Tuesday, July 31, 2018

My Speech at The Big Pro-Gun Rally in Tally

If you weren't able to be in Tallahassee this weekend, here's my speech courtesy of Utah Gun Exchange.

Despite the entire rally being recorded by UGE and the large UGETube banner at bottom right, I can't find the rally actually posted to UGETube. Instead, you can only find it on Facebook.

I had a great time at the rally and was surprised at how much applause I received and how people appreciated my message. While I never once expected hostility or rudeness, I confess that I anticipated a bit of reticence along the lines of "Well, I see that you're on our side, but I don't know if I should believe what you're saying." As you can see, though, I received such applause that I had to keep talking over it because I'd have run out of time otherwise.

I'd say we had between 250 and 500 attendees. It's hard to tell because most of them stayed out of the middle (which was a big open area filled with bricks that retained heat) and instead were to the sides and back, sheltering in the shade. I'm told we had more people than the March For Our Lives / Road to Change/ Whatever Bloomberg Is Calling It This Week people, which is both satisfying and wholly unsurprising.

The media was fair to us, which I found astounding. Here's an article from the Tallhassee Democrat which covers both events, including some very nice pictures of us (you can spot me in a few of them). I also get a nice mention at the end of the article, so in effect I get the last word:
More than just a counterpoint to the Road to Change tour, the event was aimed at showing something the pro-gun movement lacks: diversity.

In a campaign largely dominated by white, straight males, Erin Palette offered a stark alternative as a transgender supporter of the Second Amendment. Her message centered around her belief that “gun rights are queer rights.”

As founder of the pro-gun LGBTQ training group Operation Blazing Sword, Palette’s goal is not to sell guns, but to help people make informed decisions about them through training and education. She hopes that gun owners and the LGBT community can bridge the political and cultural gaps that divide them.

“I want both sides of the country to stop seeing each other as opponents or enemies,” Palette said. “We need to see each other as people.” 
More information on what the rally was like and how it went will be available on ACP episode 17, releasing Friday for patrons and next Monday for everyone.

Monday, July 30, 2018

ACP Episode 017: Some Zombies are Slow and Others are Fast

In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d discuss Sacha Baron Cohen's recent attack on the Second Amendment Community;
  • the General Purpose Egghead gives us a primer on batteries;
  • Weer'd continues with part two of his audio fisk of the Brady Campaign's actions against so-called "Bad Apple Gun Dealers";
  • David discusses the pitfalls of assuming that because a person holds one belief then they must also agree with others;
  • and in Tales from the Trunk, Steve tells a story of his involvement with a family and their run-in with Motorcycle Assassins.

Listen to the episode here.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like blooper reels!

Show Notes

Main Topic:
  • Virginia gun-rights activist pranked by Sacha Baron Cohen in 'Kinderguardians' video
General Purpose Egghead:
  • Battery Terminology

Weer'd Audio Fisk:
  • Brady Campaign Bad Apple Gun Dealers
  • Brady Campaign Allen Vs Lock N Load
  • How a gun-control group got the owner of Lock N Load to quit the business
  • Reverend Pfleger threatens to snuff out shop owner

Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Funny Story

The CEO of a Fortune 500 company was having trouble with his Human Resources department. For whatever reason, his company could just not hold onto employees, and whenever they left they listed HR as the main reason why.

Distraught, the CEO went to see his monsignor in search of a miracle, or at least advice. "My son, I have just the man for you," he told the CEO. "I will send him to your company first thing tomorrow morning."

Sure enough, at 8 am the CEO is buzzed by his assistant saying that the interviewee is here. Upon entering, the CEO is flabbergasted; he expected a young man in a suit, but standing before him is an old Hispanic man in a work shirt and overalls, stained with grass and mud and smelling of a front yard.

"The padre, he say come speak to you today," says the man in a thick Spanish accent. "My name is Jesús García. I manage the peoples."

Naturally, the CEO doesn't think the old man is capable of working in HR at all, let alone running the department, but he's known the monsignor for decades and values his wisdom, so the CEO takes a leap of faith and takes the old man down to HR and explains what he needs done.

The old man takes to it like a fish to water. His techniques are old fashioned -- a bulletin board instead of a schedule program, an abacus instead of a calculator, pencil and paper instead of a computer -- but he works a literal miracle inside HR, adeptly managing hiring, firing, transfers, promotions, and vacations. He's so good that the boss loves to show his rivals his "new old system", and they are so impressed that they also try turning over their HR departments to old Hispanic men and women. However, their attempts fail miserably.

One day, the CEO's godson comes to him, fresh out of college with an MBA. He says, "You know I respect you and would never try to compete with you in business, but I must know how you managed such an HR miracle. I promise to you that I will never work against you in this field, but please tell me where to get a man like Jesús García when all your rivals failed."

The CEO smiles and says "Go talk to the monsignor of our diocese. He will help you find your own personnel Jesús."

[Erin exits stage right, pursued by a shaggy dog]

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Fiction Break: A Still Point In Time 5

Stark Expo, 13 June, 1942

Clara strolled into the Modern Marvels Pavilion, arm-in-arm with the handsome young man she thought would one day become Captain America. She took in the sights, gasping appreciatively as the dark-haired man in uniform pointed at the displays. The Doctor was doing his best to ignore the scrawny young man that Barnes had brought along with him, surreptitiously scanning with his sonic screwdriver when no one was looking. Clara wasn't sure why they needed the disguises, let alone why the Doctor was holographically disguised as a young woman, but she was playing along for now.

They had passed a display that claimed to be a robot of some kind, but looked like a man in a red suit, when the Doctor's face lit up and he pulled Clara and Barnes towards a stage where a red car was parked.

via Gfycat

"Ladies and gentlemen, Mister Howard Stark!" came a disembodied voice as a dapper man with a moustache and top hat joined several showgirls in front of the car. He gave one a kiss before trading his top hat for a microphone and addressed the crowd, "Ladies and gentlemen: What if I told you that in just a few short years, your automobile won't even have to touch the ground at all?" The showgirls removed the tires, and then the man flipped a switch.

The car began to hum and lift slowly off the ground. Clara gasped a little, and then giggled when she heard the Doctor scoff slightly, the sound of which was amusingly strange coming out of his now-feminine mouth.

He tilted his hand towards the stage as the sonic screwdriver pitched up and whined in sync with the hum of the car. Suddenly, sparks flew from the gadgets in the wheel well and the car dropped gracelessly.

"I did say it'd be a few years, didn't I?" The dapper man said, still smiling, and the crowd applauded.

The Time Vortex

After she'd had her fill of dancing with her new friend Bucky, Clara and the Doctor returned to the TARDIS. "Do you plan on staying that way?" she asked.

"Hm? Stay what way?" he answered distractedly, already working the control console.

Clara gave him an arch look and gestured at the Doctor's red dress and platinum curls.

"Oh, right, that." He cleared his throat and flicked a switch, the hologram vanishing and his vulture-like features returning.

Clara breathed a sigh of relief. "So what was all that back there? I don't recall flying cars in my own time, let alone the 1940s."

"Exactly right." He adjusteda few controls to bring up a diagram of lines extrapolated from the scalpel. "The man you just saw on stage was Howard Stark. In your universe, he was killed by a corporate rival of his family as a teenager. In this universe, he lived to adulthood and was a prolific inventor. What we saw was the tipping point of this timeline. In one version, the car levitates successfully, he gets a government contract, flying cars in World War II, Nazis copy them, chaos ensues. In another timeline, the car failed catastrophically, killing Stark." The Doctor turned the dial again, revealing another timeline. "According to the TARDIS databanks, this was the best possible outcome. Stark lives, Captain America is born, and a golden age of super heroes is ushered in decades later."

"But, Doctor, that's three."


Clara's brow furrowed, "That's three. You said earlier there were two timelines, but you just listed off three."

"Well, there was a war on, Clara," the Doctor grumbled, "It's possible I miscounted."

Clara giggled at his irritation, and as the Doctor noticed he decided to change the subject, "What say we go give the good news to our friend in Lagos?"

Lagos, Nigeria 2018

It had been several years since he had last seen them, but Isaiah still remembered the excitable old man and his pretty young companion when they returned. He was grateful to hear that he'd no longer be seeing things that weren't there, even if he didn't quite understand what the old man was saying. (Isaiah's grasp of English was quite strong, but he wasn't so sure of the Doctor's.) He waved to them as they left, smiling and laughing and enjoying a job well done.


But… something wasn't quite right. Isaiah looked down at his hand. Flecks of dust were coming off of it. The more he shook it, the more dust fell. As the Doctor and Clara stepped into their box, Isaiah tried calling out to them, tried to let them know something was wrong, but by the time he could, he'd already blown away in the hot, dry air of Lagos.

Monday, July 23, 2018

ACP Episode 016: Perpetual Polish Grandmother

In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d discuss The Truth About Guns and their recent article about Operation Blazing Sword; 
  • The General Purpose Egghead discusses what Ham Radio set to purchase; 
  • Weer'd fisks part one of a Brady Campaign video on Bad Apple Gun Dealers; 
  • David talks about being outed as a pro-gun guy in an anti-gun environment, and some of the side effects of that outing, in Gun Lovers and Other Strangers; 
  • and Steve brings us a Tales From the Trunk about doing wellness checks to someone he calls his Perpetual Polish Grandmother.

Listen to the episode here.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like blooper reels!

Show Notes

Main Topic:

General Purpose Egghead:

Weer'd Audio Fisk:

      Saturday, July 21, 2018

      Join Me at the Big Pro-Gun Rally July 28th in Tallahassee

      Next Saturday, July 28th -- a week from today -- I will be speaking at the Big Pro-Gun Rally in Tallahassee, Florida. There will be other speakers as well, all more important or more influential or more famous than I am, such as Jon Gutmacher and Hickock45.

      The rally itself starts at noon with music by Gene Loy, and then the speakers will take the stage from 2pm - 4pm. There will probably be more music afterwards. 

      Concealed carry is both legal and expected. Speaking of expected, there will likely be press there as well, so if you plan to attend, please be on your best behavior (see "Rally Etiquette and Conduct", below) because you can bet they will do their best to paint us in a bad light. 

      There are rumors that David Hogg will be in Tallahassee with a counter-rally. That's fine; he has First Amendment rights. He will however not be allowed to counter-protest at our rally; we have assurances from the Capitol Police that they cannot come on Capitol grounds because we have the area officially reserved. 

      Come by and say hi! I'll give you a hug and a business card, and maybe even a sticker if I have any left. 

      Thursday, July 19, 2018

      Traveller Thursday: Life Support

      I'm not 100% back to writing about Traveller. I just happened to have a sudden realization about something that has been bugging me for years and I wanted to write it down before I forgot.

      My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
      fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.

      The thing which bugs me most about ship design in Mongoose Traveller is that there's no mention of life support. I realize that life support has been ex post facto folded into stateroom tonnage, but that doesn't quite make sense because stateroom tonnage has already been explained as covering both the rooms themselves and the common areas.

      (Quick digression for those who don't recall what I'm talking about: in Traveller, staterooms displace 4 tons but in most deckplans they are displayed as only displacing 3. That extra dton is allocated for corridors, common rooms and the like. The problem is, when you get anal and decide to count how many dtons of corridors and room space there are, it adds up to way more than the number of staterooms in the ship.)

      What's funny is that I realized the actual number of staterooms doesn't matter. What matters is "How many people can you cram onto a ship", and that's actually a completely different question than "How many staterooms are there", because you could fit a bunch of refugees into an empty cargo bay. No, what matters is how much food, air and water they consume. In other words, we need to calculate how many dtons of life support one person requires.

      So let's work this out:
      • One person in a low berth displaces 1/2 dton and requires no life support. 
      • Because people who aren't in cold sleep need food, water, oxygen, and space to move around, let's double that for human-sized crew. 
        • K'kree and other livestock-sized animals displace twice that amount. 
        • Hivers also displace the same amount of space as humans; we just think they take up more space because their longest axis is horizontal whereas ours is vertical. 
      • Since everything is based around the standard jump time of 1 week, let's assume that life support dtonnage is done by the week. This reflects food that needs to be bought, filters that need to be changed out, waste that needs recycling into water, etc. 
      • Don't forget that transit time to and from the jump point, so you probably should have 2 weeks per person. This could probably be extended in an emergency through rationing and depressurizing non-inhabited parts of the ship, but that's a subject for a different article. 
      • This gives us a hasty figure of 2 dtons per person for a commercial ship -- or half a stateroom, which is in line with the core rules when they say "No stateroom can contain more than two persons, as it would strain the ship’s life support equipment." This seems reasonable and tells me I'm on the right track. 
      • But what about ships that stay on station for weeks or months at a time, like Scouts on survey or the military on patrol? Well, this is handily addressed in High Guard (1st edition High Guard, to be clear -- I don't play 2e Mongoose Traveller) when it talks about endurance and nicely accounts for food packs, oxygen scrubbers/filters, and other assorted spare parts that are needed for basic maintenance and are stored in compact form:
      Ships are able to operate for one month without needing to go into a spaceport for maintenance, assuming an adequate supply of fuel. This is increased by one month for every 1% of total tonnage dedicated to cargo. If fleet support vessels are in attendance then another three months can be added to the time needed before maintenance is required.
      • In other words, each 1% of total tonnage dedicated to supplies represents an additional month of life support as already allocated. If you have more people than your life support is rated to handle, you're going to be dipping into supplies early.  

      At this point I imagine some of you are saying Whoop-tee-doo, Erin. If life support requires 2 dtons per person for an average trip, how is this any different from stateroom tonnage? and my answer to that is this:
      1. It frees up tonnage from the obligatory "The captain (and sometimes senior officers) always get their own private stateroom aboard ship";
      2. It allows the Navy to pack crew in tight (1 dton/person) for maximum warfighting efficiency, because fleet support ships exist to solve this very problem;
      3. It adds realism, and possibly dramatic tension, to scenarios where a player character's ship is used to rescue a bunch of people and/or has a cargo hold full of live animals;
      4. It gives ship designers one less thing to worry about. Staterooms stop being gameable spaces and become set dressing like common rooms. 
      Maybe no one will care about this. Maybe this was all a waste of time. I don't know. What I do know is this: Something which had been bugging me is no longer bugging, and that makes me happy. 

      I just make the free ice cream. Whether or not you eat it is your business.

      Wednesday, July 18, 2018

      Fiction Break: A Still Point In Time 4

      Stark Expo, 13 June, 1942

      Strains of Glenn Miller's In The Mood wafted over the warm summer evening air punctuated by fireworks, masking the groaning sound of the TARDIS landing behind a cotton candy stand. The door opened, and Clara stepped out wearing a cushy beige cardigan and matching dress. She stopped and admired the fireworks bursting in the sky behind the giant globe that sat in the center square of the Expo. The Doctor stepped out behind her and noticed Clara glaring at him.

      "What?" he said innocently.

      "You insisted that I dress period-appropriate, reasoning that we were guests in this timeline, but here you are in a hoodie and jumper that look like they were attacked by a ravenous pack of moths."

      "Oh, that's fine. Here, problem solved," Clara's eyes widened as the wizened visage of the Doctor melted away into that of a woman no older than her, blonde hair in a style fashionable for the 1940s and wearing a red floral-print dress.

      "What... wait, what exactly did you just..." Clara was having trouble finding the words to describe what she'd just seen. The Doctor smiled through the young woman's face, and his voice came in a soft American accent as he held up a small device that looked like a pager.

      "Image inducer. The TARDIS databanks found it in the aborted timeline and replicated the technology. Because it keeps trying to reassert itself, little parts of the other timeline bleed through. This little gadget is amazing, it's like a cross between the holographic clothes we wore to see the Papal Mainframe and the TARDIS's own perception filter. You probably haven't noticed, but you're speaking in American accent now, too."

      Clara clutched at her throat momentarily, but the Doctor strode off in his patent leather pumps, continuing to talk, "Now then, the information I was able to pull out of our rodent friend's temporal dissection says that Captain America himself is witness to the focal point in time that caused the straw to go all bendy. We just have to follow him there and make sure it's fixed."

      "And how do we do that? Wouldn't he be off punching Nazis? We are in the thick of World War II," Clara asked, following towards a pair of large statues.

      "Easy. I had the TARDIS send him a psychic message. He thinks he's set up a double date with a friend of his and a couple of pretty young girls. Now, the image inducer has me covered, but do you think you can manage to pretend to be a pretty young girl for a few minutes at least?"

      Clara bristled for a moment, "Doctor, I am a..." she started, before trailing off as her eye caught a handsome young dark-haired man in a dress uniform. "That must be him, yeah? He's cute. I can't just call him Captain America, though, can I? I mean that's not him yet."

      "I think he goes by Bucky now," The Doctor said, fiddling with his screwdriver while Clara flagged down the soldier. He smiled, and approached with his short, slight blonde friend in tow. As they met, the soldier draped his arm around Clara and the Doctor ignored his friend. They all strolled together into the Modern Marvels Pavilion.

      To be Concluded

      Monday, July 16, 2018

      ACP Episode 015: Prior Restraint vs Due Process

      In This Episode:
      • Erin and Weer’d discuss dog deterrence and nasal lavage;
      • the Main Topic is the importance of youth gun safety training, with a few stories of kids who found guns in surprising locations;
      • The Egghead talks about what equipment is best for outfitting your Ham Radio Shack;
      • Weer'd brings us a patented Audio Fisk of Rock and Movie Star Henry Rollins,
      • David discusses New York State gun laws, including the infamous SAFE Act;
      • and Steve talks about equipment failure while on surveillance.

      Listen to the episode here.

      Reminder: we will give away a C-5 Lower from Frontier Armory on July 18th as a Thank You to our Patreon Patrons. If you're reading this on Monday, you still have time to become a Patron!

      You didn't know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like blooper reels!

      Show Notes

      Main Topic:
      Weer’d Audio Fisk:
      General Purpose Egghead:

        Thursday, July 12, 2018

        OBS on TTAG

        I know that many gunbloggers won't touch The Truth About Guns, mainly due to the actions of Robert Farago. If that's the case, it may interest you to know that Farago isn't with the company any more -- after he sold TTAG to Wide Open Media, they fired him in an attempt to improve the reputation of the brand.

        If that doesn't interest you, then at least let me point out that "staff writer" (I actually know the writer in question, having met them personally, but they requested to be kept anonymous and I respect that) wrote a lovely article about Operation Blazing Sword yesterday.

        Go read the article, even if you never return to TTAG. Just... don't read the comments. NEVER read the comments. Not unless you enjoy arguing with idiots or spiking your blood pressure.

        Tuesday, July 10, 2018

        $30 IFAK Challenge

        In case you don't read it on the regular (and you should), I have an article over at Blue Collar Prepping wherein I give my solution to a challenge of assembling an Individual First Aid Kit for $30 or less.

        Go give it a read

        Monday, July 9, 2018

        ACP Episode 014: Now, Mr. Beard, the Advantage is Mine!

        In This Episode:
        • Erin and Weer'd discuss the California court decision that upheld their micro-stamping despite compliance with the law being impossible;
        • Weer'd brings us an audio fisk of Mike "The Gun Guy" Weisser;
        • The Egghead brings continues his series on Ham Radio with a segment on [whatever the plural of antenna is] and how to make your own;
        • David explains the difference between discussing the Second Amendment in person vs online;
        • and Steve tells us about a couple of gruesome accidents he needed to investigate.

        Listen to the episode here.

        Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that's $1/podcast) and you'll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like blooper reels!

        Show Notes

        Main Topic:
        Weer’d Audio fisk:
        Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

        Saturday, July 7, 2018

        What is Heteronormativity?

        A friend recently complained about the lesbian relationships that have been front-and-center in both Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow as "pushing a social justice agenda", and I thought this could be a good teachable moment. Sadly, I don't think my friend is open to this particular argument, so instead I'm going to turn the teachable moment into a blog post.
        First, a Disclaimer: This post is meant to be informative and to build bridges. I don't intend for this post to be scolding or lecturing, so if I come across as such, I apologize. I'm just trying to explain a concept that many people might not understand.
        Let's say you're watching a television show with your elementary school-age child, and two of the characters on screen have a romantic kiss. I don't mean "a kiss with a lot of tongue action", I mean a nice, prime-time-appropriate smooch without tongue but which is definitely more than just a peck on the lips. A good benchmark for this is "The kind of kiss that people share once they've been pronounced married."

        What is your reaction to your child seeing this public display of affection?
        1. Turn the TV off. Well, while I disagree with your decision*, I respect you for your across-the board consistency. 
          • * Mainly because you're saying "I don't think it's appropriate for my child to see two loving adults kiss" and that makes me wonder about the amount of love in your marriage, not to mention the fact that you're also saying that it's not appropriate to take children to weddings. 
        2. Allow your child to watch and then afterwards ask them "Did you have any questions about what you saw on TV?" This is the correct answer as far as I'm concerned, but ending my post here doesn't really teach anything. 
        3. React on the basis of the sexuality of the kissers. This is the troublesome answer, because if you picked this one I'm betting that you're okay with your child seeing a man and a woman kiss, but aren't comfortable with same-sex kisses. 
        #3 is what's called "heternormativity", the belief that heterosexuality (hetero-) is the social norm (-normative) within our society. And as beliefs go (and this is where I get into trouble with the SJWs), it's not incorrect; if we define "normal" as "usual, typical, or expected", then yes, heterosexuality is the norm, because depending on which studies you use, between 75% and 90% of the world's population is heterosexual.

        And just to be clear: there's nothing wrong with being heterosexual. I love my heterosexual friends and family! Without heterosexuality, I wouldn't be here, and neither would most of you.

        The downside of heteronormativity is that it causes people to think, perhaps without even realizing it, that everything which is "straight" is natural and everything which is "gay" is unnatural. To use my example above, I found it strange that my friend reacted so strongly to his child seeing lesbian relationships on television, yet was perfectly okay with his child seeing numerous examples of straight couples having sex outside of marriage, and at least one instance of having a child out of wedlock.

        Or put another way: If you feel uncomfortable every time a man talks about his husband or boyfriend, or a woman talks about her wife or girlfriend, or you see them kiss, then you maybe have a feeling of what it's like for us on the queer side of things to be constantly bombarded with cultural messages that we're wrong if we aren't straight. If you want to track this for yourself, bring a pen and paper with you when you watch TV and make note of how often characters talk about heterosexual relationships -- his wife, his girlfriend, her husband, her boyfriend. I think you'll be surprised at how many tick marks you have, and that you never noticed it until now.

        If you do, congratulations! You've just discovered something called cultural invisibility, which is a fancy way of saying "You've never noticed it because it's always been around you." Or, put another way: do you ever think about the air around you unless it's acting upon you (blowing) or taken away (drowning)?

        Queer people feel that wind blowing all the time. We're surrounded by it like you are, but we feel pressured by it while you don't. And so, it's nice to see examples of ourselves in media, because it's a nice shelter from the wind when our culture takes time to say "Hey, it's okay to be something other than normal."

        Speaking of which, can we use a word other than normal? Because the opposite of that is "abnormal" which has all sorts of unsavory connotations like "sick", "broken" and "unnatural." How about we use "ordinary" instead? It still means commonplace, standard -- you know, all the stuff that "normal" means -- but the opposite of ordinary is "extraordinary" which actually makes us non-standard folk feel awesome.  Admit it, you'd love being called extraordinary. You're not shorter than average, you're extraordinarily short. You aren't a weird geek, you're extraordinarily enthusiastic. It sounds like a superpower!

        Finally, if I leave you with nothing else, let me leave you with this: Queer people exist in the world, and there's just no getting around that or hiding from it. Don't hide us from your children; prepare them for the world that they're going to live in. We aren't bad people -- we're just extraordinary.

        Thank you.

        Tuesday, July 3, 2018

        Blame 1986

        People rightly complain that comic books were shit in the 1990s (and they were; there's a reason the 90s are called the Dark Age of Comics), but those seeds of shittiness were sown in the mid-80s, specifically 1986.

        In 1986, DC Comics started Crisis on Infinite Earths to simplify continuity, because allegedly comic book readers couldn't keep track of which characters existed on "Earth-1" and which on "Earth-2". This is of course pure bullshit, as anyone who has hung out with comic book nerds knows they love learning trivia and arguing minutia. Hell, I could keep track of the fact that Alan Scott was the Green Lantern of Earth-2 and Hal Jordan was the Green Lantern of Earth-1, and that the former was magically based and had a vulnerability to wood while the latter was super-tech and had a vulnerability to yellow, before I was 10 years old.

        Regardless, the "simplification" of DC Comics happened, and it screwed up a bunch of things in an attempt to cram multiple origins into a single universe. For example, Power Girl was no longer a grown-up Supergirl but was instead the descendant of an Atlantean sorcerer, and Hawkman's origin was broken so badly that I don't think it's ever been resolved (is he the reincarnation of an Egyptian noble? Is he an alien police officer from the planet Thanagar? I think that at one time they tried to make him be both at once). But instead of actually fixing things, this move instead resulted in an endless series of reboots that attempted to fix continuity: Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, and eventually Flashpoint which ended up throwing most of DC continuity into the bin and restarting the entire universe over again The New 52.

        So yeah, that simplification worked out really well.

        Compare and contrast that with Marvel Comics: while DC tends to reboot itself to varying degrees on a regular basis, Marvel doesn't reboot anything.  To avoid the whole awkward "Iron Man built his suit in the 1960s so he ought to be in his 80s right now" problem, Marvel just sort of nods in the vague direction of linear time. This is especially applicable in the case of decompressed storytelling, which is what you get when stories that could be resolved in a few issues are stretched out for 6 months to a year.

        In 1986, Marvel comics began its transition from "good comic book stories" to "soap operas in spandex" as they systematically fucked over books and characters in the name of drama and increasingly decompressed stories. For example:

        • The Thing leaves the Fantastic Four and decides to be a professional wrestler for... reasons. I was 13 at the time -- THE target demographic for this sort of thing -- and I thought this was one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. "Sure, I can believe that Ben Grimm, who is both rich and famous as a member of the Fantastic Four, feels unfulfilled and decides the best thing to do is become a fake wrestler. Riiiiiight."
        • Steve Rogers is forced out of being Captain America and is replaced by Super-Patriot. He then becomes "The Captain", or basically "Captain America with a plain shield and the blue in his costume replaced with black", and he acquires a ridiculous sidekick named D-Man who is every awkward stereotype you can think of and who dresses in an outfit that looks like Wolverine's yellow-and-blue number hate-fucked Daredevil's old yellow-and-black costume. Ugh. 
        • The Scourge of the Underworld kills a bunch of villains, culminating in a mass murder at The Bar With No Name. I don't recall ever finding out who this person was, just that it was a heavy-handed way to remove villains (who no one had seen or cared about in years) from continuity. 
        • Cyclops goes from "heroic leader" to "massive shitheel" who abandons his wife and baby to take up with pointlessly-reincarnated Jean Grey, because mutants are a hot commodity now and the editors wanted to bring back the original five-man X-Band. 
        • The Mutant Massacre (again, killing characters for no reason other than shock value), leading to the X-Men -- a top performing comic, by the way -- being splintered as half the team goes off to Britain to form Excaliber (a comic which I couldn't read, by the way, because it was direct-to-specialty-stores-only title and I didn't have one where I lived; I could only buy my comics off the spinner rack) and the other half was shunted off to Australia for some damnfool reason. This is also the storyline that gave us Jubilee, so now you know precisely who to blame for that. 

        In short, blame 1986 for the trainwreck that was 1990s comic books.

        Monday, July 2, 2018

        ACP Episode 013: Our Man Friday

        In This Episode:
        • Erin interviews Eric Friday, lead counsel for Florida Carry about the recent detention of Florida Carry members by Miami Beach police for lawfully open carry of firearms.
        • Connie gives us the background on the "Flag Situation" in the Summit between the US and North Korea in Singapore through a fascinating history of Diplomatic Protocol.
        • Weer'd fisks Levi Tillemann's campaign ad where he pepper sprays... himself?
        • The Egghead gives us a primer on High Frequency Radio Propagation.
        • and David discusses how gun owners can be our own worst enemy.

        Listen to the episode here.

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        Show Notes

        Main Topic:
        Washington in Plain English:
        Weer'd Audio Fisk:
        General Purpose Egghead:

        The Fine Print

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        Creative Commons License

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