I think I have single-handedly figured out why kids are bringing guns to school, guns to restaurants, guns to gun shows, and guns to the buffet table. I think I have solved the whole "youth violence" crisis. The answer is clear: all the toys being released these days are pure crap.

When you were a kid, what was the only thing that kept you from going out, lighting your dog on fire with some matches you stole from a restaurant, and tossing rocks through Police station windows? What was the only factor that prevented you from escalating your petty vandalism into a full-fledged orgy of wanton violence and destruction? Your toys. Most of the time that I spent trapped in my childhood revolved around me arming my GI Joes, placing them in strategical positions through the bushes, sidewalk, and patio, then throwing a gigantic log at them while shouting "INCOMING!!!" As a kid, I wasn't fortunate enough to own any of the Cobra badguys, so I had to use a piece of wood that I pretended was some nefarious Cobra deathtrap which their sinister engineers had rigged up. My friends, who not only had all the Cobras but also had the Juggernauts AND those two homosexual twins with the scars on their faces, would often laugh and tease me because of my Cobra log. I always had the last laugh though, usually between the point when the Cobra log connected with their face and when they ran home weeping. Those Cobras, always up to their dastardly tricks!

The incident which recently caused my childhood memories to bubble up and fester like a zit containing some kind of combination of chalk and lava was triggered by the UPS man delivering a package to my door yesterday, a package containing various Heavy Metal: FAKK 2 stuff. Robert M. Atkins, the cofounder of Ritual, was kind enough to send me some FAKK 2 related goodies, including a hat which is roughly nine times bigger than my entire head, for repeatedly insulting Levelord and making slanderous remarks against him during their crunch time. I can't imagine what Robert would've given me if I had taken some golf clubs and used them to beat in Levelord's skull. He would've probably sent a new Jaguar.

Included in the package was a Julie Strain "action figure," which came with approximate 154 different items, ranging from "sticks" to "sticks that look like poles." There's also a couple weapons, unidentifiable plastic things, and a little green patch of plastic land. It looks pretty nifty, but there's a slight problem with it: if you even try to play with it, Julie's arms fall right off her body! When I first opened up the package, I tried to place the guns into malformed hands, and they snapped right off! Can you imagine how that would affect the youth of America? According to many popular news media outlets, it would undoubtedly cause them to go out and start breaking other kids' arms off! Then they would start lying, swearing, drinking, and listening to Marylin Manson, who is a particularly unattractive woman if you ask me. There's absolutely no play value in this toy, and was a real letdown. However, since I got it for free, I'm not going to complain that much. Oh yeah, and Robert, if you're reading this, Levelord smells like an open sewer. Now send me a pair of Julie Strain's underwear.

Julie Strain, out of the box. Woo woo, is that the Fun Train I hear in the distance?Notice her lack of functional forearms, a part of the body which is usually critical for most superheroes. Not Julie though!How can an armless woman possibly defend herself from the dreaded and intensely evil "SPAZATRON 3000AD CYBERCAT OF DEATH AND POSSIBLY EVEN WORSE"?She has defeated all odds! Note to cat lovers out there: I forcibly put Julie on my cat's back and he got real angry and ran away after I took the picture. Use the newfound hatred I just generated in you to build a house for some homeless person or something.

Another item which tipped me off to the sad state of children's toys is the following frightening object I discovered at Target last weekend. On the outside it appears to be a smiling, happy Pikachu. However, under closer scrutiny, one quickly realizes that it's not just a happy Pokemon, but it's a drink container... a drink container that dispenses its liquid via a HUGE STRAW RAMMED THROUGH PIKACHU'S CRANIUM. If that wasn't enough, and it certainly was for me, to pour your beverage inside Pikachu you must TWIST OFF HIS TORSO. The whole ordeal is quite terrifying. I mean, here you have Pikachu, who's supposed to be all cute and friendly and cuddly and (all odds considered) most likely won't murder you when you sleep, and they're encouraging kids to dismember him and feed from a tube inserted into his brain? Talk about mixed messages! It's no wonder kids turn to guns, drugs, and "The Iron Chef" these days. If I were a kid, I'd probably start doing heroin too. Not that I'm trying to tell children to go out and start using heroin; that would be ludicrous. They should start with a "gateway" drug like marijuana or acid or Nuprin and work their way up to heroin over time.

Hello Pikachu, welcome to my breakfast area! Notice the "Now You're Cookin'!" potholder on the left. I think they actually quoted Ben Franklin on that.Feel any slight discomfort in your neck area, Pikachu? Perhaps its due to the fact that your head is twisted around 180 degrees, you mutant yellow monster.Pikachu has taken a turn for the worse. For example, his head is no longer connected. On the positive side, the giant plastic straw that was gouged inside his bowels has been removed.I was originally going to Photoshop some snakes leaping out of Pikachu's severed torso, but this was the best picture I found under a search for "snakes." Note the lens flare I added to make the photo look "professional."

Oooh, the pre-Halloween chills and thrills don't look to be ending anytime soon! In fact, I would probably guess that they won't stop until, oh, the day after Halloween or so! Regardless, Jeff K. has finished up his latest cartoon saga, "JEFF K.S HAUNTED SCAREY HALOWEEN HAUNTED THEATAR !!!". Today's episode is the eerie and spooky tale entitled, "TEH HAUNTED GHOT SCARREY OF JOHN ROMEROERO OF DAIEKTIANA TERRAOAR!!!!"

Read it... IF YOU DARE! Muuuuuhahahaha!

Cranky Steve's Haunted Whorehouse has two new map reviews courtesy of American hero Squonkamatic. Today he tackles both a Quake 2 bomb and a Quake 3: Arena stinkhole. Here's some poison in your eye, Joel!

AT A GLANCE: Good fucking GOD... folks we have here a map that can almost compete with "This Map is Good Fun" for the title of most twisted game level ever released. Indeed this map is so bad and so unbelievable that I am suspicious of its origin. Something tells me that a human being actually set out to create the worst possible map ever released, and thanx to alert reader M M "The ULTRAMATRIX DEATHALATOR" has finally made it onto my drive for our discerning attention. M M 's story is that a fellow Battle.net client told him about the map during a Starcraft game, which sounds legitimate enough, but I am very suspicious of the map's genesis none the less. I think the puzzler with this level isn't is it crappy or not; that much is obviously clear probably even to people who don't play Quake. The question is was this abomination made deliberately to be unleashed upon the crap-map community as a joke, or is it the tragic result of good intentions leading into a morass of insanity? Let's take a look at what we get and see what conclusions can be made.

It's fun on so many levels, none of which I can name offhand at the moment. Read the reviews and attempt to discover some of those levels.

Wow That's Amazing! has a short, helpful guide entitled, "Tips for Life" that may aid you in getting through... uh... life.

BIG K-mart isn't really big. It's the same, they just added one cash register.

Didn't Shakespeare write virtually the same thing? Check it out and decide for yourself.

– Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka (@lowtax)

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