Shared posts

13 Oct 16:40


13 Oct 16:34

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Bored


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Also it's a bit insulting that they only want to chat when they're bored.

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03 Oct 17:53

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - AI


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Somehow, unintentionally, it turned into AI week at SMBC.

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Help us unlock more stretchgoals for the new books!

01 Oct 06:06

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Pedant


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Let's just be clear that the right move is to point out that your spouse is wrong and accept the divorce that follows.

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01 Oct 05:59

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Trees


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Evolution is beautiful in general but a real asshole in particular.

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19 Sep 15:03

Why I Hate the “Bad Apple” Argument

by Keith Knight
14 Sep 06:12

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Cleric


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...Weinersmith continued his lifelong quest to ruin everything nice for everyone.

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14 Sep 06:11

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - We Are Here


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I am prepared to lend this speech to any commencement speaker free of charge.

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14 Sep 06:10

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Stats Gang


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Sadly, the new member is later discovered to have solar panels and an electric car.

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10 Sep 18:27

Girl Genius for Monday, September 10, 2018

The Girl Genius comic for Monday, September 10, 2018 has been posted.
10 Sep 15:49

SSSS page 964

Page 964 is up!
10 Sep 15:36

Lena Horne, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump

by Buzz Dixon

Back in the Golden Era of Hollywood* white folks would point to Lena Horne as an example of how America wasn’t racist, America offered opportunities for everyone.

“Look at her!  She’s a movie star!  She appears in big movies!

“How could she do that if we were racists?”

Every society, no matter how stratified or hidebound, has space for a few socially approved outliers.

You can always afford one rigidly controlled exception to the rule, who can paradoxically serve as both a reassurance that there’s room for others and as an easily dismissed distraction should they arouse too much or the wrong kind of attention.

Lena Horne was an exceptionally beautiful singer-actress in a time and place where beautiful singer-actresses were the norm.  She appeared in dozens of major movies from big studios, and was well respected by her co-workers and peers.

And she was -- or rather the role she occupied in America was -- totally fake.

Ms Horne never had a substantial role or dramatic scene in any movie that did not feature a predominantly African-American cast.

The big budget musicals she appeared in, the ones aimed at mainstream audiences -- white audiences -- typically cast her as a specialty number:  In the middle of a big show within the movie, the camera would pan over to her standing in front of a curtain where she would belt out a show tune.

And white Americans would say to foreigners who criticized the US for its racism, “What about Lena Horne? Look at all the movies she appears in!”

She appeared as an appendix, a wholly superfluous addition whose presence or absence didn’t affect the film one whit.

Her musical numbers in mainstream (i.e., white) musicals were filmed and edited into the final picture so they could be cut out!

See, there were parts of the US that did not care for Ms Horne’s skin color one little bit.

And when her movies played there -- snip-snip.

Out she came.

That way no lily white audiences ever had to be offended that a n[FL play]er dared sully their lily white screen.

Why was she in there in the first place?

As a sop to the African-American community, to lure them into the theaters so they could have five minutes enjoying a performance by somebody who looked like them.

And to a lesser degree, as a sop to those few white Americans who, while not exactly “woke”, were at least stirring restlessly in their sleep.  “Hey, we can’t be all bad if we let a colored girl sing in a movie, can we?”

[SIDEBAR:  You wanna see what Ms Horne was capable of, track down Stormy Weather, an all African-American musical that I rank as the 3rd best movie musical ever made, trailing narrowly behind Singin’ In The Rain and The Band Wagon.]

Barack Obama was 21st century white America’s Lena Horne.

“Hey, how can we be racist if we elected a black president?” was white code for “We want you black people to shut up about the injustices you have suffered and continue to suffer.”

White America wanted Obama to be their Oreo:  Black on the outside but white on the inside.

They wanted him to champion white values and interests.

Not American values and interests.

White values and interests.

“Hey, we elected a black president…”

”…so we don’t have to do anything about
the disproportionate justice meted out
against African-Americans.”

“Hey, we elected a black president…”

”…so we don’t have to do anything about
inner city communities that are still reeling
from the effects of hundreds of years
of dehumanization.”

“Hey, we elected a black president…”

”…so we don’t have to do anything about
addressing the needs and concerns of people
who have been deliberately and consciously
excluded from the American dream.”

No, Obama was supposed to be the magic cure-all, the ultimate placebo that would get those pesky minorities to stop complaining so white folks could like their lives in ease and comfort and not have to worry about how non-whites were being treated.

Just stand up against that curtain, Barack, and sing…

But Barack Obama didn’t do that.

Barack Obama said, “Hey, we still have a problem if police accost an African-American in his own home and accuse him of being a burglar even when he can prove he lives there.”

And ya know what?

We do have a problem if that can happen.

Because in order to reach the relatively mild level of just getting falsely arrested by a police office who doesn’t believe your identity, we first have to undercut your basic rights as a human being and as a citizen of the United States.

We have to pre-judge you on the color of your skin, to assume you are intrinsically criminal and hence worthy only of suspicion and distrust.

We have to assume you are not educated enough to hold a job that would pay enough for you to buy the home we’re accusing you of burglarizing.

Many white people voted for Obama because they wanted to shut up minority critics.

And to their surprise and horror, Obama basically said, “No, they’ve got a point:  There still is a lot we need to work on to make this nation what is claims it wants to be.”

White people lost their shit over that.

Things got worse as the #BlackLivesMatter movement started.

White folks really lost their shit over that!

Most white people do not hate minorities…

…but they do fear them.

They fear minority crime, but not in the way one thinks.

White people are the biggest criminal threat to other white people.

Rather, they fear minorities because they ultimately fear a loss of status.

As I’ve noted previously, white identity defines itself by whom it excludes.

Barack Obama had one white American and one black Kenyan parent.

In the eyes of white America, that made him black.

And to many white Americans, it made him Kenyan as well.

White Americans define themselves by whom they exclude, never by whom they include.

Also as noted previously, despite its claims to be a classless society, America is very much a class-oriented society, one in which white people were guaranteed at the very least working class status by the simple fact non-whites were automatically regulated to lower class status.

When non-whites achieved skills and education that enabled them to climb out of their lower class status, they were only allowed to climb to higher status within their own communities.

An African-American lawyer might be able to plead a case in a white court, but only for a black client, never a white one.

Middle and working class whites feared losing their status; middle class whites feared slipping down to working class, working class feared becoming lower class.

Only if there was a built-in cushion, a concrete floor they were guaranteed they could not fall below, did whites feel comfortable.

(The astute reader will note this also applies to matters of gender, and orientation, and religion; we focus on race in this post because it’s the most obvious example, but it’s far from the only one.)

That floor was a ceiling for the minorities trapped below it, and the cracks that allowed some minorities to rise above it terrified whites who feared they’d slip through it.

Laws and customs and traditions and practices that kept minorities at arm’s length were the spackling that plugged those cracks.

Police and law enforcement and the judicial and penal systems were part of those plugs.

Minorities were treated more harshly, and penalized more severely, than whites who committed similar crimes.

Whites justified this by saying minorities were, by nature or nurture, more dangerous…more violent…more criminal than mainstream (read “white”) culture, and as such were inherently deserving of such treatment.

A white college student caught with a gram of cocaine would likely get A Very Strong Talking To by the judge and perhaps even have to perform some token community service, but a ghetto kid with a joint?  

Five to ten.

But as whites excluded more and more people from their group -- their own children and grandchildren from matings with non-whites -- the number and voice of minorities grew.

#BlackLivesMatter quite literally and explicitly means “Black lives matter as much as all other lives” but the white community couldn’t have that.

First they deliberately lied, and said #BlackLivesMatter meant “only black lives matter’.

I’ve said elsewhere that some people project so much they should really pay union dues to IATSE. #BlackLivesMatter is a response to the “only white lives matter” attitude found among too many people in law enforcement and the judicial system.

Second, whites claimed #BlackLivesMatter was anti-police (no, it only calls for the police to treat all persons with the same degree of courtesy and respect).

They framed that fake anti-police stance as a desire among the African-American community to wreak harm and havoc on innocent whites (though, as noted elsewhere, how innocent are you if you help maintain a system that harms others for your benefit?).

Nobody ever posted #AllLivesMatter or anything like it prior to #BlackLivesMatter making its first appearance, yet the sentiment found in #BlackLivesMatter can be traced back to the earliest calls for racial justice in this land.

Finally, whites promoted #BlueLivesMatter, a completely bogus straw man argument that places the lives and safety of the police above those of common citizens.

Whitey, please…

Being a police officer is a stressful and dangerous job -- though far from the most dangerous job in America (you wanna risk your life on a daily basis, become a roofer).

Being a police officer isn’t even among the top ten most dangerous jobs in America -- and most law enforcement on the job deaths are the result of traffic accidents (not surprising considering how much time the average officer spends on the road).

Being a police officer means one is entrusted with an awesome and terrible responsibility:  The authority to carry a lethal weapon and to use it against anyone the officer deems to be a clear and present danger to the lives of others.

That is absolutely an authority police officers should have…

…but not all police officers today are worthy of that responsibility.

There is nothing wrong or outrageous about African-American and other minority communities insisting the country’s police officers treat all people they encounter with the same courtesy and respect.

There will be people of all races and genders and ages who will respond to the police with defiance, perhaps up to and including armed resistance.

Fine, that’s why we give the police their authority to carry and use a weapon.

But they need to approach every situation based on what the person is doing at that moment and not whether whether they think or they fear the person may do them harm.

We are employing them -- in every sense of the word -- to put their lives on the line, and to risk their safety in order to preserve the public safety.

And most times, this means waiting until you know what the person you’re dealing with intends to do before acting yourself.

Frankly, if you’re inclined to shoot someone because you’re afraid they might do something, police work is not the career for you.

If unarmed, unresisting whites were treated as callously at so many unarmed and unresisting minorities are, if police gunned down a 12 year old white child without warning while playing in a public park the way they killed Tamir Rice, the white people in this country would go berserk and demand systemic changes top to bottom.

Which brings us to Donald Trump.

If Obama was the homeopathic placebo that white people thought would give them the “Get Out Of Racism FREE” card they longed to have, Trump was to be their purge to drive all the toxins they perceived out of the system and to restore them to their previous lost status.

Make American Great Again was their motto.

And yet when you asked them what that meant, it never referred to real measurable metrics such as changes in purchasing power, increases in productivity, spiraling health care costs, etc.

It always came back to re-establishing a mythical golden social order, where whites felt safe and secure in their (disguised) middle and working class status, and never feared dropping below the concrete floor that held so many others down.

Several years ago I wrote about the fast approaching year 2048.

That’s the year the census bureau projects the number of people identified as “white” Americans will drop to 49.99%.

The year the white majority vanishes…

…replaced by one large minority…

…but a minority nonetheless.

Knowing this day approaches, we will see more and more acting out by white people.

Uglier and uglier.

Sicker and sicker.

Deadlier and deadlier.

In a perverse way, we are lucky to have Trump now.

A competent racist demagogue could do far more damage.

He will taint the white political waters for at least a decade.

And that will shave white majority status ever narrower.

Remember, don’t feel sorry for whites; they are causing this by excluding their own descendants.

What they do to their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will eventually be visited upon their own community.

The day they fear will finally arrive.

They won’t be anything special.

They’ll just be like everybody else.

E pluribus unum = “Out of the many, one.”

Maybe that will finally come about when there is no longer an arbitrary racial barrier to divide us by class.


© Buzz Dixon


* Well, post-WWII era Hollywood; the real golden era ran from the end of WWI to the start of WWII.


10 Sep 15:21

The Source Of The Problem

by Buzz Dixon

There isn’t a single problem facing the United States today that wasn’t caused by white people acting selfishly at the expense of others.


Full stop.

This is an indisputable fact.

Even problems that are seemingly confined to one particular minority or another have their roots in systematic unfair and unjust treatment of those minorities.

Every misery, every friction point, every conflict can be traced by directly to white people acting selfishly.

Let me head the poindexters off at the pass:
There is a world of difference -- a vast universe of difference! -- between acting in self-interest and acting selfishly.

Self-interest reminds you that wheels turn, that those who are first can later be last, that payback’s a bear, and as such will tell you to treat others the way you would want to be treated by them in turn.

Y’know, don’t steal their land and resources, don’t enslave them and steal their labor under threat of torture and death, don’t block them from enjoying the same rights you enjoy, etc., etc., and of course, etc.

Selfish tells you, “Go ahead!  Do it! Take it!  They can’t stop you!  Ignore them!”

Every single problem we face today comes from white people in the past embracing that attitude.

It’s not really a race thing, it’s a class thing.

But one of the lies we tell ourselves in the United States of America is that we are a classless society and one of the ways we sugarcoat that lie is to hide it in the toxic mantle of race.

And by doing so, we never need face the ravages of class on our country.

When all minorities are condemned to lower class status simply because of their ethnicity, the dominant majority resists acknowledging their own class status, taking comfort in their majority status as proof they are of a higher social class.

For a long time “white” in this country meant specifically White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, the proverbial WASPs.

“WASP” didn’t become a common designation until the middle of the 20thcentury, and faded by the 1980s, but it serves an interesting lesson.

The people who settled the colonies and Native American territories that eventually became the nascent United States were primarily British; i.e., Anglo-Saxons.

And though there were Scots and Irish and Welsh settlers, and some Dutch and French traders and merchants who stayed on and were absorbed by English colonial consolidation, it was primarily the British and their descendants who managed things.

To be British is to be an English speaker of a combined Celt, Dane, Germanic, Norman, and Roman ancestry who lives or is descended from someone who lived in that part of the United Kingdom; it is an amalgam ethnic group (as are most, when you trace them back far enough). 

This precise heritage gave British settlers in colonial America enough basis to exclude others from the “white” category.

Not just other Europeans, but also Native Americans and Africans and any of their descendants no matter how many other British ancestors they had.

This was not a distinction other ethnic groups made; the ancient Romans, for example, or the French (viz Alexandre Dumas’ famous riposte:  “My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey.  You see, sir, my family starts where yours ends.”).

But it was one that proved crucial to Americans of all stripes.

British emigrants to North America fell into two broad categories:  Adventurers and exiles.

While the adventurers could and did come from all sorts of backgrounds, a large number of them were impoverished upper class or nobility who sought to regain those fortunes by exploiting anything and everything there was to exploit in North America, typically in the forms of cash crops such as cotton, sugar cane, tobacco, and whiskey derived from corn.

To grow those crops and harvest their wealth, these landed gentry sought cheap labor:  Prisoners of debt and war.

The earliest English colonials were typically the dregs of their debtors prisons, or Irish and Scots-Irish forcibly conscripted by their British overlords.

The one notable exception were the religious fanatics, the Puritans and Quakers -- both losers in England’s cultural upheavals -- who came to stake out their own private domains and to do so were willing to make a deal with, if not exactly Lucifer, then certainly Mammon.

All of the newcomers were acutely aware of longstanding class differences among the people of the British Isles, but they were also aware colonial America gave them an opportunity to either blunt that difference among other British settlers or actually elevate themselves above first the Native Americans and then the enslaved Africans.

The Irish and Scots-Irish and lower class habitués of English debtors’ prisons proved unequal to the task of working the landed gentry’s large plantations economically enough to generate the vast wealth the owners demanded.

Unlike Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Central and South America, the British were unable to insinuate themselves into existing Native American class and social structures (“Conoce al nuevo jefe, al igual que el viejo jefe” as they might say south of the border).  Native tribes in North America could not be coerced into serving as cheap labor for the early colonies* and as a result vast numbers of enslaved Africans were imported as labor.

Lower class Scots-Irish -- dubbed “white trash” literally as they stepped ashore in America -- now found themselves without much prospects beyond family farms, often at a subsistence level.

Plantation owners quickly directed their resentment against Native Americans and enslaved Africans and African-Americans.

To sate lower class white rage, non-whites were systematically denied equal protection under law, their lives and claims to property considered worthless by white laws and white courts.

And as noted above, while “white” typically meant a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, the term WASP didn’t become common until the 20thcentury.

That’s because the white majority didn’t need non-Anglo-Saxons and / or non-Protestants in order to remain a white majority.

But the white majority defined itself by whom it excluded.

As African-Americans observe with wry humor:  ”Black blood is the strongest blood in the world; one drop makes you black.”

The white majority excluded most people outside of the WASP camp.  A few Hispanics or Western Europeans were allowed to intermarry and have their offspring counted as “white”, but typically an Irish or Italian or Jewish parent got a child placed in the “other” camp at the very least, and if the parent was Native American or African-American, then at best they were a “’breed” and at worse considered wholly their minority parent’s ethnicity.

The white majority resolutely reduced their number by excluding their own children and grandchildren.

When the term “WASP” was being used, it was the result of whites being forced to admit non-Anglo-Saxons (such as the Irish, the Italians, and Eastern Europeans) and non-Protestants (such as Catholics and Jews) into the general white majority in order to maintain said majority status.

But among generic whites, WASPs were regarded as a separate high caste, Brahmans of purported racial purity supposedly superior to -- and thus entitled to lead -- the rest of the white people.

Eventually even this distinction had to be done away with:  Too many WASPs intermarried with non-WASPs to sustain the distinction.

Now, after nearly half a millennia of excluding their own offspring from their social class, the white majority finds itself about to end.

Oh, there will still be white people among us for a great many centuries to come, but because they exclude everyone one-half / one-quarter / one-eighth / one-sixteenth something else, they will lose their majority status.

And, lacking the imagination -- not to mention the courage and the will -- to change, they look anxiously to a future where they will be one minority among many.

And they fear being treated as their ancestors treated others.

This is the point where the poindexters start loudly proclaiming, “Hey, I never oppressed anybody!  I never chased an Indian off his land, or enslaved a black, or denied a Mexican or Asian the right to vote!”

No, but our white ancestors built a system to benefit their offspring -- that’s you and me, poindexter -- at the expense of others.

People are still suffering and being harmed both in this country and abroad because of that system.

Now, we either help dismantle that system for the good of everybody, or we help maintain it, in which case we are just as guilty as the ones who built it.

…and deserving of everything that befalls us because of that.


© Buzz Dixon


* Centuries later, their cousins among the tribes of the Great Plains did sign on voluntarily, and Hollywood whitewashing to the contrary, as many as one out of every five cowboys in the Old West were of Native American ancestry.




20 Aug 22:25

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Gotham


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Meanwhile, without a powerful foe, the Joker channeled his ambitions into serving the public good through high office.

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07 Aug 01:25

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Fortune


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You're only reading this comic to signal that you want to not be invited to parties.

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06 Aug 00:36

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Gaia


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Then, Earth can wipe its nose with Enceladus.

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06 Aug 00:36

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Quantified Self


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You really have to pity all the people who lived perfect lives without any of their peers finding out.

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01 Aug 04:54

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Yours


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You can borrow him when he craps himself. Or is refusing to eat. Or pours water all over himself. Or won't sleep. Or won't stop screaming.

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28 Jul 14:22

Peer Review

Your manuscript "Don't Pay $25 to Access Any of the Articles in this Journal: A Review of Preprint Repositories and Author Willingness to Email PDF Copies for Free" has also been rejected, but nice try.
25 Jul 14:30

List: Jordan Peterson’s Now That’s What I Call Music!


“R-E-S-P-E-C-T (The Patriarchy)”

“Rock Lobster Domination Pose”

“It’s Draining Men (The Low Testosterone Song)”

“Money (That’s What I Want…You to Send to My Patreon)”

“Jung Americans”

“I Want to Take You Hierarchy”

“Witchy Woman (Not Like a Real Witch, More of a Subordinate Category, Which You’d Understand If You Watched My Videos)”


“I’m Hot for Teacher (Who Should Be Forced to Have Sex With Me Forever)”

“She Drives Me Crazy”

25 Jul 13:51

Refining The American Dream

by Buzz Dixon

The American ideal is the vast melting pot.

The American myth is the vast melting pot.

They are not one and the same thing.

The ideal is what we are supposed to strive for, but the myth is the not-so-polite fiction white culture uses to justify itself.

What happens in a melting pot?

Well, when you combine tin and copper, you get bronze -- an alloy stronger and superior to the two pure ores.

When you combine iron and carbon, you get steel -- another alloy stronger and superior to the two pure sources.

But white culture in America does not want a melting pot.

Not really.

What they want is homeopathy; i.e., to dilute the non-white elements down to the point of non-existence, then falsely claim the purported new synthesis is stronger and better than the original.


White culture in America has always defined itself by what it excludes.  Historically the infamous "one drop" laws rendered otherwise "white" persons as "black" even if only one great-great-ancestor was African.

Never the other way around.

Never, “Hey, your great-grandfather was Anglo, so that makes you one of us!”

No.  Always “Get out, [ethnic slur of choice]” no matter how “white” one looked / felt / acted.

And for a long time, “whiteness” applied only to the proverbial WASPs:  White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

That is, until demographics began eating away at them.

First the Protestantism went so German Catholics could be included.

Then Irish and Italian descendants; so long Anglo-Saxon purity.

Now the definition of “whiteness” includes Slavs and Eastern Europeans and Mormons and Jewish people (but only the ones who don’t make a big deal about their Jewishness; see homeopathy above).

As biology eats away at their numbers, far too many whites live in existential dread of losing the only real possession they have: A sense of identity that tells them they are inherently superior to non-whites.

They're not all hate mongering bigots; a lot of white supremacists are on a personal level kind and compassionate people who treat others fairly.

But they can't abide the thought of living in a world where they are not on top, but instead simply one of many.

Rather than become durable, flexible, superior steel they choose to remain brittle iron, preferring to rust away rather than bond with carbon.

That idea -- the idea that historically white culture is the only culture that matters -- that idea has to die if America is to live and thrive and grow.

Some try to champion alternate ideas to the melting pot:  The salad bowl or the stew pot.

A culture made up of many distinct sub-cultures, each working with the others in its own unique fashion; or a culture made up of many sub-cultures, each blending together with others, but maintaining identifiable characteristics.

Are salads and stews as good as the new superior alloy produced in the melting pot?


But they are infinitely better than the lethal quackery of homeopathy.


©  Buzz Dixon



24 Jul 21:25

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Bar Joke


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The good news is that when the man gets caught running naked through the park, there's no self-consistent way to say he's at fault.

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19 Jul 00:10

Software Development

Update: It turns out the cannon has a motorized base, and can make holes just fine using the barrel itself as a battering ram. But due to design constraints it won't work without a projectile loaded in, so we still need those drills.
14 Jul 06:16

An Apple for a Dollar

I'd like 0.4608 apples, please.
14 Jul 06:16

Wall Art

At first, I moved from pokémon posters to regular oil paintings, but then these really grumpy and unreasonable detectives from the Louvre showed up and took them all. They wouldn't even give me back my thumbtacks!
14 Jul 06:14

Stargazing 2

I mean, it wasn't exactly MY thesis. When the FAA came to shut down our observatory for using the telescope mirror to shine light at airplanes, I took a thesis and a bunch of doctorates from the supply cabinet on my way out.
13 Jul 03:14

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Organs


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I'm sorry, sir. Due to decades of alcoholism, you've developed a stiff upper lip.

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13 Jul 03:12

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Financial Literacy


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The deep lesson of the notion of opportunity cost is that every single second of your life is lived suboptimally.

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05 Jul 15:29


It traveled so far to reach me. I owed it my best.
23 Jun 15:13

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Kindness


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Later, she leaves him for an incredibly attractive guy who financially supports webcomics.

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