Wednesday, April 30, 2014

News You Can't Use: NYPD Arrests Nearly 100 Subway Break Dancers

Is there a more persecuted minority group than breakers and poppers? All right, maybe all those people that hate to laugh and don't enjoy fun, but that's about it. It seems that The Man is always trying to destroy our healthy good times of downrock, freezes and generally spinning on the head and so forth. The latest outrage comes from New York City, where the war on B-boying has entered an ugly new phase. It's bad enough we're expected to pay for own protection (sheets of cardboard on the ground) but now we're being arrested by a system that finds our power moves threatening.

After recently learning that New York sleeps in later than every other city in the country, we’re wondering why the NYPD is trying so damn hard to get rid of subway break dancers.

Nice and professional, Observer. Why the fucking shit bitch shitty crap is the NYPD doing this? I'm just tryin' to sleep in, here. How ya doin'? Fogettaboutit!

Because what does a better job of waking New Yorkers up than dodging flailing legs on the L train at 9:00 a.m.? Oh yeah, we have Starbucks for that.

I think we can now concede that letting the editor's talentless punk kid write an article was a bad idea.

Officials say that 46 subway break dancers have been charged with reckless endangerment so far this year. Another 50 have been charged with disorderly conduct, New York reports.

We are the dead.

There were only two such charges of reckless endangerment committed by subway dancers in 2013.

This is what scientists and so on call "number get bigger."

But dancers aren’t the only underground dangers the NYPD is targeting, and no, we’re not talking about the rats or the crowds, or even the upskirt photography (although we wish we were).

Right now our main targets are Mole People, alligators, break dancers and those monsters from the movie Tremors. We can't go after camera perverts because that's a Constitutionally protected freedom.

Despite Mayor Bill de Blasio insisting there is no “crackdown” going on, the Post reported that police have busted 371 panhandlers so far this year — a hefty increase from the total 100 charged last year.

Because this is somehow relevant to the struggle for our nation's soul going on over my freedom to swing from objects and then hold a pose as if unable to move.

The most prophetic movie ever made.

Those peddling churros and other yummy snacks without licenses are coming under fire as well

"All right pal, do you realize how yummy you were being back there?"

At least underground muggings are down!

Mostly because of that Death Wish guy. 

Komment Korner  

Artistic expression? I am surprised the twat that wrote this article is not claiming racial profiling. God forbid we not want to allow people to act like Overgrown children.

these youngsters are actually dancing the polls on full trains and is more intimidating to the riders than it is entertaining, doing his horizontal hanging on the pole he had his sneakers literally in my face

Make them catch 10 rats down there per infraction.

About time the crackdown started.

In de jungle, you've got to be able to do dis to get dem bananas.

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read a free excerpt here.

His first novel The Foolchild Invention is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

News You Can't Use: Scientists Have Built an 'Off Switch' for the Brain

One of humanity's most cherished dreams has always been devising a way to turn off the brain. From the development of alcohol and performing trepanning operations with rocks to first person shooters and talking phones the long war against the brain is the scarlet thread running through the human experience. For all these efforts, thought and awareness have proven worthy foes, defeating one new pacification technology after another. However, we may be finally seeing the victory in the long war against consciousness and volitional actions. 

Scientists have developed an “off-switch” for the brain to effectively shut down neural activity using light pulses.

They call it "television." I mean, am I wrong? Haw haw haw.

In 2005, Stanford scientist Karl Deisseroth discovered how to switch individual brain cells on and off by using light in a technique he dubbed 'optogenetics'.

You've got to wonder what sort of childhood produces a man whose life's work is switching off brain cells, but chooses to do it with "optogenetics" instead of, say, "Bud Lite."

However, light-sensitive proteins were efficient at switching cells on but proved less effective at turning them off.

I already know how to turn the damn thing on! I want my mind eraser!" 

Mr Deisseroth’s team has now re-engineered its light-sensitive proteins to switch cells much more adequately than before. His findings are presented in the journal Science.

It's hard to imagine something as amazingly adequate as this technology. I'd go so far as to call it the apotheosis of mediocrity. 

Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, which funded the study, said this improved “off” switch will help researchers to better understand the brain circuits involved in behavior, thinking and emotion.

The current level of understanding is still limited to ranting about "you humans" and our "stupid minds." 

Also, there's plenty of non-evil applications for this. No, seriously.

We’re excited about this increased light sensitivity of inhibition in part because we think it will greatly enhance work in large-brained organisms like rats and primates.

And by "primates" we mean various "disappearance" cases that we use to test this amazing brain annihilation technology. 

“It creates a powerful tool that allows neuroscientists to apply a brake in any specific circuit with millisecond precision, beyond the power of any existing technology,” Mr Insel explained.

This is not the neurological equivalent of "bro science," he added. 

Stanford University Neurologists battle the "ghoul apocalypse."

This technique could help scientists develop treatments for patients with some brain diseases as it could allow problematic parts of the brain to be switched off with light and tackled with minimal intrusion.

...and let's just shut off those parts that don't properly love Big Brother...

Merab Kokaia, PhD, a professor at Lund University Hospital in Sweden who has used optogenetics to study epilepsy and other conditions praised the research.

Come on everybody, let's praise the research! Yes, I can feel the spirit of materialism moving through you!

These features could be much more useful for behavioral studies in animals but could also become an effective treatment alternative for neurological conditions where drugs do not work, such as some cases of severe epilepsy and other hyper-excitability disorders," he said.

"Just keep looking into the "calm lights" and you'll be a good citizen in no time."

Komment Korner  

Old news. The brain "off" switch is why Democrats exist.

Mine has been turned off for years.

Where can I buy one for my wife.

Why not find the ON button for the majority of sleepwalking Americans?

Those Seljuk race who slayed 1.5 million Armenians ...and still they deny...!and Why...! 

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read a free excerpt here.

His first novel The Foolchild Invention is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

News You Can't Use: Naps Linked with Higher Risk of Death

Sometimes posting one of these is so easy it's like the work is already done before I start. Start with a poorly written article warning of the massive risks of ordinary behavior that cites no sources and contains literally nothing of value. Add something ridiculous like the "risk of death," as if some of us are going to get out of our shared fate by not sleeping except at approved hours. Top it off with tons of ads and the usual insightful online commentators and you've got some news that you can't possibly use.

New research shows middle-age and older adults who take naps may be at an increased risk of dying.

Older people less healthy, study finds!

Man, I really have to get in on this lying scientist racket. Get tax dollars to point out the obvious, yeah. That ain't working, that's the way you do it, put out the worthless study at the univer-sit-tee.

Experts discovered naps were linked with an increased risk of dying from respiratory diseases.

We never actually find out who these "experts" are, but hey, I'm in this science rip-off con to get PAID, not for silly fame.

Longer naps were linked with an even higher risk, so people whose daily naps lasted an hour or more were 32 percent more likely to die.

The biggest risk would be taking an insanely long eight hour "nap" every night. He used to sleep. Now he's dead. Clearly these two pieces of data are connected. Plus, look at how sleep even resembles death! It was right there in our face, all the time. It took the good people at *string missing* Institute to finally get at the truth.

Experts say it may not be napping that's unhealthy, but rather, that those who tend to nap also have undiagnosed medical conditions that affect their risk of dying.

So the entire thing is intentionally misleading nonsense. No, you can't have that grant money back. Sorry.

Resolved: The bottom third of the "Drudge Report" is not a good source of lifestyle advice.

Many factors were considered for this study such as age, gender, body mass index and whether participants smoked and how often they exercised.

"We probably should have mentioned that five paragraphs ago."

Don't visit the spam-dominated source.   

Komment Korner

Color me shocked that people who are 65+ are more likely to die in the next 13 years.

I will take a nap if I feel like it. I do expect to die some day.

All people who eat food end up dying, therefore, food kills people.

... especially if the napper doesn't wake up!

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read a free excerpt here.

His first novel The Foolchild Invention is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure #10: The Lost Jewels of Nabooti

When you last checked in with your hero he was confronting murderous ghosts, holding a campfire sing-a-long and entering a permanent fear coma. After that harrowing experience I'm definitely welcoming the toothless nonsense that's likely to be in this R.A. Montgomery entry. We'll keep an eye out for the usual trademarks: wussy vehicles, incorrectly applied nepotism, horrible deaths described in the most banal fashion possible and the extreme moon bat views of an unreconstructed hippie.

This one has seen several different releases, but I was lucky enough to get the original, complete with always excellent Paul Granger illustrations. You don't fully appreciate how good they were until you read one of the new versions and see art that looks like the result of someone in day five of a ten day cold coughing into an already soiled napkin.

One other thing, I promise we'll start flipping pages soon. I do remember this title from my misspent childhood, although nothing specific about the plot has stayed with me. This isn't necessarily a bad sign, you have to remember a significant amount of my memories have been destroyed by joy stick addiction, NASCAR viewing and inhaling paint thinners. One thing I do remember is I always thought the title was "The Lost Jewels of Nairobi" as in Nairobi, Kenya. That would have made sense, but I guess the African capital heard that it was going to be an R.A. Montgomery book and demanded not to have their name included. So we gin up the fictional and vaguely offensive "Nabooti" and all is well.

40 meter dash through an Afro, falling deaths, the usual.

We don't waste any time, as my "summer vacation" is abruptly spoiled by a telegram (!) from my cousins Peter and Lucy requesting help finding the titular jewels. I would bet a six-pack of Coke Classic that this missive became an e-mail in the updated version. Honestly, a telegram? Even in 1981 that must have seemed pretty dated. Are we going to have to add "poor understanding of how sending messages has evolved since the 19th century" to that R.A. Montgomery trope list?

Anyway, exposition. The jewels are apparently both beautiful and valuable, and were acquired in Morocco by Peter's father many years earlier. We get a shaggy dog story about how the vendor mysteriously died right after the sale and the buyer got a threatening letter demanding their return. "Obviously, he ignored the letter," we are told. I mean, of course, right? Who puts any stock into credible death threats. Then...nothing. Until now, that is. 

Does this count as the not-quite-right nepotism? I'm going to say "yes."

The new cover art sucks.

With that box checked off, I leave my house in New Orleans and head for Boston. Why this specific bit of location detail is included is somewhat of a mystery, considering my Cajun origins are never mentioned again and the bulk of the story takes place in foreign lands. I meet with the cousins and we plan to fly to Paris and then Morocco from there. It's also revealed the jewels play into some ill-conceived prophecy and their loss might lead to DEATH! Yes, "DEATH." Subtlety is usually not the strong suit of the type of person that rambles semi-coherently about fate, destiny, and the secret keys to "health." 

Maybe you could just exercise regularly and eat right instead of assuming jewels control that, just sayin'.

The prophecy, fulfilled!

We get the next flight for Paris. Sadly, it's a commercial jet and not some wussy glider or sissy personal submarine. I'm sure we'll get something like that, let's just be patient. The guy next to me is sketchy, both literally and figuratively. He's illustrated like one the commie spies from Your Code Name is Jonah and is busy doodling on a pad. Yes, kids, there was a time when having your head down and poking at a tiny square surface was considered highly unusual and suspicious. Plus his hands have no nails, so there's that, too.

What is he drawing? Well, it's crude diamond shapes and the word "Nabooti." I guess this is in case he regresses back to the mental state of a toddler and must re-learn basic shapes to complete his evil mission. On the other hand, feel the drama. It's a bad guy! Dun, dun, dun!

"This can not be coincidence!" I decide. Yeah, I think I might be right about that one.

Faced with these shocking revelations I fall asleep. When I wake up we're in Paris and this bumbling villain wants to share a taxi, preferably an unlicensed one, I'm sure. Honestly, there's more telegraphing here than in the message that drew me into this amazing adventure. I tell him "no."

 Cut it out. Seriously, cut it out. Don't make me come back there and stop that unbooked minicab.

I melt into the crowd and then hide in a phone booth, for the second badly dated communications reference so far. It probably became an "internet cafe" in the updated release. Then I'm confronted by a "woman and a midget." They offer a private jet to Nabooti, presumably an unlicensed one, and the Little Person leers menacingly while handling a "small knife with a narrow blade." Maybe I can still get into that kidnap cab.

I try a lame "I know nussink!" routine, which leads to a silent whistle and the arrival of police dogs, I guess of the "just add water" variety because I'm in the middle of a crowd and there was no sign of them before. I'm arrested for "smuggling" and end up in a Parisian shake-down room. All of this seems very familiar.

"We're still cool levitating scimitar, right?"

For some reason there's a pearl on my person, with no plausible explanation of how it got there. Facing both barrels of French "justice" I decide to dodge the guillotine by contacting the American embassy. I have rights, etc. I'm told to give up the quest for the jewels and go back to the good old U.S.A. and agree to do so. Well, that's a tidy little package. 

Thumbs down for this one. Not one, but two obvious traps in a row, followed by the sort of gestapoism that probably seemed novel in 1981 but is commonplace today. I know these books are not intended to stimulate an adult mind full of mature ideas and deep understanding of the world, but this one just felt patronizing. Why would Agent Evil make doodles of his nefarious plans? Why are there scary ankle-biters? How come I can't use my New Orleans upbringing to relate culturally to the French and smooth over the unpleasantness? And where's the wussy vehicles?

Mr. Happy can not save you from your crashed sugar glider.
Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read a free excerpt here.

His first novel The Foolchild Invention is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

News You Can't Use: Nebraska Toddler Gets Stuck Inside Claw Machine

Bowling alleys rule. Assuming they haven't changed at all in the twenty years since I last visited one, which is actually probably a pretty safe bet. I'm not even talking about the actual bowling, which is full of the righteous "mark it as eight" good times. I'm talking about pitchers of warm domestic beer, carpeting that looks like various agricultural machinery is frequently run over it and all those exciting sucker games. Yes, sucker games. The electronic equivalent of the carnival grift, the non-existent chance to win awesome prizes like a stuffed bear, a pack of Spanish cigarettes or a Harvard diploma.

I would submit to you that the health of a civilization can be directly measured by the yearly monetary investment into these sucker games. Oddly enough, the sickness of society can be directly measured by the yearly monetary investment into non-electronic sucker games, such as Wall Street, Real Estate, Investment in the Education of the Next Generation, etc.

Sometimes these fun and colorful lessons in futility even provide "cutesy" moments of child endangerment. Aw! Everyone loves that. Look at the pit bull sleeping in the crib with the baby. This is the heart warmth of insane irresponsibility.

Authorities say a toddler has been reunited with his mother after employees found him playing inside a claw crane machine at a Nebraska bowling alley.

"Mr. Johnson, there's a baby in the claw machine!"

"That brat isn't winning anything in there, right?"

"I guess not."

"Then it's fine."

Lincoln police say a 24-year-old woman called 911 Monday afternoon because her 3-year-old son was missing from her apartment.

Some sort of instinct, a sort of sonar for unwinnable gimmicks, led to this conclusion.

Employees at the bowling alley across the street meanwhile called police to say a small boy was playing with stuffed animals inside the coin-operated machine.

It's not so much that he's in there, it's the messing with the stuffed animals.

The only way to actually win at one of these.

As I look at the above picture I can almost hear our national anthem, whatever it is, playing. If there's any justice the above image will grace the cover on all of next year's history, sociology and mechanical engineering texts. 

A representative from the vending machine company let him out and he was reunited with his mother a short time later. He was not hurt.

Trust me, that's the only way you're getting anything out of one of those machines.

Police say the mother was not cited because she quickly reported that her son was missing and there were no indications of neglect.

Police were actually too busy playing that machine where you try to knock quarters off a ledge to be bothered to file a report.

Comment Corner  

"Across the street"??? And the mother was not cited for neglect? what on earth was she doing at the time her little guy decided to walk "across the street"? Unbelievable! 

People like you are the reason I don't call the police even when I could use them.

I, myself hid in a dishwasher once when I was a kid.

"The claw, the claw!!"

Obozo and his thug cronies are destroying America and this makes the news. WTF?

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read a free excerpt here.

His first novel The Foolchild Invention is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Video Game Slush Pile: Battlestations Pacific

Today's slush pile entry would by very atypical if this series had more than two entries, counting this one. It's a fairly recent release (2009) for the Xbox 360. It's from a legit source (Eidos, Warner Brothers) instead of some budget company located somewhere in the Dinaric Alps. The production values are top notch, the game play tight. In short, everything about this one screams "it should at least be average." Add the fact that I experience many of the symptoms of arousal when looking at battleships and you'd think I'd be all over this one, but there it was at the bottom of a fudging box, beneath other boxes, under a table, a table covered with clutter. In the basement. Yup, this is the video game slush pile. Let's strap it on.

This one is a sequel to Battlestations Midway, although because I never played that game, it really doesn't matter. Wikipedia claims there are call-backs to events from that game hidden here and there, but it also claims that Utopian Anarchism is a workable political idea so who knows. Either way, this one is a combination strategy/action mixer that doesn't really do either one particularly well.

Has there ever been a credible game mixing these elements, ever? It just doesn't work, the action either renders the strategy meaningless as long as your fast-twitch reflexes are at a sufficient level or there's only one acceptable tactical solution to the "puzzle" and no amount of hand-eye agreement can help. In this game it was mostly the latter, which I'm be fine with, this ain't Dynasty Warriors, except that the one acceptable solution was usually obscured behind confusing and frustrating game-play.

All the "Victory at Sea" stuff that could possibly be crammed into one image.

Again, production values are through the roof. You get a comprehensive manual (you'll need it, too) and a nice poster with all the stats of the various planes and ships. Contrast that with the recent trend toward a single scrap of paper with epilepsy warnings and we're off to a good start. The good impression continued with the graphics and presentation. 

I know this is all very facile, but that's how video game reviews are, sorry. If video game analysts did book reviews you'd get several paragraphs about how "all the letters were clearly printed, I could easily tell what part of the alphabet they represented" and "the page quality was excellent and it provided the perfect medium for presenting those amazing letters" with the plot maybe mentioned as an afterthought toward the end of the review. I'm trying to avoid this, but there's only so many ways I can say "flying the planes was difficult" without running out of awkward similes.

Flying the planes was difficult, like trying to write your name while making circles in opposite directions with both feet. I know the goal was realism, but having to fight with two sticks just to turn around and doing it wrong half the time seemed a little excessive. The ships weren't any better, mainly because the stick doesn't steer you, but instead sets your course, which again is probably how a real Light Cruiser works but it takes a lot of getting used to. The ships are slow, which again is to be expected, but watching yourself glacially close into range while madly pressing the fire button without result because you're out of range or incorrectly positioned isn't exactly seat-edge stuff. 

Somehow they managed to make this boring.

Firing on things seems an exercise in hoping for the best. I was mashing the trigger, wondering if anything was even being achieved. Everything seems to miss. When you do hit it isn't even that satisfying, mainly because of the fluky nature of the success. In the air it's better because your cross-hair turns red when you can actually hit something, but naval artillery doesn't have that courtesy for some reason.

There's a campaign mode and also skirmishes. Sadly, I only played the campaign mode, missing the opportunity to hear a ten-year old shout incorrectly used slurs into a headset while sinking my navy. Oddly enough, the "Japan" campaign seems to be featured, it's listed first and is what you'd end up on if you just kept hitting start from the title screen. This campaign starts with Pearl Harbor and I'll freely admit I didn't think that was appropriate, call me thin-skinned if you want. I mean, does the American campaign end with you flying the Enola Gay over Hiroshima so we get equal and opposite bad taste? I wouldn't know, I only got to the third mission. 

Seriously, a video game level where you attack largely defenseless and obsolete battleships in a surprise attack? This is fun? Maybe they were just trolling for controversy, but to the best of my knowledge none occurred, so we're just left with a boring and offensive level, like one of those "Shoot the civilians, win big points, this is mentally healthy, honest!" stages in a first person shooter.

Anyway, the American campaign. It starts after Midway and for me also ended shortly thereafter. You're tasked with defending a carrier from a surface attack fleet in the third mission and it is basically helpless. In actual history, of course, carriers dominated battleships and destroyed their usefulness. Here, it was just the opposite. It didn't help matters that the battleship fleet seemed to fly across the map with alarming speed, while my own BB creeped slowly toward the edge of the map, chasing a Japanese carrier, but never seeming to close the gap.

So the Enterprise became a metal reef and, I would assume, America lost the war. The giant hit the snooze alarm, terrible resolve forgotten.

It can launch four mainly useless planes.

I will concede I was probably doing a lot of things wrong, even after hours of play, reviewing the manual, telling myself I wouldn't quit this time (the internet audience is counting on me!) and so on. I never quite figured out how to make the tactical elements work. The few successes were drowned in frustrating defeats, the battles take an eternity to play through (before losing) and frankly I have better things to do (really!). There probably is a good, deep, fun game in here somewhere, but I just couldn't crack the shell of it. 

Graphics: Ships look like ships, planes look like planes, smoke and explosions look like something from a video game. Pretty good overall.

Control: Ugh. I always felt like I was fighting against the controls to get things done. The ships handle like grocery shopping carts, the planes often seem out of control. It got better as I played. I'm probably just a whiny baby.

Depth: There's a lot. The different ships and planes offer a variety of options, you can order entire fleets and squadrons (well, in theory, anyway) and there's lots of historical and speculative battles or just straight up death matches if you don't care about any of that. There actually was a nice instruction manual.

Overall: Back in the box.

The Critics Rave!  

The control interface is still unwieldy, the action is still stodgy and unfulfilling, and the aesthetics are still hampered by distinctly last-gen failings. -

The Western voiceovers are caricatures of the worst order; one guy talks with the bombastic delivery of Duff Man from The Simpsons, and the rest aren't that much better. - IGN

There were even a couple of occasions where our swine allies stole our kills! - gamesradar

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read a free excerpt here.

His first novel The Foolchild Invention is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

News You Can't Use: Selfie Addiction May Cause Mental Illness

Everyone is special and magical and should live hermetically sealed lives free from any failure or criticism, but you're also all deeply sick in the head and in need of lots of expensive treatment and drugs. The convergence of these equal and opposite forces is about as ugly as you'd expect, but on the other hand here's an article that actually quotes Psychology Today which I assumed had folded years ago, so there's that.

Having an addiction to taking selfies, may cause mental illness, according to an expert.

Having a harmful addiction may cause harmful addictions, according to some egg head with nothing better to talk about.

Danny Bowman, a man diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder, explained that he grew suicidal due to his addiction taking selfies, Guardian Liberty Voice reported.

"Your 'worst selfie ever' jokes aren't funny, my brother committed suicide because of them."

Bowman shared that he would shoot about 200 pictures a day in an attempt to take the “right” selfie of himself. He also said that he would spend up to 10 hours a day taking selfies.

If you were a teen girl this would be healthy, but you're not so it's a mental illness.

Bowman attempted suicide by taking an overdose of drugs when he couldn’t take what he felt to be the perfect selfie.

Obviously it was the self-photography driving this guy over the edge and not the other two dozen major life failures.

In trying to care for Bowman, Dr. David Veal expressed to Guardian Liberty Voice that taking too many selfies may cause mental illness, including body dysmorphic disorder, which has an “extremely high suicide rate.”

He had the problem first. It was not caused by the "selfies." I have just ruined this whole article with the equivalent of a shot glass full of logic.

You mad, mental health industry?

Bowman’s parents, who are both mental health professionals

I think we may have isolated the problem.

They believe there is a “huge lack of understanding” about how risky electronic gadgets and social media can be for users.

Don't forget the risks of "mirrors," but I guess that isn't a trendy subject any more. Let me check twitter to be sure. Nope. #Mirror is not trending.

Expert Dr. Pamela Rutledge explained in an article for Psychology Today that taking selfies is indicative of narcissism, attention seeking behavior and self-indulgence.

Yes, it really does still exist. And look, it's still full of alarmist over-reactions to ordinary behavior! Nice to see that some things never change. 

Don't visit the ad-filled source.

Komment Korner  

Being extremely self absorbed is a mental disorder. Taking lots of pictures of yourself is just plain stupid.

"self absorbed". You mean, like our "narcissist-in-chief"?

It's an effect of mental illness, not a cause.

How about this: "Expert: Mentally Ill People Do Crazy Things"

When I saw Barack Obama take that selfie with the blonde Danish prime minister in front of Michelle, I knew we're screwed. Does Obama have any good judgment or self control? It appears not.

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read a free excerpt here.

His first novel The Foolchild Invention is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure #27: The Horror of High Ridge

Last time out a space adventure ended with total defeat and hopelessness after shooting a missile. Yeah, it was that kind of book. Luckily today's subject is one I fondly remember giving me many months of nightmares when I read it as a child. And not for nothing, it's full of morbid violence, gore, lovingly crafted illustrations of children dying horribly and an overall sense of being doomed. I don't think a book like this could be made today and even back in an era where "use your discretion" still meant something it attracted negative attention from the professional guardians of the right and proper.

This one is by Julius Goodman, author of Space Patrol. Some consider this a sequel to "House of Danger," because the same characters are present, but there isn't a single mention of those earlier adventures with supernatural evil, so it's at best a sequel in spirit. At no point does anyone say "remember when we did [x] in the house of danger?" or "I kinda assumed my deadly confrontations with pure refined horror were over after that whole 'house' thing."

Who will survive and what will be left of them?

I'm spending the summer in the western American town of High Ridge, wasting my days searching for a buried treasure that probably doesn't exist and spending my nights maxin' and relaxin' in a chair, reading books about the town's rather lurid history. Apparently prospectors and the native population engaged in a genocidal war where both sides lost, but have since regrouped in hell to continue the fight. Every fifty years there's an "incident" where they come back to resume their unwinnable struggle and the local population becomes collateral damage, disappearing or suffering "ghastly deaths."

Yeah, we're in for quite a ride. The book I'm reading, by the way, is called "High Ridge: An Oral History" which is a quality oxymoron.

It just so happens that this year marks fifty years since the last event and I'm hearing a horrible moaning. No, not that you pervert. We're going to earn that "R" rating just with horrible violence, thank you.

    Recommended for ages 8-12.

My danger house crew joins me. Ricardo is all "let's go out and get murdered by vengeful ghosts, it'll be fun!" while Lisa is takes the "anti" position on getting involved with undying killers. Naturally, I'm the tie-breaker and decide that it might be best not to do things that are actively stupid considering what we're up against.

The plan to stay inside and avoid trouble is quickly ruined by an arrow coming through the window and then disappearing after burying itself in the wall. I think a certain amount of freaking out would be justified.

Time to do the smart thing and try to get out of town in the jeep. Let's just pretend I'm not aware of the above illustration. This attempt to take the logical course of action is immediately defeated, of course, because this is the horror genre. A rockslide has covered the road, making escape impossible. Meanwhile Ricardo is having an episode, claiming to have seen "Indians." 

In fine "Aliens" tradition I decide to make "camp" here. Maybe roast a few marshmallows and sing some songs. The game is most certainly not over, we'll be fine.

"The arrow disappeared in the freakin' WALL, man!"

A fun night is spent huddling on the softer gravel and morning brings a trip to the hospital, a hospital already overflowing with victims. A news article wraps things up. Ten dead. Fifteen, myself and my friends included, lost in "fear comas," trapped in a state of living death. The town has been cordoned off and will presumably be wiped off the map by our federal government. Yeah, that's the end. 

This read-through actually featured what might be the most bloodless route through this book, but I still lost my life and soul to the evil. Most outcomes are even worse. 

This book is great. It doesn't pull any punches, the plot is actually rather thoughtful and the atmosphere never lets up. Choose Your Own Adventure always excelled at doing horror and this is arguably the best example. While The Mystery of Chimney Rock might have an edge in creepiness and unsettling imagery there's no denying this one is much more visceral. I'm still going to keep the lights on when I read it.

You and your friends are dead.

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read a free excerpt here.

His first novel The Foolchild Invention is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

News You Can't Use: Vegetarians Less Healthy, Lower Quality Of Life Than Meat-Eaters

I eat food. That's all there is to it, it's not a political statement or ideological minefield. If you told me my diet could be better, I'd laugh, agree with you and then make absolutely no changes. Somehow this works out and I've managed to neither waste away or develop real curves that you probably couldn't handle. Still, there are times, in my weaker moments when my natural hatred of cows and pigs has been temporarily appeased, when I wonder if there isn't a better a way, a way of glistening health, weak bones, madness, premature death and lots of self-satisfaction.

Vegetarians may have a lower BMI and drink alcohol sparingly, but vegetarian diets are tied to generally poorer health, poorer quality of life and a higher need for health care than their meat-eating counterparts.

No booze. Bad health. Constantly swiping that Obama card. This is why no one ever says "Man, I want to party hardy with those awesome vegetarians!"

A new study from the Medical University of Graz in Austria finds that vegetarians are more physically active, drink less alcohol and smoke less tobacco than those who consume meat in their diets.

This clean living earns a short of life of misery. As you might expect.

But the vegetarian diet — characterized by a low consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol that includes increased intake of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products — carries elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health disorders.

Who knew that "can't stop yapping about my allegedly superior life style" is a mental illness. Eat a steak, it'll fix your developing psychosis.

Vegetarians were twice as likely to have allergies, a 50 percent increase in heart attacks and a 50 percent increase in incidences of cancer.

The vegetables do try to warn you off with their horrible taste. Will we see laws limiting and outlawing their consumption now? Or at least federal mandates on required burger intake? We've got to get those health care costs down, after all. This ballpark frank could save your life.

The most significant dietary habit difference between meat-eaters and vegetarians concerned their BMI and alcohol consumption – with both being higher for those who consume meat.

Well, it's not like you're going to have a beer to help bring out the delicious taste of that bowl of battered carrots and organic brown something or other.

Many past studies have instead put an emphasis on the health risks associated with red meat and carnivorous diets, but this study points the other dietary direction.

Everything you eat will kill you. You are going to die. The grave awaits. The common fate of humanity. Stop pretending this isn't true.

However, the researchers do caution that continuing studies will be needed to substantiate some of the rather broad dietary distinctions, associations presented in this current research.

"We're gonna need more money, of course."

"We don't. Which is why I've had three heart attacks and suffer from paranoid schizophrenia."

Vegetarians reported higher levels of impairment from disorders, chronic diseases, and “suffer significantly more often from anxiety/depression.”

I can see how eating endless foul tasting and hard-to-chew koala food could cause that depression.

Subjects who consumed lower amounts of animal fat were also linked to poor health care practices, such as avoidance of vaccinations and a lack of preventive care.

You mean that girl from "Singled Out" isn't a trustworthy source of health care information? No. I don't believe it. Yelling in an annoying fashion while directing all the guys with smaller endowments off a stage makes you more credible than any so-called doctor.

The researchers conclude: “Our study has shown that Austrian adults who consume a vegetarian diet are less healthy (in terms of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment.”

The line "Yeah. Suck on that health freaks." was removed from the final draft.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases for all dietary groups.

As long as that healthy diet also contains plenty of dead animals and healthy brown liquors. 

Komment Korner  

Vegetarian: Old Indian word for "Bad Hunter"

Ever met a vegetarian that isn't blowing their nose or coughing? Every vegetarian I know is constantly sick.

coarse they are going to die, they are not vegan they are test subjects of BIG FARMER!

There is nothing like a ham and cheese sandwitch.

Fifteen people and all are dead. Draw your own conclusions.

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read a free excerpt here.

His first novel The Foolchild Invention is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.