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May 31, 2011

Whoodwin

Is it just me or does Smurfette look like a blonde Snookie?

Smurfette 2011 vs.   Snookie
Smurfette    Snookie
(from 2011 Smurfs movie)

By min | May 31, 2011, 2:10 PM | Whoodwin| Link



May 30, 2011

This might come across a bit creepy...

There's been some complaints that since Chris Evans will have played both the Human Torch and Captain America, a Secret Wars movie will be a challenge, but as i show here, it's quite possible.

Chris Evans Secret Wars

By fnord12 | May 30, 2011, 10:51 PM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link



How could you not love these guys?

Godzilla Showa Destroy All Monsters

(image found on Kaiju Stats).


By fnord12 | May 30, 2011, 10:19 PM | Godzilla| Link



SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

After last week's deluge, we've only got two books for this week...

Captain America #618 - I'm enjoying the espionage/intrigue aspect of this plot. Not a typical Captain America story, and it's good. Since it was a slow week i finally started getting to my trade paperback backlog, and i'm also reading Brubaker's Sleeper, which has a similar vibe. Good stuff. The art could be better. The art credits say "Butch Guice & Stefano Gaudiano; and Chris Samnee" (all punctuation reproduced verbatim). I'm not sure how that breaks out in the issue, but there's a very cartoony prologue with Agent 13 and Black Widow, then a sketchy but gritty mid-section with Bucky in the prison, and then a sketchy but cartoony end section with Steve Rogers. It's all a bit of a mess, but it doesn't distract too much from the story.

Amazing Spider-Man #662 - I gave the first part of this story very high marks. Conclusions can sometimes be a bit of a let down, especially in cases like this where it's a guest writer so there's no real chance for any continuing developments, and this wound up feeling a bit too pat. A bit too much of the 'triumph of the individual spirit' type of thing, which i guess is inevitable when fighting Psycho-Man. Really, this was fine and i enjoyed it, but there were parts that felt a bit too sentimental. The additional material at the end of the book was odd. The "Infested" storyline was a pointless two pages that didn't do anything to make me want to read the Spider-Island story i assume it's building up to. The Magnetic Man story by Frank Tieri was 8 pages, and i actually thought it was pretty good. But it was Infested that was advertised on the cover so i thought it was strange that it barely existed in the comic and there was this additional story instead. Still, i thought the Magnetic Man story was a nice Astro City style POV piece.


By fnord12 | May 30, 2011, 9:22 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link



May 27, 2011

Sexing Up Badminton

From the drama-filled world of Badminton:

An attempt by badminton's governing body to force professional female players to wear skirts or dresses has been condemned as "a regressive and damaging attempt to sex up the game" by Hugh Robertson, the minister for sport.

The Badminton World Federation says the dress code is necessary to make women athletes appear more feminine, thereby reviving flagging interest in the sport from fans and corporate sponsors.

...

The new dress code - formulated in consultation with Octagon, an international marketing firm - states that women can still wear shorts or long pants for cultural and religious reasons - as long as they are worn underneath a dress or skirt.

I really don't think the outfits are the reason nobody's interested in badminton. Granted, I've never spent much time (or any) watching a badminton match, but it seems like it'd be a less exciting version of tennis, which is already dead boring.

The Federation attempt at explaining is a contradiction in itself. While denying they're trying to use sex to promote the sport, they complain that nobody's watching cause the women are wearing baggy clothing and dressing too masculine.

Paisan Rangsikitpho, the US deputy president of the Badminton World Federation - which has only two female members on its 25-member board - denies the new ruling is "an attempt to use sex to promote the sport".

"We just want them to look feminine and have a nice presentation so women will be more popular," he said. "Interest is declining. Some women compete in oversize shorts and long pants and appear baggy, almost like men.

"Hardly anybody is watching [the sport]," he added. "TV ratings are down. We want to build them up to where they should be. They play quite well. We want them to look nicer on the court and have more marketing value for themselves. I'm surprised we got a lot of criticism."

And this bit is particularly priceless.

[William Kings, spokesman for Badminton England,] said, however, that UK badminton had a "dilemma" over the issue. He pointed to the support for the new dress code from Nora Perry, a former world doubles champion from England and member of the council of the world governing body.

Kings said of Perry that "the problem is that although she always used to play in a skirt, she was a very attractive woman player while lots of the opponents of this action come from those not quite as fortunate in the good-looks stakes".

I keep reading that and trying to figure out how he thinks that's ok to say.


By min | May 27, 2011, 1:59 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link



Presenting....the Candwich!

Candwich

By Markone Foods

According to the website, the Candwich "is the perfect product for people on the go such as students, construction workers, soccer moms and outdoor enthusiasts." It does not require refrigeration and has a long shelf life, and as such it is "perfect for emergency food storage needs in the event of natural disasters." Also, it is "great tasting."

Somehow, i highly doubt that last assertion. BBQ chicken coming soon. Yum.

I don't know what the Laffy Taffy's about. I guess it's to round out the grossness.


h/t wnkr

By min | May 27, 2011, 1:44 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link



May 26, 2011

He must have hated his time on the Atari 2600, then.

Here is an odd tag that was on a King Ghidorah toy i bought recently (one day soon i'll wow you all with pictures of the new Godzilla toys i bought). I figure it's either how they communicate "choking hazard" in Japan or a warning to us that Pac-Man really doesn't like eating square dots.

Japanese Choking Hazard

Wakka-wakka-waaaah!
Wakka-wakka-waaaah!


By fnord12 | May 26, 2011, 10:26 AM | Godzilla & Ummm... Other? & Video Games| Link



Emo-Marrina

Here's that scene with Marrina from Alpha Flight #.1. As you can see, Department H tells Alpha Flight to go "be adored" by the media. There's a group shot of the team standing there proudly. And then the insert with Marrina looking crazy wild and flipping out. It just seemed odd, especially since Marrina has always been such a demure character in the past.

Emo-Marrina

By fnord12 | May 26, 2011, 10:23 AM | Comics| Link



May 25, 2011

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Captain America/Thor: The Mighty Fighting Avengers - First, let's start with the obvious: I approve of the tagline "The Mighty Fighting Avengers" and i wish to see it used again in the future. This was an out of continuity 'Free Comic Book Day' book, and it was cute enough. Relatively well written with some funny bits. The art is deliberately cartoony in a way i don't love but it's fine for what it is. Odd to see Loki using dialect like "Don't blow this for me, bro", but i understand this issue was based on a series by this creative team and i guess it's consistent with that version of the character.

Hulk #33 - I've been told to "get off my cranky pants" and admit that i secretly love this book but am too bitter to admit that i only like things when they're new. Or something. So i'll start with the positive. I'm looking forward to seeing this Omegex the World Ender showing up next issue. He reminds me of the Asgardian Destroyer and/or Galactus' Punisher robot, so this should be a fight worthy of a Hulk. And anything that gets the focus off Zero/One will be good too. Did anyone else find it odd that here the Hulk is being chased by a rogue General and getting attacked by a mysterious new enemy, but when Steve Rogers calls him up to give him a new assignment, he just gets on board without even a peep about his current troubles? Even if we allow that Red Hulk wants to deal with his "personal" problems himself, one of his government issued LMDs has already been destroyed, so shouldn't he at least let Rogers know that there's things going on that could complicate his mission? Or something? Anyway, this book was great and i'm not wearing any pants!

Black Panther #518 - Whew. That story arc's finally over. Now we can drop this book.

Free Comic Book Day 2011 (Spider-Man) No. 1 Another free comic book day book. It was by Dan Slott so i was expecting crap, but it actually was a fun book. The Spider-Woman fight was cool (I would have thought that Spider-Woman, who is immune to poisons, would be immune the Mandrill's pheromones and i could swear that the issue already came up once during the Hood/Master of Evil plotline, but i'm ok with being wrong about that). Spider-Man getting some Kung Fu lessons from Shang Chi was cool. But this upcoming Spider-Island storyline looks silly, and i'm not a big fan of this Madame Web (who is Julia Carpenter now, apparently) idea that Spidey (and i guess Julia) have ties to the "web of life" because they have spider powers, so i'm not rethinking my Dan Slott avoidance. Still, a nice Free Comic Book Day bonus. Also, i'm really not a Humberto Ramos fan, but i enjoyed the art in this issue quite a bit.

Amazing Spider-Man #661 - Hey, look, i'm reading a post-Brand New Day issue of Spider-Man. But it's ok, cause everybody's favorite Christos Gage is guest-writing, and it features the Avengers Academy. I liked it a lot - the scene in the beginning with Mr. Fantastic accidentally insulting Spidey, the giant gorilla (who doesn't love a giant gorilla?), the appearance of the awesome Psycho-Man, and the fact that all of it was directly related (Psycho-Man inflicting Spidey with guilt/the gorilla coming from the Microverse). In my first read, i felt like Spider-Man wasn't doing a good job managing the class and that it was a deliberate attempt to make the Academy kids look kewler than Spidey, but on reflection it was clearly due to Psycho-Man's influence. Good stuff.

Avengers Academy #14 - Now, despite the fact that Amazing Spider-Man #661 ended with the Academy kids getting hit with Psycho-Man's fear ray while teamed up with Spider-Man, and the fact that the cover of this issue features the Academy kids facing off against what appeared to be a horrifically distorted version of Spider-Man's rogue gallery, it turns out that this issue is not a continuation of that one. It's completely unrelated. And it turns out that's what the Sinister Six actually looks like nowadays. What the hell happened to Doctor Octopus (and, to a lesser degree, Electro)? That all out of the way, i enjoyed this. I like the fact that the Academy kids got their butts handed to them by the Sinister Six; they're kids in training and it's good that they can't win a fight against a major group like that (my opinion is that these villains could hold their own against a real team of Avengers; i'd like to see that some day). Also, watching Henry Pym get punked by Doc Ock was enjoyable.

Avengers #13 - I suppose if i write something like "Since it's written by Matt Fraction, the only i do fear is Fear Itself" people will just groan, so i'll pretend that i didn't write it, but when i saw that the event was crossing over into the Avengers, i was a little disappointed. But it turns out that this issue doesn't really have much to do with Fear Itself at all. It's basically an illustrated version of one of the interview transcripts that have been appearing in the backs of all the Avengers books, and i'm a fan of those, so this worked out well for me. Three minor complaints: 1) Spider-Man violating Bob's vomit rules, 2) As far as i know, there's no reason why General Ross would have such a hankering for raw eggs (but i guess being a Hulk has affected his appetite? The real Hulk sure did love his beans.), and 3) Volstagg seemed a little out of character. Also, not a complaint, but i guess the Skrull currently impersonating Jarvis didn't have a good reference photo.

Herc #2 - Good stuff!

Herc #3 - Even better stuff! Except it felt like the Fear Itself plot kind of interrupted the main plot towards the end there. Felt a little incongruous after introducing the 'hero of the people' concept. But i guess that's the point. And i enjoyed the Hercules/Man-Bull "team-up".

Heroes For Hire #7 - Good stuff, tying everything back to the earlier arc. Looking forward to seeing Misty actually get in on the action next issue.

New Avengers #12 - Yep, fake Red Skull. I'm still kind of waiting to see where the 50s Avengers plot is going - so far there's no indication regarding how (or if) it ties in with the Superia story in the modern timeline. But i'm enjoying it.

New Mutants #25 - Wow, i thought this was really good. Nice to see Abnett & Lanning following up on the previous team's plots and doing so well with the character moments. Very cool. And i like the new mission statement ("Go around and tie up all the X-Men's unresolved plot points"). Plus i'll finally get a good story involving the Sugar-Man. So far i've had no good justification for owning his toy except that he looks cool.

Alpha Flight #.1 - Ok, i liked this a lot. Not sure if this .1 issue is actually leading in to a series or if it's some kind of standalone or trial balloon (i'd ask Wanyas but he gets mad at me when i don't remember what i've agreed to collect. i'm sitting here reviewing 14 books ferchrissakes! That's only 2 week's worth!). Hope it's the former. The one thing that's weird though is that cut-out panel at the end with Marrina. The team is posing for the press after saving the day, and then there's that weird panel with Marrina flipping the bird and shouting about how the press loves to photograph the freak. First, totally out of character from the old days, so i guess there's been some changes. Second, it didn't seem to fit at all with what was going on. Really odd.

Thunderbolts #157 - This has definitely become my favorite book.


By fnord12 | May 25, 2011, 10:40 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link



"I was looking for the awesome"

Via The Beat, here is a long interview with Jack Kirby from 1990.

I thought this was funny:

GROTH: Was that around 1940 when you met?

ROZ KIRBY: When I met Jack, he asked me if I wanted to go to his room and see his etchings, and I did, but imagine my surprise when he really did show me etchings! [Laughter.]

KIRBY: Let's face it, I was rather naive.

Jumping ahead to the Marvel years, Kirby basically takes credit for everything (including Spider-Man!) and says that Stan Lee didn't do much of anything - not even dialogue. Very bitter at this point. Due to a lack of recognition.

It's also cute how Roz keeps getting Jack back on track during the interview ("Gary wants to know how you created The Fantastic Four" or "No, that comes later. He didn't ask you about that.").

Anyway, interesting read.


By fnord12 | May 25, 2011, 4:01 PM | Comics| Link



Marvel Sales

March.


By fnord12 | May 25, 2011, 3:41 PM | Comics| Link



Thomas Friedman: worst writer in the world

Friedman writes:

Announce that every Friday from today forward will be "Peace Day," and have thousands of West Bank Palestinians march nonviolently to Jerusalem, carrying two things -- an olive branch in one hand and a sign in Hebrew and Arabic in the other. The sign should say: "Two states for two peoples. We, the Palestinian people, offer the Jewish people a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders -- with mutually agreed adjustments -- including Jerusalem, where the Arabs will control their neighborhoods and the Jews theirs."

Digby says:

Maybe they can write it in really, really small letters.

See here for some previous examples of his incredible writing style.


By fnord12 | May 25, 2011, 2:41 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link



Where our debt comes from

This chart has been making the rounds for the past few weeks (latest is from TPM). Figure i should reprint it here.


By fnord12 | May 25, 2011, 1:26 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link



May 24, 2011

Disclaimer: not all 5,000 hats are shown.

Bully the Stuffed Cow gives us the 5,000 Hats of Jack Kirby.


By fnord12 | May 24, 2011, 2:32 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link



Don't sit down

Following up on this old post, here's a terrifying infographic (if you're an office worker).

Update: title reference, since it's relatively obscure.


By fnord12 | May 24, 2011, 12:39 PM | Science| Link



What's a Rear Admiral Exactly?

Is that better than a regular admiral? Are there Front Admirals? All i can tell you is Rear Admirals apparently like to talk sense and use things like "logic" and "strategy". I know. Nutters. Link

Nato's military campaign in Libya "defies strategic logic" and needs to be completely rethought before the country descends into anarchy, a former Royal Navy admiral has warned.

Rear Admiral Chris Parry said the conflict was becoming all too reminiscent of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a "classic example of how to act in haste and repent at leisure".

Writing in the Guardian, Parry says Nato must accept that the UN resolution which allowed coalition forces to protect Libyan civilians will not bring an end to the fighting, and that diplomats should now consider seeking a new mandate.

"What might a decent strategy look like? The Libyan people should, with international assistance, establish and articulate the political ends they require for themselves and their country.

"The UK and its Nato allies could then conduct a campaign that is built around an explicit political purpose, expressed in a single, unambiguous aim (the 'master principle of war').

"That would focus and prioritise military activities. This would also enable a more sensible assessment of whether further authorisation from the UN might be required."

...

"As in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is easy, with overwhelming force and superior organisation, to gain control in a conventional conflict," he says. "The real skill is to achieve a successful, enduring peace and political settlement. In its concentration on getting rid of Gaddafi, as an end in itself, too little attention has been paid to what happens afterwards." He fears that the campaign is being run on the cheap and by committee.

"There is no clear statement of ends. The ill-defined outcomes and parsimony about resources limit the ways in which the campaign can be conducted."



By min | May 24, 2011, 12:13 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



Say No to Marmite

Oh noes!

The sales ban enforces a law restricting products fortified with added vitamins. Food giant Kelloggs withdrew some brands of breakfast cereal from Denmark when the legislation passed in 2004, but until now Marmite had escaped the attention of Danish authorities.

"What am I supposed to put on my toast now?" asked British advertising executive Colin Smith, who has lived in the country for six years.

...

Lyndsay Jensen, a Yorkshire born graphic designer in Copenhagen, despaired of the move. "They don't like it because it's foreign," she said, adding that she already planned to send off for supplies from abroad. "But if they want to take my Marmite off me they'll have to wrench it from my cold dead hands."

I have never tried Marmite. It sounds disgusting to me, and i don't trust the taste buds of a peoples who think beans on toast is a good idea. I just think it's interesting that Denmark's food regulations are made by Veterinary and Food Administration. I never would have thought of pairing those two things together.


By min | May 24, 2011, 11:08 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link



May 20, 2011

Planking WTF?!?

Bizarre. Here. via Penny Arcade.


By fnord12 | May 20, 2011, 1:43 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link



May 19, 2011

I promise you it never happened like this


By fnord12 | May 19, 2011, 8:31 PM | Comics| Link



Oh boy

OK, ready? How does this paragraph end?

President Obama plans to outline an ambitious economic recovery plan...

Sounds good so far, right? Well, here's the rest of it...

President Obama plans to outline an ambitious economic recovery plan for the Middle East and Northern Africa designed to spur economic growth and build on democratic reforms that began in Egypt and Tunisia and have swept to countries across the region this Spring.

Let me be very clear: this is a good thing. And it's an incredibly brave thing for Obama to do, because you know how this is going to play. The truth is that he's already got budget to do this and doesn't have to go back to Congress, so that's why he can do something overseas that he can't do at home. But just wait for the pettifogging on this one.


By fnord12 | May 19, 2011, 9:59 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link



May 18, 2011

Leprechaun Tour Bus

Spotted on 287. I hope those wee bastards were enjoying their tour of the States, looking out their tiny windows.


By fnord12 | May 18, 2011, 5:10 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link



Seems not much has changed

Considering the average age in this study is 41, it seems that the traditional male/female roles are still going strong.

I haven't measured my cortisol levels, but i can tell you that i actually don't find it very relaxing if i'm resting while someone else is bustling about.

Household chores often get in the way when dual-earner couples want to unwind after a stress-filled day on the job. Now, a new study shows that while wives' stress levels drop when their husbands are helping them with chores, for men it's the opposite: stress levels fall when their wives are busy while they're relaxing.

Also, i'm not sure if that's really "the opposite". They don't say what happens to wives' stress levels if they relax while husbands are doing the chores. I guess it just never happened?


By fnord12 | May 18, 2011, 4:09 PM | Science| Link



ElfQuest online

I've always been interested in ElfQuest but i was always too intimidated by the sheer volume to ever get into it. Now that it's all available online, i'm... still intimidated.


By fnord12 | May 18, 2011, 3:57 PM | Comics| Link



May 17, 2011

Pakistan vs NATO

Why are Pakistan and NATO firing on each other?

A Nato helicopter based in Afghanistan intruded into Pakistan's North Waziristan region on Tuesday, wounding two troops, local intelligence officials said, adding to tensions between Islamabad and the west.

"It happened early morning," a Pakistani intelligence official in the region, who declined to be identified, told Reuters. "The helicopter hit a Pakistani checkpost on the border in the Datta Khel area."

...

[Pakistan's Express 24/7 television channel] quoted officials as saying that the helicopters were just about to intrude into Pakistani territory when aerial gunshots were fired. They subsequently moved back but fired a retaliatory shot which released rubble from the nearby mountains and wounded the security personnel.

Link

NYT's article says Pakistan closed down NATO's land route through Pakistan last September. Now it seems they're closing the air route, as well. Sadly, neither article gives much info as to why Pakistan is so hostile to NATO when they've been singing the "We're totally behind helping fight al Qaeda" song all this time. (I'm sure if I'd been paying more attention, I'd know the answer to this. I'm waiting for one of you to explain it to me in the comments.)

The articles rather bring up the tangentially related drama of the post-bin Laden raid US/Pakistani strained relations (I think they saw the word "Pakistan" and grabbed their opening to talk about it some more). However, according to this article, the US had a deal in place with Pakistan for the last 10 years that permits just this kind of military action.

The deal was struck between the military leader General Pervez Musharraf and President George Bush after Bin Laden escaped US forces in the mountains of Tora Bora in late 2001, according to serving and retired Pakistani and US officials.

Under its terms, Pakistan would allow US forces to conduct a unilateral raid inside Pakistan in search of Bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the al-Qaida No3. Afterwards, both sides agreed, Pakistan would vociferously protest the incursion.

So, the anger and posturing about invading Pakistan without warning is all an act. I'm still left with my first question - why are Pakistan and NATO firing at each other?


By min | May 17, 2011, 3:06 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link



Watermelon Landmines

Oh, China.

The flying pips, shattered shells and wet shrapnel still haunt farmer Liu Mingsuo after an effort to chemically boost his fruit crop went spectacularly wrong.

Fields of watermelons exploded when he and other agricultural workers in eastern China mistakenly applied forchlorfenuron, a growth accelerator. The incident has become a focus of a Chinese media drive to expose the lax farming practices, shortcuts and excessive use of fertiliser behind a rash of food safety scandals.

It follows discoveries of the heavy metal cadmium in rice, toxic melamine in milk, arsenic in soy sauce, bleach in mushrooms, and the detergent borax in pork, added to make it resemble beef.

...

"In general we don't suggest chemicals with plant hormones be used on watermelons, as they are very sensitive. They might end up looking very strange and people will not want to buy them," said Cui Jian, director of the vegetable research institute at Qingdao Academy of Agricultural Science. [no shit. --min]
...

Many farmers grow their own food separately from the chemically-raised crops they sell. "I feel there is nothing safe I can eat now because people are in too much of a hurry to make money," said Huang Zhanliang, a farmer in Hebei.

Link

Now, the bit about the birth control in the cucumbers....I could get behind that.


By min | May 17, 2011, 3:00 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link



May 16, 2011

A policy wonk is a liberal who has been mugged twice.

Poor Matthew Yglesias was assaulted over the weekend.

But then lo and behold right by Catania Bakery a couple of dudes ran up from behind, punched me in the head, then kicked me a couple of times before running off. Once, years ago, in Amsterdam a guy threatened me with a knife and took my money. These guys took nothing, and just inflicted a bit of pain. All things considered the threaten/rob model of crime seems a lot more beneficial to both parties than the punch-and-run model. But I guess it takes all kinds.

Being Matthew Yglesias, he immediately launches into a policy discussion.

To offer a policy observation, higher density helps reduce street crime in an urban environment in two ways. One is that in a higher density city, any given street is less likely to be empty of passersby at any given time. The other is that if a given patch of land has more citizens, that means it can also support a larger base of police officers. And for policing efficacy both the ratio of cops to citizens and of cops to land matters. Therefore, all else being equal a denser city will be a better policed city.

That said, as a matter of personal ethics you really shouldn't run around punching random dudes in the back of the head irrespective of the prevailing level of population density or policing.


By fnord12 | May 16, 2011, 12:54 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link



May 15, 2011

That's not making me laugh

Micronauts Tron Robot Clown

These so-called Robot Clowns look pretty damn terrifying to me.


By fnord12 | May 15, 2011, 10:39 PM | Comics| Link



May 13, 2011

First, Frying Pans. Then Mechagodzilla!

In Toho's 1974 Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla, Godzilla inexplicably has the ability to create a magnetic field and uses it drag Mechagodzilla towards him.

Apparently, the magnetic body thing is going around cause now this kid has it.

Or mebbe it's just gravity.


By min | May 13, 2011, 3:49 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link



May 12, 2011

Simonson Smash

Here's some nice early art by Walt Simonson (from Hulk Magazine #11, Oct 78). He only drew this pin-up, not the whole issue.


By fnord12 | May 12, 2011, 10:58 PM | Comics| Link



Random Lyrics Thursday

Aikoi by Fictionjunction Yuuka

Dakishimete KISU shitatte
Kimi wo suki ni natteku kimochi ni hate wa nai
Fukiareru koi wo
Kattou to rakkan to takkan de norikiru dake

Susume KOIGOKORO mayowazu ni kimi no moto he
Yoru mo hiru mo hana mo arashi mo kitto fumikoete

Sekai no kanjou zenbu yusabutte
Kodoku na shinjou sugu ni tsutaetai
Tarinai mono no nai, ari no mama no
Ai ga hoshii dake

Sakamaku junjou kimi no te wo tsukami
Kono mama souzou no sekai ni ochiteku
Kawaru hibi wo kaeteyukuwa
Ai wo kono mune ni

Hanarenaide soba ni ite
Dakedo hontou wa nani ga hoshii no ka mitsukaranai
"KOIBITO" tte
Totemo sanman de aimai de tayorinai kotoba da ne

Konna KOIGOKORO massugu ni kirei na mono ne
Natsu mo fuyu mo ten takaku aru hoshi ni te wo nobasu

Sekai no sanjou kimi ga inakereba
Yasashii kanjou kieteshimaisou
Kake ochita mune no ari no mama de
Kimi wo sagashiteru

Afureru junjou amai KISU dakede
Tayasuku souzou no genkai wo koeteku
Yume yori fukaku hitotsu ni naru
Ai wo sagashiteru

Sekai no kanjou zenbu yusabutte
Kono mama souzou no genkai wo koeteku
Kawaranu hibi wo kaeteyukuwa
Ai wo kono mune ni


By min | May 12, 2011, 11:49 AM | Music & TeeVee| Link



May 11, 2011

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Big stack to go through...

Heroes For Hire #6 - i wasn't expecting to like this (hence it being first in the pile) due to the lengthy and lackluster first arc, and because i thought this issue was going to turn into a big misunderstanding fight (due to the fact that the cover, in what i assume is a tribute to ASM #129, is misleading), but it turned out that this was great. Abnett & Lanning write a funny Spider-Man, we actually got some decent character development for Paladin, and we did get something of the Mission Statement i was demanding last time.

Avengers #12 - A satisfying conclusion to the Hood/Infinity Gem arc, i think. I was at first a little uncomfortable with Steve Rogers agreeing to join and continue with the Illuminati, but now that he's the new Nick Fury it kinda of makes sense. And again, i felt like some good things are being done with the Red Hulk; better than in his own book. Good writing and nice art overall.

Avengers #12.1 - I like the Intelligencia concept, so i'm glad to see them again. I have a vague recollection of there being a new MODOK but i'm not 100% sure on that. If not we have a problem since the original is locked up over in the Red Hulk's book. I thought this book was well written, funny, and had good clean art. And unlike every other "point" book, this felt like a nice jumping on point - it introduced the characters and set up a (pretty major!) new arc. From a continuity geek point of view, using SWORD and the Intelligencia and plot elements from the space books plus bringing back a classic Avengers villain... you can't do much better than that for me.

Annihilators #3 - Speaking of the space books, this series just hasn't felt as good as the others to me. And i'm saying that as a guy who just loves Dire Wraiths. It's not quite bad... but something's not quite catching with me. We can chalk it up to no talkink dogs. The Groot and Raccoon stuff, sadly... so sadly... i'm definitely not loving, and i don't think we really needed a revision of the original Mantlo setup, silly as it was. Also, it got a lot of space this issue. Oh well; one more issue to go. We'll see.

Avengers Academy Giant Size #1 - Arcade is the type of villain that just doesn't work anywhere outside of the Adam West Batman show, but because his first few appearances were actually done quite well by some excellent creators, he's managed to not be quietly retired. But this was tedious. Especially in the middle where each of his deathtraps were explained at great length. Overall, i felt like there wasn't much character depth here and there were no twists in the plot - i kept waiting for it to turn out that Arcade was actually working with the Academy as a trainer, or that he had some twist up his sleeve that made it seem reasonable that he'd target a bunch of teenage neophytes without having been hired to do so, or something, but... no. Very straightforward, and not a favorite character of mine so i didn't enjoy this. Luckily this wasn't by the regular writer (in fact... how did i wind up with this?).

Avengers Academy #12 - A pretty straightforward conclusion to the Korvac arc and there was enough action and development here that it improved from last issue (and the overall arc will probably read better all together).

Avengers Academy #13 - A great downtime issue with lots of character moments. Loved it.

Captain America #617 - The art - by about 15 different people - wasn't so good. Of course Deodato winds up drawing the scenes with the hot spy chicks in skintight outfits - play to your strengths! Story-wise, i'm enjoying the prison plot well enough.

Hulk #32 - I don't know how this got so close to the bottom of the pile; i haven't been enjoying it lately and this issue is no improvement. We're going to great lengths to set up this Zero/One character and her minions, but it's not making her any more interesting, in my opinion. And the "nanite bombs in the Red Hulk's head" plot is dragging, too. He's working for the government, has access to Bruce Banner and Steve Rogers and is now buddies with the rest of the Avengers; it's just not believable that he's got no one to turn to on this.

Secret Avengers #12 - This book has stopped being Secret Avengers and become the John Steele Show, but Brubaker's a good writer and i'm enjoying it.

Thunderbolts #156 - Now how can the guy writing this be the same guy who's writing Red Hulk? I thought this was fantastic. The Beetle's conversation with the Shocker was perfectly characterized. Satana's introduction to the rest of the Thunderbolts was well written and funny - Moonstone's discomfort over getting fondled was well done. The only minor complaint is the way the subplots were broken up. Songbird's conversation Zabo/Hyde was oddly interrupted by the Thunderbolts' fight scenes and it just didn't feel right dramatically. But i'm definitely liking this book way more than Red Hulk, even though both are by Parker. Is it just the characters?


By fnord12 | May 11, 2011, 3:33 PM | Comics| Link



May 10, 2011

Fairly certain there isn't an equivalent Shakespeare quote*

If you enjoyed the dogs of war slideshow (or even if you didn't), here's the response from the other side of the great debate.



*"I am as vigilant as a cat to steal cream."(Henry IV) doesn't quite compare.


By fnord12 | May 10, 2011, 10:16 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link



If you think Obama's got it bad...

...well, he's never been accused of sorcery.

Allies of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have been arrested and charged with being "magicians," as part of a continuing feud between the president and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Several dozen people close to Ahmadinejad and his chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei have been arrested in the past few days and charged with sorcery and "invoking djinns (spirits)," The Guardian reports. Another man arrested, Abbas Ghaffari, was described by a news site in Iran as "a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds."

(Actually, i take that back.)


By fnord12 | May 10, 2011, 10:06 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link



May 9, 2011

Hiding the ladies

Ultra Orthodox Hasidic newspaper Der Tzitung has hidden the ladies from the now famous White House Situation Room picture.

The original:

Der Tzitung's:

I'm still waiting for this to turn out to be a hoax, it's so ridiculous. But here's the link (via Digby via Krugman).

Ultra Orthodox Hasidic newspaper Der Tzitung is telling its readers like it isn't- by editing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [and counterterrorism analyst Audrey Thomason] from the now-iconic Bin Laden raid Situation Room photo. Oy vey.

The religious paper never publishes pictures of women, as they could be considered "sexually suggestive." Apparently the presence of a woman, any woman, being all womanly and sexy all over the United States' counterterrorism efforts was too much for the editors of Der Tzitung to handle.


By fnord12 | May 9, 2011, 3:23 PM | Liberal Outrage & Ummm... Other?| Link



May 7, 2011

After my month long moratorium on covering politics, i'm apparently going on such a binge that i'm covering British politics now

Link:

British voters punished the Liberal Democrats for their role in a deficit-cutting government on Friday, rejecting the party's efforts to reform the electoral system and deserting it in local elections.

The outcome points to a rockier future for Britain's Conservative-led coalition government, with analysts predicting a more combative stance from the Lib Dems, the junior partners.


The article doesn't say how it knows that the Lib Dems are being punished for the austerity program, as opposed to just being opposed to election reforms. While one might enjoy the idea of Lib Dems getting their just desserts, it's really a net negative as the voting reforms would have been a good thing.

Meanwhile...

The Scottish National Party (SNP) scored a bumper haul, winning an outright majority in Scotland's assembly -- which has limited powers devolved from London -- and opening the door for a referendum on secession from the rest of Britain.

A fully independent Scotland could change the handling of profits from North Sea oil fields, a crucial source of tax revenue for cash-strapped Britain.

It might also have implications for the Royal Bank of Scotland, bailed out during the global financial crisis and now 83-percent owned by the state.

It's been the Irish who fought for their independence for so long while the Scotts sat around like loyal wankers, so this is an interesting twist.


By fnord12 | May 7, 2011, 11:31 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link



Bank of America makes tough financial times worse

Link:

In the past, BofA would charge 90 days worth of interest for early withdrawals from a CD good for 12 months or less. In other words, a $10,000, 12-month CD with an annual yield of 0.3% would entail an early withdrawal penalty of about $7 if you took out the entire amount.

Now BofA is charging a flat $25 plus 1% of the amount withdrawn for CDs with terms under 12 months and 3% for longer terms.

That means the early withdrawal penalty for that same $10,000, 12-month CD now runs $125 -- a nearly 1,700% increase. The penalty for a five-year, $10,000 CD is $325 -- a roughly 1,600% increase.

As Kevin Drum notes:

This is yet another example of a fee that (a) most people don't really know much about, (b) most people don't think they'll ever incur, and (c) generally gets paid by people in some kind of distress.

To be fair, the tradeoff of a CD is supposed to be that the bank is guaranteed the use of your money for a defined period of time in return for that higher interest rate. On the other hand, interest rates on CDs have been awful since the 2001 recession.


By fnord12 | May 7, 2011, 11:16 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link



Drilling won't lower gas prices

I don't have a tag for "Things i would send to my father if i thought it would make a difference, but it wouldn't, so i might as well let him rant", but if i did, this would be a good use of it.

HuffPo:

Republicans used the politically potent argument about the cost of gas Thursday to pass a bill expanding offshore oil and gas exploration. But analysts say there's a major flaw in their case: More drilling will barely budge prices.

The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, which passed 266 to 144 with 33 Democrats buying into the scheme, orders the Department of the Interior to move quickly to offer three leases to drill in the Gulf of Mexico and one off the coast of Virginia. The bill demands that the leases be executed by next year.

But the legislation won't reduce the price at the pump, experts said. Nor would a vastly more ambitious effort have much impact.

"It's not going to change the price of oil overnight, and it's probably not going to have a huge impact on the price of oil ever," said Mike Lynch of Strategic Energy and Economic Research, Inc. referring not just to those four leases, but to expanding all U.S. drilling.

...
But people who study oil markets for a living say they are wrong.

"I would really doubt that that [2008 price drop] would have been because we committed to more drilling," said Phyllis Martin, an analyst with the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), which just released its detailed, annual outlook on energy supply and prices.

"It was most likely the recession," Martin explained. "When demand cuts back, the production cuts back and the prices fall."

As for opening four new drilling leases, that's not even a drop in the bucket.

Analyst Lynch said that, if the nation took an extremely vigorous stance on oil exploitation -- and relaxed restrictions on the Gulf and drilled in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and off the coast of California, where America's most easily accessible offshore oil is located -- it still would not have much of an impact.

"With the exception of the deep Gulf, where there are restrictions, people are drilling as fast as they can," said Lynch, who regards himself as a moderate Republican. He is bearish on oil prices and believes the cost of crude will drop soon, regardless of an government policies.

"You might, under really optimistic scenarios, over five or six years, add 2 million barrels a day of production," said Lynch, who favors more drilling, even if he rejects the politicians' arguments. "On a global scale, it's significant. But we would still be big importers -- we would still be dependent on foreign oil."

And prices would not move much because of it, the analysts explained. Oil is traded on a world market, and the United States does not have enough petroleum to increase the global supply, which would reduce demand -- and thus the price -- for fuel.

"In 2009, the U.S. produced about 7 percent of what was produced in the entire world, so increasing the oil production in the U.S. is not going to make much of a difference in world markets and world prices," said the EIA's Martin. "It just gets lost. It's not that much."

And boosting drilling in the outer continental shelf?

"What comes out of the OCS is about 1 percent of the world total, and that's not enough to affect world prices," Martin said, even noting that she believes there are even more untapped reserves than officials can estimate at the moment.

There is this:

Republicans are right about some things, the experts agreed. More drilling would mean more jobs and more tax revenue, if the industry's subsidies and tax breaks were revoked. It could also reduce oil imports -- even if gas prices wouldn't drop.

More offshore drilling, in fact, would be a huge boon for the oil and gas companies that could do it.

"It would be a lot of money for a lot people, but it's not going to make us energy independent," said Lynch, the analyst.

But we could also create jobs by having people dig holes and then fill them up again. Or by hiring all the out-of-work construction workers to install solar panels on the roofs of every government building, which would probably have a greater effect on energy prices than drilling.


By fnord12 | May 7, 2011, 11:08 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link



May 6, 2011

Man, that Japanese tentacle rape thing goes way back

Dream of the Fisherman's Wife (via a basically unrelated post by Yglesias).


By fnord12 | May 6, 2011, 4:53 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link



Bowerbirds use forced perspective.

Read about this in a science magazine that wanyas gave me. Pretty cool.

The great bowerbird's taste for interior design seems quite Spartan compared to his relatives. He creates an avenue of sticks leading up to a courtyard, decorated with gray and white objects, such as shells, bones and pebbles. The male performs in the courtyard while the female watches from the lined avenue. Her point of view is fixed and narrow, and according to Endler, the male knows how to exploit that.

He found that the males place the largest objects towards the rear of the courtyard and the smallest objects in the front near the avenue. This creates forced perspective. From the female's point of view, the bigger objects that are further away look to be the same size the smaller objects that are close by. If bowerbird vision is anything like humans, the courtyard as a whole looks smaller to a watching female...

There are many possible benefits to this illusion. Endler says, "The simplest hypothesis (and perhaps most likely) is that the more regular pattern on the court, as seen from the avenue, makes the male more conspicuous or easier to see". Alternatively, by performing on an apparently smaller stage, the male could also make himself look relatively bigger to the female. "To my knowledge no other animals make constructions which produce perspective," says Endler.


By fnord12 | May 6, 2011, 9:01 AM | Science| Link



May 5, 2011

Hathulu invades the White House

I have been lucky enough to avoid most of the Royal Wedding coverage, so when i saw this photo, i just assumed that the White House staff had been possessed by an Elder Hat God.

(Click on the picture and follow through for the Cat and Mordor pictures as well.)


By fnord12 | May 5, 2011, 4:15 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link



Star Wars Behind the Scenes

Here's my favorite:

29 more here.


By fnord12 | May 5, 2011, 1:59 PM | Star Wars| Link



Cry Havoc

Ezra Klein on some dog one-upsmanship:

We sent 79 commandos to get Osama bin Laden -- and one dog. A lot of people want to know about that dog, but unfortunately, the military isn't telling, which is how you end up with the New York Times publishing this paragraph:
Suzanne Belger, president of the American Belgian Malinois Club, said she was hoping the dog was one of her breed "and that it did its job and came home safe." But Laura Gilbert, corresponding secretary for the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, said she was sure the dog was her breed "because we're the best!"

My heart goes out to the reporter who got stuck with that assignment.

He also links to a slide show on the dogs of war. I checked: no Mabari.


By fnord12 | May 5, 2011, 1:20 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link



Because it pushes the conversation to the right

Matt Yglesias says:

The big news of the day is Rep Eric Cantor (R-VA) conceding the obvious point that Medicare won't be privatized as part of a bipartisan budget deal....

This all kind of raises the question, however, of why the Republican leadership pushed Paul Ryan's Medicare privatization plan in the first place. Obviously the fact that they favor privatizing Medicare played some role in that. But conventional wisdom is that the smart time to push a major piece of politically controversial legislation is when you can pass it into law... But right now anything the House passes still needs to go through a Democratic-controlled Senate and then Barack Obama's desk. So what's the point in asking vulnerable members of congress to vote for taking away seniors' health care benefits?

The answer is that Barack Obama responded to Ryan's plan by endorsing the Simpson-Bowles plan. Caveats to that endorsement apply, but before the Ryan plan, Simpson-Bowles was the most right-wing plan that was being taken seriously. After the Ryan plan, it's the sensible center.

Or to put it in Chocobo-speak: "Fight fight fight! And never give up!". Something the Democrats would do well to learn.


By fnord12 | May 5, 2011, 12:59 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link



May 3, 2011

More ads!

Don't know why i'm posting all these old ads - they just struck my fancy, i guess. Here's some text and art from the same Iron Man issues as the ads below. These were promoting Marvel's odd Pizzazz magazine.


By fnord12 | May 3, 2011, 10:39 PM | Comics| Link



Wonder Bread and aliens - perfect together

Odd to see an advertisement for bread in a comic book (also from Iron Man #111).


By fnord12 | May 3, 2011, 10:37 PM | Comics| Link



Three old Star Wars ads

There's something i like about the really early Darth Vadar artwork in these ads. He looks much more... wizardly, which is kinda cool.

Ads are all from Iron Man #110-111 (May-Jun 1978 cover date)


By fnord12 | May 3, 2011, 10:33 PM | Star Wars| Link



Goals

Ezra Klein:

Bin Laden, according to Gartenstein-Ross, had a strategy that we never bothered to understand, and thus that we never bothered to defend against. What he really wanted to do -- and, more to the point, what he thought he could do -- was bankrupt the United States of America. After all, he'd done the bankrupt-a-superpower thing before. And though it didn't quite work out this time, it worked a lot better than most of us, in this exultant moment, are willing to admit.

Bin Laden's transition from scion of a wealthy family to terrorist mastermind came in the 1980s, when the Soviet Union was trying to conquer Afghanistan. Bin Laden was part of the resistance, and the resistance was successful -- not only in repelling the Soviet invasion, but in contributing to the communist super-state's collapse a few years later. "We, alongside the mujaheddin, bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt," he later explained.

The campaign taught bin Laden a lot. For one thing, superpowers fall because their economies crumble, not because they're beaten on the battlefield. For another, superpowers are so allergic to losing that they'll bankrupt themselves trying to conquer a mass of rocks and sand. This was bin Laden's plan for the United States, too.

"He has compared the United States to the Soviet Union on numerous occasions -- and these comparisons have been explicitly economic," Gartenstein-Ross argues in a Foreign Policy article. "For example, in October 2004 bin Laden said that just as the Arab fighters and Afghan mujaheddin had destroyed Russia economically, al Qaeda was now doing the same to the United States, 'continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.' "

For bin Laden, in other words, success was not to be measured in body counts. It was to be measured in deficits, in borrowing costs, in investments we weren't able to make in our country's continued economic strength. And by those measures, bin Laden landed a lot of blows.

Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the price tag on the Iraq War alone will surpass $3 trillion. Afghanistan likely amounts to another trillion or two. Add in the build-up in homeland security spending since 9/11 and you're looking at yet another trillion. And don't forget the indirect costs of all this turmoil: The Federal Reserve, worried about a fear-induced recession, slashed interest rates after the attack on the World Trade Center, and then kept them low to combat skyrocketing oil prices, a byproduct of the war in Iraq. That decade of loose monetary policy may well have contributed to the credit bubble that crashed the economy in 2007 and 2008.

Then there's the post-9/11 slowdown in the economy, the time wasted in airports, the foregone returns on investments we didn't make, the rise in oil prices as a result of the Iraq War, the cost of rebuilding Ground Zero, health care for the first responders and much, much more.

In addition to the economic aspect, it always seemed obvious to me that the other angle was exposing our values as hypocrisy. After the attack, we give up on habeas corpus, start torturing, invade other countries without provocation, etc.

Regardless, here's hoping we use this occasion as a reason to finally bring all the troops home.


By fnord12 | May 3, 2011, 12:26 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link



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