Yes, Virginia, There Is a Cthulhu!

Illustration for article titled Yes, Virginia, There Is a Cthulhu!

Well, the world didn't end last week, but the year's still about to, so let's go ahead and have a Postal Apocalypse Year-End Spectacular (Even Though This Is Only the Fourth Installment)! There's a very special letter from a very special little girl at the end, so I hope you'll stick around for that (and, as always, email your questions to Now, on with your letters!


I Thought We Had Today Off Too


Well, certainly real person with the incredibly subtle name, there are many potential answers to this eloquently asked question.

1) The Mayans never actually thought the world was going to end, but 12/21/12 was merely an end of one of their oddly timed eras.
2) The earth made its saving throw.
3) The Mayans were dyslexic, and we actually have until 12/12/21.
4) You know how people celebrate Jesus' birthday on December 25th but most scholars say he was born in July or something? Same thing, we have six more months.
5) The zombie and robot apocalypses come first.
6) The Mayans didn't all make the end of the world announcement, it was just a particular Mayan named Steve, who was kind of an asshole.
7) God hit snooze on the Doomsday Clock.
8) God, being a Tolkien fan, is waiting to see how the rest of The Hobbit trilogy pans out.
9) Michael Bay is too busy doing pre-production on Transformers 4 to direct the apocalypse.
10) Jell-O Pudding saved us.

Pick up your favorite 1d10 and roll. There's your answer.

Weighty Affairs, Part II

Tons of Fun in Funton:
Dear Postman,
I read your recent explanation of the value of a shit-ton as asked by Henry Lawton. You astutely answered 256 freeze-dried poodles. A single toy poodle weighs roughly 6 to 9 pounds, which roughly equates to a shit-ton to 1536 to 2304 lbs. This seems complete plausible as it would seem a shit-ton falls within a reasonable range of standard tonnage; an American standard ton equates to 2000lbs, a metric ton to ~2204lbs and an imperial ton to 2240lbs. But what differentiates a shit-ton from any of these other standard units of measurement? Is it simply the variable in weight? Or is it actually a measure of volume?

Also, in May of 1994, a close friend of mine was asked how many Fire sauces he wanted at a Taco Bell drive thru to which he answered a "shit-load". Upon inspection of the shit-load of Fire sauce packets delivered at the window, we discovered a shit-load equated to exactly 8. How does this relate to a shit-ton? Thanks in Advance!

Excellent question. The bastion of scholarly knowledge that is the Urban Dictionary defines a "shit-ton" as "Not just a large amount of something, but a gregarious amount of something you don't want." Since gregarious means "fond of company," this makes no sense whatsoever. However, I'm inclined to utilize the latter part of the definition referring to "things you don't particularly want or need." But I'm also willing to take suggestions.

Home Insecurity

I'm pretty attached to the house I'm in, however conventional homes
are no longer built to withstand mobs of looters, zombies, fallen MI6
agents or crazed biker gangs.

As I'd like to use it as my base of operations as long as feasible
before hitting the road with a bunch of expendable supporters and/or
family, I need some home improvement suggestions to future proof my
abode while avoiding the wrath of the neighborhood homeowners
association. Avoiding spousal wrath is also preferred.


As I've discussed previously, I'm a big believer in the "your suburban home is a deathtrap during a zombie apocalypse" school of zombie survival thought. Trying to hold onto anything during this tumult — homes, family, friends, photo books, He-Man toys — is just another chance to get yourself killed. And building a panic room or something just means you're like a snack in a vending machine for nearby zombies. It's all about flexibility and the ability to escape.

That said, I can understand wanting to wait through the tumult in the comfort of one's home, if possible. First of all, make it base of supplies - melee weapons, non-perishable food, water, survival gear - and hide these things in the garage or the attic or something. Do not let your spouse and kids know, because if your neighbors remember you're the dude who's actually ready for the zombie apocalypse, the minute the dead start rising from their graves they're coming to your house, and they'll be far more dangerous than the zombies.


You're going to want to reinforce all the doors and windows as much as possible. For doors, get extra and extra-strength locks. Try to make sure you have nearby furniture, such as couches and/or chests to barricade them when the zombies arrive. For windows, bars on the ground-level ones would be best, but falls in the "spousal wrath" area I suggest if you have the cash to get them all replaced with a much more durable plastic polycarbonate.

Again, don't get too attached. Eventually you're going to have to leave, and if you hesitate because you put so much work into it, you're going to end up a zombie inside your very secure house.


Ski Patrol

James F.:
Hi io9 Postman,
Do you think it's possible that global warming (if it is occurring) could be caused by cloud-seeding by ski resorts? Why or Why Not?


Caused? Enh. It's kind of like lighting matches in the middle of a forest fire and saying the matches did it. I'm guessing — and again, I'm a non-educated fake postman from the apocalyptic future, so take my words with a bit of silver iodide — I'm guessing the more than one billion carbon-spewing cars constantly being driven on the planet have a bit more of an impact than the occasional ski resort forced snowfall.

No Butts About It

Illustration for article titled Yes, Virginia, There Is a Cthulhu!

Do you think that George Lucas's anus clenches every time a new
possibility for the Star Wars universe materializes?
I don't really care about your answer, I just wanted you to picture
George's anus in full detail, clenching.


I already think about George Lucas' anus far more than is healthy, but I appreciate the effort.

I believe George has actually let go now. He's signed away the company, stepped down, and given his money to charity - he looks for all the world like a man who is truly hands off. I imagine the whole prequel debacle crushed his spirit enough that he is completely fine never messing with Star Wars again, which is kind of sad, but also not without a certain amount of irony.


On the other hand, does anyone else think this is also kind of like how King Lear began? The king giving up his kingdom at the height of his power to retire? If anyone sees a distraught, near-catatonic George Lucas wandering the countryside with Rick McCallum dressed in a jester's costume, please let me know.

Toy Stories

John Morey:
Dear Mr. Bricken,

After reading your (depressing) article on toy-collecting, I've been wondering a few (not-so-depressing) things:

1. Do you display your collection, or keep it in boxes? Or do you display some, and rotate? Or do you do something else?

2. How "out" are you about your hobby? Do you try to hide it? Do you let everybody know? Or is it just sorta there in the background, not actively hidden but not promoted, either?

3. What was your favorite toy as a child?

I love numbered questions, because then I get to answer in numbers.

1) When I had the space and shelves, I displayed most of my best collections: He-Man, my very peculiar Marvel Legends Avengers roster, my plethora of Final Fantasy and anime toys, and some other stuff. I've recently moved (and I have zero bookshelves) so everything's in boxes right now. Eevn when I get shelves, I won't have the space to display everything, but I'll have a few favorites up and rotate them occasionally.


2) Since toy collecting involves not only quite a bit of money, but also a great deal of physical space, it's hard to be a "hidden" toy collector. I don't go out of my way to scream I collect toys — other than needing to check the toy aisle in every single department store I go to — but anyone who knows me pretty much knows I have a problem.

3) Sorry to be obvious, but it was my entire He-Man and the Masters of the Universe collection. What I loved then (and still love now) is the insane variety of them all — there were barbarians and wizards and robots and snake men and ninjas and monsters and they all had unique action features. Each figure is just an odd toy by itself, but together, they were so much more than the sum of their parts. If I had to pick one figure, though, it probably would have been Kobra Khan. A toy that spits water on other toys? Fuck and yes.


Macross the Universe

Illustration for article titled Yes, Virginia, There Is a Cthulhu!

Keith G.:
Why would you blaspheme the good name of Macross by mentioning that abomination Robotech? Harmony Gold fucked over the Macross series forever and they deserve to burn in hell!!!


First of all, good Keith here is referring to my "Robotech is the greatest love story of the 20th century" article from the other day. He's also referring to the rights kerfluffle between: Tatsunoko Productions, the anime studio that originally made the Macross anime; Harmony Gold, the Amercian company that licensed Macross and turned it into Robotech; and Big West and Studio Nue, the companies that now have the rights to Macross (except for the original TV series). The short version is there's been a bit of a rights entanglement that has pretty much prevented several Japanese Macross sequels from coming to America, which some anime fans are unhappy about. Also, I suppose it should be mentioned, that some anime fans are still bitter about the edits Harmony Gold made in turning Macross into something broadcastable for kids on American TV.


I won't deny that Robotech has almost certainly hurt Macross, especially in America, but for me that's more than balanced out by Robotech basically creating the entire American anime industry. Yes, there were a few shows that came before and a few that came after, but Robotech was the turning point — where kids actually said, "Hey, why does this cartoon look different from all the other cartoons, and why is it so much better?" When these kids grew up, this question stuck with them enough that they actually learned about anime. I give Robotech most of the credit for the surge of interest in anime in the ‘90s, which eventually turned into the American anime industry (which kept a roof over my head for many years). What we lost in Macross we gained in pretty much everything else.

As for the "edits," I find this argument ridiculous, as if Harmony Gold ever had a chance in hell of airing an unedited, undubbed Macross in 1985 America. That's absurd. Without the changes they made, no one in the U.S. would have ever seen Macross in any format, which would have been tragic. Furthermore, having seen the original Macross and Robotech, I can assure you Harmony Gold left a lot more in than they took out.


Virginia Is For Lovers… of the Great Old Ones

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Cthulhu.
Papa says, 'If you see it in io9 it's so.'
Please tell me the truth; is there a Cthulhu?

Illustration for article titled Yes, Virginia, There Is a Cthulhu!

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the madness of the other, lesser gods. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little, and easily snuffed out by dread Cthulhu, who lies dreaming in his house at R'lyeh. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless, horrible world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge and terror and insanity.


Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Cthulhu. He exists as certainly as hate and madness and horror exist, and you know that they abound and because you lie awake at night knowing that things aren't as they should be. Alas! how wonderful would be the world if there were no Cthulhu. It would be much more wonderful than if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no terrible faith then, no pain, no anguish to make intolerable this existence. We should have enjoyment, both in sense and sight. The eternal darkness in which childhood stands no chance would be extinguished.

Not believe in Cthulhu! You might as well not believe in demons! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to chant "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn", but even if they did not see Cthulhu coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Cthulhu and lives, but that is no sign that there is no Cthulhu. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see demons dancing on the bones of the dead? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the horrors there are unseen and unseeable in the world.


You may tear apart the baby's rattle - or even just the baby - and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only evil, hate, terror and madness can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural horror and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Cthulhu! Praise the Elder Gods! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to eat the hearts of children.


Do you have a letter for or to the Postman? Questions about nerd culture? Queries about Ideas you want to share? Email!



While Mayans didn't think the world would end, the end of each cycle was usually accompanied by a reshaping of the world and the end of life as we knew it (and the start of another one).

Also, the center of the galaxy, the sun and the Earth aligned on the 21st. Guess how often that happens? Every year on Dec. 21st. Any gravitational effects from that alignment are way too negligible for anything to happen, obviously.