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September 28, 2007

A good one

In the run-up to the war, Senator Robert Byrd was one of the few anti-war democrats in congress and he delivered passionate speeches on the floor of the Senate. However, he's an older guy and many people dismissed him as a relic and a crackpot. Now he's the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee! This is one argument for voting for centrist Dems that you don't really like: if they get a majority, you get the good ones in positions of power too. Check out his speech on cutting funding for the war, and then this, where he nearly incited a riot in the Senate. Definitely check out that second link!


By fnord12 | September 28, 2007, 11:51 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link



How to write a fugue


By fnord12 | September 28, 2007, 11:23 AM | Music| Link



Grade A Ass

I'm so disgusted by what Greenspan says in this interview that i don't even have anything to say.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan today said the risk of a US recession had increased, and denied that regulators were caught unawares by the problems which caused the global credit crunch.

In an interview with the BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Greenspan said: "We did know what was going on and the reason we didn't stop them was that to a large extent these types of questionably egregious actions are taken by people who have their own money invested."

"Hedge funds, who are presumably the largest culprit of all of this, are organisations in the US in which wealthy investors invest," he said. "I must admit that I do not have considerable concern about their net worth going from 40 million to five million, which in many cases is what's happened."


...


He argued that people generally benefit from movements in financial markets. "Financial markets tend to be increasingly complex and volatile. That volatility actually contributes to the stability of the real economy, that is levels of production and employment."

He added he hoped that people realise that "standards of living are higher because of it".

Grrr.....


By min | September 28, 2007, 11:20 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link



September 27, 2007

Marvel Sales

August


By fnord12 | September 27, 2007, 2:44 PM | Comics| Link



We need a better news media

Min just got through describing to me how the US teamed up with India and China to block new anti-pollution measures at the UN, and what do i see as the headline?:

Rice urges nations to find cleaner fuels.

Sure they mention the Team-Up (if you make it to paragraph six) but the headline makes us sound like leaders on the global warming issue when the opposite is true.


By fnord12 | September 27, 2007, 11:56 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link



Oh sure but they support Outlaw Volleyball: Red Hot

Broke down and got a 360 the other day. It's the Halo edition. Felt a little weird buying a version that is so specific to one game. It's not like i'm a Halo fanatic or anything (ok, ok, so we have been playing it once a week for like a year now...). But i actually like the look of it and the bumbleheads at the store were insistent that the Pro version didn't have an hdmi port even though i'd read online that it did. Plus it came with a controller charger. Whatever. It's not like i bought the one with the Spartan helmet.

ANYWAY, i'd been looking at the backwards compatibility lists but when i got it home i wanted to see for myself which games would work and which didn't. Here's what didn't:

  • Azurk - Well i bought this for $1.99 just to see how bad it could be. It was pretty bad. Not $1.99 bad, actually, but i'd never play it again even if the system did support it.
  • Cel Damage - This was a cartoony Twisted Metal type game that was cute but i can live without it.
  • D&D Heroes - What? Are you kidding me? Supporting this should be their number one priority!
  • Kung Fu Chaos - This is sad, too. This was a very funny, crazy little four player game, and it's a real shame that they're not supporting it.
  • Legends of Wrestling II - Every once in a while i go out and get a wrestling game, and i'm disappointed by it. Same story here, so no loss. I'm sure one day i'll go out and buy a 360 wrestling game and be disappointed by it.
  • Top Spin / NCAA Football 2005 - i don't even know why i have this.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance - This just proves that Microsoft is in cahoots with Wanyas, who wants me to re-buy this for the 360 to get the extra characters and the ability to buy/download additional character packs. Which i may do - i noticed the 360 version was only $25 used.
  • X-Men Legends - This was a great game with a flawed beginning due to the really long intro that can only be played by one player. I would have liked to be able to load this up every once in a while to play some of those flashback scenes, but Ultimate Alliance pretty much trumps this.
  • X-Men Legends II - Compared to the first one, this wasn't very good, so no problem.

Overall, not too bad. I know they are still working on supporting more older games but it probably won't be a priority now that the Halo launch has come and gone. Still, D&D Heroes and Kung Fu Chaos were great multiplayer games and i hope they do become playable eventually.

Update:

Microsoft owns the IP for Kung Fu Chaos. So in theory, they could release a sequel without us. But given the game didn't sell, it's dead in the water I'm afraid.

Also, it is unlikely to ever be on the backward compatible list for 360. We used an interlaced rendering trick that allowed it to run at 60fps. Basically if you can guarantee that your game would run at a steady 30fps with you can run it in interlace mode and get it running at 60fps with one caveat: the game must NEVER EVER slowdown WITHOUT EXCEPTION (not even for 1 frame) or you get ugly artifacts.

Not many XBox games ever achieved this (with DOF, motion blur, colour filters etc) so that is why not many xbox games run in this mode (i can't think of any in fact).

That is also why the game wouldn't run in progressive scan mode.

Tech fact of the day!

(found on the forums on ninjatheory.com. For all your ninja theory discussion needs.)


By fnord12 | September 27, 2007, 9:14 AM | Video Games | Comments (3) | Link



Random Lyrics Thursday

You're Getting Better by Ken Nordine

I want you to know you're getting better
I don't care what everyone's been saying.
You're getting better
They're the one's who've been getting worse
And, uh, they don't like what you've been doing.

Understandably.

You think they can watch you strip yourself of one unnecessary thing after another,
day by day become more... so to speak, naked,
more free,
and not feel the way they do?

Of course not.

It's painful to get rid of things you don't need.
And they know it.
They wouldn't be saying what they've been saying
if they didn't want you to stop.

They want you to be the way *they* are
and to stay that way
You think they can stand to see you not doing what they're doing?

Why do you think you're being investigated... right now?
Hmmm?
Why do you think you're under maximum security?
You know the answer, I don't have to tell you:
They're AFRAID of you. It's that simple.
They're afraid of you because you're becoming less and less like them.

I'll tell you what's happening to you. You're coming closer and closer
to the 'faraway'.
Closer to the, uh, unknown.

Do you think they like that?
Not on your life.
So, don't... don't get nervous and start
asking for help.
That's EXACTLY what they WANT you to do.

Make it on your own.

The way you've been doing.

And remember:
you're getting better!

'scuse me now, I have to go.
I'll... just dissolve right here in front of you.

See ya! See ya... See ya...


By fnord12 | September 27, 2007, 9:01 AM | Music| Link



September 26, 2007

Childrens Do Learn

Bush made his latest grammatical slip-up at a made-for-TV event where he urged Congress to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, the centerpiece of his education policy, as he touted a new national report card on improved test scores.
...
During his first presidential campaign, Bush -- who promised to be the "education president" -- once asked: "Is our children learning?"

On Wednesday, Bush seemed to answer his own question with the same kind of grammatical twist.

"As yesterday's positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured," he said.

The White House opted to clean up Bush's diction in the official transcript.


...


Just a day earlier, the White House inadvertently showed how it tries to prevent Bush from making even more slips of the tongue than he already does.

As Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, a marked-up draft of his speech briefly popped up on the U.N. Web site, complete with a phonetic pronunciation guide to get him past troublesome names of countries and world leaders.

Link

To have the names of foreign leaders and countries phonetically spelled for you so you know the proper way to pronounce them isn't really something to criticize. Afterall, if it's a language you don't know, ofc it'll be hard to pronounce the names. What is something to be criticized and ridiculed is that our president still gets the pronunciation wrong. He's just that "special," folks.


By min | September 26, 2007, 2:31 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



9/11 Tourettes

Who loves the Jon Stewart??? Everybody loves the Jon Stewart!!


By min | September 26, 2007, 12:44 PM | Liberal Outrage & TeeVee| Link



The Pot and the Kettle

Does anybody else feel it's a tiny bit ironic that Bush was giving a speech at the U.N. on Tuesday criticizing Myanmar for violating human rights and severely restricting "[b]asic freedoms of speech, assembly and worship"? I mean, yes i'm typing this blog post here criticizing the president for being a jackass and i'm prolly not going to get picked up by the gestapo or shot on the street by the police for it, but what with the Patriot Act, the wiretapping, Guantanamo, and the secret prisons where the inmates are tortured for information, wouldn't you expect just a tiny little bolt of lightning to strike the spot where he was standing? Proof again - no God.

Also, it has to be embarassing for the neocons to have their guy spouting this stuff about rights and freedoms. Guiliani should give him a call and let him know that "[f]reedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do." Not to mention plungers and racial profiling.


By min | September 26, 2007, 12:22 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (3) | Link



Top 3

Prompted by a discussion introduced by Wanyas on Sunday, i present to you this question. What are your 3 favorite books? Books meaning fictional prose. Not the 3 that you think are well written and are outstanding pieces of literature, but the 3 that you loved reading the most. And perhaps even love re-reading. I mean, ofc, if your top 3 happen to also be fantastic pieces of literature, sure, but that isn't one of the criteria. It could even be some book you read as a child that you just love.

I had some trouble coming up with my 3. And i'm not really sure about the third one either. But as of right now, i think my list goes like this:

  1. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
  2. Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
  3. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving

While i loved A Prayer for Owen Meany, it was so sad that i'm not sure if i'd want to read it again.

Anyway, that's my list for now. Later, I might think of something else that i read that i might love more than any of these books.

Your turn.


By min | September 26, 2007, 12:02 PM | Boooooks & My stupid life | Comments (3) | Link



September 25, 2007

Of course it had to be spiders

Recap #11 is up, written by min writing as Snow.


By fnord12 | September 25, 2007, 3:38 PM | D&D| Link



September 24, 2007

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Ant-Man #12 - Nice wrap up. It's interesting to see O'Grady acknowledge that he's... irredeemable, but it seems almost shame to have him trying to reform. Still, i guess after 12 issues, you're either stuck in a rut or have to have your character develop, so i think that cancellation was probably the best choice from a story point of view, even if sales were better. Good series, though.

Spider-Man & Red Sonja #2 - This is a bit dry. As i was reading some of the city scenes, i was thinking it would've been cool to do this as a full marvel universe event; sort of an expanded version of the Uncanny X-Men Kulan Gath story. And maybe it still will be. We've seen Vermin and Sonja is talking about finding allies. It definitely needs something to spice things up.

Quasar #3 - i was kind of hoping the savior Quasar was looking for would turn out to be Warlock! Yeah! But i guess since Moondragon scanned the savior and said it wasn't a computer mind negates that theory. Doesn't matter if we don't get any more kewl characters in this series, though, since it's great as is. And i *like* Moondragon as a literal dragon, i don't care what the internet people say.

World War Hulk #4 - Zom turned out to not be as bad ass as i remember, but we'll chalk that up to Dr. Strange keeping him in check. I like the angle of the Hulk not letting the Illuminati defend their actions as a parallel to all the times he himself was falsely accused or misunderstood. Pak has a good handle on the Hulk. Looking forward to the Sentry's calming effects.

Captain America #30 - Good good good.


By fnord12 | September 24, 2007, 9:00 PM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link



September 22, 2007

The Phoenix

Ha! I told you! I told you it existed and you wouldn't believe me! Ha, i say! Ha!


By min | September 22, 2007, 5:45 PM | TeeVee | Comments (1) | Link



September 21, 2007

Kids, Eat Fruits & Vegetables & Lead and Be Active

In a big "whoops" moment for the state of California, they are now recalling 300,000 lunchboxes they gave out free to kids with the intention of promoting healthy eating habits. The problem? The lunchboxes were made in China so guess what they contain.

Oh, you're so smart.

The highest lead levels were found in the bag's decorative logo, a shining yellow sun and brightly colored fruits and vegetables along with the www.ca5aday.com Web address.

Horton said the tests showed lead levels "significantly above" 600 parts per million, the legal limit. One box tested at 1,700 parts per million, according to the Department of Public Health.

However, it's not just China who's big on the lead products. Although we technically banned lead paint in the US years ago, it seems to me we've been pretty lax about making sure manufacturers outside of the country meet that standard with the products we purchase from them.

"A lot of materials contain lead; we just don't know how [much], so even though we pass all the tests, we give the suggestion to put a warning label in there," Chen said. "My customers say, 'No, we don't really need it.' "
Every year, toys and other children's products are recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission because lead is discovered in the products' paint.

Seems to me that instead of waiting for the children to get exposed to the lead paint and then issuing a recall, the Department of Public Health should be taking a much more pro-active role in preventing children coming in contact with it at all. Instead of praising them as an NRDC spokesperson has, i would criticize their lax behaviour to a problem that clearly has been continuing for years.

By the by, any of you with the lunchtotes might want to consider getting something else to carry your lunch.

Soft, cooler-type lunchboxes have been a target of environmental and health activists for years because some manufacturers have used lead during production to stabilize the boxes' vinyl lining.

The Center for Environmental Health in Oakland said the problem had lessened since it sued lunchbox manufacturers in 2005, alleging that they violated California's Proposition 65, which in 1986 began requiring warning labels on all products known to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm.


By min | September 21, 2007, 8:44 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link



September 20, 2007

Random Lyrics Thursday

Sowing the Seeds of Love by Tears for Fears

High time we made a stand and shook up
The views of the common man
DJ's the man we love the most
Could you be, could you be squeaky clean
And smash any hope of democracy?
As the headline says you're free to choose
There's an egg on your face and mud on your shoes
One of these days they're gonna call it the blues

And anything is possible when you're
Sowing the seeds of love
Anything is possible
Sowing the seeds of love

I spy tears in their eyes
They look to the skies for some kind
Of divine intervention
Food goes to waste!
So nice to eat, so nice to taste
Politician grannie with your high ideals
Have you no idea how the majority feels?
So without love and a promised land
We're fools to the rules of a government plan
Kick out the style: bring back the jam

Sowing the seeds
The birds and the bees
My girlfriend and me in love
Feel the pain
Talk about it
If you're a worried man
Then shout about it
Open hearts
Feel about it
Open minds
Think about it
Everyone
Read about it
Everyone
Scream about it!
Everyone
Everyone
Everyone
Read about it
Read about it
Read it in the books in the crannies
And in the nooks there are books to read


By fnord12 | September 20, 2007, 9:01 AM | Music| Link



September 19, 2007

60 is the new 51

A few years ago, when Republicans held a slight majority over Democrats in the Senate, whenever Democrats even thought the word "filibuster", a frenzy erupted. It was obstruction! It was an abuse of their powers! It was a denial of the will of the people!

Now that it's the Democrats who hold the slight majority, every issue is discussed as if in order for anything to pass in the Senate, 60 votes (the number that would override a filibuster, should one occur) seems to be required. Check out this AP article:

The Senate narrowly rejected legislation on Wednesday that would have given military detainees the right to protest their detention in federal court.

The 56-43 vote against the bill, by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., fell four votes shy of the 60 needed to cut off debate

The vote wasn't 56-43 against the bill. It was 56-43 in favor of the bill. But the framing, now that Democrats have control of the Senate, is completely backwards. This isn't just a stray mistake by the AP. It's the same on Fox, CNN, even C-SPAN. And it's not just on the restoration of habeas corpus issue. The same framing (the Democrats don't have the 60 votes needed) is being used on the anti-war legislation currently being considered. While the Democrats were considered out of bounds for even considering filibusters, the Republicans filibuster by default.

Also, it seems to me the Democrats are (as usual) letting the Republicans off easy on this. First of all, they aren't using the same rhetoric ("Why, do you know what the filibuster was used for in the past? It was used to delay the passage of the Civil Rights act!") the Republicans were. More importantly, they don't seem to actually make the Republicans go through with the threat. I'm sure i don't understand all the arcane Senate procedures, but if the Republicans are saying they're gonna filibuster, make them do the full 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington / ranting and raving from the floor of the Senate until they pass out' thing before you fold.

A majority of Senators are in favor of these bills. A majority of Americans are in favor of these bills. Republicans have a responsibility to represent their constituents as well, but they shouldn't get preferential treatment.


By fnord12 | September 19, 2007, 2:14 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



Not looking so good for Manimal or Automan

Dave's Long Box Nostalgiametrics


By fnord12 | September 19, 2007, 9:33 AM | TeeVee | Comments (2) | Link



September 18, 2007

Filthy Hands

Americans' hands are getting dirtier, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

They said 77 percent of more than 6,000 men and women washed their hands in public restrooms -- a 6 percent decline compared with a similar study in 2005.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, handwashing in the single-most important prevention step for reducing disease transmission.

In a telephone survey, 92 percent of adults said they wash their hands in public conveniences, according to the study done by the American Society for Microbiology and The Soap and Detergent Association.

But the study, which also conducted research at public restrooms, showed people's actions were not always matching their claims.

Men were the biggest offenders, with just 66 percent of men seen washing their hands in public bathrooms, compared with 88 percent of the women, according to study presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy meeting in Chicago.

Link

That's just gross. Wash your hands, people. Don't forget to get under the nails and in between each finger, too. Public restrooms...*shudder*


By min | September 18, 2007, 1:03 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (4) | Link



September 17, 2007

Saggy Pants Drama

Fnord and i were just talking about this in the car yesterday. I had read elsewhere how more and more cities are trying to include sagging pants in the "indecency" laws. I think it's a waste of time and akin to the 60s when the "adults" kept telling the "dirty hippies" to get a haircut. The style of sagging pants has been "in" since the 90s when i was in school. I think it looks dumb. I think it'd be funny to line a bunch of kids up at the bottom of a staircase and make them race to the top with their pants hanging down to their knees. But if they're not exposing body parts, i don't see it as an indecency issue. If it's boxers and not butt, then i don't see why you would need to legislate this.

This article makes claims that it's a) corrupting the younger kids and b) distracting in schools. For the first claim, there's a certain age range where kids should be under their parents' edict as to what they can and can't wear (pretty much up until puberty and then all you can say is "yeah, good luck with that"). I think that's a parenting issue and we don't need legislation to "protect" them. As for the second.....the only distracting thing i remember from when i was in high school was the big stink the faculty made about it. The kids in the class aren't sitting there not paying attention to the math lesson because half the guys have their boxers hanging out, ok? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's prolly the math that's got them half dazed. I like math and i'm saying this.

Exposed bra in a classroom - now that could be distracting. Some guy's plaid boxers and baggy pants? So much less entertaining.

And if you want to talk about indecency, ever since they introduced these low-rise/hip hugger pants to chicks, i've been subjected to no end of plumber crack. How come nobody's legislating this to protect my delicate sensibilities? MY EYES, MY EYES!!! ARRGGHHH!!!!

Leave the kids alone with their wacky styles. It's not hurting anyone. It's not going to make them more likely to join a gang, commit a crime, do drugs. And if it does, they'll be that much easier to catch cause it's really hard to run when your pants are hanging down at your knees.


By min | September 17, 2007, 3:12 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link



More "Too Little, Too Late"

Like every retired politician who sees a way of cashing in on their "experiences," Greenspan has put out a book that criticizes Bush's economic policy, his tax cuts for the rich, his aiding and abetting over-spending, and the invasion of Iraq. Thanks alot. Your observations on the invasion of Iraq are so helpful at this point and time, 4 years too late. And coming out and saying it was a bad idea to cut taxes - it might have been a wee bit more helpful if you'd said that in 2001 instead of endorsing Bush's plan, you prick.

The Bush administration's response is one of innocent confusion - "It's so strange. We don't know why Greenspan would say such things. They're clearly not true. Look at the pretty colors. But, we still think he did a bang up job when he worked at the Fed. And the happy happy sheep."


By min | September 17, 2007, 12:44 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link



Animatronic Elvis

This is creepy.

This Elvis can look you square in the eye, tilt his head and croon "Love Me Tender" through the speakers in his shoulders.

This is WowWee's second robotic bust, the descendant of a chimp released last year. Both were created by George York, an inventor who used forensic reconstruction techniques and guidance from Graceland to conjure up Elvis in his prime. Beneath the rubbery skin are nine motors for head movements and facial gestures, including four levers dedicated to the upper lip for that signature sneer. A microphone-shaped remote lets you adjust volume, choose tunes or toggle between modes like talking and singing.

Alive Elvis, which will initially be available at Sharper Image stores and at Graceland for about $300, includes one plug-in cartridge with eight songs and 37 phrases voiced by an Elvis impersonator. There are three audio jacks, either for playing music through the speakers, or to patch in a microphone just in case you want to sing along and work on your own sneer.


By min | September 17, 2007, 12:37 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link



Iraq kicks Blackwater mercenaries out of country

Nothing i like less than the idea of private armies that are accountable to no one but the corporation paying for them, so this is a good thing.


By fnord12 | September 17, 2007, 10:14 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



I know this is going to get me in trouble

I've tried to say this before, but certain people have always taken it as DC bashing. Maybe Tom Brevoort can say it better:

>DC actually has shaken up the status quo a lot more often and consistently than Marvel

Posted by skagandboneman on 2007-09-11 08:18:47>

I don't know that I agree with this in the way you mean, and I think you're looking at a particular microcosm. I do think, though, that one of the reasons there's so much turmoil and turnaround in the DC line is that, as much as they've tried to paste it all together over the years, the DC Universe wasn't really designed to be a universe from the start, the way the Marvel Universe was (by default, really, since Stan was writing pretty much all of it.) In theri attempts to create a Marvel-style cosmology for themelves, the folks at DC have continually reset and reworked their continuity and status quos again and again, each iteration somehow missing the larger point of why the Marvel universe hangs together so well. For my not-especially-valuable two cents, DC often spends too much of its time trying to be Marvel, rather than focusing on the elements that make the DC cosmology, characters and titles unique and interesting all on their own.

The points i've tried to make are: 1) one of the main draws for me at Marvel is the shared universe. DC's shared universe never seemed quite as "right" to me. 2) There is no inherent need for super hero comics to take place in a shared universe of the Marvel variety. 3) Maybe instead of having continual reboots, DC should focus on writing good stories about their iconic characters. It seems to me that "continuity free" books like Dark Knight Returns, Kingdom Come, Justice, and All Star Super-Man (but maybe not Batman) have more resonance with fans and more appeal to a larger fan base than the infinite crisises and what have you.

Update: Just noticed the first comment on Brevoort's post basically says everything i just wrote, probably more clearly.


By fnord12 | September 17, 2007, 9:05 AM | Comics| Link



September 16, 2007

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Punisher War Journal #11 - not sure if it's the change in artist, the fact that this is a single issue story, or just the fact that this is a talky, non-action issue, but i enjoyed this the way i enjoyed the Funeral for Stilt-Man issue. The new artist isn't great or anything, by the way, but the overall comic is better. We'll see how the Jigsaw plot goes.

Nova #6 - i enjoyed this quite a bit, even if the drawings of Gamora were too porntastic. The battle between the Novas was really good. Almost considering getting this post-Annihilation.

New Avengers #34 - Gah! All the New Avengers have been replaced with Zombies! Oh wait, that's just Yu's terrible artwork. I like the threat overload that's going on here. Skrulls, Hood & Deathlok, Symbiotes. Are they deliberately writing this as "all the stuff that the heroes have been neglected due to Civil War comes and hits them at once" or is it just working out that way?

Daredevil #100 - i usually hate anniversary jam issues because everything gets so disjointed, but doing it as part of a series of hallucinations based on Mr. Fear's drug worked very well.


By fnord12 | September 16, 2007, 3:32 PM | Comics| Link



September 15, 2007

Don't try to outgeek us, motherf@$#, cause you'll never outgeek us, motherf@$#. Never. Never. Never, motherf@$#. Never.

Heroscape (click for biggie):

Wanyas' army:

Min's army:

Fnord12's army:


By fnord12 | September 15, 2007, 9:50 AM | D&D | Comments (3) | Link



Finger Lakes

BTW, this is the property we seriously considered buying.

And here's some pictures of the unholy rituals that go on up in the Finger Lakes:



By fnord12 | September 15, 2007, 9:47 AM | My stupid life | Comments (2) | Link



September 13, 2007

Trailers: better than poop

SuperMegaDio links to the trailer for the upcoming Iron Man movie. (Update: When i went back to re-watch the trailer while writing this post, the official site wasn't working. The trailer is also on youTube.)

I recently had the revelation that trailers are entertaining in their own right. I think they are often better than the movies that they are advertising. I think Hollywood should start making trailers without any movies behind them. Lots of movies, like Balls of Fury, are probably terrible, but the trailer is a lot of fun. Trailers should be their own artform. (Reminder: i don't watch TV so i don't have to watch the same trailers over and over again every commercial break. I only see them when i go to the theater).

I hope that the Iron Man movie itself is as good as the trailer, but here's another idea: The problem with a lot of super-hero movies is that they waste too much time on the set-up/origin aspect. I put it to you that the trailer that SuperMegaDio links to tells you everything you need to know about Iron Man. They should play that trailer before the movie, and then tell a 2 hour story about Iron Man that assumes we know what we need to know about his origin.

Other than that possibly being too expensive, the only problem i see is that since i'm already familar with Iron Man, i may be watching the trailer and filling in the blanks where a newcomer may be confused. So if anyone in my imaginary audience isn't familiar with Iron Man, i request that you go watch the trailer and then come back here and let us know how many of the points below you were able to gather about Tony Stark/Iron Man (highlight to see):

  • - He was a rich, possibly immoral, weapons manufacturer.
  • - He was arrogant, and possibly drank too much
  • - While on a demonstration of one of his weapons programs in a combat zone, he was fatally injured and captured by the enemy. He was forced to build weapons for them, but instead created a crude suit of body armor that he used to defeat his captors and prevent his injury from killing him.
  • - When he got home, he built himself a sleeker suit of armor.
  • - He prefers Ozzy era Black Sabbath to the Dio years

Final question: now that you've seen his entire origin summed up in 2 and a half minutes, do you really want to sit through it again stretched out over 45+?


By fnord12 | September 13, 2007, 11:37 AM | Comics & Movies | Comments (1) | Link



Roger Ebert vs. Clive Barker

On the question of "if you make the best poop in the world, is it art, or is it just poop?".

Actually it's about video games and whether or not they can be "art".

And while i agree with Ebert on the largest point (the definition of 'what art is' is not totally subjective), i disagree with him on all the details and his arrogant style of writing makes me feel like he needs a punch in the face. OK, not a punch in the face, that's mean. He could use a good fragging in Halo.

He reminds me of that kid. You know that kid. He sat next to us in lunch one year. We called him 'the Master' because he was such a know-it-all.


By fnord12 | September 13, 2007, 11:12 AM | Video Games | Comments (7) | Link



Oh no, that doesn't work.

Let me start off by repeating that i like Bendis. I think he comes up with great plots, and he writes excellent dialogue. He does, however, have some trouble with coordinating all his characters. The issue in question is one i brought up previously.

Bendis at Newsarama:

NRAMA: Speaking of the build-up and the chronology - where do these things fit? That seems to be the downside of the frenzied pace of all these things being thrown at the heroes - they need to synch up just right, or you can really have it fall apart...

BB: [laughs] The only one tiny conceivable error - early in Mighty Avengers when there was a time given for when the events were happening. Thing is - Tony's armor - we're just not sure what time zone he's in. He clearly could have been seven hours off. That's where people could be winning No Prizes.

Oh, and by the way, when Stan Lee gave out the No Prize, it was a much more cordial thing than what's going on now. Now, it's "I found your mistake, where's my No Prize, bitch?" No - that's not how it works. You have to be much more civil to get one of those.

But back to Tony - he could be on Latverian time - but other than that, it all clicks in pretty easily.

It's like no one blinks at Sentry having the power of 1,000 exploding suns, but the if the Avengers have a busy afternoon, that's very upsetting. [laughs]

1: When reading super hero comics, readers suspend their disbelief about the ability of people to have super powers. That doesn't mean that we'll accept impossibilities in other areas, such as people appearing at times that they couldn't possibly appear.

2: The problem doesn't really have anything to do with Tony making a comment about time. The problem is that when the team goes into battle against the Mole Man, the Wasp said something along the lines of "We just formed the team and now we're going into battle without even a training exercise." whereas in order for the sequences in the two Avengers books to work, the team would have had to have* been active already so that they could hunt down the New Avengers prior to NA leaving for Japan, so that they could come back to the US in time for Ultron's EMP to mess with their ship.

Look, overall, this is a minor issue, especially now that we see where the NA issues were supposed to fit (in between pages 4 and 5 or so of Mighty Avengers #1). This certainly isn't the first time this sort of coordination error has occurred (although rarely has it been in books with the same writer and editor) and the geniuses at the Marvel Chronology Project have already figured out how to make it work. It's just that his weird attitude about it isn't going to win over the howling Bendis haters, and it makes it more difficult for us supporters to defend him. And it annoys me that he can't just say "You know what, i made a minor mistake. Let's try to figure out how to make it work."

* Yes, "would have had to have"


By fnord12 | September 13, 2007, 10:37 AM | Comics| Link



Random Lyrics Thursday

Fake Healer by Metal Church

I prey upon your morbid fear
Of terminal disease
You won't know the difference
Now it's time for surgery
Another shot, another pill
Two weeks therapy
I take all major credit cards
Your money is what I need

I'm a healer
I will keep you all alive
I'm a healer

A villain at your bedside
Take this and you'll be fine
Severely educated
Just pay your bill on time
I think it's time for another test
I need more of your blood
Sign this affidavit
So my insurance won't go up

I'm a healer
I will keep you all alive
I'm a healer

Research and development
Spend millions every year
You sickly and decrepit ones
Keep my yacht safe on the pier

You're dying on a stretcher
We'll try to save your life
If you can't afford my service
I will let you die
I'm trusted and respected
Says my diploma on the wall
Before I will do anything
I'll give your bank a call

I'm a healer
I will keep you all alive
I'm a healer


By fnord12 | September 13, 2007, 9:17 AM | Music| Link



September 12, 2007

Whoodwin?


Emperor Palpatine

vs.


Putin


By min | September 12, 2007, 3:57 PM | Whoodwin | Comments (1) | Link



The...

...moose is on the carousel.


By min | September 12, 2007, 2:35 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link



September 11, 2007

SuperMegaSpeed Review Marathon

4 weeks of comics!

Iron Man #21 - The Knauffs are making good use of the post-Civil War status quo. Gravitron is one of my favorites, and i liked seeing him stomp some of these C-class Initiative heroes . I'm also enjoying the Mandarin's manipulations; i think going back and re-reading the Knauffs' run knowing that everything that is happening was set into play by the Mandarin would be rewarding.

Iron Fist #8 - I'm enjoying this. The last time i really enjoyed an Iron Fist comic, min pointed out 30 reasons why i shouldn't have, so i'm wary, but i'm looking forward to the Mortal Kombat battles starting next issue.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #23 - I read online that this was the Spidey/J. Jonah Jameson confrontation that you've been waiting 30 years for, but it really wasn't all that good. It wasn't really a substantial argument, and the punching scene was stupid. That plus corny jokes. It wasn't terrible, but not what i was hoping for, which was a real examination as to why JJ has acted to irrationally over the years, plus a hard look at Peter and whether selling pictures of himself to the Bugle was actually crossing a moral line that put all his great power/great responsibility ethics into doubt.

Quasar #2 - Yay, Peter Gillis Defenders flashbacks!

Wraith #3 - All my non-long term comic geek friends like this series a lot, so i tried to look at it with fresh eyes (i.e., the eyes of someone who hadn't pinned all their hopes on Wraith actually being a re-incarnation of a character from the 80s who was based on a bad toy) and i actually did enjoy it. I think it helped that the Super-Skrull got to be a bad ass for a change.

Starlord #2 - This, i'm loving. Giffen has a great handle on these characters and even though he's clearly half-mocking them, he's doing a great job of making them seem cool and entertaining. I love Mantis. And they better not kill Groot! I'm liking the art, too; all the human characters look a little dwarfish but somehow it fits with the craziness.

Amazing-Spider-Man #543 & 544 - Having a little trouble figuring out where the various Spidey events start and stop. #542 finished the Spidey/Kingpin plot, so i figured that was really the end of the Back In Black event. But #543 is still Back In Black, i guess because Aunt May is neither dead nor recovered. But #544 picks up directly from #543, and that's the first part of One More Day. Anyway, it's all good stuff. They've really got Peter in a bad place and it makes for good character development.

Captain America #29 - This is an A+ comic. Fantastic.

Astonishing X-Men #22 - So as stupid as the 'Danger Room comes to life and attacks the X-Men' story was, the premise was that it accidentally killed a mutant in training, which destroyed the programming that prevented it from killing. Now we find out that that wasn't really true at all. I don't know; i guess i just can't get over the silliness of 'Danger Room comes to life and attacks the X-Men' as anything more than a one issue plot. Overall this is good, but we need to wrap it up now. I enjoyed Cyclop's death, but i know he comes back so it didn't have the impact it should have. I mean, he comes back, right??

Fantastic Four #549 - Wayne's right; it did feel like they wrapped up the Frightful Four plot, and especially the Klaw plot, too quickly so they could move on to the space menace and finish McDuffie's run, but it was worth it to see the Invisible Woman using her powers to their full potential. Also if it were anyone but McDuffie, i'd be complaining about using the 'multiple Watchers show up to witness the event' scene as a shorthand for "hey everybody, this is really, really important and menacing!", but it was done so well i admit i enjoyed it. I also liked the Thing's one-liner about Uatu ("I talked to him recently. He's in one of his 'sworn never to interfere' moods."). I think Millar's run on FF will be lots of fun (if they can get it out on time), but i will miss McDuffie. Problem: at the end of this issue, the Wizard is trapped on a lifepod headed to Earth and won't arrive for 79 months, but he's currently active in New Avengers.

Hulk #110 - I like Cho and i like the examination of the Hulk's backstory (although we saw these scenes and explanations back in Hulk #100). I think it could be damaging long-term to say definitively that the Hulk has never killed and never will kill; it defangs the Hulk quite a bit. But it's being handled well here. The scene at the end, where the Hulk was dying and Cho saved him by making him really, really mad reminded me of that scene in Secret Wars where he was holding up the mountain and Reed provoked him to keep him strong, so of course i liked it.

WWH: X-Men #3 - Wow, can you do that in a mini-series that most people were assuming was throwaway? You can make the Juggernaut a real character again, just like that? Gage has such a handle on these x-characters, i really wish they would put him in charge of the x-line. Actually, if i'm really in charge, i'd like to reduce all the x-books to just one, and let Gage write it. He's basically writing every character here and it works really well. Great stuff, even though as most predicted there is no impact to the larger World War Hulk storyline.

Super-Villain Team-Up #2 & 3 - My only complaint about this series is that they draw Puma with a puppy dog face. It looks weird and it doesn't look like Puma. Other than that, this is super fantastic. Great characterization, great use of powers. I'm enjoying the intrigue. It's funny, it's got action, it's got MODOK. Make it an ongoing! I love the "in the future we are all MODOKs" angle based on MODOK's origin involving an evolutionary ray. Problem: The son of the Mandarin is alive and has the rings, but we know this takes place after World War Hulk, so how does it all fit together with the Mandarin in Iron Man?


By fnord12 | September 11, 2007, 8:11 AM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link



September 10, 2007

The Prog-Rock Syndrome

I need to confess something: last night i bought Point of Know Return by Kansas from iTunes. I know. Kansas. But the truth is, musically, it is very good. Like, awesome good. The problem is the singer. Oh god, the singer. Sometimes he's tolerable. Sometimes, he's bad. Like, awesome bad. What is with prog-rock bands and their terrible, terrible singers?

Highly recommended, though: The Spider. It's an instrumental.


By fnord12 | September 10, 2007, 9:02 AM | Music| Link



September 7, 2007

It's true

I never realized it at the time, but the Beyonder was actually the Anti-Hasslehoff.

I've been griping my whole life about how they haven't made a Secret Wars movie, but this makes me realize that i should be happy: after making Secret Wars, they might try and make Secret Wars II.


By fnord12 | September 7, 2007, 2:53 PM | Comics| Link



The Devil's Note

This BBC article explains the history of the augmented fourth.


By fnord12 | September 7, 2007, 8:56 AM | Music | Comments (1) | Link



September 6, 2007

I was wondering this too

Yesterday you may have seen an article about a B-52 that mistakenly flew across the US armed with nukes. Seemed like an odd incident. How would anyone find out, and why so much fuss? Felt a little like a leak, but what did it mean?

Larry Johnson has some interesting speculation:

Barksdale Air Force Base is being used as a jumping off point for Middle East operations. Gee, why would we want cruise missile nukes at Barksdale Air Force Base. Can't imagine we would need to use them in Iraq. Why would we want to preposition nuclear weapons at a base conducting Middle East operations? His final point was to observe that someone on the inside obviously leaked the info that the planes were carrying nukes. A B-52 landing at Barksdale is a non-event. A B-52 landing with nukes. That is something else.

Now maybe there is an innocent explanation for this? I can't think of one. What is certain is that the pilots of this plane did not just make a last minute decision to strap on some nukes and take them for a joy ride. We need some tough questions and clear answers. What the hell is going on? Did someone at Barksdale try to indirectly warn the American people that the Bush Administration is staging nukes for Iran? I don't know, but it is a question worth asking.


By fnord12 | September 6, 2007, 4:51 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link



Funny buggers

Everybody loves funny translations.

When former Australian PM Bob Hawke once spoke in Japan, interpreters apparently translated "I am not here to play funny buggers" as "I am not here to play laughing homosexuals".

And when Australian Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd worked as a diplomat in China earlier in his career, he is said to have translated his ambassador's speech on the close relationship between Australia and China as: "Australia and China are enjoying simultaneous orgasms in their relationship."

...
Mr Woolcott recalled witnessing one memorable translation when a former foreign minister of the Philippines told a long joke at a banquet in Seoul, South Korea.

"The Korean interpreter was lost, but did not show it. He uttered a few sentences and the audience laughed and applauded," Mr Woolcott wrote in his book.

After the minister complimented the interpreter on his translating skills, the interpreter confessed what he had really said.

"Frankly, minister, I did not understand your joke so I said in Korean that the minister has told his obligatory joke, would you all please laugh heartily and applaud," he admitted.


By fnord12 | September 6, 2007, 4:49 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link



Bush Knew

No weapons in Iraq. Knew it from the beginning. Lied to you. Lied about the weapons, lies now when he says that Congress had the same info he had (Congress should've been able to figure it out anyway, but still).


By fnord12 | September 6, 2007, 4:46 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (4) | Link



Good 'ol Jersey

11 N.J. officials arrested on corruption

I'm surprised this even made the news. Politicians in Jersey are always getting arrested for corruption. Even my old CCD* teacher, Mr. Abate.


*Holy crap! CCD stands for "Confraternity of Christian Doctrine"! I never knew that. That's the craziest way to say "Sunday School except it's not on Sunday" that i've ever seen.


By fnord12 | September 6, 2007, 4:10 PM | Liberal Outrage & My stupid life | Comments (7) | Link



Who Let Laura Bush Out of Her Dollhouse?

Link


"I think this is sort of one of those myths: that I was baking cookies and then they fell off the cookie sheet and I called Ban Ki Moon," she said in the interview, held in her office in the East Wing, where the book shelves are filled with the trappings of her more familiar public persona: children's books.

I doubt she actually knows how to bake cookies, but as fnord pointed out, we'll never know cause she keeps dropping them.


By min | September 6, 2007, 12:24 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link



The Day of the Jackal People

Who's familiar with the Island of Dr. Moreau? How many of you said to yourself, "Uh...Doc? That is such a bad idea."? Well, because you were all total slackers and didn't get yourselves influential positions in the British government, the rest of us are fucked.

The government's fertility regulator today agreed in principle that scientists should be allowed to create human-animal embryos for medical research.
...
Dr Lyle Armstrong of Newcastle University's Institute for Human Genetics called the decision "excellent news".

"It is a positive outcome, not just for our work but for the progress of British science in general, and we hope that this will lead to new technologies to benefit everyone," he said.

I don't know what the hell kind of science this guy's practicing, but the only "new technologies" i can think of are jackal people who will hunt us down and eat our flesh. Jerks.


By min | September 6, 2007, 9:43 AM | Science | Comments (3) | Link



When Sharks Smell Blood...

Not ones to rest on their laurels, credit card companies are taking advantage of the subprime mortgage problem. While the number of subprime mortgage defaults rise, credit card companies are increasing their pursuit of subprime borrowers. As lenders finally realize giving subprime mortgages is a bad idea, the option for borrowers to refinance is declining, thus leaving them unable to borrow against their homes to get extra cash for paying off bills. In steps the credit card company, more than willing to use a bad situation to turn a profit. How do you help a person drowning in debt? Give them more debt.

But card issuers say the flurry of marketing to subprime borrowers is a sign of healthy competition. Keith Leggett, a senior economist at the American Bankers Association, said direct mail offers were typically intended to lure customers who have credit cards away from competitors. This means better rates and terms for borrowers.

"Consumers should be grateful that we have a very competitive market," he said.

The reality is the subprime borrowers will mostly likely get a really bad deal on the interest rate because of their poor credit. Couple the high interest with the fact that they are also most likely to just make the minimum payments every month. The higher the interest rate, the smaller the percentage of the monthly payment going to pay down the principle. The less you pay to the principle, the longer the credit card company has you leg-shackled to them, paying out more in interest than what you borrowed in the first place. Which could conceivably put you in a worse financial situation than the one you were in before you signed up for their wonderful "deal". It's a lovely cycle, isn't it?


By min | September 6, 2007, 9:42 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link



Impartial Proselytising

BBC recently decided to drop a day of programming about environmental issues because 2 senior execs (Peter Horrocks - head of TV news - and Peter Barron - Newsnight editor) raised complaints that it was impartial. Horrocks is quoted saying it is not BBC's job to "proselytise" and lead a campaign to "save the planet" . They will, however, continue to provide "documentary style" programming on the issue. As long as they don't start to give equal time and consideration for every argument on any issue regardless of its basis in reality (e.g. evolution vs ID) that our media seems to equate with impartiality then we're ok.


By min | September 6, 2007, 9:40 AM | Liberal Outrage & TeeVee| Link



Miscellany

The roundup:

CBS has a new reality tv show. Kid Nation. Kids aged 8-15 are brought to a deserted town in the middle of New Mexico and left there to see if they can work together to build a society. It's Survivor without the hooking up. I hope without the hooking up. Egad!

 

Apparently, "chronic sun exposure can hasten the breakdown [of skin] by 10 years or more." So, if you don't want to look like the old, wrinkly lady in There's Something About Mary, you'd better start applying sunblock all the time. Even if you're not going to the beach and even in the winter.

  Especially with all this global warming bunk.

The Arctic ice cap has collapsed at an unprecedented rate this summer and levels of sea ice in the region now stand at a record low, scientists said last night. Experts said they were "stunned" by the loss of ice, with an area almost twice as big as Britain disappearing in the last week alone. So much ice has melted this summer that the north-west passage across the top of Canada is fully navigable, and observers say the north-east passage along Russia's Arctic coast could open later this month. If the increased rate of melting continues, the summertime Arctic could be totally free of ice by 2030.

At least this has to cut down on all that baby seal clubbing, what with no ice for the clubbers to stand on and everything. It's prolly quite hard to get the proper leverage to club a baby seal from a boat.


By min | September 6, 2007, 9:22 AM | Science & TeeVee| Link



Random Lyrics Thursday

Get A Gun by Touch

Get a gun
With the state that the world is in today
Get a gun
Even living in the USA

And when you're walking down the street
And some redneck calls you "Hon"
Better get yourself to running, boy
Or get yourself a gun

Get a gun
Do yourself a favor
Get a gun

Get a gun
Revolution is such a heavy trip
Get a gun
You'll feel secure with it hanging on your hip

You really need a better place
For you to put your head
But since things are the way they are
You're better armed than dead

Get a gun
Do yourself a favor
Get a gun

"Peace, love, mothers"
Just won't make the scene
Face up to the straight world
No other way than mean

Get a gun
Our new generation was must take heed
With a clenched fist we are crying to be free
When someone gets in their heads
To do away with freaks
Get out your gun and show them
That our game is not defeat

Get a gun
Do yourself a favor
Get a gun


By fnord12 | September 6, 2007, 9:03 AM | Music| Link



September 4, 2007

Whoodwin?

Super Skrull
Super-Skrull

vs.

Super Snark
Super-Snark


By fnord12 | September 4, 2007, 9:16 AM | Comics & Whoodwin | Comments (2) | Link



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