but this is the reader's digest version

anonymous asked:

I'm interested in learning more about The Catholic Church and what Catholics believe. Do you know of any good resources I could go to for this?

*cracks knuckles* 

Catholicism for Dummies - It may sound totally stupid, but this was the first book I read when I began discerning converting to Catholicism. It really gave me the framework of the Church; more practical matters like the Papacy and why we do certain things at Mass, more so than theological matters. 

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church - This is an extremely condensed version of the CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church), which can feel overwhelming from the moment you open it. This tells you exactly where the Church stands on social teachings like abortion and divorce, what the Sacraments are, a breakdown of the Mass, teachings on moral conscience and man’s relationship with God, etc. The Compendium breaks things down in a way that is easy to… digest, if you will. 

Word on Fire, or Ascencion Press (Father Mike Schmitz) - If you’re not much of a reader, or you don’t really have time for it, I would suggest looking up videos by Father Mike Schmitz and Word on Fire ministries. The videos are usually short, and contain easy language that non-Catholics and even derp-Catholics like myself can understand. 

Reach out to your local parish - Most Catholic parishes have what’s called an RCIA program, or Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. This series of classes teaches you all about the faith. This is the place where they can best answer your questions about the Church, our beliefs, WHY we believe certain things. And if you decide that you want to become Catholic, they take you through the process of preparing for the Sacraments of Baptism (if you haven’t already been baptized), Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Confirmation. Disclaimer: If you decide along the process that you do NOT want to become Catholic, you’re not going to have a priest or some little old ladies banging down your door. 

Hope that helps to get you started! Of course, I have no doubt that some of my awesome, more Catholicy-Catholic friends are going to reblog this with their own helpful suggestions. *nudgenudgewinkwink* <3 Best of luck, my friend, on whichever path God calls you! 


As part of Random House’s Godzilla blitz in the late 90s, Scott Ciencin wrote a series of Digest Novels aimed at younger readers. I’ve owned the last three since I was a wee G-fan. (The first is a retelling of the first Godzilla movie with kids who befriend him… yes, really.)

The best way to explain these books is to say that they’re Showa Godzilla stories with less annoying versions of the kids from Showa Gamera. Oh, and the kids have psychic powers as well. This allows an unusual amount of insights into the monsters’ characters, and, as a result, a more interesting version of Monster Island than was present in any of the movies. On the other hand, the violence tends to be pretty sanitized; deaths can be inferred, but are never explicitly described. Most conspicuous is the ability of soldiers to somehow escape their vehicles before they’re destroyed by various kaiju (not unlike Godzilla: The Series). Still, they’re entertaining and breezy tales, and I quite enjoyed re-reading them.

Godzilla Invades America - Godzilla comes ashore in Los Angeles, answering a mysterious call. The source turns out to be from a new breed of monster, accidentally created by tests in a nearby desert facility. Providing food for the less-developed monsters are Kamacuras and Kumonga; doing his own thing is Sasori, a giant scorpion who can fire lightning bolts from his tail. Our hero is an orphan boy named Tomo (after Tomoyuki Tanaka) who makes accidental contact with Godzilla during his rampage in L.A. His attempts to find an authority figure who will listen to him lead him to a kaijuologist named Hiro who appears in subsequent books - and yes, Ciencin actually does use the word “kaijuologist.” Props to him.

Kamacuras and Kumonga show off some new tricks throughout the story, with Kamacuras flying Kumonga from place to place, and Kumonga attacking Godzilla with a hail of knife-sharp legs.

Godzilla: Journey to Monster Island (1998): There’s no way around it - this is a kaiju road novel. After rescuing a pair of orphan psychics named Amy and Roy, Godzilla finds himself subject to a genetically-precise attack by the military. He is rescued by the arrival of his old foes, Kamacuras and Kumonga, along with the fully-grown monsters they were tending to in the previous book. Varan is the only Toho monster among them - the others are Rattler (giant rattlesnake), Yellowback (giant coral snake), and the smaller set, Gecko, Gila, Gopher, Chuck, and Armie. Too large for the desert, they’re in search of a new home, and have tracked down Godzilla, a veteran kaiju, to lead them to it. As it turns out, there is an island in the Pacific where two other prehistoric mutations, Anguirus and Rodan, already reside…

Though the military agrees to help them in their journey - the farther the kaiju are from civilization, the better - Godzilla has his work cut out for him keeping all of the other monsters in line. And of course there are challenges along the way, including a group of kaijuphiles hoping for Godzilla to crush their town so they can turn it into a tourist attraction (hey, I’d go), and a mad scientist who shares a name with a certain time-traveling villain from the Dark Horse comics.

Godzilla vs. The Space Monster (1998): The titular space monster, of course, is none other than King Ghidorah, sent to Earth by aliens from the “Hunter D Nebula” who feel threatened by our development of nuclear weapons. With the armies of the world helpless, Godzilla must rally the increasingly unruly inhabitants of Monster Island to defeat the triple-domed destroyer. The Obligatory Psychic Child is an Indiana lad named Troy, who accidentally merges with an Entity who crash-lands on Earth shortly before King Ghidorah. Mothra and Battra are also present, as rivals who find a common enemy, though sadly the Shobijin are absent.

Ciencin’s depiction of King Ghidorah is an inspired one. With mocking cackles and his trademark hail of gravity bolts, he proves a tremendous challenge for the kaiju of Earth - unlike Destroy All Monsters, no one’s on the sidelines munching popcorn, not even Varan. There are no less than five confrontations in this book, all memorable affairs. Ciencin also draws parallels (as tyrantisterror did in his wonderful Icons of Horror Fiction entry) between King Ghidorah and Godzilla. As Hiro explains to Troy:

We found some golden scales in the piece of Doomsday Rock you encountered. They were part of King Ghidorah. We tested them and believe the process used to create this space monster is similar to the means we accidentally used to create Godzilla.

King Ghidorah can even use Godzilla’s Atomfire to heal himself. (Though surely a coincidence, Godzilla would turn the tables three years later in GMK.) The result is fantastic:

Then Godzilla opened his maw and bit down hard on King Ghidorah’s middle neck. The dragon roared, but did not use its lightning to fight back.

Godzilla was surprised at this. What did it mean? Godzilla decided it was a signal that this should be a fight in the old way - the way Godzilla remembered from ages past. The traditional way of the dinosaur.

The blue-white flames racing along Godzilla’s diamond-shaped ridges faded. The other monsters backed away as Godzilla and King Ghidorah tore into one another.

Finally, to make the stakes personal, Godzilla associates King Ghidorah’s all-destroying presence with the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs. Should Legendary’s Godzilla ever have the chance to take on King Ghidorah, I hope someone shows the project’s lucky screenwriter this little book.

All of Ciencin’s Godzilla books are available on Amazon, although as they have long been out of print, prices will vary. (Still, they’re more reasonable than the old Sony and Media Blasters DVDs.)

On Rural America: Understanding the Backlash

People sharing “On Rural America: Understanding Isn’t The Problem,” on Facebook and Tumblr, and it being added to sites like Alternet and Rawstory (under a more click baity title,) have turned my obscure blog post into quite the buzz.  The initial interest in it was fueled largely by people who have had shared experiences.  People who either grew up in or moved to rural areas of the country and have seen firsthand what I described in the article.  Reading the comments sections of the websites that posted it, the people with a similar experience to mine, people who have friends and family that still live in rural America, understood exactly what I was saying and the points I was trying to make.  I am grateful I could tap into what a lot of people have been feeling and that what I wrote resonated with so many.

Now the article is getting read not only by people who can relate to it but those who vehemently disagree with it.  Unlike the buzz, the backlash to the article doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.  I knew exactly why and how it would be attacked.  Having grown up around and had many an argument with fundamentalists, I’m pretty familiar with how and why they argue.  Some Facebook groups who posted the article on their page have direct messaged me asking if I would join the discussion about it the comment sections.  Unfundamentalist Christians is one of these groups.  I went to their page and looked at the discussion about the article.  After reading a few dozen comments, it became clear if I did join the fray, I’d be locked into a circle of explanation hell that would make Dante facepalm.  The people missing the points of the article were going to miss them no matter what I said.  The moderator(s) of the page did an outstanding job understanding what I wrote and how to explain it and they were not making a dent in the minds of detractors.  As much as I love the irony of people with closed-off belief systems not understanding they have closed-off belief systems BECAUSE their belief systems are closed-off, willfully getting into a back-and-forth with them is the definition of insanity.

However, I do want to look at some of the most common criticisms I’ve seen online.

-”I can’t take the article seriously because the author wrote it anonymously.”   I have had people on my Forsetti’s Justice Facebook page demand I give my real name.  Whatever my real name is (and all 300+ friends on my personal Facebook page know I write as Forsetti’s Justice,) has absolutely no bearing on the soundness or validity of what I write.  If my real name is Bob Jones or Ahmed Khan or Latoya Jenkins, it shouldn’t affect how someone perceives what I write.  If it does, then the problem is not my anonymity but an underlying prejudice on their part.  Take peer reviewed articles (In no way am I saying what I write is on the caliber of peer reviewed research paper.)  When someone reviews an article to see if it is worth of being published, they do so not knowing the author because they don’t want to be influenced.  They want to judge the paper solely on its merits.  I’d prefer people to evaluate what I write based on the ideas and arguments, not because of who they think I am.  Besides, let’s assume I did tell these people my real name, how on earth would this be of any real value?  How would this somehow validate or repudiate what I wrote?  No one can give me a good answer to this because none exist.  Another reason I write anonymously is because I have zero tolerance or time for trolls.   I’ve already had to deal with a number of them on my Forsetti’s Justice Facebook page, I certainly don’t want to also deal with them on my personal page.  (My favorite so far is the woman in Michigan who was so angry about the article she threatened me and said she had reported me to Facebook even though I never had a single interaction with her.)

-”I don’t believe the author grew up in rural America.  Nobody wears calico skirts… ”  They sure as hell did in the late 70s when I was in high school where the most popular classes were Home Econ, Auto Shop, and Future Farmers of America.  Gunne Sax was a very popular dress maker who specialized in lace, gingham, and calico dresses.  These dresses were especially popular to wear to church on Sundays.  The population of the entire county was roughly 6000.  The most populous city was 1400 and the town in which I lived.  The second most populous city was about 500.  My graduating class was 80. To put this into perspective, the total population of the county I grew up in plus the population of the four neighboring counties was 3/5 the enrollment of university I attended for grad school.  Every man, woman, and child in these five counties wouldn’t fill half the football stadium.

-”I don’t believe the author grew up in real rural America.”  This is a more specialized spin-off of the previous criticism.  What counts as “rural America” is parsed in such a way so as to make it statistically unlikely I grew up there thus allowing them to completely discount what I wrote.  To some, the Deep South is the only thing that counts as “rural America.”  To others, it is the Bible Belt, which was hotly debated on one thread as to what the legitimate boundaries of a vague, arbitrary concept really are.  The people with shared experiences to mine could have been, should have been a good indication to these critics of the existence of rural American towns across the entire country.  Overwhelmingly white, Christian, rural communities can be found in every state.  

-”The author comes across and angry.”  If I was angry, I would have written something along the lines of, “Rural, white, Christian Americans made their bed and they can lie in it.  I don’t give a damn what happens to them.”  I wrote no such thing.  The emotion that should be coming through is not anger but frustration.  I’m frustrated that there is little that can be done by outsiders to change the minds of people who believe things that are not true and vote against their own interests because of it.  I care about these people.  Some of them are my family and friends.  I care about their welfare and their children’s.  I’m not saying, “Screw them!”  I’m saying, “I want to reach these people but here is why it is close to impossible.”  I’m also frustrated with the idea that if only the Democratic Party would reach out more to these areas, it would lead to more rural votes for them.  The problem isn’t the message, the problem is the receivers of the message have been trained for years the messenger is the problem, cannot be trusted, doesn’t care about them, lying… and the nature of their belief systems makes changing this nearly impossible.  

-”I’m a rural, white Christian.  I’m nothing like what was described and neither is anyone I know.”  If this is an honest assessment, then, great.  Just because you are not this way doesn’t mean others are not.  Just because you don’t see the impacts of a closed-off belief system, doesn’t make them not exist.  I know a lot of people who are adamant their grandma is not even somewhat racist even though she uses a lot of racial epithets.  Even if you do not believe in or exhibit negative traits, it is often really hard to admit people you know and care about do.  Unfortunately, people have a tendency to personalize things when things associated with their self-identity are criticized.  This is even more true with people who place these descriptors at the center of their belief systems.  If you tie who you are with being rural or white or Christian, then anything that is critical of any of these is seen as a personal attack whether they are meant to be or not.  

-”The author is blaming rural America for the election of Donald Trump.”  No.  Did they play a role in getting him elected?  Absolutely.  Even though Trump lost the popular vote by 2.2+ million votes (and counting) he won the Electoral College because of winning swing states like PA, MI, and WI by slim margins.  States that have a lot of rural communities.  Rural communities that voted heavily in favor of Trump.  Check out a map of the country broken down by how counties voted in the election and you’ll see how red almost all the sparsely populated counties (rural) are.  People who have suffered economically from wealthy elites who have moved jobs overseas voted for a billionaire who jobs out his products with his name on them overseas, who jobs out the steel he uses in his building.  People who claim that morality is a fundamental principle and needed to lead the country voted for a thrice-married man who cheated on his wives, brags about sexually assaulting women, and lies with impunity.  I think it is fair to ask why these people went against what they claim are fundamental beliefs and principles.  I think it is fair to look at why people vote against their own economic interests.  Just like the accusation of “anger,” “blame” is misguided.  If I was blaming them, I’d have the same responses as if I was angry at them, “Fuck them!” Instead, I’m explaining why they believe/act the way they do by way of their belief systems.

-”The author is generalizing that all of rural America are religious fundamentalists.”  Nope.  I’m stating that religious fundamentalism is more prevalent in rural America for a variety of reasons and some of the consequences of this are…   I’m also not saying other groups from other areas of the country don’t have this problem or other problems.  At no point did I say, “Rural Americans have screwed up belief systems and Americans who live in big cities have no issues or problems.”  If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know my real anger is usually directed at progressives.  Progressives have some serious problems.  They just happen to mostly be different problems.  The Readers Digest Condensed version is-Rural America often votes against their own interests.  Progressive America often doesn’t vote for their own interests.  

-”The author is saying, “Forget about rural America.””  No.  I’m saying there is a problem.  Here is the problem.  I don’t know how to make the problem not a problem because of some of the structural reasons that make it a problem.  Reading anything more than this into it is missing the point.  I know it is a rather long article and attention spans have been reduced to the half-life of Hydrogen-7 but the starting point is the call from various corners for the Democratic Party to “focus more on reaching out to these areas of the country.”  My point is they have been reaching out for decades and been ignored and rebuffed for specific reasons.  Reasons that make reaching out to them now a fool’s errand.  The problem isn’t the lack of outreach.  The problem is a belief system that is built on bad information that is not self-critical and resistant to change.

Of course, I realize most of the people who misunderstood the article in the first place aren’t going to understand the explanation of what they missed and why any better than the original article.  I now look forward to the backlash to the explanation of the backlash.


An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, The Road to Serfdom has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in 1944&#8212;when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program&#8212;The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

First published by the University of Chicago Press on September 18, 1944, The Road to Serfdom garnered immediate, widespread attention. The first printing of 2,000 copies was exhausted instantly, and within six months more than 30,000 books were sold. In April 1945, Reader&#8217;s Digest published a condensed version of the book, and soon thereafter the Book-of-the-Month Club distributed this&#160;edition to more than 600,000 readers. A perennial best seller, the book has sold 400,000 copies in the United States alone and has been translated into more than twenty languages, along the way becoming one of the most important and influential books of the century.

With this new edition, The Road to Serfdom takes its place in the series The&#160;Collected Works of F. A. Hayek.&#160; The volume includes a foreword by&#160;series editor and leading Hayek scholar Bruce Caldwell explaining the book’s origins and publishing&#160;history and assessing common misinterpretations of&#160;Hayek’s thought.&#160; Caldwell has also standardized and corrected&#160;

anonymous asked:

Have you ever considered doing comics of what your viewers want to see, even if it's not what you would prefer to draw/write?

Early in the life of HijiNKS ENSUE I was just sort of stumbling around in the dark in terms of what I was making and who I was making it for. I made some comics to make my friends laugh, I made other to make 1 person laugh, I made others to make just me laugh I made others to try and get attention from big websites (back then we called them “Blogs”) or to get on the front page of DIGG (a pre-Reddit version of Reddit… ask your parents). I always found I had more fun making the comics that were designed to make me or my friends laugh than I did making comics that might get some large influx of social traffic. Social media was different back then. A few DIGGS and some StumbleUponing could take a totally unknown comic up to 10’s of thousands of regular readers over night. Today 100,000 visitors from Reddit means nothing long term. Those readers are consuming and digesting 1000’s of pieces of content a day and they aren’t going to bookmark your site after seeing your comic rehosted on imgur without attribution. It took me years to understand how things were changing, but eventually I learned to completely ignore making comics that might get social traction and just keep making what I wanted to make; what made me laugh. 

A harder lesson still was figuring out how to not make comics that ONLY made me laugh. There’s nothing wrong with making something just for personal enjoyment, but I was at times get so hyper specific with references that I was alienating even hardcore geeks. Basically anyone that did’t have my exact brain and experiences would find a large portion of my content unaccessible. 

One of the major factors that contributed to me giving up on pop culture jokes and geek references as my main source of material was that I started to feel like I was just doing it for my readers. I felt obligated to comment on things that I wasn’t even that interested in because I knew that’s what people expected of me. I’d rather cut my audience in half making comics that I’m excited and enthusiastic about, rather than keep plugging away and art that I felt somehow pressured to make against my will. 

The upside of this is the artist who is genuinely excited, knowledgable and inspired by their subject matter will always find an audience. Genuine enthusiasm and honesty in art will always last longer and reach farther than anything produced under duress or out of obligation.