A study of 1.3 million kids revealed no link between vaccines and autism

You can read more at this link but here are the most relevant parts:

 

Five cohort studies involving 1,256,407 children and five case-control studies involving 9920 children were included in this analysis

 

Findings of this meta-analysis suggest that vaccinations are not associated with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder.

 

There is no reason to be anti-vaccine other than being pro-disinformation.

 

An excerpt from The Revivers, by Adam Dennis

From Zombies?! Zombies!!

 


 

 

A new member to the group occupied the seat closest to the exit. He looked to be in his thirties dressed in an orange track suit and running shoes. A workout bag sat on the floor at his feet. His spare tire revealed a man that once had been in shape but had let other things get in the way as he got older. He occupied himself with a sugary glazed crueller eying the pastry obsessively while washing it down with a cup of Folgers. Debbie gave him a moment to finish before addressing him.

“And you sir, what’s your name?” She asked. The man snapped awake suddenly realizing his participation was expected.

“Me?” He said. “Oh yeah, I’m Phil.”

“Nice to meet you, Phil.” She said. “And how did you hear about our little group?”

“Um…a guy at work told me about it. I thought I’d check it out.” He said as he gulped down some more coffee.

“Of course, thanks for coming.” She said. “And feel free to participate as much as you like. No pressure.”

“Sure, thanks.” He responded as he headed back to the table for seconds.

“So now that we all know each other, why don’t we get started? Who wants to be first tonight?” Debbie glanced around the room for a volunteer. “Okay, as usual I’m just going to have to pick someone.” She turned to Mark. “Mark, would you like to get the conversation going?” He looked at her like she had a vendetta against him.

“Not really.” He replied.

“Please Mark. You should give it a chance. It might help.” She said biting her tongue. “Why don’t you tell us what you remember about what happened.”

The over-confident, dismissive adolescent attitude disappeared as he responded.

“I don’t really remember much.”

Mark had spent the summer before his senior year doing what most prospective seniors do before they start their final year, packing in as many parties as possible. Unfortunately, he chose to end the summer at the one party he should have skipped. The chosen site for the parents-out-of-town-raid-the-liquor-cabinet bash had been packed with a hundred or so drunken, horny teenagers each doing their fair share of damage to the unsuspecting home.

To avoid the long lines to the bathroom, Mark decided to take the easy way out and water the lawn instead. He was alone, drunk and stumbling around in the back yard as mom and dad’s new Panasonic blasted the neighbors. He found a suitable spot near the tool shed to handle his affairs. The far end of the yard stayed dark beyond the reach of the lights of the back deck. Mark had just relieved himself of the last five beers when someone emerged from behind the shed. A woman, if you could call her that, staggered completely naked into the back yard with one utterly primal instinct driving her…hunger, a hunger that drove her to kill. The medical community called her diseased; everyone else called her a zombie.

The living zombie stumbled towards him muffled by the blaring beats from the house and masked by Mark’s lack of sobriety. She slammed clumsily into Mark and grabbed hold of his arm. The two toppled over to the ground as she tore off a massive hunk of muscle with her teeth. Mark screamed frantically not feeling the pain, only the utter fear and surprise. His sobriety quickly returned as the adrenaline shot to his brain like a bullet. The smell of the woman sickened him, like piss and rotting meat brewing in a trash can for days in an August heat. His arm spouted a geyser of blood raining down on the leaves around the scuffle. He managed to yank his arm from her mouth but nothing more. Once he denied her, she fought harder.

“Holy shit! It’s a Reviver! She’s got Mark!” Mark could hear someone yelling but couldn’t recognize the voice. Seconds later, he heard screams as half of the party spilled out into the back yard.

“What do we do?!” He heard.

“Get her off him!” A female partygoer screamed in response.

Mark was losing the strength in his arms. She was small, but relentless. Suddenly, someone grabbed the woman and flung her off him. He barely looked up to see who had saved him and lay dazed and drunk in the grass staring up at a starry sky. The screams quieted as he managed to lift himself out of the dirt. No one offered to help.

“Oh shit, he’s bit!” A fellow reveler stood five feet from him breathing heavily and clutching a rake like a broadsword. A drunken gang of teenagers pelted the zombie with rocks as she shuffled back into the woods. Mark looked down at his arm. It was soaking wet with blood and dripping down his leg. His pants were drenched where he had wet himself unable to finish his business before the attack. The entire party stood in the yard gawking like they were waiting on orders to turn the rocks on him. Mark clutched his wound and walked to the street not saying a word. Still, no one attempted to help. In their eyes, he was already dead.

That summer marked the end of the epidemic, or so the authorities claimed. Rumors of random attacks circulated nonetheless. As time went on, the media coverage lessened. Theorists say that the government had something to do with the drop-off, but in reality, the public was simply tired of death. People wanted the disease to go away and just forget about what had happened. Denial can sometimes be an effective coping mechanism.

Mark stared at his forearm and shook his head. “As soon as everyone saw that I was bitten they looked at me like I was some kind of freak.” An air of sympathy fell over the group that had not been there before.

“After about a week I came back as one of them. It’s weird how there’s still a part of you that is aware of who you were. I went after a girl that I had had a huge crush on for forever. I ended up at her house…why would I go to her house?” He pondered aloud.

Scientists never had an explanation for what caused the memory overlap. There had been scattered reports of infected hosts wandering to their workplaces, schools, or locations that they frequented in their normal life. It was not uncommon for friends or family members in neighboring towns to be attacked.

“So, who was she?” Beth asked. Mark looked at her a moment before responding.

“Her name was Jennifer Lane…and I killed her.”


 

Read the rest of the story and more in Zombies!? Zombies!?

 

Speak out against NSA mass surveillance

February 11, today, is “The Day We Fight Back”, an initiative to have the masses speak up and out to their local representative.  I’m skeptical that writing e-mails or making phone calls will change much, if anything at all.  Most of our congress critters, in my pessimistic view, are already in the pockets of some interest and that interest is not ours.  But I also believe the one thing our political class loves more than money is their seat of power so maybe, just maybe, if enough phone calls are made so that a representative feels that seat is sufficiently threatened… well, who knows.

It’s certainly worth a try, so click the banner below and go send an e-mail or make a phone call to your local rep.  It’s only a little thing but little things add up.

 

Remembering Return of the Living Dead

When I was six I went with my mother to a friend’s house.  This wasn’t unusual as the house belonged to her childhood friend who had twin sons my age who were now my friends.  I spent a significant chunk of my youth with and around that family, so being over at their house was business as usual.

What was not business as usual was the movie playing on this particular day.  Return of the Living Dead had come out the year before and their father had bought a copy of it on VHS just the night before.  And because he was kind of a sick twisted dick, he decided that playing the movie for a group of children ranging from three to 10 would be tons of fun.

The movie terrified me.  I mean, run out of the room screaming into my mother’s arms terrified.  And yet, it was also fascinating.  I’d never seen anything like it, literally.  I’d never seen what I now think of as typical 80s punk look:

A few years later I would try - and spectacularly fail - to replicate some of these looks in an attempt to look radical

A few years later I would try – and spectacularly fail – to replicate some of these looks in an attempt to look totally gnarly

I’d never seen a fully nude woman as Linnea Quigley’s character Trash does about 19 minutes into the film.

I’d never seen zombies or vast amounts of blood and gore and destruction.  I’d never seen a good guy, as I thought of dopey protagonist Freddy, turn bad and proceed to try to murder anyone around him.

The movie marked a lot of firsts for me, but perhaps it is most notable for being the movie that began my fascination with zombies.  Without seeing this movie 27 years ago, would I be working on my Zombies? Zombies! anthology today?  I really don’t think so.

And so when I saw today on Youtube that the entire movie is available streaming on the site, well, I couldn’t resist a walk down memory lane.  I watched the movie for a second time about 10 years ago and after watching it for a third time today I must say it holds up surprisingly well.  In my mind at least, but in my mind it’s been a hokey, silly experience since I was old enough not to be terrified of zombies anymore.

There’s really nothing hugely special about this outside of the morbid humor used at times, “Send more police” but it will always hold a special place in my heart.  It changed my life, which is kind of sad because it’s such a ridiculous movie, but I’m okay with that.  And so here it is in its glorious majesty, Return of the Living Dead

Dispatch, a poem by Andrew Neel

From Hoosier Writers 2012

“As for the metaphysical thoughts, my dear sir, allow me to say that any brain is capable of producing them, it’s just that we cannot always find the right words.”   -Senhor Jose   All the Names (Saramago)

General while enacting your order dated 25 September 19XX
Several men in the trenches began displaying aquatic symptoms
Unexplainable by the camp’s doctor.  General the infection’s spread
Writhes like an electric eel from man to man without distinction.
General my men cannot fight at the bottom of the ocean.
General Pvt. Stevens worries that his uniform conceals his gills.
General everyone is blowing bubbles.  General do you understand
The starfish?  General we refuse to close our eyes for fear
We’ll drown in our sleep.  General there are sharks.
General we’re just floating down here forgotten and tired.
General factions arise: pirates and devotees of Neptune,
Partisans of you General as also those who blame you
For the minnows between their toes and the kelp in their teeth.
General it does seem strange.  General the mermaids’
Seductions distract but we want more, General we deserve more.
Or
Do we?   General I must apologize; General it’s not so bad.
General the ocean contains many wonders.  General
It’s not always cold down here.  General just yesterday
I saw a volcano erupt beneath the sea!  Such lava!
General an octopus produces great art.
General I will explore the Titanic.  General
The ocean contains a very special species of tree.
General some days all I want to do is lay in the coral.
General an ocean circus is not what you’d expect.
General I’m an oceanic jazz man.

General the situation here at the water front is murky.
General we were not born navy men but we will try.
General tell our mothers.  General
We may never walk on land again.

Paynetown, a fiction excerpt by Lowell R Torres

Here is an excerpt from the novella Paynetown by yours truly.  It’s a work in progress, and will be included in my Zombies? Zombies! anthology.

The following is the last few paragraphs of the introduction and a few pages of the protagonist’s recollection of the night of the first major zombie outbreak in the US.

This generation now experience zombies through TV and videos online, or at the freaking zoo.  Most preteens have gone their whole lives without seeing one, outbreaks are so contained; most preteens in the West, that is.  Some third world countries are still a mess; there are chunks of China, Russia and India that are like scenes straight out of hell, and much of Africa is a vast ruin.  The world isn’t all peachy, like you’re told to believe.  There is madness, so much madness that it’s hard not to give in to it if you think about it too long.

But most of you know all this.  I’m just giving a retread.  Anyone with an internet connection has knowledge and more of what I’ve said.  Anyone can gain knowledge, but without experience knowledge is just words in your head.  Most people haven’t experienced the true horror of an outbreak.  I have.  I was part of the first major outbreak.

I was in Bloomington on July 18, 2007.  I was part of “America’s Zombie Wake-Up Call,” as the media dubbed it, when a category F-4 tornado bounced through the city, leaving a bobbing path of destruction and killing twelve hundred people as they slept.  About eight hundred of those would rise up as murderous, rampaging zombies.  Over fifteen thousand people eventually wound up dead; nearly a fifth of the population of a small city wiped out in just a nine-hour span.

I was there through most of it and my part in the “heroics” of that day were limited, but the media and government needed a hero to throw at the public.  And, well, I’m just good-looking and smart enough to qualify for the part, and I came with a ready-made pedigree pronouncing me Hero with a capital H.  But I’ll get to that later.

First came the storm.

Click here to continue reading

Spinach and Kale Ravioli with Homemade Tomato & Garlic Sauce

I am often compliment on my ability to cook as if it’s some type of huge surprise.  Maybe I don’t look like the type who cooks, I dunno.  What I do know is that I’ve always been very good at following directions to create something, and when that something is a food dish, well, I guess compliments mean I followed directions successfully.

The other night I tried something sort of new.  I was at Sam’s Club and one of the free sample people gave me a cup of this ravioli that was pretty darn good, so I decided to buy it to make for dinner this week: Spinach and Kale Ravioli by Pasta Prima.

I cook pasta at least once every other week so it’s not a big deal, but for this I decided to try something different.  The package of the ravioli had directions for a sauce to be made with it, so I figure why not?  Especially since the sauce was really simple:

Toss the ravioli in a pot of hot or boiling water.  The package I had was so fresh the ravioli was almost falling apart after boiling for more than a few minutes

This doesn't need to cook long

This doesn’t need to cook long

1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil in a skillet
Add 2 onions and 4 cloves of garlic and onions – diced (my stomach can’t handle onions, so I skipped them)

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The garlic looks lonely, but I’ll take lonely garlic over angry stomach any day

10 plum tomatoes – diced; add when the onions/garlic are browning

I accidentally bought Roma, so had plenty of tomato.  It will start stewing if you cook it too long, so just long enough to be nice and hot

I accidentally bought Roma, so had plenty of tomato. It will start stewing if you cook it too long, so just long enough to be nice and hot

Cook and stir until hot, then add basil and salt/pepper to taste
Add some grated Parmesan cheese and you’re ready for a healthy, quick, easy, and delicious meal:

If only my photography skills were as good as this dish

If only my photography skills were as good as this dish

Even the kids ate it, and when you can get a six-year-old and two-year-old to both like a food, it’s a success.  But of course I forgot to take pictures of that.  Next time.