The Los Angeles Times has a harrowing new story about Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Japanese forces invaded the small Pacific nation and its residents during World War I, and the United States did the same during World War II under that classic guise of "liberation." But the US was hardly acting altruistically, at the time nor since then. The islands' location made it a prime strategic military base in the Pacific. It was also isolated enough to make it a convenient nuclear testing site—if you disregarded the 72,000 people who lived there, of course.
Between 1946 and 1962, US military experiments produced 108 megatons of nuclear yield in the Marshall Islands— about 80% of the country's total radioactive waste output from nuclear testing. That's the equivalent 1.6 atomic bombs dropped every day for 12 years. And after the US decided to gradually cede control of the land back to the Marshallese people, we just kind of … left it all behind. We were kind enough to pour a bunch of concrete on top of the 22 million gallons of nuclear waste left behind on one specific island, creating the Runit Dome.
But that dome is still there. And the concrete is starting to crack. And sea levels are rising rapidly, particularly in the Pacific, further accelerating that erosion process. Now the Dome—affectionately and appropriately called "The Tomb" by the locals—is threatening to leach all of that nuclear waste into the land and the ocean.
I realize that an island-sized nuclear waste dump called "The Tomb" in the middle of the Pacific Ocean sounds like some straight-up Godzilla sci-fi shit. Read the rest
Former Pittsburgh radio personality T.J. Lubinsky is selling his home, about a half-hour outside the city in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania.
I'll be honest, I've never heard of this guy. But apparently he has quite a resume. Which I guess is how he and his wife Wenday were able to build this absurdly palatial estate with 14 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a "waterfall poolside oasis" with a custom Lilliput playhouse for the kids, and—oh yeah, a two-story replica of the Heinz Chapel as well as a replica of the private study from the 1966 "Batman" show, complete with sliding bookcases, a red phone, and Batpoles.
It also contains replica rooms based on "the Queen’s residence next to the Ritz London" and "the Hotel Del Coronado in California." Did I mention that the whole design is based on Newport's Seaview Terrace/Carey Mansion, which was used as the exterior shots for Collinwood Manor in the classic vampire soap opera "Dark Shadows?"
While I personally couldn't afford the $3.5 million it would cost to buy this place, but all things considered, I think that's actually a pretty reasonable price for it.
724 Bristlecone Drive, Gibsonia, Pennsylvania 15044, via Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate
Image via Batman '66, duh Read the rest
The Mandalorian is the new Star Wars TV show premiering on Disney Plus+. Werner Herzog is the famous filmmaker who will also be appearing as an actor on the show.
It was only a matter of time before someone mashed-up The Mandalorian’s trailer footage with Herzog’s iconic documentarian voiceover. It’s not Grizzly Man, but it’s close.
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I know the Trumps and their cronies are all a bunch of asshole con artists. I know they get off on saying egregious things for the lulz, as long as they can still turn a profit. I know that they have mastered the art of playing the victim card in order to turn said profits, deliberately framing the world in a hyper-partisan "Us-vs-the-Other" way that is nauseating and divisive and god dammit, still actually working for them.
But even in that context, this excerpt from Donald Trump Jr's new book "Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us," is particularly maddening. As reported by Business Insider:
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Writing about a visit to Arlington National Cemetery the day before his father's inauguration, Trump said: "I rarely get emotional, if ever. I guess you'd call me hyper-rational, stoic. Yet as we drove past the rows of white grave markers, in the gravity of the moment, I had a deep sense of the importance of the presidency and a love of our country ... In that moment, I also thought of all the attacks we'd already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we'd have to make to help my father succeed — voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals to avoid the appearance that we were 'profiting off of the office.'"
He goes on to say: "Frankly, it was a big sacrifice, costing us millions and millions of dollars annually ...
The New York Times has been publishing a series of "Op-Eds From The Future," giving fiction writers a chance to imagine our hellish circumstances to come. Read the rest
It's not uncommon for the White House (under any administration) to make multiple overlapping "proclamations" for any given month. Many of these celebrations date back years, like Black History Month and Women's History Month. But this year, the Trump administration has continued in its proud tradition of surreptitiously erasing non-white-dudes from the narrative in favor of some revisionist history of American Exceptionalism that prides itself on the many glorious accomplishments of violent Christian colonialism.
That's why November has now been proclaimed as the inaugural "National American History and Founders Month," with a press release full of the most painfully generic platitudes of 1st graders naive vision of American history. It focuses largely on those classic conservatives go-to's of revering the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, and even quotes from every Republican's favorite Founding Father: Ronald Reagan.
Yes, I'm serious.
But the anachronistic Reagan quote is hardly the most egregious offense here. No, that would be the fact the White House neglected to proclaim November as National Native American Heritage Month, which it has done every year since 1990. It ignored the original inhabitants of our country—who helped colonists settle here, perhaps against their wills—in lieu of celebrating the men who immortalized them as "merciless savages" in the Declaration of Independence.
If you check the White House archives of Presidential Actions right now, you will see that National Native American Heritage Month is there, with a date of October 31, 2019—as if it was proclaimed on the same day as National American History and Founders Month. Read the rest
The Alien Cathouse near Las Vegas is the "final frontier of sexual adventure," a popular refuge for anyone seeking a little action in their own Area 51. From their website:
On an interstellar mission to bring erotic pleasure to the entire universe, the Cosmic Kittens from the planet Venus 69 set out on a fantastic voyage across deep space — but a freak mishap caused their starship to crash land on planet Earth just outside Nevada’s mysterious Area 51 Air Force facility. Now, stranded on a strange planet populated by so many repressed men and women fraught with a galaxy’s worth of lust, the Cosmic Kittens have vowed to use their extraterrestrial sexual prowess to help horny Earthlings satisfy their insatiable carnal desires.
In addition to escorts, fetish services, and plush alien dolls already offered at the Cathouse, they'll soon be offering a cutting-edge teledildonics program. According to the Daily Mail, the Cathouse is investing heavily in KIIROO's remote sex robot technology, so that customers can enjoy their services even in a galaxy far, far away. "Visitors" to the remote alien brothel would need to provide their own Interactive Vibrating Masturbator for Men or OhMiBod toy and presumably a stable wifi connection in order to get the full haptic experience.
The Cathouse’s Rod Thompson told Daily Star Online why they have added a robot to their line-up: "For clients that have certain … fetishes that courtesans might not be interested in, the robot could fulfill those."
Asked how the Cathouse’s flesh-and-blood denizens felt about working alongside an AI rival, Rod said they were all for it: "The Courtesans are actually excited about the additional revenue stream to Alien Cathouse, and themselves … as well as the additional opportunities that might present themselves for interested parties wanting to party with a real flesh and blood courtesan and with an AI sex robot at the same time."
It's only fitting that the most technologically advanced brothel in the country would be sci-fi themed. Read the rest
On Friday, November 1, 2019, the FBI arrested a self-proclaimed white supremacist named Richard Holzer, who was allegedly planning to bomb Temple Emanuel in Pueblo, Colorado—the second-oldest synagogue in the state.
This is, largely, a good thing. After sleeping on the white supremacist infiltration of police departments all across the country, it's nice to see the FBI is actually taking action against this hugely dangerous epidemic. And there's absolutely no question that Richard Holzer was a white supremacist with violent intentions. As the Justice Department explained in a press release:
Holzer, who self-identifies as a skinhead and a white supremacist, told undercover FBI agents that he wanted to do something that would tell Jewish people in the community that they are not welcome in Pueblo, and they should leave or they will die. The affidavit states that during a meeting with the undercover agents, Holzer repeatedly expressed his hatred of Jewish people and his support for RAHOWA, shorthand for a racial holy war.
Holzer also told the undercover FBI agents that he had already hired a "witch doctor" to "hex and poison" the water at the Temple, paying a Mexican cook to add arsenic into the pipes. It's unclear if this actually happened, or if it actually accomplished anything—but clearly, this guy was trouble. Read the rest
I spend more time than I probably should wondering when the luxury condo trend will finally come for the dead. Real estate is expensive, and there's lots of valuable land in urban areas that could be used for yet-another fancy steel-and-glass skyscraper used to hide foreign money—if it wasn't for the cemeteries that currently take up all that space. I even have a half-finished short story in a notebook somewhere riffing on the classic Stephen King scenario of towns built on Native American burial grounds, except it's just luxury condos built up on the corpses of, well, everyone.
But I was thinking too far ahead. Because I didn't stop to think about what happens to those graveyards now, as flooding and earthquakes and more extreme weather disturb the soil under which our loved ones have been laid to their eternal rests. As a recent article in Scientific American gruesomely details, coffins are already body-surfing through the streets of Louisiana during storms:
The caskets and their surface vaults are sealed airtight, so pressure builds inside them when a hurricane or flash flood covers them in water. Moisture weakens the vault seal, and eventually the water begins to bubble with dead air—the tell-tale sign a casket is ready to pop out of its grave, Hunter said.
“You hear the bubbles, you see the bubbles, and you know that seal is weakening because of that immense amount of pressure. And then the lid comes off,” he said.
The visual of bubbling coffins popping out of the ground is scary enough. Read the rest
Because we live on a divergent Hellworld timeline where everything is too comically absurd to be real except for the fact that it is, the BBC published an article about the need for asthmatics like me to step up our roles in fighting climate change. This is just the very beginning of it:
Many people with asthma could cut their carbon footprint and help save the environment by switching to "greener" medications, UK researchers say.
Making the swap would have as big an "eco" impact as turning vegetarian or becoming an avid recycler, they say.
As a lifelong asthmatic, I find it difficult to articulate the inherent bullshittery of this concept without smashing my laptop in a fit of hyperventilation. But that would require me to use my rescue inhaler to save my own life (and then I'd also be without a computer, which would make things even more difficult). But I'm going to try my best.
The initial premise here is based on the fact that some aerosol sprays contribute significantly to climate change. This apparently includes metered-dose inhalers—like the rescue one I use when my lungs stop working—which rely on hydrofluoroalkane in order to release that little misting burst of asthma medicine. In the UK, this is estimated to account for about 4 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions produced by the National Health Service and the related medical industry.
On the surface, there's nothing inherently wrong with pointing this out—indeed, the medical industry should find greener ways to do things! Read the rest
Well, no, probably not. Also the dialogue remains objectively terrible. But tumblr user swan2swan makes a fairly convincing argument that the actual plot of Star Wars Episode 1 is eerily reminiscent of our present predicament:
The Phantom Menace is the best movie ever because the entire premise is essentially “Amazon has obtained its own private army and now two future samurai have to stop it from forcing Natalie Portman’s planet to use its services by cutting through Jeff Bezos’s army of robots and attempting to convince Congress to do something about it SPOILER WARNING Congress doesn’t do jack so Natalie Portman has to take matters into her own hands also the day is saved by a redneck kid the samurai picked up when the car broke down”.
And I thought it was bad enough just thinking about how Trump could use Palpatine's tactics to cancel Election Day 2020.
Image via Hannford/Flickr and DoD/Flickr Read the rest
For a while, I blamed myself. I had that noticed my paltry Bitcoin investment was doing well, so I threw some extra cash in, just to say what it would do. That was just this past July. Days later, the value tanked. By September, I was down nearly 25 percent. Things have started to settle, but it's seemed so unpredictable that I've been hesitant to celebrate.
Now I know the truth. It wasn't my fault. It was the avocados—those same god damn avocados that ruined everything for millennials like me. But at least I got to enjoy them for cheaper while I stuffed my face to escape the pain of my crashing investment.
This isn't the first time someone has noticed the correlation, either. Back in April, the price of both jumped 35 percent. The avocados made sense—at the time, Trump had threatened to completely close the US-Mexico border, which would have seriously diminished our access to those delicious Aztesticles. Of course, we can always grow more avocados, whereas there will only ever be a finite 21 million theoretical Bitcoins in the world.
Clearly, there's a deeper meaning here. Correlation is not necessarily causation, it's true. But it's hard to deny the synchronicity, so weighted as it is with meaning. Perhaps the answer lies in the last untried home investment for millennials: Bitcoin Toast.
Think about it. Read the rest
Boris Karloff and Vincent Price are perhaps the two most well-known horror movie actors in history. But that's not all they had in common—they were, apparently, both fans of homemade guacamole.
Karloff's recipe was originally published in a newspaper (I couldn't track the original source, but the earliest date the image appears online is from November 2013). I personally prefer a squeeze of lime, rather than lemon juice, in my guacamole, but otherwise this is pretty straight-forward—except for that little touch of sherry. I've never tried that myself, but I bet it's worth a shot.
(The newspaper article also refers to this as a "sauce," which is…not how I tend to think of my guac?)
• 2 avocados
• 1 med. tomato, chopped fine
• 1 small onion, minced
• 1 tbsp. chopped canned green chiles
• 1 tbsp. lemon juice
• 1 tsp sherry
• Dash cayenne, optional
• Salt, pepper
Peel and mash avocados. Add onion, tomato and chiles, then stir in lemon juice, sherry and seasonings to taste, blending well. Serve as a dip for tortilla pieces or corn chips or as a canape spread. Makes 10 to 12 appetizer servings.Peel and mash avocados. Add onion, tomato and chiles, then stir in lemon juice, sherry and seasonings to taste, blending well. Serve as a dip for tortilla pieces or corn chips or as a canape spread. Makes 10 to 12 appetizer servings.
It was much easier to trace the source for Vincent Price's recipe, which was published in a cookbook that he and his wife put out in 1965. Read the rest
I ain't afraid of no fuckin' like an animal.
If this wasn't on your Halloween playlist, then what were you even doing?
Image via Pat Loika/Flickr Read the rest
States' rights are one of the greatest impediments to reducing gun violence in the United States.
This was something I noticed when I chronicled the journey of getting my gun license in Boston. It's also all-but-confirmed by the recent release of the ATF's gun tracking data. From The Trace:
According to the most recent ATF statistics, released in August, the bureau traced 332,101 guns in 2018. The average time-to-crime of those weapons was 8.8 years. That’s why a particularly short time-to-crime raises red flags for law enforcement, since it often suggests the weapon was acquired for criminal purposes.
In California, for example, 12 percent of the guns recovered in the state had a time-to-crime of less than one year. When you isolate only those guns that originated in Nevada and were recovered in California, the figure jumps to 23 percent — almost one in four. (Nationally, 10 percent of all guns had a time-to-crime of less than one year.)
For the pro-gun NRA crowd, this essentially proves that gun regulation doesn't work; that's a reason they love to talk about Chicago so much, even though most of the illegal guns there come from Indiana. But I don't actually buy that at all. The issue is and always been about ease of access. Most people aren't going to go out of their way to navigate the black market, trading Bitcoin over Silk Road just to get a gun. If you live in California, and have a cousin in Nevada (or even just know a guy who knows a guy), it becomes less of a "black market" trade, and more of a favor. Read the rest
Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowship-winning philosopher Elizabeth Anderson recently spoke with Joe Humphreys at the Irish Times about America's toxic obsession with by-your-bootstraps individualism, and specifically how it relates to poverty.
There are plenty of impactful quotes throughout the interview, but the parts that stuck out the most to me—as an agnostic born into an Irish Catholic family, whose mother worked for the church for a long time—were her observations about America's puritanical roots, and, later, the impacts of World War II. Anderson essentially proposes the idea that early America Puritans like the Pilgrims were determined to distance themselves from the institutional power of the Catholic church—which, for all its faults, has at least had a longstanding commitment to helping and empathizing with those suffering from poverty. In addition to Manifest Destiny, these Puritans believed that hard work was the only promise of salvation, which eventually evolved into the whole "rugged individualism" idea that consumes so many American conservatives and Evangelicals. While Anderson acknowledges that this ethic is rooted in a very pro-worker mindset, it's clearly been secularized over time into a highly partisan hatred of the poor, with a nod towards its religious roots:
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There is a profound suspicion of anyone who is poor, and a consequent raising to the highest priority imposing incredibly humiliating, harsh conditions on access to welfare benefits on the assumption you’re some kind of grifter, or you’re trying to cheat the system. There is no appreciation for the existence of structural poverty, poverty that is not the fault of your own but because the economy maybe is in recession or, in a notorious Irish case, the potato crop fails.
"Do you want to fuck snowman? It doesn't have to be a snowman…"
Apparently—if you're 20-year-old Cody Meadar of St. Petersburg, Florida—it could also be a stuffed toy unicorn.
From the Tampa Bay Times:
A St. Petersburg man was arrested Tuesday after police said he “dry humped" multiple stuffed animals at the Park Place Target, including Olaf, the snowman from the wildly successful Disney film Frozen.
The other victim was a large stuffed unicorn.
Police said Cody Meader, 20, of St. Petersburg, entered the store around 2 p.m. Tuesday. He walked up to a display of merchandise from Frozen, picked a large Olaf stuffed animal, placed it on the floor and proceeded to rub himself against it until he ejaculated.
Then he put it back on the display.
The fact that he put it back on display might be the most egregious detail here. At least show that stuffed animal a modicum of respect by bringing home after you non-consensually violate it.
There could have been a totally-tasteless joke in here about cooling down in the warm climate of Florida. Unfortunately, it was a whopping 53 degrees Fahrenheit in St. Petersburg on the day in question. So while there's generally no excusing for ejaculating on a stuffed snowman in the middle of big box store, this guy definitely has no excuse—except for the fact that he lives in Florida.
Image via Wikimedia Commons Read the rest