing contracts, protecting patents and trademarks, and providing basic public institutions. A Robinson Crusoe world never existed. So the real issue is not whether government “intrudes” on the market—the capitalist system is impossible without government. The practical question is whose interests the state serves.

The proper answer to that practical question is: the individual.

Government exists to protect individual rights. It does so by wielding a monopoly on force in retaliation against those who initiate force, applying due process according to objective law.

Kuttner postures as if government’s role in the market is some sort of revelation to libertarians. But this is a strawman. No one but the most ardent anarchists believe government has no role to play in the market. Indeed, a market cannot truly exist without government to ensure that individual rights are preserved and transactions occur by consent rather than coercion or fraud. Of course, by definition, that also precludes government from violating rights. You can’t rationally claim, as Kuttner attempts to, that government must violate rights to “protect” the market.

Next time, we’ll get into Kuttner’s naked contempt for freedom as such. The only thing more stunning than his wholesale rejection of self-ownership is the extent to which our culture embraces his anti-libertarian worldview.

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65-Year-Old Mom Pregnant with Quadruplets: Amazingly Beautiful or Extremely Egotistical?

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

A 65-year-old German lady has told German newspaper Bild that she’s expecting quadruplets. This news story is the talk of the day in Europe. There are those who believe it’s a reason to celebrate, while others have a slightly different opinion. See, for instance, this tweet from a Dutch Twitter user:

Translation:

“A women of 65 years old pregnant with quadruplets. This is loathsome. Incredibly egotistical.”

Her argument is that the mother is a) too old to take care of one new baby let alone four, and b) that she’s basically nearing the end of her life, thereby making it very likely that her children will lose their mother at a very young age.

As far as I’m concerned, this is nothing to be ashamed of, let alone to find “loathsome.” People are healthier than ever before and become older because of it. If this German lady wants to have seventeen kids, why shouldn’t she? She could live on for another 30 or even 40 years. Should she, then, be deprived of family bliss just because some folks consider her to be “too old”? What nonsense.

I want five children myself; I can’t imagine anything more fulfilling than a big, happy family. Just watch this video and tell me this isn’t exactly what you want:

If I want that for myself, I’m not going to deprive another of having that feeling of happiness either — no matter what her age.

What do you think? Is the soon-to-be-mother of quadruplets extremely egotistical, or is this actually a beautiful, heartwarming story?

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Behold ‘Cinnamon Bun Mode’: 3 Pics Reveal Our Siberian Husky’s Overwhelming Cuteness

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Dave Swindle

The #SiberianHusky is in "Cinnamon Bun Mode"

A photo posted by Thoth, Ma'at & Husky Familiar (@thothandmaatmarried) on

We love her so much. #Maura #SiberianHusky #cute #dogstagram #dogsleeping

A photo posted by Thoth, Ma'at & Husky Familiar (@thothandmaatmarried) on

We call this "cinnamon bun mode." #siberianhusky #cute #dog #maura

A photo posted by Thoth, Ma'at & Husky Familiar (@thothandmaatmarried) on

Related: perhaps a hairstyle due for a comeback?

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Would You Kill Hitler if You Had a Time Machine?

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Robert Wargas

From The Independent:

It is a common ethical dilemma set by philosophy professors – is it right to kill someone to prevent further deaths?

According to scientists the answer differs depending on your gender, with women less likely to commit murder because they have a stronger aversion to harmful action.

Researchers from the US, Germany and Canada analysed data that asked 6,100 people a range moral questions, including whether they would kill a young Adolf Hitler to stop the Second World War.

While men and women both calculated the consequences of their decision and computed how many lives might be saved, females found it harder to commit murder and were more likely to let Hitler live.

Of course there are logistical problems with this, as in any hypothetical time-travel scenario. Would this time machine drop you off armed with a suppressed pistol in Hitler’s bedroom while he slept, or would you simply be dumped onto Unter den Linden in broad daylight with nothing but a cheap folding knife? It says “kill a young Adolf Hitler,” but what fun would that be? Most people would want to kill the 1930s version—before the Holocaust, of course, but not so long before it that he’s not recognizable as the scummy dictator on the cusp of a genocide. Seeing him in full uniform and armband is a potent motivator.

Anyway, who might have guessed that men and women were different? It’s almost as though there’s some biological reason men and women are not exactly the same.

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Are Labradors The Cutest Dogs In The World?

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

Last week, I wrote a short piece about Kelpies, an Australian dog breed that’s truly magnificent. Today I’d like to draw your attention to the breed I love above all others: labradors.

Just look at him. Isn’t this the sweetest dog ever?

If that doesn’t warm your heart, I’m afraid you just don’t have one.

I first fell in love with labradors when my parents brought home a pup when I was a teenager. His name was Duco, and he quickly became my best friend. Sadly, he died from cancer four years ago. The love Duco showed was truly overwhelming and I still miss him – every single day.

Here he is with my mother:

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And here he is with me:

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It’s amazing, but after all these years I still feel the loss of perhaps the best friend I’ve ever had – only The Wife excluded.

So tell me: do you think that labs are the sweetest dogs in the world, or is there an even cuter breed? If so, which one? It’s hard if not impossible to top the sweetness-factor in the image above, isn’t it?

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The 6 Most Shocking Fatalities From the Mortal Kombat Franchise

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Lord Reptile

1. Reptile Tongue Lash (Mortal Kombat 3)

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THE REPTILE’S INFAMOUS HEAD-EATING FATALITY WAS TAKEN TO NEW EXTREMES IN THE THIRD INSTALLMENT OF MORTAL KOMBAT. WHY WOULD THE REPTILE STOP AT THE HEAD WHEN HE CAN EAT YOUR TORSO AND PELVIS AND LEGS?

THE REPTILE WILL EAT ALL KOMBATANTS IN THE NEXT TOURNAMENT.

 

2. Goro Headcrush into Ribcage (Mortal Kombat X)

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THE FUTURE IS LOOKING BRIGHT FOR MORTAL KOMBAT. SOME OF THE MOST BIZARRE AND OVER-THE TOP-FATALITIES WILL APPEAR IN TOURNAMENT X, AND GORO’S HILARIOUS SKULL-CRUSHING FATALITY IS ONE OF THE FINEST AND MOST BRUTAL EVER CONCEIVED.

THE LIZARD MASTER CANNOT WAIT TO CRUSH SKULLS WITH THIS HALF-DRAGON, HALF- BEAST MONSTROSITY.

 

3. Sub-Zero Deep Freeze Fatality (Mortal Kombat II)

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“So he freezes this guy, right? And then he explodes! I could see his guts and everything. Almost lost my lunch.”

KANO SAID IT BEST. DISGUSTING.

 

4. Sheeva Stripped Down (Mortal Kombat 9)

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A MULTITUDE OF SKIN-RIPPING FATALITIES HAVE SURFACED IN MK TOURNAMENTS ACROSS MANY GENERATIONS BUT SHEEVA’S IN MK9 IS BY FAR THE MOST BRUTAL.

 

5. Quan-Chi Leg Rip (Mortal Kombat 4)

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THOUGH LACKING IN EXCESSIVE GORE, QUAN-CHI’S LEG RIP FATALITY WAS A BRIGHT SPOT IN THE OTHERWISE LACKLUSTER MK4.

IT IS THE MOST BRUTAL MK4 FATALITY IN THAT IT IMPLIES THAT THE PUNISHMENT NEVER ENDS.

HOW LONG WILL QUAN-CHI SMASH YOUR CORPSE WITH YOUR OWN LEG?

QUAN-CHI WILL ENSURE THAT NO CORPSE WILL GO UNBEATEN.

 

6. Kung Lao Hat Trick (Mortal Kombat 9)

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THE HAT TRICK FATALITY WAS ONE OF THE FEW CENSORED FATALITIES IN MKII AS IT WAS BY FAR THE MOST GRAPHIC IN THE ENTIRE GAME. MK9 NOT ONLY BROUGHT BACK THIS FATALITY BUT COMBINED IT WITH THE ODDJOB INSPIRED HAT TOSS FOR THE MOST BRUTAL KUNG LAO FATALITY EVER SEEN.

Editor’s Note: What new horrors will be coming next week from Lord Reptile and the Swindle Bros.? Some of the most violent, controversial, and provocative ever released. Stay tuned and send your video game list suggestions to TheSwindleBros AT yahoo.com or challenge them to battle on Twitter here and here.

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Why I Am a Feminist

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Roughly 30 million women have been aborted in America since 1973. The number of female babies aborted strictly because of their gender is unknown, but given the legalized practice of gendercide in China alone, that number is also in the millions. There is no greater feminist cause than the defense of the least among us.

It was a feminist who recognized that “every political good carried to the extreme must be productive of evil.” While one subset of the feminist world has replaced independence with entitlement, many other feminists are busying themselves advocating for the rights of underrepresented and maligned women for whom government does more harm than good.

The only women working to confront the ills of popular feminism are feminists. Camille Paglia, Christina Hoff Sommers, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are three of many feminists who buck contemporary trends with facts, all the while advocating for the feminist cause of equality for women across the globe.

Just because the role we play as silent leaders is often a psychological, emotional and spiritual one does not mean we do not deserve a physical voice at the table. Yes, women have achieved the right to vote, to own property, to retain our children in a divorce. In Western society we have crafted our gifts into entrepreneurial leadership roles as well as that of domestic goddesses. But, does this mean we are supposed to say “thank you” and call it a day?

Most of the folks who say they aren’t feminist, or are anti-feminist tend to turn feminism into a Battle of the Sexes. Contrary to popular opinion, hatred of men and equality of women are two distinct issues. More often than not, anti-feminists end up defending men over women, reminding the world why feminism became a movement in the first place.

*****

image illustration via wikipedia

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Don’t Take Me Out to the Ballgame?

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by James Jay Carafano

Reports accuse the Mets of cutting its stadium security force by 1/3. Mets officials dispute. “The security of all who enter Citi Field is a top priority,” reads a press release. Maybe, but it’s impossible to find public safety info on the stadium web site.

And, its not just sports, in this post-9/11 world, any public event from college commencements to Taylor Swift concerts raises concerns. The short video above from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing shows how quickly competition turns to chaos.

Major League Baseball’s response? Ordering stadiums to add metal detectors. Fans no doubt noticed longer lines.

Security theater alone won’t protect people against everything from gang-bangers to urban terrorists. Are we now faced with a choice between living in fortress America or staying home?

****

image illustration via here

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How Gun Culture Created America And Defends Us Today

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by David Forsmark

American-Gun

Published after his tragic death, Chris Kyle’s American Gun gives everyone a chance to find out what it would have been like to hang out with the American Sniper, shoot guns and shoot the… breeze.

Kyle picks 10 American firearms that won wars, shaped law enforcement methods and, of course, won the West.  Then he tells stories about them, and the guys who—like him—used them effectively.

But beyond that, the book tells us a lot about Kyle that even his great bio, or the movie made from it, never quite got around to revealing. This is a relaxed Kyle, content with being home, with an easy sense of humor, and a deep, deep respect for the sharpshooters and gunman who came before him, and were the “sheepdogs” of their time.

Taken in order, the guns Kyle chooses also provide a surprisingly good backdrop for a quick overview of American history.

The stories are not all about badass Texas Rangers or Continentals picking off Redcoats, Kyle also takes some telling potshots at military procurement types who stood in the way of soldiers getting the latest weapons technology in the name of saving a few bucks, and at those who don’t get it that American gun culture is what makes American warriors what they are.

As each story unfolds, anyone who has seen American Sniper or any of Kyle’s television interviews, can just imagine him hunching up to a campfire with a beer in one hand, and starting out, “I bet you didn’t know…”

A Penny-Pinching General in Procurement Almost Lost the Civil War

You’ve probably never heard of General James Ripley, but this “backward looking . . . wizard of red tape, delay and obfuscation” probably cost more American lives than any military officer in the history of our nation.

Lincoln had ordered immediate purchase of the Spenser repeating rifle for the Union Army in the spring of 1861.  The Spenser repeater was a huge leap forward in firearm technology, a way for soldiers to fire multiple shots without reloading.

Ripley, believe it or not, thought muskets were good enough for the Army—after all, they cost half as much.

Besides, he reasoned, soldiers armed with these “newfangled gimcracks” would “only waste ammunition with a multi-shot gun.”

So, for nearly a year, to the frustration of the Commander in Chief, a general with powerful friends in Congress kept Union soldiers from weapons that almost certainly would have led to swift victory, no matter how talented the Confederate Generals opposite them.

It’s a lesser-known fact of the battle of Gettysburg that General Custer may have saved the day. Lee had dispatched Jeb Stuart’s cavalry to attack the rear of the Union lines while Pickett charged the front. Today, had Custer not stood firm, Pickett’s Charge would not be considered as historically futile as the Charge of the Light Brigade.

Kyle points out that one reason Custer was successful in repelling Stuart was that his 7th Michigan Wolverines were outfitted with Spenser repeaters who inflicted heavy casualties on Stuart before the somewhat better known “most dramatic, largest man-to-man, horse-to-horse, saber-to-saber galloping cavalry engagement ever fought in the Western Hemisphere” ensued.

So, while “the untalented Mr. Ripley” may have delayed the Spenser’s effect on the Civil War, it still arrived in time, arguably, to save the Union.

I bet you didn’t know that…

 1863-President-Abraham-Lincoln-Test-Fires-The-New-Spencer-Repeating-Rifle.jpg  450×367

Abe Lincoln Was a Gun Buff

Before he ordered the Spenser Repeater for the military, Abraham Lincoln tested it extensively—personally.

Lincoln, Kyle says with admiration, not only loved shooting and using the latest technology, he even once improved a gun he was test firing by whittling an improvised sight.

One can only imagine the New York Times story that would have been written about a meddling President who was pushing “an expensive weapons platform that even the Pentagon says it does not want or need,” had Pinch Sulzberger been publisher at the time.

But, as Kyle points out, even though Lincoln took his familiarity with weapons to a “whole new level,” most American Presidents before him did not panic at the thought of rifles in the hands of citizenry—because it wasn’t an alien concept to them.

Which brings us to another point that you might know but that the modern media sure doesn’t…

 

American Civilians Have Often had Better Guns than the Military

One of the hoariest clichés of the anti-second Amendment crowd goes something like, “When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they were thinking of muskets, not military weapons.”

Well tell that to Redcoat General Simon Fraser, cut down by a young Rebel named Timothy Murphy with his “Kentucky Rifle,” thus depriving General Burgoyne of his best commander at the crucial Battle of Saratoga.

Murphy was not issued his weapon by Congress, unlike the “Brown Bess” carried by British infantry. The British military issue weapon could not begin to match that of the American Long Rifle, even if the marksmanship of the troops had been equal—which it wasn’t.

Not that this never has a downside, Kyle makes passing mention of the infamous North Hollywood bank robbery where outgunned police turned to local gun-store owners so they could match the firepower of the bad guys. Something similar also happened during one of the most famous defeats of American soldiers in history.

Kyle recounts that after the Civil War a penny-pinching military denied American soldiers the latest technology in guns. While civilians understood the need for protecting themselves on the plains and not skimping on their firearms, the Army supposed that muskets re-engineered to fire a cartridge would be sufficient against bows and arrows. (Sound anything like today’s we-don’t-need-the-F-35 argument?)

Unfortunately, enough Winchester and Henry repeaters were on the open market by then, so about 25% of Sitting Bull’s force (that outnumbered Custer in the first place), were better armed than the average member of the United States Cavalry.

Betcha didn’t know that– or that…

 

Sergeant York Did His Best Work with a Pistol

When Michael Moore implied Chris Kyle was a coward, a lot of people (including me) brought up Sergeant Alvin York, the famed sharpshooting Quaker of WWI; probably remembering the iconic image of Gary Cooper in the biopic, licking his thumb and sighting his rifle on a distant target.

While, Kyle says, York was a crack shot who honed his skills with his Kentucky hills friends by having to hit a turkey in the head with the first shot, he “surrounded” the Germans in his famed one-man assault, mostly using his M1911 Colt .45 automatic. (Another reason this may be a surprise to you is that in the movie, York seems to be using a Luger.)

The M1911 Colt is most famous for its roots as a gun designed to knock down the drugged-up Muslim Filipino terrorists called the Moro. It became the standard sidearm for GIs through two World Wars and the favorite of some branches of law enforcement as well.

And over a century later, with few modifications, this gun is still going strong and a version of it is still a preferred weapon for Navy SEALs in their fight against modern Islamist extremists.

 

But wait, there’s more!

So, thrill to stories of Texas Jack Hayes and his sixteen dozen Rangers holding off 300 Comanche with their Colt Peacemakers; bankers and bakers getting their Winchester 73s out and decimating the James Gang; former bootlegger and Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant Leonard A. Funk who takes down a Nazi patrol with his Tommy Gun; Secret Service Agents protecting Harry Truman from Puerto Rican terrorists with their .38 Specials; and MP Leigh Ann Hester who fights off Iraqi insurgents with her trusty M-4 (which is basically an update of the M-16).

American Gun is one of the most enjoyable history books you are likely to pick up. Yes, gun buffs will quibble, either with details or the choice; as I’m sure history professors might debate the significance of some of the weapons and the events Kyle chooses.

But the singular point of view and the distinctive voice of Chris Kyle are as much a central part of the book as the information it contains. Seeing what someone cares about is often more revealing than hearing them talk about themselves.

So, read American Gun and celebrate what Chris Kyle brought to his country — and place him in the pantheon of the men (and women) he celebrates.

Kyle closes the book by saying, “Pick up a pistol, a rifle or a shotgun and you’re handling a piece of American history… an object that connects you to people who fought for their freedom. . .”

You can say the same about this book.

*****

image illustration via Wikipedia

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Is This Led Zeppelin Track the Greatest Rock Song Ever Recorded?

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by Allston

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Book Plug Friday: To Sign Or Not To Sign

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin


devil-contract

Welcome to Book Plug Friday. Gods willing, it will actually come on Friday this week.

Sometime.

This week, we’ve got a guest post from James Young, on his lessons learned from dealing with a “real” publisher.


Every independent author starts writing for their own reasons. An almost universal desire amongst us is to someday be offered a “real contract” from an established publisher or press. Therefore, getting contacted by an editor or agent is often a heady, euphoric experience.  However, after the initial surge of adrenaline, it is often a good idea to apply some calm, logical thought to the situation.  Like a bad marriage, a poor deal is something that may scar an author forever.  In the interest of keeping folks from becoming a cautionary tale, here are an even dozen things to think about before signing a deal:

1.) Anyone with a “take it, or leave it” attitude towards your questions is best avoided.  Not to stretch the aforementioned analogy too much, but remember that entering into a intellectual property agreement is only a few small clicks of the dial below standing in front of Elvis in Vegas in “this could go awesomely bad” potential.  Would it make your more or less suspicious if the person who was trying to woo you always responded with sullen silence or sobbing “Don’t you trust me?!” to basic questions?  That same jaundiced instinct of self-preservation should apply to the press or editor who is wanting you to potentially sign away your rights.

2.) Keep your head on a swivel.  When that really friendly editor from the cool sounding press runs up the “Help Wanted, All Takers” sign on Facebook, Twitter, or your local writers group, understand that this is not normal.  Yes, there’s a chance that you just may be lucky enough to have caught someone in a benevolent mood.  However, if so, they won’t mind waiting (a short time) while you check them out.  On the other hand, if the person gets cagey when you ask who the CEO / Chief Editor is, walk away.  Even if they give you a name, Google that person along with “sued” and see what comes up. In my personal experience, I found out that the head of a certain press (we’ll call them “Perdition, Inc.”) making me an offer had been sued by authors trying to get their rights back.  Yes, she won every time (albeit twice it took appeals), but a little digging showed that the cases involved authors trying to get out of $800-$1000 fees that the press required due to “processing costs.”

3.) BOHICA as a way of life. The aforementioned press and its Chief Editor, in response to the authors’ complaints, claimed both in court and on the Internet that these fees were “the industry standard.”  I prefer to translate the phrase “industry standard” as short hand for, “Well the big guys screw people like this, why can’t we?”  In other words, remember that, yes, it’s painful, annoying, and expensive to do everything yourself. It’s even more excruciating to sign an “industry standard” contract to a press that has sold maybe ~1000 books over 10 titles in the last five years, have them only give you 30% royalties on the dozen or so copies of your book that they sell, then realize that you’re still going to have to do the majority of things yourself.  [BOHICA: “Bend over, here it comes again.” – Charlie]

4.) Use the tools available. Much like the horror movie soundtrack which tells you the serial killer is in the closet or the shark is off the beach (“Why do these people never listen?”), there are sites which can warn you about these presses / bad agreements.  Preditors and Editors,  The Passive Voice, the SFWA’s Writer’s Beware, etc., are just a few of the resources available free of charge for an independent author.  Rather than learning from your own experience, look for the flaming wreckage of others’ misfortune then choose another path.

5.) Be that guy/gal.  Even if a press doesn’t show up on any of these sites and is generally charming when you deal with them, this is no reason not to ask a bunch of questions.  Figure out what the presses marketing plan is.  Inquire as to who some of their other authors are and what these individuals’ Amazon ranks are.  Look at the titles on their website then see where they’re available.  If the answers to your questions are things like “Well that’s proprietary…” or “We don’t know…”, time to move on.  If reviewer after reviewer of the works that the press has published complain about bad formatting, spelling errors, long waits for delivery, etc., that is also a sign it’s time to make like a white tail hearing a branch crack.  Bambi’s father probably got shot because he wanted to give someone the benefit of the doubt, and your work is just as unsold through benign incompetence and good-natured poor performance as it would be due to malevolent, scamming intent.

6.) The Devil told Faust about the interest rates up front.   As part of the quest for information, ask to see a press’ author’s guide up front.  The aforementioned Perdition, Inc.’s author guide had the following phrase:  “If, at any time, you fail to make edits, do not respond to your editor, or do not send in the corrections list, we will assume complete control of the manuscript and proceed forward in the publication process.” Yes, Perdition basically said up front that if I got sideways with an editor, by virtue of my writing agreement they could take my story, change protagonists, setting, dialogue, etc., then still publish it under my name.  When I raised an issue with this language, I was informed that I did not understand the editorial process despite having published four short stories, placed in multiple writing contests, and had my work published in a major academic journal.  In short, they were full of it, and despite the vehemence of their response knew that these were terms that gave all the power to the press / editor.  Like Old Scratch, most folks who don’t have your best interest at heart will reveal their malevolent intentions up front provided you actually read the information they give you.

7.) You are probably not a lawyer.  Even if you are one, remember what your 1L professor said about “fool for a client.”  Even given the fact that most scammers resemble B-movie bad guys and will tell you their entire evil plot, it is worth your while to get legal advice from a professional.  Bluntly, if you cannot afford a lawyer, you probably cannot really afford to enter into a contract.  In Perdition, Inc.’s case, their fees to break out of an agreement were $800-$1000 depending on which of their victims you asked. In addition, small presses have not only made people pay fees to get their intellectual property back, but then turned around and sued these authors for defamation when they took to the internet to complain about their treatment.  Therefore, it is better to pay $2-$500 to have a lawyer look over an agreement up front than $3-4,000 (if you’re lucky) fighting with some scumbag who knows they’re wrong but also realizes that you don’t have the spare funds to face them.

8.) But I thought he/she would change! This is pretty simple—if the person you’re dealing with is treating you like crap, doesn’t return your communications, talks down to you, etc., etc. before you sign, what makes you think they’ll be any different after?  Do not be the starry eyed author who constantly explains away unprofessional behavior, or you’ll be that bitter writer whose book is six months late leaving the fiftieth voice mail.  Plus, remember that the person who is a jerk to you probably does not have an off switch for that behavior.  Most bookstores, local chains, etc. do not buy books from someone who is abrasive, so do not go into business with a press that employs people who fit that description.

9.) Money flows to the author. Always.  When a press says “We charge you $$$ for our operating, printing, etc…”, that translates to “We have no clue how to actually sell books to make money, so we keep surviving on finding schmucks like you.”  The reason you get a lower royalty from a physical press as opposed to Amazon Kindle’s 70% is because said press should be paying for things like paper, printing presses, binding, cover artists, etc..  Anyone who expects the author to pitch in is either confused or trying to scam you.  Either way, not your problem.

10.) We are the Rabid Badgers.  Our Clan is strong, and full of wisdom. Regardless of what the group calls itself, there are many competent gatherings of independent authors out there.  Similarly, several authors, many of them who are successful enough to survive on their work full time, are willing to impart wisdom and point out pratfalls to the less experienced.  As long as you remember that these aren’t folks whose minds you’re trying to change on the pressing issues of the day (i.e., minimal politics, religion, sports, etc.), being part of an online writer’s group can be worth every bit of effort you put into the interactions.

11.) You are a special snowflake.  Fate’s blowtorch melts you all the same.  Keep in mind that writing is a business and there a literally millions attempting it.  Yes, there are people who do well enough to stop their day jobs. There are also people who get killed by lightning, bitten by sharks, and have their brakes fail at the most inopportune time.  In other words, even if you get an offer from a reputable press / publishing house, don’t assume that Lady Luck has cast her favorable gaze upon you.  It is just as likely that said deity is actually Loki, with Hera leaning happily on his shoulder, telling the gathered ranks of Olympus and Asgard, “Hey guys, watch what I do to this mortal…”.  Keep writing, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket no matter how sweet your current deal is.

12.) You can do bad on your own, you don’t need help.  Above all else, remember that you, your work, and your desire to succeed all have intrinsic worth.  Even if you are not selling well, it is better to be in the doldrums on your own then having a First Class ticket with Titanic Press, LLC.  While under no illusions that I have had several lucky bounces, I can proudly proclaim that after turning down Perdition Press, I still managed to singlehandedly outsell their entire catalog.  Sometimes the best deals are the way you walk away from.

James Young is an independent author hailing from the Midwest.  His first full novel, An Unproven Concept, has sold over 2,300 copies since publication in December 2013.  His alternate history novel, Acts of War, was released on November 11 of this year. 


Remember, tell all your writer friends to send the AUTHOR, TITLE, a SHORT BLURB, and an AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK to book.plug.friday@gmail.com to be plugged here on PJ Media.

It really helps if you don’t bother with HTML magic at all, because we just have to parse it apart to put it into the template. The ideal submission is like

TITLE

My Book

AUTHOR

My name as it's on the book cover.

AMAZON LINK

http://www.amazon.com/My-Book-By-Me/dp/B00ABCDEFG/

BLURB

no more than about 100 words.


cover

Re-Wired
By Greg Dragon

Robotics student Brad Barkley has created the perfect woman. The only problem is she’s an android, and her creator realizes too late he may have made her too perfect. After Brad’s ultimate failure with women nearly consumes him, he discovers Tricia, his android, may be able to rescue him from a life of loneliness, if he and the human race are willing to pay the price.


cover

Portals of Infinity, Book Four: The Sea of Grass
By John Van Stry

With no otherworld tasks to run for Fel, Will has been able to spend the last year helping Rachel with her now larger kingdom. Barassa has been set back, but it’s only a matter of time until they’re at odds again.

Fel does have things for Will to do, even if they are the more mundane jobs that a Champion must perform. Escorting missionaries isn’t the most exciting or glamorous job, but at least the people are different, interesting, and friendly, and some perhaps a little too friendly. But that’s never gotten him in trouble before, right?


cover

Manx Prize
By Laura Montgomery

When Charlotte Fisher was just thirteen, orbital debris took large-scale human casualties from an orbiting tourist habitat. Haunted by visions of destruction and her father’s anguish, as a young engineer Charlotte determines to win a prize offered for the first successful de-orbiting of space junk. Her employer backs her until a piece of debris kills two people, and she and her team are spun off. With limited resources, a finite budget and the unwanted gift of a lawyer who, regardless of his appeal, she doesn’t need, she must face the challenge of her life.


cover

LEAVE ME COLD
By Nicci Rae

When a rock star produces a gun and begins firing into his audience of adoring fans it’s up to Detective Corinne Drew to find out why …………and time is running out! A quirky and fast paced thriller, available from Amazon Kindle,


cover

Nemo’s World: The Substrate Wars 2
By Jeb Kinnison

In this thrilling sequel to 2014¹s “Red Queen”, the student rebels have escaped Earth, but the US and Chinese governments continue to try to copy their discovery of quantum gateways to find them and destroy the threat they represent to security interests. The rebels hold off Earth government attacks and continue to develop the new technology, which will change life for everyone and open a million habitable planets for colonization.

“Nemo¹s World” continues the cat-and-mouse game with the governments of the world as young rebels learn to use the weapon that will free the world, and unlock the universe for mankind. If they live!

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6 of History’s Biggest Military Failures Memorialized on Film

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by James Jay Carafano

Spring is the time “when kings go off to war.” It’s in the Book! Twice!! (2 Samuel 11:1 and Chronicles 20:1.)

Springtime therefore has seen more than its fair share of military defeats. On April 1, 1865, for example, General George Pickett suffered a defeat far worse than “Pickett’s Charge” at Gettysburg. His troops were cut off and crushed at the Battle of Five Forks, Va. The loss of Pickett’s forces pretty much ended Confederate hopes of defending Richmond. The Confederacy surrendered just eight days later.

America has seen more than a few military setbacks of late. The administration’s latest reversal came this month, when it had to hastily pull our special operations forces from Yemen.

Americans prefer not to dwell on defeats, but they are worth pondering. Sometimes the worst setbacks can be the best teachers. Here, courtesy of Hollywood, are six cinematic accounts of thumping failures that are worth revisiting.

 

6. Khartoum (1966)

You think Obama has an Islamist insurgency problem? In 1883, the “Mahdi” leads a revolt that overruns much of the Sudan. The British government dispatches Major General Charles George Gordon (Charlton Heston) to Khartoum. Gordon decides to defend the city. It doesn’t end well for the Brits: the garrison is slaughtered, 4,000 civilians are put to the sword and the general loses his head (literally). Gordon hoped that if he refused to retreat, the British would send reinforcements to crush the Mahdi. They didn’t.

The lesson: Hope is not a strategy.

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The 5 Most Hardcore Ninja Video Games

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by Lord Reptile
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1. Ninja Gaiden II (Nintendo Entertainment System)

NINJA GAIDEN II MAKES CONTRA FOR THE NES LOOK LIKE TIGGER’S HONEY HUNT BY COMPARISON. IT IS THE FINEST NINJA GAME EVER CRAFTED, WITH ITS ANIME CUTSCENES SERVING AS A REWARD FOR EVEN THE MOST GRUELING STAGES.

RYU HAYABUSA CAN COPY HIMSELF AS MANY TIMES AS NEED BE, BUT ONLY A NINJA DEMIGOD WILL MAKE IT PAST ACT 2 WITHOUT A GAME GENIE.

2. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master (Sega Genesis)

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EVERY SHINOBI GAME IS WELL KNOWN FOR ITS EXTREME DIFFICULTY AND DEADLY NINJA OPPONENTS, BUT SHINOBI III GOES OVER THE TOP WITH NINJAS IN MOBILE SUITS.

IF YOU CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO DEFEAT THE ARMORED SAMURAI WARRIORS YOU WILL NOT STAND A GHOST OF A CHANCE AGAINST ZEON’S MOBILE SUIT NINJA SQUAD.

3. Conquest of the Crystal Palace (NES)

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DON’T LET CONQUEST OF THE CRYSTAL PALACE’S CUTESY ANIME LOOKS FOOL YOU. IT TOOK THE REPTILE SEVERAL HOURS TO OVERTAKE THE FIRST MOUNTAIN LEVEL EVEN IN HIS STRONGEST FORM. THIS GAME IS AS HARD AS GHOSTS AND GOBLINS COMBINED WITH CONTRA.

IT IS NOT RECCOMENDED FOR THOSE WHO DISLIKE ENDLESS, REPETITIVE NINJA DEATH.

4. Bushido Blade (Playstation 1)

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BUSHIDO BLADE COMES OUT ON TOP AS THE MOST INTENSE NINJA, WEAPONS-BASED FIGHTING GAME BECAUSE OF SLASH MODE, WHERE THE GOAL IS TO KILL 100 OF THE DEADLIEST NINJAS TO EVER TRAIN IN THE ART OF BUSHIDO.

THE VS MODE PITS A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT NINJAS AGAINST ONE ANOTHER IN INSTANT DEATH SAMURAI SWORD COMBAT.

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)

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AH YES, THE NINJA TURTLES.

THE LIZARD MASTER HAS PLAYED THE SO-CALLED NINJA TURTLES ARCADE GAMES. THESE PATHETIC — YET FUN — BABY GAMES POSED NO CHALLENGE TO THE REPTILE EVEN IN HIS SALAMANDER FORM.

HOWEVER, THE FIRST TURTLES GAME ON THE NES IS SO DIFFICULT THAT THE REPTILE COULD NOT DEFEAT THE TURTLE VAN LEVELS EVEN IN HIS FINAL REPTILIAN-CHIMPANZEE FORM.

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The 8 Worst Steven Spielberg Films

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by Kyle Smith

8. The Terminal (2004)

While certainly well-intentioned, and endearing on a certain level, this Tom Hanks comedy about a baffled immigrant who is forced to live at JFK Airport because of political turmoil that dissolved his native country while he was en route was thin, bland, and obvious. Spielberg’s point about America being a wonderland and a melting pot isn’t wrong, but he makes it in a saccharine — bordering on cloying — way.

 

7. Empire of the Sun (1987)

Again: not a horrible movie but still a major disappointment. Loose, meandering, and soporific, this early Christian Bale film combined several of Spielberg’s favorite themes (WW II, childhood, airplanes) in a stiff, would-be epic about a British boy separated from his parents in Shanghai after the Japanese invade. Atmosphere and the exotic setting supersede all else as young Jim (played by a 12-year-old Bale) learns to get along at an internment camp where a rascally American (John Malkovich) teaches him the ropes.

 

6. Lincoln (2012)

Daniel Day Lewis’s strangely captivating performance fails to rescue the film from feeling airless and procedural. Veering from highly improbable and dramatically clunky (would ordinary soldiers from the battlefield really chat so familiarly, and dismissively, with the commander-in-chief, as they do at the start of the film?) to shouty (Tommy Lee Jones’s performance), this snail-paced work was like watching 50 pages of the Congressional Record come to life.

 

5. 1941 (1979)

Spielberg’s first flop, a huge money loser that was meant to be Universal’s big Christmas entry for 1979, had an amusing premise (an overestimation of Japanese military capabilities that led to fears that bombings would reach all the way to the American mainland). But this loud, wearying, only intermittently funny film starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as troops sent into a tizzy by the attack on Pearl Harbor fell awkwardly between action spectacle and slapstick comedy. The goal seemingly was to spend as much money as possible rather than to tell a coherent story.

 

4. The Color Purple (1985)

A shameless piece of weepy, four-handkerchief Oscar-mongering, this period piece that takes place over 40 years in Georgia was a transparent attempt for Spielberg to be taken seriously. Instead of earning that, he wallowed in cliches about abusive black men and passive but enduring black women. Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey made their mark, though.

 

3. Amistad (1997)

Anthony Hopkins’ off-putting performance as John Qunicy Adams is the least of the film’s problems. Another lumbering historical message picture, this time about a slave uprising aboard a ship that landed near New Haven, Connecticut, in 1839 and resulted in murder trials for the slaves. The movie could have been trimmed by an hour.

The legal case was fascinating, and the moral stakes could hardly have been higher, but Spielberg bludgeons all the life out of the case and practically shouts all of his points.

Spielberg’s preachy side led him to make poor use of Morgan Freeman and Matthew McConaughey (though not of Djimon Hounsou, who effortlessly inhabited his part as the leader of the uprising and should have received an Oscar nomination). The climactic courtroom scene, in which Adams pleads for the slaves’ lives at the Supreme Court, not only bears little resemblance to what actually occurred but comes across as playing to the cheap seats.

 

2. The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

The lifeless and weird motion-capture animation makes the film unengaging on even the most basic level, but the crusty, old-fashioned slapstick humor, the insistently cardboard characters and the tiresome and convoluted boy-detective plot make the film worse than interminable and close to excruciating.

 

1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Could Indy 4 be the most disappointing film ever made, even considering that the previous two installments fell well short of the standard set by Raiders of the Lost Ark? Discuss.

Likewise: Who was more annoying, Shia LaBeouf or Cate Blanchett? Could the mushroom-cloud ending have been any more wrong?

Certainly George Lucas bears much, if not most, of the responsibility for this bizarre, ridiculous campy and heartbreaking desecration of the legacy of Indiana Jones. But Spielberg directed it, and we should never let him live it down.

*****

image illustration via here

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How ‘Sex Positive Feminism’ Created An Unsafe World for Women

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by Megan Fox

Recently, a woman was kicked out of Planet Fitness for complaining about a “transwoman” in the locker room. For those still unaware of all the terms, transwoman is a man who feels like a woman today and so he gets all the perks of being a woman including the use of a ladies locker room and the right claim he has PMS. We are not talking about a transgendered person who went through surgery and had male parts removed but a man, born with male privilege and a penis in a dress wandering around in the room earmarked for people with vaginas. The woman who complained and tried to warn other women, who are historically at risk from men with penises, had her gym membership unceremoniously revoked. Her crime was her unreasonable assumption that the rights of women to feel safe are more important than a man’s right to feel pretty, or something.

This preferential treatment of bizarre men is happening in libraries too. At the Orland Park Public Library in Illinois, strange men who like to become sexually aroused in a building full of children are protected by female librarians and the big and powerful lobbying group, The American Library Association, under the guise of “intellectual freedom” as they masturbate in front of public computers while watching porn. Deviant men are given more rights in public libraries than women patrons and even the women working there. Two female employees complained to the female director about sexual harassment and were told they could leave if they would not look the other way.

There is a War on Women and it is coming from an unlikely source: Other women. For years the feminists have been hawking “sex positive” causes, which are generally horrific episodes of bad judgment dressed up like education.  One involved a dildo on a reciprocating saw used on a woman (by a man) in front of a human sexuality class at Northwestern University. For real. Campuses nationwide are awash in “sex-positive” education, none of which appears to take the safety of women very seriously as they loudly proclaim anal sex is something all women should want to do like porn stars (while taught by actual porn stars… nevermind anal tearing and fissures folks. Don’t be such a prude!)

The unintended consequence of “educating” society that all forms of sexual expression should be celebrated and encouraged is finding out that women now have to endure the most bizarre sexual fetishes of men in the public library or gym locker room. Any complaints about safety will not be taken seriously. After all, you asked for it with your Slut Walks and Sex Weeks and Vagina Monologues. Nothing is off limits and now men are empowered to act out their basest desires in front of women, around women and in formerly safe spaces for women whether women like it or not (because you know you like it, you prude! Cosmo and Feministing says you do.)

So, dear Sister, don’t even think about whining when some potential rapist with a penis is staring you down as you exit the shower at the gym or some weirdo is accessing child porn in the library while you’re there with your kids. No one will care and no one will stop it. You’re on your own, baby. Because feminism.

Feminism has begun eating itself. Founded on the principle that women should have an equal voice in politics and in the workplace, it has degenerated to putting women right back where they started, under men for the pleasure of men. And these days, thanks to pro-porn feminism, the men are wielding sex toys hooked up to power tools. I can’t think of a stronger image of male dominance over women and, incredibly it was brought to us by “sex-positive feminists” who claim to want to destroy the patriarchy.

Sex-positive feminism brought us the acceptance and embracing of the “C” word so it’s not surprising that any woman on Twitter is called the “C” word in vile ways by young males for expressing her opinion on, well, anything including basketball. It’s hard to combat the charges of women being nothing but dirty whores when for the last decade or so the loudest feminists have been lauding whoring.

Going forward, a new wave of feminism is desperately needed. Where are the women who have noticed the “sex positive” crowd is bringing more devastation to the lives of women than help? (Feminist writer Jean Hatchet seems to be getting it penning, “Free the men. They are oppressed by bras.”) Human trafficking is at an all time high, men are accosting women in public places that should be safe for women, men are openly harassing women online and men are using extreme violence against women in porn. These are real and pressing issues. Ladies, it’s time to put down your vibrators and look around. You’re causing damage.

****

image illustration via shutterstock / 

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This Baby Looked in the Mirror and Discovered Something Fascinating About His Face

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

j1ojdOo - Imgur

[Source]

 

Now … head to the nearest mirror and see if you can crack yourself up with your own eyebrows! It might be a welcome respite from all the negativity in the world today.

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