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29 Mar 00:44

Perry: Texas won't comply with federal Prison Rape Elimination Act

by Gritsforbreakfast
The federal Prison Rape Elimination Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003, but the rules governing its implementation were not completed until June 2012 and standards governing audits of state facilities weren't finalized until August 2013. Governor Rick Perry today sent a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder, forwarded by a confidant to your correspondent, declaring Texas would not comply. Here's a notable excerpt:
Because PREA standards prohibit most cross-gender viewing, TDCJ would be compelled to deny female officers job assignments and promotion opportunities, simply based on their gender. A consultant referred to TDCJ by the PREA Resource Center absurdly suggested that TDCJ solve this proglem by removing security camersas and obstructing lines of sight. That is ridiculous. Doing so would not only be a security risk for both prisoners and staff but also increase the likelihood of assaults taking place, defeating the intent of the law.

PREA also infringes on Texas' right to establish the state's own age of criminal responsibility. That age in Texas is 17. PREA, unlike the JJDP Act, which recognizes each state's age of full criminal responsibility, makes no allowances for differences among the states. PREA sight and sound separation standards would require Texas to separate 17-year old adult inmates from 18-year old adult inmates at substantial cost with no discernible benefit to the state or its inmates.

PREA standards also set specific staffing ratios for juvenile detention facilities different from the state's current rate. While this ratio may be ideal in some facilities, the decision of what constitutes appropriate staffing ratios should be left to each state and to those professionals with operational knowledge. One of Texas' 254 counties has said that compliance with this standard would require them to hire 30 more detention officers. That is an unacceptable cost for a small county with a limited budget. ...

PREA standards also mandate that by May 15, 2014, the governor of each state must certify, under threat of criminal penalties, that all facilities under the governor's control are compliant with PREA standards. Texas has approximately 297 facilities subject to PREA, including 164 lock-up facilities. PREA requires one-third of these facilities to be audited each year, yet no audit tool for lock-ups has even been developed. There is no way that I will certify compliance for facilities that have not even been audited. The compliance and certification deadline is further complicated by the fact that PREA requires states to conduct audits by PREA-certified auditors. There are only about 100 PREA-certified auditors nationwide, and the first of those were not certified until late 2013.

Even if the manifest problems with PREA standards I laid out above did not exist, I cannot and will not certify as true those things for which I do not have the facts.

Washington has taken an opportunity to help address a problem in our prisons and jails, but instead created a counterproductive and unnecessarily cumbersome and costly regulatory mess for the states.

I encourage the administration to change these standards and do so soon. Absent standards that acknowledge the operational realities in our prisons and jails, I will not sign your form and I will encourage my fellow governors to follow suit. In the meantime, Texas will continue the programs it has already implemented to reduce prison rapes.
Fascinating. Perry's letter portrayed this as an Obama Administration initiative but really it's his Texas gubernatorial predecessor-turned-president whose policy he's snubbing.

A quick Google search finds little media coverage or other significant detail on how PREA is being implemented in other states, but here's an FAQ from the feds on PREA implementation. It's not clear to me how Perry gets to 297 facilities under his "operational control" given that TDCJ only operates 111 facilities and there are five secure, state-run juvenile lockups. Here's the definition from the FAQ of what facilities are under the Governor's "operational control":
The National PREA Standards state that “The Governor’s certification [of full compliance with the PREA standards] shall apply to all facilities in the State under the operational control of the State’s executive branch, including facilities operated by private entities on behalf of the State’s executive branch.”  28 C.F.R. § 115.501(b).   A “facility” is defined as “a place, institution, building (or part thereof), set of buildings, structure, or an area (whether or not enclosing a building or set of buildings) that is used by an agency for the confinement of individuals.”  Id. at § 115.5.  Some standards apply specifically at the facility level, while others apply at the agency level.

The definition of facility includes local detention and correctional facilities as well as State correctional facilities; however, not all facilities within a State are subject to the Governor’s certification. The Governor’s certification does not encompass those facilities outside the operational control of the governor; namely, those facilities that are under the operational control of counties, cities, or other municipalities, or privately-operated facilities not operated on behalf of the State’s executive branch.

The term “operational control” is not defined in the National PREA Standards.  The determination of whether a facility is under the operational control of the executive branch is left to a governor’s discretion, subject to the following guidance.

Generally, there are several factors that may be taken into consideration in determining whether a facility is under the “operational control” of the executive branch:
  • Does the executive branch have the ability to mandate PREA compliance without judicial intervention? 
  • Is the State a unified correctional system?
  • Does the State agency contract with a facility to confine inmates/residents on behalf of the State agency, other than inmates being temporarily held for transfer to, or release from, a State facility?
The above list is not exhaustive but it covers the majority of the situations that Governors may face in determining whether a facility or contractual arrangement is subject to the Governor’s certification. 
By that definition, it doesn't sound to me like Perry must certify that county-run juvenile detention facilities or local jails comply with PREA standards. Texas doesn't have a "unified correctional system" under gubernatorial control that extends to those local facilities. Further, PREA standards specifically do not "apply to adult psychiatric forensic mental health care facilities or hospitals operated by non-correctional agencies," though they "do apply to residential community confinement facilities such as halfway houses operated by community corrections agencies." Even so, I'm still not sure how that gets you to 297.

According to the FAQ, the certification Perry is talking about would affirm that "not less than five percent of its DOJ funding for prison purposes shall be used only for the purpose of enabling the state to adopt and achieve full compliance with the PREA Standards." Perry, though, appears to be saying he will not make such a commitment even though, as the program ramps up, the rule specifically provides that the Governor can make the required assurances "even if the agency has not pursued or completed audits."

For the life of me, I can't tell to what the letter is referring when Perry says governors must submit certification under "threat of criminal penalties." Judging from the FAQ, the penalty for noncompliance appears to be a 5% cut in three federal grant funds administered by the Governor's office, specifically "(1) the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Formula Program, and (2) the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act Formula Grant Program." The third block grant to be cut is "administered by the Office on Violence Against Women: the STOP (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program."

Finally, the new PREA standards provide another argument for the state to increase the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18, as the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee was discussing earlier this week. Again, from the FAQ:
The Youthful Inmate standard requiring separation of those under age 18 from those over 18 is “setting specific,” applicable only in prisons, jails, and lockups. Even where state law provides for automatic prosecution in adult court of individuals at age 16 (e.g., NC, NY) and age 17 (e.g., GA, NH, IL, LA, MD, MA, MI, SC, TX, WI) when those persons are detained or confined in an adult prison, jail, or lockup, such individuals must be sight and sound separated from those over the age of 18.
This is another example of how Texas' outlier status regarding the age of criminal culpability creates ongoing conflicts with federal law.

Notably, however, the "sight and sound" standards about which the governor complained do not apply to juvenile facilities: "The PREA standards do not provide for any sight and sound separation of residents in juvenile facilities either because of age or court of conviction. Neither the standard on youthful inmates (115.14) nor the standard for youthful detainees (115.114) is applicable in juvenile facilities."

It'll be interesting to see how all this plays out in the coming months. Since Perry is leaving office after the end of the year, he really has no dog in the fight when it comes to foregoing federal grant money since he won't be around anymore to preside over its distribution.

Grits has filed an open records request for any report and/or correspondence from the consultant referenced in the Governor's letter, so perhaps that will reveal more about the supposed barriers to Texas' compliance with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act.

CLARIFICATION: The DOJ has issued standards for county jails and local juvenile lockups but governors are only required to issue certifications for facilities under "operational control" of the state's executive branch, which in Texas does not include either category. Language in the post was adjusted to make that clear. MORE: See a detailed analysis of PREA implementation, including the lack of meaningful enforcement mechanisms, from Prison Legal News.
26 Mar 16:00

Ask Baba Yaga: I'm Hiding in Whiskey, Where Has My Spine Gone?

by Taisia Kitaiskaia
by Taisia Kitaiskaia

Transcript after the jump.

Dear Baba,

I have lost all my power and no longer recognize myself. I hide in whiskey and distract myself with men. I am limp, hollow, and disoriented. How do I restore my spirit? Where has my spine gone?


The beaches of this earth are littered with spines , abandoned;.  )but no matter how many Whiskeys you do pour on yr wave-beaten backbone, it will not erode.but remain yrs.  : Go & pick it up & lash it to you, for sometimes you must be brash & fiendly to wear what is yrs, & in that violence it too will claim you.

Previously: "Am I Actually Better Than Everyone Else, Or Just Arrogant?"

Taisia Kitaiskaia is a poet, writer, and Michener Center for Writers fellow. She's taking questions on behalf of Baba Yaga at

26 Mar 23:40

Strippers Sue San Diego Cops After 'Demeaning' Club Inspection

by Rebecca Rose

Strippers Sue San Diego Cops After 'Demeaning' Club Inspection

A group of 25 strippers at a club in San Diego filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming they were forced to be part of a demeaning photo session.



26 Mar 17:55

Cheech And Chong Are Teaming Up With The ‘Super Troopers’ Dudes For A New Cheech And Chong Movie

by Vince Mancini

Wow. They found the only possible way to get me to see a C&C Movie

The internet pooped its collective pants at the news that a Super Troopers sequel was actually happening, so God only knows what they’ll do with the news that the titans of two different eras of weed comedy are now set to team up. Chong and Cheech have reportedly been meeting with Super Troopers director and Broken Lizard member Jay Chandrasekhar about directing a new Cheech and Chong movie.

In a new interview, Tommy Chong reveals that he and longtime comedy partner Cheech Marin are teaming up with director Jay Chandrasekhar, a member of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, who counts 2001’s Super Troopers and 2006′s Beerfest among his credits.

“He’s working a script right now for us,” Chong tells “We’ve had some preliminary meetings. It looks really good. It looks really funny. It will be about us going to a festival called the Burning Joint. All sorts of shenanigans happen. It’s going to be a lot of fun.” [THR]

This would be the first official Cheech and Chong movie since 1983′s Still Smokin, although they did release an animated film composed of their old comedy bits last year (you midnight tokers probably forgot). Weed comedy seems slightly tame after Chong’s old cellmate Jordan Belfort inspired a movie that was just three hours of doing quaaludes and snorting coke out of butts, but hopefully people are still into it. Who am I kidding, weed comedy never goes out of style. Why, I’ll never forget the day my dad caught me smoking a joint for the first time. “Come on, don’t be a pussy,” he said, handing the joint to me while driving me home from my first semester of college (true story).

I think they should just go all out and make a Cheech and Chong and Jay and Harold and Kumar movie, celebrating every ethnic minority who has ever made a pot movie.

26 Mar 15:25

What’s the Up-Chuck Factor On These First Pics From Heathers: The Musical?

by Rebecca Pahle

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  1. 1. Image Credit: Chad Batka
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Minimal, I say. Those clothes are how very. Hit the jump for two more pics and a poster for the off-Broadway production, which’ll be hitting New York’s New World Stages starting March 31st.

(via Entertainment Weekly, Broadway World)

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26 Mar 15:45

Arnold Schwarzenneger Makes Up Complete Nonsense So He Can Still Play The Terminator, Plus Miles Dyson Talk

by Jill Pantozzi

Shared for gif

Look, Arnold, I adore you but please, if you’re going to be involved with Terminator: Genesis at least use your clout for something interesting. Hit the jump to find out what the heck I’m talking about, plus a small tidbit on the casting of Miles Dyson’s son! 

I’m not terribly for or against the next Terminator film. I love the franchise as an idea but if we’re being honest, really only the original and Terminator 2 (I have the tattoo to prove it). I only have a soft spot for Rise of the Machines because Angela Chase was in it.

Moving on.

We’re getting a new film, Terminator: Genesis, as well as a somewhat connected TV show and Emilia Clarke (aka Daenerys on Game Of Thrones) is set to play Sarah Connor in the movie so I’m at least looking forward to what they do with her. But we’ve been hearing Arnold Schwarzenegger is definitlly coming back for a while, just not in what capacity. My hope was he’d be playing the human inspiration for the T-800. That way they wouldn’t have to do any weird anti-aging effects like in Terminator Salvation.

But no.

Speaking with MTV, Schwarzenegger discussed how they’re planning to explain his age while still having him be a cyborg. ”It will be challenging because it will be a new director, and it will be a really action packed movie. And sometimes it does get more difficult when you’re 66 years old and doing this kind of action, versus when you’re in your 30s or in your 40s,” he said. Fair enough. But then…

“The way that the character is written, it’s a machine underneath,” said Schwarzenegger. “It’s this metal skeleton. But above that is human flesh. And the Terminator’s flesh ages, just like any other human being’s flesh. Maybe not as fast. But it definitely ages.”


Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter tweeted a few interesting things about the film as well yesterday. Namely, throwing out Attack the Block’s John Boyega to be in the running to play Miles Dyson’s son. You may remember the actor as one of five rumored to play a major Jedi role in Star Wars: Episode VII. Borys wrote, “He can’t do both. He has to wait out the Star Wars game.”

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26 Mar 17:00

12 Tips For “Consciously Uncoupling” Like Gwyneth Paltrow And Chris Martin

by Ami Angelowicz & Winona Dimeo-Ediger

8. Stop eating carbs, because you should have already been doing that, but it’s even more important during a breakup.


Since learning about Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s decision to “consciously uncouple,” we’ve been trying to unpack the term in all its PC glory. It seems that similar to other areas of her life, Gwyneth will be superior when it comes to divorce. So, far we haven’t seen one inkling of sadness, ire or admission that either party was having an affair. Ahem.

According to an anonymous source who spilled the beans to the Daily Mail, even the couple’s decision to get divorced was beyond reproach. Allegedly, the couple agreed to split while vacationing on island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas and instead of exchanging bitter words, they exchanged gifts. The source claims that Chris gave Gwyneth a painting of a bird in flight by Mila Fürstová to “mark the new stage in their lives.”

“It might sound like a line that they’re happier than they’ve ever been but the relief is massive, they can enjoy being friends again now. It’s like all the tensions have finally dispersed, the stress of arguing where about where to live. She missed Los Angeles and he’s an English boy through and through so that seemed like an eternal battle. They’re communicating again, they’re having a glass of wine together and a laugh and were actually looking forward to the holiday,” boasted the insider.

Sounds a little too good to be true to us. Breakups are messy, no matter how organic your diet is. For now, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.If you aspire to go the Gwynnie/Chris route and dump your partner like an enlightened lifestyle brand baron, here are some tips for how to “consciously uncouple” with no mess, no stress and no heartbreak:

1. Get an aura massage together so that when you negotiate separation proceedings you’ll both be coming from a spiritually pure place.

2. Have an nutritional guru examine your quinoa leftovers to determine your true emotional states and cholesterol levels.

3. Burn the $5,000 Egyptian cotton sheet set that you once shared, for closure.

4. Strike the words “anger,” “sadness,” “blame,” and “depression” from your vocabulary…forever.

5. Record a cathartic rap duet and release it on iTunes.

6. Do an organic coconut oil pulling to cleanse your teeth and gums of any lingering resentments.

7. Go on a double date with Jay and Bey and make it clear that you don’t expect them to choose sides.

8. Stop eating carbs, because you should have already been doing that, but it’s even more important during a breakup.

9. Keep divorce journals and get together once a week to discuss them before your therapy sessions, just so you’re on the same page.

10. Continue to let your ex-partner dictate your pubic hairstyle, because you’re THAT comfortable with each other as friends.

11. Watch the “Iron Man” trilogy together in your shared home movie theater and practice not hoarding the gluten-free Raisinets.

12. Start a lifestyle blog and co-author a book about how to “consciously uncouple.” Split all the profits 50-50.

04 Mar 16:30

25 Wes Anderson Movie Facts To Fill You With Whimsy

by Joel Stice

Let's watch some films!

wes anderson ralph fienes

Getty Image

Wes Anderson’s eighth feature film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, releases this Friday and so far has been positively received (Vince’s review). The film’s IMDB page lists about half of Hollywood in the cast, with Ralph Fiennes in the starring role as a hotel concierge trying to prove his innocence after being framed for murder. If you like Wes Anderson movies, you’ll probably love it, and if you’re not a fan of Wes Anderson’s work, then why are you even reading this?

To celebrate what’s sure to be another eccentric entry into Wes Anderson’s body of film, here are 25 facts you might not know about his other movies. Now with 25% more Murray!

1. Bill Murray paid for the helicopter scene in Rushmore. How the helicopter scene in Max’s Vietnam War-themed play cost $25,000, I have no idea, but it did and Disney didn’t want to front the cost for it. Being the awesome human being that he is, Murray wrote Anderson a check to cover the costs.

2. Bottle Rocket almost forced Owen Wilson into the military. Owen Wilson helped write the movie, but initially had no plans to act in Bottle Rocket. After the movie bombed horribly at the box office, Wilson was convinced he had no future in entertainment and seriously considered enlisting in the Marines.


Via Columbia Pictures

3. That’s not Ben Stiller’s hand with the lodged BB in The Royal Tenenbaums. It’s actually the brother of Owen and Luke Wilson, Andrew Wilson. When they were kids, Owen shot Andrew in the hand with a BB gun and the pellet has been stuck there ever since.

bb hand, andrew wilson

Via Buena Vista Pictures

4. Creating the jaguar shark for The Life Aquatic was no easy task. At eight feet long, the jaguar shark was one of the largest stop-motion puppets ever made for a film. The shark required five hand-cranked controls to operate its swimming function. The song “Starálfur” by Sigor Rios was used during Steve Zissou’s second encounter with the jaguar shark, but for whatever reason did not make it onto the film’s soundtrack album.

5. Bottle Rocket producer James L. Brooks was worried about Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson’s work ethic. After a shorter version of the film caught the attention of James L. Brooks at the Sundance Film Festival, Brooks helped Wilson and Anderson get financial backing from Columbia Pictures for a feature film version. Brooks was concerned about Wilson and Anderson’s work ethic though as they never took notes during meetings. After buying them plane tickets from Texas to Los Angeles, Owen Wilson tried to exchange his plane ticket for a bus ticket in hopes of pocketing the extra cash.

owen wilson

Via Columbia Pictures

6. Rushmore hinted at The Life Aquatic. The book that Max is reading in the movie is Diving For Sunken Treasure by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Cousteau of course would provide the main inspiration for Wes Anderson’s 2004 film, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.


Via Buena Vista Pictures

7. Bill Murray didn’t take the Rushmore part for money. When Bill Murray takes a role on a Wes Anderson film, it’s never for the money. For his part in Rushmore Murray took home $9,000 and jokingly details in the clip below that working with Wes often involves long hours for little cash and some stale bread.

8. Indian director Satyajit Ray’s portrait can be seen in The Darjeeling Limited. The film was dedicated to Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray who’s portrait can be seen hanging above Owen, Jason, and Adrian while riding on The Bengal Lancer.


Via Fox Searchlight

9. The bullhorn parenting in Moonrise Kingdom was based on Roman Coppola’s childhood. The bullhorn that Mrs. Bishop uses to call her children was based on a practice used by co-writer Roman Coppala’s mother when he was a child.


Via Focus Features

10. Margot’s cigarettes in The Royal Tenenbaums haven’t been made since the 1970s. I’d imagine being the prop master on a Wes Anderson film has to be one of the most irritating jobs in showbiz. Take Margot’s cigarettes for example, the brand she smoked were only ever sold in Ireland and were discontinued in the 1970s. Anderson specifically wanted this brand of smokes because it correlated with the 70s theme of the film and made Margot’s secret smoking habit that much stranger.


Via Buena Vista Pictures

11. Fantastic Mr. Fox replaced curse words with just “cuss.” Dialogue that called for cursing was replaced with the alternative of “cuss” including graffiti on a spray painted wall. In an interview on Fresh Air, Anderson explained the benefit of this: “I don’t even remember. It think it was just to use the concept of profanity as a replacement for profanity itself. It turned out to be very versatile.”

Mr. Fox

Via 20th Century Fox

12. The score from The Royal Tenenbaums appears in The Life Aquatic. The music that plays when Steve Zissou gives the tour of his boat is the score from The Royal Tenenbaums, only played in reverse.

13. The Life Aquatic is both a tribute to Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Harry Belafonte. So French sea explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s ship was the Calypso, Zissou’s ship is named The Belafonte and Harry Belafonte was known for singing popularized versions of Calypso songs. During the scene where Zissou is introduced to the Italian audience there is a model of Cousteau’s ship the Calypso on his desk, only painted blue instead of black.

calypso ship

Via Buena Vista Pictures

24 Feb 17:00

Watch The Hilarious Extended Trailer For Mike Judge’s New HBO Show ‘Silicon Valley’

by Danger Guerrero

HBO released a new, extended trailer for Silicon Valley over the weekend. If the show ends up being, like, 70% as funny as this 90 second teaser, it is going to be very, very good.

A quick refresher: Silicon Valley is the latest project from Mike Judge, the man behind Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill, Office Space, and Idiocracy. Here’s the description that accompanied the first teaser clip from a weeks ago.

Richard is an introverted computer programmer living in the Hacker Hostel start-up incubator along with his best friend, Big Head, pompous Gilfoyle and dry-witted Dinesh. These social misfits live under the watch of Erlich, a self-satisfied dotcom millionaire who lets them stay in his house for free — as long as he gets a ten percent stake in their projects.

After a failed pitch to billionaire venture capitalist Peter Gregory, Richard seems destined to remain at his job at the tech company Hooli, founded by the megalomaniacal Gavin Belson. When Monica, Gregory’s head of operations, and Jared, a Hooli executive, realize the value of the site’s compression algorithm, a bidding war erupts between Belson and Gregory, with Richard caught in the middle.

So it’s basically Office Space plus The Social Network, with T.J. Miller as a Lebowski-esque version of Justin Timberlake’s version of Sean Parker? Because, if it is, I can dig that. I can definitely dig that. I can dig that straight through the center of the Earth all the way to China.

15 Feb 21:00

Miley Cyrus Went Down On A Bill Clinton Impersonator In Front Of 19,000 People

by Josh Kurp

It seems like we’ve been MORALLY OUTRAGED WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN about Miley Cyrus‘ transformation from Hannah Montana to Twerk McTwerkSex for years now. But the official tour for Bangerz, the album that gave us “Wrecking Ball,” didn’t begin until last night in Vancouver.

And what a show it was:

Miley Cyrus delivered a spectacle with furry creatures, a dwarf, a gigantic hot dog, and a back-up dancer dressed up as former US President Bill Clinton. The 21-year-old was having a good time as she showed off her X-rated moves during the first show to kick off her Bangerz Tour on Friday. Miley’s most shocking move was when she performed a racy song-and-dance with the Clinton impersonator during her “Party In the USA” finale number. (Via)

miley clinton

Caption contest time. I’ll begin: “OK, who’d like a bangerz in the mouth?”

Banner via Getty Image, tweet via @yungchipotle

06 Feb 02:41

GM's First Female CEO Only Paid Half What Her Male Predecessor Was

by Rebecca Rose

Wasn't her male predecessor Barack Obama? I hear that dude only made $400K

GM's First Female CEO Only Paid Half What Her Male Predecessor Was

Were you excited about the announcement that General Motors had hired its first ever female chief executive officer, Mary Barra? Did you, like a lot of other people, think it was a perhaps a huge step forward for women in bridging the gender gap or breaking through the glass ceiling or leaning in or whatever? Well, sexism says NOT SO FAST LOL.



31 Jan 23:00

Don't Stop Arguing in Front of Your Kids

by Walter Glenn

Don't Stop Arguing in Front of Your Kids

In a recent post, Dr. Phil (yeah, I know) argued that you should stop fighting in front of your kids. He's right, but he misses an important point: having regular arguments in front of your kids can teach them a lot.



01 Feb 00:50

Pope Francis Blesses Male Stripper's Talking Parrot

by Erin Gloria Ryan

Nothing I don't love about this.

Pope Francis Blesses Male Stripper's Talking Parrot

— Ellie Hall (@ellievhall) January 30, 2014



31 Jan 21:20

Kari Byron, On the Importance of Representation in Science

by Susana Polo

We should start watching this again.

Kari Byron spoke to Mother Jones recently on what it’s like being the Chick on Mythbusters, what her inner twelve year old would think about what she’s doing now, and how babies and science are totally compatible. You just might have to ask your doctor a lot of unexpected questions.

Byron, Mythbuster and host of Mythbusters spinoff Head Rush, didn’t intend to go into science, or even television science, as a career. She was working as a receptionist to make ends meet while she tried to get a career in sculpting off the ground. Then a tour of Jamie Hyneman‘s studio inspired her, she managed to get herself an internship there, Mythbusters took off, she got pulled in, and the rest is history. She’s very much aware of the potential her presence has to inspire.

I’ve met so many mothers who were telling me that their girl was interested because I was on the show… And that really touched me, because when I was 12 years old, I kind of stopped being interested in science. It wasn’t something that could compete with boys and rock stars and MTV. You didn’t have role models. Even on TV, the doctors were all men.

The goal of Head Rush, which I had honestly never heard of before (it’s what I get for not having cable television, I suppose) is to speak directly to that 12 year old girl she remembers, and do the things that would have kept her interested in science. Hmm, Kari Byron the Science Siren? That might need some work.

You can listen to Byron’s entire interview at Mother Jones, but one of the more amusing bits of it is her description of talking to her doctor about continuing her work on the Mythbusters set while pregnant with her daughter.

“I’d be going to my doctor saying, ‘All right, so, when do I have to stop shooting guns because she has ears?’ And the doctor would say, ‘Hmm, I have never, ever had that question before. I’ll get back to you.’ I come back a little later: ‘How far away do I need to be from an explosion of this much C-4?’ ‘Huh, I’ve never had that question asked. I have no idea, I don’t even know where to refer you right now, I’ll get back to you.’”

Nerd mom problems.

(via Mother Jones.)

01 Feb 23:00

McKenna Pope’s TEDYouth Talk On Gender Neutral Toys [Video]

by Janelle Asselin

Fourteen-year-old McKenna Pope petitioned last year to make the Easy Bake Oven more neutral so her brother wouldn’t feel bad using it.  Now she’s done this great TEDYouth talk on the importance of gender neutral toys and to motivate kids to not feel powerless to change the world. We have a new hero.

(via LaughingSquid)

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31 Jan 20:00

Someone Should Turn This ‘Friends’ Script Written By An 8-Year-Old Into A Movie

by Josh Kurp

chandler bing

Could the Friends reunion rumors BE any omnipresent? No, they can’t, because it seems like every week, there’s a new unsourced quote from someone who once saw David Schwimmer at a car wash that a script for the Friends movie is being written, and that the film will be out in [impossibly short amount of time.] It’s so dumb. I mean, the script’s already done — it was finished by an eight-year-old many years ago.

Here’s some background:

When I was about 8 years old, my best friend was obsessed with Friends. He encouraged me to start watching the show and then recruited me and several other school friends to “play Friends” on the playground during recess. I was cast as Ross. Fortunately enough, I had a crush on the girl playing Rachel. Being something of an aspiring writer, I decided that we needed a script. Of course, I didn’t know the show very well, so I drew a lot of inspiration from a show that I watched regularly with my dad – Seinfeld. Hence why all the plots seem to humorously intersect at the end of each episode. Well, at least I thought it was funny then. (Via)

Still better than Sean Saves the World.














Weird. I have a script with the same dialogue, but it’s for Low Winter Sun.

Via Reddit

31 Jan 21:30

Inside Figure Skating's 'Gay Problem'

by Phoenix Tso

Inside Figure Skating's 'Gay Problem'

The decision to roundly condemn Russia for its persecution of LGBT citizens seems a straightforward one, even when you bring the Sochi Olympics into it. That is, until someone points out that President Obama appointed Brian Boitano to his Sochi delegation, a figure skater who came out after Olympic career was over, and when the current Olympic figure skating team has no out competitors on it.



31 Jan 22:30

A Kid’s Letter To Santa Asking Him To Make Pokemon Real Is A Super Effective Attack On The Heartstrings

by Nathan Birch


Ah man guys, get ready to feel some feels.

Elementary schooler Kinnell recently discovered that Pokemon aren’t real, a particularly devastating realization since, according to his dad Kevin Fanning, Pokemon factored into Kinnell’s future plans in a big way.

“In his mind he’d been sort of looking to a future where he envisioned himself being responsible enough to have a real Pokemon when he was 10. I think he eventually had looked at it from enough angles that he realized, wait, I don’t know any 10 year olds with Pokemon, and I never actually see Pokemon anywhere in the real world, oh my god they’re not real, and he just started sobbing.”

Oh man, so what does a kid do when the bottom falls out of their world like that? Well, they appeal to the only figure in their life more important than Pikachu — Kinnell wrote a letter to Santa Claus asking him how to make Pokemon real. Hey, don’t laugh! Well, okay, you can laugh a little — trust me, it won’t last once you read Kinnell’s letter, which his dad posted on Twitter.


[Holds head in hands]. Oh, Kinnell, Kinnell, Kinnell — if this kid writes the Easter Bunny to ask why Santa isn’t reponding, I’m done. Kinnell’s dad doesn’t seem to know what to do either…

“I wish there was some other way through this conversation with my son, and I guess posting his letter was my way of asking for ideas.”

My suggestion? Go out and get a hamster and some yellow paint. It won’t solve the problem, but at least it will buy you some time while you think of a solution.

via Kotaku

01 Feb 00:10

None Of Us Love Anything As Much As This Dog Loves Watching Tennis

by Erin Gloria Ryan

She has a ball! She's talking about me!!

Here's a Golden Retriever puppy being driven completely mad with excitement over TV footage of the 2014 Australian Open. If you're wondering if watching a dog watch something for two minutes will get boring, the answer is a resounding NO.



01 Feb 01:10

Raskolnikov still resonates with Texas prison inmates

by Gritsforbreakfast
Check out Maurice Chammah's story in Texas Monthly, "When prisoners read Dostoevsky's 'Crime and Punishment,' it's pretty powerful."
28 Jan 21:30

This Etiquette Guide for the Oakland Raiderettes Is Ridiculous

by Madeleine Davies

What in the actual fuck.

This Etiquette Guide for the Oakland Raiderettes Is Ridiculous

News recently broke that the Oakland Raiders are allegedly paying their cheerleaders (the Raiderettes) wages as criminally low as $5 per hour and now, as more facts about the team are revealed, it's turning out that not only do they pay the Raiderettes next to nothing — they also treat them like they're social fucking idiots. Gooooooo Raiders?



28 Jan 20:45

Katy Perry Attacked by Highly Aggressive Shower Curtain

by Dodai Stewart

Katy Perry Attacked by Highly Aggressive Shower Curtain

We're waiting for word on her condition.



26 Jan 19:30

Young Make-Up Artist Is So Talented You’ll Have Nightmares

by Janelle Asselin

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Eighteen year old make-up artist, model, and photographer Stephanie Fernandez has done a series of photos of herself in make-up that is both beautiful and terrifying.  Not only does she shoot the finished product, she also shows in-between shots so you can see the process she goes through. This lady has major skills – take note, Hollywood!

(via FashionablyGeek)

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24 Jan 21:00

Make All the Bears Laugh at You With Anthropologie's $9,000 Tent

by Erin Gloria Ryan


Make All the Bears Laugh at You With Anthropologie's $9,000 Tent

Are you an avid indoorsman with $9,000 to spare? Do you want to send a loud and clear message to your fellow campers that, in the event of an apocalypse, you should definitely be the first people eaten? Then does Anthropologie ever have the tent for you.



26 Jan 21:00

The Unwittingly Attractive Things Men Do

by Tracy Moore

Shared for comments, esp pic - Real men head boop with kittens,

The Unwittingly Attractive Things Men Do

Once my older sister, 16 to my 14, was driving us to the store. She was always a fast driver, and we followed too closely in our wrecked-once Ford EXP behind a red Mercedes convertible down a winding hill, the driver a tanned, affluent-looking middle-aged man. He stopped short as we neared a stop sign, and our bumper tapped his. We gasped, but he barely paused. Rather, he grinned at us in the rearview, then simply waved a tanned, gold-banded left hand nonchalantly as if to say, toodaloo! We busted out in nervous laughter, and then later, we swooned.



24 Jan 23:00

A Sex Toy That Simulates Female Oral — Plus, The Sex Positions Women Hate

by Ami Angelowicz

A 16-year-old girl was engaging in “consensual sexual strangulation” with her 43-year-old boyfriend when she accidentally killed him.

  • Women will never leave the house again now that there’s a sex toy that simulates female oral sex. Take that, Fleshlight! [Nerve]
  • Take note, guys. Legs on the shoulders and anal are not sex positions loved by all women. [Your Tango]
  • A 16-year-old girl was engaging in “consensual sexual strangulation” with her 43-year-old boyfriend when she accidentally killed him. YIKES. [Huffington Post]
  • This woman thinks she’s not “wired” to have orgasms. [Em &Lo]
  • Hugh Hefner is trying to get Margot Robbie to pose for Playboy. Of course he is. [Celebuzz]
  • It’s our own fault that we’re not getting the pleasure from sex we deserve. [The Stir]
  • This woman pees on people for a living. An honest day’s work, if you ask me. [The Gloss]
  • Showing a 14-year-old girl a live birth video seems like just as good a way as any to teach her about sex. Or does it ? [Mommyish]
  • A new report shows that prison guards are hardly ever punished for prison sexual assaults in which they are the perpetrators.[Newser]
  • LeAnn Rimes is dressing like a dominatrix these days. [Celeb Dirty Laundry]
25 Jan 19:30

French Photographer Wanders With Batman and It’s Beautiful

by Janelle Asselin

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French photographer Rémi Noël has taken a series of photographs using a Batman action figure.  The photos are sometimes hilarious and sometimes starkly beautiful but always fantastic. They’re also an excellent reminder that even Batman likes to swim and occasionally needs to wash his cape.

(via The Beat)

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22 Jan 23:00

Watch This Polar Bear Cub Take His First Bath!

by Claire Hannum

The Toronto Zoo’s new baby polar bear took his first bath this week, everyone! His resemblance to a real-life teddy bear makes him too precious to handle. This little cutie was born to his mama bear, Aurora, on November 9 and he doesn’t have a name yet. I’m going to assume that this is because the zoo staff hasn’t found a moniker that fits his personality just yet. After all, he hardly looks like he could be a Fred or a Joe — he needs something a little more exotic to match his Arctic roots. His two brothers did not survive the first two days after their birth, and when he began to appear weak himself, he received extra food and assistance from the staff. If his adorableness factor is any sign of how healthy he is, it’s safe to say that he’s doing quite alright. [USA Today]

21 Jan 21:16

Canadian Mountie Delighted To Find Tumblr’s Cartoons of Her Stopping Crime With Bear Cub Partner

by Susana Polo

Two and a half years ago, Constable Suzanne Bourque was interviewing witnesses about the activity of a too-friendly-for-his-own-good bear cub who’d been pestering visitors at the Terra Nova National park in Newfoundland and Labrador when the bear cub himself showed up. The ensuing pictures were un-bear-ably adorable, but, in the way of things on the internet, ran under the radar for a while until they finally got their chance at becoming internet gold.

First there was the concept:

And then an artist arrived on the scene in the form of Ami Guillen, or Lemonteaflower, who, for example, drew the top picture on this post, and gave the then-unknown officer and bear the names Miss Officer and Mr. Truffles. From there, as so many things on Tumblr do, the idea has evolved into a tiny fandom of its own, with concepts, character lineups, gifs, Build-A-Bear dolls, and even educational cartoons about how campers can help bears by not feeding them. After all, that’s the trouble Bourque was trying to address when the picture was taken in the first place: eventually the real life Mr. Truffles was going to get so big that people would no longer think it was cute to have him walk up to them to sniff their hands and pockets.

And speaking of Bourque, she’s delighted at the little fiction that’s been drawn about her life based on a single photo. Some of it isn’t exactly fiction, either: there was a time when she was totally into The Spice Girls. “This certainly takes the cake for me. My sister, rightly so, said retire, basically, you’ve literally, pretty much, hit the peak of your career.”

The other good news is that Constable Bourque is confident that the real-life Mr. Truffles is still living happily in the wild after being relocated. Reports of his euthanization surfaced n 2011, but she believes those reports mixed him up with another too-friendly-for-his-own good bear cub who was also pestering folks in the same area at the same time. So don’t feed the bears, people. Feed the Tumblr content machine!

For more of Constable Bourque, and Miss Officer and Mr. Truffles, you can check out the Tumblr tag, this video interview for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, or The Daily Dot’s interview.

21 Jan 21:00

Katy Perry Prayed For Big Boobs & God Was Listening

by Jessica Wakeman
katy perry gq

“I lay on my back one night and looked down at my feet, and I prayed to God. I said, ‘God, will you please let me have boobs so big that I can’t see my feet when I’m lying down? God answered my prayers. I had no clue they would fall into my armpits eventually.”

God works in mysterious ways. Katy Perry reveals in the February issue of GQ that when she was 11 (and still hugely involved in her parents’ evangelical Christianity), she prayed that God would grant her an enormous rack. I wonder if Katy was reading a lot of Judy Blume at that time, like, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. This is like, Are You There God? It’s Me, Katy. God was listening that day indeed. [GQ]