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April 30, 2014

Pervasive bias

"Regular" racism may be making a comeback, but Matthew Yglesias reminds us that internalized institutional racism is the bigger problem.

By fnord12 | April 30, 2014, 12:44 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

April 29, 2014

You gotta love the Philadelphia Trumpet

By fnord12 | April 29, 2014, 10:57 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link

When Technology Makes It Too Easy to Stay Connected

Fnord12 recently linked to a Mother Jones post about French unions banning work emails after 6pm.

A study done in the States has shown that this constant tether to work via our smartphones a) lowers an employees job satisfaction and b) is unnecessary for productivity.

Perlow suggested they carve out periods of "predictable time off"--evening and weekend periods where team members would be out of bounds. Nobody was allowed to ping them. The rule would be strictly enforced, to ensure they could actually be free of that floating "What if someone's contacting me?" feeling.

The results were immediate and powerful. The employees exhibited significantly lower stress levels. Time off actually rejuvenated them: More than half said they were excited to get to work in the morning, nearly double the number who said so before the policy change. And the proportion of consultants who said they were satisfied with their jobs leaped from 49 percent to 72 percent. Most remarkably, their weekly work hours actually shrank by 11 percent--without any loss in productivity. "What happens when you constrain time?" Lovich asks. "The low-value stuff goes away," but the crucial work still gets done.


For even starker proof of the value of cutting back on email, consider an experiment run in 2012 by Gloria Mark, a pioneering expert on workplace focus. Mark, a professor at the University of California-Irvine, had long studied the disruptive nature of messaging, and found that office workers are multitasked to death: They can only focus on a given task for three minutes before being interrupted.


Mark's and Perlow's studies were small. But they each highlight the dirty little secret of corporate email: The majority of it may be pretty useless. Genuinely important emails can propel productive work, no doubt, but a lot of messages aren't like that--they're incessant check-ins asking noncrucial questions, or bulk-CCing of everybody on a team.


Only a handful of enlightened firms have tackled this problem companywide. At Bandwidth, a tech company with 300-plus employees, CEO David Morken grew tired of feeling only half-present when he was at home with his six children, so he started encouraging his staff to unplug during their leisure time and actually prohibited his vacationing employees from checking email at all--anything vital had to be referred to colleagues. Morken has had to sternly warn people who break the vacation rule; he asks his employees to narc on anyone who sends work messages to someone who's off--as well as those who sneak a peek at their email when they are supposed to be kicking back on a beach. "You have to make it a firm, strict policy," he says. "I had to impose it because the methlike addiction of connection is so strong."

Employers definitely need to stop thinking it's ok to encroach on their employees' personal time. Just because you don't have a life doesn't mean you get to take mine.

By min | April 29, 2014, 9:23 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Color Test

I only got an 8. I was hoping to show off my bad ass hue distinguishing skills by getting a perfect 0 on this test.

The guy from CNET who took it got a better score when he retook it on a fancy monitor, so i hold out hope.

Now i'm gonna go put some paint chips in order.

By min | April 29, 2014, 8:30 PM | Science | Comments (1) | Link

April 28, 2014

Not for nothing, but you're using that phrase wrong

Correct use of the phrase "Not for nothing":

Incorrect usage:

Not for nothing, but if you're going to live in the midwest, you're going to have to learn to deal with tornadoes.

The lesson we can learn from this is that if you're going to use the phrase "not for nothing", you a) ought to have a Murder Chair and b) prefer Super-Villain High Speak to the more mundane "There's a reason".

The phrase may not be used as a sort of "Hey, don't be offended by my possibly offensive opinion, which may or may not be worth anything". This serves as your official notice. Future infringers will receive a visit from Cadavus.

By fnord12 | April 28, 2014, 12:50 PM | Comics & Master of Style | Comments (0) | Link

April 27, 2014

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Elektra #1 - This definitely started off on the right foot and seems like it might be good. It was nice to see Elektra acknowledge other parts of her life (e.g. ballerina) and then explicitly decide to accept that she's best as an assassin, so that if, for example, you remember the Peter Milligan run it's not those other aspects of her life are being ignored. And this was a good set-up. I have to take off some points for the "this new villain is so badass that he beat up established badasses like the Marauders and the Taskmaster", but just a few, and seeing the rival assassin's unique way of accessing Bullseye (who hasn't been miraculously healed) was pretty cool too. All that plus Monster Island. I thought the impressionistic art worked well, too.

Daredevil #2 - Really loving Mark Waid's Daredevil run. That's right, San Francisco already has a blind super-hero, and Waid is going to explore that. It's really a classic style comic book, but with modern scripting and humor, and maybe a little less positively, the tendency to make all the third rate characters that never really made it into disheveled loses, but we'll see where Waid goes with that (certainly the Shroud has masqueraded as a crime lord before, but i never saw him run alcohol through a coffee filter he pulled out of the trash). Samnee's layouts make a single issue feel full of content.

Original Sin #1 - I don't know why i decided to get this: it certainly is a zero issue, giving us origin recaps for Kid Nova and the Watcher, and it's fine for that. Nice scripting by Waid and nice art by Cheung. It doesn't tell me anything about what the Original Sin event will be like, since that won't be by Waid, but i knew that going in, so again, not sure what i was thinking with this (it's a $4.99 book, too!).

She-Hulk #1-3 - Heard good things about these about this series so thought we'd give it a try. Issue #1 started off really great, and i hope that'll be more like the way things go for now on. She-Hulk pursuing a legal matter for the widow of Dr. Jonas Harrow against Tony Stark; that's great, every issue should be something like that. The next two issues were not quite as good, though. First, the main plot, featuring She-Hulk trying to get sanctuary for Kristoff so that Dr. Doom can't extradite him back to Latveria, seemed a little too serious and high stakes, and it seems like it might continue into next issue and be a little more action oriented. I did like the continued set-up of She-Hulk's private practice and her weird new assistant (considering the hypnotism on display, i have a weird and unjustified expectation that it's really Xemnu the Titan in disguise, but it's funny regardless (i *will* allow that monkey to continue to be in the book)). I think the idea that she's renting a building full of other super-powered people is a bit too much and may result in some Deadpool or Dan Slott style humor that i'm not really hoping to see in this series, but so far that was ok. I did like the art (if you're turned off by the covers, as i initially was, the interior art is nothing like that). It's something closer to Samnee, possibly by way of Allred. One big problem with the art for me though is the two page spreads where (as usual) there's no indication that you're supposed to start reading across the two pages instead of down like you do every where else. That caught me at least twice. And the big spread of She-hulk's eyes wasn't as impressive as i guess it was supposed to be and seemed like a waste of space. But overall i think this has promise.

I do have some continuity-ish concerns. The first is in issue #1, where the description of the history of Tony Stark's companies seemed wrong to me "Mr. Stark's original company was Stark Industries ceded to Mr. James Rhodey and renamed Stark International." And that's before the Stane takeover? That doesn't sound right. At the very least, the man's name is James Rhodes. "Rhodey" is a nickname. The depiction of Kristoff in issues #2-3 seems totally different than any version of Kristoff i'm familiar with. It's entirely possible i'm misremembering or there are things i'm not aware of (the story references Accutech, so someone did some research), but without footnotes, there's no way to indicate to me what i may be missing.

By fnord12 | April 27, 2014, 7:13 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

They buried those cartridges for a reason

Unearthing them will only unleash the evil spirits they contain.

They should have been able to get out of those pits themselves by raising their necks, but the controls were too hard.

By fnord12 | April 27, 2014, 12:33 AM | Video Games | Comments (3) | Link

April 26, 2014

My Super-Villain Plan

Keep ordering things from Amazon and stockpiling all the air-filled packaging material until eventually i control the world's air supply.

By fnord12 | April 26, 2014, 10:33 AM | My stupid life | Comments (0) | Link

April 25, 2014

The FCC wants you to wait for it

Pay to Play comes to the internet.

Obama appointee Tom Wheeler, the FCC Chairman, has a blog post explaining why the ruling isn't what we think it is, but it's not clear to me that he's addressing the real concerns. I left a comment saying as much, but so far it's been throttled:

I've never needed the FCC to approve me before!

P.S. The New York Times editorial board is not so assured by Wheeler's assurances.

By fnord12 | April 25, 2014, 8:09 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

April 24, 2014

"This should not be confused with civil disobedience...This is outright anarchy"

I hope libertarian hero Cliven Bundy's latest statements require only condemnation, not refutation, but the "blacks were better off during slavery" sentiment seems to be bubbling up more and more. So here's Ta-Nehisi Coates reminding us about the realities of slavery. And (via another Coates post) a reminder that things didn't get all better right after slavery (far from it). Compare the experiences of those black landowners to the Bundy family who, if Clive isn't lying, got their land thanks to a Federal government initiative and are now feeding their cattle at subsidized rates (and not even paying those rates). If Bundy really did see unemployed black people in Las Vegas, the reasons might be traced back to that discrepancy.

By fnord12 | April 24, 2014, 10:32 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

April 22, 2014

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Hulk #1 - Not sure i was impressed with the brain surgeon's connection with Bruce Banner - unless there's going to be more to it i don't understand the guy's "guilt", etc.. But i guess the idea is that it was all misdirection; he wasn't the hero of the story, the anesthesiologist was. Decent set up so far (kind of a shame to waste Bagley on near action-less set-up), but if this doesn't end with Bruce Banner shouting "Hulk's butt hurts!" i want my money back.

Ms. Marvel #3 - This continues to be good. I do think Adrian Alphona's art is perfect for this story. And Kamala in the school environment helps highlight the Peter Parker-ish outsider kid theme more than last issue. The scene with her hand getting big in class is a classic teen super-hero (or Teen Wolf) metaphor moment. The other thing is i'm pretty relaxed about this; it doesn't need to "go" anywhere. The book is all about her interactions and her discover of her self/her powers, so unlike just about every other book i'm reading i don't feel like the plot is dragging (again, last issue which really kept her isolated, was different). I guess we're going to have a "The Inventor" as a villain, but no hurry. Good stuff.

By fnord12 | April 22, 2014, 10:10 PM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link

My Second Biggest Captain America: Winter Soldier Disappointment

Assuming it's safe at this point to spoil the movie, was anyone else completely disappointed when Nick Fury's bringing Cap down the elevator to reveal the secret SHIELD project, telling him the story about his grandfather keeping a gun in his paper bag, and it turns out the secret project is not this:

Cause I was. I made the effort to watch this part of the movie, holding back my nausea, and what did i get? A bunch of helicarriers. WTF? Who cares about flying spy ships with laser cannons? Where's my giant gun? HRMPH!

By min | April 22, 2014, 3:48 PM | Comics & Movies | Comments (1) | Link

Alana Should Ask Her for Training Tips

She prolly knows a thing or two about training flying predators.

Ashol-Pan, the daughter of a particularly celebrated hunter, may well be the country's only apprentice huntress.

They hunt in winter, when the temperatures can drop to -40C (-40F). A hunt begins with days of trekking on horseback through snow to a mountain or ridge giving an excellent view of prey for miles around. Hunters generally work in teams. After a fox is spotted, riders charge towards it to flush it into the open, and an eagle is released.

By min | April 22, 2014, 2:34 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link

Just in time

Now that solar panels are cheap, the only thing stopping us from using them are the millions of dollars that the Koch brothers are going to spend to make sure we don't.

By fnord12 | April 22, 2014, 2:20 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

April 21, 2014

D&D and babies

A very timely six part story Penny Arcade story as we go into a D&D weekend where we add back some players that have been away tending to their newborn lvl 0 fighter.

I'll link to part one and you can click forward. Probably only funny if you are a neeeeeerd.

By fnord12 | April 21, 2014, 10:41 AM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link

Paul Krugman on Bill Moyers

Following up on the oligarchy paper below, here is Paul Krugman and Bill Moyers discussing a similar topic (the paper is referenced at the end). It's 20+ minutes long.

Paul Krugman also references the paper in this blog post.

By fnord12 | April 21, 2014, 10:29 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

April 18, 2014

Never retconned, never caused anyone to kill Professor X

A flurry of political posts below, so lets start the weekend with a flyer and screenshot from the awesome video game, Phoenix.

By fnord12 | April 18, 2014, 3:57 PM | Video Games | Comments (0) | Link

Princeton study says US is no longer a democracy

According to TPM's summary, it says we've been an oligarchy going back to the 1980s. Haven't read the long-ish report yet.

By fnord12 | April 18, 2014, 3:50 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Good news on solar panels


One front many people didn't take too seriously, however, was renewable energy. Sure, cap-and-trade might make more room for wind and the sun, but how important could such sources really end up being? And I have to admit that I shared that skepticism. If truth be told, I thought of the idea that wind and sun could be major players as hippie-dippy wishful thinking.

But I was wrong.

The climate change panel, in its usual deadpan prose, notes that "many RE [renewable energy] technologies have demonstrated substantial performance improvements and cost reductions" since it released its last assessment, back in 2007. The Department of Energy is willing to display a bit more open enthusiasm; it titled a report on clean energy released last year "Revolution Now." That sounds like hyperbole, but you realize that it isn't when you learn that the price of solar panels has fallen more than 75 percent just since 2008.

Sounds like maybe Min can soon build her own microgrid.

By fnord12 | April 18, 2014, 3:02 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

None dare call it a recovery

Democratic strategists warn politicians to not use the word "recovery" in the upcoming election year to avoid seeming out of touch. If only those "strategists" were around back in 2009 when President Obama was pivoting away from economic recovery and towards deficit reduction back in 2009 when we had 8%+ unemployment. You can't magic that away now with your choice of phrasing.

Tangentially, and also looking at this Obama Urges Dems to Defend Obamacare post, why is it that Democrats always seem to have their strategy sessions in a public forum? The Republicans always manage to march in lockstep without any McConnell Urges Repubs to Advocate Lower Taxes articles. But with Democrats you always get these "oh, maybe we shouldn't say 'recovery'" and "hey guys, maybe you ought to stick up for our signature program of the past few years because if people don't like it they're going to vote for the Republicans anyway" type of articles.

By fnord12 | April 18, 2014, 10:01 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

April 17, 2014

Kevin Drum on Donald Rumsfeld's taxes

About as much snark as you could possibly fit into one blog post.

By fnord12 | April 17, 2014, 1:31 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Where's My Microgrid?


For five days after Hurricane Sandy hit on October 29, 2012, large swathes of Hoboken, N.J., remained underwater and in darkness. The small city covering five square kilometers hosts three substations for the regional electric grid, all of which were knocked out of service by flooding. Some residents had no electricity for as long as 15 days after the storm.

As Mayor Dawn Zimmer walked around her municipality surveying the damage, she vowed to come up with a backup plan to keep the lights on in a catastrophe. When federal government officials flooded in to tour the damage, Zimmer asked them to help her find a way to have at least a minimal amount of power remain on during storms, no matter what. As a result, she is now working with Sandia National Laboratories, local utility Public Service Electric & Gas Co., the Board of Public Utilities and renewable energy consultant Greener by Design to come up with a plan to put Hoboken, or at least a part of it, on its own power grid. Hoboken needs to be self-sustaining during a storm, Zimmer says, because whether it's stubbornness or lack of resources, people simply don't evacuate. "I thought if we had a safer, better system of sheltering in place, people could stay in their homes through the storm," Zimmer explains.

I want one!

By min | April 17, 2014, 12:20 PM | Science | Comments (0) | Link

April 16, 2014

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Black Widow #5 - Still not loving Noto, but i thought the fight sequence with Hammer of God was better this time. I spent the entire issue wondering if i was supposed to know Tori Raven which, i wasn't, but Damo Dran, who i do know, was introduced just as casually, which is the sort of thing that gets me confused. Still, i said that this series might get better if it got into a continued story, and that does seem to be the case. Dran is possibly the closest thing the Widow has to a solo arch enemy, and he's also pretty obscure, so i'm pretty amazed to see him being used in an "indie" style book like this, but i like it (there still should have been a footnote). Doesn't look like he's going to be the main bad guy, even. Anyway, i think this limps along hopefully for me.

Superior Foes of Spider-Man #11 - Another fill-in, which is a shame and surely a buzz killer. Last issue's fill-in matched the tone of the series pretty well and was pretty good. This one, not so much. I really don't like the concept of a Super-villains Anonymous, but Spencer made it work in the earlier issues, i think because he used it as the basis for a story and jokes, instead of just being the joke itself. Tom Peyer's Grizzly story was pretty fun - if nothing else this issue gave me "the whole nine yams" - and yes, he's one of the sadder villains to have been invented, but the problem with a story like this is it makes Grizzly irredeemably terrible. Give the guy a better costume and a good story, and there's really no reason that Grizzly couldn't have been an awesome low level super-villain. I could definitely see him as a Thunderbolt. Be hard to see him come back from this. Hell, i even see Dr. Bong as potentially usable in the right setting, but i can't picture him coming back after being in a support group with that Hippo character. By itself that would have been fine, though. The real problem with this issue is the Looter. Now, i have no special affinity for the Looter, but just last issue we saw him as the buff, successful, awesome guy that the Superior Foes were comparing themselves unfavorably to. So how did he go from there to a terrified broken skinny dude? I know we gave up on "continuity", but can't we at least have some consistency between two issues of the same series? It's pretty insane. Isn't there an editor that approves these stories? Are there two Looters in the Marvel universe? That's at least one too many. And then to end this goofy goofy issue on the earnest "we need to control the crazy violent Spider-Man inside ourselves" message. A tone change from Uncle Grampa to One To Grow On. Weird.

New Warriors #3 - Now this was great. Fun dialogue. Loved the snarky Speedball asides. Kid Nova calling the Scarlet Spider "Spider-Man" (and the more sincere "Spider-Man wouldn't have failed" from Scarlet at the end). Enjoyed Sun Girl blasting the new Inhuman to make her point. Good characterization of Justice as the by-the-book boyscout. Loved the Luna Lovegood-ish Hummingbird ("This is Sam. He's been to space."). And i'm liking the High Evolutionary's plan (i'm assuming he's on the wrong track, but i still like the idea of it and the Marvel history that's informing it). I still wouldn't mind if the whole team had finally gotten together by now - i thought we were heading to that for an ending of this issue - but i guess i'm going to have to get used to this kind of pacing.

Iron Man #24 - Continues to be great. Gillen seems to get stronger when he's got mystical stuff to work with, so Malekith his elves are helping him there.

Captain Marvel #2 - I see that we're back to dumb Drax. Generally speaking, the Guardians of the Galaxy didn't feel quite "right" to me, but they felt better than they did in the Bendis GotG issues i read before i couldn't stands it no more. Rocket Raccoon / pet rivalries are always fun. Overall this was OK, and i'm hopeful it gets better as we get going and Carol actually locates the plot.

Daredevil #1.50 - Umphf, um, ok. #1.50. Well, that's very precise. Did i miss #1.49? Is this part of a market research effort to see if a #1.50 sells better than an annual? Yes, it's the 50th anniversary issue of Daredevil, so i guess we should be looking at Marvel's post-modern issue numbers for clues about the story. #2.WOLVERINEGUESTSTARS might be next. As for the content, well, the Waid/Rodriguez story was good even though i don't really love or need stories set in the future. The fact that it's sort of a rosetta stone for the upcoming series is interesting, though. And the Kesel/"Colan"/Palmer (Kesel drawing in the style of Gene Colan) story gets points just for showing me Gene Colan art in a very different context than i'm used to plus (i originally thought this was posthumous Gene Colan art but it's not) referencing the crazy, crazy Mike Murdock stuff in a really fun way. But that thing in the middle. I almost didn't read it. But then i did and just wished i didn't. Is that really in continuity? Was Daredevil married to this woman? Another dead love interest? I love that we're at the point where if someone needs to crank out a quick Daredevil prose story for a jam issue, we just invent another woman that can fall in love with Daredevil and then die. And did anyone want a prose story? All and all, the Kesel story was fun but this issue was basically skippable, so maybe that's what i should take a .50 to mean in the future.

By fnord12 | April 16, 2014, 5:32 PM | Comics | Comments (4) | Link

Why is the Black Widow Posed Like That?

This isn't a terrible movie ad. There's no gratuitous butt shot or anything. But why is Black Widow walking with her hip cocked and her arms held out to the side holding her guns sideways? Is she surrendering?

And let's compare her expression to Cap's or Fury's. They've both got the "angry determination" sort of face on. Black Widow's sporting the "blank supermodel stare" and the flippy hair is not helping. She's one "partially parted lips" away from "Why does she have a porn face?". Winter Soldier's exuding more tough ass-kickery and you can't even see his face clearly.

Now, Black Widow can kick ass. I know she can. I saw it in the Avengers movie (i would have seen it in Iron Man 2 if they had backed the camera up enough to fit more than limbs. and i wanted to see it in CA: Winter Soldier, but i was too busy keeping my eyes shut for 2 hours so i wouldn't puke - see Palsy Cam post). There's no reason why she can't come off just as tough as the guys. So can we give her (and every other chick in an action movie) an "angry determination" face with a corresponding, non-butt pose like the guys get to have? That's not alot to ask, is it? You even get to keep the cat suit.

And if you still don't think there's anything wrong with the way Black Widow's posed, imagine Cap in a similar one.

By min | April 16, 2014, 10:57 AM | Comics & Movies | Comments (0) | Link

Filibuster lawsuit challenge loses

I've long felt the filibuster rule in the Senate could be challenged as unconstitutional, since it effectively denies the Vice President his constitutionally defined right to break a tie vote. But this lawsuit seems to have gone about it the wrong way. I would think the Vice President would have to sue, and he'd have to name as the defendant the Senate or the Senate Majority Leader or something like that. Instead, the liberal group Common Cause sued Joe Biden. On first blush this made absolutely no sense to me, but on consideration i guess the idea is that the Vice President is also President of the Senate (according to the constitution; in practice not so much). And some of the co-signers on the lawsuit were Democratic congressmen whose bills failed to pass in the Senate due to the filibuster. So the lawsuit wasn't quite as crazy as it first sounded to me. But they still lost the case due to lack of standing, since if Biden isn't claiming his constitutional rights are being violated, there's no legitimate grievance. So you'd really need the White House to bring this lawsuit. That's never going to happen, of course. And not just because of my usual "Democrats aren't fighters" complaint. Challenging the law on constitutional grounds is something mainstream people in either party would laugh at (although i wish Josh Marshal wouldn't relish the loss so much, especially since it lost on lack of standing instead of the merits).

By fnord12 | April 16, 2014, 10:34 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

April 15, 2014

They want to take away our softcore porn!

Former DC editor Janelle Asselin wrote a column at CBR criticizing the new Teen Titans cover largely over the depiction of the teen Wonder Girl's breasts, and in return she got abuse and rape threats. The cover was (sadly) far from the worst depiction of women in comics that i've seen, but i still largely agree with her critique ("largely" only because i'm less interested in the complaints about the paper airplane and such, although i agree it's not a great cover even without the Wonder Girl problem). Even if i didn't agree with her, though, the reaction - even the less violent reaction on twitter, let alone the rape threats - seems unhinged. What surprises me the most are the people who defend it on the grounds that they have the right to look at sexy female superheroes (you can see some of it in the CBR comments, too). You'd think people that were into comic book art for that would keep quiet about it, but no, instead they go into full outrage mode. Like, download some porn, people. That's not what mainstream super-hero comics are for!

The other complaint seems to be that all comic art is bad in this way, so why is she picking on this one? Well as she explains, part of that is that thanks to a popular cartoon series, the Teen Titans potentially has a larger audience than a cover like that is targeting. But also, why should this book get a pass just because others do it? Generalized critiques are good, too, but focusing on a specific comic helps get the point across, and that's especially the case when it's actually not the most egregious example (you can see one of the Psylocke scans from the Middle Spaces post below for one of those). Just because you're not doing a brokeback position with the lady in fishnets and a thong doesn't mean you're doing it right.

By fnord12 | April 15, 2014, 1:12 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

"There is no sense of what he is really capable of, what he has done in the past, and what is at stake in potentially trusting him"

Osvaldo Oyola looks at Brian Wood's X-Men and why (or at least some of the reasons why) it failed.

By fnord12 | April 15, 2014, 1:07 PM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link

April 13, 2014

Are you aiming high?

By fnord12 | April 13, 2014, 9:03 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

Captain America and the Palsy Cam

Friday night we went to see Winter Soldier in the theater. For once we saw a movie in a relatively timely manner, so i'm going to keep things general to avoid spoilers. But from a certain point of view i thought it was a great movie. I don't know if i agree with MightyGodKing that it's the best Marvel movie, but except for one thing i'd probably have put it in my top three (along with Avengers and the first Iron Man).

But that one thing was pretty bad. And that's the strange and increasingly prevalent use of shaky cameras, jerky POV changes, and extreme close-ups that has been infecting more and more movies (definitely ruined our enjoyment of Pacific Rim). Normally it seems to be used as a way to obscure poorly coordinated fights, but in this case it seemed like there was cool stuff going on but it was impossible to see it. Now, we did wind up in a crowded theater and had to sit pretty close to the front, so i'm hoping that was a factor and it'll look better on a television screen ("gee, your movie sucked in the theater but maybe it'll look ok on television" is surely not what directors want to hear). Ironically, Saturday night we kicked back with Fast and Furious 6. And that movie had very clear action and some nice (if silly) fights. And let me tell you, Fast and Furious 6 should not have better action sequences than Captain America.

By fnord12 | April 13, 2014, 11:47 AM | Comics & Movies | Comments (2) | Link

April 11, 2014

Gee, i'm sure glad *we* don't have white collar unions

I'd sure hate for this to happen here.

By fnord12 | April 11, 2014, 9:41 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

April 9, 2014


For my comic project i occasionally wonder when certain issues came out in relation to others, as it helps establish what people knew at the time or what technically counts as a reveal or new information. All i usually have to go by is the cover date. But Mike Sterling delves into the ship dates for the issues debuting Spider-Man's black costume. I mean, of course Amazing Spider-Man was first, but it's nice to see the data. If, you know, you're me and probably no one else.

By fnord12 | April 9, 2014, 6:51 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

I don't think he likes it there

I invite you to consider, for no particular reason, the possibility that there is a little man in your head watching a movie of eggs being fried, and in turn there is a little man in his head watching a movie of a man watching a movie of eggs being fried, forever and ever in infinite regress.

By fnord12 | April 9, 2014, 12:32 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (4) | Link

April 8, 2014

Inflation is in the mind

Kevin Drum expands on Paul Krugman and Tyler Cowan wondering why people are so worried about inflation at a time when a) there isn't any and b) it would actually do us some good. Judging from what i've seen in comments sections, there's also the fact that you can't disprove inflation (not that i've personally tried, mind you. It's bad enough that i read comments sections on political blogs). Show people whatever charts you want, the response will be "Are you crazy? Haven't you seen the price of gas/milk/comic books/etc.?" By the time you've explained that there are unique circumstances for those particular commodities that don't reflect an overall rate of inflation, you've already lost anyone's interest, especially if someone else is telling them that we're having all this inflation because the Fed is "printing money".

By fnord12 | April 8, 2014, 9:12 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

April 5, 2014

Fried It Right Out

My grandmother offered me some batter-fried pork chop at lunch today. When i declined and pointed out that i don't eat meat (which she's known for years now), she told me it was ok because they had "fried the oil out of it"*.

So, i learned 2 things today.

  1. you can fry oil out of things
  2. and that, apparently, also magically makes meat vegan.

*i admit to taking a tiny bit of license with the translation, but it's almost entirely accurate.

By min | April 5, 2014, 5:16 PM | My stupid life | Comments (3) | Link

April 4, 2014

"You really start to wonder, after a while, just why it is that some of you guys follow the books at all."

Continuing to chronicle the "Looking for any greater meaning or purpose in what you're reading every time out is a bit of a losing proposition" phase of Marvel.

I'm not necessarily endorsing the questioner's specific concern (although on initial consideration i get their point). I do agree with Brevoort about the hyperbole and anger he gets. The truth is Marvel is all but telling us that "continuity" (the way longtime Marvel geeks mean it) is dead. So it's really up to us to let it go and stop reading Marvel if that's all we're in it for. Brevoort's post here is an invitation for us to go away. So there's no need for fans to keep getting mad about it. At this point if you're reading Marvel books and getting angry about stuff like this, you need to move on to the next stage of acceptance.

By fnord12 | April 4, 2014, 10:01 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

April 3, 2014

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Revolutionary War: Omega - I thought maybe this could have been a few pages longer. The set-up and background for Killpower was really good but then it all seemed to end very quickly. The part with Motormouth just power-shouting at Killpower immediately reverting him to normal seemed abrupt. And then it was all over and we got the wrap up. I'm still not really sure what Mephisto's role in this really was or how things ended with Dark Angel. And the other characters were kind of a blur. But it might just require a more careful reading. And in any case i did enjoy this little event and would be happy to see Lanning, Cowsill, Gillen, etc. writing more in this little corner of the Marvel universe.

Indestructible Hulk #20 - I was souring on the Inhumanity crossover, but this issue was pretty cool. I enjoyed the new Enclave, anyway. And Hulk fondly remembering gum. Now, this upcoming reboot... the Daredevil reboot, as little sense as it made, at least there was a natural build up to the idea that Daredevil had to move out of New York. Whether moving to a new location merits a reboot is another matter (answer: no). But this Hulk reboot actually felt like it forced the status quo change that happens in the end. The premise of this series, with Banner working for SHIELD and having gathered a team of scientists each with their own dark secrets or whatever, it was interesting and that's why i was disappointed that it kept seeming to get derailed by crossovers. But now the team's been discarded seemingly because of the reboot. What Marvel has to do to keep sales up is one thing. And i know Hulk isn't selling in the numbers he should be for a movie star. But hopefully we're not getting into a period of instant reactive storytelling: oh, you didn't like the scientists, ok, drop them, reboot, how about a story where someone shot Banner? No? Ok, reboot. Hulk turns blue?

By fnord12 | April 3, 2014, 9:41 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

Even Grey Hulk can put up with Meatloaf for charity

When i was younger i used to hate this ad because the Hulk in that picture was so obviously meant to be the dumb green Hulk that they hastily recolored grey in an attempt to fit it into current continuity. Yes, those were the things that made me mad, and no i haven't changed much. But now i see that what's really going on here is that the Grey Hulk is willing to take a break from his quasi-villainous ways and even put up with the other Marvel super-heroes' questionable taste in music to help kids in the Special Olympics. And that's really big of him. Now we just have to figure out how Wolverine didn't notice the resurrected Jean Grey standing behind him and why Thor, Iron Man, and Spider-Man are wearing their old costumes.

By fnord12 | April 3, 2014, 5:18 PM | Comics | Comments (4) | Link

In his own world

Charles Koch makes an Ayn Randian rant against his "collectivist" enemies while the rest of us wonder if a market-based Rube Goldberg-esque health care system designed by the Heritage Foundation is going to work.

By fnord12 | April 3, 2014, 11:50 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

When are we going to give it up on Cuba?

Why is our government so obsessed with Cuba? It's a sickness. We've done a lot of bad stuff in the world, but with Cuba it just gets downright weird, from exploding cigars and beard removal powders to fake twitter programs. If we legitimately wanted to see reforms, we could accomplish so much more by normalizing relations with them, relaxing travel and trade restrictions, but there seems to be a bipartisan consensus that we have to "win" by destroying their current government. It's madness and it's been completely ineffective and i can't understand why we're still doing it.

Now that this latest program (which Senator Leahy correctly calls "troubling") is out in the open, it'd be nice to have an in-depth review of our policies, but that's highly unlikely. The bipartisan consensus means there's no opposition on this, and my own Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat, is one of the worst on this topic. And it's not really an issue that regular voters are going to get up in arms about. So on it goes...

By fnord12 | April 3, 2014, 11:03 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

April 2, 2014

Time to roll it up and go back to Monarchy

Latest Supreme Court ruling further kills campaign contribution limits. Because money is speech. And billionaires just have bigger mouths than you.

Now we can all watch every politician cater to the whims of billionaires and their preferred terms for the West Bank.

By fnord12 | April 2, 2014, 12:22 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

April 1, 2014

Finally: the right amount of Dio

Wanyas alerted me to the recent Dio cover album, and i haven't gotten it yet, but i am certainly pleased with the album art:

The man would be proud.

By fnord12 | April 1, 2014, 7:54 AM | Music | Comments (0) | Link

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