• Revisiting the "Satanic panic" of the 1980s in Stranger Things season 4

    On Polygon, tabletop game historian, Jon Peterson (Playing at the World, The Elusive Shift) looks at the "Satanic panic" of the 1980s, which serves as one of the themes in season 4 of Stranger Things.

    It is an interesting piece about how TSR certainly flirted with real-world occultism and demonology as they knew interest in the subject and its transgressive nature would attract players.

    To those who think of Demogorgon as no more real than Thanos, the reuse of existing mythology in the Monster Manual may seem as harmless as appropriating Tolkien's orcs. But the co-creators of D&D, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, were both quite serious about Christianity. When people started questioning the use of "real-world" religion in D&D, Gygax drew the line at including angels, writing in Dragon magazine #43, "While little objection can be made to the utilization and slaying of demons and devils, who would dare say the same of angels? Surely you can recognize that game use of such is absolutely out of the question for those of the Judeo-Christian faith."

    So for Gygax, at least, it was all right to include "real" demons in D&D as long as they were villains. But not everyone who played the game treated them that way. Plenty of early D&D adopters in the 1970s had a parallel interest in the occult. Some of that was the lingering hippie New Age vogue for astrology, crystals, and tarot cards. But other players weren't reading horoscopes so much as Aleister Crowley — they thought the occult was cool. Those sorts of people had done a very different sort of historical research, and they took D&D to places that Gygax would never have anticipated.

    Read the rest.

  • Watch a woman struggle for two minutes straight trying to open her marble-sealed Ramune drink

    As anyone who has enjoyed a Ramune — the Japanese soda sealed with a marble — knows, it's not always easy to open. You need to slam the lodged marble into your drink with an included plastic tool to open the bottle. Even with instructions attached to the lid, there are more than a few YouTube support videos explaining how to do it. Which is what makes this woman trying to dislodge the marble from her blue-flavored beverage so funny. We've all been there.

    Thumbnail image: Sheila Fitzgerald / shutterstock.com

  • Pastor Jonathan Shelley shows up at Texas city council meeting to say gay people should be executed (video)

    And yet another hate-filled gentleman posing as an outraged Christian pastor reared his bigoted head on Tuesday when he showed up at an Arlington City Council meeting in Texas.

    Pastor Jonathan Shelley, who runs the anti-LGBTQ Stedfast Baptist Church in Texas, addressed the Council to say he was "horrified and ashamed" that the city acknowledged Pride Month. "I don't know why we would promote disease and AIDS in our community," he said.

    He also told the council that Pride Month was an "abomination" and that gay people should be executed. (See video below.)

    "According to God we should hate Pride, not celebrate it," the mistaken man said.

    "I don't understand why we celebrate what used to be a crime not long ago. God has already ruled that murder, adultery, witchcraft, rape, bestiality and homosexuality are crimes worthy of capital punishment."

    During his three-minute religious rant, some people in the room booed, while others frequently said "Amen" in agreement with the Pastor. And the City Council members? Stone silence.

    This is the same pastor who celebrated when a 75-year-old man was accidentally run over and killed at a 2019 Pride event, according to Queerty.

    "And, you know, it's great when trucks accidentally go through those, you know, parades," Pastor Jonathan Shelley said then. "I think only one person died. So hopefully we can hope for more in the future."

  • This affordable and stylish tabletop fire pit leaves zero mess

    Whether it's winter or summer, there is something so inviting about a fire. It's a great way to create intimate lighting, adds to the coziness of an atmosphere, and enhances the aesthetics of any situation. We haven't even gotten to the s'mores benefits of fires yet! But the reality is that fires can be frustrating to build: There's not always a convenient place to have one, the cleanup can be tough, and the smell of campfire lingers far too long.

    The Trellick Outdoor Concrete Fire Pit from Lamp Depot is a solution to all those pesky side effects. This small and convenient fire pit is light and portable, so you can bring it anywhere you travel. Set it up outside for some additional warmth and light, or set it on your table to add a "wow" factor when it's lit. (You also can choose a cylinder or cuboid shape to really make sure it fits your style schemes.) Since it's made out of high-temperature resistance concrete and runs on standard isopropyl rubbing alcohol, it doesn't create smoke, soot, or mess — so you can really feel comfortable lighting it up, well, anywhere.

    "Everyone who comes over loves it. It's so cool!" one user raved in a five-star review on the Lamp Depot site.

    Just keep some things in mind: Fuel is not included, and you can only use 70%, 91%, or greater isopropyl alcohol with this tabletop fire pit. For your safety, don't move it around either when it's lit, or pour the fuel onto an open flame or while the fire pit still feels warm.

    Got it? Well, you're ready to have the use and beauty of this fire pit wherever you go! It's currently on sale for just $92.99. You can get the Trellick Outdoor Concrete Fire Pit here.

    Prices subject to change.

  • Neptunes Portal is an interactive art project that the public can participate in by peeking into a mystifying green cylinder

    In Encinitas, California, you'll find the one and only Neptunes Portal. It is an interactive art project that the public can participate in by peeking into a mystifying green cylinder. Jack Lampl, the creator of this project, has the green cylinder sitting on top of his mailbox outside of his house. When you look into the portal, you can press a button to record your face and leave a message. The messages are posted on the Neptunes Portal website. The project has been ongoing since 2007 and was even active during the pandemic (with safety precautions intact). Look through the archive of recordings that have taken place over the last 15 years.

    The Neptunes Portal artist statement from the website:

    "Since my intention is to make this an exploratory and interactive experience, I hesitate to say too much right now about my intentions in case this might limit the possibilities.

    Let me say that Neptune's Portal evolved from a kind of visionary state that combined my joy and gratefulness to be able to live at this spot with an awareness of what surrounds me/us – which is not all visible on the surface and not always postcard beautiful.

    Each of us is a composite of what we consciously know and what lies buried beneath – out of our awareness, but not without impact on our thoughts, feelings and actions. The ocean is also a good example of this phenomenon.

    NeptunesPortal is my invitation to all of us to stop, look inside and perhaps find something new, something hidden, something unexpected and then share it honestly and without self censorship. I know this is not an easy task and not without imagined risk. We are very used to limiting our experience to the more routine and to expressing the same thing over and over again.

    In reality we are always changing. NeptunesPortal is a passageway between the past and the future. A place to discover in ourselves what is true right now and each now that you pass by and feel moved to leave a message for the community.

    Hold down the red button and speak. I post your messages at www.neptunesportal.tv

    I look forward to sharing with you in this discovery. Jack"

  • Ted Cruz mocked on Jimmy Kimmel for blaming school shootings on too many doors (video)

    Ridiculous reasons for the mass shooting epidemic in the United States range from listening to rap music to not having enough guns on school campuses. But Senator Ted Cruz's reason takes the cake: schools have too many doors (see tweet at bottom of post).

    "Do you want to talk about how we could have prevented the horror that played out across the street?" the beach bum said on Tuesday after 19 children and two teachers were gunned down in Uvalde, Texas. "Having one door that goes in and out of the school."

    And never one to let D.C. idiocracy slide, Jimmy Kimmel recapped Cruz's solution to school shootings (video below :37).

    "I see, so this wasn't a gun problem. This was a door problem," Kimmel said, equating Cruz's solution to turning schools into prisons. "Get rid of the doors. Makes total sense."

    Maybe we should just hang an EXIT sign on the school's one door so that "no one can come in," Kimmel continued. "They'll see the sign, they'll turn right around. There will be no problems at all."

    Kimmel then assured us that Cancun Cruz knows a lot about doors, as the brave Senator made sure to offer a door window for his dog Snowflake to look out when he escaped to Mexico during his frozen state's massive power grid failure.

    "What a stupid fake idea," Kimmel said, returning to the matter at hand. "Listen, Ted, I know you'd rather spend your days doing impressions of the Simpsons and googling stepmom porn, but at some point you might have to get down to it and do your job ― and doors ain't it."

  • Texas authorities admit Uvalde shooter wasn't "barricaded"

    Sewell Chan, Editor in Chief of The Texas Tribune, reports that police in Texas have admitted that the Uvalde mass shooter was not in fact barricaded inside the elementary school classroom where he killed 19 children.

    The New York Times adds that 19 officers (one for each young victim), gathered in the hallway outside the room within minutes of the gunman entering the school—then waited for 45 minutes even as he continued firing.

    The updates come from an ongoing press conference so far packed with similar revisions and outright contradictions to the stories—frankly, the lies—so far told by law enforcement about what happened at Tuesday's mass shooting at Ross Elementary School and their unwillingness to engage the perpetrator. He was only confronted and killed after federal officers from the U.S. Border Patrol turned up and entered the classroom.

  • If you speed up "Never Gonna Give You Up," it becomes a magical girl anime theme song

    Scienceandfandoms says: "My friend was messing with Never Gonna Give You Up on her record player and she sped it up. It beCAME A FREAKING MAGICAL GIRL THEME."

    Muscle Man, who posted the video to Twitter, says: "For anyone curious for why this works so well, it's because never gonna give you up has the EXACT same chord progression as most anime songs."

    This isn't the first time NGGYU has gotten the treatment:

  • Watch this video to learn how a can of aerosol cheese works

    YouTuber Parttwos says, "I cut open the cheese can because I always wanted to know what was inside one of them and how did it work. Now I know."

    And now you know. The top part of the can contains delectable semi-liquid cheese food product. The bottom part of the can contains pressurized gas. Separating the two is a plastic piston. When you press the valve, the pressurized gas pushes on the piston, and the cheese squirts out of the valve. Shaving cream works the same way.

  • The wonderful FryDaddy electric deep fryer

    The FryDaddy electric deep fryer is awesome — I use it a couple of times a week to fry sweet potato, butternut squash, and Brussels sprouts chips. (Here's the coconut oil I use with it.)

    Lately, I've been frying very thinly cut slices of butternut squash. It's a bit tricky, because for five minutes it doesn't look like anything is happening, then suddenly the slices begin to brown, and about a minute later, they start to burn. There's a 30-second window where they are perfectly browned and on the edge of being crispy and chewy. With a little salt, they are one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten.  See photo above. The photos below are of more thickly cut butternut squash, which is also delicious.

  • NRA-owned senator tries to escape through locked door to avoid CNN reporter's question about gun laws

    The Brady Center to Prevent Gun violence says GOP Senator Ron Johnson has received $1,269,486 from the NRA.

    In this video, Johnson is seen trying to open a locked door to avoid CNN's Manu Raju's question about gun laws.

    As Raju approached Johnson in a hallway he asked, "Senator Johnson, in the wake of this shooting, why not expand background checks including on firearms and gun sales? Why not expand background checks?"

    Johnson said nothing as he turned the doorknob, discovered it was locked, and walked away in a hurry. He found an opened door and slipped in.

    His refusal to answer Raju's question should be good for another couple of hundred grand from the NRA.

  • Lauren Boebert brushed off 15,000 violent gun deaths per year as just a "drop in the bucket" (video)

    Lauren Boebert's flippant remarks about gun deaths in the 2018 video below sums up the ghastly NRA-fueled mindset GOP politicians embrace. In a car leaving her Colorado town of Rifle to counterprotest at an anti-school-shooting March For Our Lives rally, the Congresswoman says she's "not happy about it."

    "If this is really a March For Our Lives, let's march against abortion, because I was looking at statistics, and there are nearly 1 million abortions per year in America," she said, comparing abortions to gunning down children at school. (And of course her stats were off. According to the CDC the number of U.S. abortions in 2018 was 614,820.)

    "Do you know how many gun violent deaths there are in America [per year]?" she asks.

    "15,000," she answers with a smirk, as if she's just delivered a gotcha fact. "Hmm. A drop in the bucket I'd say."

    And clearly, with school shootings on the rise including 27 U.S. school shootings that have taken place so far just this year (which doesn't include other 2022 mass shootings like the deadly Tops market massacre in Buffalo that killed 10 people earlier this month), her politically motivated "drop in the bucket" attitude is not just hers alone.

  • Ted Cruz angrily walks away from a British reporter who asked him why school shootings happen only in the United States

    Ted Cruz is one of the most dishonest politicians in the United States, and has a habit of arguing with reporters who call him out on his frequent lies.

    Yesterday he walked away from a British reporter in a snit when he was asked why school shootings happen only in the United States.

    Cruz turned to snarl at the reporter, "Why is it that people come from all over the world to America? 'Cause it's the freest, most prosperous, safest country on earth. Stop being a propagandist," before heading for the exit once again.

    Let's fact check Cruz's claim:

    The United States is the 15th freest country in the world, according to the Human Freedom Index Report for 2021, published by the Cato Institute in Washington DC and the Fraser Institute in Vancouver Canada.

    The United States is the 20th most prosperous country in the world, according to the Legatum Institute's 2021 global Prosperity Index. (The top five most prosperous are Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland)

    The United States is the 69th most safe and secure country in the world, again according to the Legatum Institute's 2021 global Prosperity Index. ("Safety and Security in the United States has weakened in the past decade, falling 11 ranks to 69th in the world. The country's low ranking continues to result from high levels of violent crime, with the United States ranking 109th in the world for homicides.")

  • Texas police didn't want to confront mass shooter because "they could have been shot"

    Parked under his stupid fucking hat, Texas DPS officer Lt. Chris Olivarez tells CNN why police didn't confront the Uvalde man slaughtering children and teachers at an elementary school: because "they could have been shot. They could have been killed."

    Well, wouldn't want to get shot! See ya on the other side, kids.

  • Herschel Walker falsely claims he never falsely claimed he graduated from University of Georgia

    Trump's top very special genius, Herschel Walker, enjoys lying so much, that now he is lying about lying. Last year the GOP senate candidate for Georgia claimed on his campaign website that he graduated from the University of Georgia. Actually, he quit after his junior year so he could play professional football. The claim disappeared from his website when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked about it.

    According to CNN, Walker has been claiming that he not only graduated from University of Georgia but that he graduated in the top 1% of his class. But when Fox five Atlanta interviewed Walker and asked him about his false claim, he said he never claimed that he graduated from the University of Georgia. He told the interviewer: "I never said that. They say that. And I said — that's what you gotta remember. I never, I never have said that statement. Not one time. I've said that I studied criminal justice at UGA."

    CNN asked Walker's campaign for comment, and spokesman Mallory Blount would only say: "Imagine a world where the media cared as much about solving inflation, gas prices and baby formula shortages as they do about re-litigating every word Herschel has ever said."

    I can't wait until Walker is in office and solves the baby formula shortage. It is about time the government does something about that! Here's how I imagine he'll do it:

    Walker: "I've been working with the baby formula industry to create a new formula that will work for all babies. It will be available in stores within the next few months."

    American people: "Ooh, that's great! How did you come up with that?"

    Walker: "I used my very special genius to create it."

    American people: "Thank you so much for using your very special genius to help us!"

    Walker: "You're welcome. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go lie about something else."

  • No-nonsense MIDI player for modern Macs

    With shock and horror, I realized that my computer, an M1 Mac, could not play MIDI files! It's been a while, to say the least, and some cursory research suggests Quicktime's support for MIDI died when it went 64-bit. I set about finding a simple, no-nonsense player and found Peter Wunder's MinimalMIDIPlayer at github, which is free of charge and worked perfectly. It even has soundfont support! The others I googled my way to either cost money or would not launch on my machine.

  • Get your wine on this summer with 15 bottles from Splash Wines for $50

    There's nothing quite like sipping on a chilled glass of wine on a hot summer day to take the edge off and wind down. This summer, instead of spending $10 to $20 per bottle, you can get an assortment of 15 good-tasting wines from Splash Wines for only $50. An amazing way to prepare and stock up your home for the summer or even give away as a thoughtful gift to family and friends. 

    The great thing about these mega-savings is that they won't interfere with the quality of the wine. Splash Wines has made sure to curate a remarkable selection of their best-selling wines for the season included in this bundle. Most of these wines retail alone for $20 per bottle and are wines that customers keep coming back for. When selecting your 15-pack you can choose between all-red, all-white or mixed, adjusting to your taste or mood at the moment. 

    Not only is this bundle a money-saver, but it's also a time-saver with fast delivery straight to your door. You no longer have to make the trip to the store and waste time looking through large and crowded wine racks. Splash Wines does all the shopping and heavy-lifting for you, while all you have to do is bring out your favorite wine glass – cheers to that. 

    This 15-pack bundle has a 5 out of 5-star rating, leaving customers very satisfied with raving reviews like this one, "Great deal, good wine, would order again. Thanks, I will tell all my friends about your wines, you should be getting more orders in the near future." 

    For wine lovers, this 15-pack best-selling summer wine bundle is a no-brainer when it comes to money, time and convenience. You no longer need to worry about running out or being low on wine and can even host one or more summer parties with just a single purchase. 

    You're just one click away from the best summer ever, but you have to act fast because this 15-pack Splash Wines summer bundle for $50 will only last until May 31st thanks to the Memorial Day Sale

    Prices subject to change.