Friday, April 25, 2014

The kind of political joke pics you see on Facebook...

The Korean Peninsula is an excellent example of Communism's failures and the success of Free Enterprise. South Korea is prosperous enough to be a G20 country and a major player in the world economy. North Korea looks virtually deserted in this night time picture from orbit.

I wouldn't say that South Korea was a virtual Shangri-La. I lived there for nearly 14 months (August of 2010 to late September of 2011) in the Countryside, not too far from a city named Uijeongbu. The city seemed quite prosperous, like any modern city in a free country should. The rural areas outside of town (and South Korea has no suburbs as we Americans would understand them), were basically a time capsule of Korea's recent past. If you wanted to know what the country looked like when America fought a war there in the 1950's, all you had to do was leave of the cities. There's a VERY large gap between rich and poor there.

All that being said, I'd rather be poor in South Korea instead of ANY kind of status in North Korea. Rich or poor, in the South I'd at least still be a free man.

- Lord Publius

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The reason why I will soon buy a PS Vita

If you ever wanted to trip out like Dave Bowman at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey without using LSD, this game may very well do the trick.


I'm not happy about it being only a digital download title with no option for a physical copy but, I can live with it... It's not every day that Jeff Minter creates a modern update/remake to his seminal work, Tempest 2000 for the Atari Jaguar. That was one of my all-time favorite games as a teenager. I spent only God knows how many hours just zoning out of reality playing that game. Yes, it really was (and still is) that good.

Anyway, I was wondering if I'd ever have a real reason to get the PS Vita. Now I do. Too bad the cheapest one I can find (so far) is $200 and comes bundled with a game I don't even want. Oh, well. I'll find a solution to that problem...

- Lord Publius

Thursday, April 17, 2014

15th Anniversary of the Columbine Massacre

This Sunday is more than just Easter for 2014. It's also the 15th Anniversary of the Columbine Massacre. I have decided to reflect on my own unique experiences with this tragic event in recent history... And debunk a LOT of the BULLSHIT that normally got passed around and became Urban Legend because of this tragedy.

1.) Did the Columbine shooters really use custom-made levels for the PC game Doom to practice the shooting in advance?

First, is an urban legend about gaming, which hits pretty damned close to home for me. This one is about the infamous 'Harris Levels' made by the Columbine Shooter, Eric Harris. I have these levels and have played them a few times in college to study the layout and design. Their design was appallingly bad. Also, NONE of them resembled ANY high school anywhere, let alone Columbine. Harris and his shitbag co-hort Dylan Klebold didn't decide to kill their classmates after playing a few computer games. THEY COMMITED THIS ACT OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM BECAUSE THEY WERE SICK IN THE HEAD.

And yes, I did call it an act of Terrorism back then in 1999.

2.) Are you going to blow up the school?

I got asked this question by a lot of stupid, pot-smoking teenagers... And I'll give you all the same answer now that I did back then:

Of course not, Dumbass. Even if I were, do you honestly believe I would tell you about it beforehand? That would reduce the number of people I could theoretically take out in the explosion!

Fucking High School kids... I swear...

3.) Why did everyone think I was going to shoot someone or set off a bomb?

Short answer: Because people are stupid.

Long answer: I was the weird kid in class and wore a LOT of black clothes, including a leather motorcycle jacket and concert T-Shirts everyday. Combine that with Aspergian mannerisms/lack of interest in social activity and its only natural that the other children would be wary of me. They didn't understand me and neuro-typicals fear what they do not understand.

Then, two dumbasses in Colorado go on a shooting spree and freak everyone out. The media labels them as outsiders that wear lots of black, listen to Heavy Metal and play Doom. I was also an outsider, wore lots of black (and still do sometimes), listen to Heavy Metal and sometimes play violent games like Doom. So, like the idiots that teenagers usually are, they put 2 & 2 together and then (somehow) ended up with 5.

All that being said, I did get to take these lemons that life handed me and make some lemonade. I spent a lot of time in principal/administrator/disciplinarian's offices because of this crap and got to know them all pretty well. Thanks to the rapport that I established with them, I managed to get away with a lot of behavior that might have otherwise resulted in disciplinary action.

4.) Was anyone on MY side in this whole sick and twisted affair?

Besides the school's faculty, largely no. Some of my friends thought I was getting a raw deal but, to my knowledge, only one individual stuck up for me in public. Those who were in High School with me and are now reading this should already know who she was so, I won't mention her name here.

All I will say is that she is still to this day one of the few people who can actually talk some sense into me when I'm being a stubborn ass. (Or if my thought processes have become psychologically compromised in some way...) That is why she's my go-to person for advice on many things I don't understand, especially social issues. I normally refer to her by the Italian phrase 'Primo Amore' as a special title.

For example, while I was serving in Korea, I had a rather bizarre 'romantic pursuit', for lack of better term, involving a young female soldier that was my friend. I kept trying to be a gentleman to this chick I had fallen for but, she wasn't treating me well. She was just trying to play head games with people, acting friendly one minute and pushing you away the next. The observed behavior was rather contradictory and confusing, to say the least...

Anyway, the Primo Amore very carefully and diplomatically advised me via Facebook message that this chick was nuts and I should let her go. After thinking about it for about 48 hours, I decided that she was right and took that advice. That was probably one of the smartest decisions I had made while I was over there in that country.

5.) Was there ever any danger of me 'going Ape Shit' on the school?

No. That would be a waste of time and ammo that I didn't even really have. How does a law-abiding teenager get his hands on the arsenal required to launch that kind of assault?

I did find it quite amusing that so many of my classmates were so scared shit-less of me. I normally didn't engage ANY of them and can't even remember most of their names now. Simply put, if that person isn't currently on my friend lists at various social media sites, I probably don't remember that they even existed.

I'll admit that I did have some fun with them and played a few mind games, convincing them that I was the head of an Sicilian organized crime syndicate or some other completely ridiculous bullshit. It was quite a laugh for me, even if no else thought it was funny. Here's how it usually went...

*Random teenager (hence referred to as 'RT') slowly walks up to me*

RT: Um, are you going to blow up the school?

Me: Do you think I will?

RT: Yeah...

Me: Then why should I tell you anything since it's pretty clear you've already made up your mind?

RT: Uhhh...

Me (speaking with a slight Sicilian accent): Look, Dumbass. I wouldn't waste my time destroying this place with a bomb. That's a waste of a perfectly good bomb. I wouldn't shoot any of you kids either because that's a waste of good ammo. It would also accomplish NOTHING at all. So fuck off with that shit!

RT: But...

Me: But nothing, you lower form of life! You are not a threat and thus, are not something I feel a need to exterminate, even if you are currently making yourself a pest! Besides, what self-respecting Paisan is going to discuss family business with someone outside of the Family? *Starts rolling eyes, muttering/cursing under breath in English and Italian as I walk away...*

And that is how you get rid of one ridiculous fear and replace it with another that can actually work to your advantage, if you're a good enough actor. Kinda sad that I would have to gaslight at least half of the kids in school but, they put themselves in that position. All I did was decide that it's better to rule in Hell when it becomes obvious that you aren't welcome in Heaven.

- Lord Publius

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vaccines DON'T Cause Autism. Period.

Don't believe an Aspie about Vaccines being safe and NOT causing Autism? How about a Doctor? And not just any Doctor but, one that conducts autism research and specializes in pediatrics.

Humans try to make sense of the world by seeing patterns. When they see a disease or condition that tends to appear around the time a child is a year or so old, as autism does, and that is also the age that kids get particular shots, they want to put those things together. Parents watch kids more carefully after they get shots. Sometimes they pick up on symptoms then. Just because two things happen at the same time doesn’t mean that one caused the other. This is why we need careful scientific studies.

^^^Well said, Doctor.

- Lord Publius

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The True Science of Parallel Universes

This is probably the best Layman's terms explanations for Parallel universes that I have ever seen.

- Lord Publius

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

About the Cars destroyed in the sinkhole at the Corvette museum

All 8 of the Corvettes that got swallowed by the sinkhole have been excavated now. Some are repairable. The 'Blue Devil' ZR-1 (which I think I have actually seen and sat inside of at a few car shows) actually drove out of the museum under it's own power, mostly intact. It was a very emotional moment for me to see that video online.

Immediately after the sinkhole happened, GM said it would restore every single one of the cars affected. That is possible for some but, not all. There are A few that are nothing but scrap now. They barely even recognizable as cars, let alone priceless Corvettes. (It really hurts me inside to have to write that...) Considering the 'damage' to these essentially destroyed cars, I think trying to repair/restore them is a mistake. They are gone... at least, in their previous form.

So, I have a proposal for GM: DON'T restore the cars that were just plain destroyed in this catastrophe. Instead, melt them down and recast them as new parts for a new one-off C7 'Super-Vette' that acts as a testbed for new technologies. After the C7 is replaced with the C8 in a few years, this new 'memorial on wheels' will take its rightful place in the museum with a very special display. It would be just the kind of 'Phoenix rising from the Ashes' story that will inspire car nuts and the Corvette faithful for Generations to come. It would also generate a LOT of good publicity, the kind that any automaker would kill to get, not to mention probably costing a lot less money.

- Lord Publius

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Why minimum wage shouldn't be raised to over $10 an hour

Yes, many fast-food employees are just as stupid/burned out as Beavis and Butt-head and yes, customers do indeed sometimes suck. I know from firsthand experience, working in a donut shop for a few months during my senior year of High School. It was an amusing way to get spending cash/gas money but, definitely NOT a career. The amount of work involved just doesn't warrant any kind of appreciable wage. People wanting Federal Minimum Wage to increase to over $10/hour need to be made to understand that simple fact.

- Lord Publius

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Why the Friend Zone is EVIL

Yeah, I would find a video of a hot, bisexual, redheaded nerd chick talking about THE FUCKING FRIENDZONE... among other things...

Ladies, the 'Friend Zone' is BULLSHIT. I'm not going to talk about how I have been put there a few times. There's no need. Every guy has been there before. All that I ask of you ladies is that you be honest with us from the start. Don't leave any ambiguity with whether or not we have a chance. If you know we don't, find a tactful way to tell us.

All that being said, I think I might have kinda-sorta put someone in this 'friend zone' once without even realizing it at the time. She wasn't really my friend, though. She was someone that was associated with people I once called friends years ago in high school and college. It happened because I didn't really know how to tactfully and respectfully reject her without hurting her feelings. I don't like doing that when it can be avoided. Even worse, I knew about this person's feelings for several YEARS before she told me. So, how did this happen? Well, allow me to tell you the story of a sad little lost soul that we shall refer to as 'LD'...

I sure hope that I don't look and sound like an asshole for telling this story...

The story of this person starts while I'm in High School, circa 1998 or 1999. I can't remember which. At the time, LD was part of the group of people that were always around me. I hesitate to call them 'friends' since I didn't really speak to many of them. For a time, LD was dating someone I called a friend at the time. We'll call that guy HJ. The courtship didn't last more than a month or two, as I recall.

Anyway, LD tried to engage me on plenty of occasions. I thought she was trying to be friendly to the friends of her boyfriend. That does make logical sense. You want to get along with your significant other's friends and family, right? The only one of these conversations that I remember now was her trying to invite me to a birthday party. I made no commitments since I was pretty darned anti-social at the time. Also, no one knew it then but, I was about to distance myself from that little clique. I decided most of them were losers for one reason or another and didn't want to associate with them anymore. The ones that were worth keeping around were kept and the rest were forgotten.

During the summer of 1999, HJ called me on the phone. During the conversation, he mentioned that LD wanted to date me. I don't remember exactly what was said but, I flatly rejected the idea. There was no attraction at all. Fast forward a few years to 2008 and LD managed to find a way back into my general presence. HJ did on occasion too and demonstrated why I was right to push him away years earlier. I guess the two of them entering my life again in some small way was partially my fault. I didn't get rid of everyone from that High School clique and I still haven't to this day. There are 2 of them that are still friends of mine. They actually made something of themselves so, I like having them around. The rest didn't and I don't know where they are or what they are doing now. That is really for the best. Right or wrong, people will judge you based on the company you keep.

So, at that point in time, 2008, I was in my last year of college and looking forward to becoming a success in life. The social clique I had at that time wasn't really doing much to move their lives forward. I was taking practical steps to improve my life and they were working dead-end jobs and trying to get on American Idol. No, I am not making that up or exaggerating at all. There sole ambition in life was to get on a TV singing competition, hoping that it would lead to a musical career. Musical careers are a long shot, even if you have talent.

On Friday (and sometimes Saturday) nights, we'd all meet at a local bar where they'd sing karaoke. I didn't sing but, I did enjoy some of the performances. Some of them could actually sing rather well. LD somehow managed to work her way into this group. I'm guessing she got in touch with them through MySpace or Facebook. She tried engaging me in conversation and had more luck this time around. Lord Publius in 2008 was nowhere near as anti-social as Lord Publius in 1999. After all, what harm is there in talking to someone and actually being social?

The conversations weren't very 'deep', I guess you could say but, I wasn't exactly expecting a debate on temporal mechanics, either. Some of it was just trying to catch up with me and telling me about what she had been doing with her life. She also tried convincing me that her musical tastes had changed to something I would like, namely starting to embrace Hard Rock and Metal instead of listening to Country. Nice try LD but, it was never going to work. Under most circumstances, I don't care about someone's musical tastes. She also made a lot of mistakes in telling me some really personal things, like how she had a baby with some guy that was a total loser. I've met this person too. He wasn't exactly the kind of guy I'd want to follow behind.

One night at this bar, I stepped outside for fresh air. I probably wanted to avoid having to listen to a bad singer too. That happened a lot. LD followed me outside along with a few others. The others smoked a cigarette and then went back inside. I think smoking in bars was legal in Louisiana at that time but, some places would still ban it anyway. I think that particular establishment was one of them. LD was once again talking to me while smoking a cigarette (which is enough to turn me off by itself since I'm a non-smoker) but, I probably wasn't paying much attention. I had no interest in even knowing her. Most folks would take the hint when you ignore them but, this one didn't. Something tells me that she had some serious social issues that were undiagnosed and/or untreated. I seem to unwittingly attract those kind of people since they see me as someone on the outside who doesn't even care about participating in society. Being an outsider and not caring about it probably makes me look like some kind of hero to them. The truth is that I just prefer to dispense with the bullshit that NT's often tolerate and make my life and social contributions much more productive and relevant. Creatures of Logic are not likely to do something that seems ridiculous just because everyone else does these things. I really should someday write a post that debunks the myths about those of us that have Asperger's Syndrome...

So, the course of conversation somehow drifts back to her love life, a conversation that I really did NOT want to have with anyone at that time. She told me that she had feelings for me in High School, even while she was dating HJ. What she didn't know (and that I never told her) was that I already knew of those feelings because of HJ telling me in 1999. I didn't say anything to her. I didn't know how to respond, let alone how I could respond without hurting her feelings. The conversation ended a few minutes later when she finished her cigarette and went back inside. I stood outside for a few minutes longer, wondering how I was going to deal with this scenario.

Over the course of time, she kept trying to ingratiate herself to me. I kept acting the same: not showing any real interest. Most would get the idea and just stop but, this one wouldn't. One night at that bar, I was playing with a new iPod Touch that I won in a contest. She was going on and on about something from her personal life and trying to get my attention. It was proving to be a rather annoying distraction. After a while, I just blurted out 'LD, I just don't care!' thinking that would shut her up. Instead, everyone at the table just laughed and she said 'Only you, Publius.' At this time, no one knew I was an Aspie. They had no idea that I was being quite serious and that I really didn't care about whatever it was she was trying to tell me.

Sometime later that summer, I got annoyed with that group and just drop-kicked all but two out of my personal life. I never did see LD again. She tried to add me on Facebook a few times but, I would always reject her. After repeated attempts, I just blocked her. It got to a point where I didn't even feel comfortable talking to her on the Internet, let alone anywhere else. I wouldn't call her a 'Stage-5 Clinger' but, she did leave me feeling pretty uncomfortable.

Since then, I have always wondered if I did the right thing in not telling her that I was uninterested. Did I lead her on without realizing it at the time? Did I unwittingly give her false hope? I guess I'll never know... What I do know is that this poor soul was trying to reach out to me and I just didn't care. I had no regard or interest in this person's feelings about me or anything else. However, she probably somehow still thought I was her friend or something similar. Blame it on the Asperger's if you want but, it still seems a bit cold.

So, as you can see, the 'Friend Zone' doesn't feel so good when the proverbial shoe is on the other foot, either. (I am also assuming that you, my dear reader, have a conscience.) This social concept should be avoided at all costs and made to be considered unacceptable in civilized society. It causes a lot more problems than it could ever solve.

- Lord Publius

Saturday, April 5, 2014

How Science *actually* works and a recent epiphany...

For those who think they know how Science works but, really don't have a clue... (Anti-vaxxers, Global Warming proponents, pretty much anyone with a gris gris based on psuedoscience...)

And every time that I ask someone for their data that backs up their conclusions, I'm always refused. That is how I know someone is full of shit when they try to tell me that a MMR vaccine causes autism, Humans are barbecuing the world by burning fossil fuels, et al.

If they were really so sure, they would have lots of evidence to back up their claim and said evidence would stand up to scrutiny too.

So, why do people believe things that are obviously untrue and/or thoroughly debunked? Why would they take the word of a failed politician or an ex-Playboy model on scientific or medical issues instead of an actual subject matter expert like Doctors and Scientists? Why cling to a belief that you know doesn't stand up to scrutiny?

I was thinking about that yesterday and then had a very frightening epiphany. It is no longer a cultural issue or scientific concern for some folks. That deeply held belief became so ingrained into their world view that it unwittingly became a religion. No reasonable debate or any amount of facts, logic or research will ever convince these people that they are wrong. There will also be a future post discussing the good and bad aspects to religion sometime soon.

Ordinarily, I'd laugh at these people for letting their emotions overrule their better judgment. However, I can't do that with Anti-vaxxers and Global Warming nuts. They are doing actual harm to society with this BULLSHIT that they perpetuate. The kids that go un-vaccinated often become sick with the diseases that the vaccines would have inoculated them from in the first damned place! The Global Warming nuts use the Democrats to get ridiculous environmental laws passed that curtail economic activities. (For example, making it quite difficult to drill for oil in America, forcing us to rely on foreign sources that may not be very friendly to us.)

This kind of madness must be stopped!

- Lord Publius