Nuggets of Wisdom

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nightly Frights: Dark Dungeons

As with last Halloween, I’m going to be sharing something that’s truly terrifying: evangelical propaganda!

That’s right: once again, I’m sharing a few selections from the so-bad-they’re-good Chick Tracts. And my first selection is perhaps the most famous—or rather, infamous, of them all: Dark Dungeons.

As the name implies, this is the anti-Dungeon and Dragons comic that was written during a time when most Bible-thumping fundies feared that this role-playing game was going to turn children into blood-drinking, infant-sacrificing Satan worshippers, when in reality, it would turn them into something far more frightening: basement-dwelling, Cheeto-and-Mountain-Dew consuming nerds with no sex life (but plenty of acne)!

I kid. Those people are actually cool, and given the chance, I would gladly hang out with them and play a few rounds of D&D with them. If anything, it was the backlash against role-playing games that got me interested in the fantasy role-playing genre. (Fancy that: telling someone not to do something only tempts them to try it.)

In this comic, an innocent, na├»ve teenage girl is drawn into the occult after playing a single game of D&D, which apparently provides “intense occult training.” Huh! So tossing a die and yelling “Wizard uses fire” is enough “intense occult training” to allow someone to join a witch’s coven? I guess by that logic, playing a single mission in Grand Theft Auto is enough “training” for me to car jack a vehicle and go on a drive-by shooting spree.

Now, I’ve never played a single game of D&D, though I have played a few video game RPGs, but it’s pretty clear to me that the people who created this comic knew less about the game than I did—which seems to be the case with most of the anti-D&D propaganda at the time, or pretty much any form of anti-Occult influence propaganda. (Remember the hysteria about Harry Potter?)

Speaking of which, it’s strange that we don’t seem the same level of paranoia against modern role-playing games such as World of Warcraft—and people actually have died playing that game!

But enough of the history lesson: here’s the comic in all of its lulzy glory:






















Chick Publications


Read the rest of the comic here.

Dark Stallion Summary And Bios

In one week, my fan fiction The Dark Stallion will make its world debut. I'll be releasing a few teasers until then. For now, here is the fanfic summary and original character bios.

Summary

A skilled unicorn in search of an ancient artifact. A lost pegasus who lost his memories. A wandering swordpony who wields his sword against evil. When these three colts cross paths with the Mane 6 in Ponyville, they begin encountering dark forces that suddenly befall the otherwise quiet town. Now they must team up to thwart the devious plans of the Shadow Clan and their mysterious leader, the Dark Stallion.

A 12-part epic fan fiction premiering Nov. 1.

Original Character Bios



Xander (Master Unicorn)
Created by BlameThe1st

A master spellcaster who graduated top honors from a prestigious military academy, no other unicorn can match the magical powress of Xander—except, perhaps, for Twilight Sparkle. Though his magic is otherwise unsurpassed, not so much are his social skills, what with him being a recluse who rarely desires interaction with other ponies.

As the son of a late great archeologist, when his father tragically passed away years ago, Xander took it upon himself to find the ancient artifact his father had long been searching for. His search has since taken him to Ponyville. What is this artifact for which he desperately seeks, and does it have anything to do with the mysterious Shadow Clan that has befallen the town?



Skywind (Amnesiac Pegasus)
Originally created by ex626AKAKeon

Not much is known about this pegasus colt. Not even he knows anything about himself. He simply fell out of the sky one day and would have crashed to his death had it not been for the heroic feats of Rainbow Dash. Other than his own name, Skywind, he knows nothing else.

Having lost his memories, he finds himself lost in a town he never heard of and surrounded by ponies he does not know. Fortunately, he has Rainbow Dash by his side to aid him and help him return his lost memories. The two soon form a special bond with their love for flying fast and having fun doing so. But the question remains: who is he, and what is he doing in Ponyville? And does his mysterious appearance have anything to do with the sudden appearance of the Shadow Clan?



Ninja Star (Wandering Swordpony)
Originally created by Ninja-8004

A sojourning swordpony from a far-off land, his travels have taken him through Equestria where he has been tracking down and fighting off the mysterious Shadow Clan. His journey has since taken him to Ponyville where he has discovered that the Shadow Clan has now targeted the Mane 6. Though he does not know much about the Clan’s intentions in Ponyville, he is determined to remain there until the evil has been vanquished.

True to his name, this earth pony is an armor-clad warrior skilled in the art of the ninja. He can wield a katana, throw a kunai, toss a shuriken, run fast, and disappear and reappear on a whim. With a heart as pure as gold, he is willing to risk his safety to fight and defend the defenseless. It is for this reason that he has taken a liking to Fluttershy—or rather, she to him—and has agreed to train her to defend herself. But will he be able to defend her and the rest of the town against the Shadow Clan?

Statist And Anarchist: Invisible Hand


Statist And Anarchist: Invisible Hand by BlameThe1st on deviantART

What is gravity? It is the force that attracts smaller objects to larger ones. It is this force that attracts people like you and me to the earth. Without it, we would all float away into space. It’s almost like an “invisible hand” that pulls us to the earth.

The same thing applies to magnetism. This is the force that attracts objects of particular electrical charges to objects of opposing charges. It is the force that allows your refrigerator magnets to stick to your refrigerator. It’s almost like an “invisible hand” that pulls them to the fridge.

By no means does associating either gravity or magnetism to “invisible hands” imply that they are “magical.” Both forces are scientific phenomena that can be empirically observed, tested, and researched. Calling them “invisible hands” simply allows for a metaphor by which people can better understand them.

And yet, when market forces—which can also be scientifically and empirically observed, tested, and researched, specifically through metrics such as GDP and CPI—are referred to as the “Invisible Hand of the Free Market,” they are not considered “scientific.” They are considered “magical.”

The “invisible hand” is often dismissed as a “supernatural” agent such as God, which guides creation through intelligent design, when, in reality, it is more comparable to natural selection, where complexity and design arise in nature from spontaneous order without the assistance of an outside agent.

This is what free-market economists refer to when they use the metaphor of the “invisible hand.” They are referring to how market forces allow individuals within the marketplace to seek their own rational self-interests through voluntary trade and labor. In this sense, the “invisible hand” is a force that organizes society from the “bottom up” through consumer choices rather than the “top down” through government central planning—a method that, ironically, critics of the “invisible hand” support!

The “invisible hand” is hardly an untested hypothesis. Since capitalism was first implemented more than 200 years ago, world GDP per capita has increased significantly, and with it, so have living standards. It’s no surprise that the introduction of capitalism correlates with the Industrial Revolution, which saw the rise of scientific, technological, and medical innovations that have allowed us to live longer and more comfortable lives than our predecessors.

So if you enjoy waking up in your air-conditioned apartment and driving in your Prius down to Starbucks to sip a pumpkin spice latte while watching House of Cards on Netflix with your iPad—and you prefer this to living in a mud hut on an acre of farmland working yourself to the bone from sunrise to sunset just to grow enough food to get your family through the winter and survive until the ripe age of 30, don’t thank magic. Thank the invisible hand!

Oh, and what’s especially ironic is that many people, specifically Keynesian economists, who dismiss the “invisible hand” as “magic” subscribe to the Keynes notion of “animal spirits” guiding the market. If you’re like me, when you think of “animal spirits,” you probably think of a shaman dressed in animal skins and chanting incarnations into a fire. And yet, to Keynesians, “animal spirits” are supposedly “scientific”, while “invisible hands” are magic. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Nightly Frights: Adapting To Night

Why does DJ Pon-3 have red eyes? And why does she mostly hang out at night? Perhaps her red eyes and nocturnal disposition are, well, supernatural?

In his fan comic, "Adapting To Night," Draw Ponies explores the possibility that our favorite pony DJ is not of the living, and offers a supernatural explanation of her origins.

(Hint: This comic is best read while listening to Evanescence’s “Erase This”. Then again, anything vampire-related is better with Evanescence!)


Comic: Adapting To Night, Part 1 by drawponies on deviantART


Comic: Adapting to Night, Part 2 by drawponies on deviantART


Comic: Adapting to Night, Part 3 by drawponies on deviantART


Comic: Adapting to Night, Part 4 by drawponies on deviantART


Comic: Adapting to Night, Part 5 by drawponies on deviantART


Comic: Adapting to Night, Part 6 by drawponies on deviantART


Adapting to Night: Final Page by drawponies on deviantART

Top 13 Sesame Street Scares (#5)


Muppet Wiki


#5: Count Von Count

No specific skit. Just the Muppet character as a whole.

I mean, who at the Children’s Television Workshop thought it was a good idea to create a children’s puppet character out of a re-animated corpse that feasts on the blood of the living?

Even Family Guy pointed out the absurdity of this:
Peter: Hey, is the Count a Vampire?

Brian: What's that?

Peter: Well he's got these big fangs. Have they ever shown him doin' somebody in and then feedin' on em?

Brian: You're, you're asking me if they've ever done a Sesame Street in which the Count kills somebody and then sucks their blood for sustenance.

Peter: Yeah.

Brian: No, they've never done that.
Now whether or not The Count is an actual vampire has remained the subject of debate among fans. (Of course, if Edward Cullen can count as a vampire, then pretty much anything can count as a vampire. Even a ham sandwich!)

On the one hand, the Count has never been shown to feast on blood—of course, that’s probably because of the standards and practices on PBS. Celestia knows what Jim would have allowed the Count to get away with if Sesame Street aired on any other channel. After all, this is the man who said that it wasn’t healthy for children NOT to be afraid.

The Count also has no problem being out in the sunlight—otherwise, he’d be a pile of smoldering ashes by now. This is why he can chillax with Harry Bellafonte out on the beach.



Other than those two exceptions, the Count is a vampire in every other way. He dresses like a vampire. He talks like a vampire. He has fangs like a vampire. He lives in a big spooky castle. He hangs out with bats. Even his counting obsession is attributed to his vampire nature.

Yes, true facts: in early vampire lore, vampires had serious OCD with counting. In fact, one way you could distract a vampire was to dump a pile of seed or rice. This would force him to count every single grain. Every. Single. One!

So, yes, the Count’s counting obsession is more than just a play on his name.

As to his scare factor, while he may not be scary to kids today, when he was first introduce on the show, he was one scary son of a bitch.

I mean, this was one of his earliest sketches:



A dark, dingy manor with bats flying, thunder crashing, and the Count menacingly making his way down the stairs? Oh yes, this isn’t going to bother children one bit.

In his early appearances, Count’s character was very much like a monster movie vampire. He was cold, menacing, and in some instances, downright cruel. Nothing and no one would dare get in the way of his counting, and if they did, he would hypnotize them into submission.

This is how he dealt with Bert and Ernie:



And then there was his trademark counting. As shown here, every time he finished counting, he would laugh manically and summon thunder and lightning. Because that’s the one sound that children love most: thunder and lightning.

Speaking of sound, most of his songs were downright creepy. Being a vampire, most of his songs delved into the macabre. Like this song, for instance:



Yes, you’re watching that correctly: the Count is using a real human skeleton to count with—and that skeleton is laughing.

Kids in the 1970s must have needed a lot of therapy!

Since his first appearance, the Count has become much more jolly and friendly, unlike his more mean-spirited self, and nowadays, he could hardly scare a newborn baby. But there was a time when the Count was truly scary as a vampire.

And I mean real vampires, not the Twilight vampires. I don’t know what the freak those things are. They’re not vampires. Vampires don’t sparkle in the sunlight.

The Count: he may not be a real vampire, but he’s more a vampire than Edward Cullen!


deviantART

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nightly Frights: Don’t Mine At Night!


YouTube


And now for something not so scary. Consider this a reprieve from the overwhelming nightmare fuel this month is producing.

Then again, this music video could easily be considered scary if you’ve ever played Minecraft. There’s nothing scarier in that game than running into a creeper or zombie.



Poor Button Mash! All he wants to do is hang out with Sweetie Belle, and those dang creepers are creeping up on his game.

You know what this video reminds me of? The Tiny Toon music videos. Yeah, this definitely reminds me of a video that the Tiny Toons would spoof. Just replace Buttons with Buster Bunny and Sweetie Belle with Babs and you have something they would spoof. :D

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nightly Frights: Are Ed, Edd, And Eddy Dead?


fanpop


Did you know that all of the characters on Ed, Edd, n Eddy are dead? That’s a theory many fans have on the show. Fans speculate that, since the characters live in a neighborhood which is mostly devoid of any one else, especially adults, that the kids are actually residing in a purgatory, with each of them having died during a different time period.

Of course, this is merely fan conjecture, which Pan Pizza discusses in his video:

Socialism: Blaming Capitalism For Government’s Follies

“Six Minute Socialism” sounds like a fitting name. Most self-described “socialists” seem to have a six-minute understanding of math, history, and economics, as this insipid video shows:



Sweet Celestia! I can’t even make it past the intro without being assaulted by bogons. Pretty much everything he lists is the fault of government, not capitalism.

Can't find a job? Blame that on the current recession that resulted from the government-created housing bubble burst.

Can't afford health care or college? Blame that on government meddling in healthcare and student loans.

Have low wages got you down? Blame that on inflation fueled by reckless money printing.

Are you sick and tired of recessions and depressions? Yeah, and it’s because of the insanity of the Federal Reserve.

I’m not bothering with the rest of the video. If you can’t convince me that your opinion is worth taking seriously within the very first few sentences, then I have no reason to listen to therest of what you have to say.

Murray Rothbard once said it’s not a crime to be ignorant of economics, but it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on it while remaining ignorant. Funny how the most “loud and vociferous” voices on economics tend to be the most ignorant.

Top 13 Sesame Street Scares (#6)



#6: In The Box

Hey, you want to see what Grover originally looked like?


Muppet Wiki


Creepy? Isn't he?

And it doesn't help that his voice sounds like he smoked an entire carton of Marlboros.

But trust me when I say this is not the creepiest part of this skit. No. That comes much later.

In this lecture, Kermit tries to teach about the word in by having Grover get in the box, and Grover, being the dumb sack of cotton that he is, gets in every other direction except for in.

He gets next to the box.

He gets under the box.

He even gets on the box.

But he never gets in the box.

And why doesn't he get in the box?

Because this guy is in it:


Yes, that is not a jack-in-the-box. That is a dragon.

I guess neither Kermit nor Grover went to Hogwarts. Otherwise, they would know not to wake a sleeping dragon.

But while those two do the reasonable thing and get the heck out of there, the camera decides to zoom in on him.

Closer...



...and closer...



...and, Oh Sweet Celestia, just fade to black already! No child wants to look into those evil, souless eyes!

But you want to know what's creepier? This isn't the first time this character has appeared on the Street:



Oh, and he also has a name: Fred.

Fred the Dragon.

Well, I guess it could be worse. He could have a high-squeaky voice and his own web show. Now that would be creepy!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Nightly Frights: The Murders of Ed Gein

Chances are you’ve heard of Edward Gein. If not, then you’re probably familiar with his other incarnations, like Norman Bates from Psycho, or Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. All of those fictional serial killers were based on the real-life human butcher Edward Gein—and, oh Sweet Celestia, when you learn about his life and his murders, you’ll understand why he was such an inspiration!

Documentaries and even actual movies have been made about this sick, twisted man and his even more sick and twisted murders, but MrCreepyPasta does an excellent job condensing it all to less than ten minutes. (Warning: you’ll want to listen to this on an empty stomach. You have been warned!)