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« October 2007 | Main | December 2007 »

November 23, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving Hallucinations

I guess i ate too much tofu because it seems to me that this article says:

An antidepressant may help worms live longer by tricking the brain into thinking the body is starving, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.

...and that's just crazy.


By fnord12 | November 23, 2007, 2:39 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link



November 21, 2007

Hey, a deal is a deal

Supporting the troops:

The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.

To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.

Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.


By fnord12 | November 21, 2007, 8:59 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



November 20, 2007

Still wearing kid clothes?

This is one of min's favorites.

I wore Lee Jeans when i was a kid, but i was never invited to ride in an automated death trap on wheels. (from Iron Man #13 - May 69)


By fnord12 | November 20, 2007, 9:17 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link



Hootenannies!

(Iron Man #12 - Apr 69)


By fnord12 | November 20, 2007, 9:15 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



I guess it wasn't illegal yet

Pyramid schemes! (From Fantastic Four #89 - Aug 69) (click to go large)


By fnord12 | November 20, 2007, 9:11 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



Detroit must be full of locksmiths

My product at work actually gives you a free download of this ad as part of the notification package. (From Marvel Super Heroes #75 - Oct 78)


By fnord12 | November 20, 2007, 9:05 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



Adolph's

Most comic book ads you see over and over again. This particular ad only appeared for one month in Marvel comics (Oct 74 - this one's from Marvel Tales #54), and then it was never seen again. I can't imagine why.


By fnord12 | November 20, 2007, 8:59 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link



Miss the Daily Show?

Here's a video of their writers on strike.


By fnord12 | November 20, 2007, 12:56 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Just a bantha


By fnord12 | November 20, 2007, 11:10 AM | Star Wars | Comments (3) | Link



November 16, 2007

I Got Your Healing Touch Right Here

I'd file this under "Science" but that would just be causing trouble. And we haven't got a section for "Magick" or "Junk Science" so here you go.

It's not traditional medicine but patients love it: an unconventional therapy called the healing touch that is gaining acceptance in some U.S. hospitals.

The technique uses light touch and deep breathing to address energy imbalances, its advocates say. Though research on it is limited, the therapy is practiced at 30 U.S. hospitals and by nearly 2,000 certified therapists, according to Healing Touch International, based in Denver.

...

"Pain medication takes the pain out but doesn't make you feel good or calm."
...

A healing touch therapist will gently touch or glide his hands through the patient's energy points or affected areas, such as shoulders, feet and forehead. The practitioner concentrates on each point for a few minutes.

Lisa Anselme, executive director at the Denver organization, said the method was not meant to stand alone.

"Healing touch is not intended to replace standard treatment. It's a complementary therapy," said Anselme, a registered nurse and healing touch practitioner.

Jackie Levin, a nurse who coordinates the NYU program, said the treatment works well for people with anxiety, depression and stress associated with surgery and cancer treatments.

Sounds alot like the energy healing i learned. I will not make any claims about the effects of using this technique to cure your problems, but, at the very least, it's very soothing as long as you're not freaked out by the person doing it on you. And so what if it's a placebo effect? If it makes them feel more comfortable, more relaxed, etc etc. and it's used in addition to "real" medical practices, what's the problem? It's the same as fluffing someone's pillows so that they're more comfortable. It's not really doing anything to fix the problem, but if the person feels better, they do have a better chance of improving faster. The negatives would be a) people who think you can use this to replace standard treatment and b) people who take advantage of others and charge lots of money for the magickal, mystical, cure all. This should NOT be thought of as a cure-all magick bullet. It would be seriously irresponsible to portray it in such a way. And imo, this sort of stuff ought to be free (cause who the hell knows if it's doing anything).

If hospitals are starting to include this as part of their complimentary treatment, mebbe someone will start doing some real scientific experiments to either validate or invalidate this technique. Right now, what you get is a bunch of anecdotal evidence which is annoying and of questionable credibility at best.

Most of you prolly think it's all hooey and i wouldn't blame you. It's completely and totally out there. It's crazy talk. But i believe in ghosts and karma, too, so don't look to me for logic.


By min | November 16, 2007, 3:21 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (6) | Link



Uh...Bob?

Why aren't you trying for this title?

A South Dakotan may be new world-record holder when it comes to swallowing Tabasco sauce. Levi Johnson of Tea drank 5.5 ounces of the hot sauce, or nearly 3 bottles, in 30 seconds at a sports bar in that community.

The Guinness Book of World Records lists the previous record at 5.07 ounces. Johnson's feat must be verified by Guinness publishers before it is considered official.


By min | November 16, 2007, 3:07 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



November 15, 2007

Random Lyrics Thursday

PKNB by Asian Dub Foundation

Pagal ki na bole?
Chagal ki na khai?
Kuch bolo ke ni?

Is there nothing that a madman wont say?
Is there nothing that a goat wont eat? ...
Common sense-
Misinformation received
By the common man
You've been just as deceived
An effect that was planned by the powers that be
A most effective tool for division and rule
A most effective tool for division and rule

And people of different cultural persuasions
Start to develop hindered relations
So what can be done to dissipate the friction?
Gotta seperate the facts, yes the facts from the fiction.

"Ah, I, I dont know .....
"Ah, I, I dont know .....
"Ah, I, I dont know .....

"But once they get get here
"There is no knowing what they'll get up to!"

All this talk about housing
Just a method of arousing bad feeling
Appealing to peoples' prejudice
And then they redirect
Their lack of self respect
Towards a visible target
A visible target

You seem to have forgotten
That the apple has always been rotten
And that black people are not the cause of your problems

Black people are not the cause of your problems
"We're often told that this countrys bursting at the seams.
"We're never told that there are in fact more people leaving than entering.
"Immigration has become synoymous with black people.
"Yet over sixty per cent of immigrants are white....."

Things were good in the good olden days they say
Jobs in the factories ( economic slaves!)
We kept our doors open right throughout the day
(but the poverty was such that there was nothing to nick anyway!)

"Black people constitute less than six per cent of the population"

Common sense-
Misinformation received
By the common man
You've been just as deceived
An effect that was planned by the powers that be
A most effective tool for division and rule
A most effective tool for division and rule

And people of different cultural persuasions
Start to develop hindered relations
So what can be done to dissipate the friction?
Gotta seperate the facts, yes the facts from the fiction.

Enough is enough.
Immigration must stop.
This country's bursting at the seams.
This country's going to the wogs!

Oh, the Sun has got its facts wrong hip,hip,hooray
The Sun has got its facts wrong and its fucking up my day...

A race war thats what they're fighting for
Rivers of blood is what they want
By claiming influx, a flood or a swamp-
There aint no influx, a flood or a swamp!

All this talk about housing
Just a method of arousing bad feeling
Appealing to peoples' prejudice
And then they redirect
Their lack of self respect
Towards a visible target
A visible target

You seem to have forgotten
That the apple has always been rotten
And that black people are not the cause of your problems

Black people are not the cause of your problems

"Ah, I, I dont know .....
"Ah, I, I dont know .....
"Ah, I, I dont know .....

"But once they get get here
"There is no knowing what theyll get up to!"

Oh, the Sun has got its facts wrong hip,hip,hooray
The Sun has got its facts wrong and its fucking up my day ...

Pagal ki na bole?
Chagal ki na khai?

Pagal ki na bole?
Chagal ki na khai?


By fnord12 | November 15, 2007, 9:34 AM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



November 14, 2007

High School Skinning Demonstration

I present this to Wanyas who's sooooo particular about who posts what type of things on this blog.

Superintendent Alvin Lievsay said a student's parent promised to bring in a raccoon for the exercise, but surprised teacher Jerick Hutchinson by bringing the animal in a live trap. Lievsay said Hutchinson, "who used to work in a slaughter house," took the animal outside to the back of his truck Friday and shot it with the nail gun. Lievsay said no students witnessed the raccoon's death.

How many of you didn't get a raccoon skinning demo as part of your science curriculum? Makes you realize how inadequate the education system is, doesn't it?


By min | November 14, 2007, 3:36 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (5) | Link



My Robot Friend

I want one. I also want to be a part of things that involve social experimentation on other peoples' children. God, i'm so jealous.

It is thought the robots could enrich the classroom environment by demonstrating social skills and good behaviour. Scientists studied how children aged between 10 months and two years played with the "social robot" when left in the same room.

The Japanese-built prototype robot, QRIO, can interact with humans thanks to an array of mechanical and computational skills which enable it to walk, sit, stand, move its arms, turn its head, dance and giggle.

Scientists found that children's social contact with the robot increased over time and they found the machine more interesting when it behaved in a "human" interactive way than when it was programmed to dance randomly. At first, the children touched the robot on its face and head, but after time they touched only its hand and arms, mimicking the behaviour of children with other humans.

Scientists conducted 45 study sessions with the robot over five months. By the end of the study the children were treating the robot like a friend rather than a toy.

Some children cried when the robot fell over and tried helping it to stand up, even when told by their teachers to leave it alone. Others covered it with a blanket and said "night-night" when it lay down to sleep, said the researchers in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Just make sure the robot doesn't get its hands on anything sharp.

Nobody ever gives me their kid to experiment with. *grumble grumble*


By min | November 14, 2007, 3:18 PM | Science | Comments (1) | Link



Lobsters Feel Pain?

It's been a back and forth for years - do lobsters feel pain? Is it cruel to boil them alive?

A doctor from Belfast published a paper recently claiming yes.

The latest salvo, published in New Scientist today, comes from Robert Elwood, an expert in animal behaviour at Queen's University, Belfast. With help from colleagues, he set about finding an answer by daubing acetic acid on to the antennae of 144 prawns.

Immediately, the creatures began grooming and rubbing the affected antenna, while leaving untouched ones alone, a response Prof Elwood says is "consistent with an interpretation of pain experience". The same pain sensitivity is likely to be shared by lobsters, crabs and other crustaceans, the researchers believe.

Prof Elwood says that sensing pain is crucial even for the most lowly of animals because it allows them to change their behaviour after damaging experiences and so increase their chances of survival.

Who cares if they feel pain or they don't feel pain. Why, exactly, is it that we have to boil them alive at all? Just kill them right before you drop them in the hot water. I never understood that. We always killed our crustaceans before cooking them. A quick thrust with a chopstick thru the section where their "brains" are usually kills them right away. The corpse is still intact so you can still present the lobster whole when served. Which, actually, lots of people seem to not prefer due to the lobster's resemblance to a giant insect. In which case, you might as well chop them in half and broil the suckers. Or stir fry. That's my favorite way.

I just find it weird to cook something before you kill it. Stirs up all sorts of questions about cruelty and such. My way skips all that unnecessary debate.


By min | November 14, 2007, 3:08 PM | Science | Comments (3) | Link



SuperMegaMusic Reviews, A-B

Air - Pocket Symphony: They finally realized that their best bet was to stop fooling around and make another album that sounded exactly like Moon Safari. And i appreciate it.

Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare: Sometimes i wonder if i really like them or if i just like the guy's accent, but i guess it doesn't make a difference. Good stuff. High energy, punky, neo-new wavy, and something that i want to call 1920s gangster.

Art Brut - I think this will be better in small doses. I liked the first three songs a lot, especially the tongue-in-cheeck punky attitude of the singer, but then i thought it started getting kind of repetitive. That's what shuffle is for.

Betty Davis - Betty Davis & They Say I'm Different: Hooooly crap this is good. You know how when you buy a funk album there's like one or two really good, funky songs, and the rest of it is like schmoozy R&B? Both of these albums are *full* of the really, really good stuff.


By fnord12 | November 14, 2007, 9:21 AM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



November 13, 2007

Terrifying

Best error page ever (needs sound).


By fnord12 | November 13, 2007, 4:42 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



Alright, who infiltrated the New York Times?

Wow, suddenly the NYT is awake and criticizing the Democrats from the left:

The Democrats, however, also deserve a large measure of blame. They did almost nothing while they were in the minority to demand better nominees than Mr. Bush was sending up. And now that they have attained the majority, they are not doing any better.

On Thursday, the Senate voted by 53 to 40 to confirm Mr. Mukasey even though he would not answer a simple question: does he think waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning used to extract information from a prisoner, is torture and therefore illegal?

Democrats offer excuses for their sorry record, starting with their razor-thin majority. But it is often said that any vote in the Senate requires more than 60 votes - enough to overcome a filibuster. So why did Mr. Mukasey get by with only 53 votes? Given the success the Republicans have had in blocking action when the Democrats cannot muster 60 votes, the main culprit appears to be the Democratic leadership, which seems uninterested in or incapable of standing up to Mr. Bush.

Senator Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat who turned the tide for this nomination, said that if the Senate did not approve Mr. Mukasey, the president would get by with an interim appointment who would be under the sway of "the extreme ideology of Vice President Dick Cheney." He argued that Mr. Mukasey could be counted on to reverse the politicization of the Justice Department that occurred under Alberto Gonzales, and that Mr. Mukasey's reticence about calling waterboarding illegal might well become moot, because the Senate was considering a law making clear that it is illegal.

That is precisely the sort of cozy rationalization that Mr. Schumer and his colleagues have used so many times to back down from a confrontation with Mr. Bush. The truth is, Mr. Mukasey is already in the grip of that "extreme ideology." If he were not, he could have answered the question about waterboarding.

Mr. Bush said Mr. Mukasey could not do so because it would reveal classified information about Central Intelligence Agency interrogation techniques. That is nonsense. Mr. Mukasey was not asked if C.I.A. jailers have used waterboarding on prisoners, something he could be expected to know nothing about. He was simply asked if, as a general matter, waterboarding is illegal.

It was not a difficult question. Waterboarding is specifically banned by the Army Field Manual, and it is plainly illegal under the federal Anti-Torture Act, federal assault statutes, the Detainee Treatment Act, the Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. It is hard to see how any nominee worthy of the position of attorney general could fail to answer "yes."

And Frank Rich, a columnist at NYT that i normally don't think much of, also weighs in in a very radical way:

But there's another moral to draw from the Musharraf story, and it has to do with domestic policy, not foreign. The Pakistan mess, as The New York Times editorial page aptly named it, is not just another blot on our image abroad and another instance of our mismanagement of the war on Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It also casts a harsh light on the mess we have at home in America, a stain that will not be so easily eradicated.

In the six years of compromising our principles since 9/11, our democracy has so steadily been defined down that it now can resemble the supposedly aspiring democracies we've propped up in places like Islamabad. Time has taken its toll. We've become inured to democracy-lite. That's why a Mukasey can be elevated to power with bipartisan support and we barely shrug.

This is a signal difference from the Vietnam era, and not necessarily for the better. During that unpopular war, disaffected Americans took to the streets and sometimes broke laws in an angry assault on American governmental institutions. The Bush years have brought an even more effective assault on those institutions from within. While the public has not erupted in riots, the executive branch has subverted the rule of law in often secretive increments. The results amount to a quiet coup, ultimately more insidious than a blatant putsch like General Musharraf's.

More Machiavellian still, Mr. Bush has constantly told the world he's championing democracy even as he strangles it. Mr. Bush repeated the word "freedom" 27 times in roughly 20 minutes at his 2005 inauguration, and even presided over a "Celebration of Freedom" concert on the Ellipse hosted by Ryan Seacrest. It was an Orwellian exercise in branding, nothing more. The sole point was to give cover to our habitual practice of cozying up to despots (especially those who control the oil spigots) and to our own government's embrace of warrantless wiretapping and torture, among other policies that invert our values.

Even if Mr. Bush had the guts to condemn General Musharraf, there is no longer any moral high ground left for him to stand on. Quite the contrary. Rather than set a democratic example, our president has instead served as a model of unconstitutional behavior, eagerly emulated by his Pakistani acolyte.

Take the Musharraf assault on human-rights lawyers. Our president would not be so unsubtle as to jail them en masse. But earlier this year a senior Pentagon official, since departed, threatened America's major white-shoe law firms by implying that corporate clients should fire any firm whose partners volunteer to defend detainees in Guantanamo and elsewhere. For its part, Alberto Gonzales's Justice Department did not round up independent-minded United States attorneys and toss them in prison. It merely purged them without cause to serve Karl Rove's political agenda.

Tipping his hat in appreciation of Mr. Bush's example, General Musharraf justified his dismantling of Pakistan's Supreme Court with language mimicking the president's diatribes against activist judges. The Pakistani leader further echoed Mr. Bush by expressing a kinship with Abraham Lincoln, citing Lincoln's Civil War suspension of a prisoner's fundamental legal right to a hearing in court, habeas corpus, as a precedent for his own excesses. (That's like praising F.D.R. for setting up internment camps.) Actually, the Bush administration has outdone both Lincoln and Musharraf on this score: Last January, Mr. Gonzales testified before Congress that "there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution."

To believe that this corruption will simply evaporate when the Bush presidency is done is to underestimate the permanent erosion inflicted over the past six years. What was once shocking and unacceptable in America has now been internalized as the new normal.

This is most apparent in the Republican presidential race, where most of the candidates seem to be running for dictator and make no apologies for it. They're falling over each other to expand Gitmo, see who can promise the most torture and abridge the largest number of constitutional rights. The front-runner, Rudy Giuliani, boasts a proven record in extralegal executive power grabs, Musharraf-style: After 9/11 he tried to mount a coup, floating the idea that he stay on as mayor in defiance of New York's term-limits law.

What makes the Democrats' Mukasey cave-in so depressing is that it shows how far even exemplary sticklers for the law like Senators Feinstein and Schumer have lowered democracy's bar. When they argued that Mr. Mukasey should be confirmed because he's not as horrifying as Mr. Gonzales or as the acting attorney general who might get the job otherwise, they sounded whipped. After all these years of Bush-Cheney torture, they'll say things they know are false just to move on.

In a Times OpEd article justifying his reluctant vote to confirm a man Dick Cheney promised would make "an outstanding attorney general," Mr. Schumer observed that waterboarding is already "illegal under current laws and conventions." But then he vowed to support a new bill "explicitly" making waterboarding illegal because Mr. Mukasey pledged to enforce it. Whatever. Even if Congress were to pass such legislation, Mr. Bush would veto it, and even if the veto were by some miracle overturned, Mr. Bush would void the law with a "signing statement." That's what he effectively did in 2005 when he signed a bill that its authors thought outlawed the torture of detainees.

That Mr. Schumer is willing to employ blatant Catch-22 illogic to pretend that Mr. Mukasey's pledge on waterboarding has any force shows what pathetic crumbs the Democrats will settle for after all these years of being beaten down. The judges and lawyers challenging General Musharraf have more fight left in them than this.

Last weekend a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that the Democratic-controlled Congress and Mr. Bush are both roundly despised throughout the land, and that only 24 percent of Americans believe their country is on the right track. That's almost as low as the United States' rock-bottom approval ratings in the latest Pew surveys of Pakistan (15 percent) and Turkey (9 percent).

Wrong track is a euphemism. We are a people in clinical depression. Americans know that the ideals that once set our nation apart from the world have been vandalized, and no matter which party they belong to, they do not see a restoration anytime soon.

Meanwhile, after NTY editorialist David Brooks tried to whitewash Reagan's racism, both the always awesome Paul Krugman and the sometimes-pretty-good Bob Herbert gave him a smackdown. Both are also NYT editorialists.

It's like someone took over the paper. How long will it last?


By fnord12 | November 13, 2007, 2:03 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



This time i'm a'gonna win

Thanks to joshua for the tip on getting a $25 gift card if you buy Mario Galaxies at Toys R Us today. And no thanks at all to our supposedly inside man at Toy R Us for the same.

I was definitely gonna get the game cause it looks like a game that min can sort of play along in without getting dizzy, but we've got Oblivion and Okami to get through before i was going to buy anything new. But you can't pass up essentially buying the game for half-price.

The video game section of the store was totally full, and when i got to the counter, they didn't even ask me what i wanted; they just pulled out the next copy of Galaxies. I guess this is the Wii's Halo.

I also thought it was funny/sad that the bulletin board in the entranceway of the store was overflowing with recall notices due to lead contamination.


By fnord12 | November 13, 2007, 1:54 PM | Video Games | Comments (0) | Link



November 12, 2007

Better or worse than giant lego men?

Doritos ashore.


(h/t to Mike)


By fnord12 | November 12, 2007, 8:08 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link



51 is 51 again

The shoe is on the other foot, so 60 votes aren't needed this time.

Glenn Greenwald:

Every time Congressional Democrats failed this year to stop the Bush administration (i.e., every time they "tried"), the excuse they gave was that they "need 60 votes in the Senate" in order to get anything done. Each time Senate Republicans blocked Democratic legislation, the media helpfully explained not that Republicans were obstructing via filibuster, but rather that, in the Senate, there is a general "60-vote requirement" for everything.

How, then, can this be explained?

The Senate confirmed Michael B. Mukasey as attorney general Thursday night, approving him despite Democratic criticism that he had failed to take an unequivocal stance against the torture of terrorism detainees.

The 53-to-40 vote made Mr. Mukasey, a former federal judge, the third person to head the Justice Department during the tenure of President Bush . . . Thirty-nine Democrats and one independent [Bernie Sanders] opposed him.

Beyond that, four Senate Democrats running for President missed the vote, and all four had announced they oppose Mukasey's confirmation. Thus, at least 44 Senators claimed to oppose Mukasey's confirmation -- more than enough to prevent it via filibuster. So why didn't they filibuster, the way Senate Republicans have on virtually every measure this year which they wanted to defeat?

Numerous Senate Democrats delivered dramatic speeches from the floor as to why Mukasey's confirmation would be so devastating to the country. The Washington Post said the "vote came after more than four hours of impassioned floor debate."

"Torture should not be what America stands for . . . I do not vote to allow torture," said Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy. Russ Feingold said: "we need an attorney general who will tell the president that he cannot ignore the laws passed by Congress. And on that fundamental qualification for this office Judge Mukasey falls short." Feingold added: "If Judge Mukasey won't say the simple truth -- that this barbaric practice is torture -- how can we count on him to stand up to the White House on other issues?"

Wow -- it sounds as though there was really a lot at stake in this vote. So why would 44 Democratic Senators make a flamboyant showing of opposing confirmation without actually doing what they could to prevent it? Is it that a filibuster was not possible because a large number of these Democratic Senators were willing to symbolically oppose confirmation so they could say they did -- by casting meaningless votes in opposition knowing that confirmation was guaranteed -- but were unwilling to demonstrate the sincerity of their claimed beliefs by acting on them?


By fnord12 | November 12, 2007, 12:42 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



November 11, 2007

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Iron Fist #10 - I really get a "Sandman" vibe from all the backstory and fantasy elements that is being developed for K'un L'un. I'm liking it a lot. Je je je je je je je.

Fantastic Four #551 - Doom thought McDuffie was wrapping up all his plots last issue so Doom was surprised to see a new story starting, but it looks like it will be cool. Crap!
Doom will not comment on the plot yet since Doom suspects that all is not what it seems.

Starlord #4 - I've really enjoyed this quirky series. I liked Giffen's writing here better than on the main Annihilation books last time.

Annihilation: Conquest #1 - You can't kill Blastaar like that, man. Anyway, this was good but i'm still not sold on using Adam Warlock. I was happy to see the High Evolutionary show up; maybe he'll explain what the hell Glorian was up to in Annhilation: Ronan. I hope the big reveal at the end ties to recent events in Mighty Avengers.

Astonishing X-Men #23 - I need to go back and re-read #22 to see how this second layer of communication meshes. It looks like it was done very well. Slow as it's been, this is a good story.

MODOK's 11 #5 - Lots of double-crossing to keep track of but this was still a lot of fun. It was nice to see MODOK actually honor the contract with the three that didn't switch sides. I hope Van Lente gets more work as he's got a great handle on Marvel characters and this was very enjoyable. Hope someone can figure out the continuity problem with the Mandarins, though.

Illuminati #5 - Has Black Bolt really been a skrull since 1972? That seems... insane. And the "clue" in Illuminati #1 doesn't seem like much of a clue, either. But we'll have to see how it all shakes out, and it's certainly interesting. I love Bendis' dialogue.

I generally read my books in order from what i think i will enjoy least to what i think i will enjoy most, and this week i just couldn't put the comics in any order because i thought there were going to all be good, and i was right.


By fnord12 | November 11, 2007, 5:35 PM | Comics | Comments (5) | Link



November 8, 2007

No One Trick Pony

China's not just about lead in toys, you know.

U.S. safety officials have recalled about 4.2 million Chinese-made Aqua Dots bead toys that contain a chemical that has caused some children to vomit and become comatose after swallowing them.

Scientists have found the popular toy's coating contains a chemical that, once metabolized, converts into the toxic "date rape" drug GHB, or gamma-hydroxy butyrate, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesman Scott Wolfson told CNN.

"GHB is this drug that in low doses actually causes euphoria," said Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent. "In higher doses, it can cause people to go into a coma. It can cause seizures. It can cause something known as hypotonia, where all your muscles just become very flaccid.

"And it can cause people to become amnestic, ... which is why it became a date-rape drug," Gupta said.

"So this is nasty stuff, and it appears that the chemical is actually converting into it in the body."

The arts and craft beads, aimed at children 4 years and older, have been selling since April at major U.S. retail stores as "Aqua Dots" and in Australia under the name "Bindeez Beads."

...

Melbourne-based Moose Enterprise Pty. Ltd. recalled Bindeez Beads on Tuesday after three children in Australia swallowed large quantities of the beads and were hospitalized.

Look, here's the thing. Like feeding their kids bubble tea and whole fish with the bones, this whole date rape drug in paint beads is a test of intelligence and ability. The kids who don't choke to death on tapioca balls flying at high speeds through a straw or on fish bones are fit to continue living. Kids who can't get through this test of survival, who are too stupid to know not to swallow paint beads, or say, magnetic barbie dog poo, just don't make the cut. The Chinese are just weeding out the weak. What's the problem?


By min | November 8, 2007, 2:44 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



November 6, 2007

Remember, Remember, The Fifth of November

One day late.

Following a link from Digby, i was brought to this article by Harper's Magazine's Scott Horton about celebrating Counterterrorism Day.

On November 5, Britain remembers Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. Fawkes, an ensign, had taken the lead in a 1605 plot to blow up the houses of Parliament at Westminster as part of a Catholic effort to bring down the Protestant monarchy in England. He was apprehended--allegedly in the act itself--taken to the Tower, and subjected to torture. For centuries, Guy Fawkes Day marked the event. Englishmen were taught of the need to be vigilant in the defense of the realm, and particularly to remember the threat from within, from the disloyal Catholics. But mostly they enjoyed the privilege of lighting bonfires and engaging in pranks on a chilly autumn evening.

But today Britons have a take on Guy Fawkes that is much at odds with the historical one. Once Fawkes was a symbol of the traitor within. The people were called to be on guard against his like. No longer. Today Guy Fawkes is increasingly viewed as the heroic figure prepared to stand against an unjust and oppressive state, as a martyr and a victim of torture. What are the lessons of Guy Fawkes Day for 2007? I propose three:

...


  1. Torture Never Works and is Always Wrong

  2. Beware the Government that Rules By Fear

  3. A Government That Stereotypes Is Unjust



Go to the article itself for the specifics.

I fear that Americans won't learn these lessons until they or their friends or their family get accused by this government of being a Guy Fawkes and by then it will be much too late.


By min | November 6, 2007, 12:20 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Recap #12

Pirates, Har!


By min | November 6, 2007, 12:04 PM | D&D | Comments (5) | Link



Thas Nae Alcohol, Laddie

Tis only the blood of Christ I've been takin' a wee nip of.

Celebrating more than one mass a day may push Roman Catholic priests over the alcohol limit if tougher drink driving rules come into effect in Ireland, a leading clergyman said on Friday.

Altar wine is an essential part of the eucharist, the ritual in which Catholics believe the priest turns bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. A priest drinks a small amount of the wine during the mass.


...


Because the ranks of the Catholic clergy are thinning out, priests -- especially in rural areas -- often drive to several churches on Sunday to say mass for congregations who have no resident clergy.

"You could be over the limit trying to travel between maybe two or three churches on a Sunday morning and coming back again," Father Brian D'Arcy told Reuters.


...


Father Iggy O'Donovan from Drogheda, north of Dublin, said members of the congregation could always help finish the wine if too much was left over.

"The day that the celebration of the eucharist becomes a defence for drunk-driving -- I am afraid it beggars belief," he told RTE radio.

Father Iggy???

The blood of Christ isn't about to go bad, is it? Couldn't they just, i dunno, refrigerate it for next week's eucharist? It's already gross and full of everybody's backwash. I don't think a week in the fridge could possibly make it any worse.

Also, it's the blood of Christ! It's not alcohol. Who's getting drunk off of Jesus' blood? The Roman Catholics do truly believe in transmogrification, right? So there's no problem.

When are the Catholics going to admit that they're just pagans? I mean, really. All the ritual and the drinking of ritualistic blood and they're somehow not pagans?

Pagans.


By min | November 6, 2007, 11:27 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (4) | Link



Velcro Olympics

This page has the good pictures.

This page has the description for those of you whose lives were too sad to have ever been in a velcro race.

Velcro Olympics is an exciting new inflatable in which two guests put on velcro suits and compete by climbing, crawling and clawing their way through tunnels, over obstacles and under nets. But, just to make things interesting, this game includes lots of velcro which impedes the participants' speed and agility.

I'm sure my memory is hyping up exactly how much fun this was, but i don't care. I'm telling you anyway that it's the most awesome thing and i think every household should have one. I loved it so much that i went through again (not for the first time) even after i sprained my ankle.

We should get one for my birthday.


By min | November 6, 2007, 11:20 AM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link



November 5, 2007

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Daredevil annual #1 - Was this good? Yes. Would i be interested in a Black Tarantula series written by Ande Parks? Maybe, but i don't know how it could be much more than another Punisher series. Would i be interested in just about anything set in the Marvel Universe and written by Ed Brubaker? Yes.

Iron Man #23 - Hey, are these covers part of an interconnecting picture? Doesn't look like it, considering the cover to Iron Man #24 (and that's a really cool cover). But if not, what's that thing reaching towards Gadget on the cover of this issue? Anyway this was quite good. I enjoyed the appearance by Doc Sampson and seeing the Superhero Registration Act getting turned around on Tony. Min is right that Maya had better be under a subtle form of mind control or else she's being way too naive, but i think we've seen the Mandarin doing enough mental manipulation in this story that we can assume that's the case.

Quasar #4 - They got confused. They heard i wanted Warlock, but they gave me the wrong one. My idea fit the plot better. During the first Annihilation people asked "How can you do a cosmic storyline without Adam Warlock?" and the response was "Let's see if we can have a cosmic story without dragging Him out every time.", and they did and it was good. I'm not sure that his appearance is anything other than "Here's yer Adam Warlock", but i'm sure it'll still be good. This issue, and this series, was very good.

Also, heh:




By fnord12 | November 5, 2007, 8:57 AM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link



November 3, 2007

Fluff Buh?

alacrity [uh-lak-ri-tee]


-noun


  1. cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness: We accepted the invitation with alacrity.

  2. liveliness; briskness.

[Origin: 1500-10; < L alacritās, equiv. to alacri(s) lively + -tās- -ty]


By min | November 3, 2007, 1:06 PM | Good Words | Comments (0) | Link



November 2, 2007

The History of Marvel Comics Covers

A great series by Tom Brevoort.

Update: Unfortunately the original pages were taken down when Marvel revamped their site, but i've preserved them here.


By fnord12 | November 2, 2007, 9:08 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



November 1, 2007

Random Lyrics Thursday

Note: i'm not a big billy joel fan but i've always thought this was a good song, esp. the lyrics (although he didn't have to say "Pressure" after every. single. line.). When i first heard it on the radio, i thought it was 80s era Bowie for a few minutes. Hey, that's a compliment, right? "Dude, when i first heard your song, i thought it a semi-washed up, high-on-cocaine legend from the 70s putting out a half-way decent song again*! Until i heard the happy pappy poppy chorus."

Pressure by Billy Joel

You have to learn to pace yourself
Pressure
You're just like everybody else
Pressure
You've only had to run so far
So good
But you will come to a place
Where the only thing you feel
Are loaded guns in your face
And you'll have to deal with
Pressure

You used to call me paranoid
Pressure
But even you cannot avoid
Pressure
You turned the tap dance into your crusade
Now here you are with your faith
And your Peter Pan advice
You have no scars on your face
And you cannot handle
Pressure

All grown up and no place to go
Psych I, Psych II
What do you know?
All your life is Channel 13
Sesame Street
What does it mean?

(I'll tell you what it means)
Pressure
Pressure

Don't ask for help
You're all alone
Pressure
You'll have to answer
To your own
Pressure
I'm sure you'll have some cosmic rationale
But here you are in the ninth
Two men out and three men on
Nowhere to look but inside
Where we all respond to
Pressure
Pressure

All your life is Time Magazine
I read it too
What does it mean?

Pressure

I'm sure you'll have some cosmic rationale
But here you are with your faith
And your Peter Pan advice
You have no scars on your face
And you cannot handle
Pressure
Pressure
Pressure
One, two, three, four
Pressure

*David Bowie put out some very good music in the early 80s, too.


By fnord12 | November 1, 2007, 8:46 AM | Music | Comments (1) | Link



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