Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (11/30)

A blogger at looks to Australia for student loan restructuring.

And speaking of looking to other countries, England offers a lesson in trying to raise the top tax rates: the number of millionaires fell by over 10,000, resulting in a revenue drop of £7 billion.

Low wages and high corporate profits often make headlines. But one company is succeeding by paying its employees generously and decreasing its profit margin. Did anyone guess Costco?

Mark Mitchell explains the historic meanings of the terms “liberal” and “conservative,” concluding that:

If partisans on both the left and right express themselves primarily in terms of individual rights and think of politics in terms of an underlying and open-ended progress, then we don’t really need the term “conservatism” at all. Both sides are firmly rooted in the soil of progressive liberalism. They agree about the purpose of government (to protect individual rights) and the direction of history (progress). They may disagree about which individual rights to privilege and what specifically constitutes progress, but these are really in-house debates among liberals.
He then further explores the meaning of “conservative.”

Carl Trueman (as usual) offers excellent thoughts on how to measure legacy. Best line:

So here is a word to those involved in big churches and big organisations: Watch the succession plans closely, for they will reveal much about the real priorities and vision of today's leaders for the church of tomorrow and beyond.
An unknown author from the second or third century captured some of the paradoxes of Christianity.
They live in their own countries, but only as nonresidents; they participate in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. 
Every foreign country is their fatherland, and every fatherland is foreign.
Have you ever felt like no one actually reads the reports you compile? One pastor tested this, with hilarious results;
So the next month, after dutifully compiling the statistical data, I turned to page two and described as best I could an imagined long, slow slide into depression. I wrote that I had difficulty sleeping. I couldn’t pray. I was getting the work done at a maintenance level but it was a robotic kind of thing with no spirit, no zest. Having feelings and thoughts like this I was seriously questioning whether I should be a pastor at all. Could they recommend a counselor for me?
And he was only getting started.

For those writing papers and looking for that elusive citation, look no further.

And now on to the parenting front. One therapist writes that making your kids too happy can land them in therapy. As if testing this proposition, a preschool saw positive results after it replaced toys with cardboard boxes. It stumbled on one of the 5 best toys of all time.

Another toy that is quite versatile, Box also comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Need proof? Depending on the number and size you have, Boxes can be turned into furniture or a kitchen playset. You can turn your kids into cardboard robots or create elaborate Star Wars costumes. A large Box can be used as a fort or house and the smaller Box can be used to hide away a special treasure. Got a Stick? Use it as an oar and Box becomes a boat. One particularly famous kid has used the Box as a key component of a time machine, a duplicator and a transmogrifier, among other things. 
* * * 
Wired: Best celebrity endorsement: Calvin & Hobbes.
Update: a journalist writes about how Presidents Clinton and Bush helped him be a better father.

And finally, speaking of childrens’ imaginations, Anthony Esolen visited Fox this week to discuss his book on how to destroy a child’s imagination--and the hosts certainly weren’t ready for him.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (11/23)

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. But since that was yesterday, on to more important stuff like … shopping. For your convienence, has provided a shopping preperation checklist.

With the reelection of Barack Obama, we’re due for another round of antichrist rhetoric. It wouldn’t be the first--popes, presidents, and other provocative people often get the designation. (Poor Gerald Ford, though. He is one of the few modern presidents to not achieve antichrist status.)

Continuing the theme of reforming the Republican party, Jim Geraghty points out that some of the “mean” label is deserved. And the Washington Post highlights some of the worst candidates of the 2012 election cycle.

And going back in history a bit (1977 to be specific), we find some similar criticisms and need for adjustments coming from Ronald Reagan himself.

What I envision is not simply a melding together of the two branches of American conservatism into a temporary uneasy alliance, but the creation of a new, lasting majority. 
This will mean compromise. But not a compromise of basic principle. What will emerge will be something new: something open and vital and dynamic, something the great conservative majority will recognize as its own, because at the heart of this undertaking is principled politics. 
Conservatism is the antithesis of the kind of ideological fanaticism that has brought so much horror and destruction to the world. The common sense and common decency of ordinary men and women, working out their own lives in their own way -- this is the heart of American conservatism today. Conservative wisdom and principles are derived from willingness to learn, not just from what is going on now, but from what has happened before. 
I need not remind you that you can have the soundest principles in the world, but if you don't have candidates who can communicate those principles, candidates who are articulate as well as principled, you are going to lose election after election.

David Brooks likewise looks at some of the various strands of conservatism.

And Ross Douthat reminds us that the 2012 Democratic base may not be as solidified as it appears: “Liberals look at the Obama majority and see a coalition bound together by enlightened values — reason rather than superstition, tolerance rather than bigotry, equality rather than hierarchy. But it’s just as easy to see a coalition created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear.”

As the Republican party looks to regroup, it’s important to not neglect foreign policy (where left and right consistently get mixed up). One author thinks that, of all places, George W. Bush’s 2000 foreign policy may be a good place to start:
The Republican Party needs a new message on foreign policy that is true to the conservative principles of the base and yet has a broad appeal to the American public. It so happens that one already exists, has a proven track record of electoral success, and is only slightly used: the "humble foreign policy" that candidate George W. Bush espoused during the 2000 campaign but abandoned with the Global War on Terror and the Iraq invasion. 
Bush's wisdom during the October 12, 2000 debates is striking in hindsight. "If we're an arrogant nation," he warned, "they'll resent us; if we're a humble nation, but strong, they'll welcome us. And our nation stands alone right now in the world in terms of power, and that's why we've got to be humble, and yet project strength in a way that promotes freedom."
Senator Rubio is currently taking criticism for his recent comments on the age of the earth. What his critics forget is that his comment is no different than the President’s. Erik Erickson responds with an apology (in the defense, not the “I’m sorry,” sense). Meanwhile, Joe Carter takes the opportunity to reflect on what this says about our perception of knowledge.

Anyone planning to contact Rep. McDermett of Washington should make a note: don’t use nicknames for his staff.

CNN provides the backstory for the Hostess shutdown.

This is an encouraging story of a teenage single mother climbing out of poverty.

This is an excellent article on the fad of irony and how it affects our culture.

The ironic frame functions as a shield against criticism. The same goes for ironic living. Irony is the most self-defensive mode, as it allows a person to dodge responsibility for his or her choices, aesthetic and otherwise. To live ironically is to hide in public.
And finally, Air New Zealand is definitely getting ready for the release of The Hobbit.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (11/16)

Last week I determined that these Friday posts were too long and taking too much time to write. Then last night I sat down to compose today’s post and found myself looking at a page and a half of links that I’d saved over the course of the week.

Shorter? Ha. Maybe next week. Here it goes.

For those wondering what changed between 2008 and 2012, the New York Times presents a very well done graph. And the numbers also show that those red states wishing to secede typically receive more federal money than they contribute.

This week I criticized the Republican party for not having space for urban voters. I’m not the only one with this observation. Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review also agrees with some of my sentiments:

Romney was not a drag on the Republican party. The Republican party was a drag on him. Aaron Blake pointed out in the Washington Post that Romney ran ahead of most of the Republican Senate candidates: He did better than Connie Mack in Florida, George Allen in Virginia, Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, Denny Rehberg in Montana, Jeff Flake in Arizona, Pete Hoekstra in Michigan, Deb Fischer in Nebraska, Rick Berg in North Dakota, Josh Mandel in Ohio, and of course Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. In some cases Romney did a lot better. (He also did slightly better than Ted Cruz in Texas, a race Blake for some reason ignored.)
Maybe the Republicans can learn from the Democrats’ restructuring after their 2004 loss.

Also echoing the need to modernize, the American Conservative is putting together a list of those we do and don’t need to hear from any more (Mark Mitchell, my logic, philosophy, and political theory professor made the “do” list). As for how to talk about abortion in the context of rape, I propose that all future candidates read and learn to articulate this article:

Pro-choicers fixate on rights to the neglect of duty. The difficulty in a rape situation is that rights have already been violated. This brutal fact leaves us furious and sympathetic to the victim. But one evil does not justify another, and it is important to consider not just rights but also duties. Horrible situations do not diminish our duties to care for others. 
For instance, parents have a duty to care for their children. We don’t call a child heartless or selfish when she expects her parents to care for her needs by changing a diaper or feeding her when she is hungry. This isn’t limited to mothers—we hold it as a matter of law that the father also has this duty. In the very least, if he is not directly raising the child, he must still pay child support. Is that child selfish to expect food, clothing, and school supplies? How much more absurd to call an unborn child heartless to expect to be given safety during a time when the mother-child connection is so intimate, so intertwined!
James Matthew Wilson shares his thoughts on what the election means for citizenship.
The hard work ahead of us is not convincing Americans they want to be good citizens.  They already do.  But we must show them that this entails something other than a tick at the ballot box.
And someone might want to warn the President that, historically, second terms are even harder than the first.

As for more immediate concerns, the case can be made for the Republican House to give in more to the Senate and President--and then make them own their policies. With taxes this may be particularly useful, since making the people pay for the services they’re receiving may be a better approach to shrinking government than trying to reduce revenue (which has just led to larger deficits). It should be done in a balanced way, though.

Enough with politics. Many conservative Christians are despairing after the election. That gives it too much weight. And Christians, especially, should remember this: “Evil cares less about destroying America than it cares about destroying Americans. In the same way Christ did not come to rescue America; he came to rescue Americans…and people from every tribe, people, nation, and tongue."

On education, NPR highlights some of the differences between Japanese and American teaching styles. Homeschool author Susan Wise Bauer is taking a break from conference speaking, citing the increasing polarization and ideological rigidity of the movement. And this is for those looking for rites of passage for their children.

In honor of Veteran's Day, Dr. Grumpy tells the story of Sergeant Stubby. And since this week is Thanksgiving, we can see how the various presidents have celebrated the holiday.

Has anyone else heard the story of the chemist who foiled Adolf Hitler?

And finally, I think this gets the prize for most irreverent baptism.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Cry of a High Schooler

I have taught around 3,500 kids in the last 5 years and had the honor to mentor many of them.

I cannot think of a single issue that high school students face that I haven't had to deal with to some extent in the course of the ministry that God has placed before me. The bottom line is that our culture is very hard on young people. This evening one of my outstanding students (and an amateur blogger), posted this note to parents and those dealing with young people on his Facebook.

Thank you, Joshua, for this important reminder for us to show love always and to pray for the next generation.


Excuse me, parents. All of you.

Recent figures indicate that about 20% of college age students here in the US have been diagnosed with depression.[1]

Almost 20% have, in the same vein, considered suicide seriously at some point in their lives.[2]

7.5% have attempted suicide at some point in their lives.[3]

In 2011, 7.2 percent of 8th graders, 17.6 percent of 10th graders, and 22.6 percent of 12th graders used marijuana in the past month, up from 5.7 percent, 14.2 percent, and 18.8 percent in 2007. Daily use has also increased; 6.6 percent of 12th graders now use marijuana every day, compared to 5 percent in the mid-2000s.[4]

Seventeen is the average age at which Americans lose their virginity.[5]

19% of 14-year-olds are 'sexually experienced.'[6]

One in five teenagers has participated in sexting.[7]

Some statistics (unverified) state that 90% of kids between the ages of 8 and 16 have seen sexually explicit material online, either intentionally or unintentionally.[8]

Most teenagers in the US have ready access to alcohol.[9]

So what's the point of all this?

Just this: how likely is it that your kid needs more love from you, not more anger? How likely is it that they need to hear a kind word instead of a frustrated shout? How likely is it that they need you to understand their problems, not ignore them?

I'll let you in on something. We're very, very good at hiding our feelings. As teens, we don't trust people who can't understand us, and (almost globally) we don't believe our parents can understand us. QED: We don't trust you. That means we don't tell you everything. Chances are very good that your teen hides things from you. You do not know them as well as you may think.

Remember that. Think before you yell. Review your own childhood - you did the same kinds of things to frustrate your parents; you made the same kinds of mistakes; you have been in those shoes. You should understand.

Your relationship with your child can be a beautiful thing, but that doesn't mean it will be; that doesn't mean it's supposed to be easy. Please, please, please... don't make it harder than it has to be.



Posted by Jeremiah Lorrig

The perverse incentive of drones

The election is over,  but I’d like, for a moment, to return to the third presidential debate. Bob Schieffer asked Mitt Romney the following question:
Let — let me ask you, Governor because we know President Obama’s position on this, what is — what is your position on the use of drones?
We all do know President Obama’s position on drones--he sees little issue with using them. But consider the details, as related by Newsweek correspondent Daniel Klaidman in Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency:
Barack Obama’s ferocious campaign of targeted killings was for many the central paradox of his war on terror. While running for president, he had railed against waterboarding, illegal detentions, and the Bush administration’s penchant for secrecy. In lofty speeches, he promised to restore America’s reputation as a benign superpower, a paragon of international law and human rights. But a year into his presidency, the most noticeable strategic shift in his fight against al-Qaeda was the unrelenting use of hard, lethal power in the form of the CIA’s covert drone program. By the time Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2009, he had authorized more drone strikes than George W. Bush had approved during his entire presidency. (There were only 9 strikes conducted in Pakistan between 2004 and 2007. In 2010 there were 111.) By his third year in office, Obama had approved the killings of twice as many suspected terrorists as had ever been imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay.
The expansion of drone use, combined with the curtailment of interrogation and the shutting down of detention sites, led to the situation where there was a policy for killing, but not for capturing, suspected terrorists. Klaidman continues:
The inability to detail terror suspects was creating perverse incentives that favored killing or releasing suspected terrorists over capturing them. “We never talked about this openly, but it was always a  back-of-the-mind thing for us,” recalled one of Obama’s top counterterrorism advisers. “Anyone who says it wasn’t is not being straight.”
Months of campaigning, billions spent, and outside of a couple articles from the left, no one talked about this.

Bob  Schieffer correctly noted that we know about the current drone policy--generally, that is. But I doubt we really want to think about what this drone war means. If waterboarding is inhumane and indefinite detention without any hearing is a human rights violation, how is routine remote execution--more drastic than waterboarding and more permanent than indefinite detention--an improvement?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Whither the Republican party?

Tuesday’s defeat gives the Republican party a perfect opportunity to reform itself. Losses, more than victories, force reevaluation; and I have already read more articles than I can remember on the Republican party's path forward. So far, two main positions have emerged. One is that the party has drifted too far to the right and alienated voters. They’re right. The other is that the election was lost because foundational conservative principles have been abandoned. They’re also right.

Let me explain.

First, the Republican party needs to moderate. Akin and Mourdock were embarrassing disasters when asked softball questions about abortion and consequently threw away two winnable Senate seats. Tea party darling Michele Bachmann barely won. Alan West, another tea party favorite, appears to have lost (despite outspending his opponent by 4 times) but is demanding a recount. Ballot measures legalizing gay marriage passed in Maine, Maryland, and Washington, and a gay marriage ban was defeated in Minnesota. In sum, Social conservatism--at least as presented by the Republicans--was strongly rejected.

Republicans are now perceived as the anti-immigrant, anti-woman, and anti-compassion party that is only concerned about how the rich can get richer. Those charges may be largely false, but in politics perception is more important than reality. Especially when little is done to rebut these accusations. As one critic wrote:

The ideas are gone. The GOP is driven by cults of personality. Palin and other know-nothings. The Hispanic vote is sought through tokens who say things the anti-intellectual base likes to hear. Rubio would be a disaster. Whereas Conservative intellectuals used to make their home in this party, most thoughtful intellectuals sit outside its doors, locked out by the Tea Party idiots and the Fox News and talk-radio shouting heads. They’ve build a cottage industry of bad books, drug-like media, and populist propaganda, but they are losing elections because the business of politics is not the same as the business of business. It sells, but win elections it does not. This political industry has many flaws, but its most debilitating one has been to align itself with the lowest-brow Christian group in the country: Protestant Evangelical Fundamentalists. These evolution denying, global warming outraged, ahistorical nativists have single-handedly driven the GOP into a reactionary defensiveness that once belonged on the other side of the aisle. In the process they will continue to alienate thinking people and people who are threatened by their constant caricatures of themselves, even when the caricature isn’t wholly true. Hispanics don’t vote for Republicans because they don’t trust their general image. And why should they! Listen to their fearful fetishizing over the English language many of them can barely speak and don’t seem to read. Or their ignorance of the history of Hispanic culture and heritage native to this country.

That is harsh, but embarrassingly true. Despite having a robust cannon, many of today’s Republicans seem more interested in their echo chamber and have exchanged Burke and Buckley for Beck and Barton.

Second, the party needs to become more conservative. As was always the risk with selecting Romney, it was a failure of the base to turn out that led to this loss. Romney soundly won independents, but still got fewer total votes than McCain in 2004. Whether because the conservative wing of the country distrusted him, the evangelicals couldn’t vote for a Mormon, or some other reason, Tuesday’s loss was largely self-inflicted.

So how can those two apparently opposite positions be reconciled? Simply. We need not a reexamination of our conservative principles, but a reapplication of those principles to today’s challenges. It is the same adjustment Tony Blair made in his reformation of Britain’s Labour party:

In my view, we needed a complete, top-to-bottom reorientation of our programme and policies. In particular, we needed to separate conceptually a commitment to our values (timeless) from their application (time-bound).

* * *

It wasn’t at all about changing the basic values or purpose of progressive politics; on the contrary, it was about retrieving them from the deadweight of political and cultural dogma that didn’t merely obscure those values and that purpose, but also defeated them.

The Democratic party made a similar adjustment after the 2004 loss, “mainstreaming and moderating the message, but not changing the ideals, of the left. In Obama, Democrats found someone who shared all of the beliefs of the liberal base but who could talk about them in such a way as not to terrify moderate voters.”

Would that we could learn that lesson. Today’s Republican party has confused its principles with its ideology. Take tax cuts for example: originally touted as a method to shrink the government (“starve the beast”), they are now a hill to die on come hell or high deficits. On immigration reform the “pro-family” and “pro-federalism” party advocates ripping families apart, destroying the very local communities it praises. Republican criticisms of welfare now sound less like caring about the poor by lifting them out of poverty and more like resenting them for being poor and costing so much. They might as well die and decrease the surplus expense (along with “all them illegals”). After Tuesday’s defeat, the county-by-county map is used to bolster a false sense of majority, implicitly telling all those who live in the city that there is no room for them in this tent (since city-dwellers are all moochers anyway). Even with abortion, where the pro-life cause has more support from the general population than ever before, Republicans can’t explain their position in a way that cares about the baby, let alone the mother. Is it any surprise that this agenda was rejected? It practically stereotypes itself.

The application of conservative principles needs moderation--which itself is a conservative principle. The ability to order issues by importance, to know when to compromise, and, ultimately, to prudently assess any situation should be a strength of any conservative party. This requires recognizing that while foundational principles don’t change depending on the circumstances, the application of those principles may. The Republican party currently has it backwards: rigid application of fluid principles rather than reasonable application of foundational principles.

We also need better candidates. Many are tempted to blame Romney for the loss. I don’t. More than any other candidate (with the possible exception of Tim Pawlenty, who dropped out way too early), Romney’s instincts were to be reasonable. That is half of the coin, and he was the only candidate that had it. And his conservative principles were steadily increasing. (For those who think that he didn’t have credibility on Obamacare, his position was no worse than Santorum on budget restraint, Gingrich or Cain on family values, or Perry on crony capitalism. And Romney actually talked about federalism when it came to health care. When was the last time any other major Republican figure did that?)

What we need are candidates firmly grounded in conservative thought and prepared to explain it in reasonable terms. Unfortunately, in this election, many candidates had one or the other, but few had both. November 6, 2012, gives the Republican party a perfect opportunity to finally tackle these big issues. Whether it will do so, taking a long term view instead of simply attempting to score cheap political points against the Democrats, remains to be seen.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (11/9)

Alright, first things first. Many on the conservative side are reevaluating the Republican party after Tuesday’s trouncing. Some of the best analysis comes from Marc Thiessen and Jay Nordlinger.  Powerline shows the current divide in the conservatives as to why the loss happened. The Washington Post also has a pretty good rundown.

John Hinderaker presents a significant insight:

there is a much more important proposition that, I think, was proved false last night: that America is a center-right country. This belief is one that we conservatives have cherished for a long time, but as of today, I think we have to admit that it is false. America is a deeply divided country with a center-left plurality.
The best summary, however, comes from Ed Morrissey:
That reality presents a challenge to the GOP and to conservatives.  We do not need to change our values, but we do need to find ways to communicate them in an engaging and welcoming manner.  We need to think creatively about big issues, philosophy, and how we can relate conservative values to the needs of a wider range of voters.  Conservatism cannot become constrictionism, or the realignment will continue, and it will become ever more difficult to win national elections.
I was saying that even before the election, and the American Conservative echos, calling for a return to true conservatism (which is different than Republicanism):
What America needs most amid all this is conservatism: not the ideology of any party, but a disposition to conserve, and wisely invest, our national capital. The capital in question is not merely financial; Lord Salisbury, in an earlier era of humanitarian intervention and empire, warned against squandering “military capital” on unnecessary and unwinnable conflicts. More important yet is our civilizational capital—our habits and laws as a people, the written and unwritten Constitution. How has it fared? Our civil liberties and the civic fabric of American life have lately been torn to rags by both parties.
One top issue seems to be the Hispanic vote. Naturally, that is leading to calls for the Republican party to rethink their immigration stance (or at least settle on one--there hasn’t been a clear Republican stance on immigration for some time). Heather McDonald at NRO disagreed. I hope to write more on that topic in the coming weeks.

For evangelicals specifically, this might be a good time to reflect on the purpose of government. Thomas Aquinas, who has been unjustly dismissed by many evangelicals, might be able to help with that. And there’s also Scott Klusendorf’s demonstration of how he humbly and simply challenged a student who thought that the government should just stay out of the abortion issue. (This is several weeks old, but Newt Gingrich also strongly took on the abortion question.)

Some on the left, however, see Obama as a moderate Republican. And while MSNBC beat out Fox as the most biased news source, Fox still ranks within the conservative bubble which failed conservatives this election.

Meanwhile in non-election related political news, rumor has it that Queen Elizabeth has rescinded the Declaration of Independence. And the founder of Sealand, the smallest independent nation in the world, has passed away.

And finally, a classic case of misunderstanding:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Prayer for election day.

Lord Jesus, we ask Thee to guide the people of this nation as they exercise their dearly bought privilege of franchise. May it neither be ignored unthinkingly nor undertaken lightly. As citizens all over this land go to the ballot boxes, give to them a sense of high privilege and joyous responsibility.

Help those who are about to be elected to public office to come to understand the real source of their mandate – a mandate given by no party machine, received at no polling booth, but given by God; a mandate to govern wisely and well; a mandate to represent God and truth at the heart of the nation; a mandate to do good in the name of Him under whom this Republic was established.

We ask Thee to lead America in the paths where Thou wouldst have her walk, to do the tasks which Thou hast laid before her. So we may together seek happiness for all our citizens in the name of Him who created us all equal in his sight, and therefore brothers. Amen

--Peter Marshall, Chaplin of the United States Senate, 1947-1949

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (11/2)

This week Disney bought Star Wars. It didn’t take long for the online artists to get to work... Speaking of Star Wars, here’s a heartwarming story about a short stormtrooper.

Online comic xkcd does a historical chart of Congress.

Tuesday is the election. Which means this is our last chance to do the pre-election news stories. Independents seem to be breaking for Romney. Progressives are dissatisfied with Obama. Gallop is showing that there are more Republicans than Democrats (which throws most polls into doubt, since they assume Democrats outnumber Republicans and adjust accordingly).

Also, both Michael Gerson and George Will wrote excellent pieces on presidential leadership. And PowerLine follows up on Will’s opening Coolidge quote with other wisdom from Silent Cal.

Someone needs to check on Nicolas Cage--the national archives are missing artifacts.

Michigan libraries cannot adopt policies prohibiting firearms.

One state that is frequently overlooked in national voting is Hawaii. And its residents have noticed.

In honor of Halloween, Russell Moore writes about … you guessed it … zombies.

Zombies are horrifying not simply because they’re mean and aggressive. They are horrifying because they represent what ought to repulse us: the rotting decay of death. But they still walk. And, beyond that, they still crave. In their search for human brains, they are driven along by their appetites, though always under the sway of a slavemaster’s will. 
That’s our story.
And then there’s the Greek island where people just forget to die (in a very non-zombie way).

Finally, in honor of the season, we hope you enjoy this primer on the top ten ways to smash a pumpkin.

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