5 Best Dating WordPress Themes 2020 - aThemes
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Best Wordpress Dating Theme for Online Dating website
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15 Best Online Dating WordPress Themes 2018
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"Best practice" for upgrading a Wordpress site that is out of date (Wordpress, Plugins and Theme)?
I am going to create a dev area to upgrade and test before moving (or replicating) to the live site. Is it best to update each plugin first and test them and then upgrade Wordpress? Or upgrade Wordpress, test and then upgrade the plugins... and then the theme?
Or, is there no "best practice" and just jump in and hope for the best!
Also, most of the sites also have WooCommerce, which is a major plugin, so I am not sure where that would fall in the list?
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I Read It So You Don't Have To: Love Italian Style (by Melissa Gorga)
If you were in any doubt as to our author's expertise on the particular issue at hand, never fear! You have only to flip the book over to its back cover to be thoroughly rid of any residual skepticism. What is love, if not those nuzzling noses, that slender hand thrown into contrast against a patch of coarse, hoary facial hair? However, I have to admit that my personal definition of love would probably have included a little help from my friendly neighborhood tooth-whitening app. Between an unfortunately positioned shadow and the striking contrast of Melissa's hyper-peroxided chompers, poor Joe looks like he got pulled into this photo shoot midway through eating a particularly unwieldy Tootsie Roll.
In the introduction ("Blueprint for a Better Marriage"), Melissa primes us on her motivations for writing this book.
Since I entered the world of reality TV, the number one message I get from fans is, "I want your marriage!"She continues,
The number two message I get from fans: "How do you do it?"I think a far more interesting question would be, Why do you do it, but that's neither here nor there. Melissa goes to empower the reader with the knowledge that, no matter the state of their marriage, there's always a way to turn things around.
If other women want a close-to-perfect marriage, they can have it, too. It's their choice. Even if they don’t think they are, they are in control. Women steer the ship. What they say and how they act towards their partner will directly correlate with his response.I am breathless with relief, and immediately begin making plans to send a copy of this book to every domestic violence hotline in the nation. How silly of me -- the solution was there the whole time! How disappointing that all of those other women couldn't have just tried a little harder.
With that selfless act of charity over and done with, I soldier on through the following paragraph, in which Melissa introduces her "overriding 'Gorganizing' principle" of a good marriage: "treat your husband like a King." As a side note, for what I can only assume is an incredibly well thought-out and heavily symbolic reason, the words "King" and "Queen" are capitalized throughout the book (or, at least, throughout this chapter).
But treating your husband like royalty doesn't mean you have to be a subservient pushover! No,
In the game of chess, the King can only move one square at a time. The Queen can zip across the board every turn.I realize how much my standards have been lowered by my recent run of Housewives memoirs, since my only reaction is to be decently impressed that Melissa got the mechanics of chess correct. However, the metaphor starts to fall apart shortly thereafter:
As the Queen, I create the playbook for our marriage. On our chessboard, I'm zooming up the iTunes charts and performing on concert stages, but I'm never more than one step away from being at my husband's side.Take that, Bobby Fischer! We next follow Melissa back to her childhood to learn how she became the woman she is today, and she tells us about dating a series of bad boys as a teenager
My OCD kicked in, and I wouldn't let up until they'd transformed.Despite a few failed relationships, Melissa continues in her unrelenting search for Mr. Right, but is dismayed to find that some men are hesitant to pay her attention -- "Maybe it was because I was sober and not dressed like a slut." We're treated to a family portrait tenderly captioned, "Guidos in pastel" before jumping ahead a few years to the moment that changes it all. Of course, the responsibility of recounting the numerous details of such a monumental event would be too much for a fragile female constitution to shoulder. Thankfully, as we read:
Joe loves this story. One of the secrets of our marriage is to grant him his moments. I call them "Joements." Whenever you see bold type set in a box, like below, know that these are my man's words. For extra fun, read it out loud in Joe's voice.Joe begins to tell us the story of meeting Melissa in Cancun while on vacation, but the couple loses touch when he gets "busy with business and with girls closer to home." Nevertheless, the stars align, the lovebirds reconnect, and the passion is unstoppable from there! Melissa encourages us to follow in her footsteps and adhere to the "100-date rule" for having sex. As she explains:
Hey ladies. It's me. The one and only Joe Gorga. I'm very proud of Melissa for writing this book. I'm honored she wants to hold up our marriage as an example for other woman [sic]. I knew she was the woman for me when I first laid my eyes on her.
Even if sex with me turned out to be the greatest night of [Joe's] life, he'd lose some respect for me in the morning. I'm not going to apologize about how unfair that sounds, how sexist or old-fashioned. The fact is, a man won't fall hard if a woman is too easy.Before I can formulate an argument against this, however, I read on to see that Melissa refers to Joe reaching climax as "releasing his poison." I now realize that delaying intercourse was probably the safest strategy for everyone involved, if only from a biosafety standpoint. She then quips:
Some women think waiting to have sex is just a strategy women use to trick a man into marriage. The opposite! For one thing, a "trick" is what whores do.I have to admit, I wasn't expecting Melissa Gorga and G.O.B. Bluth to have this much in common, but it's always nice when multiple experts agree on a particular concept. Melissa goes on to reassure us that "it's like a math formula," so I'm pretty confident she's got things figured out.
The couple quickly tie the knot and settle into a comfortable newlywed routine. Melissa shares some hard-earned words of wisdom from these early days:
You might think you and your new husband can just sit down with an iPad, and bang out your official policy on the biggies.Alas, as our guide sagely informs us,
On day 1,001, you'll realize that all those plans you made on the iPad aren't worth a dime.Considering my boyfriend and I don't even have an iPad, I’m frankly a bit nervous about where this leaves me. Thankfully, the next section of the book promises to teach me everything I need to know to be "a lady in the parlor," so I remain hopeful that I can learn the skills to compensate for these minor deficiencies.
We begin with the topic of fashion, on which Melissa explains,
The one thing I've come to realize is that I need to take Joe into account when I get dressed.After enumerating rules like "dress to please your man," "dress to please your man, part two," and "a King does not want his Queen to look cheap," Melissa informs us that
It's never appropriate to wear a super-short mini dress with a boob-popping, midriff-baring tube top. Absolutely not.I agree -- absolutely not! A tube top on top of a mini dress? It wouldn't even bare your midriff at all if you wear it that way! Preposterous! She goes on to sternly remind us that "'I'm insecure and overcompensating' is not the fashion statement that you want to make." But as a matter of fact, I'll have you know that 'insecure and overcompensating' is exactly the aesthetic I've been trying desperately for years to achieve.
Melissa tells us that Joe loves to see her in the color red, so she "[buys] every red dress or shirt I see." It seems like it would actually be incredibly debilitating to live life this way -- I picture Melissa Gorga, quietly sobbing in the checkout line at Kohl's, arms straining under a towering pile of red shirts, red dresses -- red, red, red. She pulls a cart behind her, overflowing with shades of crimson, scarlet, and maroon, as she frantically swipes credit card after credit card, desperate to claim her all-important bounty.
Moving on to beauty tips, Melissa cheerily informs us that "the saltiness in sweat is an all-natural scrub." We next learn that Joe doesn't wear a wedding band, because he has "really chubby fingers" and "thinks that a ring is the most uncomfortable thing ever." Also that he is a "dedicated manscaper." And is "into feet." After reading this, I'm pretty sure it will be at least 100 dates until I have any desire to have sex again.
The next chapter introduces us to the couple's experience with reality television, beginning with their recruitment for Real Housewives of New Jersey:
For the record, Joe and I never called a producer. They found us. If it had been the other way around, we probably wouldn't be on the show. If we'd shown any interest, we would have been ignored. Bravo's style is, the more you want to be on the show, the less likely you are to get on it. Like a house cat, if you grab at him, he'll run under the bed. But if you sit and wait for him to come to you, he'll jump right into your lap.To illustrate the full depth of emotions experienced by a thoughtful, sensitive man in the cutthroat reality television industry, Joe Gorga returns and shares with us the toll this upheaval took on him. Per Melissa's advice earlier in the book, I suggest you read it in your best impression of his voice to get the full effect. .
I swear, if I ever get a cat, I'll name him Bravo. Although I'm deathly allergic to cats, so that may be a problem!
I'm a simple guy. I go to work every day. We were married six years before we got on the show. I have a wife that doesn’t leave my side. We love to be together. She's my best friend. Every night, I come home. She's in the kitchen looking cute, in those tight pants I love, cooking my favorite food. It was my dream life. I was used to that.Melissa goes on to remark that "the spotlight has actually made me more humble and vulnerable." And perhaps this is why the less-than-scrupulous have always tried to take advantage of her -- "'Film at my store!' 'Plug in my business!'" But Melissa struggles on, and is soon offered the chance to fly out to California to shoot a magazine cover. Joe's response? "No. You can't just fly around whenever you want." You may find this attitude controlling or demeaning, but you would be underestimating the eternal wisdom of the Gorganizer himself:
And then it started to change. I'm not going to lie. It took some time to get used to. I remember one time when Melissa told me that she would be out doing press for the show. When I came home, walked into the kitchen, and saw the babysitter holding little Joey, I felt a pit in my stomach. I knew who she was -- I'd hired her -- but I wasn't ready for the reality of not seeing my wife when I walked in the door. In that half second between what I was expecting and what I was actually seeing, I got a little nervous of what was to come.
When Melissa got home, I told her that I was bummed out. I didn't want to make her feel bad, but it was all starting to hit me. She apologized, but there was nothing be sorry for. She did nothing wrong.
After many honest and sometimes hard conversations later, I figured it out. Joe was worried. He was worried that if I was flying to L.A. to do a photo shoot on a Wednesday, then what was going to be on my schedule for a Thursday? How far would this go?This is definitely a compelling argument, and not the literal definition of the slippery slope fallacy.
Melissa effortlessly manages to slip in the fact that this episode occurred "around the same time my first single, 'On Display,' hit the iTunes charts." For a rigorous scholarly analysis of this lyrical masterpiece, I highly suggest you listen to the first segment of this week's episode of So Bad It's Good with Ryan Bailey. The themes of Melissa's work can be quite dense and emotionally weighty, so it's in your best interest to have an experienced guide of Ryan's caliber to help walk you through her masterful prose.
Rest assured, however, not all of Melissa's songs are so enigmatic:
My most popular song on iTunes -- "How Many Times" -- was written for and about Joe. It rose all the way up to number four on the charts. The reason it was such a hit? Fans had an emotional reaction to a song about my love for Joe.The chanteuse goes on to share advice about how to keep stage fright at bay.
You know that old saying, "To get over stage fright, picture the audience in their underwear?" Well, I just picture Joe Gorga. I will leave the rest of the details to you.I can only pray those details are ones like "fully clothed" and "giving an enthusiastic thumbs-up sign." And really, it's not like Joe is a mind-in-the-gutter kind of man. He stops by to share with us that, "A lot of my friends go to a strip club every night after work. I'm not that guy." As a matter of fact, as Melissa continues, "with one exception (guess), he never loves me more that [sic] when I'm making pasta and meatballs for our friends and family." She also suggests spicing up a party with "a few unexpected twists and turns." Past favorites of the Gorgonauts have included "an inflatable bull-riding ring" and "a whipped cream fight."
When our guests are doubled over laughing, and saying, "Only at the Gorgas!" I know we're a hit.Above all, it's crucial to spare no expense when "the happiness of your family and friends is at stake." As Melissa reminds us,
Whatever you put out there in life or on the table -- kindness, love, and quality meats -- it flows right back to you.I'm not sure if a flowing river of quality meats is the exact metaphor that I would have chosen to express this particular sentiment, but far be it from me to criticize someone so steeped in the romantic arts! What I am more than happy to criticize, however, is Melissa's subsequent revelation that she and Joe spend parties "sending sexy telepathic messages about what we'll do when everyone leaves." She explains, "parties are like extended foreplay for us." This certainly puts a different spin on the "quality meat" references, to say the least. However, I'm blissfully relieved to see "shower before bed" on the list of sexy tips for men that closes out this chapter.
Melissa introduces the next section of the book by telling us, "It took me a while to get 'Gorga-approved.'" As part of the grueling authorization process, her mother-in-law would berate her cooking "for hours at a time " while Joe helpfully offered up "some constructive criticism. I'm pretty sure this is more or less the plot of the second Hunger Games movie, but please correct me if I'm mistaken. The chapter ends with a helpful reminder not to text at the dinner table -- "I don't care what carrier you have."
In the book's next section, Melissa shares her perspective on her and Joe's relationship:
No marriage is perfect. No man is perfect. Joe has his flaws, for sure. I'm not perfect either. The flaws in ourselves and in our marriage cause us to fight. When we do, it's loud. He's a passionate man, and I'm a passionate woman. Our fights go from 0 to 90 in about 2.5 seconds.And no, she's not just being a hysterical, overdramatic woman (this time!). Joe confirms:
I lose it. It's true. But I'd never let loose if I didn't believe Melissa understood me, and can handle me. It's another version of trust.Exactly like how I only steal from people when I know they have enough money available for me to take. It's another version of trust. Melissa informs us that, when Joe is mad, "the only defuser that makes a dent in his sulk is to ask, 'Don’t you love me?'" I presume she says this while affecting the accent of a young Blanche DuBois and ostentatiously collapsing across the nearest piece of furniture. At this point in the book, I am caught off guard by the tragic revelation that Joe Gorga suffers from a serious medical condition that puts his life and livelihood at risk. As Melissa explains:
That's when he told me about his severe poison condition. He described the need to expel his junk like it's a real physical crisis. We all know that Blue Ball Syndrome does not appear in any medical textbooks. But for Joe, not having enough sex is detrimental to his overall health. He genuinely can't function otherwise. He gets fidgety and stressed, distracted and irritable.But Joe isn't suffering alone. This devastating malady is indiscriminate, affecting innocent men around the globe and wreaking its ruinous consequences. As Melissa solemnly intones, "The general consensus though is that if men don't get their minimum of sexual activity (on a sliding scale), they go crazy." Or, as Joe puts it, "Refusing to initiate is a Top Three reason men cheat."
We next learn about some of the expectations Joe has for Melissa in the context of their relationship. For example:
He wanted to make sure that I knew, for example, if I ran out to CVS and he came home from work to an empty house, he didn't like it.I can only assume that this is because Joe Gorga is an infant child who lacks an understanding of object permanence, and becomes so alarmed at the prospect of an empty house because he is genuinely convinced that Melissa has disappeared off the face of the planet, never to return again. Plus, as she reflects, "In a way, it's flattering that he wants me all the time." Just like how kidnapping victims should be flattered that someone cared about them enough to take them for their very own!
Of her initial response to these rules and regulations, Melissa recalls,
My independent side wondered if he was trying to control me. I tried not to be too analytical about it.This is the correct response, because women are wildly irrational harpies who lack the intellectual wherewithal to contextualize Complicated Man Things.
Before I introduce the next anecdote, take a second to imagine with me. You are writing a book about your fabulous, indescribably fulfilling relationship with the love of your life, thrilled at the chance to share your hard-earned wisdom with the eager audience. But what particular episodes truly capture the spirit of a marriage for the ages? How can one convey the innumerable intricacies of a decades-long relationship in something as hollow as the written word? After weeks of dogged pondering, you finally light upon the perfect sketch to illustrate your loving husband's tender devotion:
My girlfriend called me up one day from her doctor's office. She was getting her lips done. "Come over and try it!" she said. I was curious. I went over there. I didn't want huge big fake lips, so I just got a little done.Sorry kids, Daddy's not talking to Mommy this week because she made herself look like a rancid Beverly Hills slut. That's love -- Italian Style.
Mistake! Just that little bit made me look like a duck. I hadn't told Joe what I was up to. That night when I was cooking dinner, I kept my back to him so he wouldn't see my face. He noticed, of course. And he was NOT happy. "You look disgusting! You're like one of those freaks from Beverly Hills! What are you doing to yourself? What are you turning into?" He started slamming the plastic tabletop on the high chair (obviously, the baby wasn't in it), and it cracked.
Fat lips tell no lies: I hated the look, too.
He didn't talk to me for two weeks, about as long as the bruising lasted. When they went back down to normal size, I was relieved, not only for his sake. Puffy lips just didn’t feel right for me. Lesson learned. I never got them done again.
Melissa tells us that she "[insists] on hiring all of Joe's secretaries at work" -- "If the candidate is over sixty, with an eye patch, a hump and a bald spot, she's hired." I can picture the Help Wanted ad now!
But just because your husband has mercilessly established an immovable network of pointless and degrading rules that he forces you to obey for the sole purpose of making his life as pleasant and free from consequences as possible doesn’t give you an excuse to let yourself get overwhelmed, No,
When things get hot, we remind each other that it's all noise. It's a sandstorm. But in the middle of the storm, with the sand swirling around us, we stand together solid as a rock.This is the alternate music video to Darude's Sandstorm that I never knew I always needed.
We next learn that, "unwavering eye contact -- really staring -- is the test to a couple's comfort level." I've applied this principle in my own life to great positive effect, although my boyfriend was admittedly a bit concerned to wake up with my face inches in front of his own, my eyes strained open to ensure that I start my day with the necessary amount of close corneal contact.
An Odd Couple for the ages, Melissa and Joe Gorga let us know that they deal with conflicts in different ways. Joe "is the Incredible Sulk," while Melissa informs us,
I'm witty to get my way. I'm sarcastic. If he yells and I say, "That's fascinating, Joe," or "You're a real tough guy," he gets crazy.I'm truly awed by the piquancy of these verbal barbs! I can only hope to channel Melissa's sarcastic wit in my own writing from here on out.
We learn that "men's attitudes are determined by their work and finances." In contrast to women's attitudes, which I assume are determined by how many dishes they have to wash and whether or not there's a coupon for their favorite brand of laundry detergent in today's circular. For this reason, Joe handles the finances for the Gorga household, and this system works exceptionally well. As Joe himself reports, "Our only glitch was when she questioned me about it."
In a heartfelt tribute to the man who's never left her side, Melissa pronounces: "He never wavered, never stopped busting ass." She's also generous enough to include several financial tips to ensure that the reader's marriage has an equally solid fiscal foundation. For example,
Live as well as you can: Buy the best car you can afford. Stretch by buying a house in the nicest neighborhood with the best schools.I've been grappling for a few weeks now over whether or not to pull the trigger on a $400 Lego Hogwarts, and Melissa has just, however inadvertently, given me the green light. Thanks, girl!!
In the next section of the book, Melissa walks us through the timeline of her singing career, with a heavy emphasis towards the staggering toll her newfound success has had on her man at home. As she informs us, "Joe is empathetic. What hurts me destroys him." And ultimately, "having hit songs will not keep me warm at night. Joe will."
Melissa lets us know that "women are multitaskers" and that "cleaning can be soul-nurturing and creatively productive, if you use it that way." She continues to say that, "anyone can fold laundry on automatic pilot." I have a sneaking suspicion that by anyone, she really means women. After all, everyone knows that if a man folds laundry, he automatically turns gay. It's just science!
Again, you may be tempted to dismiss Joe as a chauvinist, an outdated relic of worldviews past. But that's why you're not the one writing a book about love and marriage, silly!
For Joe, it all comes down to respect. He was offended that I'd want him to waste even twenty minutes of our time together on a chore. Actually, Joe doesn’t want me to do chores either when he got home in the evenings.And after all -- "Do you really want to see your man on his knees next to a bucket of sudsy water?" Real men should avoid kneeling at all costs, because kneeling is one step away from giving a blow job, and giving blow jobs is bad and gay and definitely not "Italian style." Again,
A man doing the dishes does not turn me on. Talk about crushing the fantasy of his being the big, bad protector.And this isn't just Melissa making stuff up! She's got science on her side.
Anyway, a study came out recently that pretty much confirmed my belief.As she elaborates: "When gender roles are confused, sexual roles are, too. If he's at the sink and then changing diapers, then who throws who down in the bed?" This makes absolutely no sense to me, from which can only assume I must have been doing sex wrong for all of the these years. As soon as I finish reading, I'm going to excuse myself to do some frantic and slightly embarrassed googling to clear up my confusion.
Melissa and Joe don't just uphold traditional gender roles in the bedroom, but allow this perspective to perfuse every aspect of their life together. As an example, "he thinks I'm the worst driver in the world."
Melissa tells us that
Joe and I are the King and Queen of the house. Antonia is our princess, and Gino and Joey are the little princes.I can't help but notice that "princess" and "princes" are not capitalized like "King" and "Queen," although I'd be lying if I tried to pretend I had any clue what to make of this cryptic stylization. Joe writes a particularly meandering "Joement" in this chapter, in which he describes his response to the birth of his first son
"That's my boy!" I put a Giants jersey on him right away.We should all be incredibly appreciative of Joe's quick thinking here. Without a Giants jersey, how would anyone would have known the baby was a boy? I can only imagine the horrors that could have ensued. Joe goes on to share his parenting philosophy with the reader:
My sons can have a separate entrance to the house. They can come and go as they wish. They can have anyone up to their room. I don't care. But I want to keep Antonia my little girl.As he continues,
My wish is for her to have one boyfriend for a very long time. They have a mutual breakup with no bad feelings. Then she marries the next guy. That would be ideal.It is totally normal and by no means invasive for a father to write what essentially amounts to elaborate mental fan-fiction about his young daughter's future romantic and sexual exploits. Joe signs off with the cheeky quip, "I know it's a double standard. But I just don't care!"
Melissa shares the inscrutable observation that when she and Joe first met, "he was like Mussolini." What's more, "it's no secret that Joe is a sexually voracious man and a throw-down lover." It's this experience that empowers Melissa to share with us the tips and tricks she uses to make sure that her husband never goes unsated. For example,
Thick luxurious carpeting can turn the barefoot walk from the bathroom to the bed into an erotic journey.Joe stops by to proclaim the (patently and demonstrably false) claim that "A man will never go outside his marriage for sex unless he's not getting it at home," before Melissa instructs us that "sex is a marital lubricant." As she lets us know,
I'm proud of how I look, and not embarrassed to say so. Caring about your looks is superficial only if you do it for shallow reasons.Reminding us that "being his sex object takes effort," Melissa commands the reader to "treat your body like a sex machine." If you let your physical appearance slip, "he might not complain, but that doesn’t mean he's not thinking Ewwww."
The next chapter boasts the vaguely terrifying title, "our version of foreplay." Melissa reiterates a message from earlier in the book, remarking that "Joe and I keep up the romance with extended foreplay." She also provides a helpful analogy to help delicate feminine minds comprehend the irrepressible male sex drive.
Most men are like pilot lights, always ready to burst into flame. They just need a blast of romantic fuel.Melissa also tells us that Joe has "a tiny foot fetish." While I'm sure she means to imply that Joe's foot fetish is of a manageable intensity, I would much rather interpret this sentence to mean that Joe Gorga has a raging passion for full-grown women with teeny-tiny baby-doll feet.
Chapter fifteen is titled, "Full-Body Gorgasm." And if the physical reaction I had to being forced to read the word 'gorgasm" is any indication of its definition, it's more or less the physiological inverse of a regular orgasm. Displaying a characteristically Housewives ability to completely ignore the canonical definitions of fairly common terms, Melissa explains,
The traditional definition of "open marriage," is when a husband and wife allow each other to have sex with other people. Our version of "open marriage" means open communication, especially about sex.She remarks that, "I know so much about how Joe's mind works," and I can't say that I'm even the slightest bit jealous. However, the man himself is kind enough to deign to let us in on some of these inner machinations:
One of the ways my wife shows me respect is by making mad passionate love to me. When I knock on the door, it opens!But don't think this means your sex life has to be boring and staid! Far from it:
When I gained weight during pregnancy, Joe was totally into it. He said it was like having sex with a different woman. He loves variety.This isn't the only way you can incorporate variety into your sexual repertoire. As another suggestion, Melissa suggests that you "be loud on Monday and whisper on Wednesday." Sing on Tuesday, mime on Saturdays. Also Joe swings by again to remind us that "the little things, touching toes, matter." Sure, just a very minor foot fetish.
Perhaps it's my fault for rushing so frantically through the sexual miasma of the previous chapters, but I'm surprised when I turn the page and am abruptly met with the book's parting words. Thankfully, trying to make sense of what lines like this actually mean will take up, I anticipate, a large part of the rest of my day.
Need is only a four-letter word if you don't accept it as another one: F-A-C-T.At the back of the book, an exceptionally thorough index provides page numbers for a host of scintillating topics you will undoubtedly want to go back and reference. I'm sure that, generations from now, scholars will run their impatient fingers down this very list, thirsting for the lost vault of knowledge that only Melissa Gorga can provide.
children sex challenges, parental, due to, 225-26See my comment below for more info on my future plans!
Gorga, Melissa Marco, 48, 89 121, 229, 234 driving and, 179 stage fright by, 117-19
Nars products, 83, 85
Ralph (friend of Joe), 6
respect, 2, 4-5, 45, 52, 65 as cornerstone of marriage, 7-8, 9, 11-12, 186 in lovemaking, 223
sex, 217 faking orgasms in, 225 as marital glue, 11-12, 148-50, 195-96, 227-28 variety's importance in, 224
Short Hills Hilton, New Jersey, 53-57
Thoreau, Henry David, 109
[British Comics] Vintage Hobbydrama: The Sevenpenny Nightmare
Background: Before I begin, I’ll need to fill in a bit about the world of British Comics. Traditionally, British Comics were released as weekly anthology books containing a number of serial stories written around a central theme. For example, Battle had war stories, Tiger had sports stories, Misty had horror stories for girls and Speed had, um, stories about going fast, really. When a comic’s sales fell too low, it would be cancelled and merged into another book. The resultant book would then carry the two titles and a few of the stories from the ‘losing’ book in an effort to combine the readership of the two. For example, the 1980s relaunch of Eagle was variously known as Eagle with Scream, Eagle with Tiger, Eagle with Battle, Eagle with MASK and Eagle with Wildcat as it absorbed other books.
This story also requires some degree of background on the environment in which it occurred. By thee mid-1970s, the British Comic Industry was in a crisis. Sales were plummeting across the board, with titles being cancelled and merged frequently. One of the two major companies was IPC Magazines, who are the focus of this story. IPC had its own internal problems; its boy’s department was firmly entrenched in a safe, conservative mindset and was producing very old fashioned books that weren’t appealing to new readers. The department was headed up by Matt Le Grand, who had been in the job since the 1950s and in many ways hadn’t oved on from there. Many of the other staff came from a similar period, with some having been at the company since the 1930s.
The situation got so bad that in 1975, IPC Editor John Sanders launched a plan to create a new comic. Battle was created by Pat Mills and John Wagner and was developed in secret under Sanders’ supervision. He then went over Le Grand’s head to sell the comic directly to IPC’s management. Battle was an immediate hit and while Le Grand was furious, there was nothing he could do about it. To make matters worse, Battle quickly absorbed Valiant, which had been a bastion of Le Grand’s style of safe, conservative storytelling.
With the success of Battle, Sanders sought to capitalise. Mills was tasked with creating another book, to be edited by Geoff Kemp. The two were directed to make the book as hard hitting, up-to-date and contemporary as possible, and to feature gritty and realistic characters. The end result was Action, launched on February 14th, 1976. The launch was supported by an impressive advertising campaign which included not just ads in other IPC magazines but even TV ads during children’s timeslots. It also was an immediate success, with the first issue selling out. And even after the inevitable drop-off in sales after the first issue, the book quickly became IPC’s best selling-comic by a not inconsiderable margin (With its older sibling Battle in second).
Some of the stories featured in Action included (but were by no means limited to):
- Hook Jaw: probably the most famous Action story, Hook Jaw was about a giant shark that bloodily killed people, supposedly in the name of being an environmental parable.
- Dredger: About a near-mute British secret agent who was more Dirty Harry then James Bond, Dredger would do whatever it took to fulfil his mission.
- Death Game 1999: Set in a dystopian future, the story featured a group of death-row inmates forced to compete in a brutal gladiatorial sport.
- Hellman of Hammer Force: A war story told from the point of view of a German tank commander in the Second World War.
- Look Out For Lefty: A sports story that focused as much on football hooliganisim and violence as it did the game
- Kids Rule OK: set in the near-future after a disease has wiped out most adults, the story featured roving gangs of violent youth at war with each other.
In what might have been the most insane moment of anti-fandom, self-appointed moral guardians would go into newsagents that were carrying Action and place warning stickers on the cover, advising parents not to buy the book.
All of this controversy seemed to serve only to increase interest in Action and sales continued to be strong. Action quickly earned the nickname the Sevenpenny Nightmare, a title that not only stuck, but seemed to be worn as a badge of pride. However, there was growing resistance within IPC to the comic, headed up by Le Grand. He managed to get Kemp replaced as editor of Action with John Smith who was told to bring the comic into line. Whole panels were cut out of stories in order to reduce the violent content, leaving the comic with a lot of odd half-pages.
Matters came to a head on in September 1976 when Sanders appeared on the BBC’s Nationwide program to talk about the comic. What hat been intended as a discussion of the comic turned into an attack on the book and its content, in essence highlighting the ‘reprehensible violence’ of its stories, leaving Sanders flat-footed. And as the show was airing, members of the IPC staff had gathered to watch, with Le Grand among them.
Then on September the 21st, the Federation of Retail Newsagents met with IPC to protest the content of the comic. Rather then attempt to defend the book, the company accepted their complaints without protest. WH Smith reportedly threated to drop IPC’s entire line if Action wasn’t cancelled.
And then at the end of the month, Action was debated in the house of Commons. Yes, the controversy over a comic book’s content had reached the stage where politicians were legitimately debating its merits.
All of this gave Le Grand the ammunition he needed to go to IPC’s management and take control of the comic. Issue 37, scheduled for release the week of October 23rd, was pulled from the presses. (What happened after that is worthy of its own Hobbydrama post). John Smith was fired, replaced as editor by Sid Bicknell, a safe, old-school editor and ally of Le Grand’s. New editorial guidelines were bought in to not so much tone down the violence and content, but to completely neuter it.
Action returned to shelves on the 4th of December, but no explanation was given as to what had happened to the book. However, it was a shell of its former self, with drastic changes taking place across all of its stories. Death Game 1999 was now reamed to the harmless-sounding Spinball. The football violence was completely dropped from Look out for Lefty, turning it into a bland sports story (and Lefty’s violent skinhead girlfriend suddenly grew her hair and became a lot more girly). Hook Jaw was taken off the centre colour pages to remove the hint of blood; furthermore, the shark now only killed ‘bad’ people. Kids Rule OK came to a very sudden an forced ending. And so on.
Behind the scenes there was a lot of further restrictions were put in place. Artwork masters were cut up and re-edited in order to remove any hints of blood or violence from future reprints. Bicknell went a step further, and had the original art for Kids Rule OK destroyed in order to ensure that the story would never see the light of day again.
As can be expected, sales of the new and improved Action plummeted. The book would limp on for another eleven months with old stories (such as Hook Jaw) being cancelled, while new strips were introduced to the comic that were safe and harmless (including one that had been sitting unused for the better part of a decade). Action was merged into Battle in November 14th, 1977. Hellman, Dredger and, oddly, Spinball (now re-retiled as The Spinball Wars) all survived the merger and would linger in Battle for some time to come.
Even then, the fallout would continue within IPC for years afterwards. Every book, every strip and every panel would be subject to intense scrutiny before going to press, a process that frustrated many creators within the company, especially Mills. A lot of promising creators left the company during this time, while others were sidelined or buried in dead-end jobs. Clashes with editors were commonplace, with some titles becoming especially problematic like the newly-launched 2000 AD. It would be another five years before anyone would be able to try anything really different, and that was more a result of generational change within the company itself than anything else.
A Few KFAD Character Ideas
Character(s): Bartz Klauser from Final Fantasy V (Dancer Outfit)
Bio: With ribbon equipped and tuxedo wide open, Butz Klauser is ready to tear up the dance floor. With his signature dance moves — the Mystery Waltz, the Jitterbug Duet, and, uh, twerking — along with rips from his flagship RPG series, he’ll be set to tango his way to the top of the tournament. Besides, with three princesses and a king as his comrades, maybe it’s time he got the royal treatment!
- Rips from the Final Fantasy series and spinoffs
- Rips from games and songs composed by Nobuo Eumatsu (Granblue, The Last Story, Super Smash Bros. Brawl Main Theme)
- Rips related to butts (Anaconda, Shake Your Groove Thing, Baby Got Back)
Mad Cuz Bad
Character(s): Madeline and Badeline from Celeste
Bio: At first, Madeline didn’t see the appeal on joining the King For Another Day Tournament; a crown seemed like an underwhelming prize, and a day dedicated entirely to her was pretty overkill. But with a push from Badeline, the more outgoing (and at times troublesome) Part of Her, she’s decided to give it a try. It couldn’t be harder than any C-Side, right? And who knows? Maybe once all of this is over, she could make a few new friends!
- Rips from Celeste
- Rips from Indie platforming games released between 2011 and 2020 (Shovel Knight, A Hat in Time, BattleBlock Theater)
- Rips related to mountains (The Climb, Tal Tal Heights, Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy)
Character(s): Ryu from Street Fighter: The Movie
Bio: The World Warrior is finally here, as portrayed by world-renowned actor and Maple Award nominee Byron Mann. While he can’t launch fireballs from his hands or travel yards with a single spinning kick without his crew behind him, he’s a self-proclaimed Tai Chi expert, and can rock a karate gi and headband like no one else. Still, there’s more power behind his punches than one would expect; underestimate this star, and he’ll make sure you see some more!
- Rips from the Street Fighter series
- Rips from fighting games (Tekken, Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat)
- Rips from boxing, wrestling, and other fighting movies (Rocky, Real Steel, Fight Club)
Rip and Care
Character(s): Doomguy from Doom and Isabelle from Animal Crossing
Bio: Isabelle and Doomguy are teaming up for King For Another Day! After a chance meeting at a GameStop last March, these two became fast friends, and decided to spend their few vacation days at this tournament together. They’re well-equipped for just about any fight, with Doomguy’s arsenal of gardening tools on hand and Isabelle’s journal on demonic anatomy and decapitation methods at her disposal. One thing’s for sure: you’d better respect this duo, or there’ll be hell — and bells — to pay.
- Rips from the Animal Crossing and Doom series
- Rips featuring hell or demons (Undertaker, Diablo, Shadows of the Damned)
- Rips from social simulation games (The Sims, Stardew Valley, Tomodachi Life)
Character(s): Kratos from God of War (2018)
Bio: After destroying the Greek Pantheon and traveling across the Nine Realms, the God of War himself has arrived! Originally attending to impress his son and prove that he’s not past his prime, Kratos is now fighting to destroy the seemingly godly powers behind the tournament. With his Blades of Chaos and an abundance of terrible jokes at the ready, he’ll be sure to slay anyone in his wake.
- Rips from the God of War series
- Rips from hack-and-slash video games (Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, No More Heroes)
- Rips related to Greek and Norse mythology (Kid Icarus, Glory of Heracles, Jotun)
- Rips featuring the word “boy” (Boys are Back in Town, Starboy, any music by Fallout Boy)
Character(s): Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden
Bio: Stepping into the ring is gaming’s original ninja and master of stealth himself, Ryu Hayabusa! Given that he hasn’t had his own game in almost 30 years, his views on proper video game difficulty are a bit dated, to say the least. Regardless, this early gaming icon is ready to show the other competitors what a real challenge looks like; bloated health bars and a bunch of slow projectiles have nothing on unfair enemy respawns, endless bottomless pits, and constant one-hit kill attacks. Rest assured, just like his games, he’ll be tough to beat.
- Rips from the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy
- Rips from Koei Tecmo games (Warriors series, Fatal Frame, Monster Rancher series)
- Rips related to ninjas (Strider series, The Messenger, Naruto)
- Rips from games that are notoriously difficult (Dark Souls, Ghosts ’n Goblins) or physically impossible to complete (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on DOS)
Character(s): Falco Lombardi from Super Smash Bros. Melee
Bio: From the hit party platformer Super Smash Bros. Melee, Falco Lombardi arrives on the scene! This space ace is constantly outshined by his brother in arms Fox McCloud on both the battlefield and Final Destination, so he’s come here to prove that he’s more than just a semi-clone. With his high-flying prowess in a cockpit and his even taller ego, he knows winning this tournament will be a cinch, so you’d better keep your hands off his crown.
- Rips from the Star Fox series
- Rips from Super Smash Bros. Melee
- Rips unique to video game clones, remasters, and remakes (Kirby’s Block Ball, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Another Metroid 2 Remake)
- Rips related to birds (Bird is the Word, Hatoful Boyfriend, Untitled Goose Game)
Night of Lightning
Character(s): Takumi Fujiwara from Initial D and Lightning McQueen from Cars
Bio: Kachow! After giving up first place at the Piston Cup, Lightning McQueen is eager for another chance to take home the crown. But he can’t do it alone; luckily, he has the help of Takumi Fujiwara, one of the best drivers Japan has to offer. With McQueen’s racing experience and Takumi’s magic behind a wheel, this daredevil duo is ready to stand at the top.
- Rips from Pixar movies (Wall-E, Toy Story, Coco)
- Rips from Initial D (Gas Gas Gas, Running in the 90’s, The Top)
- Rips related to racing games, movies, and shows (F-Zero, Fast and the Furious, Speed Racer)
- Rips featuring eurobeat music
Strontium Ratio Variation in Marine Carbonates
In 1948, geologist F. E. Wickman predicted that the decay of 87Rb (a rubidium isotope) in the earth’s crust and mantle would be reflected in a related increase in the 87 S^ 86Sr (two strontium isotopes) in seawater as well as in strontium-bearing marine precipitates.Now of course geologists cannot go back in time to test the sea water (shout out to my boy Paul Price who vehemently argues we can’t use the past to test anything, and also argues a single geological formation falsifies long ages, pick one dude) so they had to use marine precipitates (calcite) instead. When precipitation occurs the ratio between 87 S^ 86Sr in the calcite is the same in the both the water and precipitate, so marine carbonates are a near perfect proxy for 87 S^ 86Sr in sea water assuming the rocks have not undergone alteration post diagenesis. Alteration (specifically recrystallization) results in a lower SCa ratio in the recrystallization calcite compared to biogenic calcite, and is detectable using spectrometry. Unfortunately for Wickman analysis of 87 S^ 86Sr doesn’t show an increase over the past ~550ma, but an erratic line appears as the ratio is graphed.
ICR asks five questions about the studies it pulled the graphs from.
How is it possible for the relative natural abundance of 87Sr and 86Sr to be virtually the same today as it was 560 million years ago? If the only source of 87Sr in the crust and thus in seawater is the decay of 87Rb, shouldn’t the ratio of 87S86Sr have steadily increased over a half-billion-year-plus timespan?This assumes creationists misunderstanding of geological uniformitarianism, that is everything happens slowly. Not only does this misconstrue Lyell’s work, it also doesn’t reflect modern geology. We know that rates and processes change over time.
The primary control on the 87 S^ 86Sr ratio is the amount of continental runoff. Hydrothermal input from mid-Atlantic ridges and dissolution of sea floor carbonates also play a roll, however the latter is primarily a buffer and realistically is not a major factor. There are three primary models, glacial, uplift, and hydrothermal that attempt to explain the observed curve (let’s be honest, squiggle). I’ll keep things short and sweet, but if you’re interested Mead, G. A., & Hodell, D. A. 1995 has a good breakdown of the models.
Glacial: increased runoff due to glaciers will increase the strontium ratio, however this is problematic as rock with a high Sr ratio is more competent (harder to erode) and metamorphism would be required to sufficiently increase the Sr ratio.
Uplift: The Himalayan mountain system contains both the metamorphism and mass wasting required to increase the SR ratio; however, uplift began too late to be the only factor.
Hydrothermal: At mid oceanic ridges the strontium ratio in sea water matches MORBs (mid ocean ridge basalts). MORBs have a lower ratio than sea water so increased hydrothermal activity will depress the ratio. Currently the model doesn’t mirror the squiggle, but as of 1995 (Probably older than half the people reading this, but it’s enough to debunk the article) only regional studies have been done, more global work is needed. I’m not up to date with the literature so maybe this has been resolved, if not low oil prices will limit the ability to collect new samples.
So, we can see there are hypothesis of why squiggle exists, however more work is clearly needed.
There is no good reason to expect the ratio in the ocean to match the ratio in rocks.
Why do Burke and his co-authors throw away similar-aged samples with low strontium content or high insoluble content in order to obtain tighter clustering of the 87S86Sr ratio?From Burke’s paper:
We have found empirically that tighter clustering of 87 S 86 Sr values among coeval Mesozoic and Paleozoic samples is achieved when samples with low strontium contents or high insoluble residues are eliminated. Thus, our Mesozoic and Paleozoic data are limited to samples that contain at least 200 ppm Sr and not more than 10% dilute acid insoluble residue… The probable explanation for the improved clustering is that the restriction decreases the fraction of samples that have not retained the marine 87 S 86 Sr value characteristic of their time of deposition. (my emphasis)They wanted their graph to be tighter, and the best way to achieve this was to limit the number of diagenetically altered samples in their dataset which would not have reflected the original marine isotopic signature. Notably the author of the creationist paper didn’t accuse the authors of the more recent work of messing with the data, and their graphs showed the same trend.
I assume that’s a rhetorical question? The resident time of 87 Sr / 86 Sr in the ocean is 2.5 million years, and there are good controls of the ages of the rocks the samples came from. More on that later.
- Do the dramatic gyrations of the 87 Sr / 86 Sr ratio better fit catastrophic mixing over a much shorter time interval?
The maximum value that the seawater 87 Sr / 86 ratio can reach in this model is 0.720 if contributions only come from sialic (crustal) rocks. Yet, values of 0.748 and 0.930 are observed in modern isochrons constructed from crustal rocks.8,9Austin and Snelling should publish their work in peer reviewed journals rather than ICR if that’s the case. After all, Snelling doesn’t have the best track record regarding isochrons. I’m sure the scientific community would be interested to know if there’s actually a problem here.
Finally, stratigraphic dating was apparently used to establish the time frame during which each group of marine deposits was set down. How do we know that a certain rock layer was laid down 100 million years ago? We’re told we “know” how old the rock layer is because of the fossils it contains, and we “know” how old the marine deposits are because of the rock layer they occur in. This is circular reasoning at its clearest and not acceptable science.Nicholas Steno (1638-1686) would like a world with the author of the paper. The primary method of dating the rocks used in this study were magnetostratigraphy and biostratigraphy (forams). I discussed the horseshit argument of circular reasoning here. Everything in the post is first year geology, this is clear give away nothing in the article should be taken seriously. Once again, ICR “peer review” lets us down. Don’t try to pass that off as “it’s a layman article bro”; this will be reaching a much wider audience of uninformed people, it’s arguably more important to be as accurate as possible.
The creationist article ends by repeating that the squiggle could be formed by catastrophic mixing of waters. Of course, they don’t provide an evidence or models explaining how cataclysmic event could happen. Finally, they say that prior to 560ma the Sr curve was always increasing without providing a source for the claim.
We have a squiggly 87 Sr / 86 line between 560ma and today, this is a fact. The question is HOW. geologist have some good ideas, but more work is needed. Creationists are lying and saying a cataclysmic event is needed to explain the idea. Yet they refuse to give a mechanism (how) that cataclysm occurred. Thanks for the Biblical fiction Cupps, I'd file this along side the Expanse, but it's not worth the shelf space.
Saggy, I’m certainly not suggesting geologists fully understand the controls on the Sr ratio, but this article is nothing more than questions the author can find with google and empty assertions. This seems to be a common theme in creationists papers. Let me know when you want to debate geology on discord or zoom, we don't have to do it on reddit.
inb4 “lol nice encyclopedia, if you have to refute me that just means I’m right.”
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