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August 30, 2012

Really hits me

From Paul Ryan's convention speech last night:

None of us have to settle for the best this administration offers -- a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.

Wow... i never thought of it that way before, but... yeah. That describes my life exactly. That's the world i live in. And i'm not going to settle for it! I demand an adventure, wherein when i get old i will have to pay for my health care with the coins that may or may not have fallen under my sofa cushions. How exciting that will be!

By fnord12 | August 30, 2012, 12:54 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 29, 2012

Administrative Subpoenas Bypass Fourth Amendment

I don't know why i bother reading the news. It just depresses me. I should stick with cute pictures of baby guinea pigs in espresso cups or something.

With a federal official's signature, banks, hospitals, bookstores, telecommunications companies and even utilities and internet service providers -- virtually all businesses -- are required to hand over sensitive data on individuals or corporations, as long as a government agent declares the information is relevant to an investigation. Via a wide range of laws, Congress has authorized the government to bypass the Fourth Amendment -- the constitutional guard against unreasonable searches and seizures that requires a probable-cause warrant signed by a judge.

In fact, there are roughly 335 federal statutes on the books (.pdf) passed by Congress giving dozens upon dozens of federal agencies the power of the administrative subpoena, according to interviews and government reports.


Anecdotal evidence suggests that federal officials from a broad spectrum of government agencies issue them hundreds of thousands of times annually. But none of the agencies are required to disclose fully how often they utilize them -- meaning there is little, if any, oversight of this tactic that's increasingly used in the war on drugs, the war on terror and, seemingly, the war on Americans' constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable government trespass into their lives.

That's despite proof that FBI agents given such powers under the Patriot Act quickly began to abuse them and illegally collected Americans' communications records, including those of reporters. Two scathing reports from the Justice Department's Inspector General uncovered routine and pervasive illegal use of administrative subpoenas by FBI anti-terrorism agents given nearly carte blanche authority to demand records about Americans' communications with no supervision.

When the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, perhaps the nation's most liberal appeals court based in San Francisco, ordered Golden Valley to fork over the data earlier this month, the court said the case was "easily" decided because the records were "relevant" to a government drug investigation.

With the data the Alaska utility handed over, the DEA may then use further administrative subpoenas to acquire the suspected indoor-dope growers' phone records, stored e-mails, and perhaps credit-card purchasing histories -- all to build a case to acquire a probable-cause warrant to physically search their homes and businesses.

But the administrative subpoena doesn't just apply to utility records and drug cases. Congress has spread the authority across a huge swath of the U.S. government, for investigating everything from hazardous waste disposal, the environment, atomic energy, child exploitation, food stamp fraud, medical insurance fraud, terrorism, securities violations, satellites, seals, student loans, and for breaches of dozens of laws pertaining to fruits, vegetables, livestock and crops.


Another fabulous move by our lawmakers. You go, Congress! Get those pot smokers off the streets! They're a real menace to society. Who needs stinkin' probable cause and rights and stuff? It's certainly less important than catching people committing food stamp fraud (and probably whilst high! - damn surfers).

By min | August 29, 2012, 12:28 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 27, 2012

Marvel Sales


By fnord12 | August 27, 2012, 3:20 PM | Comics| Link

August 25, 2012

So i guess i bought some miniatures

Thanks to friend joshua, i was alerted to Reaper Miniatures' kickstarter event, where they were raising funds so they could create the molds to build out their new plastic miniatures line. And they were offering an insane amount of miniatures for pledging at the "Vampire" level, so ten minutes after saying, "What do i need more miniatures for; i won't even have time to paint them.", i was clicking the pledge button.

And over the course of the weekend, they just kept adding more miniatures to the "gift level" that i had already pledged at. So by the time it was all done, the total list was even longer:

Not shown: the additional miniatures that i pledged a little extra for, including a Cthulu!

Now, seriously, i don't have any time to paint these dudes. They don't ship until March (unless Reaper really didn't know what it was doing and finds they're in over their heads, which i'm worried is a real possibility), so that means i've got to get my latest (also huge) batch of back issues read and reviewed by then, because i'm gonna have to take a sizeable break from my comic timeline project to inhale paint fumes.

I really need to retire. I have too much real work to do.

By fnord12 | August 25, 2012, 11:33 PM | D&D| Link

August 24, 2012

Is Kevin Drum nuts?

In a post where he's thinking way too hard about why George W. Bush isn't more prominent right now, and, for example, campaigning for Romney (the answer's easy: he's unpopular), Drum works himself into this:

But the real reason is deeper. Bush may have seemed larger than life for eight years, but he left a surprisingly thin legacy. Take his legislative agenda. No Child Left Behind is now widely unpopular among both liberals and conservatives--so unpopular that Congress has spent the past five years assiduously avoiding a vote to reauthorize it. His tax cuts expired in 2010 and are now little more than a political football. His own party wants to repeal key provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley. The Supreme Court has effectively gutted campaign finance reform. On the foreign policy front, his wars are widely viewed as expensive failures. And he was never able to get so much as a vote on Social Security privatization or immigration reform.

That doesn't leave much. Pretty much all that's left is the PATRIOT Act and the Medicare prescription drug bill. That's not much for eight years.

First of all, whatever you think of them, both the PATRIOT Act and the Medicare prescription drug bills are HUGE. So is No Child Left Behind, which is still in effect despite what Drum implies. And "wants to repeal key provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley" is, again, a far cry from saying the law doesn't have any effect.

Drum also massively understates the implications of the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions and the Bush tax cuts. And, maybe because he's a partisan Democrat, he ignores all of the "states secrets" and drone killings, and Guantanamo, and all of the other awful things that Obama has picked up from Bush and happily continued and expanded upon.

This is like saying the legacy of Chernobyl is thin because i hear there is some moss growing there now and the Russian government is considering a land restoration program.

By fnord12 | August 24, 2012, 9:00 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 23, 2012

I Could Do Better If My Arms Weren't So Short


Fnord12 was slightly disapproving that i checked "Yes" when asked if i would be fine with using the children as weapons against the others. Der. Kids think it's fun to be swung around. They'd be totally fine.

By min | August 23, 2012, 10:31 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Why Summers Keep Getting Shorter

Fnord12 sent me this Tom the Dancing Bug comic today - "Scientists agree - it's the shortest summer on record".

Coincidentally, this afternoon, Boing Boing pointed me to this article:

Childhood holidays seem to last forever, but as you grow older time seems to accelerate. "Time" is related to how much information you are taking in - information stretches time. A child's day from 9am to 3:30pm is like a 20-hour day for an adult. Children experience many new things every day and time passes slowly, but as people get older they have fewer new experiences and time is less stretched by information. So, you can "lengthen" your life by minimising routine and making sure your life is full of new active experiences - travel to new places, take on new interests, and spend more time living in the present.

If you read the article, you'll find out that the amount of "attentional resources" being used also affects how you perceive time. The more attentional resources used to perform an act, the fewer left to pay attention to how much time is passing, hence time seeming to fly when you're super busy, which is contradictory to the "more information = slower passage of time" thing. Guess it's a balance of the two.

All i know for sure is this article told me to take more vacations, so let's go!

By min | August 23, 2012, 3:14 PM | Science| Link

It Starts With a Massage!!!

The sculpture features a female pig lying on the ground -- with her left breast exposed -- while a male pig stands behind it. To everyone with a gutter mind (that includes just about everyone), the pigs look as if they are doing it... doggie-style.

Some locals have taken to nicknaming the sculpture "hooligan pigs" while others have wondered aloud if such a "vulgar" statue should be placed so prominently on a public square.

The urban management authority, when contacted by journalists, said the sculpture is part of a series of 21 cartoon stone sculptures designed to inculcate values -- such as perseverance, diligence and love -- in young children.

This sculpture, the spokesman reveals, depicts a young pig giving his mother a back massage, and was meant to show the importance of filial piety.

I don't think they thought this through.

Link, via Beijing Cream

By min | August 23, 2012, 2:50 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Mebbe It Was Justified Homicide


The veteran tennis umpire Lois Goodman has been arrested in New York while preparing for the US Open and charged with beating her 80-year-old husband to death with a coffee mug.

Who knows what their married life was like, but just think about how crazy he must have driven her for this woman to suddenly snap whilst drinking her coffee and start beating him with her mug. Her mug!! Who does that? Someone driven to the very end of her tether, that's who.

All i'm saying is when we're old, fnord12 better not fuck with me before i've had my breakfast if he knows what's good for him. And he'd better make sure i don't have anything in my hand at the time, either, or i might do more than just stamp my foot in frustration.

By min | August 23, 2012, 1:26 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

I Saw This and Thought I Should Get Copies for All of My Friends

Cause why wouldn't they want to own a copy of The Dictator's Practical Internet Guide to Power Retention?

In order to derive maximum benefit from the internet, you absolutely must fulfill three prerequisites. As you will see in the next chapter, they are essential to successfully disable anonymity and security, your two greatest threats.

Now, i know you can just download the PDF for free, but i feel that something like this i'd want a physical copy of. That way i can write myself little notes in the margins, highlight the best passages, take it with me after the coup when i'm on the run from those i've oppressed, etc etc.

The book actually talks about the techniques being used to undermine dissent and neutralize movements and, according to Boing Boing, is a "very good critique of the state of Internet liberation technologies -- a critical analysis of what works, what needs work, and what doesn't work in the world of networked technologies that hope to serve as a force for democratization and self-determination."

Ofc, if it does proffer some practical ideas on how to maintain my dictatorial hold on those around me, well, that would be a nice bonus.

By min | August 23, 2012, 1:11 PM | Boooooks & Liberal Outrage| Link

Why Should We Buy Guns When We Can Make Our Own

In a 3D printer.

Earlier this month, Wilson and a small group of friends who call themselves "Defense Distributed" launched an initiative they've dubbed the "Wiki Weapon Project." They're seeking to raise $20,000 to design and release blueprints for a plastic gun anyone can create with an open-source 3D printer known as the RepRap that can be bought for less than $1,000. If all goes according to plan, the thousands of owners of those cheap 3D printers, which extrude thin threads of melted plastic into layers that add up to precisely-shaped three-dimensional objects, will be able to turn the project's CAD designs into an operational gun capable of firing a standard .22 caliber bullet, all in the privacy of their own garage.

"We want to show this principle: That a handgun is printable," says Wilson, a 24-year-old second-year law student at the University of Texas. "You don't need to be able to put 200 rounds through it...It only has to fire once. But even if the design is a little unworkable, it doesn't matter, as long as it has that guarantee of lethality."

I'm sure the inventors of the RepRap are just thrilled.

Someone tell Dave Mustaine he doesn't have to worry about Obama taking away his guns anymore. He can just print as many as he wants.

Fucking Texas...

By min | August 23, 2012, 1:03 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Into the Lungs of Hell was an instrumental, anyway

TPM has one of those periodic articles where a rock band tells a politician to stop using their damn music. This time it's Twisted Sister's We're Not Gonna Take It (Dee Snider: "There is almost nothing he [Ryan] stands for that I agree with except the use of the P90X.").

But i actually thought some of the comments on this one were funny. It starts with:

Here's a simple flowchart for all Republican politicians to consult when wondering if it's okay to use a rock n roll artist's music:

Is it by Ted Nugent?

Yes --> You can use it.

No --> You can't use it.

End of flowchart.

But then someone brings up Megadeth:

Romney and Ryan just need to play Megadeth and Dave Mustaine won't have a problem with it. Think of the. possibilities:

"Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!"
"Set the World Afire".
"Into the Lungs of Hell".
"Holy Wars... The Punishment Due".
"Symphony of Destruction".
"Train of Consequences".
'99 Ways to Die".

And the first response to that.

Holy Krap! Are those real song titles? Geez, has anyone suggested a valium for this guy?

Someone responds to her saying "You're sweet".

But just to stick up for one of my childhood favorites here, Megadeth's songs were typically anti-war, especially anti-nuclear war, and their song titles and lyrics depict the horror of war, not a celebration of it.

Mustaine's crazy right-wing (or maybe just crazy) views are a recent, post-religious conversion development (the latest: "Back in my country, my President is trying to pass a gun ban so he's staging all these murders like the Fast and Furious thing down at the border and Aurora, Colorado, and all the people who were killed there and now the beautiful people at the Sikh temple.").

It's bad enough that Dave Mustaine is a kook now, but i don't like it when these ignorant political junkies attack his back catalog! And i don't think valium would have mixed well with the other things in Mustaine's system at the time.

By fnord12 | August 23, 2012, 7:41 AM | Liberal Outrage & Music | Comments (1) | Link

August 22, 2012

And They Talk!


Chewbacca Plush Ball

Darth Vader Plush Ball

There are also a Yoda and an R2, but the Yoda one's creepy. It looks like a decapitated Yoda.

Pre-order from Urban Collector.

By min | August 22, 2012, 2:28 PM | Cute Things & Star Wars| Link

August 21, 2012


Joe Biden is written by Brian Michael Bendis:

"Hey, by the way, let's talk about Social Security," Biden said after a diner at The Coffee Break Cafe in Stuart, Va., expressed his relief that the Obama campaign wasn't talking about changing the popular entitlement program. "Number one, I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security," Biden said, per a pool report.

Link, via.

By fnord12 | August 21, 2012, 10:31 AM | Comics & Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Cause Pinching's For Sissies!

H/t to wnkr for one more example that society's going to hell in a handbasket.

Three child care workers have been arrested for allegedly encouraging toddlers under their watch to fight for sport.

According to police, Tiana Harris, 19, Lisa Parker, 47, and Estefania Myers, 21, were captured in a cell phone video egging on two three-year-old children to get physical for the fun of it at the Hands of Our Future Daycare in Dover, Delaware.

In the footage, taken in March, a toddler's voice is heard crying out in pain, "He's pinching me," as the little one tries to break free from a scuffle with another youngster.

Shockingly, the voice of one of the workers responds, "No pinching, only punching," as the worker guides the child to stay in the fight zone at the center, that boasts a peaceful atmosphere with the motto: "Young Hearts Loving the World."

Don't these daycare workers know that punching is unrealistic? They should be grappling.

The best part of this story might be the sign posted on the door after the place was shut down.

A City of Dover Code Enforcement sign was posted to the door reading: "Danger. This structure is declared unsafe for human occupancy or use."

Unsafe if you're a pussy!

By min | August 21, 2012, 8:45 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link

August 15, 2012

Journey Into Mystery Update

The Beat again:

Excellent news has come in from Marvel today! I refuse to be objective, because today comes that announcement that Journey Into Mystery WILL continue, as I previously reported, with the new creative team of Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti coming onboard as of issue #646. Alongside the new creative team comes a new focus, as the series switches from following Kid Loki on his magical exploits, and instead turns to the swashbuckling swordplay of Sif.

Well, that's better than someone other than Gillen continuing the adventures of Kid Loki. Immonen has never seemed like a great writer to me (i remember not loving her Heralds series, and her recent She-Hulk issue of Avenging Spider-Man wasn't great), but i guess i'd try a book about Sif for a little while...?

By fnord12 | August 15, 2012, 8:52 AM | Comics| Link

August 14, 2012

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Avengers Assemble #6 - This comic sure tries my patience. On the one hand, you know, the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy team up to fight Thanos and the Badoon. That's cool! And there's some cool moments. But Bendis' Thanos kinda sucks. And the script sort of acts like this is the first time Thamos has had a Cosmic Cube. Add that to an iteration of the Hulk that we haven't seen in a long time and you can see why people keep asking if this is in continuity. And the fact that Bendis has just about every Marvel super-hero sitting around at home listening to the plot get explained to them is going to make fitting this somewhere specific a little tight. I'm also a little disappointed in Bagley - his Hawkeye is looking pretty awful by the end of this book, and that whole sequence with Banner in the Iron Man armor really didn't work (i also don't know what the Avengers thought they were going to gain from that ploy). So, i want to like this, but i'm having trouble.

Spider-Men #4 - Same writer (actually half my books this week are by Bendis), very different reaction from me: this was really good. I've been grousing about the lack of plot in this series, but having Peter show up at Ultimate Aunt May's house, and having him not run away but instead have a long sit down with May and Ultimate Gwen Stacy (i just like doing that) was a really nice move that played to Bendis' dialogue strengths. Great issue.

Captain America #16 - If you're going to call the bad guys Discordians, you'd think you'd play it up a lot more, having them dropping fnords and doing other random weird shit. Instead they're more like generic anarchists, which is ok but a little disappointing. This was fine, but it's one of Brubaker's weaker Cap arcs (feels like a repeat in some regards), and i'm attributing that to co-writer Bunn. Next issue's Space Station Zemo is promising, though!

New Avengers #29 - My third and final Bendis book for the week. Unlike everyone else on the internet, i like the Illuminati concept and this issue made good use of it, and also made good use of the Cap and Namor relationship to the degree that the crossover event would allow (it would have been better if they were actually allowed to work something out). I actually think the conversations in this book should have been included in the main AvX series; it would have given that book some much needed depth and explanation and character study that the series is sorely missing. It shouldn't be pushed off into a tie-in. And that's my review. I also wanted to say, and this is not the fault of Bendis or any other particular writer, that if you strung together all the World War II era Captain America and Invaders flashbacks and other stories, you probably have enough content to fill about 27 World War IIs. Constantly adding to the backstory is fine for the sliding timescale Marvel Universe but when you associate events with a fixed length real world event it starts to get a little ridiculous.

Mighty Thor #18 - So far not impressed. Fraction's dialogue is not engaging and having Thor mutter like a teenager about his father isn't a good move. This was a set-up issue, so not a lot for Alan Davis to work. Hoping this gets better or that the Gillen issues, at least, are good. I wish this wasn't a "Prologue", actually. We had the set-up for Surtur's release in Journey Into Mystery; why not get into the actual story now?

By fnord12 | August 14, 2012, 6:30 PM | Comics| Link

Appealing to the wonk in all of us

While i've disputed Paul Ryan's policy wonk credentials, i do like this proposal that candidates should take advantage of modern technology and produce some internet videos that explain their policy ideas in detail. The article uses the popularity of the Ross Perot infomercials to show that the public is a lot more hungry for actual policy discussions than the 1 minute attack ads and our content-less televised debates allow for.

By fnord12 | August 14, 2012, 4:36 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

At this point i might as well buy the original issues

I've been beefing up my "Jim Shooter and earlier" comics collection with an eye towards covering as many gaps as possible in my timeline project (and/or avoiding getting to the DeFalco era and the 90s). Since a lot of older stuff is expensive, i've been softening my stance on Essentials and Masterworks. Essentials suck because they are black and white, but i have absolutely no moral concern about chopping them up so they can be placed where they need to be.

The Masterworks, on the other hand, are in color, "nicer", but are more expensive and physically more difficult to chop up (i haven't tried yet). So i've been saving those for cases where a run is less likely to be interrupted (e.g. the Inhumans).

Anyway, long story short, i've had a few Masterworks sitting in my "Save for Later" cart at Amazon, waiting to make sure that the Masterworks decision actually works for me, and waiting for the price to go down. And, well... seems i waited too long.

The magic of the free market.

I'm sure i'll find them somewhere else at some point if necessary. Just think it's funny what some people think they can get for this stuff. Reminds me of the "I have this. Mint condition. What is it worth?" questions i occasionally get on my comics blog.

By fnord12 | August 14, 2012, 2:56 PM | Comics | Comments (4) | Link

Got the wrong half right

Headline at the Beat: "Tom Brevoort: Journey Into Mystery will continue".

Oh! Great!

Read a little further...

And in this case, a plucky fan appears to have asked the simple question "will JiM be cancelled?" and receive the simple answer "nope". In essence, this fan seems to have basically won a confirmation that the series will not be cancelled once writer Kieron Gillen leaves.

Oh. Well then... who cares?

Also, the Beat got a lot of mileage out of a one word Formspring response.

By fnord12 | August 14, 2012, 1:11 PM | Comics| Link

Don't believe in revolution

Today's Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal was particularly good.

By fnord12 | August 14, 2012, 12:59 PM | Comics & Science| Link

Stay in your homes and wait for Jesus to tell you when it's safe

I was so pleased to find that this Trumpet article was online. Saved me the effort of manually typing it all in. Because clearly you needed to be warned about the demonic zombie apocalypse.

What could possibly possess someone to do something so ghoulish, so barbaric--so inhuman?

You've surely heard of this spate of bizarre cannibalistic crimes. They sound like scripts from shock B-grade horror films--but, incomprehensibly, they are actually happening.

A homosexual porn star in Canada apparently killed his lover and ate him--but not before mailing to the nation's main political parties his victim's dismembered feet and hands. A naked Miami man ate almost the entire face off a homeless person; when police intervened, he viciously growled back at them like an animal before they shot him to death. A Louisiana man was working in his yard when another man showed up and attacked him, and actually bit a chunk of his face off. At a college in Maryland, a student admitted to carving up his roommate with a knife and devouring his heart and part of his brain.

The mind reels. And all these events occurred just within the last couple weeks.

Much media coverage has centered on bath salts--a potent drug that a couple of these attackers might have taken. The U.S. Senate responded by voting almost unanimously to ban the substance.

As reasonable as passing that bill may have been, though, are we really going to pretend that this combination of chemicals is the real cause of these horror stories? No drug turns people into crazed, violent beasts.

These are clearly crimes influenced - or perhaps even committed--by demons.

That's right--there is a spiritual dimension to these events that the media are apparently duty-bound to completely ignore.

People can laugh or scoff, but demons are very real, and active in the world today.

You can put me in the "laugh or scoff" column. I wasn't even aware of these incidents that they think i've "surely heard of". And even if are real, that is quite a conclusion to draw. It must be pretty scary to believe you are living in End Times.

Even for the Trumpet, this one's a doozy.

By fnord12 | August 14, 2012, 10:42 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link

August 13, 2012

Back to comics

Thankfully my RSS isn't 100% Paul Ryan today. Here's two interesting posts on the topic of comics production.

The first is about coloring and it's interesting to see the amount of thought and effort put into the process, especially when my general feeling (not necessarily about the artists discussed) is that colorists today just take a big brush full of brown paint and cover the pages with it.

The second is about male and female body types in comics. It's a great topic that uses Olympic athletes as a starting point, but i feel like the author made a mistake in asking the artists to stack rank the characters because that exercise forces them to think about the characters in a way that i think artists otherwise wouldn't (again, not targeting the artists discussed; i'm not overly familiar with the artists that participated in the article, except for Perez who is an exception to most rules).

By fnord12 | August 13, 2012, 1:48 PM | Comics| Link

The immediate problem

I sort of hinted at this in passing in my first Ryan post, but Yglesias says it clearly:

[F]ocusing attention on the big-picture disagreement between Democrats and Republicans about long-term fiscal policy means we won't be focusing attention on what ought to be the most pressing economic policy issue of our time--mass unemployment and the tragic waste of human and economic potential it represents.

There's always the fact that politicians will try to conflate the two, but they are in fact very different things.

By fnord12 | August 13, 2012, 12:10 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

How Paul Ryan will play

I've already linked to Krugman three times in my "primer", but here's Krugman again (who better to go to when evaluating a guy whose main accomplishment is a budget proposal than an economist?).

In this one, he's reacting to pundits reacting to Ryan. And the main point is that Ryan is good at exploiting the fact that pundits like looking bi-partisan, finding a politician on the right and the left and pretending that each candidate is serious and proposing plans with merit. And as Krugman and others have shown, that just isn't the case with Ryan. His "serious" budget is mostly smoke and mirrors. But most pundits are pretty lazy and don't have the backgrounds to understand this stuff anyway, so the fact that Ryan has a bunch of stuff written down is all it takes to hoodwink them.

By fnord12 | August 13, 2012, 11:44 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Aww man, now i've gotta pay attention to politics again

I've been pretty ambivalent about the presidential election this year on the grounds that you've basically got two centrists, neither with a viable plan for fixing our unemployment issues. Even though i'm pretty obviously on the left side of things, Obama's been pretty bad on important foreign policy issues (assassinations, state secrets, prosecuting whistle-blowers) and pretty wimpy on nearly everything else, and i've been musing about the fact that if Romney won, at least we'd lose the gridlock in Congress.

But now Romney is moderate no more. He's picked the very radical Paul Ryan as his running mate. "Eliminate medicare and replace it with unindexed vouchers" Ryan. "Cut discretionary spending from 12 percent of GDP now to 3 1/2 percent of GDP" Ryan. "Lower taxes on the rich and create huge deficits" Ryan.

Wherever you fall on these issues, at least now we're getting a real national debate.

The SuperMegaMonkey Paul Ryan primer:

By fnord12 | August 13, 2012, 10:19 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 12, 2012

Entertainment Weekly Riling Up My Inner Comic Book Geek

My sister kindly informed me of this (probably not realizing the angry geek whining she was setting herself up for).

Hulk vs the Flash? C'mon. Superman vs the Silver Surfer? No way "powered by the sun" comes even close to defeating "in possession of the Power Cosmic". Pfft. What joker set this table up? They clearly don't know anything about comics.

By min | August 12, 2012, 3:28 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

Kneel Before Zod, Queen of the Desert!

I want that Carmen Miranda, glittery flower, afro hat. I want it bad.

By min | August 12, 2012, 1:26 PM | Movies| Link

August 9, 2012

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Well, i've got Halo: Reach to play, so i'll make this short. I know, only two years behind the times, but that's what happens when you're old. Typer195 got me a free copy, and i'm really enjoying it. I feel like the controls are better and it's easier to do headshots. Not that i still wouldn't be instantly killed by 9 years olds if i went online -- what? Oh, right. Comic books...

Avenging Spider-Man #10 - I know min had some problems with the fact that Ms. Captain Marvel's power levels seem to be ignored just to stretch out the story, and i agree with that but i think the writing here is generally fun, with the Robyn Hood robot being an interesting new political villain in the spirit of Firebrand or Flag-Smasher. I'd like to say that i've read the actual Captain Marvel book by now, but sadly we're having distribution problems again.

Avengers vs. X-Men #9 - As predicted, Wanyas and Bob (and the internet generally) did me a major favor by trashing this issue thoroughly before i read it. It's all an expectations game, folks. So clearly i'm going with "Not that bad". Some caveats... there's got to be an in-story explanation for Colossus being so dumb. Forget the water breathing whales; how else can Spider-Man manipulate the two Rasputins into fightings so easily (i'm taking it for granted that at this point Illyana is so evil she'll attack even her own brother in a bid for more power)? The Professor X bait-and-switch was disappointing and the Panther/Storm annulment definitely read like someone was checking off "unrelated significant event" from their to-do list, but otherwise... yeah. I thought the Spider-Man "everyone has their moment" bit was set up well, and Aaron wrote Spidey well. It's all a bit undermined by the fact that Cyclops - who in some scenes seems to still be the most reasonable of the Phoenixes - shows up in K'u'n L''un', so Hope won't have a chance to really soak up that "lesson", but whatever.

Daredevil #16 - We're definitely going a little darker with Daredevil. Even assuming that someone is setting Matt up, we're still getting back into familiar "terrible things happen" territory. Which is fine; just saying. The praise for this series has generally focused on it being a "fun" book that emphasizes DD's swashbuckler side, so it's interesting to see Waid not keeping the book firmly in that theme. I still like the book, and the bit of bonding with Pym was done well. One pet peeve of mine is how nowadays every super-character is also an expert in their non-super profession. Iron Man specifically said he called in Doctor Strange for his surgical skills. Ummm... really? A guy that basically gave up surgery several decades ago is who you go to? (I know, and don't care, that they've had Strange going back into surgery more and more in recent years. Even in his origin story, he was a good, successful surgeon, but that doesn't make him the best in the world, especially now.)

Peter Parker Spider-Man #156.1 - What's the story with the numbering on this title? Anyway, i'm a Roger Stern loyalist so i picked this up. And... well... look, at a basic level it's just a straightforward "Spider-Man saves some people from drowning" type of story. There's nothing wrong with a basic "Spider-Man does heroic stuff" story every once in a while. But... well... i mean, we know this was a 50th anniversary celebration, so it was going to be a bit referential. But going back to the warehouse where Uncle Ben was killed seems a bit much. And tying it into a Stern-written Brand plotline from 30 years ago seemed odd as well. I dunno. I'd like to see Stern on a regular title. I know he can still write; this is a guy that got me to enjoy Captain America Corps, for god's sake, even with the atrocious art. But this wasn't the greatest.

X-Factor #241 - I liked it. This is a very strange title but PAD makes it work. The only thing i didn't like is when Captain Deathlok called Dormammu "Smokey the Bore". I know it's an alternate universe character, but a universe where Captain America and/or Deathlok speaks like a generic Peter David character is one i don't wanna know about.

Avengers Academy #34 - I guess the Avengers Academy kids aren't reading the Avengers Vs. X-Men series. Because the Molecule Man's son's criticisms of that book were dead on, and anyone reading it would be happy to join him in order to end it. This is a great book and i sure hope that the very obvious fact that this arc is called "Final Exam" and the fact that Hazard and Mettle have been cured and the fact that Marvel is rebooting all their titles but nothing's been said about this one doesn't mean what i think it means. My one regret is that X-23 and Finesse's battle in the Savage Land wasn't expanded upon. That T. Rex has arms!

By fnord12 | August 9, 2012, 6:24 PM | Comics & Video Games | Comments (2) | Link

Four panels that never work

Mark Waid writes the latest issue of Gutters.

The bottom three are more modern issues, due to changing technology or just plain overuse. Not really layout problems like the original 22 panels that always work.

By fnord12 | August 9, 2012, 4:44 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

Daredevil has a request

Seriously.  Enough already.

By fnord12 | August 9, 2012, 9:02 AM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

August 8, 2012

Never too early

Sign the petition to prevent Joss Whedon's not-yet-announced Avengers-related television show from being canceled.

By fnord12 | August 8, 2012, 1:53 PM | Comics & TeeVee | Comments (1) | Link

August 7, 2012

The Exciting World of Canned Beans

Matthew Yglesias discusses possible non-discriminatory reasons for a price difference between "tortillas" and "wraps", which are the same thing, and in the process comes up with a great name for what i wish was a 1950s style informational short that Mystery Science Theater could make fun of for me.

By fnord12 | August 7, 2012, 4:29 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Trade you Galactus and Silver Surfer for Daredevil?

Sounds like a good deal, if Marvel can get it.

By fnord12 | August 7, 2012, 11:28 AM | Comics & Movies | Comments (1) | Link

August 6, 2012

It Should All Be Photos of Cats

So tempted to install this:

The plug-in is able to detect images of babies in your Facebook feed and replace those images with other pictures of your choosing.
Once the plug-in detects those keywords, it replaces the photo associated with the keywords with another picture from an RSS feed. The default RSS feed is photos of cats.

By min | August 6, 2012, 5:12 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

August 5, 2012

White Cat Corn

While i'm taking pictures of things in our kitchen:

White Cat Corn and i don't care.

I am glad we have good trade relationships with the intelligent bipedal* cat people, because a) i like popcorn and b) i'd rather not get into a war with intelligent bipdedal cat people.

Except clearly i do care.

*means once every other foot

By fnord12 | August 5, 2012, 2:37 PM | Cute Things & Ummm... Other?| Link

They let us have our Tartar Sauce

During our bi-monthly* visit to Whole Foods yesterday, we found this:

The post title is a Simpsons reference, in case you are sad.

Min has always made her own Tartar Sauce by mixing regular veganaise with horseradish and relish, but we welcome the introduction of all new vegan products. We bought some fried mushrooms and Sophie's Kitchen "fish" fillets to celebrate.

*means once every other month

By fnord12 | August 5, 2012, 2:30 PM | Vegan Vittles | Comments (1) | Link

August 3, 2012

This Applies to Costco Shoppers, Too

Not just people taken in by coupons and discounts.

A 25% discount off your overall purchase may seem like a great deal and in many cases it can be. However, many people will take this 25% discount and use it as an incentive to buy more than they normally would. You can actually hear people in grocery stores--almost a moment of revelation--saying "Well, we have this coupon, we might as well buy more."
You end up not saving money and in most cases, over-spending because of the illusory idea of saving. If you've over bought on groceries that have spoiled before, you know how it is.


You know who you are. I don't need to name names.

By min | August 3, 2012, 3:19 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

My life is drab and wretched in comparison.

The first minute or so of this animation showing how the latest Mars probe will be deployed is awesome to watch. It makes me briefly regret my career and/or study choices, but i'm sure an in-depth review of my comic book collection is nearly an equal contribution to the world, right?

One thing i'm waiting for is the day that we get a message from space: "Hey, asshole! Quit dropping your junk all over our planet!". That day will be an awesome day.

By fnord12 | August 3, 2012, 2:00 PM | Science| Link

August 2, 2012

Art takes time

You can't just crank out stuff like this.

By fnord12 | August 2, 2012, 4:53 PM | Comics & TeeVee| Link


Malekith to appear in the next Thor movie.

Surely, therefore, it will be snowing in all other Marvel movies produced at the same time.

By fnord12 | August 2, 2012, 1:32 PM | Comics & Movies | Comments (1) | Link

Marvel Sales


By fnord12 | August 2, 2012, 1:01 PM | Comics| Link

August 1, 2012

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Hulk Smash Avengers #5 - Hey, look what finally arrived (thanks, Bob!). Was it worth the wait? Well, Oeming art is always welcome. And Van Lente finds a decent gap in the Red Hulk saga for a continuity insert (i don't know that it actually fits per the characters' schedules; i mean that Banner deducing the Rulk's identity was not previously shown and is a good plot point to hang a story on). Van Lente is a fun writer and he gives us some decent dialogue and a good fight scene. The point of view characters weren't really necessary - i would have preferred more actually [Red] Hulk Smashing Avengers in lieu of them - but they were fine as well. This was probably the best of the Hulk Smash series (sorry, Roger Stern; i still love you), but even so it didn't really convince me that this "event" or whatever it was needed to happen. There ought to be some sort of "chance of continuity screw up vs. good story" risk/benefit analysis when doing a series like this, and i'm not sure this one would have passed the test.

Avengers #28 - Wanyas and Bob had to go into a separate room to have a spoiler-full discussion about this issue last Friday, so i figured something awful or awesome must have happened in it. But while i thought the premise and (text heavy) set-up were a little weird, i didn't notice anything too momentous. I've liked the way Bendis has been writing Red Hulk in this series, taking advantage of Thunderbolt Ross' military background and having him act as Captain America's lieutenant. So i liked that this issue used that as a starting point for a Rulk solo/inner monologue story. However, having Rulk (presumably incorrectly) assume that Cap wanted him to assassinate Cyclops is a bit weird. Ross is a character with a history of bad decisions, so i don't consider this out of character, but it's hard to see how Ross would have thought Cap would have wanted him to kill Cyke. I also don't take Rulk's conclusion, that since the Phoenix Five (*snicker*) didn't kill him that they were going to lose the war, as gospel. But overall i actually enjoyed this issue. Definitely helped by Walt Simonson's pencils; i was really prepared to not like the art based on the atrocious cover and the previous Simonson-drawn issues, but i thought the art here was nicely done.

Astonishing X-Men #52 - I was a bit put out by Karma's cleavage on the cover, but luckily the interior art (especially the flashback parts; i guess there were two artists on this book and i don't know who did which) was very nice and non-exploitative. And the story seems fine. The (minor) overlap with New Mutants is unfortunate, but on its own this book is decently written and i'm glad of the Northstar hype that got me to pick up this series. So far this hasn't been a great series, but it's been ok.

X-Men Legacy #270 - Unfortunately i still can't get behind this book. I like Gage and i want very much to read a well-written story where Rogue and Ms. Marvel reconcile, but, maybe due to the AvX backdrop or the Limbo setting, this didn't work for me. Magik's "i knew you were gonna betray us" trap was particularly annoying, and the fact that Rogue has been zapped to a different hellscape for next issue doesn't look promising. Overall, it's a water-treading problem; if Rogue's realization that the Phoenix Five (*snicker*) are bad guys could actually have affected the main AvX plotline, we might have had a real "team-up and break out" adventure story here that might have been more fun. There were good moments here, to be sure: Ms. Marvel willingly allowing Rogue to absorb her powers was a nice bit, and the depiction of Rogue in Ms. Marvel's nightmare as a giant leech-monster was cool. I still plan to stick with this series (as long as it lasts), but i wouldn't recommend this to anyone not already getting it.

Captain America #16 - I noticed that Brubaker was only co-writing this issue before i starting reading, and i'm suspicious of that trick now, so i think i accidentally predisposed myself to being disappointed here. But c'mon. That scene where Captain America rescues a whole crowd of people from a group of super-villains only to look up and realize that everyone is upset with him because of what some Glenn Beck stand-in is saying about him on their video phones was a bit much. Probably more of an art/layouting issue than the new writer, but it was really poorly done. I similarly thought the Diamondback/Sharon Carter cattiness was poor. But i did like how the Hydra Queen "managed" Baron Zemo, and overall i'm still enjoying this plot. And let's give some point for the new villains; they may feel a little generic so far but they'll have a chance to develop and at least it isn't the Serpent Squad again. Having them destroy the Lincoln Monument seems a bit much, though!

Winter Soldier #8 - A few issues ago the Widow made an offhand remark that her history as a ballerina was really a memory implant. I wasn't sure if that was a new revelation or based on some random Black Widow mini-series or something that i skipped; a quick internet search says it's the latter. I don't really like that and i'd love if we're moving to un-retcon the retcon here, but probably not. Anyway, the standard Winter Soldier review applies here: better without Guice, i'll take any Brubaker i can get now that he's leaving Cap, obligatory "i'll never forget the lack of gorillas" comment, etc.

Dark Avengers #178 - Another atrocious cover. But i'm enjoying this book. I think the best line was Boomerang's: after being set up with Centurius' "If it takes a dozen lifetimes, I am going to kill Victor Von Doom" and similar from the others, he says "I'll talk a lot about evening the score, and then get distracted by stuff and never get around to it." Hilarious! I will say that i think Parker is still working his way up to writing this new cast properly. I've been intrigued by Ai Apec since Bendis first starting using him (enough to pick up the Osborn series he was introduced in? Hmmm....) but he's pretty much been a blank slate and i don't think Parker has had a chance to develop him yet; he's started to remind us that he's a god and that's a good start but i'm waiting for more. I've never been sold on this evil Scarlet Witch and the additional powers seem meaningless to me because i never really understood her powers to begin with; i do like that she's a science-based villain and i'd like to see more done with that. And i think Ragnarok needs to be a lot more over-the-top ridiculously Thor-ish to work properly (and a better name). At this point i'm confident that Parker will make it all happen (probably better than my expected ideas)("Trickshot", on the other hand, will always be a hard sell, but i don't even like Hawkeye). I think i'm impatient because the book is divided up between the Thunderbolts and Dark Avengers so there hasn't been a lot of space to devote to character development, and while i love the Thunderbolts characters at this point, "fighting a Judge Dredd that turns out to be an Avengers amalgam in the future" doesn't rank high on my Most Wanted Stories list. But people! Ignore my minor ankle biting; it's inherent in my nature. This is a really, really good series.

By fnord12 | August 1, 2012, 7:34 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

Pistol Whipping a Priest

Min and i have a bit of a Law & Order obsession, so last night as usual we were watching our re-run during dinner. It was "Trade This" from Season 10, and we were kinda struck by this image.

We also loved this lawyer's bow tie and flower

It flashed by quickly so we had to rewind it, but sure enough:

The acronym is an onomatopoeia.

No, that doesn't just get filed under "Assault". It gets its own category. Only one check though; the other criminals are slackers.

Since the internet is kind of like one million monkeys typing, i figured we weren't the first (supermega)monkeys to notice this, and a quick google did turn up a couple of flickrs. But i also found this, which labelled it "the chart that acquitted John Gotti Jr.". So i guess the chart was "ripped [off] from the headlines" but i hasten to add that the story is fictional and does not represent any actual person or event.

By fnord12 | August 1, 2012, 6:36 PM | TeeVee| Link

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