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January 31, 2008

Random Lyrics Thursday

Space Dog by Tori Amos

Way to go Mr. Microphone
Show us all what you don't know
Centuries secret societies
He's our commander still
Space Dog

So sure we were on something
Your feet are finally on the ground
He said so sure
We were on something
Your feet are just on the ground girl

Rain and snow our engines have been receiving
Your eager call there's colonel Dirtyfishydishcloth
He'll distract her good don't worry so

And to the one you thought was on your side
She can't understand she truly believes the lie

Lemon Pie
He's coming through
Our commander still
Space Dog
Lines secure
Space Dog

Deck the halls I"m young again
I'm you again
Racing turtles
The grapefruit is winning
Seems I keep getting this story twisted
So where's Neil when you need him
Deck the halls it's you again
It's you again
Somewhere someone must know the ending
Is she still pissing in the river
Now heard she'd gone
Moved into a trailer park

So sure we were on something
(So sure those girls now are in the Navy)
Your feet are finally on the ground
(those bombs, our friends, can't even hurt you now)
He said so sure we were on something
(and hold those tears cause they're still on your side)
Your feet are just on the ground girl
(don't hear the dogs barking)
So sure we were on something
(Don't say you know we've gone, Andromeda)
Your feet are finally on the ground
(stood with those girls before)
He said so sure we were on something
(the hair in pairs it just got nasty)
Your feet are just on the ground girl
(and now those girls are gone)


By fnord12 | January 31, 2008, 8:59 AM | Music | Comments (1) | Link



January 30, 2008

What's the goddamn difference?

Huffington Post:

Mitt Romney was caught on tape Sunday saying his GOP rival John McCain was "lying" about his position on the Iraq war, before quickly telling a reporter he regretted his words. The Arizona senator was merely "dishonest," Romney said.

Appearing on the campaign trail in Florida, Romney was asked about the criticism, launched by McCain, that he has a timeline for withdrawing troops from Iraq.

"I don't have one, never had," Romney said.

"He says you do," chimed a reporter.

"Well, he's lying," replied the former governor, with a slight laugh. Within a second his tune changed. "He's dishonest [inaudible]. He's being dishonest about that. That's not accurate."

"Are you calling him a liar?" the reporter asked.

"No I'm not. I'm saying he made a dishonest comment. I misspoke."


By fnord12 | January 30, 2008, 4:00 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



The Sky is Falling

A disabled American spy satellite is rapidly descending and is likely to plunge to Earth by late February or early March, posing a potential danger from its debris, officials said Saturday.
...
Shortly after the satellite reached orbit, ground controllers lost the ability to control it and were never able to regain communication.

Link

The article goes on to note how satellites are always falling out of the sky and crashing into earth. Here's a tip. How about you figure out how to prevent that from happening after the first time, brain trust?

My favorite part is where their entire philosophy is "Well, so far they've landed in remote areas and nobody's been injured. We're hoping we get lucky again."


By min | January 30, 2008, 3:30 PM | Science | Comments (2) | Link



January 28, 2008

Ice Cream of the Future is Not Dippin' Dots

Tank goff.

This is a much better use of scientists' time than creating bacteria that will eventually mutate and eat us all.


By min | January 28, 2008, 12:11 PM | Science | Comments (11) | Link



January 26, 2008

¿Quien Es Mas Doom?


By fnord12 | January 26, 2008, 6:42 PM | Comics & Star Wars | Comments (2) | Link



January 25, 2008

Looking behind the curtain

I hate "politics".

I like I'm interested in politics, but i hate "politics".


By fnord12 | January 25, 2008, 3:13 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (6) | Link



Classy

Citizens United Not Timid (hee-hee our acronym is naughty!). Losers.


By fnord12 | January 25, 2008, 2:20 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 24, 2008

It's Reached Jersey

I'm sitting here at my desk and suddenly i smell maple syrup. You might say it's because someone has brought some breakfast into the building. I have another theory.

Something strange is going on -- last night the whole city smelled like maple syrup! Gothamist has gotten reports from all over Manhattan -- and we smelled the strange, sweet odor as far south as Chambers Street. Gothamist Contribute also has some reports...

HT to jazmine for alerting me to the danger i'm in.


By min | January 24, 2008, 3:14 PM | My stupid life | Comments (2) | Link



Random Lyrics Thursday

The Safe Way by the Legendary Pink Dots

The right hand grips, the left hand slides. The pennies drop,
the boxes glide. It never stops. She worked the line
blind. Folded, pushed, . . . A pirhouette. No thought, no joy,
no regrets. A cigarette was hanging from a cord and
every thousand boxes she'd suck her reward and find
her island. But the siren howled. The whip cracked
anda pre-packed mountain pressed her neck. She'd
switch to frantic, automatic. Clear the decks. Turn on,
tune in--machine was humming omm. Neon. Flashing
laser blade was scratching OBEY! No rest, no play.
No time. She worked the line. The pay was fine.
She'd find her island in July and find a rock to
sit on quietly humming ommmm. The pay was fine. She
worked the line. She'd find her island in July and
find a rock to sit on quietly humming OBEY . . .


By fnord12 | January 24, 2008, 8:01 AM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



Grading Candidate's Stimulus Packages

I don't necessarily agree with this guy (he thinks that long term investments won't make a difference in time; i think this is going to be a big one and we need a combination of long and short term shots) but it's nice to see someone actually analyzing the candidate's policies and not just worrying about who said what about Reagan.


By fnord12 | January 24, 2008, 7:55 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



The military speaks

Interesting article that shows discrepancies between the White House and the Pentagon. My question is, will they continue to speak out when General Petraeus, who clearly holds the White House's line and not the Pentagons, runs for president in 2012? And will anybody listen?


By fnord12 | January 24, 2008, 7:39 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 23, 2008

Harry Reid - fighter!

Check out these strong words from Senate Majority Leader Reid:

[I]f people think they are going to talk this to death, we are going to be in here all night. This is not something we are going to have a silent filibuster on. If someone wants to filibuster this bill, they are going to do it in the openness of the Senate.

Whooo! Way to go Harry! That's the way to force these Republican obstructionists to... oh. Oh wait. Oh. Umm, it turns out that the bill Reid is referring to is the one that increases Bush's wiretapping powers and grants immunities to the telecom industry. And his comments are directed, not at Republicans, but at Democratic Senators Dodd and Feingold.

Seriously: what the fuck?

Here's Glenn Greenwald's post on this insanity, and also see the post on how the Dems are letting Josh Bolton and Harriet Miers get away with ignoring congressional subpoenas.


By fnord12 | January 23, 2008, 3:41 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Bananarama!

Good lord! Did you know they were putting albums out as late as 2005? My god. What were they thinking??

They're gonna tour! How can you people harp on the recession and the primaries when tragedies like this are occurring?


By min | January 23, 2008, 3:34 PM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



Bad PoPo!

i dreamt Popo was going to kill fnord12 with an ice scraper. He came up behind fnord and loomed over him while holding the ice scraper in his hand. Ofc he was looming. He sits on top of the speakers all the time.


By min | January 23, 2008, 3:31 PM | My Dreams | Comments (1) | Link



SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

I've been delaying putting this up because someone hasn't gotten around to reading them yet, but i can delay no further!

Incredible Hulk Hercules #113: I'm really enjoying seeing Ares as a bad guy in a good guy role, which is given more play here than in Mighty Avengers. Ares was an Avengers villain for a long time, and it doesn't make sense that he would suddenly become heroic (not saying that Bendis' stories are illogical, just that he hasn't devoted time to this aspect). Pak writes Hercules and Wonder Man well, and i'd like to see him doing more in the mainstream Marvel Universe. I also think he's setting up his supposed Mary Sue character up a bit. Clearly Cho should be helping the refugees at this point. His obsession with attacking SHIELD instead is showing a flaw in his character, something we haven't seen before, and a good move from a character development perspective. Also, should it bother me that this version of the Hercules and Nessus the Centaur myth is different than the way it was depicted in the little-read Hulk: Hercules Unleashed one shot from 1996? This website says "the trauma at the time and the millennia that have passed since have dulled Hercules' memory. He has told differing versions as the mood suited him." I guess that covers it.

Iron Fist #12 - While this is very good, it's a shame that they keep needing to bring in art help. Although i want to say very loudly that I'D RATHER HAVE FILL-IN ART THAN WAIT 3 MONTHS FOR EACH ISSUE! I'm having enough trouble remembering the intricacies of the intrigue and the history as it is. I'm looking forward to re-reading this as a whole when it's all done.


By fnord12 | January 23, 2008, 11:10 AM | Comics | Comments (6) | Link



January 22, 2008

Do you find my economic rants too long?

Do you plod as you read?

By fnord12 | January 22, 2008, 5:06 PM | Comics & Ummm... Other? | Comments (5) | Link



Going for the easy joke.

Galactus shorts

By fnord12 | January 22, 2008, 4:35 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link



Only in it for the money

It's rare to see any music ads in a comic book, and i find it especially odd to see one for the Mothers of Invention. I wonder if it worked.

Note that you can't order the albums directly. You have to write to them, and presumably you get a catalogue back, and then you can send away for the album and then they ship it to you.

In a time of amazon.com, let alone iTunes, that seems like an awfully long time to have to wait for music.

This image is from Fantastic Four #73, Apr 1968.


By fnord12 | January 22, 2008, 4:12 PM | Music | Comments (2) | Link



Why does it have to be her?

Greg Saunders at This Modern World:

For starters, Clinton's biggest selling point has been her "experience", but as Timothy Noah wrote at Slate, Hillary's claim of experience is incredibly dishonest :
[D]uring her husband's two terms in office, Hillary Clinton did not hold a security clearance, did not attend meetings of the National Security Council, and was not given a copy of the president's daily intelligence briefing. During trips to Bosnia and Kosovo, she "acted as a spokeswoman for American interests rather than as a negotiator." On military affairs, most of her experience derives not from her White House years but from serving on the Senate armed services committee.

Even if she was able to claim Bill's experience as her own, what is there to brag about? NAFTA? Welfare reform? Don't Ask, Don't Tell? The Communications Decency Act? Easing media ownership laws? Defense of Marriage Act? If she wants to run on her husband's record, then it's worth pointing out that the Clinton Administration wasn't the progressive paradise that she's promising.

During the Clinton years, there was one big "accomplishment" that she can claim... her failure to enact universal healthcare. Considering that one of her biggest promises on the stump has been universal healthcare, I'd expect the "most experienced" candidate to have a better pitch in this regard than "second time’s the charm". If Hillary can learn from the mistakes she made in 1994, who's to say the other candidates can't also learn those lessons?

Of course, another point against Hillary is that I don't think she's truly taken the lessons of the Clinton years to heart. She came into Washington in 1992 and the GOP establishment destroyed her and her husband. She was seen as arrogant for trying to use her position as first lady to strive for universal healthcare, demonized as a corrupt witch for Whitewater, and had to sit idly by while the GOP leadership in Washington dragged the nation through impeachment. Yet though all of that, she and Bill are still naive enough to believe that they can triangulate their way towards legislative victories and trust people who have shown them nothing but contempt.

Yet once Hillary became a Senator, for all of her talk about the "vast right-wing conspiracy", she was foolish enough to give the benefit of the doubt to people who have proved themselves to be untrustworthy. She voted for the Iraq war, the bankruptcy bill, declaring Iran's Revolutionary Guard a Terrorist organization, etc. She's obviously not as bad as the Republicans in this regard, but for somebody who's been through the bullshit she's been through, I'd expect a little more skepticism.

Check out the rest for an assessment of the other Democratic candidates.


By fnord12 | January 22, 2008, 12:53 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 21, 2008

Democrats offer slightly better alternative.

When we face a recession, the government should increase spending in ways that will create jobs, even if it means deficit spending. Public works/infrastructure investment is the best way to go. The idea is that you are creating stability in the job market, increasing the number of people who have reliable jobs and cash on hand. People with money and the assurance that they will remain employed will pump that money back into the economy. This has the short term benefit of keeping people employed, the medium term benefit of stimulating the economy once the newly employed people start spending or investing their money, and the long term benefit of improving our country's infrastructure (forget just repairing our crumbling roads and bridges, which would be nice enough, and imagine a program to create a major public transportation system or install solar panels and greywater systems into all our public buildings).

Bush's solution to a recession is an income tax cut, favoring the wealthy. Actually, even calling it a solution is being generous and naive. Bush wants to use the excuse of a recession to call for a tax cut. He was just as happy to call for a tax cut when the economy was doing well and the government was running a surplus of revenue. The real purpose of his tax cuts are to reward the Republican party's true constituency and cripple the government so that it doesn't have the revenue to even respond to emegencies, let alone do anything to actually improve the country, thus increasing the perception that government is always inefficient.

But let's pretend to take Bush's 'solution' seriously. Where an increase in public spending results in the benefits listed above at the cost of running a decifit, a tax cut puts more money into the hands of individuals, and in Bush's proposal it puts most of that money in the hands of individuals who already have a plenty of money. Unlike the assurance of a stable job, a one time windfall or even a permanent decrease in tax rates is not going to encourage people to spend more. In the face of a recession, people are more likely to hang on to money for emergencies, or, for the wealthy, wait for a more stable time period to invest. This second part is important to emphasis, as proponets of Bush's tax cuts claim that if they have extra money on hand, business leaders will engage in private investments as a more efficient substitute for government's public investements. Business leaders do not invest during a recession. If the economy is looking bad, business leaders do not increase hiring, replace private infrastructure, or invest in new businesses. Even if you have money, if the economy is looking unreliable, it is not a wise time to be taking risks. This is worth constrasting with the public spending strategy, which makes long term investments specifically when private industries are pulling back on their investments.

So while a tax cut may put a little more money in people's pockets (unless they get laid off), it doesn't really provide any of the benefits that public spending promises. So even if we were to take Bush's motives at face value, there is no reason to take a tax cut proposal seriously.

The Democrats see things differently, of course. Chuck Schumer, in proposing an alternative to Bush's tax cut, has come up with a different tax cut, based the payroll tax instead of, or in addition to, the income tax. Make no mistake that this would be better than Bush's proposal. It will expand the scope of the tax cut to lower and middle income families that can really use the help. But it is still just a tax cut, which means it will have none of the benefits of public spending. Worse, it legitimizes the idea that a tax cut is a solution to a recession. Schumer's proposal accepts Bush's framing of the debate that a tax cut is the only legitimate response to a recession, leaving only the question of what kind.

There was a time when the public spending strategy would have been the mainstream response to a recession (It is based on Keynesian economics, not Socialism.). However, there has been a gradual rightward shift in the politics of this country based on Republicans making outrageous claims ("Tax cuts increase revenue.") and Democrats responding in befuddling ways that accept the basic premise ("Well, tax cuts do increase revenue but we need to ensure that they benefit everyone."). This is why the Democrats have been so frustrating. They are being dragged around by the Republicans, their attempts at resisting are in fact legitimizing right-wing economic ideology, and they are making no bold attempts to move in the other direction at all. The current front runners in the Democratic primaries have all exhibited this pattern.


By fnord12 | January 21, 2008, 8:37 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 17, 2008

Lead Singer Syndrome at the Prog House

Our first gig! Come check us out with the great band Fun Machine at the Old Franklin Schoolhouse. The event is organized by NJ Prog House, which specializes in organizing progressive rock events. We're playing on Saturday, February 16th. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $20 at the door, but $15 if you buy them in advance so got to NJ Prog House and get 'em now.


By fnord12 | January 17, 2008, 10:30 PM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



Recap #14

More Monster-Generating Skulls


By min | January 17, 2008, 6:10 PM | D&D | Comments (1) | Link



So Stan didn't let Mr. Fantastic stretch his neck, eh?

This Tom Brevoort guy [Update: link has rotted away] just isn't looking very credible these days (kidding!). Image is from Lee & Kirby's Fantastic Four #19, Oct 1963.

Update: Here's another from FF #28, Jul 1964, also by Lee/Kirby:


By fnord12 | January 17, 2008, 2:15 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



Workingest

Think Progress:

At a press conference today unveiling the stimulus proposal, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) justified the conservative plan to give tax breaks to corporations - instead of working Americans - by arguing that people actually like working long hours:

I am so proud to be from the state of Minnesota. We're the workingest state in the country, and the reason why we are, we have more people that are working longer hours, we have people that are working two jobs.

...
Bachmann may be taking her cues from her bosom buddy President Bush, who on Feb. 4, 2005, told a divorced mother of three: "You work three jobs?...Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that."

By fnord12 | January 17, 2008, 1:26 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



My favorite part is the word 'contemporary'

Mike Huckabee:

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution," Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."

By fnord12 | January 17, 2008, 1:09 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



Random Lyrics Thursday

Epitaph by King Crimson

The wall on which the prophets wrote
Is cracking at the seams.
Upon the instruments if death
The sunlight brightly gleams.
When every man is torn apart
With nightmares and with dreams,
Will no one lay the laurel wreath
As silence drowns the screams.

Between the iron gates of fate,
The seeds of time were sown,
And watered by the deeds of those
Who know and who are known;
Knowledge is a deadly friend
When no one sets the rules.
The fate of all mankind I see
Is in the hands of fools.

Confusion will be my epitaph.
As I crawl a cracked and broken path
If we make it we can all sit back
and laugh.
But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying,
Yes I fear tomorrow I'll be crying.


By fnord12 | January 17, 2008, 10:10 AM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



Spice Girls

I can't believe none of you told me they were getting back together.

"Girl Power is back and stronger than ever". With these words the Spice Girls announced they are to reform and embark on a world tour, six years after they split up and the day after a line was drawn under the era they helped to define.
...
After months of rumoured negotiations, all five members of the band - Posh, Ginger, Scary, Baby and Sporty, to use their original nicknames - have agreed to the reunion, which will see them embark on a 11 date world tour next December that will include stops in London, New York, Beijing and Buenos Aires.

I like this bit best:

When asked her opinion of Gordon Brown, however, it took Mel C to explain to Mel B who he was.

Whoo! Girl Power!


By min | January 17, 2008, 9:22 AM | Music | Comments (1) | Link



January 14, 2008

Recession?

  1. "When you are not buying name-brand cough syrup, something is going on."
  2. Dean Baker:
    The news articles today all report on how the country's leading economists now believe that we currently are in, or soon will be in, a recession. This is big news, in fact it's bigger news than the reports suggest. As I've written in the past, economists have an enormous bias against seeing recessions. Virtually no economist saw the recession coming in 2001, even after the stock bubble was already well on its way to deflating (okay, none of them saw the bubble either). This includes all the official forecasters, CBO and OMB both projected solid growth in 2001.

    Economists don't predict recession. Economists don't predict recessions. (I'm not in the fraternity.) Say it one thousand times until it sinks in. Economists, when we are lucky, recognize recessions after we are already in them. The fact that so many economists are now willing to say that we are facing recessions should be viewed as a lagging indicator of a recession. It is very reliable -- I am fairly certain that there has never been a period in which a sizable share of economists forecast a recession (the WSJ puts the aggregate probability at 43 percent) and we have not actually been in a recession.



  3. Paul Krugman:

    Monetary policy mainly exerts its influence through housing: high interest rates squeeze home construction, low rates encourage it. Interest rates have much less direct effect on business investment. The reason? Housing lasts much longer.

    Suppose you take out a loan to buy a machine whose economic life is only 5 years - which is highly likely, given both physical wear and tear and technological obsolescence. How much difference does it make whether the interest rate on the loan is 4 percent or 6 percent? Not much: the monthly payment on a 5-year loan at 4% is less than 5% lower than the monthly payment on a loan at 6%. So interest rates don't have much effect on business investment.

    On the other hand, suppose you buy a house with a 30-year mortgage. The monthly payment on a 4% mortgage is more than 20 percent lower than on a 6% mortgage. So interest rates make a lot of difference to housing.

    So here's what normally happens in a recession: the Fed cuts rates, housing demand picks up, and the economy recovers.

    But this time the source of the economy's problems is a bursting housing bubble.

    ...
    So: is it even possible for the Fed to cut interest rates enough to create a renewed housing boom? (The Fed can cut the overnight rate all the way to zero, but even large changes in the overnight rate can have only modest effects on mortgage interest rates, if the market perceives those changes as temporary.) If it can't, how much can the Fed really do to help the economy?

By fnord12 | January 14, 2008, 7:20 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



Where's Cosmo?

Nova without a talking dog just isn't Nova anymore.


By fnord12 | January 14, 2008, 9:58 AM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link



January 11, 2008

Golden Compass review

By my favorite comic book reviewer, Paul O'Brien. No spoilers.


By fnord12 | January 11, 2008, 4:28 PM | Movies | Comments (0) | Link



Is Mad Magazine actually funny nowadays?

This is a good satirical article about One More Day, anyway.


By fnord12 | January 11, 2008, 4:23 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



We have ways of making him talk

TPM:

With a full-blown criminal investigation in the works, Jose Rodriguez, the CIA official who ordered the destruction of the torture tapes, says, via his lawyer Bob Bennett, that he's not testifying about it to Congress without immunity. He'd been scheduled to speak to the House intelligence committee next week as part of their investigation.

If the committee did give him immunity, it could potentially compromise the criminal investigation. If they didn't, he'd probably spend most of his time pleading the Fifth.

So he won't talk, huh? Well, let's see if some sleep deprivation and simulated drowning won't loosen his tongue a little. Or maybe some thumbscrews.


By fnord12 | January 11, 2008, 1:49 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Retailer reaction to One more Day

Newsarama

Regardless of my opinion of the story, it's too bad that Marvel sort of changed two variables at once here. For one thing, they rebooted the continuity in a way that long term fans don't like in an effort to attract new readers. At the same time, they've changed the publishing schedule so that Amazing Spider-Man comes out three times a month. I'd be interested in how either of those two elements affected the sales, but now it's not possible to determine which change is attributable.

Writing this, i now wonder if the entire thing is planned so that Marvel can collect the three issues into a larger monthly book that can be sold in a magazine rack in a non-comic store - a goal that has been a long term desire for Marvel. Wanting to go to a simpler continuity makes more sense if you are trying to attract casual buyers.


By fnord12 | January 11, 2008, 1:14 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



Argument to Beethoven's Fifth

I thought this was pretty cool, even if my modern ADD-addled brain got a little antsy halfway through it.



By fnord12 | January 11, 2008, 9:49 AM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



Earth, the Living Planet

A new resolution passed in a county of Flordia:

[W]e are requesting that the State Board of Education direct the Florida Department of Education to revise/edit the new Sunshine State Standards for Science so that evolution is presented as one of several theories as to how the universe was formed.

Yep, Darwin's theory that the Earth evolved from a platypus is just that: a theory.


By fnord12 | January 11, 2008, 9:25 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 9, 2008

Lead Singer Syndrome

Our new band has got a few recordings up. Click the image to check out our myspace site.


By fnord12 | January 9, 2008, 3:26 PM | Music | Comments (3) | Link



One More Day - reaction

There has been a faction at Marvel for a long time that has hated the marriage between Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson. The Clone Saga was an attempt to wipe away that marriage by saying the Spider-Man who married MJ wasn't the real Spider-Man. John Byrne and Howard Mackie's killing off of MJ was another attempt at getting rid of the marriage, but having Peter as a widower or a divorcee was eventually determined to be just as bad as being married. The Ultimate Spider-Man book was an attempt to start over with Spider-Man so that he wouldn't have all the "baggage" he had in the original books.

Was the marriage a good idea? I really don't know. It happened twenty years ago, about 3 years after i started collecting comics, so to me it's just the status quo. The argument is that because he's married, Peter appears "older" and therefore doesn't appeal to kids any more, and it also makes all the love triangle stuff that made the 70s books so popular among teen-agers no longer possible. I suppose it's a valid argument.

It's also true that there hasn't really been a good writer on Spider-Man in 20 years. Is that because Marvel can't attract good writers to a married Spider-Man? Is it because Spider-Man's current situation just didn't inspire the writers on the book? Or is it completely unrelated to the marriage.

In any event, One More Day is the latest attempt at reversing the marriage. It was done in a four part story that was supposed to come out once a week but instead came out over the course of, oh let's just say 6 and a half years. It was written by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS), who is a writer who played fast and loose with Spider-Man's history in ways i didn't like on a few occasions but is generally very good, especially with characterization and dialogue. It was drawn by Joe Quesada, who is also the Editor in Chief at Marvel. As the second to last issue came out, JMS put out a note on the internet saying the Quesada had re-written large parts of JMS's story, but that turned out to be something of a sideshow since each creator intended to reverse the marriage, it was only a question of how.

On its own merits, the story wasn't very good. It was extremely "decompressed", meaning very little happened in each issue, and it was painfully obvious where the story was going, leading most readers to expect some sort of twist ending, which never happened. Additionally, the dialogue and characterization wasn't up to JMS's best, the art was ugly, and it just generally wasn't very enjoyable to read.

The end result of the story is that Peter Parker and Mary Jane make a deal with Satan in order to keep Peter's Aunt May from dying from a bullet wound. In return, they give up their marriage.

As bewildering as that all of that was, it isn't really any more awful than a lot of dreck that gets put out by Marvel on occasion. Sure, Peter would never make a deal with Satan, and we all know that deals with Satan never work well. Sure, it doesn't make sense to give up your wife for an 80 year old woman who will probably die tomorrow of natural causes anyway. Sure, it doesn't make any sense that Satan would be interested in taking someone's marriage. All of that is CRAZY and damaging to the threadwork of the Marvel Universe, but it's Howard Mackie/Chuck Austen level crazy.

But the execution of the marriage reversal is what's really damaging. The marriage isn't just annulled, it is instead retroactively wiped out. Meaning it never happened. And Marvel threw in a few freebies for itself as well, so in addition to the marriage being gone, Peter's friend Harry Osborn, who's been dead since 1993, is alive again. And Peter's organic web-shooters, which he developed a few years ago to make him more in line with the movie version of Spider-Man, are gone again. And who knows what else; by all appearances, the end of One More Day places Peter into a status quo of around 1974.

This has of course invalidated many, many Marvel stories. And fan reaction has not been positive.


Tom Brevoort posted this on his blog about One More Day, in an attempt to get people to read the follow-up, Brand New Day: [Update: as of right now it appears that Brevoort has taken down the post. Following this link shows only the comments reacting to it, and the post itself does not appear on the main page. It's back now.]

It's amazing to me that no matter how long I'm in this business, the fans can always surprise me. Not that they're upset about the end of the Spider-marriage--no, that I expected. But the fact that you guys in general are so mad that you'll pick at any possibility for a fight, sling any insult at any person whether they're involved with the book or not, throw around hyperbole so bombastic that it would make Stan Lee himself blush, and just generally be looking so desperately hard for reasons to vent your ire took me completely aback.

I mean, I know you guys are intelligent, and you're all well-versed enough in how comic book universes work to be able to figure out simple things like the fact that Norman Osborn doesn't remember who Spider-Man is now doesn't have any effect on him throwing Gwen Stacy off a bridge years ago (and just how many times has Norman forgotten that Pete was Spidey and that he was the Goblin over the years?)

Maybe it's just because it's Spider-Man, who seems to inspire this sort of devotion-to-the-point-of fundamentalism from his fans. There was one poster who uploaded letters that appeared in the books right after Gwen's death that were very much of-a-kind (one can only imagine what the letters they didn't or couldn't print looked like at that point.)

But I know that the discussion isn't really over Spidey making a deal with the devil, or about whether Little Normie Osborn is alive or dead, or how the Jonathan Caesar story - a character who hasn't appeared in the strip in well over fifteen years - can possibly work. That's all the cloud cover. This is a break-up, a funeral for something that you loved. It's grief and pain, funneled into rage.


I read marvel comics because i have an investment in the characters and the story of the marvel universe i've been reading since childhood. One More Day blew a lot of that away, and beyond that it signaled that *any* Marvel story could be blown away because Marvel Editorial doesn't think that stuff is important any longer (It also wasn't a very well written story, but that's not what's important here). So no, i have no interest in Brand New Day, because that's not "my" Spider-Man anymore (disclaimer: i wasn't planning on getting it initially anyway, due to the fact that i didn't like the creators involved). Without the rich history, Marvel doesn't really have any appeal. Imagine Civil War or World War Hulk with generic stand-ins instead of the characters we've grown to know and love. The stories would be almost pointless, maybe worth the attention one gives to a big dumb summer blockbuster except without the big screen special effects.

Along similar lines, Peter David recently wrote:

There are complaints because years worth of continuity has suddenly been rendered moot? Okay, well...did you enjoy the stories when you read them? Yes? Good: You got your money's worth. Can you still pull them out and re-read them? Yes? Good: Then OMD didn't somehow cause the previous comics to magically vanish from existence. I mean, I *wrote* a number of those stories that, in terms of plot and character development are no longer relevant, and I'm not cracking up over it. I wrote them, they were enjoyed for what they were (or disliked for what they were), and that to my mind is the end of it.

The fact that a lot of Marvel editors and writers seem incapable of grasping this basic concept bewilders me. Do they think that people buy their comics because they are great works of literature? We buy them because we are fans of these characters. Peter, i liked your stories about the merged Hulk because it took a look at the years of existing Hulk stories, analyzed them from an interesting new perspective, and gave us good stories about that character. You couldn't have *written* those stories if they didn't have all that backstory to build upon. And when i, and the army of geeks like me that keep the super-hero comic industry alive, dig out your Hulk story and re-read it, we're enjoying because yes, they're well-written, but also because they are important events that "actually happened" in the course of a larger story that we're interested/invested in. If one day that run is wiped out the way years of Spider-Man comics have been wiped out; if one day a marvel editor lazily decides that the Hulk has been a Skrull since 1985 so they can go back to telling "classic" Hulk stories without all this multiple-personality stuff, i'm no longer interested in it. Your Hulk run becomes as interesting to me as Soulsearchers or your novel about the werewolf.

Again, it amazes me that editors and writers at Marvel are so dismissive of the concept of 'continuity'. This is the basic concept of the Marvel Universe. This is its appeal. Brevoort writes, "there is something cool about the fact that these fictions that we spin can affect so many people this way", but he doesn't seem to understand why we care.

My suspicion is that once again the concerns of the current fanbase aren't important as Marvel once again attempts to bring in readers that aren't 30+ year old fanboys. "If only Spider-man wasn't married, then kids would put away their gameboys and start reading comic books again." We'll see. I suspect Brand New Day will have good sales, probably New Avengers level sales. I also suspect that if they had just put a Bendis level writer and equally good artist on Spider-Man without doing any of these retcons, they'd also have good sales. In neither case will the readership suddenly go up to the numbers they had in the 60s when comics were a primary form of entertainment for children.

So what does this mean for me? Well, i wasn't going to get Brand New Day, but with the rotating creator scheme they are switching to, i originally thought i would be in for some Spider-Man stories at some point in the future. As it stands i'll be avoiding that book for a long while. And like Brevoort suggests, as a long term super-hero comics fan, i can twist my brain around in such a way that i can believe that the stories still "happened" until they didn't, so i can keep going with my continuity project and whatever. I still think that Marvel is in a creative high point, with a number of good writers, so i do plan on continuing to read Marvel books. So basically it just means i'm a little angry (impotently), but i also think that if fan reaction continues to boil and if sales on Brand New Day and the subsequent Spider-Man book aren't amazing, it's a decent bet that this will be re-reversed in a few years. Either that or Marvel will drop continuity altogether and then i can stop collecting their books. That's a win-win situation for me in the long run.


By fnord12 | January 9, 2008, 2:17 PM | Comics | Comments (6) | Link



Is It Just Me?

Or does anyone else feel like it's February?


By min | January 9, 2008, 12:41 PM | My stupid life | Comments (5) | Link



Rainbow

On my way to work this morning i saw a full rainbow - a complete semi-circle. I could see the end of it on the horizon. Wish i'd had a camera so i could pull over and take a picture of it. I've never seen one of those before. The most i've seen is mebbe a quarter circle. I was driving at the time and let me just tell you this, kids - don't try to look at a rainbow and get on a highway at the same time. I have no further comment on this subject.


By min | January 9, 2008, 10:41 AM | My stupid life | Comments (0) | Link



January 8, 2008

Something Essential is Missing From Our Way of Life Here in the States

And it makes me sad.




And i still haven't seen an episode of Chinese Kung Fu Star Search, much to my chagrin.


By min | January 8, 2008, 9:06 PM | TeeVee | Comments (1) | Link



Why I Hate the Primaries

This is the headline on CBS News today.

Barack Obama Is On The Verge Of Becoming The Clear Democratic Frontrunner. How Did He Do It?

HELLO! We've had one - ONE - primary so far. Last i checked, there are 48 other states yet to weigh in on this (49 for the Republicans because they didn't refuse to run in Wyoming as a protest against that state for having the nerve to horn in on Iowa's "first" status - just another example of why the Democrats make me tired). I'm sure Iowans are very nice, but i think we can all agree that they are not exactly a representative cross-section of the population. And even if they were, I'd still really like to get my vote in before someone decides who's the "clear" frontrunner.

There's no reason to hang onto this archaic tradition of letting Iowa be first. It only serves to make the whole process completely unfair both to the people and to the candidates. As you can see, the media already thinks the whole process is done. Obama's the frontrunner. Clinton's bracing for a loss. (Course, this is the spin for the Democratic candidates only. While Clinton got 29% of the votes in Iowa, they talk about her campaign as dead in the water. McCain meanwhile only got 13% of the vote, but the media mouthpieces say he's making a comeback and he's going to make a strong showing at a later date. Don't you love the spin machine? I love it so much, i wish i could find it and punch it repeatedly in the balls.) It doesn't matter that logically, 1 win out of 50 shouldn't make or break a campaign. It does because that's how it's portrayed. Come Super Tuesday on February 5th, we may not have to bother with voting at all. The 6 states who got to vote first will prolly have already decided for us. All the other candidates will prolly have dropped out because they read it in the paper that they were done.

Votes can be counted in a day. With television and the internet, candidates no longer need to travel from state to state campaigning for each primary. Do it all at once like they do for the presidential election. Screw Iowa's ego. It's detrimental to the country. And while you're at it, get rid of the damned Electoral College because i would like my vote to actually count for something. I don't need someone screening my choice, thanks.


By min | January 8, 2008, 1:23 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



You have to admit it's impressive...

Daily Howler:

Yesterday, a C-SPAN caller from Scottsdale, Arizona posed this question to Rudy Giuliani. On Olympus, the gods rocked with laughter as this call occurred:
C-SPAN CALLER (1/6/08): First of all, regarding tax cuts, you'e 100 percent right. McCain doesn't understand economics - revenues and expenditures. If you're spending too much, that's an expenditure problem. If you're cutting taxes, you're increasing revenues. He somehow thinks that tax cuts are making the deficit worse. And it makes no sense. He doesn't understands it.

No, we didn't make that up. The question starts at roughly 9:20 of the tape, "Rudy Giuliani on the C-SPAN Campaign Bus." Just click here, then fast forward.

We've discussed this matter many times in the past. The caller sounds completely sincere. But he has been told, for decades now, that cutting tax rates increases revenue. The people who have told him this know that it's lunacy, but they're playing him for a rube - and the liberal world, and the mainstream press, have never really gotten around to telling such voters that they're being played for fools by a right-wing conspiracy. The caller believes what he has been told - in part, because no one contradicts it. Big newspapers lead more comfortable lives when they let such cant go unchallenged. And, of course, their owners and their journalistic stars gain from Republican tax cuts.



By fnord12 | January 8, 2008, 1:04 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 7, 2008

Marvel Sales

November


By fnord12 | January 7, 2008, 4:53 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



January 4, 2008

Iowa Caucus

Thankfully, without cable, i didn't get sucked into watching C-SPAN for the entire evening. I just waited for the blogs to post the end result. So much less aggravating.

Apparently, it was a huge turnout for the Democrats. 218,000 to the Republicans' 115,000. That's pretty damned impressive. Unlike here in Jersey where you go into a polling location, cast your vote, and go home, these people had to basically give up a significant portion of their evening to sit at a caucus location and wrangle with other people to try to get them to vote for their candidate. I don't even like discussing politics with friends and family if we don't agree on most issues. Why the hell would i do it with strangers?

If having to sit in a room and argue with a bunch of strangers isn't a big enough deterrent, how about the weather? I don't know exactly what the weather in Iowa was yesterday, but i know damn well it was 20deg in Jersey with the sun out. 15 at night. And looking at their temps this morning (24degF), i'm willing to bet it was pretty damned cold in Iowa yesterday. So, for once, the Dems did something right. Yay, you.

Obama swept with 37.58%. Edwards squeaked past Clinton with 29.75% to her 29.47% (i stole the numbers from Kos). According to a co-worker, in the half hour he watched CNN this morning, they didn't once mention Edwards coming in second. Until i told him the results, he assumed Clinton had been second based on how CNN was reporting it. They have been putting alot of effort into portraying the primaries as a fight between Obama and Clinton alone, so i guess they didn't have a graphic of Edwards prepared. The one key issue CNN did make sure my coworker got loud and clear though was that Britney Spears had to be taken away in an ambulance after a fight with her ex and police. I can't wait til the Daily Show's back on so i can get real news again.

Surprise surprise, Kucinich pulled his dick move a second time. In 2004, knowing he had no chance in the Iowa caucus, he told his supporters to vote for Edwards. Not because he agreed most with Edwards' platform but because he was peeved that Dean was perceived as the "progressive" candidate instead of him. This time round, he was peeved at Edwards.

Dennis Kucinich has told his followers that if -- by some wild chance -- they find that they are not one of the most popular groups, they should switch to Barack Obama. Kucinich's positions on most issues actually seem closer to John Edwards's, but last summer Edwards was caught on tape whispering to Hillary Clinton that Dennis was really not a serious contender.

Now, it's not like the other candidates didn't tell their supports to vote for someone else if they weren't winning. But, for instance, in Clinton's case, feeling that Obama was her biggest opponent, she told her supporters to vote for Edwards if things went badly for her in attempt to bump Obama out of the win. If she can take out her strongest opponent by using the other opponents against him, that will leave the field clear for her once that main opponent's gone. That's strategy.

What Kucinich did was out of spite. He's so far down the list that his action would in no way "clear the field" for a Kucinich victory in the future. He gains nothing by having his supporters go to a candidate whose platform isn't closest to his own. In actuality, his petty behaviour does a disservice to the people he is supposedly representing. At the end of the day, instead of getting the guy who might be 75% what you want, you only get the 50% or 25% guy or less just so that Kucinich's bruised ego can feel he "stuck it" to the guy who affronted him.

John Edwards was right. Kucinich isn't a serious contender. He's a big baby. Someone please find his pacifier so that he can go back to sucking on it and leave the rest of us alone.


By min | January 4, 2008, 1:30 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



In Case You Were Holding Out Hope Midnight Oil Might Get Back Together...

I think Peter Garrett might be a little tied up for the next few years.

Former Midnight Oil front man Peter Garrett has been appointed environment minister by Australian Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd, it was reported Thursday.

By min | January 4, 2008, 12:47 PM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



January 2, 2008

Shhh!

First day back at work since Dec. 21st. As if this wasn't painful enough, i forgot my iPod. The silence is deafening. I think i'm going mad.


By min | January 2, 2008, 10:42 AM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link



Aw, Crap...

The damn primaries start tomorrow, don't they?

I was doing so well avoiding the whole "paying attention to the moron parade" thing up til now, too.


By min | January 2, 2008, 9:39 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



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