Archive for January, 2009

It Might Be Sweeps If…

January 30, 2009 - 9:07 pm Comments Off

…you hear the term “female ejaculation” on the history channel. Also known during this period as the “Hey, look at us! We have historical BOOBS” channel.

Just Bugs Me II

January 30, 2009 - 8:52 pm Comments Off

From a commercial overheard while fixing the critters’ dinner:

“Ever wish you had SONIC hearing?!”

ETA: God damn it, my memory sucks.

Just Bugs Me Blogging

January 30, 2009 - 5:25 pm Comments Off

As long as I’m going to continue having nothing of substance to say, I might as well try the snark-drive-by model of whatever random thought happens to be floating between my ears.

That said, here’s one of my huge linguistic pet peeves, to be found anywhere that teeth are mentioned, usually in the context of some other species: Your incisors are not your canines, and your canines are not your incisors. Okay? Your incisors can be found as the four teeth up front in your upper and lower jaws. They are flattish and come to a chisel-shaped edge. They are for chopping things. When you try to bite a piece off of food, unless it’s tough or gristly and needs gnawing or twisting, you use your incisors to do it. Your canine teeth, on the other hand, are pointy and tent-peg shaped and can be found immediately to the right and left of your incisors. They are for tearing things.

Since herbivores tend to take bites that involve chopping and carnivores tend to take bites that involve tearing, herbivores have big, strong incisors and smaller, less pointy canines, and carnivores have big, strong canines and smaller, pointier incisors. Humans, as omnivores, have teeth that are intermediate but tend to favor the herbivore model overall: our incisors are bigger and our canines are not nearly as large and pointy as the average carnivore’s.

The fundamental problem that arises here is with writers who writing certain kinds of stories- about animal characters, maybe, or possibly about vampires or werewolves. A favorite descriptive tactic here is for a character who should have big, scary pointy teeth to smile menacingly, so that those teeth can be exposed and do their job of impressing. The writer, being an expert on writing rather than on dentition, will then half the time reach for the name he remembers as being attached to the big teeth, which is kind of scary-sounding and generally SEEMS like it should belong to the pointy teeth… and the image promptly fixed in the mind of the reader who DOES know what the proper terms are is forever after of Buggy the Buck-Toothed Vampire, no matter how menacing he is in any other passage.

I hate this. And now so do you.

Boredfodder, Sickfodder

January 29, 2009 - 8:48 pm Comments Off

So in the true spirit of a bored blogger with nothing of substance to write about, I am choosing to write about what I do with my time when I can’t really be arsed for one reason or another to do something actually productive, whether sheer apathy or being too sick to concentrate.

If I’m just looking for something to do online when I don’t have time for something I can’t duck in and out of in tabs for, probably my number-one pastime is the good old-fashioned wikiwander. Sometimes it’s wikipedia, but I’d probably be an even meaner Trivial Pursuit opponent if it weren’t almost always the Tropes Wiki, a compendium of the various tools of the storyteller, and really, the entire structure and execution of fiction itself. I’m deeply and perpetually fascinated by all of this, and the big bonus is that once you figure out the sorts of tropes that tend to be attached to things you like, it’s a GREAT way to get recommendations for the next book, movie, TV series, or webcomic you should try- for example, I’m nearly guaranteed to like anything that gets listed under Deconstructor Fleet.

I’m also, for some reason, a massive sucker for advice columns. Savage Love is a long-time favorite, though it’s definitely NSFW- it’s a love, sex, and relationship advice column. Dan leans WELL to my left and I can get pretty fed up with him when he essentially suspends advice-giving to rant about some political topic, but the column overall is well worth it, if only to see what people ask about when they’re aware that absolutely anything that isn’t blatantly a prank will be given a serious answer. It also reinforces my impression that absolutely everybody, whether they’re straight and deeply vanilla or gay and into group nose-fucking or whatever, has pretty much the same kinds of relationship problems.

Amy Alkon is another recent find, which is kind of retarded since she’s apparently a darling of the right side of the blogosphere and I really have no excuse for having missed her up till now. Regardless, I’ve been methodically chewing through her old advice-column archives in that compulsive “just one more click” kind of way. Ironically, while I agree with her politics a hell of a lot more than I do Dan’s, I tend to more often be with Dan in the “nature of men and women” department- Amy tends a bit too much to the just-so school of the evolutionary psychology of men and women for my taste. I’m pretty sure a woman asking a man out isn’t ALWAYS a sign that he has no balls and she’s desperate, for example. Either way, it’s fascinating to see how often they’d be writing essentially the same advice for the same letter writers- though I think Dan is far more likely to direct somebody to the most appropriate sex toy outlet or fetish site.

When I’m sick, as net-addicted as I am, off goes the computers and under the covers with me. I love to read and there’s tons of TV and movies I like just as well, but if I’m ill I simply don’t have the available brain-resources to cope with them; if something satisfies and entertains me when I’m well, chances are it’s way too damn smart or complex for me to follow while sick. So, if I’m just too damn tired and out of it to turn pages, the TV goes on to: sitcoms. Doogie Howser reruns were always a favorite, and Night Court is great too. VH1: I Love Every Decade I’ve Ever Survived, Best Unit of Time Ever!. Action movies: Indiana Jones would be too clever for me, but fortunately I’ve seen all of them so many times that I don’t have to follow them anymore. James Bond is pretty much out, though- I don’t like Bond as much as Indy and finding a reason to care he’s going to shoot or fuck someone is just too hard. As for books, it’s P.G. Wodehouse and cheap mysteries for me all the way- the very best kind are the ones where the mystery itself isn’t actually important, the book exists for the protagonists to snark at each other and the world. Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe novels are perhaps the ur-example of the subgenre I mean.

And you all?

Monkey See, Monkey Say What?

January 28, 2009 - 6:10 pm Comments Off

Thanks to a tip from a friend, I’ve got some nice low-hanging fruit to take a good swipe at on an otherwise crummy day. Yes, it’s my old friends the creationists come to play again! What wacky hi-jinx are they up to now?

Why, they’ve come to campaign at the University of New Mexico!

These are hip, fresh, new creationists out of movements aimed specifically at evangelizing college students, so you can expect them to have a kickin’, cutting-edge approach. What, exactly, are they doing?

Chalk drawings have appeared all over campus asking this question, prompting more than 1,200 hits on RUAMonkey.com.

The Web site features a video of about 20 people wearing monkey masks and dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on the steps leading into Smith Plaza.

Well, that’s sort of… abstract.

As for whether I’m a monkey, well, that depends. If you’re asking about my position in the taxonomic scheme of things, I’m a hominid, and those brachiating little bastards don’t bear much relation to me as of millions of years ago. If you’re asking me musically, however, then I am indeed a monkey. A brass monkey. A FUNKY monkey. That was what you were going for, right?

The mysterious artwork and bare-bones Web site are part of an effort by Calvary Chapel and Renovate Campus Ministries to publicize a creationism-themed event in mid-February.

Renovate members wished not to disclose the name and date of the event.

So, you don’t want them to attend, you just want to make sure your target audience is thoroughly confused. Do I have that right?

“I think people are really skeptical on our view of how we were made,” said Candice Cunningham, a freshman and member of Renovate. “So coming right out and saying it … kind of turns people off, so I think advertising this way engages people more.”

As it turns out, I have it EXACTLY right. Here is a marketing hint: if you have to go to such lengths to make sure your advertising is almost certain not to make people associate the ad with your product, in this case creationism… your product might not be very good. I’m just sayin’.

Carlson said he was inspired by a similar stunt performed by entrepreneur Marc Ecko in which a retired 747 airplane was painted to look like Air Force One before being covered in graffiti artwork.

“For a whole week, they didn’t tell anybody, and the president thought it was real,” Carlson said. “Everybody thought it was a real deal. It was just a really cool thing. That was basically my whole intent behind it.”

In order to introduce a new line of urban clothing that’s designed to look as though someone has graffiti’d the wearer, Ecko pulls a publicity stunt featuring graffiti all over something well-known that is not normally covered with graffiti. You don’t have to associate the ad with the product beforehand, but it makes a big impression afterward, especially with the confusion over the apparent defacement of a national symbol, which people care about.

Obviously, people will care every bit as much about chalk on campus sidewalks and the mystery of the twenty idiots dancing to Michael Jackson associated with it and will be so won over by the pitch that they will no longer care they are being sold creationism rather than ugly clothing that will nonetheless, based on trends, make you cool in some quarters.

Carlson said that the theme of the campus-wide artwork was timed to coincide with national Darwin Week.

“Basically, Darwin Day is coming up, and Darwin’s whole idea is that we came from monkeys, so that’s where it all came from,” he said.

Yes. That was exactly Darwin’s whole idea, distilled to a single sentence of laser truth. Every college student knows this. And there is absolutely no way this could possibly backfire due to science students at this event who have managed to read the campus newspaper and figure out it’s a creationist publicity stunt. Though, according to Stingray, given the Daily Lobo, this “confuse ‘em into submission” angle may have a hidden ally.

Carlson said people have had varying interpretations of the project.

“People had different ideas, like some people thought that it was some sort of Obama thing, which it totally isn’t,” he said. “That was odd.”

No, it wasn’t odd. It was people making a wild guess based on the last cryptic thing they were pitched by the self-consciously hip. It’s also a really clear sign that you did an awesome job of disguising your intentions. High-five yourself, dude.

So, what will THE EVENT be? Speculations? My current bet is a coordinated poop-flinging team barricading the biology department.

Victor/Victoria Bio Bleg

January 27, 2009 - 5:55 pm Comments Off

Normally, when people talk about or play with the concept of someone being half male and half female, they’re either talking about (nonfictional) intersexed genitalia, or (fictional) an individual with a fully working set of both. They don’t usually mean that literally- someone split half and half down the middle, male on one side and female on the other. That seems more fantastic than even the two-sets-of-genitals idea.

Reality is stranger than fiction.

gynandromorph

While everyone is familiar with the bright red male cardinals, those who don’t bird-watch often don’t realize that only half of all cardinals are red like that- the females are a rather drab grey color with a few red accents here and there. Except in the case of this cardinal*, which is quite literally half of each. The bird is a gynandromorph.

Now, this is where what was intended to be a fun science post turns into a brief accounting of my personal descent into embryology hell with perhaps a side of fun science post for people who are not me. (Embryology was… not my strongest suit in school.) As a warning for those who are shaky on science, this is not going to be one of my more readable posts; I’ve simplified and explained as much as I can, but there’s a reason embryology in general is such a bear of a subject.

See, when I looked up what seems to be the web-standard explanation of gynandromorphy- which I had honestly never heard of before that cardinal picture started its journey around the interweb of geeky birdwatchers, it comes up as a nice, neat explanation- for arthropods.

Once you get into the taxonomic Kingdom Animalia, the next taxonomic line before we get into phylums is based on embryological development: how an embryo of a given organism develops depends on whether it is a deuterostome or a protostome. While there are several distinctions between the way the two types of organisms develop- for example, whether the very first opening created by the very first cell cleavage is destined to become your mouth or your anus**- the important one for this discussion is that protostome cell cleavages are determinate, and deuterostome cleavages are indeterminate. A deuterostome cell can still become pretty much any kind of cell up until much later developmental events, whereas the protostome cell’s fate is narrowed down cell division by cell division from the very first one. The first division determines the right and left sides in a protostome cell; if you were to then separate the two, they’d die, because from the first division on each one is essentially half an organism. In a deuterostome, they would still have the potential to develop into two complete organisms. This is why identical twins are possible for humans and other deuterostomes- that indeterminate system of development becomes important when the developing mass of cells splits completely apart instead of folding normally. You’d never get identical insects or starfish through the same mechanism- the different developmental system wouldn’t allow it.

Arthropods are protostomes, and the two other places I can find examples of gynandromorphy are arthropods; in Lepidopterans- moths and butterflies- and crustaceans (crabs and lobster). While I don’t know how crab and lobster sex chromosomes work and attempting to find out netted me the seductive promise of spending another hour driving myself slowly insane, I’m going to assume they work pretty much as Lepidopteran sex chromosomes do and involve a pair of different chromosomes whose combination determines sex, and in which getting only one of the most “necessary” one- in Lepidopterans and mammals, X, in birds Z***- is not lethal but instead produces a male or female as a sort of default setting. For humans and other mammals, XX produces a female, XY a male, and X-nothing an infertile female. For Lepidopterans, XY produces a female, XX a male, and X-nothing a female.

The way you can get an X-nothing (and a corresponding XXX or XYY) is during a “non-disjunction event”. During cellular division, just before the actual divide, the two complete copies of DNA- all the chromosomes- are lined up and attached to each other. During a non-disjunction event, rather than properly coming apart before each cell goes its separate way, the two copies of a particular chromosome will stay stuck together and leave the other cell missing a chromosome. This is usually fatal to the cell with the missing chromosome and carries various potential consequences (including a total lack of them) for the cell with an extra one. In the case of extra or missing sex chromosomes, results vary- just having one X or an XYY is nonfatal for mammals and Lepidopterans, but just a single Y is fatal.

So, a gynandromorph is therefore (according to all I’ve been able to read) what happens when a non-disjunction event involving the sex chromosomes happen during the earliest cell divisions in an organism with determinate cell development. Since that first division determined left and right sides, if the non-disjunction event occurred then, the result would be an organism that was male (for a butterfly, XXX) on one side and female (X-nothing) on the other- a bilateral gynandromorph. (It’s possible for the same accident to happen a few cell divisions later, and in an insect that’s called a mosaic gynandromorph. They have one side that is clearly one sex and are a mosaic of both on the other, like this:

morpho butterfly mosaic gynandromorph

…However, I’ve never seen pictures or reports of any gynandromorphic bird that was a mosaic rather than bilateral.

Anyway, the problem I’m having is this: birds aren’t protostomes, like crabs and butterflies. They’re deuterostomes like the rest of the vertebrates. I know their early cell development is indeterminate rather than determinate because the same thing that leads to identical twins in mammals can happen in bird development- that’s what’s happenes when you get a double-yolked egg. The “twin” almost never survives because there’s simply not room within an eggshell for two embryos to develop fully, but the same basic event has happened, and can’t happen if the earliest cell divisions are determinate.

So how the hell do bilateral bird gynandromorphs develop, then? When another deuterostomate animal has a chromosomal non-disjunction event during early cell development like that, the results are a complete mosaic****; instead of being split down the side like that, the critter is outwardly male- and normal to all appearances- but its cells are a jumble of X, XY, and XYY, with the X-only cells being essentially female cells.

Why wouldn’t exactly the same thing happen to birds after an early non-disjunction event? If there’s another mechanism that produces gynandromorphs that I’m not aware of, why do birds seem to be the only deuterostomes affected? If it’s something about the unique development that embryos of land-based egg-laying creatures go through to deal with the yolk, then why don’t reptiles seem to produce these individuals? They’re rare, but not THAT rare, and there are plenty of reptiles with enough sexual dimorphism to produce a visible effect.

If you’re one of those readers that understands embryology better than I do, an answer before I finish going round the bend would be deeply appreciated.

*Credit for the photo goes to Jim Frink, and I found the thing through Minnesota Bird Nerd.

**I find it cosmically fitting that humans, along with all other vertebrates, begin as assholes.

***Yes, birds have totally different sex chromosomes, W and Z. ZW is female, ZZ is male.

****I’ve talked about mosaics before.

So Yeah

January 26, 2009 - 9:00 pm Comments Off

“I have content, but not the time to write it up” is getting old, I know, but it’s still true. Stingray’s work has turned into a stampede of drama llamas, and while technically he’s the only one with a problem, the phone ringing all the time and a background soundtrack of profanity are bad for the Zen I require to write. By the time said work problems had ceased for the day, it was time for workout, dinner, and oh hey look it’s eight thirty already.

*sigh*

So as is traditional, have a link. This time it’s to a very lengthy article, but I’m sure you can maintain attention span for all ten pages, because it’s about sex- specifically, what sexologists have been doing lately on the differences between male and female sexuality. Here’s a hint: it explains a little better why so many more women seem to be bisexual or willing to behave that way than men, among other things… and it starts off with bonobo porn. Smexy!

Petty Bitter Clinger

January 24, 2009 - 5:15 pm Comments Off

Obama hasn’t been officially President for more than a few days yet, and there’s already something I’m really, really sick of hearing about: how Americans now need to “put aside their petty grievances” (his words) and focus on our “commonalities, not our divisions” so that we can “work together”. Sounds pretty good, certainly very hope-n-changeriffic, but I’ve got a question.

Which of the major political differences in America of the last eight years- or hell, let’s call it the last sixteen, it’s not like Republicans and Democrats were playing stickball together every recess then- were “petty grievances”? Was it the war in Iraq, or our response to 9/11 in general? Was the massive tug of war between hawks and doves, between those who wanted to aggressively confront a slippery enemy and those who wanted to show restraint and handle the whole thing with as little smashy-smashy as possible akin to a squabble around the family dinner table? How about Guantanamo and torture? Were those no-big-deal issues? Liberty or safety- eh, six of one, half a dozen of the other, I guess. Or hey, let’s talk social issues- I suppose at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter all that much to anyone whether gay people can have legally recognized marriages, or whether abortion is murder or a simple gynecological procedure. Let’s work on the important things, like the economy.

So, we can all- liberals and conservatives- readily agree that the way to help the economy is to aimlessly spend a trilion dollars of money we don’t have and probably won’t really be able to reasonably expect to recoup from our grandchildren, right? There are no philosophical conflicts here whatsoever, and anybody who disagrees is obviously playing churlish little partisan games- because there’s nothing of substance to honestly argue about here, surely.

Look, it’s not just Obama, although he’s certainly the current standard-bearer for this weaselly pap masquerading as a political philosophy. Saying “shut the fuck up and do things our way and everything will be just fine” but couching it as bipartisan cheerleading has been a favorite refuge for political scoundrels for decades, and if I did some digging I’d probably be able to unearth it in Athens. But when said standard-bearer goes around saying the leadership of the other party should quit listening to the voices that reflect their core principles* in order to get along with his administration, that home truth gets a little harder to hide in rhetoric.

*I’m not a fan of Rush. If I wanted to be shouted at for hours on end, I’d join the military and get paid for it. But he’s such an influential voice on the right for a reason.

Overripe Melons

January 23, 2009 - 7:11 pm Comments Off

While not, to my knowledge, a blog troll, I am just your average white suburbanite slob. I’m fond of the ladies, and I do enjoy oggling a nice pair of well-shaped hooters. Sweater kittens. Lady lumps. They’re all good, and like Ron White said, once you’ve seen one pair…. you pretty much want to see the rest of ‘em.

That said, Playboy isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. It sucks. It fails. It should be treated as a gaudy tie at a funeral.

Starting first on the, er, meat and potatoes, let’s take a look at the, um, well I guess “females” is about the most applicable term. In days gone by, the ladies who graced the pages of Playboy were just that, more or less: ladies. They brought individuality, from Marylin Monroe to Bettie Page the fine female physiques presented were diverse of form and interesting to the eye. Today the only notable difference is hair color, and with some of the models, I’d be willing to bet that was just an afterthought done in Photoshop. The airbrushing applied to each successive shoot before LabRat and I decided that reading the additive list to the toilet paper would be more interesting than reading Playboy whilst going about lavatory activities was so thick, I’m reasonably sure that I could’ve posed passably. Add to this that each model appeared to need a hot meal considerably more desperately than they needed a hot date, and it didn’t leave a favorable impression of what went on at a Playboy shoot. I can see it now…

“All right, congratulations on becoming a Playmate. Here’s your standard issue navel ring.. *ka-CHUNK* we’ll just fix that pubic hair *RIIIIP* and now I’ve got this paint roller for your makeup and we’ll be all set. Oh, and make sure your expression always says that sex is the least interesting thing ever. If possible, sleep with your eyes open.”

Honestly, most of the models had the facial range of “bored” to “drowsy” to “possibly a RealDoll.” I had more erotic stimuli one time when I clipped my toenail and it kinda sorta looked like a mudflap girl if you squinted real hard and were blind drunk.

What’s that? Oh, absolutely! I read it for the articles too! Let’s take a look at this one. “Al Franken Isn’t Liberal Enough”* Wait, what the fuck? Seriously? As it turns out, yes. They were serious. Given their obvious dependency on the 1st amendment, it also struck me as more than a tad filled to the brim with bullshittery that when pressed on their disdain for the 2nd Amendment the response was something along the lines of “Sticks and stones will break my bones. Unlike guns, words have never caused innocent deaths, so we will continue to support reasonable gun control measures.” I guess nobody at Playboy ever read the words “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” Then again, given the recycled jokes on the centerfold (I honestly read variations on most of those in “Boy’s Life” when I was 11), I’m not sure anybody there but Hef has a pulse in the first place, and his is just a bad reaction to the Viagra IV. That the rest of the editorial section is so amazingly, unabashedly, unfilteredly (yes, that’s a word now because I say it is) of the opinion that anybody to the political right of Chairman Mao doesn’t like sex really puts a nail in things. I could forgive the RealDoll foldout if they’d give it a rest with the monthly updates on “HAY LOOK THESE REPUBLICANS HAD NAUGHTY SEX AND ARE IN TROUBLE LOL!” Dems caught with their zippers open were of course discreetly ignored.

I’ll grant a pass to the horribly overpriced kitsch in the Mantrack section. No harm in a bit of envy to the product set geared to those with vastly more money than brains. What I will not condone, however, is the textile abortion that comprises the fashion section of the magazine. I have no idea how anybody could consider the garments described and depicted therein as a good idea without the use of enough drugs to make Hunter Thompson say “Damn, maybe you should cut back.” My hand on a stack of 1911s, the only way I would ever be seen in anything like the crap they try to pass off as what we should be wearing is if I was dead, and if I was in them dead, I would rise up and consume the feeble brains of whoever put me in them before destroying the rest of civilization in a fit of zombie rage.

This concludes your daily dose of Stingray Picks Low Hanging Fruit. Hope you enjoyed.

Oh, and Pam Anderson looks like a fucking saddlebag. Why the hell they keep putting her diseased ass in there is beyond me.

*”The Truth About Al Franken: Don’t Call Him A Liberal Stooge – He’s Really A Conservative” – May 2007, P. 37

Midweek Mishmash

January 22, 2009 - 9:14 pm Comments Off

Wracking my brain has produced a lot more wracking than recognizable brain products, so in the name of getting SOME kind of content up today, here’s a bit of a stew of things I’ve come across that don’t really merit their own post.

Thanks to Steve (read the rest of the post, by the way, there’s at least one other link that got some really funny faces out of me), I appear to have been nearly the last person on the web to have discovered the Dogs In Elk story. What is the dogs in elk story? It is EXACTLY WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE, that’s what. It’s a series of message board posts from a long-suffering owner suffering a dilemma, and it begins:

Okay – I know how to take meat away from a dog. How do I take a dog away from meat? This is not, unfortunately, a joke.

…And gets progressively more hilarious from there. For those of you who’ve never really heard a dog sing for the fun of it or scream in indignation, the involved dogs are a New Guinea Singing Dog and a Basenji. Basenjis are one of the few AKC recognized breeds that are still allowed to import breeding stock from hunting tribes in Africa, and are among the most primitive (and unique) of modern domestic dogs; as for the Singing Dog, it’s really not so much “domesticated” as it is “tame”, and there was some lively debate as to whether they should be counted as their own species or as a sort of northern dingo. Suffice it to say these guys ain’t spaniels, and this is somewhat important to the story.

In the department of hilarious stories, someone on the dog forum I hang out on recently posted a link to a story I used to have filed away but lost somewhere in an upgrade, the tale of the Horror of Blimps, as retold by a denizen of the Straight Dope forums. There is only quite a small blimp involved, but suffice it to say it’s a demonstration of why a skilled writer makes the difference between a short and boring story and one that, like this one, I still can’t read aloud without pauses for helpless crackups.

Via Snarkybytes, a writer’s litany of commonly made gun mistakes. He appears to have film in mind as well as (if not more than) books, and he hits the highlights, but he leaves several out that drive me pretty much insane:

1. Shooting off a lock with a pistol. This does not work, writers! At best it just fuses the lock and creates a problem that you now have no choice to deal with by any means other than bolt cutters. Ludicrously common.

2. The “buzzsaw” .22 round. It’s entirely too common in shows and movies that like to THINK they know better to describe the .22 as acting like a “buzzsaw” in that it continues bouncing around after it enters a body and tears shit up, more than a round with more power, that would “just go through” would. Needless to say with this crowd, but, no. A low-power round of .22 pretty much just enters and stops. Sometimes bullets do bounce, but this has a lot more to do with luck than anything else. While it’s true that a .22 round to the head is a favored method for assassins and execution-style killings, that has a lot more to do with .22s being easy to conceal, easily silenced, and making a relatively small noise regardless than it does with any magic bullet-bouncing*.

3. Fully automatic weapons fired from the hip are the most dangerous weapons in existence. In almost any given movie where the bad guys pounce on the good guy or guys, they’ll leap out, produce a scary black rifle, and proceed to fire an endless stream of bullets at everything and everyone. This leads to, depending on how many important characters are in the scene, everyone dead. In real life, this has the effect of making people take cover, but you’re out of ammunition in about twenty seconds and if anyone was actually hit it’s more due to luck than anything else. Babylon 5 won my heart forever by having a scene in which some would-be assassins try this… and are promptly and resoundingly Kilt Dead by their intended target, who simply takes cover and shoots them one at a time with a pistol he actually aims.

4. Wall-o-energy firing. Bullets may be traveling with enough force to penetrate your body and fuck you up in various ways, but they do not travel with enough force to fling you across the fucking room, or even any significant distance backward. If you want someone to go flying, just hit ‘em with a car, okay?

5. Not all cover is created equal. A car, unless it’s an armored car specifically designed to resit bullets- and in the case of some bulletproof glasses, it’s not necessarily bulletproof when put up against a high-powered rifle- is NOT cover. A table in a bar is really definitely extremely not cover, and neither is a couch, a bookcase, a normal wall, a door, or virtually any other thing the hero ducks behind.

6. Oh crap! Jam! Better throw it away, it will NEVER WORK AGAIN.

7. Fatal gunshot wound equals fatal INSTANTLY. Generally speaking, with a fatal bullet wound, you die because there is either no more brain or because blood is no longer reaching the brain. Flopping over because the victim’s head has just become spread over a ten-meter radius is acceptable- flopping over immediately dead because it hit center of mass, not so much. Even if the heart is literally exploded in the chest, the woundee can still run/fight/whatever until the appropriate oxygen lack kicks in**.

I’m sure y’all can think of others…

*“In contact wounds of the head from the .22 Short cartridge, there are generally no skull fractures, except perhaps of the orbital plates. The bullet rarely exits the cerebral cavity. Internal ricocheting with such a round is extermely common.” – Gunshot Wounds – Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques 2nd Edition, Vincent J.M. Di Maio, p.162. This one isolated and obviously uncommon set of conditions is quite possibly the entire origination of the deadly .22 Buzzsaw.

**“Experiments have shown that an individual can remain conscious for at least 10 to 15 sec. after complete occlusion of the carotid arteries. Thus if no blood is pumped to the brain because of a massive gunshot wound of the heart, an individual can remain conscious and function, e.g., run, for at least 10 sec before collapsing.” Same source, p. 254, emphasis mine. Just because you shot the bad guy doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet.