Yikes, it’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve neglected you all for months and I should probably be writing something profound about the new year (or something snarky about resolutions). Instead, I’m posting a draft that’s been hanging around since last New Year’s Eve.

I’ve been a little disorganized this year.

Last year, we drove to Florida and spent a few weeks with my mom for the holidays. The night before we set out on our journey, I had a nightmare.

A terrible, crazy nightmare.

A wake-up-drenched-in-sweat nightmare.

Here’s what I remember: Husband and I were driving on I-4 in Orlando, near Gatorland. There was a huge traffic jam and we weren’t going anywhere.

Suddenly, Harrison Ford sprinted by the car. We leaped out of the car and ran after him to help. It was the (dream) logical thing to do.

Ford was being pursued by Florida Governor Rick Scott, who was in the process of shedding his human skin and turning into a giant Chupacabra-like monster.

Now, in real life, I’d recently presented a conference paper on archaeology in feature films. Gatorland was on my mind because it was used as a location for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Also, because it’s awesome.

Clarification: Gatorland is awesome. Temple of Doom was kind of a stupid yet lovable mess of a movie. The racism, however, not lovable.

I went back to sleep after my heart-rate returned to normal and didn’t give the dream a second thought in the morning.

Until I got a text from JunglePete.

JunglePete was a bit disturbed about the dream he had that he was stuck in traffic on I4 and Rick Scott turned into a Chupacabra.

I have no explanation for this shared brainwave. We’ll be visiting him again in a few days so I’m sure we’ll figure it out.

One year later….

We never did figure this out. The only logical explanation is that the Governor is a Chupacabra.

image: meanlouise


image: meanlouise

I know, I know – my photoshop skills leave much to be desired.

{update January 30, 2015} This post apparently went into the draft file even though I really meant to publish it. Then my blog had some sort of wordpress meltdown. I guess I’m just going to have to get my act back together and quite neglecting you all!

We saw a lot of movies in the theater this summer. An unusually high number (for us).

I quickly reached the point where I could only endure the trailer for Interstellar by imagining all of the characters who go into space (for no apparent reason) eventually crash land on a planet of apes.

If I see the trailer too many more times I may have a psychotic break, because there’s something about it that irritates me. A lot. I don’t know what the movie is about. I don’t care.

Husband’s plot summary is good enough for me. Granted, it’s also based on seeing the same trailer too many times. Everyone’s a critic these days.

According to Husband, the plot of Interstellar is this: “Matthew McConaughey loves his children but he hates wheat. He probably loved baseball, but not as much as he loves his old truck and his children. People play too much baseball which results in all of the old trucks in the world being covered with dust. This endangers humanity, and possibly the wheat, so Alfred must send Catwoman and Matthew McConaughey into space. McConaughey is sad to leave his children. How sad? Really fucking sad. But he’s got to go, because we need a new planet to play baseball on. But he’s really really sad anyway.”

Here – in case you’ve managed to miss it:

[another post that’s been hanging around in the drafts files for a few months]

It was nice of Santa to bring me a boxed set of all 4 Indiana Jones movies on BluRay, since I need them for thesis research.

When we watch movies in La Florida, we tend to turn the volume up very loud to compensate for the weird acoustics in mom’s house and the fact that mom tends to wander in and out of the room a lot and then ask a lot of questions because she has no idea what’s happening in the movie.

This results in all of us yelling, “WHAT???” at one another until someone pauses and/or runs back the movie.

We watched Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom on New Year’s Eve. Mom had a LOT of questions.

This didn’t lead to me questioning my commitment to archaeology but did result in me renewing my commitment to bourbon.

There was one thing we could all agree on: Well of Souls and Snakes would make the worst restaurant concept ever.

The Institute for Figuring posted this exciting note on facebook yesterday:

IFF Director, Margaret Wertheim’s, TED Talk about our Crochet Coral Reef project as an artistic response to global warming, has reached a million views. We’re currently working on a book about the project that will highlight all 30 Crochet Reefs around the world and the 8000 participants who have contributed to these unique marine-inspired installations.

Here’s the talk, in case you haven’t seen it:

Here’s a detail photo from the Smithsonian Community Reef (October 16, 2010-April 24, 2011), in case you’ve forgotten how amazing it was:



Photo by MeanLouise

manateegatormonkey
I don’t know the original source of the image or any of the important things one should know before posting an image publicly, so I’ll take all blame for sharing it here.

My pal Sal made me this hilarious rendition of the party he’d throw me if he could invite monkeys, manatees, and gators to a birthday party. Safely, I mean. You could cart all three into a room and dress them up and give them cake. I guess…

Once.

I think the card/imaginary party is a safer way to go.

Less cleanup.

Also, fewer chances of any sort of Fish and Wildlife Service or other law enforcement intervention. The older I get, the less desirable these things become.

I’ve been neglecting you a bit mostly due to illness and then some unsuccessful adventures in re-theming this site. I’ve been too stubborn to give in and hire a wordpress guru, but I’m getting close to admitting I can’t roll my own any longer (a conclusion I should have reached a long time ago, I know).

I’ll be back soon – expect a post on Monday about the craptacular 2008 SyFy movie, Lost City Raiders.

Just as soon as I sober up.

Not from my birthday, from the Lost City Raiders viewing session. It’s a doozy, but I mean that in the best possible way.

Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 2014)

Years ago, I ran into Stephen Colbert on campus. We chatted for several minutes before I realized he wasn’t a coworker, but was instead a magical television friend. That was back in ye olde days when Colbert was a correspondent for The Daily Show.

(He was exiting the men’s room in our department, in that context, he was familiar but in the wrong context).

Little did I know that one day he’d be the First Lady of France!

On The Colbert Report last night, Colbert explained that he was French President François Hollande’s date for the White House State Dinner Tuesday night.



Colbert Report: White House State Dinner

Later in the episode, Colbert presented “Because Shep” – a Fun Sized serving of inspire lunacy in which Shep reviewed the State Dinner menu with viewers. If you don’t watch Fox regularly, you may not realize that the foods the Obamas eat are elitist and foreign, not at all like the (exact same foods) that Conservative leaders serve at formal dinners. There’s usually a lot of implied classism, with a crunchy undertone of bigotry, but today Shep turned the Fox Bumpkin routine up to 11 with truly divine results.

Enjoy!



Colbert Report: Because Shep

Remember people, Smith is rumored to the smart one up there on Bullshit Mountain.

________
Image: Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 2014)

That sounds like the title of the worst children’s book ever written.

I’ve been mostly off the grid for the last few weeks, so I was surprised to see links to a 3 year old post about Jenny McCarthy at something called The Sports Pig’s Blog were sprouting on facebook like mushrooms. “Jenny McCarthy: My bad, turns out my kid doesn’t have autism.”

McCarthy’s latest tweet told a different story:

@jennymccarthy via twitlonger:
Stories circulating online, claiming that I said my son Evan may not have autism after all, are blatantly inaccurate and completely ridiculous. Evan was diagnosed with autism by the Autism Evaluation Clinic at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital and was confirmed by the State of California (through their Regional Center). The implication that I have changed my position, that my child was not initially diagnosed with autism (and instead may suffer from Landau-Kleffner Syndrome), is both irresponsible and inaccurate. These stories cite a “new” Time Magazine interview with me, which was actually published in 2010, that never contained any such statements by me. Continued misrepresentations, such as these, only serve to open wounds of the many families who are courageously dealing with this disorder. Please know that I am taking every legal measure necessary to set this straight.

.

Here’s what the Sports Pig’s blog post states:

Now in a stunning article in Time magazine, it’s revealed that McCarthy’s son NEVER had autism in the first place. It turns out the boy had been misdiagnosed and really has a rare neurological disorder. Fortunately, the child is getting better and no longer displays any signs of autism. However, McCarthy has not apologized for her misdirected zealotry against having children vaccinated. Even if she did, APOLOGY NOT ACCEPTED.

Except that’s not what the Time article said.

Here’s an archived version of the original Time article: The Autism Debate: Who’s Afraid of Jenny McCarthy? by Karl Taro Greenfeld, published Thursday, February 25, 2010. The section in question is from the 2nd page:

She believes she did fix her boy. A psychological evaluation from UCLA’s neuropsychiatric hospital, dated May 10, 2005, was “conclusive for a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder,” and yet here, running toward us on a warm California afternoon, is Evan, shouting out, “Are you here to play with me? When are we going to play?” McCarthy’s boy is a vivacious, articulate and communicative child who seems to have beaten the condition. He is an inspiration, the fact of him as incontrovertible as any study done in any laboratory in the world.

Or is this the truth? There are dark murmurings from scientists and doctors asking, Was her son ever really autistic? Evan’s symptoms — heavy seizures, followed by marked improvement once the seizures were brought under control — are similar to those of Landau-Kleffner syndrome, a rare childhood neurological disorder that can also result in speech impairment and possible long-term neurological damage. Or, as other pediatricians have suggested, perhaps the miracle I have beheld is the quotidian miracle of childhood development: a delayed 2-year-old catching up by the time he is 7, a commonplace, routine occurrence, nothing more surprising than a short boy growing tall. It is enraging to the mother to hear that nothing was wrong with her boy — she held him during his seizures, saw his eyes roll up after he received his vaccines — and how can you say that she doesn’t know what she knows?

That’s not a scientific diagnosis. It’s conjecture by a journalist who repeats “dark murmurings” by unnamed scientists and doctors to identify a potential neurological disorder that this child could have.

I can’t imagine how painful this is for parents of autistic children who’ve suffered abused, guilt or fear as a direct result of McCarthy’s behavior. I certainly get why all parents would be incensed by the idea that McCarthy’s child was never autistic, why all people should be incensed by her actions.

I don’t know whether McCarthy’s child is autistic or not. No matter what, I feel for the poor child. What I’ve been perplexed about is why this story was suddenly mutating and rising from the dead.

I found this informative blog post by Jen Gunter: Jenny McCarthy is still anti-vaccine despite what you may have learned today on Reddit.

Ah, Reddit.

Today I learned: Jenny McCarthy’s son doesn’t even have autism. 1511 comments and it appears no one read the original Time article. I don’t honestly know, I skimmed the top comments and read the original poster’s ongoing defense of her link, but I didn’t invest a lot of time in the venture. (Yet).

It’s fascinating and bizarre how quickly this link to a dead sports blog has spread.

I blogged this because I’m interested in science communication and media literacy and I wanted to capture the evolution of this strange story before links started vanishing.

If you see this story mutating and/or being reported (on a media site, not someplace like your aunt diane’s facebook page), would you take a moment to leave me a note and link in my comments? Thanks!

In the meantime, if you want to read more about why McCarthy’s anti-vaccine crusade matters, here are a few links for your edification:

The New Yorker: “Jenny McCarthy’s Dangerous Views”

Slate, Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy Blog: “Vaccinating Against McCarthyism”>

Time Magazine: “Viruses Don’t Care About Your View: Why ABC Shouldn’t Have Hired Jenny McCarthy

The Jenny McCarthy Anti-Vaccine Body Count