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!?

 

Crime rates have fallen 45% since 1990 but the incarceration rate has jumped 220%

That and some other disturbing statistics from the Harvard Gazette:

 

While crime rates have fallen 45 percent since 1990, the memo said that the incarceration rate is now at a “historically unprecedented level,” jumping 222 percent between 1980 and 2012.  An African-American man who never graduated from high school has a 70 percent likelihood of being imprisoned by his mid-30s; for similarly educated white men, the rate is about 15 percent. And the United States imprisons at a rate six times greater than most peer nations, including those of the European Union, Japan, Israel, and Mexico.

 

The for-profit prison industry has done irreparable damage to this country and shutting that down is the only way.  You can contact your local congressman or woman via this link.  It’s not much but it’s something and only takes a couple minutes.  If not this issue, then send an e-mail about your issue.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Zombie fiction, zombie poetry, zombie comic; everything for the zombie lover!

Zombies?! Zombies!! is now in print

Just in time for Halloween, Zombies?! Zombies!! An Anthology is live and in publication!

While sites like Amazon won’t have the book or ebook for another month, you can order it now via the new order page located here.

Zombie fiction, zombie poetry, zombie comic; everything for the zombie lover!

And here’s a sample, an excerpt from PJ Oubre‘s excellent story Caesar’s First Zombie War

Two of the legions with us had fought the lemures previously, however, the third legion had no idea what they were about to face.  Caesar rode his horse at the front of the train of soldiers; he always believed that he was responsible for leading and inspiring the soldiers under his command.   After two hours, we could smell the stench of decaying flesh emanating from the town.  This odor managed to rattle the third legion and I remember seeing smoke rising into the sky as we approached.  We found a city in ruins.  The town was ablaze and only a small portion was protected as the appointed leader of the city appealed to Caesar for assistance and described the account of what had happened.

Four months earlier, a family returning from the south had fallen ill and died.  A day later, the pale, reanimated family began to shamble in the direction of any living being and attacked them.  These walking dead began to bite anyone near enough and stupid enough to allow him to get close.  Within days, the western half of the city was consumed by thousands of lemures that the city leadership did not know how to combat.  They built a temporary wall to contain the undead, but not before losing several thousand citizens.

Salamanca was a significant town for the Romans since it contained a massive aqueduct that brought water to many camps and villages.  It was strategically and economically important for control of the entire Iberian Peninsula.  Salamanca was located along the Roman road (Via de la Plata), which was paramount for control of the northwestern portion of the peninsula.  This road gave the Romans access to the ocean and made transport of merchant goods vital.  Caesar knew that he had to liberate this city from the undead as quickly as possible or the water supply might be disrupted and fail to support the forces under Vetus.  He called together his troops and planned to invade the western half of the city at daybreak.  The night before battle, I had not seen him so nervous, for he was about to command troops in battle for the first time.  All of his studying and preparation led him to this moment.  He only had 8000 soldiers at his disposal and for many this was the first significant engagement against a true horde of the decomposing undead.  The moans of the undead trolled on for hours and the smell of decaying flesh tickled our nostrils.  The first sight of shambling former Roman citizens and blood soaked streets and walls must have been a disconcerting sight for the new legion.

Caesar kept 500 soldiers in reserve and utilized the remainder to fight.  He designed his troops to walk in tightly packed formations, shoulder to shoulder, with shields in front of them and swords poking between the front rows of shields, grinding their opponents into pulp.  He ordered his soldiers to march in formation five rows deep on each street and to rotate every hour to combat battle fatigue.  He knew that the best way to combat the walking dead was in slow systematic units that decapitated each undead.  He emphasized the need for each unit to work as a whole and that the only way to defeat their new enemy was by decapitation.  The challenge for this army was the fact that the undead moved slowly and did not always coordinate into groups.  Occasionally one would be overlooked and manage to bite a soldier, which caused the disease to spread into our ranks.  In effect, they had to break formation to combat the shambling individuals aimlessly walking the streets.

These miniature armies systematically walked each street and let the undead walk toward them and they severed the heads as swiftly as possible.  Caesar had ordered his soldiers to shout and bang their shields together in order to attract larger numbers of lemures making combat easier.  Apparently, we had noticed that the lemures were attracted to loud noise, which suggested that their hearing was more acute than under normal living conditions.  The idea that Roman soldiers had to alter their training to attract the enemy and let them come to them was a new and unusual concept for them to grasp.  Roman soldiers were accustomed to walking slowly in formation towards their enemy and devastate their opponents with methodical precision and destruction.  Caesar ordered them to remain calm and stand in formation and make every effort to draw the walking dead to them.  This required a great deal of patience and many soldiers did not possess the patience required.  Often, a pair of soldiers would break formation and go out in search of glory, only to receive a bite and quickly turn into one of the lemures.  Those soldiers stationed behind these street units, Caesar ordered to remove the decapitated bodies to the side of the streets for removal at the end of the day.

At the end of the first day, they had slaughtered 500 lemures and Caesar ordered the citizens of the city to erect movable walls to barricade each street recently cleaned up.  The reserve troops hauled the corpses to the camp outside the city and built massive pyres for corpse removal.  Caesar understood the need for sanitary conditions and conducted the pyres outside the city for this purpose.  I oversaw hours of burning corpses upon these pyres.  I also overheard some of the standard soldiers weeping in their tents (either out of fear or shame for being a part of such a scene).  War is a crazy spectacle and men react in ways as various as the stars in the sky; in addition, all of these soldiers had never before seen the reanimated corpse of the dead and this second shock caused many men to run in fear.  Luckily for us, Caesar had an inhuman ability to inspire the most uninspired soldiers under his command.  Caesar had gained two legions assigned to him that he had not recruited from his private army.  That first night was the longest of my life.

Return+of+the+Living+Dead+rotld01

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

Volume 2 of the Hoosier Writers series, featuring fiction, poetry and photography from some of Indiana's leading artists

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.