1504 Cup Holders.

Writing Carol’s backstory, and the stories of all the cast members I don’t share experiences with, requires research, which is sometimes odd. A few fans who’ve taken the time to talk to me for extended periods, would probably tell you that I started asking probing questions after a while. I hate to miss a chance to improve the believability of my writing, and that means asking tough questions.
I’ve talked puberty with a lot of random girls. In my considered opinion, it’s way worse for them. Which is not to say it’s nothing for men, but in contrast its a cakewalk. The timing of things has a big effect on how someone reacts to becoming an adult. Girls who develop early, for example, tend to have a hard time with the sudden influx of attention. That’s part of why Carol is a late bloomer. In order for her personality to match her experiences she needed to have this rivalry with her sister. Of course that doesn’t mean there are no women who developed early who owned it right off. That level of confidence is just very rare. A family that lacks communication skills results in a lot more anxiety for teens. The more hang ups your family has about bodily functions the harder time you’re going to have. God forbid your family is deeply religious, because that is almost always a recipe for trouble. Puberty and the church are not friends in my experience.
If you ever think you have a story that might be useful to me it’s really easy to contact me. Email, twitter, facebook, a handful of websites, I’m out there. I’m pretty sure they’re listed in the about tab, or whatever I called it.

For whatever reason I’ve only known 2 guys who were in extremely religious families, so I don’t have a female perspective. These two dudes, however had a bad bad time. The first one developed an overly gullible attitude at first, which made him easy to manipulate. He didn’t question things. If you told him it was okay to steal because god said the store owner was a heretic he would steal without a thought. Eventually the cognitive dissonance in his life causes stress induced seizures. That led to paranoia. When I cut ties with him he was sending out spam emails about how the government was orchestrating mass murders to help get gun laws passed which would allow them to subjugate the populace.
The other guy started showing signs of schizophrenia and was locked in closets for hours at a time; being told that he needed to pray the demons away. As you might expect, this wasn’t very helpful. When he came of age he was good looking enough that he had a decent amount of sex, which caused deeply contradictory feelings. Long story short, he castrated himself, got a lot of face tattoos, joined the army, was dishonorably discharged, and I expect is either committed, or dead, by now. I’m not sure which outcome would be the kinder.
Say what you want about tattoos, but it’s still pretty hard to get a lot of jobs when you ALWAYS look like The Crow.
Those are the worst case scenarios that I actually experienced first hand. Those guys got a bad hand. They didn’t deserve the treatment they received in their youths. There are absolutely toxic kinds of theology in every faith. Sects that loose sight of the underlying message in the teachings. Here’s a tip: if your religion is less tolerant than the Satanic church, maybe it’s time to reevaluate things. Of course I doubt anyone reading my stuff is going to have this issue. Even at the worst of times the arguments are tame by internet standards.


Very interesting. My family is very religious but I was never treated like that. I also have never seen that kind of thing in any church I have been to.

It all comes down to how religious we’re talking about. If your family was like those of the guys I mentioned you’d probably be pretty messed up. I mean locking a kid in a closet for at least 8 hours is taking the zeal to a different level. Or demanding so much from a kid that they develop stress related seizures. You’re crossing the line from devotion to abuse. There were some pretty intense churches back in my old town now that I think about it… My sister was friends with a girl who flipped out and caused all sorts of problems.

Good times, good times…

Yeah that is definitely abuse. Can it even be considered religion or at the very least called the same religion, if the people involved are not only directly contradicting the religious codes, but are also denying it is against their religion? people who correctly ( or more accurately) follow Christianity would certainly call it abuse and not at all what God asks for.

I dunno, but I do know that people don’t make distinctions between Islam and whatever the hell terrorists think their practicing a lot of the time. Those families identified as Christians. The Wesboro Baptists call themselves Christians. Who gets to make the call?

Honestly, that is the hard part. Generally I agree more with it is not really what Muslims believe and so it should not be called Islam. At least right now, that might change down the road or that opinion might be solidified, who knows. But in the end I do not know a lot about Westboro. What I do know is they are extreme and do not seem to really follow the codes of peace, love, and understanding God set down. On the other hand that brings back the previous question, are they really actually following Christianity or are they following an extreme re branding of it, Similar to how ISIS talks about how it is truly Islam, then goes around killing a bunch of other innocent Islamic people.

P.S. Love the comic, one of the most thought provoking,inspirational, and entertaining pieces of online art I have read. Thanks for continuing to put so much effort into it.

You’re very kind. I’m glad you enjoy it.

The whole what is “real” (name of religion) problem has been around forever. Every time someone splits off the people who started the thing are like “That’s not whatever.” Which is how you end up with Catholics and Protestants fighting, and the spanish inquisition. Everyone wants things done their way. People are always up in other people’s business.

Personally, IMO, I could be greatly reassured that car bombers and ISIS do not represent Islam if its leaders disavowed their behaviour as loudly as Christian leaders disclaim the actions of the likes of Timothy Mcveigh and David Koresh.

The general inability of Muslim leaders to repudiate violence against innocents, to me speaks volumes about how peaceful and tolerant their faith is.

But maybe that’s just me.

I’m pretty sure they have, you’re just not looking hard enough.

Plus, who exactly are these Muslim leaders everyone wants to speak up? I don’t even know any Christian leaders except for the pope. Who is the mouth of Sauron for Baptists? The Muslims I see on TV are always like”No, fuck those crazies.” Unless they ARE those crazies. The ones that run the convenient store out here are like “Yeah, those people are why we left.”

It also doesn’t help that most people in the US that aren’t Muslims tend not to listen to those that are, or they take what they hear with a grain of salt. Granted I’m not saying most of them hate Muslims, I’m saying that most of them simply don’t listen or would rather not get involved. That leads to a lack of information mixed with misinformation, and suddenly the guy saying that all Muslims are terrorists doesn’t sound crazy to the other people on the street. For a country that prides itself on being the “Melting Pot” of cultures, we’re a decidedly intolerant bunch, as a whole. Or, at least, the loud ones among us are.

There have been several influential imams that have condemned the actions of ISIS & company. Sadly, they have almost all been assassinated (some were even abducted and tortured to death) or forced to recant under threat of death – sometimes after being tortured. So, to speak out literally invites death. I somehow doubt many religious leaders of the West would be quite so vocal with their beliefs if they realized they were courting death…

On the notion of [that stuff being -crossing the line from devotion to abuse]: yeah, I’d agree with that.
I think that the I-will-stand-firm-for-my-faith Catholics, of current times, + the stone-cold Catholic Bishops, + the stone-cold Popes of the 20th + 21st centuries would call that kind treatment of kids…as going into abuse.
That’s been my experience with my Catholic friends, anyhow.
Or, more to the point- as a possibly theistic, Daoist mentor I had in my 20s, once said to me: “Really bud. Really, it doesn’t matter to most people, even if they believe in gods or not. Some of the things that people do to kids are just [wrong]!”
Ok, sorry. I didn’t mean to push my views on other people. I apologize if I did that. I just think that are never Ok to do to kids, and those same things shouldn’t be done to people of any age. That’s all.

It also depends on how warped their interpretations of the religious texts are. More often than not the really really bad ones are heretics themselves. And, odds are they’ve got a fair few mental disorders. Some of which, schizophrenia for example, are hereditary.

FWIW, I might be wrong about this, + I’ll be the 1st to agree if I’m proven wrong, but:
I think that it is a rumor that the criminal, Tomothy Mcveigh was a Christian person.
From the news I have read, he always said that he was man with no gods/ no god, and with no religion.

I still don’t like the things he did, regardless.

New boob smell?

I want to ask a girl if that’s a thing but I already feel like an idiot.

I think you’ve probably got it, but- yeah, it’s probably a riff on, “new car smell”.

I figured that was the case, but when I was going through puberty and everyone started mutating around me, I was shocked to see the horrifying results in my fellow classmates while all I did was grow hair and get tall.

But the state I was in was suspiciously vague on the ins and outs of the Female body other than “If you stick it in here, a baby comes out 9 months later”.

So forgive my ignorance, I implore you.

As a girl I can promise that new boob smell is not a thing. And as a girl who went from flat to double D in the course of a year (as if 8th grade isn’t hard enough already) what I associate with “new boobs” is pain,discomfort, and needing to learn to walk downstairs without jiggling too much.

I’d be very interested in any stories you’d want to share. If you’re uncomfortable sharing them in comments we can talk some other way. If not, no worries.

Wow, you have my sympathy, must have been hell trying to relearn how to walk with your centre of gravity shifting pretty much constantly until they stopped growing.

Body odor is made up of sweat and oils and assorted chemicals given off by the body, as well as the byproducts of their breakdown as they are digested by the natural microorganisms living on the skin. Puberty in general often includes an awkward phase where the body is producing all the raw materials for the underarm stench of reproductive maturity, but the mind still needs to develop some more frequent and/or effective personal hygiene habits to reduce those rotting buildups that lurk in the sweatier crevasses of an average teenager. With puberty can come breasts, which develop sweaty crevasses of their own in proportion to their size. These lack some of the smellier glandular secretions produced in areas like the armpits and groin, but still provide the moist skin folds and tight fitting undergarments that bacteria love. In addition, the complex and unique ecosystem of the cleavage and underboob can also include small objects; carrying money in your bra is not uncommon, and I recall one particular incident where a friend of mine lost a dehydrated pea down the front of her shirt for most of an evening. So perhaps there is a ‘new boob smell’.
There will have to be experimental testing of course; for ‘new boob smell’ to justify its name, it would have to be distinct from ‘newly hairy pits smell’ and various other concurring odors, as well as from the smell of more mature breasts. But frankly I’ve grossed myself out enough just writing this. Science may never know.

It’s that kind of extremism (as well as corruption, and the other type of corruption that has come to light in recent years) that has put me off religion. Now, before I continue, I would not deny that there is a God of some description out there somewhere, as some sort of spiritual beacon to help guide people on the right path. Someone, somewhere, made us more than just (comparatively) hairless apes that do more than just eat, fight, mate and die (well, most of us…) like other creatures on the evolutionary tree.

The problem is, men took the word of God, and has subsequently distorted, skewed, creatively misinterpreted or even just said “fuck it” and added or deleted things to suit their own agendas. People who bloated their own superiorities, and anyone who did not fit into that “weren’t really people” (ugh… I put it in quotes, but I still feel like a shithead for writing it).

I think you have accurately described the situation – a lot of people do bad things and use religion as an excuse. There are people who interpret their religion as requiring them to do the bad things, but most of the religious people I know are just trying to do good things and make mistakes along the way.
I try look at what they are trying to get out of what they are doing. If they are trying to get power, praise, material possessions, satisfying their physical passions (e.g. drug induced stupors, sexual pleasures, sadism, gluttony) at the expense of others suffering, they are just plain bad – religion or no. By that standard ISIS is straight out evil. As an example of the gray area: the “right to life” and “right to choose” folks in the abortion debate both tend to fall into both camps. Both sides are passionate, but when they cross the line into hurting other people and getting all puffed up with pride at how they are “better” than the other side, they are clearly bad. It’s not religion, or lack thereof that determines their good or bad, it’s their motivations, goals, and how they act.

And then to make matters even worse, there are those that merely inherit their religion (so to speak) and never really question anything or tey to figure stuff out for themselves. So they never look into any of the deeper stuff or try to actually learn their religion.

I remember reading about survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that asked 3400 Americans 32 questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, famous religious figures and the constitutional principles governing religion in public life.


To quote from the article:

“On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.

Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences.

“Even after all these other factors, including education, are taken into account, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons still outperform all the other religious groups in our survey,” said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at Pew.”

To me that suggests that you have two disparate groups who know the most about religion – those who have looked at it critically and rejected it, and those who have been persecuted and had to look at it long and hard to decide if they really believed it and were committed enough to stick with it.
Going back to Jackie’s original comment about religion and puberty, the Atheists and Agnostics I’ve known varied in how they dealt with puberty depending on how well the parents communicated with their kids. Even if they were not religious, if they were uncomfortable talking about intimate, personal things, the kids kind of struggled. The Jews I’ve known were kind of a mixed bag in terms of how they dealt with puberty – but then again, how “deeply religious” they were varied depending on whether they were Orthodox, Reformed, or Conservative, but mostly they did well because the parents and leaders and kids talked about the “whys” in their religion for how sex is dealt with (despite the stereotype of Jewish women being uninterested in sex). The Mormon’s I’ve known were kind of that way too. They talked a lot about the “whys” of their morals and the purpose of sex and the ones who were committed to their faith seemed less screwed-up than their peers. The ones I’ve seen have the most trouble are the ones you mention, Gyrre, who “inherit” their religion and absorb the “because I say so” line when it comes to sex issues. Strangely, the two groups I’ve seen have the most trouble with this are the “highly religious” pentecostal/born-agains and the Muslims with very restrictive standards but no questioning allowed – but my experience and acquaintances are hardly a random statistical sample.

That’s exactly what I’m talking about (thanks for finding the studt).

Any instance of racist beliefs amongst those that claim to be part of the faith are a direct result of that sort of thing.
Galatians 3:28 spells out what the church’s stance on racism, sexism, and classism should be pretty clearly, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. And it’s reiterated in Colossians 3:1. Granted, since these are biblical quotes, I will recommend that one reads the full passage each is from so that neither quote is out of context.

Well adjusted, reasonably middle class, male, married, Army Sergeant, who grew up in a “go to church every Sunday + church camp twice a year + went on an overseas missions trip” kind of family. Also an Aspy, if you ever want to include one. I’d be happy to answer any questions you feel would help your writing. I don’t agree with many of your character’s positions on things, but I like them all the same (much like real life in that regard).

Well, as @Jackie has intimated before, nothing gets folks talking like talking about boobs.

Well, the government is orchestrating mass murders to help get gun laws passed. ‘Scuse me, got any tinfoil? I think this hat’s wearing out.

Concerning your acquaintance with the — ah — closeted history: I don’t think he was the one with the demons. Something was definitely psychologically haunting either or both of his parents/caregivers. And yeah, deceased is probably a better lifestyle than anything left to him.

I went to school with a girl who ‘blossomed’ in fifth grade, and another one who at our 40th Reunion last year was still flat like a little boy. The former took tickets and worked behind the counter at movie theaters and now delivers newspapers. The latter works at Harvard — and not cleaning floors. Neither followed Carol’s path (but I know one who did).

“Well, the government is orchestrating mass murders to help get gun laws passed.”
Um, yeah. It was called Fast and Furious. Not really anybody denying it as far as I know. Most of the time, they just try not to let a crisis go to waste. They dance for joy on the graves of children and moviegoers. Their “gun free zones” have made these places inevitable targets. Of course, that’s only stupid if your intention was to prevent violence in the first place.

From what I know of the Satanic Church, which is about as much as you can know without being a member, about the only church as open, tolerant and accepting would be the Unitarian Universalists and maybe some sects of the Methodists. I’m a Pagan UU myself, former member of the board at my church, etc.

Satanism is one of the religions that centers on Thelema (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelema) “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will,” is their central tenant, so… yeah… they’re more tolerant than most other religions.

I would include Buddhism on your list of tolerant religions, but even they (we?) have some crazy practitioners and sects.

Depends on the satanists. They didn’t pick the best name, as there are ‘those who oppose’ satanists and then there are the ‘i serve the dark lord’ types. From my experience with the latter, most of the second type need their heads examined.

That actually makes me curious about the Satanic Church and the Unitarian Universalists. I’m trying to learn more about other religions and beliefs for reasons of curiosity and helping people with religion. I’m working to become the Troop Chaplain in the Boy Scout troop that I volunteer in, and the official ruling on religion in the BSA, contrary to what seems to be popular belief, is that we prefer that scouts believe in a higher power, but we don’t even force that on anyone. So essentially, while we promote religion, we are supposed to be completely open and accepting of all religions including, in this sense, atheism.

Pursuant to that, I would prefer to get my information from sources approved by practitioners of said beliefs rather than some random site some schmuck put together with no understanding beyond stereotypes. If you wouldn’t mind, could you point me in the right direction here? And given that I don’t want to be sharing links to such things here without JT’s permission, would it be best that I contact you through a link on your site?

“Long story short, he castrated himself, got a lot of face tattoos, joined the army, was dishonorably discharged”

…in that order? I thought the army recruitment guy would throw a fit if you showed up with face tattoos.

A few things I learned from my time reading the Bible.

Well, first I want to make my point, for TL/DR reasons. I don’t see much use in showing curiosity to demons or demonic activity when compared to simply doing one’s best to work out one’s own standing with God.

Having said that, let us continue.

I found it odd that Satan isn’t named for a very long time, if you’re reading from cover to cover. The first book that even mentions him as an entity is in Job. In Genesis, the only major reference is the serpent in the garden.

The funny thing about Job is that, historically, it is widely believed to be the oldest written manuscript of all of the works included in the Bible.

I digress. The main takeaway I got from reading the first five books of the Bible is that God is really more interested in people giving particular interest in Him, and being concerned with the state of their own hearts. There is also great emphasis given to the community, rather than to specific individuals, though individuals carry a major portion of the story.

Demons are really not given much attention in the Old Testament. Most notable is Genesis at the beginning of the story of Noah, some of the prophets here and there, Job, and Daniel. Daniel is probably the most overt of these references, and that was really only when Daniel fasted for twenty-one days, and the angel came to him saying he was dispatched with the message as soon as Daniel started praying on day one, but got held up.

By contrast, the gospels depict Jesus directly engaging Satan and other demonic forces. Titus gives mention of one of the arch-angels and Satan arguing over the bones of Moses. Supposedly, this letter references a well-known story that didn’t actually make it into the Bible’s canon.

Proverbs, alone, is likely one of the best measuring sticks for how people should or should not behave in the Bible. Locking one’s child in the closet seems like a really convenient ploy to hide your child from your own ill-intended actions.

For what it’s worth, I’ve read Revelations a couple of times. My biggest takeaway from that book is that I am not prepared to understand it. I happen to think its meaning is significantly broader than to simply be a dig at the Roman empire.

If you have read it a few times, how come you are pluralizing it?

I’m assuming you mean Revelation(s).

I missed it. I haven’t got a good answer for you.

For what it’s worth-
I think that people who read the Bible, the one(s) that have the Book of Revelation in it, I think it’s kind of common to hear some of these readers make the mistake, + call it: “The book of Revelations”.

I think it’s just something that people do.

Case in point-
I think- it’s proper grammar to call some people, “MOTHERS in-law”, but most people call them, “mother in-laws”.
If you look up, “mother in-laws”, on Google, you get over 71 million hits for it.

Pfft being a girl hitting puberty in what I assume you mean by incredibly religious family (restrictive and borders the line of cultish) was the worst. Especially when you hit puberty at about 10 or 11.

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