1578 Enter The Gladiators.

These two… They are not operating on the same level.

Maddison is one of my least book smart characters. Not maliciously, she’s just slow and a bit simple. She tried hard in school, but just couldn’t remember things, or understand them the way other people do. It makes her harder to write for because I find people who don’t think the way I do very frustrating. Maddy is different from the average below average person in that she knows when she doesn’t understand something she should let people know. She knows she is slow and therefore isn’t that dangerous type of slow that thinks vaccines cause Autism, for example. When she encounters something she doesn’t understand she will generally seek out someone to help her understand. If that fails she listens to their advice. That’s extremely rare. Most ignorant people are also arrogant, which is one of the worst combinations of traits. They think they know everything and cause problems by holding to their incorrect beliefs. no amount of data can persuade them that they are wrong. I try to be humbly ignorant and seek out experts when I don’t know something. When someone brings up a subject I’m unfamiliar with I don’t try to bluff my way through the way I did when I was young. There’s very little to gain by doing so in the long run. Climate change, for example, if something I don’t truly understand. Certainly not in the way most people pretend to. I don’t understand the data even if you showed me all of it. So I put my faith in people who have studied it for a long time and have nothing in particular to gain by lying about their results. I find that people are almost always willing to share all of their knowledge with you if you ask.
Maddison would be one of the most confident characters when presented a baby to look after. She’s the kind of person who instinctually knows how to care for others. Thomas, on the other hand would be petrified. The gravity of holding another human life in his arms would make him nervous. Maddison isn’t less valuable as a human because of her inability to grasp deep concepts. She can still do important things even if she isn’t curing cancer. It generally said as an insult, but the world needs ditch diggers too. The fact that we devalue manual labor is one of the reasons that America is falling apart right now. We need plumbers and carpenters. You may be able to give a dissertation on philosophy but that isn’t very useful when the bathroom is flooded and I want to have a pee.

My allergies are so bad right now I can hardly stand it. My eyes burn, I’m dizzy, my ears are leaking goo. It is no good. All of the various allergy things make me feel bad in a different way, so it all ends up being a choice of poisons. When my eyes are dry and puffy it really affects my perception of reality. I’m more prone to depressive thoughts when my allergies get bad like this. I also don’t sleep properly which adds to the whole mess. Apparently there’s simply nothing that will help me in any significant way. I just have to live with it. My nasal rinse helps a little but I can’t constantly use it, so it’s only good for brief times of relief. At this point even eye drops don’t help very much. I’m not sure if it’s because there’s so much corn, or its proximity to the house, or what. It may have nothing to do with it at all. In any event it all makes it very hard to focus on what I need to get done. I’m on the verge of trying insane cures if for nothing other than the placebo effect.

Teen Corner
twas the night before senior year and the teen was wondering about restless and worried as always. her backpack full of binders and books galore, practically ripping at the seems. her outfit carefully planned after a modeling session, everything was set and ready to go but the teen was nowhere near prepared…..hello my lovely fans. school starts tomorrow obviously and I am already sick of it. I’m not ready to get up early and I’m not ready to go to bed. I would rather stay up binge watching one tree hill like usual. my friend sofia also known as rainbow dash decided to drive down from Kansas just to hang out with me god knows why she would want to tolerate me but she brought me pizza so its cool. ive been in a really bitchy mood all day simply because I didn’t get the score I needed to pass my accuplacer and I’m really disappointed in myself. I’m going to continue taking the test and hope to pass it but I only have less than a week to do it so wish me luck.and wish me luck on my first day of senior year I hope it goes well I would write more but it is approaching my bed time.
now special guest writer rainbow dash.
Hello, it is me; Rainbow Dash. Luckly for me I do not go to school anymore, so yay. I do work, on occasion when they decide to schedule me. Kansas is pretty fun, my home town is full of people I decide to not associate myself with. I would go on but who wants to listen to that? I am leaving soon and as the teen said her bed time is approaching. Live life to the fullest. To next time my friends.


So interesting thought on vaccines/autism:

Kids with autism have a gene that is faulty in “clearing” out harmful toxic chemicals– I.e. These “toxins” build up in the brain and cause faulty wiring. A lot of parents will see a chance in their kid AFTER vaccines because it’s a larger does than normal of these chemicals… But their kid was ALWAYS predisposed to these things- they were going to get worse it was just a matter of WHEN and to what severity. Some children see better results on a restricted diet because less of these harmful chemicals are being absorbed by the body. This is currently being tested and explained by my son’s primary doc. He doesn’t have the faulty gene, but does suffer from sensory issues similar to autism. Food for thought – vaccines don’t CAUSE the autism, but they don’t help symptoms either. There are alternate vaccine schedules for autistic kids or sensory problem kids so that their symptoms don’t worsen suddenly, but still provide the necessary vaccine.

I’m not an anti-Vaxxer, just the mom of a sensory processing disorder child and we had to go through all the autism tests and have had to seriously modify diet and supplement with various things his body literally does not make. He does not make melatonin and will stay up for 22 hours a day until his poor little body falls down from exhaustion… But eh, you figure out what’s causing the problem and move on, do what you can to make it better.

Jackie – you seem to have misplaced the arrow pointer on the 4th dialog bubble. I’m rather sure “Do- do you know him well?” was supposed to be Maddie’s question, not Nina’s.
Other then that, it’s a lovely page as usual. Also, it is nice to see a sympathetic… slow… character.

As for the carpenters… never quite agreed with the idea that if you’re intelligent you should always stick to the more intellectually difficult jobs. Personally I rather enjoy having manual labor jobs as they also give me the exercise I otherwise won’t really get (or do) if I’m in business or IT. Plus, working with your hands and working with your brain are two somewhat distinct (though often intertwined) skillets – I know plenty of intelligent people that couldn’t repair their own furniture, never mind build it from planks. That sed, actually building a set of furniture for a room takes quite a lot of planning and schematics – you’d be surprised how annoying those get when you have to be precise, down to the millimeter. On the other hand, lifting heavy things takes little judgement save for balance and strength, but as I sed before, it is healthy – more so then sitting in a cubicle all day at least.

Sorry to hear about the allergies. If it’s pollen and other aerosols, perhaps dipping your face in a bowl of cold water every now and then (perhaps 1h-ish) might help? If nothing else it would help with the inflammation and possibly wash away the particles that are irritating you… or could do nothing at all *shrug*. Can’t say I ever had any such symptoms so all I can give are my sympathies and a somewhat logical stopgap measure.

Reading it for the 6th or so time I’m starting to think it really was Nina’s question… bit of an odd combination with “As much as anyone in the store does” and with Maddie’s “Do you know what kind of girls he likes?”, but I suppose it works in an odd sort of way. Never mind me then, carry on. Cheery-o.

Same problem here in France. Gov tries to have everyone get a degree. So we lack manual laborers, have to hire some from Eastern Europe and on the other hand have a high unemployment because too many people have a (shitty) degree.

Intelligent people seem drawn to stupid jobs. Michelangelo was a quarry worker. I mean, it sort of makes sense that you dig rocks out of the earth long enough you eventually look at one sideways and think, “You know, I bet you could fit an entire naked guy in one of these things.” The nest step is to just sort of take away the parts that don’t look like a naked person.

Einstein worked in a patent office, which is boring, menial, repetitive work.

It isn’t entirely unbelievable that the Greek age of enlightenment is in at least part due to the fact that Shepherding is about as low key work as you can get. Sheep pretty much stick together, predators were relatively rare, and all that free time gave way to everything from philosophy to the Pythagorean theorem (the first concept of the steam engine, atomic theory, etc…)

As a sheep farmer with an academic background, let me just say that some of your notions about shepherding are a bit mistaken; it’s a lot harder than you may have heard. (No pun intended.) Also more predators than you might have expected, back then, although comparatively few presently in Greece.

That said, when not actively in the midst of crisis management, much of the work is manual and does leave the brain free to wander. But there isn’t and wasn’t much free time for the sharing of those ideas, for shepherds; much of the Greek enlightenment was focused around their urban population centers, with a gradual build-up of schools and academies and even cults (the cult of Pythagoras was weird as snake shoes and there was at least one group murder because of someone challenging – correctly – a core mathematical tenet of the cult). Greek society was also fairly stratified, although not as stratified as Roman. It would have been difficult for shepherds to get in on the action, as it were.

But it’s absolutely true that Greek scholarship was prized, and after Rome took over, Greek scholars were often used to teach Roman schoolboys.

I think it’s more that there’s a certain sort of person who will do something, whether or not they have the opportunity to do what they want to do. Sometimes, that something will mold them. Other times, it will be chosen in part on their existing interests. Did Michaelangelo become a sculptor because he spent so much time quarrying, or did he go to work in a quarry because he wanted to be a sculptor and it was the most related job he could find?

When you have the sort of person who will take a job and excel at it even though it’s not the one they wanted, regardless of their level of intelligence, you have someone you can expect great things from once they’re able to do something they wanted. Admittedly, while I said regardless of intelligence, it can take a fair amount of that to excel in something that you’re not really interested in.

While the patent office is menial work compared to, for example, theoretical physics, it’s a lot more involved than a lot of other jobs. To do the job well, you have to be pretty clever, as you’re going to need to read about a lot of rather diverse ideas and try to determine if they are actually novel. Most of these ideas are not going to be in what you care about the most. I’d go so far as to say that it’s a job that requires a genius level intellect to be able to do the job properly. But that said, because it’s generally set up to make its money from issuing patents rather than being a government cost center, the people who run it have little incentive to see that the job is done properly.

Long time reader first time commenting (woo). She sounds like one of my best friends. In dnd stats low intelligence high wisdom. Doesn’t know everything but is aware of that fact.

I’m not an anti-vaxxer, but I do have a brother that was born normal, and due to an allergic reaction to a vaccine when he was a toddler, went into grand mal seizures and as a result permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy. He will never be able to support himself and have a normal life.

It was a known issue at the time to the medical industry. There were alternative vaccines. This was the price chosen for progress by legislators and industry experts.

It would be wise never to forget the lesson contained in this.

Ive never understood why they don’t test for allergic reactions before giving the shots myself. Even if it is one out of however many thousands of people who can’t have them. I know a few people with kids who are allergic to some vaccines and they never had the shots so there must be a way to tell.

Law of averages. Basically, it’s cheaper and easier to vaccinate first and treat allergy second than to test allergy susceptibility first. Plus, it’s somewhat in the nature of the vaccination itself. Generally speaking vaccines are weakened/dead disease cells that are then fought off by the injectee’s body thereby teaching it how to fight of the infection. Granted, there is more to it than that, but in general that’s how it works (yes, princess Bride style. Just don’t try building your own resistance to Iocaine Powder… Different brand of toxicity there…)

That depends on what the allergic reaction is to, specifically.

If the allergic reaction is to the disease you’re being inoculated against, then, yes, it’s the nature of the vaccination itself.

But most of the allergic reactions to vaccines that I’ve heard of are actually to the materials used in the manufacture of the vaccine.

For example, some vaccines were initially developed by growing the bacteria responsible in unfertilized chicken eggs. This can work great, except that there’s now egg matter in the vaccine, and some of us are allergic to eggs, and others of us are vegan and don’t have the enzymes to deal with that egg matter. (That said, if you’re vegan, part of a susceptible population, and your only option for the flu shot is vaccine produced using eggs as incubation chambers, the flu shot is probably still a good idea if you’re not actually allergic to eggs; it’s just some guaranteed contamination unpleasantness that’s not nearly as bad as the flu.)

Vaccines are never as simple as weakened/dead disease cells in otherwise pure normal saline solution. There’s always *something* else there. What that something else is matters to some people more than others. As I understand it, back in the day, that something else wasn’t even really well documented; we had to have people dying or worse from allergic reactions to it before we had people wake up and realize it mattered.

[Most ignorant people are also arrogant].

That’s a good thing to know.
Really, Thanks.
I never would have thought of that.

It is common for incompetent people to highly over-estimate their own abilities, making them very confident when they shouldn’t be. This over-confidence can come out as outright arrogance.


Corollary: smarter people sometimes underestimate their own skills, as they are more keenly aware of their own faults.

2nd Corollary: if you maintain a humble attitude (whether real or faked) you will give people an opportunity to assume you are competent, since at least you aren’t obviously a boastful idiot. As the saying goes, “it’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”

“It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.”

Usually attributed to Samuel Clemens, but also sometimes to Abraham Lincoln. Also, the exact wording varies. People didn’t tweet as much in the past, so sometimes something awesome got said, repeated, and changed but the exact original didn’t get recorded. I like to think of Mr. Twain as having said it, myself. It’s a great quote for a salty, sarcastic, respectable bastard.

Very cool. Yeah, I like some things that Mark Twain said.
As some say- Twain is a grouchy, cranky, pain-in-the-neck-jerk, but he DOES say some very wise things. : )

Or did, at least, what with having been dead for a while. (Of course, if there is an afterlife, Mark Twain’s probably snarking about that, too.)

Heh, heh. Yeah. :D

I was sort of going for, the historical “is”, and not the “he is” as in- he is or he lives now.

There was a line in a short story I read, that went something like: “…he wasn’t stupid, he was just uncomplicated.”

My read on the situation is that Maddison doesn’t really have a chance with Reggie. As far as we know his type is girls like Nina. He became interested in a girl who is physically unlike Nina. Maddison is physically and mentally unlike Nina. That’s double obstacles to overcome, and at a time when he is actively pursuing someone who isn’t Maddison, so that’s three problems she would have to solve. I do think Reggie enjoyed Maddison’s interest in him, a bit, but he’s not at all serious about her. It will be sad if she became serious about him so quickly and with no real encouragement.

You know, while he is a bit of a jerk, I could see him making a decision not to do things that a jerk would do, and then evaluating his own behavior to ensure he conforms to his newly chosen standard. He would still be a jerk, inside, but if he worked at it he wouldn’t actually be a jerk to others very often. After enough years of maintaining this habit, the non-jerk facade might become his own true self. Thomas should find a book that argues that success in life is sabotaged by jerky behavior, and see that Reggie happens to get a copy.

P.S. My dad has a book (very old book by now) with a list of rules for how to get ahead. One of the rules is extremely hard to live up to: never say anything about another person that you wouldn’t say exactly the same way if they were standing right there and listening to you say it. (But it would save you from cheesy comedy movie situations where someone secretly records what you are saying about some person and plays it back for that person.) If you are trying to live by that rule you can’t ever really “vent” about a person, unless you somehow do it with changed details so nobody can figure out who you mean.

John seems to be a kind guy.
Who knows?
Maybe Maddie will talk to him, and later- date him for awhile.

It depends. In the beginning, it seems he only goes for “beautiful” women. But it might have changed since the furries arc so we’ll see.

I’ll be honest, I’m interested to see where this all leads for John, since he didn’t really stick by his guns with what he said to Jo near the beginning of the haunted school arc. I mean seriously, the dude is a total hypocrite.

Crave, back in the 1990s-early 2000s, there were a large number of infants who were given vaccinations that contained trace amounts of mercury as a preservative. A good number of these infants developed either some level of autism or another mental debilitation. I’m not saying that ALL vaccines cause autism or whatnot, but those containing elements/compounds that are proven to inflict neurological harm DEFINITELY do. Mercury, back in the day, was used by hatters to scrub top hats and make them glossy. When people wore these hats often–and they did–it would leach from the brim into the scalp, and further into the brain. Sufficient exposure to mercury would inevitably lead to dementia, hence the phrase “mad as a hatter”.

Your information is incorrect. There is no causal link between thimerisol and autism. It was removed as a precaution and the rate of autism identification remained the same, and has done since. There have been at least 8 properly reviewed studies by the CDC alone since last I knew. With relatively few exceptions vaccines are harmless and beneficial to everyone.

Also, the mercuric compounds used in felting poisoned the hatmakers, but not the people wearing the hats. Everybody wore hats.

As a person at a genius level, I can tell you that I don’t want to write dissertations and sit in an office. I WANT to WORK. maybe I’m word and old fashioned but I enjoy service and repair.

I have a bachelor’s degree and currently work in an office, listening to inmate calls. I love it when something breaks, so I can do something.

Like chief O’Brien on deep space nine said, “This place needs me”

I like to fix things and figure out fixing things

@Brandon Just to Help you out there and not embarrass yourself I’ll put some information here for you to read. The studies indicating those vaccines caused autism were falsified all of them have been retracted as fakes. The trace amounts of mercury are negligible in the biological scheme of things. Yes hatters went mad breathing mercury fumes, but It was after massive inhalation of fumes over many years. Using your logic you should argue that people should stop ingesting anything with water in it because people have died from over consumption of it. Bottom line is there Is absolutely no evidence linking vaccine and Autism and several studies actively proving no link.Here are some links to help

I just finished reading through the strip- it took a while- and just wanted to say great job on the hard work and enjoyable story. It’s particularly been interesting following through the various art shifts over time. Not much to say on the author’s notes but just wanted to leave a comment on how I enjoyed the series as a whole.

On a side note,my favourite character was John, while my least favourite was Carol. A lot of other people seemed to like Carol from skimming through some of the comments in previous strips, so just something I found interesting.

Thanks for giving it a try, I appreciate it. John has never been massively popular, but a few people have been vocal about liking him. Carol has always been popular, but people who don’t like her tend to be pretty firm in their dislike. Always interesting to see where people fall.

Jackie, I have a suggestion on something that MIGHT help reduce your symptoms. Pomegranate and blueberry juice or fruits. Especially the pomegranate. Easiest to acquire would probably be Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice (if you find another brand, make sure it is ACTUALLY pom juice) and actual blueberries.
I normally distrust ‘natural’ cures, but we stumbled upon this with my sister’s asthma/allergies and it is clearly working wonders for her.
We were then able to test it on some others with asthma/allergies, and several saw improvements, with two seeing massive improvements.
Have a small glass of pomegranate juice daily, for two weeks to a month, to see if you experience benefits. If so, continue, adjusting amounts to maximize benefits. If not, then it probably isn’t going to help you.
My sister has effectively stopped taking medication, has been able to perform regular strenuous exercise and has taken up dancing. Neither of which she could do before.
A young boy came to my mother’s dayhome after school. He sounded like he was breathing through a straw, and had already used the maximum allowed of his regular and emergency meds for the day. We gave him some juice, and he was running around with the rest of the kids before his parents came to pick him up.
These are the two best results we have been able to experience. I hope it does something for you. If so, please let me know.

Early Reggie: Complete asshole.

Now Reggie: Understandable cool dude with jerkish personality and now swarming in hot heavy-set women.


Oh hey, Jackie, I was wondering, do you have a general timeline for how much in comic time has passed so far? I don’t need an exact approximation, I know time can get fuzzy in web comics, I’m just wondering if there’s a general idea of how long it’s been since Ed’s first day

I’m not sure. Maybe a year? It starts in the cold and its been warm at least once. Everything past the first two parts is vague. The first and second stories are less than a day each.

Thanks. I hadn’t even really been paying attention to the seasonal changes (which are kind of obvious thinking back on it), but I was noticing time seemed to be advancing faster than just a few days or weeks over the course of the comic.

” So I put my faith in people who have studied it for a long time and have nothing in particular to gain by lying about their results”
So that definitely wouldn’t be Al Gore, as he stood to make millions if not billions if cap and trade had gone off like he hoped. Wouldn’t be the scientists at East Anglia who lied about their results (as reported by pretty much everybody). I don’t necessarily care (hugely) what people believe about global warming if they will examine the motives of those promoting the idea. It pretty much always comes down to money. Is the world getting warmer (like they said recently)? Maybe. Is the world getting colder (as they said before )? Maybe. Is the climate changing (like they’ve been saying since they had no definitive proof of warming or cooling)? Maybe (that’s kind of what climate does). Do the same people who supposedly caused this climate change know exactly what to do to counter or reverse it? That I cannot be persuaded to believe. How many people in third world conditions will never know the convenience of electric lights and a “climate controlled” home because we’ve decided that building a coal fired power plant would be bad for the environment. So they can just continue to burn kerosene for light and heat their homes with wood or coal-if they’re lucky enough to have such. And make no mistake, while we have brown-outs and marginal capacity, China is building coal plants like we build amusement parks. To supply them with the energy to build the things we used to build here. So our money is building them. I love wind and solar. And I think that about the worst that could happen to hinder these two technologies would be to get the government too involved in them. Kickbacks and cronyism pick winners and losers.(cough…Solindra)
Trust is important. It’s even more important to recognize if it might be misplaced.
Really hope your symptoms improve, and looking forward to Reggie and Alex’s date.

I still think nuclear power is the way to go, but you have to have a modern plant design.

Heard about a really promising (nuclear) technology recently-danged if I can remember the name.Methane hydrate also seems promising. And if your readers weren’t some of the best on the internet, we’d both be knee deep in trolls by now.

I am working my way through the archives – I was a regular reader for a while and then fell away (NOT because of the content but because I stopped reading webcomics in general). I know I’m very late to the party and probably no one will read this, but just in case:


I have a 3-year-old niece and my sister has some VERY strong opinions about anti-vaxxers. But basically, diseases that we basically ELIMINATED are coming back because of the anti-vaxxers. Measles is KILLING children in the U.S. because parents refuse to vaccinate based upon propaganda from Jenny McCarthy (et. al.) and falsified data. It’s a mess. My sister actually has to ask other parents if they have vaccinated their children so that her daughter doesn’t catch a disease that COULD MAKE HER DIE. I agree with everyone above who has provided factual information about vaccinations.

Listen: get a good doctor. If your child is seriously senstive to vaccinations, a good doctor can help with that. But refusing to vaccinate your child not only puts THEM at risk, but puts a whole ton of other children at risk.

I’ll post again on a more recent comic but I just had to chime in here.

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