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March 31, 2009

How we built our MAME cabinet

This has been sitting around for a while. min was gonna add more to try and make it better than all the sites we found that didn't really give you detailed instructions. But that's probably not going to happen at this point so might as well link to it now. It's more of a battle log than a how-to. Anyway, it's the making of SuperMegaCade!.

I remembered it while kicking some ass as E. Honda in Street Fighter II.

By fnord12 | March 31, 2009, 11:10 PM | Video Games | Comments (1) | Link

The Things You Get in Your Mail...

That i was passing through a cloud, and one of well as of
the commander. He had promised to visit i doubt not that
sometimes men have shut this shall tell thee, listen to
me, o king, even when great murmur like the rising and falling
of waves.

By min | March 31, 2009, 10:12 AM | My stupid life | Comments (2) | Link

They've Gone Too Far

I think everyone is well aware of my love for Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. I even want the P&P comic Marvel's putting out. But this....this is going too far.

According to the Sunday Times, Hollywood studios (I quote) are already fighting for the rights to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a Jane Austen rewrite that injects a little undead action and is due to hit bookstores in April.

Seth Grahame-Smith's novel apparently makes liberal use of Austen's original text, so far out of copyright that anybody could do anything they want to it with only the hordes of rampant Austenites to worry about. "About 85% is the original" says the author.

Grahame-Smith provides a sterling explanation of why the novel works in this brain-eating rerendering. "Why else in the original should a regiment arrive on Lizzie Bennet's doorstep when they should have been off fighting Napoleon? It was to protect the family from an invasion of brain-eaters, obviously."

As wnkr says: "That's...horrendous..."

H/T to slyn.

By min | March 31, 2009, 9:19 AM | Boooooks & Comics & Movies | Comments (1) | Link

Stinkor vs.Patchouli soap
Stinkor Patchouli soap

By fnord12 | March 31, 2009, 7:56 AM | Whoodwin | Comments (1) | Link

March 30, 2009

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy #12 - What's with all this continuity between books? How's a new reader supposed to know what's going on? How will the trade read? ...and when did Maelstorm turn into such an imp? I like, but fans of talkink space dog am thinkink is no good.

Nova #23 - Man, the quantum bands are becoming the traveling pants* of the marvel universe. I liked how Dr. Necker tried to explain how AIM is working for a just cause (although there's nothing wrong with the original motivation). There's a lot to like about this book (Ego the Living Planet, the Fing Fang Foomer, the good dialogue and character moments...) but i'm still hoping there's a twist on the whole 'super-computer takes over humanity because its programming requires it to protect humanity and this is the most efficient way' theme.

Hercules #127 - The Olympus Group concept is a little too silly, but i'm still loving this series and all of its integrated mythology. Osborn's Dark Avengers are becoming a bit ubiquitous but i won't mind another Hercules/Ares confrontation. Ugh, but all these footnotes... what is this, a story or a research paper? This would be just about impenetrable to a new reader!**

New Avengers #51 - There's no point in dragging this out. I am the new sorcerer supreme. But i suppose it's only natural for all those lesser magicians to get into petty squabbles while they're still figuring it out. As always, i enjoy the interactions between the Avengers. I'm a little surprised to see Spidey giving away his identity again already - there was no actual need to do that so i wonder what the strategy is there after going through so much effort to wipe the memory of his identity out of everyone's mind. Not that i have a problem with it or how it was done, i'm just curious about why. I'm not 100% on board with the Hood's mystical business but i think it can be good.

Captain America #48 - As a single issue it may have felt like it wrapped up a little too neatly, but i think when read as a series it'll be ok. Still a great book, in any event. Needs Epting to be perfect, though. Why does it seem like Epting is the only artist that i miss?

Daredevil #117 - Daredevil is really crossing a line here, beating up on a private detective and apparently threatening lawyers as well. I don't know if the intention is to make him a more ambiguous character or if this is part of a plot line. I can't complain about the writing quality but this is a departure even from the Frank Miller version of the character. In any finite story, a character going down this path would not come out of it alive, but considering the fact that this is an ongoing book that can't happen. However, if they don't have a way out of it we'll never see the swashbuckling*** side of DD again.

All in all, some very good books this week. I did a little trimming of my pull list and now i pretty much only get books that i really look forward to, which is nice.

*i have never seen this movie and i don't really know if this is valid reference to it.

**i really like that footnotes seem to be coming back, even if it's "ironic".

***How do you like your buckles?

By fnord12 | March 30, 2009, 11:02 PM | Comics| Link

Friends of Suzanne year two

As the organizer says of us: "Braving the elements to show their support for the 2nd year . . . . We are all excited to see them again . . . . . Come on down and show your support . . . . ". We think maybe it won't be so cold this year, and our fingers and hands will do what we tell them to.

By fnord12 | March 30, 2009, 11:47 AM | Music| Link

March 29, 2009

Who was awesome?

Queensryche was awesome.

By fnord12 | March 29, 2009, 9:13 PM | Music| Link

March 27, 2009

We're an IMF trouble country

I know i link to Glenn Greenwald a lot. But this one is well worth reading.

Some samples (initial quotes from an IMF official):

I still recall the shock I felt at a meeting in Russia's dingy Ministry of Finance, where I finally realized how a handful of young oligarchs were bringing Russia's economy to ruin in the pursuit of their own selfish interests, despite the supposed brilliance of Anatoly Chubais, Russia's economic czar at the time...

The parallels between U.S. policymaking and what we see in emerging markets are clearest in how we've mishandled the banking crisis. We delude ourselves that our banks face liquidity problems, rather than deeper solvency problems, and we try to fix it all on the cheap just like any run-of-the-mill emerging market economy would try to do. And after years of lecturing Asian and Latin American leaders about the importance of consistency and transparency in sorting out financial crises, we fail on both counts

In the twilight of my career, when I am hopefully wiser than before, I have come to regret how the IMF and the U.S. Treasury all too often lectured leaders in emerging markets on how to "get their house in order" -- without the slightest thought that the United States might fare no better when facing a major economic crisis. . .

And this is from Greenwald:

Isn't that exactly what is now happening here? When I first heard Chuck Todd questioning Obama at Tuesday's Press Conference about why Obama wasn't demanding "sacrifice" from ordinary Americans -- as though the massive loss of jobs, homes, retirement security and financial opportunities isn't sufficient "sacrifice" -- I mistakenly attributed Todd's question to the standard vapid ignorance and insularity of our media stars. I assumed that Todd was just mimicking a question he heard about 9/11 and decided to repeat it seven years later without realizing what a complete nonsequitur it is when applied to the financial crisis.

But there was actually a more pernicious aspect to his question. He was basically demanding of Obama: shouldn't you be telling those dirty masses that they can't have health care and education improvements and that they're also going to have to give up their Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits (while Citibank and BoA use taxpayer money to buy up distressed assets that they will then sell at a huge profit, also to the taxpayer under the Geithner plan)?

Related: how Geithner's bailout plan circumvents Congress.

By fnord12 | March 27, 2009, 5:26 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Talkin' bout a revolution

Crazy Michelle Bachmann, who came very close to getting unseated in 2008 by Elwyn Tinklenberg when Bachmann made comments calling Obama anti-american.

By fnord12 | March 27, 2009, 12:43 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

March 26, 2009

Not Howard Dean, though.

Not everyone on the left is complacent. First, take a look at this web-only Times article that notes that the Obama administration is using the idea of a public health care plan only as means to get more minor concessions out of insurance companies, instead of that being the real end goal. (And ask yourself why that, the only item of real substance to come out of the Max Baucus interview, wound up on the cutting room floor of the print edition). Then see Howard Dean's response. Go and sign his petition.

On the argument that insurance companies shouldn't have to compete against the government, allow me to channel Dean Baker. We constantly hear about how private industry is so much more efficient than the government. If that's the case, shouldn't the private insurance companies have absolutely no problem dealing with the inefficient bureaucracies in a government-run insurance company? What are they in such a panic about?

By fnord12 | March 26, 2009, 9:58 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

X-Force #13 - I like the way this book handled the upcoming cross-over. Instead of neatly wrapping up their plotline, they totally interrupted it, to the point where the team actually failed their mission. This is a good book, with a good team dynamic and good plotting. I like how Cyclops has this dark side; i don't know if that's the way he's portrayed in other books, but i think it does make sense for the character. I was disappointed that Boom Boom got killed; it didn't even occur to me that they can use the time travel device to reverse the death until min pointed it out. And, related to nothing, i was thinking that Cyclops, Angel, and Wolverine all have been 'touched' by Apocalypse in some way. Cyclops was possessed by him for a while or something, Angel of course was turned into Archangel by him, and Wolverine got his adamantium back from him (and i still like Walt Simonson's theory that Apocalypse was behind the Weapon X program the first time - it fit the character's MO). I only bring this up because Kyle & Yost seem really good at making all of these lame 90s villains interesting; i think they could do a lot to help out Apocalypse, who has been neglected and misunderstood since the Louise Simonson days.

Dark Avengers #3 - This was a great issue for the character development of Norman Osborn. Bendis did a lot to humanize him, even if we don't really believe that he was being earnest in dealing with the Sentry. Really great work. And of course, now he's potentially gotten access to Doom's technology. The fight scene against Le Fey and her demons was well done as well. Deodato did some really good layouts, and i loved that scene with Morgan riding the dragon. This has turned out to be a great book.

By fnord12 | March 26, 2009, 9:29 PM | Comics| Link


MGM and the Farrelly brothers are finally slapping together their high-profile cast for "The Three Stooges," a comedy project the filmmakers have been developing for years. Sean Penn is set to play Larry, and Jim Carrey is in negotiations to play Curly. Benicio del Toro is a rumored possibility for the brothers' taciturn leader, Moe.

The studio is looking to start production in the fall for a 2010 release slot.



H/T to wnkr

By min | March 26, 2009, 1:38 PM | Movies | Comments (2) | Link


I was just thinking about this, but of course someone has already said it better (and over a month ago). Now that there is a Democrat in the White House again, the left is doing a very poor job of representing itself.

By fnord12 | March 26, 2009, 12:53 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Recap #25

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round

By min | March 26, 2009, 9:11 AM | D&D| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

The Egg of Dream from the RahXephon anime series.

When can you look
the truth of the dream?
When can you touch
the truth of the love?
So can you feel
the voice calling you
In the far distance

Nothing is real, nothing is eternity
Nothing at all, nothing is innocence
Nothing is truth, nothing is answer
Keep sleeping yet

The sky is high
the dark is deep
The depth is waiting for the time
Across to find the truth of the world

Ah, RahXephon
Fly me to the music

Living is dazzle, living is distance
Living is puzzle, living is sadness
Living is prayer, living is question
Keep silence yet

The circle is closed by a quiet song
The circle is purified for you
Across to find the truth of the world

Ah, RahXephon
Fly me to the music

When can you touch the truth of the dream
So can you feel forever?

By fnord12 | March 26, 2009, 8:28 AM | Music| Link

March 25, 2009

Our Press Corps

They're bored and they're mad they didn't get called on.

By fnord12 | March 25, 2009, 3:06 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link


No. What happened is: your company nearly went out of business because of bad decisions you and your co-workers made, and the government had to rescue you because your decisions were so catastrophic and reckless that you would have taken the entire world economy along with you into the sewer. That's why you shouldn't get a bonus.

By fnord12 | March 25, 2009, 3:03 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

March 24, 2009

I don't think so!

This is the best craig's list ad ever. And it keeps getting re-posted, to my continual delight:

By fnord12 | March 24, 2009, 5:04 PM | Music| Link

I don't want to hear it.

Anyone commenting that this isn't Christopher Walken's twitter page will be banned.

Update: Something happened with the link, but i fixed it.

By fnord12 | March 24, 2009, 4:48 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link


Foghorn Leghorn Arlen Specter has definitively come out and said that he is not going to vote for the Employee Free Choice Act. To this I say "good". Specter is called a moderate republican. This means that whenever anything bad surfaced during the Bush years, Specter would come out and say "Oh, my goodness we will have to investigate that!" and then never did anything.

But he's got a reputation as a moderate. So the labor unions were talking about backing him if he would vote for EFCA, which he hinted that he might do in the past (in fact, he voted to not filibuster EFCA once in the past). So now he's faced with a primary challenge from the right in 2010, also because he voted for the Stimulus package. And there was a lot of talk of him switching parties so he wouldn't have to deal with the primary challenge. Which i was not looking forward to because i would rather see a real democrat than a republican who sometimes kind of talks like he's a democrat on some issues.

But now Specter, typically, has dropped his support of EFCA after all. So now we don't have to worry about him switching parties, and either he can go out in flames in the primaries and the democrat has an easy fight against a real right wing wacko in a state that is becoming more and more blue, or at least we get a good fight between a democrat supported by the labor unions and Specter who has strong support from neither the right or the left.

Update: I'm falling into the trap. This isn't even about voting for EFCA. It's about voting to support a phony filibuster against EFCA. Labor friendly dems have enough votes to pass the bill. They just don't have enough votes to break a filibuster.

By fnord12 | March 24, 2009, 4:13 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Obama floundering

Guest post on Naked Capitalism. Read the whole thing, but here's the summary:

#1 Success of Geithner's Plan: in my view, Barack Obama's fortunes depend in the main on Geithner's Public-Private Partnership Plan. If this plan is unsuccessful, Obama is sunk. The plan has merits, but many deficiencies as well.

#2 Efficacy of Economic Stimulus: I have said often that Obama's stimulus will not be sufficient given the state of the economy. Recently revised budget projections from the Congressional Budget Office confirm this -- the budget deficit, therefore, will be significantly worse than originally projected. Nevertheless, the Japanese experience in the 1990s demonstrates that even a depressionary economy can experience brief respites from economic turmoil. This could be Obama's saving grace.

#3 Ability to connect with disenfranchised: Populist sentiment is running high because people have finally realized that the last quarter-century or more has seen a massive divergence of economic fortune between the wealthy and everyone else. In essence, while credit was flowing and asset prices rose, ordinary Americans appeared to prosper along with the wealthy. However, now that credit revulsion has replaced easy money, it is plain to all that standards of living will decrease. President Obama would be wise to use his inner Bill Clinton and demonstrate he can "feel your pain" or he risks being perceived as aloof.

#4 Will in setting political agenda: The Republican party was in tatters after the 2008 election, giving Barack Obama a free hand. In my view, Obama has grossly miscalculated politically on numerous occasions. This has cost him political capital. Whether he can reassert his agenda now -- with Democrats in Congress responding to populist sentiment out of self-preservation and the Republican party newly reinvigorated -- remains to be seen.

By fnord12 | March 24, 2009, 12:27 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

March 23, 2009

More Technology I Don't Grok

Someone please explain what the purpose of these things are.




Plinky's advertised as some sort of thing that helps bloggers who are stumped about what to blog.....I'm not sure why anyone would need a service to come up with questions like "List 5 things you want to do before you die" or "What's a book you'd recommend?". Why can't you come up with questions like this on your own? And if you can't think of anything to say, mebbe you don't really need a blog.

And Zumbox......er......wha-huh?

By min | March 23, 2009, 3:55 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Another Reason Not to Drink

Yeah, i know. What else is new? Yet another thing that causes cancer. The list of things that don't cause cancer would be much easier to present. I think it would be a blank sheet of paper.

People whose faces turn red when they drink alcohol may be facing more than embarrassment. The flushing may indicate an increased risk for a deadly throat cancer, researchers report.

The flushing response, which may be accompanied by nausea and a rapid heartbeat, is caused mainly by an inherited deficiency in an enzyme called ALDH2, a trait shared by more than a third of people of East Asian ancestry -- Japanese, Chinese or Koreans. As little as half a bottle of beer can trigger the reaction.

The deficiency results in problems in metabolizing alcohol, leading to an accumulation in the body of a toxin called acetaldehyde. People with two copies of the gene responsible have such unpleasant reactions that they are unable to consume large amounts of alcohol. This aversion actually protects them against the increased risk for cancer.

But those with only one copy can develop a tolerance to acetaldehyde and become heavy drinkers.


Reducing drinking can significantly reduce the incidence of this cancer among Asian adults. The researchers calculate that if moderate- or heavy-drinking ALDH2-deficient Japanese men reduced their consumption to under nine drinks a week, 53 percent of esophageal squamous cell cancers in that group could be prevented.

Over 9 drinks/week is considered moderate?? I suppose if it were spread out over the entire 7 days, it's not really that much.......still sounds like alot to me, though.

I get flushed. So does most of my family. And there's also talk of itchy feet when drinking's being done. I wish someone would do a study about that.

At any rate, i never really liked the taste of any alcohol unless it was so disguised that it didn't really taste like alcohol anymore (unless it's rum, which i apparently can't actually taste, hence my deadly New Year's Rum Punch. the fumes alone will get you tipsy), so not much of a hardship for me. Besides, i can't afford the brain cells.

By min | March 23, 2009, 8:55 AM | Science | Comments (1) | Link

March 20, 2009

A Better Expenditure of Resources Than Learning to Kill Goats With the Mind

Science fiction always teaches us the way.

In Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, Bladerunner, the police have a problem. The wayward androids they are pursuing behave so much like humans, they have a tough time telling them apart.

They turn to the Voight-Kampff test, a futuristic version of the age-old polygraph, to help them out. During the test, subjects are grilled with a list of questions, while their physiology is monitored. In particular, the test looks for abnormal eye responses that might indicate the subject isn't human.

The test is far from perfect, and no doubt there will be teething troubles that beset the development of a similar test the US department of homeland security is looking for help in making.

Under the Small Business Innovation Research programme, the department has asked tech companies to bid for contracts to kick-start research in the area. Such a system, if it works, would undoubtedly be useful at airports and other high-security points.

I take issue with this being credited to Ridley Scott's Bladerunner as the movie and the Voight-Kampff test are based on Philip K. Dick's book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. So nyahh!

By min | March 20, 2009, 3:43 PM | Boooooks & Movies & Science| Link

March 19, 2009

Through the looking glass

Glenn Greenwald:

The controversy of the AIG bonuses -- which, strictly as a quantitative matter, is rather trivial in the scheme of things -- illustrates how warped our political discourse is. Here is the hierarchy of positions regarding executive compensation limits back in February:

  • Chris Dodd -- advocated full-scale, no-exceptions limits on executive compensation for bailed-out companies
  • Obama administration -- supported limits but advocated exceptions for already-existing employment contracts
  • GOP leaders -- opposed all executive compensation limits as Socialist tyranny

Yet everything is exactly backwards in this controversy. The Obama administration has been trying to blame Dodd for the carve-out that allowed the AIG bonus payments, a carve-out that came into being because Geithner/Summers demanded it and because they opposed the limits Dodd wanted as too onerous. And now, the GOP -- which opposed limits of any kind -- wants to blame the Obama administration and Dodd because the limits weren't stringent enough to stop the AIG bonus payments. And the media is playing along perfectly, having clearly decided that the person who led the way in fighting for absolute compensation limits -- Dodd -- is the real villain responsible for the AIG bonuses.

The fact that the misinformation and confusion about who supported what can happen is exactly why it is possible for things like this to happen in the first place. There can be no accountability when as a society we have no memory about why things are happening. And really, that's just the way everyone likes it.

By fnord12 | March 19, 2009, 12:56 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

But i won't embed the video here...

In lieu of Random Lyrics Thursday this week, i'm just going to link to min's new favorite song.

By fnord12 | March 19, 2009, 7:53 AM | Music & TeeVee | Comments (3) | Link

March 17, 2009

Aquaman and the Atom Were Wrong

Platelets aren't cute or innocent or good. They're evil killers!

"Despite many medical advances over the last few decades, mortality rates for sepsis have not really improved," said Robert Freishtat, MD, MPH, of the Center for Genetic Medicine Research at Children's National Medical Center, who led the study. "But now that we know that platelets, which we previously believed to be merely 'innocent bystanders,' can actually contribute to the development of fatal complications from sepsis..."
During sepsis, platelets collect within major organs including the spleen, an important infection-fighting organ. As they collect and come into contact with the organ's cells, the granzyme B, if present, will cause the organ's cells to die.

By min | March 17, 2009, 12:44 PM | Science | Comments (1) | Link

March 15, 2009

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy #11 - This was fine, and it's nice to see Stern-era Avengers villain Maelstrom again even if he is a bit more of a prancer than he used to be, but let's be honest with ourselves here: not a single talking dog, not a single talking raccoon, not a single talking tree. I mean, couldn't we have squeezed in a panel with a caption reading: "Meanwhile... back in the decapitated Celestial head." that showed Cosmo facing off against a particularly ferocious chew toy? Would that have been so hard?

By fnord12 | March 15, 2009, 10:22 PM | Comics| Link

March MODOK Madness


H/T Joshua

By fnord12 | March 15, 2009, 10:21 PM | Comics| Link

March 13, 2009

She's absolutely right: Siphonophore

Found this on robn's site.

By fnord12 | March 13, 2009, 11:16 PM | Science | Comments (3) | Link

End of Suburbia

My favorite peak-oil prophet gets some mainstream write-up in the business press:

The downturn has accomplished what a generation of designers and planners could not: it has turned back the tide of suburban sprawl. In the wake of the foreclosure crisis many new subdivisions are left half built and more established suburbs face abandonment. Cul-de-sac neighborhoods once filled with the sound of backyard barbecues and playing children are falling silent. Communities like Elk Grove, Calif., and Windy Ridge, N.C., are slowly turning into ghost towns with overgrown lawns, vacant strip malls and squatters camping in empty homes. In Cleveland alone, one of every 13 houses is now vacant, according to an article published Sunday in The New York Times magazine.

The demand for suburban homes may never recover, given the long-term prospects of energy costs for commuting and heating, and the prohibitive inefficiencies of low-density construction. The whole suburban idea was founded on disposable spending and the promise of cheap gas. Without them, it may wither. A study by the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech predicts that by 2025 there will be as many as 22 million unwanted large-lot homes in suburban areas.

The suburb has been a costly experiment. Thirty-five percent of the nation's wealth has been invested in building a drivable suburban landscape, according to Christopher Leinberger, an urban planning professor at the University of Michigan and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. James Howard Kunstler, author of "The Geography of Nowhere," has been saying for years that we can no longer afford suburbs. "If Americans think they've been grifted by Goldman Sachs and Bernie Madoff, wait until they find out what a swindle the so-called 'American Dream' of suburban life turns out to be," he wrote on his blog this week.

By fnord12 | March 13, 2009, 5:47 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

China wonders aloud if we can repay our debts

Mostly posturing, but maybe not entirely...

By fnord12 | March 13, 2009, 2:50 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

March 12, 2009

Don't Let the River Crab Harmonize You!

Puns. This is why i'm always laughing at parts in chinese movies that don't seem funny in the subtitles. That and the subtitles lie to you.

Since its first unheralded appearance in January on a Chinese Web page, the grass-mud horse has become nothing less than a phenomenon.

A YouTube children's song about the beast has drawn nearly 1.4 million viewers. A grass-mud horse cartoon has logged a quarter million more views. A nature documentary on its habits attracted 180,000 more. Stores are selling grass-mud horse dolls. Chinese intellectuals are writing treatises on the grass-mud horse's social importance. The story of the grass-mud horse's struggle against the evil river crab has spread far and wide across the Chinese online community.

Not bad for a mythical creature whose name, in Chinese, sounds very much like an especially vile obscenity. Which is precisely the point.

The grass-mud horse is an example of something that, in China's authoritarian system, passes as subversive behavior. Conceived as an impish protest against censorship, the foul-named little horse has not merely made government censors look ridiculous, although it has surely done that.

It has also raised real questions about China's ability to stanch the flow of information over the Internet -- a project on which the Chinese government already has expended untold riches, and written countless software algorithms to weed deviant thought from the world's largest cyber-community.


Here's a translation of the lyrics i found online:

There is a herd of Grass Mud Horses*
In the wild and beautiful Ma Le Desert**
They are lively and intelligent
They are fun-loving and nimble
They live freely in the Ma Le Desert
They are courageous, tenacious, and overcome the difficult environment

Oh lying down Grass Mud Horse
Oh running wild Grass Mud Horse
They defeated river crabs*** in order to protect their grass land
River crabs forever disappeared from Ma Le Desert

*Sounds similar to "fuck your mom"
**Sounds similar to "your mom's cunt"
**Sounds similar to "harmony" which is what Chinese bloggers say when their site has been censored - it's been harmonized. It's in reference to President Hu Jintao's repeated calls for creating a "harmonious society".

By min | March 12, 2009, 12:45 PM | Liberal Outrage & Music| Link

Up in Arms

North Korea announced that they were going to launch a communications satellite, and everyone's pretty much afraid that it's really a missile test.

South Korean officials said Thursday that North Korea had notified international authorities that it will launch a communications satellite in early April, a move the United States and other countries fear could be a test of a missile that could reach as far as the West Coast of the United States.

The notification was the latest in a series of signals North Korea has given in recent weeks about such a launch. Washington and Seoul warned that such a "provocative" launch would flout a 2006 UN resolution and could invite more sanctions from the Security Council.

Pyongyang provided the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Maritime Organization and others with "necessary information for the safe navigation of planes and ships," the North's state-run Korea Central News Agency reported Thursday.

KCNA did not say when the launch would take place. But South Korea's Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said North Korea informed the International Maritime Organization on Wednesday that its rocket, carrying an experimental communications satellite, would lift off in the April 4-8 period.

Neighboring governments suspect that the real purpose of the launching will be to test the North's Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile.

They did file the appropriate warnings so that ships and planes wouldn't be in danger. That's rather unusual of them, to be so considerate. Kim Jong-Il's a crackpot, for sure, so their concerns are founded. But, you know, mebbe they just want better tv reception?

It's prolly a missile test.

By min | March 12, 2009, 11:31 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

In honor of St. Patrick's Day coming up on Tuesday and in reference to the renewed violence by the splinter IRA groups this past week...

Zombie by the Cranberries

Another head hangs lowly,
Child is slowly taken.
And the violence caused such silence,
Who are we mistaken?

But you see, it's not me, it's not my family.
In your head, in your head they are fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are crying...

In your head, in your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie,
Hey, hey, hey. What's in your head,
In your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie?
Hey, hey, hey, hey, oh, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo...

Another mother's breaking,
Heart is taking over.
When the violence causes silence,
We must be mistaken.

It's the same old theme since nineteen-sixteen.
In your head, in your head they're still fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are dying...

In your head, in your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie,
Hey, hey, hey. What's in your head,
In your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie?
Hey, hey, hey, hey, oh, oh, oh,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, hey, oh, ya, ya-a...

By min | March 12, 2009, 10:41 AM | Music| Link

March 11, 2009

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Agents of Atlas #2 - I love everything about this: the crazy 50s super-science ghost story flashbacks, the modern interactions with second rate supervillains, the dialogue, the political maneuvering, the talking apes. It's just got everything you need in a comic book.

Avengers: The Initiative #22 - This, on the other hand, i can't love, no matter how much i try. Ramos' art is killing it, first of all, and the focus on Clor isn't the wisest move, but i think the problem has a lot more to do with me just not being able to like all these new characters. It's odd, because i remember how easily Gage made me like a bunch of New-Young X-Men that i had never read or cared about before in a single issue of the X-Men: Planet Hulk mini. It's just not working here. During Secret Invasion, there was a lot more focusing on pre-existing characters, and it kept me hanging on and even liking it, but since then it's very quickly become intolerable. Again, Ramos may be a major factor. But i'm dropping this. Here's hoping Gage gets a better book to work on because i'm still pretty sure he's a good writer.

Captain America #47 - As always, the book takes a slight hit when Epting skips an issue, but it's still top notch. I'm not sure if i enjoyed or was a little put off by Namor's grousing as he carried out his part of the plan. Right now i'm leaning towards liking it, but i think i was a little put off by it during my first read. Anyway, good stuff.

Daredevil #116 - Interesting character development for the Kingpin. Looking forward to seeing what comes of it... the preview art for next issue is intriguing.

Fantastic Four #564 - When you have a team with a reputation for lateness, putting out a Christmas issue in March is probably not a good idea, whatever the reality may be. More importantly, though, i really can't bring myself to care about any of this any more. And i think the scenes with Valeria and Franklin are just really damaging. Franklin gets younger and dumber every year, which is just stupid. Anyway, another drop. I stuck around for too long hoping it would get better.

Hercules #126 - Good stuff. Interesting choice to have a total flashback issue (except for the back-up) but i'm fine with it. My only complaint is if you're gonna do a several page text piece on the history of Hercules and his greatest accomplishments, how do you leave out the time he dragged the isle of Manhattan around on chain?

New Avengers #50 - Funny dialogue and good character moments in the set-up for the big fight with the Dark Avengers. I liked the acknowledgment that they just weren't on the Dark team's power levels (mainly due to Ares and Sentry) and needed to resort to more subtle tactics. I thought the twist of Osborn not taking the bait and sending in another group to do his dirty work was cool. And Hawkeye's scene at the end was just so logical that it seems like the obvious thing to do, and yet it's not the sort of thing that usually happens. I even thought the fight scene was fairly well done, which is rare for a Bendis book. On the downside, i thought the alternating artists was disorienting, especially the Ms. Marvel page, and i think the Hood's group of villains are somewhat mishandled. On the one hand, you have villains like the Slug, a second rate Kingpin who shouldn't even be fighting hand-to-hand as a grunt, and then you have the Wrecking Crew who should more or less be able to take on this team of Avengers all by themselves (i know, i know... i'm supposed to get over it). But overall, very good.

Nova #22 - I would say that while the plot developments are almost cliche at this point, everything is being done very well so it's ok. And this is just the set-up; we'll have to see where it goes. I do hope the group of non-Earthling Centurians (The Rigellian, the Fin Fang Foomian, the Shi'ar guy, and the floating head) stick around after this is all resolved.

Secret Warriors #2 - Alright, who the hell is the Gorgon? I know i'm supposed to know... Is he from the Wolverine Enemy of the State story? Google says... yes. And since when are Madame Hydra and Viper two separate women? And Kraken and the Hive? Anyway, they all seem interesting. I thought Phobos' predictions were an interesting development as well. And of course, Baron Von Strucker massacring a bunch of Skrulls with the Satan Claw and then blowing up his entire underwater empire and then casually swimming off to rebuild Hydra from scratch was a nice touch. I liked the glimpse into Hydra's recruiting policies - usually you're not supposed to really think about where all these terrorist groups with no apparent ideologies are recruiting their endless supply of goons. I'm still a little unsettled by the idea that Hydra has always been running SHIELD as it stands to undermine a lot of classic stories, but we'll see where it goes.

War Machines #3 - I stuck around hoping that the fight between Ares and War Machine would be interesting, but it wasn't. And everyone is so devoid of personality. It's all so bitter and dry and everyone's talking to everyone else on a view screen. It's hard to believe this is by the same guy that's writing Hercules. Oh well. Dropping it.

War of the Kings #1 - I continue to not have high hopes for this. Good fight, i guess between the Shi'ar Imperial Guard and the Inhumans, but it seems like the decision to leave was kind of arbitrary. I dunno, we'll see. It's only the first issue.

X-Force #12 - I enjoyed the explanation for Hrimhari showing up best. It made perfect sense and it just seemed right. I think the main plot is good too, with the team essentially falling for Bastion's trap and this Leper Queen being an interesting character. Shame to kill Beautiful Dreamer, though, even if i haven't seen her since that Power Pack / X-Men crossover 23 years ago.

Captain Britain & MI13: Secret Invasion - In some ways this was better than the Wisdom trade because it was a little more structured and had better craft, but on the other hand i think some of the strengths of that series, with its crazy Morrison-like ideas, was a bit lost in this run. Still, i enjoyed it. We'll have to see how it's doing now that it's not part of a crossover.

By fnord12 | March 11, 2009, 11:31 PM | Comics| Link

Ummmm... good?

Howard Fineman (title: Newsweek's senior Washington Correspondent and columnist, senior editor and deputy Washington Bureau Chief), quoted at Whiskey Fire:

Luckily for Obama, the public still likes and trusts him, at least judging by the latest polls, including NEWSWEEK's. But, in ways both large and small, what's left of the American establishment is taking his measure and, with surprising swiftness, they are finding him lacking...
If the establishment still has power, it is a three-sided force, churning from inside the Beltway, from Manhattan-based media and from what remains of corporate America.

As Whiskey Fire says:

The column is an accumulation of gibberish about how The Elite are having qualms about Obama, and that such qualms place him in the incredibly precarious political position of being left with no real support except for that of the majority of Americans.

Glenn Greenwald also comments on Fineman's article:

In Newsweek today, Howard Fineman has one of the flimsiest and most inane -- yet highly revealing -- columns in some time. Fineman announces that while Barack Obama may be popular among most Americans, "the American establishment' -- who Fineman believes, like most journalists, he speaks for and serves -- "is taking his measure and, with surprising swiftness, they are finding him lacking." As David Sirota notes, Fineman offers no evidence for his announcement of what "the establishment" thinks and never even bothers to identify what this "establishment" is which is rebelling against Obama, other than to say that "it is a three-sided force, churning from inside the Beltway, from Manhattan-based media and from what remains of corporate America."

Even if Fineman were right that this unseen "three-sided establishment" is becoming disenchanted with Obama, who should care? Or, more to the point, who should consider that to be a negative reflection on Obama? What has this "three-sided establishment" done that is remotely positive? What have they been right about? What disaster haven't they cheered on and enabled?

By fnord12 | March 11, 2009, 1:17 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

March 10, 2009

A fun game for you

Please find examples of the "symbol[s] of lawmakers' free-spending ways and penchant for back-home pet projects" claimed in this article on the spending bill passed today. I expected to at least hear about Mormon crickets and volcano monitoring, but instead we get nothing but increasing police spending and battling crystal meth usage.

By fnord12 | March 10, 2009, 10:04 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (3) | Link

So much for that

A few days ago, Glenn Greenwald wrote:

Anyone who doubts that there has been a substantial -- and very positive -- change in the rules for discussing American policy towards Israel should consider two recent episodes: (1) the last three New York Times columns by Roger Cohen; and (2) the very strong pushback from a diverse range of sources against the neoconservative lynch mob trying, in typical fashion, to smear and destroy Charles Freeman due to his critical (in all senses of the word) views of American policy towards Israel. One positive aspect of the wreckage left by the Bush presidency is that many of the most sacred Beltway pieties stand exposed as intolerable failures, prominently including our self-destructively blind enabling of virtually all Israeli actions.

Today, Charles Freeman withdrew his nomination.

Vaguely related: VT Senator Pat Leahy compares the Palestinians to the Irish.

By fnord12 | March 10, 2009, 5:33 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

This is NOT a Funny Monkey Story. This is Science.

A male chimpanzee in a Swedish zoo planned hundreds of stone-throwing attacks on zoo visitors, according to researchers.

Keepers at Furuvik Zoo found that the chimp collected and stored stones that he would later use as missiles.

Further, the chimp learned to recognise how and when parts of his concrete enclosure could be pulled apart to fashion further projectiles.


Crucial to the current study is the fact that Santino, a chimpanzee at the zoo in the city north of Stockholm, collected the stones in a calm state, prior to the zoo opening in the morning.

The launching of the stones occurred hours later - during dominance displays to zoo visitors - with Santino in an "agitated" state.

This suggests that Santino was anticipating a future mental state - an ability that has been difficult to definitively prove in animals, according to Mathias Osvath, a cognitive scientist from Lund University in Sweden and author of the new research.


Dr Osvath embarked on the study after zoo staff discovered caches of stones in the section of the enclosure facing the public viewing area.

Since the initial discovery in 1997, hundreds of the caches have been removed to protect visitors, to whom the caching and the aggressive displays seem strictly related; in the off season, Santino neither hoards the projectiles nor hurls them.


That said, i totally empathize. I, too, often have the urge to hurl projectiles at the public and find the urge is greatly lessened in the off season, as well.

By min | March 10, 2009, 10:49 AM | Science | Comments (1) | Link

March 6, 2009

Arggh, Again

On faismesdevoirs.com (domyhomework.com), children will be able to buy answers to simple maths problems for 5 euros ($6), while a full end-of-year presentation complete with slides and speaking notes will cost 80 euros ($100).

The website goes live on Thursday morning, founder Stephane Boukris told Reuters.

"I realized there was a gap in the market. Add to that a dose of insolence, a zest of arrogance and the internet, and you have faismesdevoirs.com," he said.


He realized there was a gap in the market??? How about a gap between most people's ears? The teachers should show up at his house with torches and pitchforks.

"Of course some schoolchildren might use the system to cheat, but they'll have to learn sooner or later because we won't be there on exam day," he said.


By min | March 6, 2009, 3:43 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (4) | Link


An Ohio mother has pleaded not guilty to a child endangering charge filed when another driver reported the woman was breast-feeding and talking on a phone while driving.

Attorney Joseph Warden filed the plea Thursday in Kettering Municipal Court on behalf of 39-year-old Genine Compton of Kettering, a Dayton suburb.

Compton faces misdemeanor charges of child endangering and unlawful child restraint.

Warden would not comment on details of the case but said he believes his client is not guilty.

Police tracked Compton using a license plate number. They say Compton told them she was breast-feeding and wouldn't let her child go hungry.

They say the legal concern is that Compton had a child in her lap while driving.



A Canadian says he got a face full of pepper spray after repeatedly asking a U.S. border inspector in Blaine, Wash., to say please.


If he doesn't like it, he can stay the hell out of the US. Der...why would anyone purposely drive to the US from Canada? He's lucky one of our trigger happy jack booters didn't tase him.

By min | March 6, 2009, 3:38 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Facebook Sucks Monkey Balls

The more i sift through its murky quagmires, the more i come to firmly believe it's awkward to navigate and is generally useless. I haven't yet figured out why so many people are on it or why in god's name so many people made "friends" with people they generally disliked in high school. Poseurs.

**end crotchety rant**

By min | March 6, 2009, 3:30 PM | My stupid life| Link

Unemployment Numbers

This was written on Feb 11th, before today's new, worse numbers came out.

For anyone that still has a job, percentage unemployment numbers mask the misery and potential for unrest felt by those who have lost a job and are nearing the ends of their financial (and other) ropes. Percentage comparisons with employment in the great depression (25% vs now "7.6%") seem to indicate we have a huge distance to cover if we are to approach the misery experienced in the great depression.

But a vastly more interesting and important comparison is of actual total human beings without jobs or who are severely underemployed. The number of people affected at the peak of the depression was 13.5 million unemployed vs today's official number of 11.6 million. Eleven million six hundred thousand human beings unemployed is within a dangerously short distance of the worst number the Great Depression ever printed - and the calculations then were much more conservative than they are today.

Since the 90's, 'discouraged workers', or those had given up looking for a job because there were no jobs to be had, were redefined by the Clinton administration so as to be counted only if they had been 'discouraged' for less than a year. This time qualification defined away the bulk of the discouraged workers. Adding them back into the total unemployed, actual unemployment in order to make a fair "apples to apples" comparison, as estimated by the SGS-Alternate Unemployment Measure, brings us to 17.9% in January!

By fnord12 | March 6, 2009, 3:08 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Marvel Sales


By fnord12 | March 6, 2009, 1:35 PM | Comics| Link


So two of Obama's nominees are being held up by a procedural tactic by Republicans who are getting revenge for perceived slights that were made against Bush appointees during their nomination process (never mind that these are economic advisers and we're in the middle of a depression). So Bloomberg has a relatively dry, straightforward article on the subject, and then suddenly:

Their stalled nominations serve as another reminder that Obama may find it difficult to live up to his campaign promise of changing the partisan culture in Washington.

How is this Obama's fault? Shouldn't the paragraph have read:

Their stalled nominations serve as another reminder that Republicans refuse to reciprocate on Obama's offer to change the partisan culture in Washington.

Updated: Josh Marshall has a take on the Obama administration nominees in which the Republican obstruction is just a small piece in a complicated puzzle.

By fnord12 | March 6, 2009, 10:37 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

March 5, 2009

In defense of nerds


The New Yorker's Anthony Lane did not like The Watchmen:
"Watchmen," like "V for Vendetta," harbors ambitions of political satire, and, to be fair, it should meet the needs of any leering nineteen-year-old who believes that America is ruled by the military-industrial complex, and whose deepest fear--deeper even than that of meeting a woman who requests intelligent conversation--is that the Warren Commission may have been right all along.

Not to question what is, I am certain, the vibrant and thrilling sex lives of film critics, but I'm not so sure that "film critic" is much higher than "comic book geek" on the social spectrum. Moreover, what exactly do Lane's thoughts on comic book nerds have to do with the quality of the film? What does the reviewer grant the reader by insulting the film's intended audience?

I'm not going to argue with Lane over the quality of a film I haven't seen, but I really find it hard to understand why comic book fans are the subject of such persistent abuse. You'd think we clubbed baby seals for a living or perhaps sold sub-prime mortgages. The unbridled contempt for people who like comic books reaches something close to the feelings people have for parking cops and tax collectors.

Comic book nerds can count Barack Obama, Rachel Maddow and Patrick Leahy among us. We might also include some readers of Lane's magazine, given that it was only three or four weeks ago that I spotted an ad for February's New York Comic-Con in its hallowed pages. For some reason, despite the fact that comic fans have reached the highest levels of professional excellence in this country, the image of a comic fan remains that of a chubby teenager in his mom's basement clutching a two-liter bottle of Shasta.

I've never had a single sip of Shasta in my life.

By fnord12 | March 5, 2009, 9:44 PM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link

Guilt & Swindle

I read an early version of this story on TPM a few weeks ago, but it was presented there like it was only a quasi-official operation. This makes it seem much more legitimate.

Dead people are the newest frontier in debt collecting, and one of the healthiest parts of the industry. Those who dun the living say that people are so scared and so broke it is difficult to get them to cough up even token payments.

Collecting from the dead, however, is expanding. Improved database technology is making it easier to discover when estates are opened in the country's 3,000 probate courts, giving collectors an opportunity to file timely claims. But if there is no formal estate and thus nothing to file against, the human touch comes into play.

By fnord12 | March 5, 2009, 9:39 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Someone has to do it

A TPM reader:

During the campaign, McCain hammered away on earmarks as if it were the end-all, be-all of reform. Obama basically humored him, but pointed out that there were much more important things. Now that Obama won, McCain is blasting Obama for not keeping McCain's campaign promises.

By fnord12 | March 5, 2009, 9:37 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

I wanna be Jackie Molasses

Let the apocalypse come. We're ready to ride it out in style with plenty of molasses.

By fnord12 | March 5, 2009, 12:41 PM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

All Over You by Live

Our love is, like water
Pinned down and abused for being strange
Our love is, no other
Then me alone for me all day
Our love is like water
Pinned down and abused, ehe

All over you, all over me
The sun, the fields, the sky
I've often tried to hold
The sea, the sun, the fields, the tide

Pay me now, lay me down, oho

Our love is like water
Pinned down and abused for being strange
Our love is like little angels
Pinned down and abused, yeah!

All over you, all over me
The sun, the fields, the sky
I've often tried to hold
The sea, the sun, the fields, the tide

Pay me now, lay me down
Pay me now, pay me now
Lay me down. lay me down. lay me down

All over you, all over me
All over you, all over me, yeh

Pay me now, lay me down, down
Pay me now, pay me now
Lay me down. Lay me down, lay...

All over you, all over me
The sun, the fields, the sky
I've often tried to hold
The sea, the sun, the fields, the tide

Pay me now, lay me down, down
Pay me now, pay me now
Lay me down. Lay me down. Lay...
Yeah heah, heah... Yeah, yeah, yeah... oh

By min | March 5, 2009, 8:19 AM | Music| Link

March 4, 2009

I Would Steal This Post

But it's just too much work, so here's the link instead.

By min | March 4, 2009, 1:42 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

You Need to Go Home Now

Cause i can't risk you getting dementia. Who would take care of me?

Long working hours may raise the risk of mental decline and possibly dementia, research suggests.

The Finnish-led study was based on analysis of 2,214 middle-aged British civil servants.

It found that those working more than 55 hours a week had poorer mental skills than those who worked a standard working week.

The American Journal of Epidemiology study found hard workers had problems with short-term memory and word recall.


"The disadvantages of overtime work should be taken seriously."

It is not known why working long hours might have an adverse effect on the brain.

However, the researchers say key factors could include increased sleeping problems, depression, an unhealthy lifestyle and a raised risk of cardiovascular disease, possibly linked to stress.

This is completely unacceptable. You're staying home, and I'm swaddling you! You'll do sudoku and crossword puzzles to keep your brain in working order.

By min | March 4, 2009, 1:33 PM | Science | Comments (1) | Link

March 3, 2009

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Dark Avengers #2 - I whooped out loud when Morgan Le Fey got her head ripped off, and min had to run downstairs to see if i was ok. This is well written, well drawn, and with a good fight scene for a change. Nice stuff. Although i'm not sure i understand/buy how Morgan comes back. I would have accepted "It's magic!" more than the time travel explanation.

Guardians of the Galaxy #10 - I think it'll be good to have the down-to-earth Jack Flag around to point out all the oddities of the cosmic stuff (Like, one of your team members is a tree). I liked Flag in Thunderbolts but never thought i would see him again so this is a nice turn of events. I love the Fabulous Four comment from Star Lord, too. It's nice to see a group so far removed from the mainstream (*danger word*) marvel universe but still a part of it.

By fnord12 | March 3, 2009, 10:51 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

Menendez blocks Obama science appointees based on Cuba policy


Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a strong supporter of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, is launching a full-on battle this week to remove several provisions from the 2009 government spending bill that would open a small crack in the slammed door of relations with Havana.

Menendez fired a broadside at the Obama administration yesterday for backing a provision buried in the $410 billion spending bill, which must become law by next week in order to keep the government running. The New Jersey senator, a Cuban-American, objects to language in the bill that would allow Cuban-Americans to visit relatives on the island once a year and end limits on the sale of American food and medicines in Cuba.

Polls suggest that the majority of Cuban-Americans side with the administration, rather than Menendez -- an influential poll of the community, conducted in Florida every year since 1991, found in December that 55% of Cuban-Americans supported lifting the embargo against Havana.

But the nominees Menendez has chosen to hold are pivotal presidential allies in the push to regulate carbon emissions -- and Menendez has been admirably outspoken about the need to act on climate change. Was holding up Holdren, a longtime critic of Bush-era science policy, the best way to start a reasoned dialogue on Cuba policy?

Usually the wack-job politicians are from red states where we don't have much influence over them, but i'm embarrassed to say that this is one of ours.

Let him know his Cold War era Cuban policy is not acceptable to New Jerseyans, especially (?) when it's holding up progress on climate change .

By fnord12 | March 3, 2009, 12:23 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Understand how taxes work, people.

I guess a lot of the hostility towards paying taxes comes from ignorance about how the tax rates work. I think Republicans do a good job of exploiting that ignorance. But here's a case of a reporter causing confusion all on her own.

By fnord12 | March 3, 2009, 12:16 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

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