Archive for the 'National service' Category

Aug 25 2015

A free novelette for you!

Published by under Be a Badass

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

John Lucas just published a superhero novelette about a superhero whose marriage counselor told him to grow a set. “Less than 24 hours later, he finds himself mired in an underworld of crime, violence, and ill-advised self-improvement.” The novelette, A Hero Is Always Alone Sometimes, can be downloaded for free on Amazon from 8/26 to 8/28. Unlike the last novel I reviewed, this is one that I definitely wouldn’t recommend for a 4th grade classroom. 🙂

No responses yet

Jul 20 2012

A Profile in Badassery

Published by under Badassery

One of my initial responses to Dark Knight was that Jim Gordon’s role bordered on the ridiculous, especially early on (the commissioner goes on a SWAT raid into the sewers?). However, Gordon looks plausible if compared to the actual Gen. William Dean, a U.S. commander at the Battle of Taejon in the Korean War.

  • He personally saw combat in some of the most brutal fighting during the war. According to his Medal of Honor citation, “he personally and alone attacked an enemy tank while armed only with a hand grenade.”
  • “He also directed the fire of his tanks from an exposed position with neither cover nor concealment while under observed artillery and small-arms fire. When the town of Taejon was finally overrun he refused to ensure his own safety by leaving with the leading elements but remained behind organizing his retreating forces, directing stragglers, and was last seen assisting the wounded to a place of safety.”
  • After being captured by the North Koreans, he repeatedly attempted to escape and did not reveal any information to his captors about Operation Chromite.
  • Dean in his own words: “No man honestly can be ashamed of the Medal of Honor. For it and for the welcome given to me here at home in 1953, I am humbly grateful. But I come close to shame when I think about the men who did better jobs some who died doing them and did not get recognition. I wouldn’t have awarded myself a wooden star for what I did as a commander.”

No responses yet

Jul 20 2012

Donating to Victims of the Aurora, Colorado Shooting

I have not yet been able to find any donation efforts specifically for the Aurora, Colorado shooting, but the National Organization for Victim Assistance accepts general donations here. I’m not familiar with NOVA’s track record, but the FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance lists them as a federal resource–in contrast, I’m a bit wary of charities which spring up in the wake of a disaster and haven’t yet impressed professionals in the field.

3 responses so far

May 29 2012

This Is Sort of Cute

A mother needed help convincing her four-year-old (who suffers from severe hearing loss) to wear a hearing aid. He thought it was decidedly unbadass. In response to a letter from the mother, Marvel Comics created a superhero who used a hearing aid to detect crime.  This strikes me as a very thoughtful gesture (and, although it would probably cheapen the moment, very cost-effective public relations).

4 responses so far

Feb 19 2012

The Navy’s Five Most Sitcom-ish Screw-Ups

Published by under Comedy,National service

#4 is accidentally attempting to assassinate the President–it somehow gets worse.  Oh, by the way, all five screw-ups happened on one ship (the William D. Porter).



One screw-up Cracked doesn’t mention is that FDR asked his Secret Service attendee to wheel him over to the side of the battleship so that he could see the incoming torpedo.  That reminds me of the Nedelin disaster, where a Soviet space commander got ~120 people killed (including himself) by watching a shuttle from the launch pad rather than the bunker.

No responses yet

Aug 18 2011

Name That Quote: Batman or Shakespeare?

Published by under Badassery,Batman

I found this Sporcle game’s mix of Shakespeare and Batman so dangerously amusing that I wanted to punch an English teacher in the face and throw him two or three stories onto the street.  Then I realized that the closest English teacher was me and I thought better of it.


PS: If you’re a long-time fan of Batman, you might remember that Adam West hid the remote control for the entrance to the Batcave inside a bust of Shakespeare.

2 responses so far

Jul 02 2011

Please donate $10 to the Save the B. Mac Fund!

I’ve passed my teaching interview and will be teaching high school assuming I pass my background check. But they’ll only start paying me three weeks after starting, so I need savings to cover those first three weeks.  I’d really appreciate if you would donate to help defray my costs, especially if you’ve benefited from my reviews and/or articles and/or would like to be a Benefactor of Badassery.

5 responses so far

Jul 12 2010

Learning Superhero Tricks from the Marines and LAPD?

This news article might help you if you’re worried your superheroes don’t get enough to do besides superpowered brawling.

The Marines are working with the Los Angeles Police Department to learn more about policing intensely violent areas without alienating the residents.

(Incidentally, I wonder how much the LAPD can teach anybody about that. It’s like getting advice about how to cook Bambi burgers from a vegan).

One response so far

Jun 16 2010

How to draw M-4 carbines

Published by under Art,National service

The Wounded Artist Project has a helpful video here.

2 responses so far

May 29 2010

P.S.: When someone asks “Who do you think you are?”, the best answer is always Batman

I came across this in the Wikipedia article of Kevin Conroy, the long-time voice actor for Batman.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Conroy helped out in the relief efforts by volunteering to do cooking duties for officers and firefighters.  On the Batman: Gotham Knight DVD’s commentary, he said that another cook found out he was the voice of Batman. The cook asked if he could tell everyone, and Conroy agreed, though he thought no one would even know who he was. At the other cook’s urging, Conroy yelled in the voice of Batman, “I am vengeance! I am the night! I… am… Batman!” (a line he delivered in Batman: The Animated Series), eliciting cheers from the first responders eating at the relief center. They began telling him what their favorite episodes were, and how they had watched the show with their kids. He said it was the first time he had seen any of them smile or laugh since the attacks a week earlier.

Batman never ceases to amaze me.  Err, unless Joel “Batman and Robin” Schumacher is involved.  I should amend that to “Batman never ceases to astound me.”  Good God, movie audiences haven’t been that astounded since Sean Connery killed a bunch of henchmen in bear suits or a bear-suited Nicholas Cage punched a woman in Wicker Man.

One response so far

Aug 05 2009


Published by under National service

3 responses so far

Apr 10 2009

Angry Students at Penn State

Penn State recently released a workplace orientation video about potentially angry students, such as veterans. But which angry students did they miss?

Continue Reading »

3 responses so far

Dec 18 2008

I hate Barbara Streisand

Published by under Guns,National service

The students’ lounge had It Must Have Been The Mistletoe on infinite repeat.  Always the editor, I was thinking about some simple ways to fix this song.  It was surprisingly easy:  It Must Have Been the Missile TOW.

No responses yet

Oct 07 2008

Killer Squirrel Poster

Now that is a revolution in military affairs.  Picture courtesy of

4 responses so far

Oct 04 2008

Inane accusations and a question for our readers

Today we got an e-mail that asked “who’s paying you to crank this [expletive] out, the CIA?”  Well, no.  As far as I know, the CIA doesn’t offer grants for superhero novels, even kickass ones with accountants and mutant alligators from Homeland Security.  In fact, judging by my ramen account, it looks like no one is paying us to write this novel.

Continue Reading »

One response so far

Sep 06 2008

What do Metallica and the theme to Barney the Dinosaur have in common?

Hint: the Iraqi connection.

Continue Reading »

3 responses so far

Aug 23 2008

Demotivational Military Poster: Captain America

Picture taken from one of the Marvel Civil War comics. #1, I think.

No responses yet

Aug 11 2008

The Real Batman Wouldn’t Get Clobbered by a Grocery Shopper

This isn’t government-sponsored national service, but I think that twelve stitches and a hell of a lot of ass-kicking earn the tag.

A Tulsa newspaper reports that a Batman imposter walked into a grocery store and unsuccessfully tried to open fire. Then an airline mechanic tackled him from behind. Several minutes of unrelenting pounding ensued.

No responses yet

Aug 01 2008

Is Wolverine the Latest Victim of Globalization?

A poster from Edmonton, my favorite Canadian city, notices that the new Wolverine trailer has Wolverine in an American military uniform. Assuming this isn’t just a Hollywood gaffe, Marvel is probably rewriting Wolverine as an American rather than a Canadian.

This isn’t as annoying as Superman’s motto getting changed to “truth, justice and the American way all that stuff” or the inseparably American GI Joe getting turned into international peacekeepers, but Canada still deserves better than this.

No responses yet

Jun 29 2008

And now, a message from the Navy

I found this list of Navy slang pretty funny. Here are some choice Navy phrases…

  • Bullet Sponge: U.S. Marine.
  • Cleaning Stations: Hour-long field day evolution where everyone drops what they’re doing and cleans their spaces. See “XO’s Happy Hour.”
  • Corpsman Candy: Sore-throat lozenges handed out at sick bay in lieu of any substantive treatment. Sometimes accompanied by two aspirin. Continue Reading »

One response so far

Jun 29 2008

Webcomic Issue #2: The Civilian’s Guide to Messy Business



Comic Rank

3 responses so far

Jun 01 2008

Demotivational Poster

Picture courtesy of the US War Dogs Association.

No responses yet

Jun 01 2008

Featured Quote of the Day: Mike and the Truth

Truth is the glue that holds government together.” — Gerald Ford

“If you want to live under something held together by glue, you probably wouldn’t make much of an architect.” — Mike, Director of the Office of Special Investigation’s RETCON branch.

No responses yet

May 23 2008

And other exciting new defense technology developments…

Dr. Darpa: I heard that Russia is now patrolling its nuclear-armed bombers 24 hours a day now.

Captain Carnage: That’s right.

Dr. Darpa: That could destabilize US-Russian relations, if we thought there were any conceivable chance Russian bombers could get close enough to attack Chicago or Seattle.

Captain Carnage: I’d say at least 50%.

Dr. Darpa: 50%, hah! Not after you see what I’ve been working on: Project Unmutually Assured Destruction. It’s the largest surface-to-air missile site ever built. It was so colossal that I could only fit it in Yosemite National Park.

Captain Carnage: An antiballistic missile site in a national park?

Dr. Darpa: Now, the only remaining task is to name it. I present to you: the Yosemite SAM Site.

No responses yet

May 21 2008

Future Cops, 1. Academics, 0

This is an excerpt from an interesting article on college.

I assigned a research paper. This time around, the students were to elucidate the positions of scholars on two sides of a historical controversy. Why did Truman remove MacArthur? Did the United States covertly support the construction of the Berlin Wall? Their job in the paper, as I explained it, was to take my arm and introduce me as a stranger to scholars A, B, and C, who stood on one side of the issue, and to scholars D, E, and F, who were firmly on the other—as though they were hosting a party.

A future state trooper snorted. “Some party,” he said.

No responses yet

Apr 13 2008

More Proof Gators Cause National Strength

Web Gumbo provides a great picture of his unit mascot. You might wonder what a Marine mascot does. Deliver pep talks? Rally the fans? Please.

Agent Orange, our mutated alligator, says that “it’s not surprising that they turned to an alligator when they needed someone to scare and bond with Marines. Here you can see the gator playing Marco Polo with a Marine that is obviously enjoying the gator’s friendly and sociable company.”

Lash retorts retorts that “if the guy’s actually enjoying anything, it’s probably the thought that he will soon not be dangling over a watery grave.”


No responses yet

Feb 20 2008

DOD reports satellite hit

The Defense Department reports that the US Navy successfully hit a dying US satellite with a missile.  I’m, uhh, not thrilled that we’re spending (sixty million) tax dollars to shoot down our own satellites, but at least we didn’t miss.  Heh.

No responses yet

Jan 02 2008

McCain’s son graduated from WHERE?

 A Time article had the following correction. 

An article on Thursday about John McCain’s relationship with his children misstated, in some editions, the site of a graduation ceremony for Mr. McCain’s son Jimmy, which was attended by several siblings. Jimmy McCain graduated from Marine boot camp; there is no Marine Academy.

“There is no Marine Academy.” Yeah, Time. Any college football fan could tell you Marines play for the Naval Academy, one of an elite group of nine teams that beat Notre Dame this year.


I’ll chalk this up to a crucial misalignment of football fans, rather than a “I-hope-someone-at-Time-knows-military-stuff.”


And, just in case anyone at Time’s Human Resources Department is reading (wink wink), I know the difference between Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada and a Hawaiian death-threat.

No responses yet

Nov 25 2007

Worst Government Slogans and Taglines Ever

And you thought “Army of One” was bad…

“We’re not really black-ops assassins or conspiracy bagmen, but encryption and information assurance are sexy too!”– NSA

“Our acronym doesn’t really stand for ‘Systematically Eliminating Troublesome Information.’ Not officially, anyway.” — SETI

Strictly speaking, our mission generally entails tasks like garbage collection/inspection, bomb sweeps and surveillance, but there’s no reason we couldn’t have battle royales in the Oval Office. — Secret Service

“Package delivery anywhere in the world, any time. Special service to China available. What can Blue do for you?” — US Air Force

Striving to keep New York free of supercriminals, starting with the prisons. — NY Department of Corrections

  • I thought of a related quote that I didn’t want to list separately. Agent Black: “The only place in NYC that’s free of supercriminals is Rikers.”

“Taking unconventional warfare to the next level.” — USAF-STRATCOM

Have you ever killed anyone? Do you want to?— CIA

No responses yet

Nov 18 2007

Don’t mess with the Marines on this one

A Marine typist vs. the Chicago Manual of Style:

MARINE:  About two spaces after a period.  As a U.S. Marine, i know that what’s right is right and you are wrong.  I declare it once and for all aesthetically more appealing to have two spaces after a period.

CHICAGO MANUAL:  As a U.S. Marine, you’re probably an expert at something, but I’m afraid it’s not this. [sic]Status quo. [sic]

I think XHTML turns properly formatted periods (with two spaces after) into single-spaced periods.  That looks HIDEOUS, which is especially problematic for writers that upload large blocks of text, like novel chapters and lengthy reviews.  Whenever I edit a Word Press post, I have to go back and make sure that I’ve replaced the double-spaces so that it’s readable.

I think it’s pretty funny that we don’t put any spaces after periods in abbreviations.  Something like “he’s a U.  S.  M.  C.  drill instructor” would be painful.

No responses yet

Next »