Category Archives: Anti-Vaccine Movement

Hot Air

Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me

Young Adult author Julia Karr sat and talked with me recently for the latest installment of Big Talk. An eight-minute snippet of that tête-à-tête ran on WFHB last week.

Karr

Julia Karr

You ought to listen to it, especially if you’re an aspiring writer, say, or a high school dropout. Julia Karr has pushed through a ton of barriers to achieve that most glorious status in life: published author. She has written the dystopian fantasies XVI and Truth, about young Nina, a rebel in the year 2150. In that world girls who reach the age of sixteen are expected to become sex playthings; there’s little more a young female can hope to do. Nina, though, has other ideas.

We’re putting the finishing touches on the long-form interview with Julia that will run in the July issue of The Ryder.

Meet Bloomington’s most fascinating folk via the Big Talk interview series, co-sponsored by this communications colossus, The Electron Pencil, as well as WFHB and The Ryder.

BTW: Go to Julia’s website. She has a blog that in my humble opin. is tied for second-best in B-town. Natch, you know who’s the boss of the bestest blog hereabouts.

Pay To Play

When the Indiana University Hoosiers cartilage kids challenge for the top spot in any Big 10 sport, folks around these parts go gaga. And, this being the great United States of Murrica, we tend to throw dough at the gamesters, buying tickets by the fistful, wearing T-shirts, and drinking watered down brew out of IU-logoed beer cozies.

Only those cartilage kids don’t share in the swag. College athletes, as you know, aren’t paid. This despite the fact that their field and court exploits are the sole reason we fling our dollars around. Loyal readers already know how I feel about this stinking state of affairs.

IU Hoops

Volunteers Of America

Click on over to Frank Deford’s essay on NPR’s Morning Edition. He expounds on the bullshit notion that is amateurism — that is, amateurism the way the NCAA defines it. I like the way Frankie thinks.

Don’t Tread On My Bread

I tilt against peeps who espouse this health craze, that diet, or the conspiracy theory over there all the time. F’rinstance, my oldest and dearest pal in the world and I are howling at each other these days over her recent conversion to the belief that wheat grain products are only slightly less dangerous to humans than an arsenic cookie in a radioactive tin attached to an improvised explosive device.

Our skirmish thus far has remained reasonably civil although my agents have uncovered intelligence that she is a mere two years away from possessing the capability to build the arsenic cookie in a radioactive tin attached to an improvised explosive device. This will not stand. I will not allow a chocolate chip mushroom cloud be the final piece of evidence against her.

Mushroom Cloud

This Means War

Anyway, I always caution people I’m arguing with over such things that they should be careful what Internet stories they believe. I say, borrowing (okay, stealing) from Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.”

My dear pal had one defender who said to me, Look, if it makes her feel better, why fight it? What’s the skin off your nose?

Other than the fact that my Sicilian/Polish beak looks just fine with the acreage of dermis presently attached to it, thank you, my argument is that any individual ideas based on rage, mania, trendiness, and pseudoscience might be only mildly harmful to the possessors thereof but they represent a credulousness that can be far more toxic when applied repeatedly or in certain other more pressing cases.

To wit: the anti-vax movement of recent years. A single family might have rationalized that it really harmed no one else other than, potentially, themselves when they refused to get their kids inoculated.

Here’s the argument that lays that rationalization to rest: it has been learned that a single kid who had not received the MMR vaccination was responsible for an outbreak of measles in Minnesota in 2011.

The parents of the kid were part of a community that bought into the hysteria over childhood vaccinations that arose in the first decade of this century. That hysteria, in too many cases, was fatal.

As important as saving the lives of innocent children may be, the even more dangerous aspect of the anti-wheat movement is the possibility that pizza and pasta may one day be outlawed. Now, that would be a human tragedy of monumental proportions!

Pasta & Sauce

Save Our Spaghetti!

It Ain’t The Hot Air, It’s The Humidity

Ted Talk

Not so fast, everybody. I know, I know, Ted Cruz just shot himself in the groin with his bizarre performance during his un-fillibuster earlier this week. Conventional wisdom now holds that Ted Cruz is a joke, Ted Cruz is out of the picture for the 2016 presidential election, and, in fact, Ted Cruz pretty much has no political future at all anymore.

Cruz

Doh, Canada

Like I said, Whoa. This is America here, darlings. For a few years at least, Sarah Palin was seen as a serious candidate for something or other. When Donald Trump makes his occasional hominid grunts about running for the highest office in this holy land, the corporate press actually covers said guttural ejaculations as if they are somehow related to human communication. And, hard as it may be to believe at this remove, one Michele Marie Bachmann, née Amble, was taken as a serious candidate for the presidency.

And, to be sure, none of the three aforementioned is any nearer to occupying the Oval Office than, say, Carrot Top, but stranger things have happened in this nation’s glorious political history.

Carrot Top

AAAIIIIIEEEEE!

Here, for example are highlights of an election night press conference rant delivered in anger a mere six years before the man who spoke these words became the President of the United States of America.

… [N]ow that all the members of the press are so delighted that I have lost, I’d like to make a statement of my own….

I believe Governor Brown has a heart, even though he believes I do not.

I believe he is a good American, even though he feels I am not.

… [F]or once, gentlemen, I would appreciate if you would write what I say, in that respect. I think it’s very important that you write it — in the lead. In the lead.

And our 100,000 volunteer workers I was proud of. I think they did a magnificent job. I only wish they could have gotten out a few more votes in the key precincts, but because they didn’t Mr. Brown has won and I have lost the election.

One last thing: What are my plans? Well, my plans are to go home. I’m going to get reacquainted with my family again. And my plans, incidentally, are, from a political standpoint, of course, to take a holiday. It will be a long holiday.

I did not win. I have no hard feelings against anybody, against my opponent, and least of all the people of California.

And as I leave the press, all I can say is this: For 16 years, ever since the Hiss case, you’ve had a lot of — a lot of fun — that you had an opportunity to attack me and I think I’ve given as good as I’ve taken. It was carried right up to the last day.

I made a talk on television, a talk in which I made a flub — one of the few that I make, not because I’m so good on television but because I’ve done it a long time — I made a flub in which I said I was running for governor of the United States. The Los Angeles Times dutifully reported that.

… And I can only say thank God for television and radio for keeping the newspapers a little more honest.

The last play. I leave you gentlemen now and you now write it. You will interpret it. That’s your right. But as I leave you I want you to know: Just think how much you’re going to be missing.

You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference….

Not only did Richard M. Nixon win the presidential election of 1968, he was reelected in 1972 by one of the greatest landslides in US history.

Nixon

A Shot In The Arm

You absolutely have to read JJ Keith’s latest post on her parenting blog — whether you’re a parent or not.

Keith

JJ Keith

She takes on anti-vaccination parents. By “takes on” I mean she assaults them with facts and unassailable logic. Me? I’d fling paper bags full of dog poo at them

Three What?!

Speaking of great bloggers, The Blogess (AKA Jenny Lawson) delivers one of the finest lines in interwebs history:

Did you know that kangaroos have 3 vaginas?  Because they totally do and that’s probably why they’re always hitting each other.

I think I may have to retire.

Kangaroos Fighting

Hot Air, Again

The Hardest Job In The…, [Snore]

Generally I have little or no patience for parents, largely because I’m quite certain I would be better at parenting than 99.9 percent of the world populace. Want proof? Ride a bus or take a stroll through any grocery store.

Kid at Grocery

Now, I say this even though I’ve never had spawn of my own. Early on, I told myself I would sire children only under two conditions:

  • They must be born adults
  • They must live somewhere other than I do

Sadly, this benighted holy land would look askance at such an example of enlightened child-rearing, so I decided to abandon the whole idea.

I imagine the parents among my loyal readership will snort and say, “The jerk. He can say that because he’s never had to raise a kid. It’s the hardest job in the world.”

At which point my eyes roll uncontrollably and, after I regain my balance, I retort that there are some seven billion results of parenting experimentation in the world today and that number includes members of al Qaeda, football fans, stick-up men, wife-beaters, child molesters, compulsive Tweeters, and Republicans. I rest my case.

At the very least, my decision to not procreate means there is one less set of precious urchins you won’t be forced to look at on Facebook. Personal to parents: It is assumed by one and all that your kids will grow. It’s not a terribly fascinating process to the rest of us. (Well, okay, me.)

Anyway, the interwebs are chock-full of blogs written by parents who are convinced they and they alone have thought of the one true, right, and innovative way of raising a brood. These blogs are even less interesting than ten thousand Facebook pix of trophy children.

But I have found perhaps the singular engrossing parenting blog in existence. I recommend it highly. It is called JJKeith.net. This selfsame JJ Keith dame is the real goods, trust me. She has written about raising brats for Salon, Huffington Post, Jane, PopMatters, and even — gulp — the Reader’s Digest. She drops the F-bomb about as frequently as I do, which makes her cool. I doubt, though, the word made it into the Reader’s Digest.

Just go to the blog. It’ll make you laugh. She even calls out “progressive” mom Mayim Bialik for refusing to let her kids be vaccinated. So she’s doing a public service as well.

Blossom

Now A Mom [Shudder]

Bang, Times Twelve

Do I need to say even one goddamned thing about this mass shooting at the DC naval yard? I didn’t think so.

Title Card: "Gun Crazy"

I Saw Her Again

I was leafing through the very fascinating book, A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival, this afternoon and came upon a picture of Mama Cass eating a piece a watermelon while watching one of the acts onstage. The choice to include this photo struck me as unseemly, considering the book includes no other pix of rock stars jamming comestibles into their faces. Then again, rock stars generally shy away from food unless it’s a savoy truffle, green onions, or a Mars bar. And, hey, speaking of stupid urban legends, Mama Cass did not choke to death on a ham sandwich.

Cass Elliot

Cass Elliot

Anyway, this is a glorious song. The M’s & the P’s delivered perhaps the most brilliant harmonies in the history of R ‘n R. BTW: Listen for John Phillips’ apparent blunder at the 2:44 mark. (Actually, it wasn’t Phillips’ mistake but the engineer’s)

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