Banner Archive

Marvel Comics Timeline
Godzilla Timeline



« July 2007 | Main | September 2007 »

August 31, 2007

Reid caves pre-emptively

Washington Post:

Saying the coming weeks will be "one of the last opportunities" to alter the course of the war, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said he is now willing to compromise with Republicans to find ways to limit troop deployments in Iraq. Reid acknowledged that his previous firm demand for a spring withdrawal deadline had become an obstacle for a small but growing number of Republicans who have said they want to end the war but have been unwilling to set a timeline.

"I don't think we have to think that our way is the only way," Reid said of specific dates during an interview in his office here. "I'm not saying, 'Republicans, do what we want to do.' Just give me something that you think you would like to do, that accomplishes some or all of what I want to do."

"Just give me something that you think you would like to do"? Are you @#*&$#@ kidding me? Please! I can't handle being Majority Leader! Tell me what to do!!!!

Again, this is a problem unique to Democrats. Sure, you may think it looks like Reid is just trying to be reasonable, but you don't go into a negotiation by saying right off the bat "I am willing to compromise with you." Especially when you are the majority party. Especially when your opponents are extremists who certainly didn't treat you that way when they were in power. Especially when you were put in power specifically to end this debacle.

Some blogger comments:

Talking Points Memo:

Of course, Reid has already "compromised" with Republicans on Iraq by agreeing to fund the war through September with no withdrawal timetables, and look where that has gotten us.

BarbinMD on Daily Kos:

"I'm not saying, 'Republicans, do what we want to do.'

You were voted in as a majority to say exactly that. And it's time you remembered that.


Aaaand here are the Dems folding on another issue:

Very interestingly, Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein told myself and Jonathan Weisman in separate interviews Monday that if Bush picks a consensus AG, that the spirit and drive of the Dem investigations into the US attorney firings would likely dissipate.

By fnord12 | August 31, 2007, 1:47 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Green Zone Fog

This is nothing new. They've just gotten more organized about it. Scenes just like this were depicted in The Ugly American, regarding Vietnam.

The sheets of paper seemed to be everywhere the lawmakers went in the Green Zone, distributed to Iraqi officials, U.S. officials and uniformed military of no particular rank. So when Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) asked a soldier last weekend just what he was holding, the congressman was taken aback to find out.

In the soldier's hand was a thumbnail biography, distributed before each of the congressmen's meetings in Baghdad, which let meeting participants such as that soldier know where each of the lawmakers stands on the war. "Moran on Iraq policy," read one section, going on to cite some the congressman's most incendiary statements, such as, "This has been the worst foreign policy fiasco in American history."

Brief, choreographed and carefully controlled, the codels (short for congressional delegations) often have showed only what the Pentagon and the Bush administration have wanted the lawmakers to see. At one point, as Moran, Tauscher and Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.) were heading to lunch in the fortified Green Zone, an American urgently tried to get their attention, apparently to voice concerns about the war effort, the participants said. Security whisked the man away before he could make his point.

Tauscher called it "the Green Zone fog."

"Spin City," Moran grumbled. "The Iraqis and the Americans were all singing from the same song sheet, and it was deliberately manipulated."

Remember, this was the environment in which Baird made the decision that we needed to stay in Iraq just a little longer.

By fnord12 | August 31, 2007, 1:39 PM | Boooooks & Liberal Outrage| Link

Monks vs Ninjas

China's Shaolin Temple, the cradle of Chinese kung fu, is demanding an apology from an Internet user who said its monks had once been beaten in unarmed combat by a Japanese ninja, Chinese media reported on Friday.
"The so-called defeat is purely fabricated, and we demand the Internet user to apologise to the whole nation for the wrongs he or she did," the Beijing News said, citing a notice announced by a lawyer for the Shaolin monks.


  1. I also demand that you apologize for all the wrongs you've done and condemn your horrible deeds.
  2. Shaolin monks have lawyers???
  3. I will destroy your Kung Fu

By min | August 31, 2007, 8:17 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link

August 30, 2007

Marvel Sales


By fnord12 | August 30, 2007, 4:20 PM | Comics| Link

Missing Iraq WMDs found; Were sitting in UN warehouse for 11 years, incorrectly filed under "Ark of the Covenant"

Just a stupid story that made Top News status because it contains the words "Iraq" and "chemical".

Meanwhile, for real, the whole story is starting all over again as the IAEA says that Iran is co-operating, just like they said about Iraq.

By fnord12 | August 30, 2007, 2:35 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Internet music distribution - how do the artists get paid?

John McCrea from Cake, interviewed at This Modern World.:

It's a leaner business. In terms of how long we have to stay out on tour, that's just being turned up and up and up by the fact that our recorded music is now, for all intents and purposes, worthless to the people that listen to music. Generally people under thirty tend to think you're a chump if you pay for music. The value has been transferred over to the shiny and valuable iPod player and away from the music itself. It's increasingly necessary for us to play more and more shows in order to pay our bills and accountants and managers, et cetera. Despite a lot of hype about Myspace, it's getting harder, not easier, for bands to make ends meet, and I know that that's not a popular statement, but it's the truth. I'd like to see some sort of solution to it.

By fnord12 | August 30, 2007, 2:31 PM | Music| Link


Check this out. A Democratic representative (Brian Baird, Washington) went to Iraq and came back and said we can't withdraw immediately or it will be chaos. The Bush administration jumped on this as a chance to say there was bipartisan support for 'staying the course'. At Baird's town hall meeting he was basically mobbed by his constituents, who are a frustrated as hell over the lack of Democratic action on the war.

No sale. Phil shot back that Baird had become the "poster boy" for the Bush Administration's Iraq policy, and " don't like that at all."

"I don't like it, either," Baird said. (Both his talk and Q & A were peppered with zingers at the administration.)

Phil's arm shot out, his finger pointing angrily at Baird: "My friend, you have screwed up, and you have to change course." At that, the crowd erupted, cheering Phil . . .

And this was a crowd, to a big extent, of Baird's best in-district political friends. Or, those who used to be his friends. A few speakers before Phil, a woman who was a long-time supporter dressed him down by reminding him, "We are the ones who hit the ground to get you elected. . . . We were so so proud of you and the work you did." Now, she said: "I cannot believe your arrogance, Mr. Baird."

The audience atmosphere was a little Pentacostal: Cries of "impeach Bush" or "end the war" and similar calls punctuated questions, answers and everything else. In the two hours we were there, not one questioner - out of perhaps 20 - expressed anything other than disgust and outrage at Baird's new take on Iraq. To judge from audience reaction, a portion of the crowd of perhaps 400 to 500 (those that were inside - the room was filled solid and others couldn't get in) supported him, but that portion was surely less than 10%.

Shouted one person, midway through: "You think you're going to be re-elected?"

Baird: "It doesn't matter to me." Maybe, in the face of all that, it didn't.

Part of the problem here is a problem typical for Democrats. They (to their credit from a pure policy perspective) tend to have more complicated positions than Republicans seem to. But that may be a matter of strategy. In today's soundbite-driven political environment, the Republican's black & white positioning makes for much better messaging than the Democrat's nuanced statements. Baird is actually against the war.

Somewhat obscured is that none of that has changed; he continues to describe the invasion as a terrible mistake, and his words about the Bush Administration are no kinder. His new contention is that some of the pieces that could lead to stability in Iraq may be falling into place, and that maintaining American troops in place could allow that stability to take hold; withdrawing troops now, he said, would certainly lead to chaos and regional instability. "If we withdraw it will be catastrophic," he said.

His view doesn't mesh fully with the Bush Administration's. Baird's take is that what's needed may be a matter of some months, until next April or so - he gave no indication he'd be willing to stretch this out for very long. ("This is not forever," he said.) Apart from that, Baird said that his take on the Iraq could easily change with conditions as the months go on.

You can make the case that there's nothing very dramatic about this as a matter of practical policy. There's little question that an American withdrawal, even if ordered right away, would take months to execute, since so many people and supplies are located there. (However, while Baird was flatly convinced that American troop withdrawal would lead to disaster, there are lines of thought that the troops' presence there now is encouraging more insurgency.) As Baird (and many others) points out, American troop levels will be drawn down next spring by 50,000 or so regardless what the policy is: This country simply won't have the troops available to maintain current troop levels. So an American troop scaledown likely will occur then anyway, and likely not be before then anyway, regardless what Congress does. (And many of us suspect that any congressional action on Iraq contrary to the administration's policy would be simply ignored by the president regardless.)

The problem with a position like this is that with the amount of time it will take Congress to debate the issue and draft and pass the bill, and then for the the military to start to implement the withdrawal, it would probably be April by then anyway. So Baird is effectively for 'immediate' withdrawal in any case, but his attempt at delivering a complex analysis backfired on him. He should have come back from Iraq and said "We need to withdraw but we need to do it carefully."

Anyway, i'm excited by this townhall meeting and i hope we see more like it around the country. Unfortunately I don't think my representative has townhall meetings. At least, he's never invited me.

By fnord12 | August 30, 2007, 11:56 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

More Bento

There are a few things on this page that i might want (like the little animal-shaped sauce containers, although i don't see how you're supposed to wash them out), but i'm so sure i should have this:

By min | August 30, 2007, 11:08 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Whores, Freaks, Saints, and Angels by the Dirty Beatniks

Note: This is one i tried to figure out myself, so i'm sure there's lots of mistakes (especially that 'sword of God' part). Help would be appreciated.

Something won and lost in desire drove us there
Something good where our feet is
Now we seek his electricity
Even if it ain't our turn
Even if we ain't next in line
We'll say "No really. It's OK. We're fine."
And then we'll be with some people that we... don't really want to be with.
Laughing like idiots.
To an artist's auntie's Jesus.

Last year there was this tranquil room that we'd hide in.
You wanna hold off
When we feel our arms stretch out to our sides
We feel ourselves blinded
Into the darkness
Into the dull noise
Into the century of heat

The velvet pollution
Into the city
That's where you'll find us
Slightly walking
Slightly dreaming
Slightly walking
Slightly making dreaming sounds

An anaconda makes no noise
And the lightning just adds to the light
And the rain washing nothing away
No one's going anywhere
Everyone's here to stay

Whores, freaks, saints, and angels
We're all beautiful
We're all dangerous
We're all users
We're all takers
This is how i got made.

I haven't fallen to the sword of God
And preachers screaming to my face.
I haven't fallen the edge the sword of God

Screaming. As i just stared up.
Stared up in his arms.
I watched his beatiful veins
Move up his arms
Into his neck
Into his face.
I just stared as his beautiful face.

Whores, freaks, saints, and angels
We're all beautiful
We're all dangerous
We're all users
We're all takers
This is how i got made.

By fnord12 | August 30, 2007, 9:21 AM | Music| Link

Wake 'n' Bacon

For your waking pleasure, i present the Wake n' Bacon:

An alarm clock that wakes you up with the smell and sizzle of cooking bacon.

There is a second page. Scroll down.

By min | August 30, 2007, 8:45 AM | Science | Comments (5) | Link

August 29, 2007

Everything in Iraq would have worked out just fine

...if only we had been allowed to use the ray gun.

By fnord12 | August 29, 2007, 2:14 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Be nice now

Don't be too mean.

By fnord12 | August 29, 2007, 2:09 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (7) | Link


It's not supposed to work like that! It's just a tool to help us exploit other countries! Right?

Nope, it's a tool to help corporations exploit all countries by removing any barriers to trade (i.e. "laws").

What am i talking about?

The dispute stretches back to 2003, when Mr. Mendel first persuaded officials in Antigua and Barbuda, a tiny nation in the Caribbean with a population of around 70,000, to instigate a trade complaint against the United States, claiming its ban against Americans gambling over the Internet violated Antigua and Barbuda's rights as a member of the W.T.O.
More than a few people in Washington initially dismissed as absurd the idea that the trade organization could claim jurisdiction over something as basic as a country's own policies toward gambling. Various states and the federal government, after all, have been deeply engaged for decades in where and when to allow the operation of casinos, Indian gambling halls, racetracks, lotteries and the like.

But a W.T.O. panel ruled against the United States in 2004, and its appellate body upheld that decision one year later. In March, the organization upheld that ruling for a second time and declared Washington out of compliance with its rules.

That has placed the United States in a quandary, said John H. Jackson, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center who specializes in international trade law.

Complying with the W.T.O. ruling, Professor Jackson said, would require Congress and the Bush administration either to reverse course and permit Americans to place bets online legally with offshore casinos or, equally unlikely, impose an across-the-board ban on all forms of Internet gambling - including the online purchase of lottery tickets, participation in Web-based pro sports fantasy leagues and off-track wagering on horse racing.

Washington responded to Antigua's complaint by claiming it was within its rights to seek to block online gambling on moral grounds, just as any Muslim country would be within its rights under international trade agreements to ban the import of alcoholic beverages. The W.T.O. rejected this argument as inconsistent with American policy.

This is a fairly silly case, but the same basic rules apply. And i love how 'More than a few people in Washington' didn't see it coming. The article doesn't mention who they are, but i wouldn't be surprised if a lot of our lawmakers allowed this organization to exist had no idea what they are doing. Next time, it's not our gambling restrictions (who cares if we get rid of those?), it's our environmental regulations or our labor laws (some examples).

I found this article through a post on Dean Baker's blog, where he highlights an unusual aspect of this challenge:

But not complying with the decision presents big problems of its own for Washington. That's because Mr. Mendel, who is claiming $3.4 billion in damages on behalf of Antigua, has asked the trade organization to grant a rare form of compensation if the American government refuses to accept the ruling: permission for Antiguans to violate intellectual property laws by allowing them to distribute copies of American music, movie and software products, among others.

Baker says:

This is usually the joke part of the W.T.O.. While the United States is a large enough consumer that selective tariffs or other import restrictions can impose a serious cost on most countries. However, the markets of most countries are so small that any restrictions on imports from the United States would barely even be noticed.

Antigua got around this problem by proposing to go the route of free trade. They want the right to distribute recorded movies, music, and software without any regard to U.S. copyrights. In other words, Antigua is proposing to eliminate copyright monopolies on these products. The existence of the Internet means that Antigua's decision to allow free trade in these products would immediately make them freely available all over the world.

According to the article, the threat of free trade has Hollywood and the software industry terrified. Unfortunately, because the reporter apparently has no background in economic nor spoke to any economists, the enormous irony of this situation was not noted in this article.

By fnord12 | August 29, 2007, 1:39 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 28, 2007

More Godzilla than thou

Shaming my lack of Godzilla posts, Spored to Death delivers a one-two punch of classic/current Mechagodzilla reviews.

By fnord12 | August 28, 2007, 4:25 PM | Godzilla | Comments (1) | Link

Your pancreas vs.Your spleen
Your pancreas Your spleen

By fnord12 | August 28, 2007, 4:21 PM | Whoodwin| Link

Pictures of trees

You are invited to politely sleep through our display of Indian Lake vacation pictures.

By fnord12 | August 28, 2007, 4:01 PM | My stupid life | Comments (7) | Link

August 27, 2007

Back again

I'm back and already hooked back into my political blog addiction. Here's a funny quote:

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL): "Alberto Gonzales is the first Attorney General who thought the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth were three different things."

(What, you wanted pictures of trees? They're coming, they're coming).

By fnord12 | August 27, 2007, 4:13 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 17, 2007

Gone Again

Back into the woods with us. See you in a week.

By fnord12 | August 17, 2007, 3:35 PM | My stupid life| Link

No More TV

I just did it. I called the cable company. As of 8/24/07, we'll no longer have cable and i won't have to pay $58/month for tv. Whoo!

By min | August 17, 2007, 3:13 PM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link

For You Sweaty People Out There

Two small fans sewn into the back of each garment and powered by a pocket-sized rechargeable battery pack circulate air across the wearer's skin, evaporating perspiration and keeping temperatures down - a welcome respite from Japan's mid-summer humidity and record-breaking heat in recent days.

By min | August 17, 2007, 2:35 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

If My Mother Were a Doctor

You might expect such an response.

A South African man shot three weeks ago was told to "walk the pain off" and is still trying to persuade hospitals to remove the bullet lodged in his side, a newspaper said Thursday.

Well, ok, that's not entirely true. She would remove the bullet. But she'd yell at you for being so stupid and slow that you got shot in the first place. And if you had to be so incompetent as to get shot, you should have at least made sure the bullet made a clean exit instead of getting lodged in your body. In fact, you should have known that it was a dangerous place to be so you should have avoided it. You deserved to get shot for your poor judgement.

But at least you wouldn't have a bullet lodged in you anymore and that's what's important.

By min | August 17, 2007, 2:06 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Chavez - dictator for life, savior, or just a guy executing the will of the people?

I'm certainly not thrilled about the new proposal in Venezuela to remove term limits for their president. On the one hand, we didn't have term limits until after FDR, and there are a lot of parallels between FDR and Chavez, and why people on the right would like to make sure that leaders like that can't stay in office for too long. If people continue to vote for them, why shouldn't they stay in office? On the other hand, this certainly plays into the depiction of Chavez as another dictator, another Castro.

In the end i think i'm happy to see him stay in power as the things he is doing in Venezuela really are amazing. I hope they will become a model for other countries (even our own). Here's John Pilger, segueing from discussing Chile in the 1970s.

The similarities in the campaign against the phenomenal rise of popular democratic movements today are striking. Aimed principally at Venezuela, especially Chavez, the virulence of the attacks suggests that something exciting is taking place; and it is. Thousands of poor Venezuelans are seeing a doctor for the first time in their lives, having their children immunised and drinking clean water. New universities have opened their doors to the poor, breaking the privilege of competitive institutions effectively controlled by a "middle class" in a country where there is no middle. In barrio La LĂ­nea, Beatrice Balazo told me her children were the first generation of the poor to attend a full day's school. "I have seen their confidence blossom like flowers," she said. One night in barrio La Vega, in a bare room beneath a single lightbulb, I watched Mavis Mendez, aged 94, learn to write her own name for the first time.

More than 25,000 communal councils have been set up in parallel to the old, corrupt local bureaucracies. Many are spectacles of raw grassroots democracy. Spokespeople are elected, yet all decisions, ideas and spending have to be approved by a community assembly. In towns long controlled by oligarchs and their servile media, this explosion of popular power has begun to change lives in the way Beatrice described.

It is this new confidence of Venezuela's "invisible people" that has so inflamed those who live in suburbs called country club. Behind their walls and dogs, they remind me of white South Africans. Venezuela's wild west media is mostly theirs; 80% of broadcasting and almost all the 118 newspaper companies are privately owned. Until recently one television shock jock liked to call Chavez, who is mixed race, a "monkey". Front pages depict the president as Hitler, or as Stalin (the connection being that both like babies). Among broadcasters crying censorship loudest are those bankrolled by the National Endowment for Democracy, the CIA in spirit if not name. "We had a deadly weapon, the media," said an admiral who was one of the coup plotters in 2002. The TV station, RCTV, never prosecuted for its part in the attempt to overthrow the elected government, lost only its terrestrial licence and is still broadcasting on satellite and cable.

Yet, as in Nicaragua, the "treatment" of RCTV is a cause celebre for those in Britain and the US affronted by the sheer audacity and popularity of Chavez, whom they smear as "power crazed" and a "tyrant". That he is the authentic product of a popular awakening is suppressed. Even the description of him as a "radical socialist", usually in the pejorative, wilfully ignores the fact that he is a nationalist and social democrat, a label many in Britain's Labour party were once proud to wear.

In Washington, the old Iran-Contra death squad gang, back in power under Bush, fear the economic bridges Chavez is building in the region, such as the use of Venezuela's oil revenue to end IMF slavery. That he maintains a neoliberal economy, described by the American Banker as "the envy of the banking world" is seldom raised as valid criticism of his limited reforms. These days, of course, any true reforms are exotic. And as liberal elites under Blair and Bush fail to defend their own basic liberties, they watch the very concept of democracy as a liberal preserve challenged on a continent about which Richard Nixon once said "people don't give a shit". However much they play the man, Chavez, their arrogance cannot accept that the seed of Rousseau's idea of direct popular sovereignty may have been planted among the poorest, yet again, and "the hope of the human spirit", of which Roberto spoke in the stadium, has returned.

Also: bibliomulas (book mules)

By fnord12 | August 17, 2007, 1:49 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (6) | Link

All Doom and Gloom, all the time

In case i haven't depressed you enough today, here's the housing market.


In April, Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, declared that all the signs he saw indicated that the housing market was "at or near the bottom." Earlier this month he was still insisting that problems caused by the meltdown in the market for subprime mortgages were "largely contained."

But the time for denial is past.

According to data released yesterday, both housing starts and applications for building permits have fallen to their lowest levels in a decade, showing that home construction is still in free fall. And if historical relationships are any guide, home prices are still way too high. The housing slump will probably be with us for years, not months.

Meanwhile, it's becoming clear that the mortgage problem is anything but contained. For one thing, it's not confined to subprime mortgages, which are loans to people who don't satisfy the standard financial criteria. There are also growing problems in so-called Alt-A mortgages (don't ask), which are another 20 percent of the mortgage market. Problems are starting to appear in prime loans, too - all of which is what you would expect given the depth of the housing slump.

Many on Wall Street are clamoring for a bailout - for Fannie Mae or the Federal Reserve or someone to step in and buy mortgage-backed securities from troubled hedge funds. But that would be like having the taxpayers bail out Enron or WorldCom when they went bust - it would be saving bad actors from the consequences of their misdeeds.

Consider a borrower who can't meet his or her mortgage payments and is facing foreclosure. In the past, as Gretchen Morgenson recently pointed out in The Times, the bank that made the loan would often have been willing to offer a workout, modifying the loan's terms to make it affordable, because what the borrower was able to pay would be worth more to the bank than its incurring the costs of foreclosure and trying to resell the home. That would have been especially likely in the face of a depressed housing market.

Today, however, the mortgage broker who made the loan is usually, as Ms. Morgenson says, "the first link in a financial merry-go-round." The mortgage was bundled with others and sold to investment banks, who in turn sliced and diced the claims to produce artificial assets that Moody's or Standard & Poor's were willing to classify as AAA. And the result is that there's nobody to deal with.

Most likely this will result in a bailout to the morgage companies, just like the S&L bailout in the 80s that we are still paying off today. Which means all the people stuck with huge mortgages and homes that are no longer worth anything get screwed, but the irresponsible lenders who started this mess get away relatively unscathed.

By fnord12 | August 17, 2007, 1:40 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Peak Oil hits the big time

Coverage in the Christian Science Monitor with an expert's claim that the world's oil supply peaked in 2005. That's the most mainstream treatment of the issue i've seen.

Order those solar panels before the UPS fleet runs out of gas.

By fnord12 | August 17, 2007, 1:28 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Total assurance

Oversight of the department's use of the overhead imagery data would come from officials in the Department of Homeland Security and from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and would consist of reviews by agency inspectors general, lawyers and privacy officers. "We can give total assurance" that Americans' civil liberties will be protected, Allen said. "Americans shouldn't have any concerns about it."

This is about using military spy satellites for domestic purposes in the US. The satellites can purpotedly "see through cloud cover and even penetrate buildings and underground bunkers". So we're not just talking about "them" watching you walk to your car in the morning on your way to work. We're talking (theoretically?) about "them" having the ability to check out what you and your girl are up to in the bedroom, whether it's because you're suspected of a suspicious activity or just because some government bureaucrat is bored. If you don't accept their total assurance, of course. I do. No need to shine your electric eye into my home.

We all know from the J. Edgar Hoover days that government snooping powers are never abused, so we've got nothing to worry about.

There will, of course, always be the liberal fringe that doesn't want the government to have the powers it needs to protect us from ourselves:

"They want to turn these enormous spy capabilities, built to be used against overseas enemies, onto Americans," [Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies] said. "They are laying the bricks one at a time for a police state."

The Washington Post correctly labels her as an "activist". Frankly, i feel that as soon as she said that she should have been investigated (she must be up to something illegal), and her insane rantings shouldn't have been given such a prominent platform, but that's the liberal media for you.

By fnord12 | August 17, 2007, 12:09 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 16, 2007

Elvis... was a hero to most

How Did Elvis Get Turned Into a Racist?

So why didn't the rumor die? Why did it continue to find common acceptance up to, and past, the point that Chuck D of Public Enemy could declare in 1990, "Elvis was a hero to most... straight-up racist that sucker was, simple and plain"?

Chuck D has long since repudiated that view for a more nuanced one of cultural history, but the reason for the rumor's durability, the unassailable logic behind its common acceptance within the black community rests quite simply on the social inequities that have persisted to this day, the fact that we live in a society that is no more perfectly democratic today than it was 50 years ago. As Chuck D perceptively observes, what does it mean, within this context, for Elvis to be hailed as "king," if Elvis's enthronement obscures the striving, the aspirations and achievements of so many others who provided him with inspiration?

Elvis would have been the first to agree. When a reporter referred to him as the "king of rock 'n' roll" at the press conference following his 1969 Las Vegas opening, he rejected the title, as he always did, calling attention to the presence in the room of his friend Fats Domino, "one of my influences from way back." The larger point, of course, was that no one should be called king; surely the music, the American musical tradition that Elvis so strongly embraced, could stand on its own by now, after crossing all borders of race, class and even nationality.

"The lack of prejudice on the part of Elvis Presley," said Sam Phillips, the Sun Records founder who discovered him, "had to be one of the biggest things that ever happened. It was almost subversive, sneaking around through the music, but we hit things a little bit, don't you think?"

The quote i always heard was "The only thing Negroes can do for me is shine my shoes and buy my records."

But this site has the info on that:

Some said he made the remark while in Boston. Elvis had never been to Boston. Others said they heard it on Edward R. Murrow's CBS TV show Person to Person. But after Elvis' manager Col. Tom Parker demanded an appearance fee, CBS balked and Elvis didn't go on the show.

The Jet article of 1957 further confirmed what friends and associates knew about Elvis all along: He truly loved and respected black musicians.

"A lot of people seem to think I started this business," he told Jet. "But rock n roll was here a long time before I came along. Nobody can sing that kind of music like colored people. Let's face it: I can't sing like Fats Domino can. I know that."

That second link also has more from Chuck D:

Recently, Chuck D explained that his attack was against the Elvis whose roots were whitewashed by his legacy.

"The Elvis that died wasn't the same Elvis that was coming up", Chuck D said. "They said he was king. Based on who and what? Based on the quality of the people judging or the quality of his music? What does 'King of Rock and Roll' mean growing up in a black household? My Chuck Berry records are still in my house. Little Richard is still in the house. Otis Redding and James Brown. The King of what?"

Chuck D, a founding father of hip-hop and pop musicologist, said that accepting Elvis, and by extension other white crossover artists, might be easier for black Americans now that black artists are getting more credit and exposure.

Several years ago, the Fox TV network sent him to Graceland to do a black-perspective news story about Elvis. The assignment opened his eyes.

"Elvis had to come through the streets of Memphis and turn out black crowds before he became famous," Chuck D said. "It wasn't like he cheated to get there. He was a bad-ass white boy. Just like Eminem is doing today. The thing about today is that Eminem has more respect for black artists and black people and culture today than a lot of black artists themselves. He has a better knowledge where it comes from. Elvis had a great respect for black folk at a time when black folks were considered niggers, and who gave a damn about nigger music?"

So there you go. You are absolved for any Elvis music on your ipod.

(And no, i don't know why Chuck D was working for Fox.)

By fnord12 | August 16, 2007, 5:11 PM | Music | Comments (4) | Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

I Am The Walrus by the Dead Milkmen

Hey you kids! Cut that crap out!
I know who your parents are!
You wouldn't do this if Nixon were in the White House!
C'mon! I'm the walrus, dammit!

A young watusi watches 'I Love Lucy'
And I think 'what can this mean?'
A goat goes to school
And makes us look like fools
And I think 'what can this mean?'

They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!

Sold my niece to Edwin Meese
And I wonder what life's about
Talked of tires
While your dog caught fire
And I wonder what life's about

They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!

Yeah! Some nights I'm lying in bed,
wonderin' what would happen if Nancy Sinatra suddenly freaked out and
climbed a tree and decided she doesn't want to do 'These Boots are Made for
Walking' any more, and all she ever wanted to do for the rest of her natural
life was hum the 'Theme from S.W.A.T'.

They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!

Poke out your eyes and move to Portland
Kill your wife and move to Portland
Burn down your home and move to Portland
Come on everybody!
We're movin' to Portland!

They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
Yeah I am the walrus!

By fnord12 | August 16, 2007, 9:07 AM | Music| Link

August 15, 2007

Once again.... the liberal media

I guess it was about a week ago that Mitt Romney said that his sons were in fact fighting the war in terror just like the soldiers in Iraq; they were just doing so by working on his campaign trail instead of in the desert. This was right on the heels of Giuliani claiming to have spent as much time at the World Trade Center as the rescue workers. The Giuliani quote was taken somewhat out of context - he was trying to express sympathy for the workers who are now sick and his weird ego got the best of him, but i naively thought to myself last week "Well, there go the top two Republican candidates."

Stupid, stupid me. In order for those quotes to do any damage, they would actually have to be reported on. The Guiliani thing did get a few day's coverage, but it has since died down. Romney's quote basically hasn't been reported at all in the major media:

If Mitt Romney manages to capture the Republican Party's presidential nomination next year, he and his staffers might just look back to the second week in August as the crucial turning point in the campaign.

And no, I'm not referring to his manufactured victory in the Iowa straw poll in Ames. I'm talking about the colossal campaign blunder Romney uncorked on the stump just days before the poll, and how, thanks to a lapdog press corps, the candidate was able to dodge what could have been a painful, self-inflicted wound.

The episode highlights the clear double standard political pundits and reporters use when judging Democratic and Republican presidential candidates by their embarrassing, unscripted moments out on the stump. For Democrats, foul-ups are often portrayed as revealing moments of character. Yet when a Republican candidate like Romney lets loose with what even one conservative blogger called "the dumbest answer ever by a presidential candidate," the press turns away.

Romney's gaffe occurred on August 8, while at an "Ask Mitt Anything" Town Hall meeting in Bettendorf, Iowa. That's where Rachel Griffiths got up and asked Romney if any of his five sons were serving in the military, and if not, how did they plan to support the war against terrorism? "The good news is that we have a volunteer Army and that's the way we're going to keep it," Romney told the crowd, adding, "[O]ne of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected, because they think I'd be a great president."

You don't have to be a paid political observer to instantly recognize that Romney really stepped in it by equating his sons volunteering to help get their millionaire dad elected president with other people's sons volunteering to serve in Iraq. I mean, does elitism on the campaign trail come any more unvarnished than that?

The remark, posted on YouTube, was especially offensive considering Romney campaigns as a gung-ho supporter of the Iraq war and has been urging support for President Bush's war policy. The "good news," according to Romney, was that his kids don't have to fight if they don't want to.

And remember, this occurred during the dog days of summer when campaign reporters are usually desperate for fresh news material. But not desperate enough, apparently, to simply report the fact that when asked about making sacrifices to fight the war against terrorism and volunteering to serve in Iraq, one high-profile GOP hopeful announced that his Army-age sons were showing their patriotism by trying to get their dad elected president.


The Romney story garnered lots of online buzz, which meant every journalist covering the campaign knew about Romney's clumsy/offensive comments. The mainstream press, however, remained completely uninterested.

In the 24 hours following his miscue, I found, using TVEyes.com, 71 mentions of Romney on network and cable television, as well as National Public Radio. Of those 71 mentions, less than six dealt with his comment about his kids helping to get him elected. In fact, three days after it occurred, I still could not find any proof in CNN's transcripts that the news outlet ever reported Romney's outrageous comment. I repeat: CNN never reported the story.

The morning after Romney's blunder, The Boston Globe, Newsday, the Chicago Tribune, and the Orlando Sentinel ran brief, 100-200-word items about it. USA Today included just a couple of sentences about the gaffe at the bottom of a longer Romney campaign report.

Incredibly, those were the only major American newspapers in the country to touch on the story in real time. I have a hard time imagining the same deafening silence would have met Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) or John Edwards if they had made such dismissive and condescending remarks as suggesting their children served their country not by serving in the military, but by working the rope line on their parents' campaigns.

When 'news' broke about John Edwards' expensive haircuts, journalists did not wait for Edwards' political rivals to elevate the issue; they did that on their own. And they had to because none of Edwards' Democratic opponents has ever suggested his haircuts were important. Journalists loved the haircut angle because they claimed it revealed a hidden truth about the candidate, so they wrote about it incessantly. The same journalists could have made the same determination about the Romney story. (i.e. another pro-war Republican with no military connection or tradition.) Instead, they came to the opposite conclusion and determined the story was meaningless. They chose to ignore it.

Yep, it's gonna be another one of those campaigns.

By fnord12 | August 15, 2007, 2:52 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (3) | Link

Like they care what Congress thinks


Last night's carefully managed leak from the White House that Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps is being designated as a global terrorist group is a story that -- while in a sense you could see it coming for months -- seemed to also catch a lot of the major news media off guard. On CNN this morning, Kiran Chetry kept referring to it as a "bold move," "bold" meaning CNN knew it was important but it really wasn't sure why.

Here's what it means on the surface, that U.S. -- which increasingly blames Iran for terrorist meddling in Iraq and Afghanistan -- can try to go after those who do business with the Iranian military unit. Still, it's clearly not a normal move -- the first time that a government military has received this terrorist designation -- something that's usually reserved for non-state actors like al-Qaeda. And so no one seems sure what this morning what the concrete impact of this unexpected move will be.

Nowhere yet have I seen what it seems clear Bush's Iran move is really all about.

The White House hawks in Dick Cheney's office and elsewhere who want to stage an attack on Iran are clearly winning the internal power stuggle. And an often overlooked sub-plot on the long road toward war with Tehran is this: How could Bush stage an attack on Iran without the authorization of a skeptical, Democratic Congress?

Today, the White House has solved that pesky problem in one fell swoop. By explicitly linking the Iranian elite guard into the post 9/11 "global war on terror" in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush's lawyers would certainly now argue that any military strike on Iran is now covered by the October 2002 authorization to use military force in Iraq, as part of their overly sweeping response to the 2001 attacks.

I don't know. Seems to me at this stage if the Bush crew decide they want to go to war with Iran, they'll just do it. It almost seems beneath them to bother trying to justify their "right" to do so. But i suppose it's best to cover all the bases and give their supporters the ability to provide the proper flack.

By fnord12 | August 15, 2007, 2:44 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Does Food Aid Help or Hurt

CARE, one of the world's biggest charities, is walking away from about $45 million a year in federal funding, saying American food aid is not only plagued with inefficiencies, but may hurt some of the very poor people it aims to help.

Its decision, which has deeply divided the world of food aid, is focused on the practice of selling tons of American farm products in African countries that in some cases compete with the crops of struggling local farmers.

"If someone wants to help you, they shouldn't do it by destroying the very thing that they're trying to promote," said George Odo, a CARE official who grew disillusioned with the practice while supervising the sale of American wheat and vegetable oil in Nairobi.

Under the system, the U.S. government buys the goods from American agribusiness, ships them overseas on mostly American-flagged carriers and then donates the goods to the aid groups. The groups sell the products in poor countries and use the money to fund their anti-poverty programs there.


The Christian charity World Vision and 14 other groups say that CARE is mistaken, that the system works because it keeps hard currency in poor countries, can help prevent food price spikes in them and does not hurt their farmers.

But criticism of the practice is growing. Former President Jimmy Carter, whose Atlanta-based Carter Center uses private money to help African farmers be more productive, says a flawed food aid system has survived partly because the charities that get money from it defend it.

Agribusiness and shipping interest groups have tremendous political clout, but charitable groups are influential, too, Carter said, because "they speak from the standpoint of angels."

"The farm bloc is powerful, but when you add these benevolent organizations, the totality of that has blocked change in the system," said Carter, who is also a Georgia farmer.

Some charities that champion monetization bristle at such suggestions. And their allies in Congress say that maritime and agribusiness interests are essential allies for programs to aid the hungry.


There's one point in the process that i definitely don't agree with. Buying the surplus from agribusiness. It seems like this would encourage agribusiness to grow too much food, knowing they would always have a buyer. I wouldn't be surprised to find out there's also all sorts of tax breaks and subsidies they get from the government for being a part of this program. Subsidies for agribusiness is more welfare for corporations. And hurts the small time farmer.

Aid like this is also gives rise to that debate about whether or not you're really helping. Give a man a fish versus teaching him to fish and all that jazz. Clearly, if they're in need of food, they haven't got time to wait for the crops to mature so they need immediate food aid. But at some point, you would hope they could create a sustainable system. Charity with no goal and no end in sight can be crippling rather than helpful. It's a bandaid but not a solution.

What i don't get is this. They're taking these products and selling them to the poor people, then turning around and using the profits they earned from the poor to help the poor? Did i get it wrong? Cause that makes no sense whatsoever.

And on top of that, they sell products that compete with what the African farmers are growing and selling.

Some of the charitable organizations say that food aid is ineffective but has provided funding for alot of helpful programs. They will only stop food aid if our government will replace the lost funds. Yeah. Take a look at New Orleans. I doubt that's going to happen anytime soon.

Definitely, getting food to their tables first should be the priority. But food aid has been going on for decades, and they still haven't made a dent in the problem? Mebbe it's time for a new plan.

By min | August 15, 2007, 12:10 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (3) | Link

Stinkless Stink Fruit

Durian, also known as stink fruit, is supposed to be super delicious. I wouldn't know. I don't think i would willingly try something that is said to smell like rotting fish. In fact, i would take that as a sign that i should most definitely not eat it. It's banned from hotels, airlines, and Singapore subways, it smells so bad.

But you know Asians. If it's edible in any way, it'll get eaten. Take thousand year old eggs, for example. Look at it. It looks disgusting. But it's soooooo delicious. Mmmmmm.........i wish i could have some now... with some jellyfish. Ah well.

Back to the point. Some Thai scientist has bred a non-stinky stinkfruit. He says it's not any more smelly than a banana. Perhaps now typer195 and i will finally taste its deliciousness.

By min | August 15, 2007, 11:46 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Do you find that it's becoming harder and harder to fake your way through the day at your job?

By fnord12 | August 15, 2007, 10:29 AM | My stupid life | Comments (2) | Link

This is more promising

A few weeks ago i complained about the Democrat's passage of a law that relaxes restrictions on the federal government's wiretapping powers. It turns out that the Dems knew the law was bad but felt they had to pass it due to some impending national emergency. They plan to revise the law as soon as possible

Pelosi, soon after the initial vote:

Tonight, the House passed S. 1927, a bill approved by the Senate yesterday, which is an interim response to the Administration's request for changes in FISA, and which was sought to fill an intelligence gap which is asserted to exist. Many provisions of this legislation are unacceptable, and, although the bill has a six month sunset clause, I do not believe the American people will want to wait that long before corrective action is taken.

Reid put out similar comments as well (it's all at the Daily Kos post). While the Bush administration is pushing to make this law permanent (which leads me to believe it had nothing to do with an impending emergency), the Dems are actually planning to get rid of it ASAP. Which goes a long way towards making me not hate them quite so much.

In 6 months, i want to hear all about the secret emergency that the White House told Congress about that led to these changes, and i want to hear how wiretapping saved the day.

By fnord12 | August 15, 2007, 9:31 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

August 14, 2007

If he's so smart, how come you lost Congress?


As Karl Rove embraced President Bush today following an emotional farewell announcement on the South Lawn, the solemnity of the moment was shattered by Bill Plante of CBS, who bellowed to Bush: "If he's so smart, how come you lost Congress?"

This guy was subsequently called rude and disrespectful by his peers. We need more rude and disrespectful reporters (and we need them asking about more important topics than political advisors, too).

By fnord12 | August 14, 2007, 4:19 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 13, 2007

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Hulk #109 - Earlier i asked why the Hulk didn't kill Black Bolt immediately after he defeated him. Seems he really is suffering from super-villainitis; he's keeping his enemies alive just so he can put them in a stupid death trap. This series has been great so far so we'll see where it goes but as of right now i'm advising the Hulk to stop with the stupid stuff and just kill them now. Overall, this continues to be a great story. Let's get Cho, Hercules, and Angel on their own team post-WWH (call it something better than the Rejects, though).

New Avengers #33 - Let's clear some things up. First, the Deathlolk in the vat in this issue is the original Deathlok from an alternate future, not the one who has recently appeared in Beyond and the FF. Second, the Hood and the Crimson Cowl are two different characters. I can see why you would be confused considering they both wear big red hoods. We do need to flag the fact that the Wizard is showing up here, presumably trying out a new power suit and looking for new tech after his (impending) defeat in the FF. I'm liking the Skrull paranoia thing. I'd like an explanation as to why it is affecting Luke Cage so dramatically but that could be coming up. I'm also interested in seeing more of the Hood; his appearance in Beyond humanized him a bit and made him seen like he could become less of a bad guy. I enjoyed that but was afraid of watering down his original personality - it seems we're not in danger of that here. On the downside, while Bendis writes interesting dialogue, i think this is a good example for his critics who say that basically the things he writes get inserted into the mouths of characters at random. Echo especially doesn't sound like a deaf woman raised in relative isolation, first on an indian reservation and then in the Kingpin's mansion. Still, a great issue over all - Bendis is back to having fun playing in the Marvel universe, as he was pre-Civil War.

Omega Flight #5 - Man, this poor team didn't even get to form before one of their members got stuck in a Hell dimension. I resent the fact that the Wrecking Crew were so easily defeated after losing their extra demon strength. Even without it they are still Thor-level bad guys, more than a match for the likes of US Agent. But we'll just chalk that up to post-demon strength disorientation. Good stuff over all once it got going. The sales numbers for this series seem to have surprised Marvel; hopefully this will get its ongoing status back, and hopefully Oeming won't squander it with another meandering 5 part story.

Punisher War Journal #10 - Lo, there shall be an ending. This was a fun 2 issue story, stretched out over about 100 issues. I guess because this issue something had to happen, it seemed better than the previous 99. I think i'm gonna stick it out for the next two issues, since they look like they will have to be more self-contained due to crossovers, but his series is officially On Notice.

Wraith #2 - Well, it's not ROM, so suddenly i don't care any more. This guy is just too impossibly good and his personality is essentially stolen from Clint Eastwood's The Unforgiven.

Nova #5 - I like the idea of seeing someone new inheriting the Nova Force (although it comes dangerously close to repeating the theme from Quasar). I would have went the route of "What makes Rich Rider special is his independence and tendency to fight with the Nova Force computer, whereas when a Kree soldier inherits the power, she follows its directions to the letter" and then show the plusses and minuses of that difference, but instead she also doesn't follow the computer's advice. So we'll see where this goes. It's well written in any event.

Daredevil #99 - My Silver Age readings have prepared me for quite a bit of stuff that we're seeing now. Zom in World War Hulk, Groot in Starlord, and now Mr. Fear. After a lot of legal and emotional stuff in Daredevil, i'm glad to see a more traditional super-villain story, and it is very well done. As an aside, i think the fact that Mila showed up at the Nelson & Murdoch office wearing pajamas was in answer to the criticism that she was previously shown to sleep in her underwear, which was a bit unrealistic. I guess last time she was waiting to surprise Matt, although why would a blind couple care about sexy underwear?

By fnord12 | August 13, 2007, 6:29 PM | Comics | Comments (7) | Link

I'm happy to be listened to


I'm sure that in the aftermath of 9/11 most people who were less than enthusiastic about the war had a somewhat different body count calculus than those who supported it, placing a wee bit more emphasis on the lives of potential innocent civilian casualties than was allowable in our elite discourse at the time, but the point is that with hindsight it's rather clear that such people should have been listened to a bit more.
For years it's been a verbal tic of many Iraq war opponents to assert "I supported the war in Afghanistan..." as a necessary prophylactic to charges of "unserious peacenik dirty fucking hippie!" The question is dangling, however... "should you have?" At the very least, shouldn't you have tried to open the door to critics who were less than supportive, not because they hate America, but because they were concerned that George Bush would fuck the whole thing up? Because it was hard to imagine that they'd actually go in and rebuild the place?

Umm, if anyone's listening, right now i'm saying "Don't go to Iran, bring the troops home, and train some special forces and law enforcement agencies to go after actual terrorists while working closely with our allies." It's a start, anyway. Once you're done with that, check back here and i'll tell you what to do next.

By fnord12 | August 13, 2007, 5:02 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Blinded By Love

Let me just say this. If, let's say.....oh, you were to hire some thugs to blind me with lye and then 14 years later proposed, i would prolly say yes, arrange to meet you somewhere, then hire some thugs of my own to put your balls through a wood chipper. Whether they chose to remove them from your body first is at their own discretion. But that's just me.


By min | August 13, 2007, 3:50 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Rodrigo Y Gabriela

Check these guys out, especially Gabriela. This is some really innovative acoustic guitar playing. Note what they say in the beginning: this isn't flamenco music; they are actually influenced by thrash metal.

Now i just need to lock myself in a room for a month to learn how to play like this.

(H/T to Carlos)

By fnord12 | August 13, 2007, 1:22 PM | Music| Link

Marvel, these are your critics

Found in the comments of this (totally unrelated) post on Tom Brevoort's blog:

When Editing is Needed Re the need for substantial editing:

I can understand the stance, mentioned recently, that an editor's job isn't to (re)write an issue of a comic; that's what the writer is paid to do. However, there are occasions when the plot mechanics of an issue's story are substantially flawed. Some examples from recent issues:

WORLD WAR HULK #3: Pak confuses Dr. Strange's ectoplasmic form, used for astral projection, with the psionic constructs used by telepaths. Ectoplasmic forms have no physical strength, and very little substance; whether one supposes that the Hulk's form was psionic energy or ectoplasm, the "battle" between the Hulk and Strange couldn't have occurred as shown. Pak's encounter would only be valid for two telepaths battling via avatars. Disposing of the Hulk would be a trivial task for Strange in any case.

ILLUMINATI #4: Xavier's (patronizing) lecture on the difficulty of altering human behavior ignores the fact that Noh-Varr is an alien. One would expect important physical differences. If Noh-Varr was to be written as if he were a troublesome human teenager, then why call him an alien (an alien from another dimension, at that)? The term "alien" should actually mean something.

MIGHTY AVENGERS #4: Bendis's apparently poor understanding of the concepts of artificial intelligence, data networks, and computer hardware is demonstrated by the misuse of technical terms throughout the issue. Much of the dialogue should have been rewritten so that terms were used correctly or avoided. The supposition that launch control centers can be hacked into is invalid.

ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST -- STARLORD #1: The "version" (sarcasm intended) of Mantis appearing in the issue, based on the dialogue relevant to her, is decades out of date. Parodying an outdated interpretation of a character is pointless.

Ms. MARVEL #18: The Puppet Master's plan to traffic in women is similar to superhero porn. It's possible that Reed is unaware that superhero porn stories routinely have villains using mind control to capture, market, and abuse women, but it's more likely that the resemblance to porn isn't accidental.

If flaws such as these are to be corrected, each plot would have to be substantially revised. If the issue's writer can't see the problem, or refuses to see the problem, then the editor will have to dictate how the problem is fixed. I'd hate to think that just getting stuff onto the pages is more important than fixing obvious problems with plots.


Posted by Steven R. Stahl on 2007-08-12 14:36:57

I guess this response pretty much sums it up:

Stahl... My ectoplasmic form is very strong and has much substance, much more so than my psionic projection. Also, mind-controlling an alien species has always proven to be much more difficult for me than mind-controlling humans. Therefore, I have always tried to tell people how mind control on humans is much more difficult than they think, and I usually let them infer how much more difficult it would be on aliens. About Launch Control centers, I have hacked fourteen of them. It is quite easy if you control all computer networks in the world like Ultron and I do. You are so cute with your linear thinking...quantum is where its at, baby.

Hey, dude, go get in the convention line and scream at somebody because Hugh Jackman is too tall to play wolverine or that Robert Downey Jr has brown eyes, not blue.

Posted by bigdaddyhub2 on 2007-08-12 17:01:30.

(P.S. - I know you've come here eagerly anticipating my weekly Speed Reviews. I left them on my home computer so you'll just have to wait until tonight.)

By fnord12 | August 13, 2007, 9:47 AM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link

I know... i improooooved it

George Eliot's real name is Mary Anne Evans
When i see a book by her, i say, "Thank heavens."

By fnord12 | August 13, 2007, 9:36 AM | Music| Link

August 10, 2007

Spreading the perv

Look, the sad truth is, some perverts have been left out of the fun when it comes to Lara Croft. Sure she's got giguntic bazooms, but some people aren't into that. Some perverts like their ladies a little... younger. So now we have Pre-Teen Raider.

*Sigh*. Now the phrase "Pre-Teen Raider" is going to show up on my recently visited sites list.

(Yes, I know it's by Gail Simone and she's a wonderful person. It still seems creepy to me.)

By fnord12 | August 10, 2007, 3:38 PM | Video Games| Link

A good pundit

Typically pundits from the "left" on the blathering talk show circuit tend to be uninformed, wimpy, and or centrists-in-sheeps clothing. Blogger Ezra Klein seems to be a cut above. Here's hoping he's the first in a wave of a new generation of pundits. Now we just have to get the blathering talk show hosts to actually have them on the programs.

Transcript was found on Digby, and here are Ezra's own thoughts on his performance.

Then they started discussing Gonzales and US Attorneys:

Matthews: What did he do wrong?

Klein: aside from the firing of the prosecutors?

Hanratty: that wasn't wrong

Klein: Well, there you go

Matthews: what did he do wrong? what crime did he commit?

Klein: I'm not going to talk about what crime he committed. I'm no a lawyer. But what he did wrong was fire prosecutors for political reasons. I thin we can agree that's an ethical violation.

Hanratty: It's not illegal

Matthews: Do you believe US Attorney's are hired because they're pals and they deesrve a little political favor or do you think they hire them because they're the best lawyer in town?

Klein: I think that whatever reason you hire them, you can't fire them mid-term for political reasons.

Hanratty: Yes you absolutely can fire someone mid-term for political reasons. It's not against the law.

Klein: That is a wonderful way to run a government

Hanratty: (angry, eye rolling) How old are you and how naive are you that you honestly think that this town isn't built on patronage?

Klein: How cynical are you that you believe you should support that political patronage and excuse anything they do?

Hanratty: Give me a break. That has nothing to do with supporting it..

Klein: You think Scooter Libby should pay no price, that prosecutors should get fired. Is this how we're doing it now? This is sad. How far we've fallen.

By fnord12 | August 10, 2007, 11:57 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

I Just Want to Know

Where the hell is my giant lego man, you assholes?

By min | August 10, 2007, 10:28 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link

August 9, 2007

Random Lyrics Thursday

Lovesick by Lisa Germano

(This is the Underdog remix if you are playing along in your head)

You're not my Yoko Ono
You said those words to me
You say some hurtful things now
None cut so deeply

Those visions of beauty
Those visions haunt me
Illusions of hope
And they drive me crazy

You're not my Yoko Ono
You said those words to me
You have too many problems
Always in therapy


You are a constant patient
You stop me being mean
Give me some inspiration
Is that why you hit me?


Those visions of beauty
Those visions haunt me
But i like them
I'll keep them
I'll just go crazy

You're not my Yoko Ono
You said those words to me
You say some hurtful things now
None cut so deeply


By fnord12 | August 9, 2007, 11:12 AM | Music | Comments (1) | Link

More Than a Bit of Flooding

So, fnord and i were at a restaurant yesterday and the hostess told us how busy they were because they were short one server. No subways, you know?

Fnord and i, being the keen observers of current events that we are, had no clue what she was talking about. I mean, i woke up in the middle of the night because of thundering and lightning so i concluded the big storm might have caused some flooding in the subway tunnels.

I come into work this morning and what should i see on the front page of the New York Times? Apparently, a goddamn tornado hit Brooklyn. Holy bejeezus. I've got relatives in Brooklyn. You'd think that just mebbe someone would give me a call and say "Hey, grandma had a tornado on her street, but don't worry. She's still got a roof." or something. No. Not my family. They prolly thought i got that info via some mythical telepathic link. They beamed the information to my brain. Only, the tinfoil hat kept me from getting the update.

By min | August 9, 2007, 11:03 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link

August 7, 2007

Hello, punished.


Police chiefs in the Thai capital, Bangkok, have come up with a new way of punishing officers who break the rules - an eye-catching Hello Kitty armband. The armband is large, bright pink and has a Hello Kitty motif with two hearts embroidered on it.

From today, officers who are late, park in the wrong place or commit other minor transgressions will have to wear it for several days.

The armband is designed to shame the wearer, police officials said.

"This is to help build discipline. We should not let small offences go unnoticed," Police Colonel Pongpat Chayapan told Reuters news agency.

"Guilty officers will be made to wear the armbands in the office for a few days, with instructions not to disclose their offences. Let people guess what they have done," he said.

By fnord12 | August 7, 2007, 2:56 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link



Hasbro's line of Marvel toys has widely been considered a disaster by toy insiders - instead of sticking with the industry standard size, they went smaller size, pleasing neither collectors nor the children who allegedly play with the figures.

I didn't realize that the new line of Marvel toys was smaller. I've pretty much stopped buying Marvel toys because the new ones are out of scale with my older ones. Is there anyone good that i've passed on thinking they would be too big? Maybe i can single-handedly turn Hasbro's financial woes around.

By fnord12 | August 7, 2007, 2:51 PM | Comics| Link

August 6, 2007

Mere Thinking Becoming Too Challenging

A study of patients in Hong Kong and Taiwan concluded that playing mahjong can induce seizures.

They concluded that mahjong-induced epilepsy is a specific condition -- not the result of the stress or exhaustion associated with the game.

Most of the 23 patients never suffered seizures other than when playing mahjong and the seizures occurred as early as one hour into their games, the researchers said. One patient stopped having seizures after quitting mahjong but relapsed after taking up the game again, according to the study.

The researchers called mahjong a "cognitively demanding game."

"It involves substantial higher mental processing and outputs: memory, concentration, calculations, reasoning, strategies, sequential thinking and planning," they said.

Thinking and reasoning are clearly bad for your health. It's a good thing more and more people everyday stop doing it.

That said, who's up for some mahjong? The hospital's not that far from our house.

By min | August 6, 2007, 12:47 PM | Science | Comments (3) | Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Ant-Man #11 - I guess i was a little disappointed to see Mitch Carson turn out to be such a cretin. I liked him better as 'ordinary SHIELD agent whose life was ruined by our main character who is a very bad man'. But it was still funny to see Eric turn things around on him (and screw over his buddy the Black Fox) in order to clear his own name. There's got to be something of twist considering there's still one issue left. Again, i've enjoyed this but i'm not sad to see it go. I do hope Marvel does find something else for both Kirkman and Hester to work on; they are both talented

Spider-Man / Red Sonja #1 - Back in like 2004 or so, comics were excruciatingly slow. The policy of 'writing for the trade' was in full effect and reading the single issues was like watching a half hour television show in five minute increments over the course of six months. In slow motion. Since then most writers seem to have learned to write well paced single issues that still work together as a part of a collectable six issue arc. Oeming, while a very good writer, seems to be the exception to that, judging from Omega Flight and this first issue of Spider-Man/Red Sonja (everything else i've read by Oeming has been in trade format so i guess i hadn't noticed) (Straczynski, judging by Thor and the Back in Black story in Spider-Man, seems to have a similar problem. Actually he seems to be relapsing since his previous Spider-Man stories were well paced). Variations of this Red Sonja story were essentially done very well in a single issue in the 70s and in two issues in the 80s. There doesn't seem to be enough content here for a 5 issue mini. But i should wait and see. Besides, any story featuring Kulan Gath is worth having.

Fantastic Four #548 - I liked seeing the T'Challa out-think Reed a little in the beginning of this issue. The Frightful Four seemed a little too panicked at the prospect of fighting their Fantastic counterparts, although i guess it's actually writing them more intelligently to have them not be overconfident considering the way things have usually worked out for them (Although the Frightful Four used to be a really formidable team in the early days. They were the one group of villains that could claim a clear victory over the FF.) Also granted it's not fair since the team is currently a Fantastic Six with the Black Panther and Storm still hanging around. I was surprised at how bloodthirsty Sue seemed to be, although i suppose with her family threatened and presumed killed it makes sense. Also there was a geeky moment for me that i'm sure McDuffie threw in there deliberately: Black Panther's attempted warnings about Hydro Man surely were due to his experience fighting him during Christopher Priest's run. Overall, very good, and i'm always happy to see Klaw return. Some people are thinking McDuffie will use this Klaw appearances to clean up some continuity mess Hudlin made during his revisionist period on Black Panther, but i just want him to say "Soup-oop-oop".

Illuminati #4 - Great opening sequence with the guys reflecting on their lady friends. Unfortunately I have no idea when this issue is supposed to take place. Considering that this series is all about doing some Untold Tales that take place at various points within Marvel history, i'd it's pretty important to be able to clearly communicate when things are happening. Clea left Dr. Strange to become the ruler of the Dark Dimension in the 1980s (realtime, making it several years ago, Marvel Time). But Noh-Varr first appeared in Grant Morrision's Marvel Boy story from 2000. Recently, Marvel Boy appeared in the Runaways/Young Avengers Civil War mini-series. His status quo at the beginning of the Civil War story was the same as where Grant Morrison left him (imprisoned in the Cube). At the end, he was in control of the Cube he had been imprisoned in. So, firstly, I don't see how the Illuminati can be considering what to do with Marvel Boy at the same time that Strange is lamenting his recent break-up with Clea (unless they broke up again more recently. That may have to be the ruling in this case. The other option is that Morrison's story took place a long time ago*.), and I'm not sure how this can fit in to Marvel Boy's history, unless they are saying that the Illuminati's influence had no ultimate impact on Noh-Varr's decisions. Despite all that, this was a really good issue in its own right. We'll just have to wait and see what they do with Marvel Boy going forward and try to cram this story in accordingly.

(*I've also heard that Morrison's story is not in continuity, with the idea that something like it but not quite the same did actually happen. This is supported somewhat due to the fact that no one in this issue is mentioning the fact that Marvel Boy is actually a Kree from an alternate dimension (pay close attention) and therefore might not even be familiar with Captain Mar-Vell. I was hoping very much to not have to throw that story out of continuity but it looks like they may be operating from that philosophy).

World War Hulk #3 - Hey, Hulk, please don't make the other super-heroes fight each other in gladitorial combat. That's just so super-villain-y. It doesn't suit you. You should just smash them. But i'm sure even if you do go that route, it'll be great because everything about this issue was awesome.

By fnord12 | August 6, 2007, 11:45 AM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link

August 3, 2007

Marvel Continuity - it's been there from the beginning

I see these sort of comments a lot on the comic boards and blogs:

Also, given that the really strict inter-book continuity didn't come until the Thomas/Engelhart/etc. era of the late '60s and early '70s, it's pretty disingenuous to claim it's a foundation of the Marvel Universe. Stan and Jack (and Steve) were pretty much making that stuff up as they went along, and would frequently change/ignore things on a whim.

It's totally wrong. While the second wave of Marvel creators definitely kicked up the 'shared universe' thing a notch (almost going too far by having, for example, the X-Men fight a random group of second tier super-villains from other heroes' rogues galleries), the original Stan Lee written stuff was extremely tight.

I've just read through all my Marvel comics from 1962 to 1967, which is pretty much the pure Stan Lee era (Roy Thomas starts creeping in during '66), in chronological order, and it was much more rewarding that i thought it would be. I didn't expect to really see the tight inter-book continuity until the Jim Shooter era but it really is right there in the beginning. Stan Lee was creating an actual universe from the very start. It is one of the two distinguishing features of the early Silver Age marvel books (the other being the increased realism / flawed hero concept).

Other than building an overall brand loyalty (gotta follow all the Marvel books because you don't want to miss a part of the story), this wasn't directly a marketing thing. Referring back to older issues of other comics in your line or having Spider-Man villains appear in an Iron Man story may have sent readers back to the newstands looking for older issues but in the days before comic book shops they weren't likely to find any, and even if they were i don't believe Marvel would have seen any of that money, having already sold the issues to the newstand. Stan also did the more obvious "Spider-Man appears in an early issue of Daredevil in order to increase sales on a new book" stuff, but we're not talking about that here.

This post was sparked by an article on Comics Should Be Good advocating that if a writer doesn't like something that happened in a character's history, they should disregard it (the line quoted above is in the comments). It's one thing if Captain Vegan eats a meatball sub in issue #7 and we think that was bad writing and we never again refer to the fact that he ate that sub. It's OK because that doesn't mean it didn't happen; it just means that we don't have to keep picking at that old wound. It's not ok if Captain Vegan gets turned into a giant warthog in his own series, but the writer for The Dirty Hippies, of which Captain Vegan is a member, doesn't like the idea so he does not depict Vegan as a warthog in his book. This causes a... discontinuity, in the most basic sense, between the books - the two versions of Captain Vegan are no longer the same character and instead of the two books depicting glimpses into a substantial fictional universe, i'm just reading a bunch of crappy comics about guys/warthogs in tights eating meatballs. If you have no interest in telling stories that are part of that universe, if you just want to make an artistic Vertigo-style self-contained Meatball Oddessey, that's easy. Simply don't write for in-continuity characters. But self-contained books have a much harder time with sales. One of the reasons for that is that the concept of the shared universe is actually quite popular among current comic book readers. So don't go screwing it up.

Sorry for the tangent. The relevance is that while i like to defend continuity on its own merits, others, rightfully, bring up the fact that for the Marvel Universe specifically, it is one of the foundations and therefore to start dropping that concept is to basically remove one of the appeals of Marvel. (I don't read DC comics regularly but i'm somewhat aware of the crises that they have from time to time and i know that they started at something of a disadvantage in that they had been publishing stories of varying degrees of silliness since the Golden Age whereas Marvel got to come in and basically start things from scratch, under the direction of a single writer, in the 60s. I think it's possible that DC and other comic companies may in fact benefit from what the Comics Should Be Good guy is advocating here but i'll leave that to other, shorter, individuals to discuss). So i'm trying to show what type of continuity is under attack and also show that it has been there from the beginning. I don't know if i've succeeded because this post is turning out to be very long and full of asides and it's getting near quitting time.

Here is an example of the what i consider to be tight continuity within the early MU:

  • Within the first few issues of the Avengers, the Hulk joins the team, and then quits because the other members don't trust him. He quickly turns around and teams up with the Sub-Mariner (a Golden Age character re-introduced to the MU in the Fantastic Four) to fight the Avengers. The Team-Up doesn't go very well and the Hulk and Namor go their separate ways.
  • Soon after, in a great two issue arc in the Fantastic Four, the Hulk finds out that his partner, Rick Jones, has left him to hang out with Captain America. The Hulk returns to New York to extract vengeance on Cap and the Avengers, but bumps into the FF instead. Later, the Avengers show up because they feel responsible for him, having driven him away and stolen his partner. This is the first meeting between the FF and the Avengers and it is written as such.
  • A year or so later, a new roster of Avengers go off and try to recruit the Hulk onto their team at the direction of Iron Man before he resigns (both because he and the other original Avengers feel responsible for the Hulk and because the new team is lacking in raw power). However, they wind up not finding the Hulk because he has recently been captured by the Leader (as depicted in his own book). Instead they wind up in conflict with a different monster - one of the Mole Man's pets (the Mole Man was originally introduced in the FF).
  • Meanwhile, in the X-Men, Magneto proposes a partnership with Namor, but Namor is hesitant because the last time he entered a partnership with someone (the Hulk) it didn't work out very well.

There is so much interrelated, cross-comic stuff in the above example that i feel sorry for anyone who just reads a run of the FF or Avengers instead of reading it all together, because they're only getting a percentage of the over-all story that is being told. We are drawing on plot points and/or characterization from 5 books (Hulk, Avengers, FF, Tales to Astonish, X-Men) plus Namor's Golden Age stories. The reason that it works so well is because Stan Lee keeps track of where all his characters are, what their motivations are, and considers how their past experiences affect their current decisions. He gets some of the details wrong, like calling Bruce Banner Bob all through one of the FF issues, and this is what people point to when they say that Stan Lee played fast and loose and that early Silver Age continuity wasn't tight, but in terms of the stuff that matters, he is totally on the ball. The Avengers' guilt in driving the Hulk away, the Hulk's distrust of people, and Namor's skepticism in taking allies are pieces of characterization that develop across various books and over time.

Some other, hopefully quicker, examples:

  • Paste Pot Pete is released early from jail in an issue of Strange Tales because he helped the Avengers figure out a way to dissolve Baron Zemo's Adhesive X in an Avengers issue.
  • Hercules, travelling across the country in between two issues of Thor, winds up facing the Hulk in an issue of Tales to Astonish. Hercules' appearance in the TTA story is not advertised in the Thor issues, nor are the Thor issues even referenced in TTA.
  • Having been deported in an older issue of Amazing Spider-Man, the Chameleon and Kraven the Hunter sneak back into the country and wind up on the property of Stark Industries in an issue of Tales of Suspense. Kraven is captured by Iron Man and jailed. In order to rescue his friend, the Chameleon takes advantage of the fact that Captain America has very recently joined the Avengers, and he impersonates Cap in order to get Cap and Iron Man fighting. Note that this issue of TOS is building on stories from two separate sources: Spider-Man and the Avengers.

Does that fact that Marvel started off with a strong sense of continuity between books dictate that it must always have a strong continuity? Is it possible to keep up what Stan and others accomplished now that we have multiple writers, multiple editors and an ever increasing back-story? I would argue (again and again) that it is valuable and possible, but we can debate that. But stop saying that there was no sense of continuity in the early Marvel days. There was, and it was very strong.

By fnord12 | August 3, 2007, 3:06 PM | Comics | Comments (4) | Link

Kaiju Big Battel

Spored clued me in to Kaiju Big Battel, which is proof that my utopian Godzilla visions are going to be accurate. This is good and all but they need a little less actual wrestling (get that ref out of there) and more radioactive fire-breathing. Fifteen years from now, this'll realize its potential (and get the actual Godzilla licensing rights).

By fnord12 | August 3, 2007, 11:33 AM | Godzilla | Comments (4) | Link

Wimps. Wimps, wimps, wimps.


After weeks of uncertainty, House Democrats have decided against a confrontation over automobile fuel economy when they take up energy legislation later this week.

Two proposals to boost the required mileage for new automobiles were submitted Wednesday for consideration as amendments to the energy legislation, but they were withdrawn by their Democratic sponsors.

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., sponsor of a proposal to boost vehicle mileage to 35 miles per gallon by 2019, said he decided not to pursue the matter after consulting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi in a statement said she supported requiring automakers to make more fuel efficient vehicles but that the issue was deferred "in the interest of promoting passage of a consensus energy bill."

These guys could control the white house and have overwhelming majorities in both houses and they would still be trying to avoid confrontation and looking for consensus with some imaginary minority party. They are incapable of doing anything bold (frankly even what they originally proposed looks like small potatoes to me). And that is why they will never have an overwhelming majority in congress. But the Republicans love to introduce bills that excite their base when they are in power.

Maybe this is just procedural weirdness and political maneuverings because they go on to say that they will try to do something, maybe, when they merge the House and Senate versions of the bill in September. But even if that is so, it makes the Dems look like scheming connivers instead of champions. Just put the measure in the bill now and fight for it.

By fnord12 | August 3, 2007, 10:52 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 2, 2007

New Word

klep toc ra cy [klep-tok-ruh-see]
  -noun, plural -cies
a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal; rule by a thief or thieves.

[Origin: 1815-20; klepto- (comb. form of Gk kléptés thief) + -cracy]

By min | August 2, 2007, 3:55 PM | Good Words| Link

The Meme dies here

Robn invited me to do one of them internet meme things you see on blog sites that actually have readers.

My ability to make predictions is terrible, mainly due to the fact that people are insane and irrational. I was sure, in 2003, that Howard Dean was going to be our next president, for example. Instead the primary voters nominated a solid block of wood. Min will also tell you that i'm constantly stunned by how stupid people are: i keep expecting people to act in ways that make sense.

But for fun, here's my guesses (actually, fears and hopes don't count as predictions, so i'm covered when they all turn out to be wrong) about what i see happening 15 years from now:

What do you fear we'll likely see in fifteen years?

  • A world completely dominated by corporations. Republican administrations do everything in their power to weaken the federal government's power to regulate, and Democratic administrations basically spend their time ineffectually trying to repair the damage but not actually making any forward progress (being generous about the Dems actually, since while they may be slightly left-of-center on social issues, they tend to be just as "pro-business" as Republicans). The movement to privatize basic public services and resources continues with little organized protests, putting more of the things we take for granted under the control of people who are only interested in maximizing profits. Meanwhile, corporations are becoming more and more global, making puny single-country governments less and less relevant. Irrational fears of a New World Order conspiracy, and the belief in American exceptionalism, prevent us from strengthening the power of the UN into a functional world government. I think the change will be subtle. We will continue to elect our government reps, but these people will have less and less ability to make changes that benefit us. Hell, this may have already happened.

  • Hand in hand with the point above, we'll see our country become less and less democratic, with more and more of our civil liberties eroding. As corporations become more powerful, they'll need puppet governments to keep us in line while they extract our resources and keep us working. Again, this will be subtle. I don't see us turning into a 1980s style latin american dictatorship over night, but the effects will be similar.

  • Oil scarcity. Despite reading a lot of de-bunkings, i'm still a (somewhat skeptical) believer in the peak oil theories. I think oil will become more and more difficult to extract and process as we move to the more unconventional sources such as tar sands. Therefore oil prices will increase dramatically and become less affordable to ordinary people.

  • I'm the only person (except record company executives) in the world who thinks this is a bad thing, but i think the internet will continue to replace conventional methods for music distribution. This will result in the amateur-ization of music since it's impossible to support a full time devotion to music when you are providing your content for free. It will also result in a sea of mediocrity as it becomes impossible for listeners to find new music and for the truly great musicians to bubble to the top and have an impact. I know you don't agree and i'll admit i can see some positive aspects of this as well but i'm an old man who fears change.

  • The collapse of the concept of a shared universe at Marvel comics. With creators seemingly feeling increasingly restrained by continuity issues, the (wrong) philosophy that long histories are a barrier to new readers, and the fact that the entire US comics market seems to teeter on the brink of disaster, i worry that the thing i love most about comics is not long for the world.

  • The beginnings of an apocalyptic future dominated by spam-generating supercomputers, which will culminate in the great Chrono-War of 2038.

What do you hope we'll likely see in fifteen years?

  • Assuming the peak oil thing happens, i'd like to see it turned into a positive, getting people to live more locally and sustainably - find jobs near where they live, supporting food growers near where they live, building houses that don't require a constant flow of artificial heating to stay warm. Sort of a "from the post-apocalyptic ashes" kind of hope, but it's the best sort of thing that i can muster.

  • It's always possible that the netroots thing actually goes somewhere. I'd like to see a takeover of the Democratic party from the left the way the christian right and other conservative groups took over and redefined the Republican party in the late 70s. I think it can happen. I think that the leaders of the netroots movement need to be less supportive of the current democrats in order for it to work, but they can be influenced by their readers so it's a possibility. I think that, plus changes in demographics in the south, will cause significant changes in the democratic party, but the question is, will it happen in time?

  • The one thing we're still good at is gadgets. We don't use our technological power to create solar powered homes or viable mass transit, but we can build neat toys. It's hard to imagine something better than an 80 gig iPod, but what about being able to download your entire musical library directly into your brain? Virtual reality porn (what, you think they aren't working on it?)? A computer that's even faster than the one you have now!! Eh? Eh?!???

  • The past decade or so has seen a resurgence in Godzilla movies. The special effects keep getting better, but they have lost the charm of the movies from the 70s. I think someone is bound to realize this and find a way to put the fun back into Godzilla. I am not predicting more Godzilla movies. Instead I am predicting a weekly televised sporting event, similar to professional wrestling, except with everyone in rubber monster suits fighting on miniaturized sets. And that's a really positive development, so don't go saying i'm pessimistic or something.

What do you think you'll be doing in fifteen years?
God, in fifteen years i'll be... old. Who cares what i'll be doing?

Ok, let's see:

Least likely, most desired: My immortality and related body-altering super-powers kick in. I leave the planet, exploring the vast mysteries of outer space. Eventually i return to earth and conquer it, imposing my terrible-but-just vision upon the masses.

Vaguely likely, desired: Min and i build our earthship lakehouse in the mountains. We grow a percentage of our own food and run a vegan bed & breakfast to pay the rest of the way, leaving only to tour with our band.

Most likely, least desired: Saddled with debt from a half-completed earthship, i am forced to return to my corporate job only to find that i am no longer qualified for my old position. I spend the rest of my life in mindless middle-management positions...

...uh, who gave me this assignment? They are in big trouble. This is depressing.

The way these memes are supposed to work is after i'm done i'm supposed to name 5 people to answer the same questions on their blogs. But (also due in part to a lack of readership) i'm not naming anybody. I don't care what you think - you people are crazy. So, much like my family tree, this branch of the meme dies with me.

Update: I mean no slight to my small but loyal group of actual, non-imaginary readers. But you're crazy too, and you know it.

By fnord12 | August 2, 2007, 3:17 PM | Comics & Godzilla & Liberal Outrage & Music & My stupid life & Science | Comments (2) | Link

Russia Makes the First Move

I'm not sure when it was that countries started sending fleets up to the North Pole. It might have been early in the spring, as the weather got warmer, and revealed land that had been completely buried in ice for centuries. Until global warming, that is.

Anyway, for the last several months, there's basically been a standoff among these 5 countries - Denmark, Canada, Norway, Russia, and the U.S. The ships have been up there but not doing much else.

Enter Putin. I think we made it pretty clear before that you do not want to fuck with this guy. He is shrewd and he is ruthless. He strategizes, he manipulates, he knows what he's doing. What have we got? Bumblefuck after bumblefuck. Rich bastards with plenty of ego and arrogance but couldn't tell their ass from their elbows with a flashlight and a How-To guide.

Well, he got tired of waiting around and decided to go ahead and stake out his claim to the North Pole. So far, and he prolly expected it, there's been alot of outraged hand waving from all sides. I don't think he's all that concerned about that. It's as much a political statement as it is a publicity stunt - the symbolic planting of the flag that we all love so much. He makes the first move and waits and sees what everyone else is going to do.

If they object, how far are they willing to go to stop him? Except for our crazy government, nobody's actually in any hurry to get into a conflict with another country. And even our loser politicians know better than to get into some kind of war with friggin Russia (god, i hope they know better.....we're so screwed).

If they do nothing, then he has gained the upperhand. If he can get away with this, what else could he get away with? How far can he push?

And at the very least, he's claiming what he feels belongs to Russia before someone else does and he has to be the one to complain.

I can't say for sure that's how things are going to play out. I am only just starting to read about foreign politics (i was so disgusted with U.S. politics that i figured i'd try something new). Mebbe i'm totally wrong. But one thing i do know. You don't want to mess with Putin. Really. That part i'm sure about.

By min | August 2, 2007, 3:00 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (3) | Link

Are you @#$&^! kidding me??!??

New York Times:

Under pressure from President Bush, Democratic leaders in Congress are scrambling to pass legislation this week to expand the government's electronic wiretapping powers.

Democratic leaders have expressed a new willingness to work with the White House to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to make it easier for the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on some purely foreign telephone calls and e-mail. Such a step now requires court approval.

It would be the first change in the law since the Bush administration's program of wiretapping without warrants became public in December 2005.

In the past few days, Mr. Bush and Mike McConnell, director of national intelligence, have publicly called on Congress to make the change before its August recess, which could begin this weekend. Democrats appear to be worried that if they block such legislation, the White House will depict them as being weak on terrorism.

And no, i didn't stumble on an old article from 2003.

They are currently in the middle of hearings about how Bush has abused the wiretapping powers he already has today. Every liberal group is advocating that those powers go too far and need to be reduced. And yet our representatives in government are "scrambling" to expand them.

When is the revolution? Seriously. These people are hopeless.

By fnord12 | August 2, 2007, 10:55 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Future Spam

I get a lot of spam from the year 2038. It's disappointing that we will still need viagra and penile implants in the year 2038, and it doesn't look like the porn gets any better, but it's nice to know that the world will still exist. Unless it has been taken over by spam producing super-computers.

Seriously, how hard is it to filter out mail that has a sent date that hasn't even occurred yet?

By fnord12 | August 2, 2007, 10:11 AM | My stupid life| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Losing My Edge by LCD Sound System

Yeah, I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge.
The kids are coming up from behind.
I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge to the kids from France and from London.

But I was there.

I was there in 1968.
I was there at the first Can show in Cologne.
I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge to the kids whose footsteps I hear when they get on the decks.
I'm losing my edge to the Internet seekers who can tell me every member of every good group from 1962 to 1978.
I'm losing my edge.

To all the kids in Tokyo and Berlin.
I'm losing my edge to the art-school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties.

But I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge, but I was there.
I was there.

But I was there.

I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge.
I can hear the footsteps every night on the decks.

But I was there.

I was there in 1974 at the first Suicide practices in a loft in New York City.
I was working on the organ sounds with much patience.
I was there when Captain Beefheart started up his first band.
I told him, "Don't do it that way. You'll never make a dime."
I was there.
I was the first guy playing Daft Punk to the rock kids.
I played it at CBGB's.
Everybody thought I was crazy.

We all know.

I was there.
I was there.

I've never been wrong.

I used to work in the record store.
I had everything before anyone.
I was there in the Paradise Garage DJ booth with Larry Levan.
I was there in Jamaica during the great sound clashes.
I woke up naked on the beach in Ibiza in 1988.

But I'm losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent.
(And they're actually really, really nice.)

I'm losing my edge.

I heard you have a compilation of every good song ever done by anybody.
Every great song by the Beach Boys - all the underground hits.
All the Modern Lovers tracks.
I heard you have a vinyl of every Niagra record on German import.
I heard that you have a white label of every seminal Detroit techno hit - 1985, '86, '87.
I heard that you have a CD compilation of every good '60s cut
and another box set from the '70s.

I hear you're buying a synthesizer and an arpeggiator and are throwing your computer out the window because you want to make something real:
You want to make a Yaz record.

I hear that you and your band have sold your guitars and bought turntables.
I hear that you and your band have sold your turntables and bought guitars.

I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know.

But have you seen my records? This Heat, Pere Ubu, Outsiders, Nation of Ulysses, Mars, The Trojans, The Black Dice, Todd Terry, the Germs, Section 25, Althea and Donna, Sexual Harrassment, a-ha, Pere Ubu, Dorothy Ashby, PIL, the Fania All-Stars, the Bar-Kays, the Human League, the Normal, Lou Reed, Scott Walker, Monks, Niagra, Joy Division, Lower 48, the Association, Sun Ra, Scientists, Royal Trux, 10cc, Eric B. and Rakim, Index, Basic Channel, Soulsonic Force ("just hit me"!), Juan Atkins, David Axelrod, Electric Prunes, Gil! Scott! Heron!, the Slits, Faust, Mantronix, Pharaoh Sanders and the Fire Engines, the Swans, the Soft Cell, the Sonics, the Sonics, the Sonics, the Sonics.

You don't know what you really want.

By fnord12 | August 2, 2007, 8:58 AM | Music| Link

August 1, 2007

Recap #10

Back by popular demand, the latest recap of our continuing D&D adventure. Or, as i like to call it, "How many ways can fnord try to kill us?".

By min | August 1, 2007, 11:55 AM | D&D | Comments (1) | Link

« July 2007 | Main | September 2007 »