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May 31, 2013


I can't believe Seanbaby never covered this one. Or that i never really noticed it before. It's brilliant! It's not every day that you see references to Soren Kierkegaard in your advertisements. And i love that the solution to depression is eating unhealthy snacks. Perfect!

Well, eating unhealthy snacks and delivering some steel-hard fist to an unprotected face.

By fnord12 | May 31, 2013, 2:21 PM | Comics| Link

Loving Allred loving Buscema

I loved this recent cover for FF #7...

What sells it for me is She-Hulk's expression and lack of response.  'I dunno.  It's all too ironic hipster for me!'

...but didn't realize until Tom Brevoort pointed it out that that it was a tribute to John Buscema's Fantastic Four #109.

Sue, you wait there.  It might not be safe.  In fact, maybe it'd be best if you go tidy up the living area.

I do see now that it says "Loves Buscema" under All Red (you'll never see it in this scan, ofc). I kinda want to make it a t-shirt. It would be cool to try to line the two covers up side by side, but that red bar at the bottom kinda ruins that.

By fnord12 | May 31, 2013, 1:35 PM | Comics| Link

Scariest Chart Ever still Scary

I've been doing my best to ignore the "scandals" and politics generally but it's time to check in on what really matters.

Chart created by Calculated Risk.

Compared to here and here, it looks like things are better, until you realize that where we are now is still worse than half of our post-WWII recessions, and that line is going up slowly, slowly, slowly. What's another two years for people to be out of work, right? It's not literally destroying the futures of an anyone who's graduated college in the past several years or creating a permanent class of the structurally unemployed. No need to do anything about. We'll just let it run its course and hope Europe doesn't implode.

By fnord12 | May 31, 2013, 11:15 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

John McCain helps explain why we shouldn't get involved in Syria

You gotta love this:

Senator John McCain's office is pushing back against reports that while visiting Syria this week he posed in a photo with rebels who kidnapped 11 Lebanese Shi'ite pilgrims.

The photo, released by McCain's office, shows McCain with a group of rebels. Among them are two men identified in the Lebanese press as Mohamed Nour and Abu Ibrahim, two of the kidnappers of the group from Lebanon.

A McCain spokesman said that no one who met with McCain identified themselves by either of those names.

I'm sure there's a way to work in a Madoff Schmitler joke into this but i'm having trouble.

And i know it's all kind of a cheap shot. But really. Doddering old man wandering Syria, hooking up with terrorists and demanding we go to war. As Kevin Drum and Joe Klein (Klein via Drum, for me) point out, what a metaphor.

By fnord12 | May 31, 2013, 11:01 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Fakin' it

Sure, most people will just say Potemkin Village and move on, but what was that movie with Michael Keaton and Geena Davis where they bought a house near a small town except they didn't like the townees and the townees didn't like them so they convinced the townees to act like the old fashioned folks and then Keaton and Davis liked it so much they decided to stay there after all? My point is maybe the UK will decide that they actually like having nice towns and they'll drop austerity and commit some stimulus money to fixing their economy.

By fnord12 | May 31, 2013, 7:42 AM | Liberal Outrage & Movies & Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link

May 30, 2013

Wash your hands

Really sad that this was even necessary.

By fnord12 | May 30, 2013, 2:37 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

The Complicated Corporate Tax Code

The latest Tom the Dancing Bug.

By fnord12 | May 30, 2013, 2:32 PM | Comics| Link

My Requirements for a Thor Movie

  1. All Asgardians must wear their awesome hats for the majority, if not the entirety, of the movie.
  2. Odin should be like a goddamned Chinese bride at a wedding banquet. He should be changing into a different outfit and a different hat in every scene, each one more awesome than the last (fuzzy robe and slippers scene optional)
  3. More "Kra-ka-thoom"

By min | May 30, 2013, 10:45 AM | Comics & Movies| Link

May 29, 2013

I Can't Wait for the Thundarr the Barbarian/WWE Team-Up

Really, that would have been my first choice over the Flintstones.

The Flintstones are being brought back to the big screen with the help of professional wrestlers. The film - a return to animation for the brand following two ill-fated live action outings in 1994 and 2000 - sees Bedrock residents Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty attend a wrestling event. Here, they encounter real-life smackdown stars CM Punk, Vince McMahon and John Cena, who are voicing themselves.
The film, as yet untitled, is the second collaboration between WWE and Warner Bros, following the announcement of a Scooby-Doo movie. The plot sees Shaggy win tickets to WrestleMania, and the whole gang hightail it to WWE City for the event.

By min | May 29, 2013, 11:54 AM | Movies & TeeVee| Link

May 28, 2013

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

FF #7 - This book has obviously been crazy all along but with this issue, maybe because it's theoretically a more straightforward fight story, it really became apparent to me how loony it is. I love it, but it reads more like someone's crazy dream about a super-hero fight than an actual fight. I don't know if Fraction is trying to get across real themes - i know he keeps referencing Cassie Lang's death, and then there's the Wizard's ranting about a traditional family structure - but if so it's totally undermined by the surreal insanity. I love it, but it's clearly not for everyone. You can see a little debate in the comments here where someone refers to the art on this book as being "jokey hipster" and then Caleb from Every Day Is Like Wednesday jumps in to ask what the heck the guy is talking about because to Caleb's eyes this book is classic Silver Age style. I have a lot of sympathy for the "jokey hipster" guy, though. Sure, Allred is doing a Silver Age pastiche but there's an ironic twinge to it which Fraction also contributes to, and i think."jokey hipster" describes it fairly well (and i'd love a vegan cupcake, thank you). There's no way this book is meant to be taken straight. But i think it's a lot of fun, too. You have to love when the narration caption says "When suddenly--" and shows one thing which really isn't all that sudden and then a panel later "Until--" but it's not in any way something the guy in the previous panel was doing until this panel. Speaking of narration captions, though, my one complaint is still about those 4 logos they put in front of some of them. 4 Twenty Minutes Ago? Huh? Oh.

Avengers: The Enemy Within #1 - I'm really annoyed by this crossover because the way Avengers Assemble has been reading, it's not even in continuity. So i dropped it to avoid giving myself a brain hemorrhage. But now we've got this crossover. My inclination would be to drop the CM book for the duration. But min wants to support Captain Marvel. So we're going to wind up getting parts 2,4,6 etc. of a storyline. Annoying. And we kinda dithered on whether or not we wanted to bookends so we ended up with this one by default. It looks like this story is a direct continuation of the plot from the CM book. The Avengers barely figured into it (well, except for Spider-Woman, but she's been a regular in the CM book anyway). Artwise, this was almost as "quirky" as De Andrade's but not nearly as good. Did not like. Storywise, i'm ambivalent. I've been enjoying this in CM. But as i've said, i'd much rather she was fighting the real Deathbird instead of an illusion or whatever. The dinosaur repeat was also a little disappointing. Anyway, i guess we'll (sort of) see where this goes, as best we can with only half the story.

X-Factor #256 - Certainly an odd choice for an ending.

Thunderbolts #9 - *This* ending, or cliffhanger or whatever, was a little ambiguous. But besides that i am still enjoying this and i think we're back to some decent character stuff - the focus on Flash, for example - in addition to a cool action story.

Young Avengers #5 - Continues to be great great great. I was glad to see an explanation for Young Loki - i was feeling like the ending of Journey Into Mystery was being ignored but i was patient and Gillen did indeed address it.

Daredevil #26 - A great reveal. Awesome sequences, great art. It's been a nice build up. It's a really good book.

Iron Man #10 - Your enjoyment of this is going to be based on whether or not you accept the revisions/additions to Howard Stark's backstory. That pooch is already screwed thanks to Hickman's SHIELD series, so why not add an Ocean's Eleven heist story as well? I guess my biggest concern is showing that Jimmy Woo and Dum Dum Dugan had an adventure together since that wasn't really evident in the Steranko stories where Woo joined SHIELD. I also see that Gillen has built in some plausible deniability into this, so either it'll turn out to be a fake or at least you'll have the option to disregard it if you want to. Storywise, accepting that this is a pure flashback issue, i don't think Gillen really gave the various members of Stark's Seven enough to do after the build-up of introducing them, and it really relies on the Ocean's Eleven concept to sell it. But i still thought this was a fun issue.

By fnord12 | May 28, 2013, 11:24 AM | Comics| Link

May 27, 2013

Somewhere between cute and terrifying are... the Marvel Mites

It's the expressions.  Sort of an all-knowing but bemused contempt.

By fnord12 | May 27, 2013, 9:35 PM | Comics| Link

May 24, 2013

How we fight

So these scenes from Uncanny Avengers #6 caused a bit of a local uproar (including from me) about how catty and annoying the in-fighting was amongst the Avengers.

But it got me thinking about how inter-team disputes have been depicted in the past, and that while the above scenes are annoying, they are arguably more realistic than earlier scenes.

Now, to prove my point i went through a not-at-all-comprehensive review of Avengers issues that i've covered so far in my project. And the older comics actually came out looking better than i expected. I recall the Avengers actually coming to blows a lot during their arguments, but i couldn't actually find a lot of examples of that (if this were about the Fantastic Four it'd be a different story).

I've put the rest of this post below the fold to avoid a long string of images on the main page. (Also, breaking with tradition for the main blog, there's no alt text on these images.)

Keep reading.

Avengers #21 is a good example of the many times that there was squabbling during the Kooky Quartet years. They nearly do come to blows in this scene, but the other team members stop them (although the Scarlet Witch then does hex Hawkeye, causing him to fall).

In Avengers #65 we have the Swordsman showing up to fight the Avengers. But Hawkeye-Goliath wants to fight the Swordsman all by himself, so he physically attacks the other Avengers. This is really, really stupid.

In Avengers #80, the team is having an argument about how to best use their time. In some ways this is most similar to the scenes from Uncanny Avengers #6. There's no doubt that the art is much more dynamic and interesting to look at here. But my god is everybody speechifyin'. It definitely moves things forward faster, but is that more realistic?

This might fall more into the "hysterical woman" category, but in Avengers #108 we have a very upset Scarlet Witch. Now granted, i don't want comics in 2013 depicting Wanda as perpetually emotionally distraught (although of course they have been doing that, in their own way), but at the same time at least there's some dynamism to the art here.

Finally, here's some not-really-relevant but fun scenes from Avengers #229. While the fights are less bitter and more transitory, i think it's still useful as a comparison to the above UA panels.

So do i have a point here? Less of one than i thought i did! But i think the contrast is still noteworthy. In the modern comic, you have a bunch of practically stick figures standing around stiffly. Some decent facial expressions in the second panel. And the fighting is very bitter and does not get resolved or moved forward at all. But the dialogue is less expository (and this is Remender, who is criticized for being much wordier than the average modern writer) and arguably more natural.

Meanwhile, the older stuff is much much more interesting to look at. And yes, it's wordy, but it sure gets the point across and allows the plot to move forward (the rest of Uncanny Avengers consists of a lot more standing around talking and only very little action which is really set-up for the next issue; most of these other issues feature complete standalone stories).

Again, the point is blurred a bit due to Remender's uncharacteristic wordiness. It would be a starker point with i think any other modern writer.

What's better? This gets into the perennial complaints about my Quality Rating on my Marvel Timeline project. I enjoy the older stuff, and if it's a hard dichotomy and i have to pick one or the other i'd go with that. But i definitely read them in the context of their time period, and i know that they seem pretty ridiculous to a modern reader. I mean, Hawkeye just starts attacking his teammates? What?! Standing around with your arms crossed making catty comments is more like what people would really do. We'd hate them for it, but we can certainly imagine people acting like that. If, by contrast, someone pulled a bow and arrow on you, i'm fairly certain you'd make sure you were never in a room with that person again.

I'd like to think that we can find a balance here, though. Certainly we need more dynamic art. But i think the key thing here is to stop dragging stuff out so much. Maybe let Rogue and Scarlet Witch fight a bit, but don't add the Wasp into the mix, and let the peacemaking actually work. The real problem with the Uncanny spats is that they've been going on now - and going nowhere - for 6+ issues with no one giving any ground. Move this stuff forward.

And if that doesn't work, send in Sturky. He knows how to end an argument (and yes, this is my way of sneaking in a scene by Bill Mantlo & Sal Buscema, the masters of the histrionic).

By fnord12 | May 24, 2013, 11:54 AM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link

Lego X-Wing

Full-sized X-Wing made of Legos now in Times Square.

By min | May 24, 2013, 11:29 AM | Star Wars| Link

Stump Munchers

Absolutely not furry porn.

By fnord12 | May 24, 2013, 9:15 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link

May 23, 2013

Hey! Sweden's on Fire!

Cause there's been rioting for the last four days. I dunno why, but i find social unrest in a Nordic country to be quite odd. Mebbe cause they usually have really good social programs and a high standard of living. Mebbe cause in my imagination, it's too damn cold to want to do anything energetic.

Violence spread across the Swedish capital on Wednesday, as large numbers of young people rampaged through the suburbs, throwing stones, breaking windows and destroying cars. Police in the southern city of Malmo said two cars had been set ablaze.

Media reports said a police station was set on fire in Stockholm's southern suburb of Rågsved, where several people were also detained. No one was hurt.

What they need to do is take all these youths and enter them into a state-funded training program that prepares them for competing in the World's Strongest Man competitions (or "the Viking Show", as i like to call it).

By min | May 23, 2013, 2:55 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Soon, All of Your Wishes Will Come True

The cicadas will be here in a few weeks, just like you always wanted.

[I]n about eight weeks, once the transformation is complete, the brood's males will start chirping their distinct mating calls all over the Garden State.

Steven Melendez, a data news developer for WNYC, said he has received reports of sightings from Flanders to Westfield, Short Hills and South Orange. WNYC partnered with RadioLab to create the Cicada Tracker map to record sightings on the East Coast.


I'm not leaving the house.

By min | May 23, 2013, 2:38 PM | Science| Link

May 22, 2013

Dr. Doom's proclivity for rhyming goes way back

Doom appreciates that Marvel changed the name of its fan club from Merry Marching Society.  Saying 'Berry Blarching Variety' is not very regal.

Previously identified Doom rhyming.

By fnord12 | May 22, 2013, 5:32 PM | Comics| Link

More Star Trek in Real Life

It's like a tricorder.

Meet Scout, a device that can monitor and track your vital signs, temperature, ECG, heart rate, oximetry and stress by just holding the it up to your forehead for 10 seconds.

As simple as it sounds, to use the device you simply hold it against your forehead and wait. Results are synched from Scout to your smartphone, where you can track your health over time. On a basic level, you can see that your temperature or heart rate is elevated from the norm at any given time. On a larger level, you can also see potential problems headed your way by noticing abnormalities before they become physical issues.

But would it have warned me months ahead of time that i was in danger of having a back spasm? Cause that's the sort of shit i need a diagnostic report for so that i know my muscles are shriveling up and can do something about it before the injury occurs.

I don't need it to tell me my temperature. I need it to tell me what the hell is with those random sharp pains in my chest.

By min | May 22, 2013, 8:55 AM | Science| Link

May 21, 2013

Food Replicators!!!

NASA is funding research into making a 3-D printer for food. That's awesome.

But they're going to have to program them to make the container as well as the food else it'll be really difficult to request your "tea, Earl Grey, hot".

By min | May 21, 2013, 1:56 PM | Science & TeeVee| Link

Panel of Experts Watch Video and Declare Pope's Exorcism Real

In case you had any doubts or anything. Link

Smiling broadly, the Pope initially shook the man's hand, but the South American pontiff's expression changed dramatically after a priest from the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative order, leaned in close and spoke a few words to him.

With a more serious expression on his face, Francis placed both hands on the man's head for 15 seconds.


The [television] station gathered a panel of clergy specialising in exorcisms who scrutinised the footage and concluded that the pope had performed an exorcism.

The Rev. Giulio Maspero, a Rome-based systematic theologian who has witnessed or participated in more than a dozen exorcisms, said he was certain that Francis' prayer on Sunday was either a full-fledged exorcism or a prayer to "liberate" the young man from a demonic possession. He noted that the placement of the pope's hands on the man's head was the "typical position" for an exorcist to use.

Clearly Pope Francis is a badass cause all it took was 15 seconds to exorcise four demons. It took Damien Karras days just to exorcise one demon, and he ends up dead.

By min | May 21, 2013, 1:32 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Quick links

Matt Taibbi: The war on drugs doesn't apply to banks illegally working with drug cartels.

Ta-Nehisi Coates: The black vote helped Obama win the election. "Perhaps they cannot practically receive targeted policy. But surely they have earned something more than targeted scorn."

Paul Krugman: Latest CBO reports show that the deficit has been reduced. Where are the celebrations?

The Taibbi article is from December, but Atrios re-linked to it today in the context of this story.

By fnord12 | May 21, 2013, 10:04 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

May 20, 2013

Poles Positions

Did you know the distribution of snow and rain and humidity actually causes the earth's geographic poles to shift? Mean either!! Cause that sounds crazy, picturing the earth as this wobbly ball that has to re-center itself occasionally. Now, thanks to climate change and Greenland melting, the poles have shifted at a much faster rate than before.

From 1982 to 2005, the pole drifted southeast toward northern Labrador, Canada, at a rate of about 2 milliarcseconds --or roughly 6 centimetres -- per year. But in 2005, the pole changed course and began galloping east toward Greenland at a rate of more than 7 milliarcseconds per year.
They found that recent accelerated ice loss and associated sea-level rise accounted for more than 90% of the post-2005 polar shift.
When mass is lost in one part of a spinning sphere, its spin axis will tilt directly toward the position of the loss, he says -- exactly as Chen's team observed for Greenland. "It's a unique indicator of the point where the mass is lost," says Ivins.

Guess Santa better start packing.

By min | May 20, 2013, 3:09 PM | Science| Link

Marvel Sales


By fnord12 | May 20, 2013, 3:06 PM | Comics| Link

Advice found on hotel soap

More advice: Try combing your hair and putting on some pants.

By fnord12 | May 20, 2013, 2:46 PM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link

Going After the "Real" Media - Now the DOJ Has Gone Too Far

Glenn Greenwald has a post up about the media finally waking up to the danger the DOJ's targeting of Wikileaks poses to them. Duh.

Under US law, it is not illegal to publish classified information. That fact, along with the First Amendment's guarantee of press freedoms, is what has prevented the US government from ever prosecuting journalists for reporting on what the US government does in secret. This newfound theory of the Obama DOJ - that a journalist can be guilty of crimes for "soliciting" the disclosure of classified information - is a means for circumventing those safeguards and criminalizing the act of investigative journalism itself. These latest revelations show that this is not just a theory but one put into practice, as the Obama DOJ submitted court documents accusing a journalist of committing crimes by doing this.

That same "solicitation" theory, as the New York Times reported back in 2011, is the one the Obama DOJ has been using to justify its ongoing criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: that because Assange solicited or encouraged Manning to leak classified information, the US government can "charge [Assange] as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them." When that theory was first disclosed, I wrote that it would enable the criminalization of investigative journalism generally.


If even the most protected journalists - those who work for the largest media outlets - are being targeted in this way, and are saying over and over that the Obama DOJ is preventing basic news gathering from taking place without fear, imagine the effect this all has on independent journalists who are much more vulnerable.

Obviously, i don't like what the DOJ did in terms of getting the AP's phone records, but it's good that the media has finally woken up to the danger they are in. I wonder if it's too damn late, though. It's certainly too late for this poor guy:

New revelations emerged yesterday in the Washington Post that are perhaps the most extreme yet when it comes to the DOJ's attacks on press freedoms. It involves the prosecution of State Department adviser Stephen Kim, a naturalized citizen from South Korea who was indicted in 2009 for allegedly telling Fox News' chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, that US intelligence believed North Korea would respond to additional UN sanctions with more nuclear tests - something Rosen then reported. Kim did not obtain unauthorized access to classified information, nor steal documents, nor sell secrets, nor pass them to an enemy of the US. Instead, the DOJ alleges that he merely communicated this innocuous information to a journalist - something done every day in Washington - and, for that, this arms expert and long-time government employee faces more than a decade in prison for "espionage".

By min | May 20, 2013, 12:25 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Beyond the Black Hole is dinosaurs

Why *wouldn't* there be dinosaurs beyond the Black Hole?  Dinosaurs are AWESOME!

I found out yesterday that min had never seen Disney's The Black Hole, so we watched it, and it was pretty fun seeing her reaction as the movie just goes completely off the rails during the last 5 minutes into some crazy psychedelic madness. That got me noodling around online to see what the reaction to the ending was at the time and then how adaptations of the film in book and comic form handled the ending and that's what lead me to dinosaurs.

By fnord12 | May 20, 2013, 10:16 AM | Comics & Movies| Link

May 19, 2013


chirality [kahy-ral-i-tee]

Also called: dissymmetry; the configuration or handedness (left or right) of an asymmetric, optically active chemical compound

By min | May 19, 2013, 3:26 PM | Good Words| Link

3-D Nanoscale Sculptures

I thought this was pretty kewl. By changing the concentration of carbon dioxide or acidity in a solution, scientists were able to make self-assembling nano-materials form into flower-like structures, complete with leaves, stems,and vases.

Although the structures created in this study are just for show, the technique has potential for future applications. The folds of these 3-D microstructures pack a large amount of surface area into a tiny space--an important consideration for the production of chemicals that depend on catalysts, substances that speed up chemical reactions. The more surface area available, the more catalysts you can add--and the more efficient the reaction.

By min | May 19, 2013, 1:14 PM | Science| Link

May 16, 2013

Rejected MAME cabinet design

I admit this is our "don't let the top post for the weekend be about politics" post. Happy early weekend! Oh, it's not an early weekend for you? So sad!

You can get a used car seat pretty cheap, but maintenance for the baby is a bit much for a DIY project.

By fnord12 | May 16, 2013, 4:08 PM | Video Games| Link

Doing the Work We Won't

Kevin Drum: "Most Americans just aren't willing to do backbreaking agricultural labor for a bit above minimum wage, and if the wage rate were much higher the farms would no longer be competitive."

Well... competitive with who? I'm absolutely pro-immigration reform, but i've always had a problem with this "they do the work we won't" argument, and you can see the sleight of hand between Drum's post title and his conclusion, which slips in the "for a bit above minimum wage". The real argument is "they allow our food prices to be cheaper than they should be" which is potentially still a good argument but now you're getting into a NAFTA style "Walmart's low prices vs. overseas sweatshops and American jobs" argument.

By fnord12 | May 16, 2013, 3:53 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Professional turf-defending and whatever?

Paul Krugman takes a look at a theory by Noah Smith saying that the real reason our politicians and Central Bankers won't do the obvious regarding our economic recovery because they want to use the crisis as an opportunity to push for unrelated structural reforms. And that's certainly what it all looks like to me (why else have we pivoted to deficit reduction and especially social security "reform"?). But my thinking here was always influenced by Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine. And Krugman notes the similarities between Smith's theory and Klein's, but then says:

I have to admit that I was predisposed to dislike Klein's book when it came out, probably out of professional turf-defending and whatever -- but her thesis really helps explain a lot about what's going on in Europe in particular.

I wish he'd expand on that! This probably falls into The Radicalization of Paul Krugman category...

In his columns, Krugman is belligerently, obsessively political, but this aspect of his personality is actually a recent development. His parents were New Deal liberals, but they weren't especially interested in politics. In his academic work, Krugman focussed mostly on subjects with little political salience. During the eighties, he thought that supply-side economics was stupid, but he didn't think that much about it. Unlike Wells, who was so upset when Reagan was elected that she moved to England, Krugman found Reagan comical rather than evil. "I had very little sense of what was at stake in the tax issues," he says. "I was into career-building at that point and not that concerned." He worked for Reagan on the staff of the Council of Economic Advisers for a year, but even that didn't get him thinking about politics. "I feel now like I was sleepwalking through the twenty years before 2000," he says. "I knew that there was a right-left division, I had a pretty good sense that people like Dick Armey were not good to have rational discussion with, but I didn't really have a sense of how deep the divide went."

...but i'd like to hear in a little more detail why he was dismissive of Klein. He seems to have come around, in any event.

By fnord12 | May 16, 2013, 3:31 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

A big pile and running late, for various reasons, so we'll try to be quick. It starts off negative but this was actually a pretty good pile.

Free Comic Book Day 2013 (Infinity) - That's your free comic book day offering? Really? 10 pages and i couldn't tell you at all what Infinity is going to be about, except that some aliens feed Thanos some delicious looking Brood snacks. Pretty sure we can skip it. And the preview of Marvel's "first" original graphic novel is even worse. 4 pages of Captain America doing push-ups and drinking coffee? Guys, a preview doesn't literally have to be your first few pages. It should be a representative sample of what your story is about. At least i got that Logun's Run Thanos back-up; it seems i actually didn't have that although it sure seemed familiar.

All-New X-Men #11 - We tried to drop this book but there's no stopping it. God, the visual design for Young Iceman is now bugging me to no end. Aside from that, i'm shocked to see this pick up immediately where last issue left off since the fact that Young Angel was already revealed to be the guy who defects in other books. Jumping forward - maybe just showing the Brotherhood's raid and then having the Avengers encounter actually happen this issue - might have convinced me that something was actually happening in this book and gotten me to reconsider the decision to drop it. As it is, though... agonizingly slow!

Secret Avengers #4 - Ok, things are moving this issue. I thought this was pretty good. I'm getting paranoid and thinking that Luke Ross included the 5 panels of Maria Hill and Daisy Johnson standing side-by-side just to shut me up. One thing i didn't love was the fact that SHIELD takes it for granted that Iran has nuclear weapons and would retaliate with a nuclear strike if AIM's ruse worked. Maybe in the Marvel Universe it's a fact. But in the real world that's the kind of thing that can get us into another dumb war. Real world politics aside, i enjoyed the black ops stuff and the story seamed more streamlined than last issue.

X-Factor #255 - Now Tier does want to fight the Hell lords. I think everyone agrees that this story could have been condensed by quite a few issues, but i see the words "To be concluded" at the end of this issue so we're in the home stretch.

Iron Man #9 - I don't know why he's 30ft tall but i enjoyed Death's Head and i'm really really happy to see Eaglesham on art. The footage of Stark's father is intriguing - does Tony know about his father's SHIELD/Illuminati stuff? Will this relate to that? I am interested. "You may need a drink." is pretty funny, too. Looks like Eaglesham is staying on the book for a bit so this may go from the book you love to tolerate to the book you love.

Wolverine #3 - This is getting good. Interesting hodgepodge cast Cornell has assembled. Victoria Van Frankenstein! Marcus H. Harold! (Gonna have to beef up my Harold H. Harold descriptions on my timeline project.) A Damage Controller! Plus: Jelly Mandroids! I was annoyed by the pacing of this initially but maybe because we're deeper into the story i'm liking it more, and giving Wolverine characters to interact with, including Fury Jr., helps as well. Oh, and obviously Alan Davis art.

Uncanny Avengers #8 - Ok i'm going to try to shut up and enjoy this story for what it is. I'm hoping Sunfire's little self-realization moment with Thor ends that arrogant nonsense. This issue is also helped by some actual exposition and information. I practically saw a footnote to Remender's X-Force series but at least there's an acknowledgement that this story is building on stuff from there. I was surprised to learn that the Apocalypse Twins "looked an awful lot like Archangel"; i would have never guess that by looking at them. It's still a time travel story which is never a favorite of mine, and i still find the forced Avengers/X-Men conflict - and especially the "they have to learn to get along to win" contrivance - pretty poorly done, but definitely feeling a little more favorable about this issue.

Avenging Spider-Man #20 - Great. Storywise, loving everything about it. Doc Ock's confidence and the way his Spider-Conscience kicks in at the end. Artwise, i thought it was pretty nice but was it just me or does it start to fall apart at the end, especially that last page?

Uncanny X-Force #4 - Enjoying this too. Interesting art, especially in the dreamscape. Psychic Owls. A nice moment for Psylocke. Puck is fun (if a bit more rowdy than my take on his character).

Red She-Hulk #65 - Us old people just learned the expression YOLO, so the introduction of the Yologarch is very timely. Very much enjoying every aspect of this. One really minor thing that i think starts to address my one nagging issue about this series: when Machine Man says that destroying Mt. Rushmore is a "great idea if you want to enrage your father", RShulk interrupts with a "Yeah!" as if she just thought that was the greatest idea ever and MM wasn't being snarky at all. So the idea is that we're seeing Betty going through almost a previously suppressed rebellious teenager phase, which could be interesting and eventually get to some real issues of being the daughter of a career military widower. "I sometimes pick up on cosmic rays and crap." was funny, too.

Indestructible Hulk #7 - Great fun. Adjusting to Simonson's current style and while i still prefer classic Simonson there's a lot to appreciate here. Storywise, it's great.

By fnord12 | May 16, 2013, 12:27 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

May 15, 2013

Yeah that would be crazy

France, huh?  Then why does the return address read 'Secret Lab underneath the Hudson, Manhattan, NY'?

Not Super Stories!  Who would stop him from stealing all the letter Hs?

I'm not criticizing since i think Superior Spider-Man is a cool idea and i'm actually enjoying Avenging Spider-Man, but it's just funny how every nutty idea eventually comes to pass.

By fnord12 | May 15, 2013, 9:45 PM | Comics| Link

In today's market, niche is king

In introducing what he calls "a comprehensive review of every episode of every live-action Star Trek TV show and film" (i knew he was a nerd but i had no idea he was such a geek), Matthew Yglesias briefly discusses the tension between trying to recapture the mainstream success of Next Generation and the cult popularity of the franchise more generally.

...compared to a modern-day cable television show, Enterprise was extremely popular: "The highest-rated Mad Men episode ever, the Season 5 premiere, drew 3.5 million viewers--a mark that even the failed Enterprise series beat in the majority of its episodes."

Which is just to say that if you think of Enterprise as representing the hard core of Trek fandom then it's clear that there's a very healthy audience out there for a Star Trek cable show. Of course you could make a Star Trek show on cable that everyone hates and it would fail. But to succeed, all you would need to do is make a show that hard-core Star Trek fans like. The tension between trying to make something that appeals to the fanbase and trying to make something that recaptures the mainstream success of The Next Generation would be alleviated.

I'm not a Star Trek fan, but that sure sounds like a familiar argument to someone who's been saying that Marvel Comics needs to drop their love-hate relationship with their existing fanbase and turn it into pure love. What's interesting is that the recent successful movies, and, i suspect, the upcoming SHIELD tv show, are embracing the fanbase and staying truer to the source material than any comic book movies in the past. But Marvel Comics seems to be taking the wrong lesson from that and trying to make the comics more like the movies instead of also embracing the fanbase.

By fnord12 | May 15, 2013, 1:01 PM | Comics & TeeVee| Link

May 14, 2013


Kevin Drum looks at the current set of "scandals", and concludes, as we saw yesterday, that Benghazi is not real but the IRS thing is. But about the new AP issue, he says:

This is a policy scandal, perhaps, but not an abuse of power or example of corruption. As near as I can tell, the Justice Department followed the law scrupulously here, obtaining a warrant for the records and then informing AP of the warrant afterwards. Lots of people, including me, happen to think the law that allows this is a bad one, but that's an argument about the PATRIOT Act and its followups. From a political point of view, Republicans are going to have a hard time making much hay with this because (a) most of them support the law that allows DOJ to do this, and (b) the American public doesn't think very highly of the press and probably isn't very outraged that they can have their phone records collected just like anyone else.

and then:

There's one wild card in all this: the media. They finally got personally annoyed over Benghazi when the spotlight turned to things that Jay Carney had told them personally, and the AP warrant also directly affects them. If this episode feeds into further media disenchantment with Obama, that could affect his press coverage going forward. In the end, that could end up being the worst fallout of all from this stuff.

Drum seems to be thinking about this from a "how does it hurt Obama?" perspective, but my hope is that this gets us and especially the media to reexamine the Patriot act.

By fnord12 | May 14, 2013, 1:21 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

I've tried...

...but hate is quicker, easier... more seductive.

By fnord12 | May 14, 2013, 12:33 PM | Comics| Link

May 13, 2013

The boy who cried outrage

Let me echo Kevin Drum in saying that if this IRS thing was happening during the Bush administration and they were targeting progressive groups, i would be flipping out. So consider this me flipping out. Low level bureaucrats? Overwhelmed by huge influx of new political groups? Doesn't matter. How do we make sure it doesn't happen again?

I still don't get Benghazi, though.

By fnord12 | May 13, 2013, 2:12 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

What i'm trying to tell you is he's like a human bullet

We really need to find a better way to get around.

You know what?  Forget Joe.  His eagle-eye 'power' sucks.  Let's you and i form a partnership.

In all sincerity, i don't know why these older GI Joe figures never made it into the revamped line from the 80s. They are clearly awesome.

By fnord12 | May 13, 2013, 1:46 PM | Comics | Comments (4) | Link

Crunky Cover Reviews: June 2013

I looked at the June covers and didn't really have anything to say about them except for these three:

1. Thanos Rising #3 by Simone Bianchi

I didn't care for Bianchi's Thanos last month and i continue to not care for his Thanos this month. His face is all sorts of wrong in that "it's so obvious" way that i'm at a loss to describe. He's still sporting the smarmy smile. There's something not right about his nose. His chin isn't bumpy in the right way. I dunno. It just doesn't fit my image of Thanos.

2. Secret Avengers #5 by Francesco Francavilla

I like that it's in the style of old spy novel covers.

3. Fearless Defenders #5 by Mark Brooks

Mark Brooks does a decent "sexy chick" face. The problem is he only has one face. And here it is repeated seventeen times. If they'd all had toothy, open-mouthed laughs, i might have mistaken this for a Greg Land cover (although they don't look like Tawny Kitaen, so i would have been suspcious).

I considered saying something about Jeff Dekal's cover for Journey Into Mystery #653, but i decided it wasn't worth the effort. The entire series has been a disappointment all-around, in addition to being a disappointment in the "strong female lead" sense, so i'm just trying to pretend it doesn't exist.

By min | May 13, 2013, 11:56 AM | Comics| Link

May 12, 2013

Taking Super Apes for granted

Min recently read Fantastic Four annual #3, and pointed out this panel of the Puppet Master being so preoccupied that he doesn't even notice a bunch of Super Apes standing off to his side.

Oh never mind.  That's not an aura of evil in the air.  It's just the smell of monkey poo.

Note that the Red Ghost had to hide in a wall, but the apes can just stand there no problem without being seen.

Wait, i'm being told that the phrase 'annihilating the Fantastic Four' has been taken by someone called... Annihilus.  Ok, i guess that's fair.  Hrmm.  'Red Ghosting the Fantastic Four?'  Nah.  Oh wait, i've got it.  'Ape-nihilating the Fantastic Four!'.  Perfect!

And i've just read Iron Man #82. Here's the cover.

Granted, adding one more blurb of copy would have caused the entire cover to implode.

Notice the cover copy is very excited about the fact that both Iron Man and Tony Stark are appearing together, but can barely bring itself to mention the Super Apes!

And both things together made me recall the recent Winter Soldier series which also had Super Apes that appeared in a total of 3 panels across a 900+ issue storyline.

I might be exaggerating.  Slightly.

So what's the story, people? Wake up and notice the Super Apes! Appreciate them! Revel in them!

By fnord12 | May 12, 2013, 5:40 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

May 9, 2013

Well this is embarassing

Mightygodking posts D&D world maps created by his 14 year old self, mocks them, and then challenges his readers to dig out their own. Well, mine are right here, they're still in use, and they're not as good as 14yr MGK's.

By fnord12 | May 9, 2013, 10:46 PM | D&D | Comments (3) | Link

May 7, 2013

Poisoning - the Method of Choice for Dealing with Rivals

People in China are losing their goddamned minds. Most recently, the head of a nursery school put rat poison in a couple of yogurt drinks given to children in order to damage the reputation of their rival. What the fuck?? Granted, grandmothers should know better than to pick up mysteriously left bags and feed the contents of said bags to children, but since when is poisoning children an acceptable method of beating the competition? Those children died.

And that's just one of many stories about poisoning.

Many in China have blamed the latest case on the vicious competition between nursery schools, which has led to owners employing increasingly aggressive tactics to win pupils.

But there have also been a number of chilling poisonings in the country in the past, often linked to disputes. In a notorious incident in 2002, two teachers and 70 children at a nursery in Guangdong became seriously ill after the head of a rival institution blamed it for the failure of his business and put rat poison into the table salt. The man, Huang Hu, was later executed.

The following year, 38 people died and hundreds were made ill after a snack-shop owner poisoned a competitor's food. Another 10 were killed when a widow spiked the meal at her husband's funeral over a family dispute. In a third case, a man sought revenge against his married lover as their relationship turned sour by poisoning her children's snacks. One of the children, and a classmate with whom he shared the food, died; 25 other pupils were taken ill.


Two years later a nursery pupil in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region died and 20 others were admitted to hospital in similar circumstances.

And in 2011 a sex shop owner in Hebei province attacked a competitor by leaving a tetramine-tainted snack in his store. His rival was taken seriously ill and the suspect tried to mislead detectives by leaving out other poisoned food, causing the deaths of three boys aged between two and 17.

What happened to the good old fashioned method of ruining your competitor by hiring thugs to trash their business? And why is nursery school such a cutthroat industry?

Is poisoning equally prevalent in any other country over the last decade, and we just haven't heard about it? Mebbe there's so much lead in the air pollution in China that people are going crazy.

By min | May 7, 2013, 2:29 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

May 5, 2013

Banana Pancake Day is Always a Good Day

vegan banana pancakes

I only recently discovered that banana pancakes are my favorite type of pancake. Now fnord12 will have to make a special effort to convince me to make his favorite cornmeal pancakes instead when it's pancake day.

By min | May 5, 2013, 3:14 PM | Vegan Vittles | Comments (2) | Link

Vegan Lemon Curd

vegan lemon curd vanilla cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting; vegan walnut fudge bars with shortbread on the top and bottom

Vegan Lemon Curd

Apparently, lemon curd is delicious. Who knew? I generally hate lemon flavored sweet things. I can't stand the cloying sweetness of most lemony treats. Not this lemon curd though. It's just the right amount of sweet and tart.


  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh-squeezed from Meyer lemons is best, but any lemon will do. bottled if you must, but really?)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 T unflavored non-dairy milk (i used Silk creamer because it's richer than milk)
  • 1 T butter (we like Earth Balance buttery sticks)
  • Yield: ~1 cup

In a saucepan, combine the lemon juice, water, and cornstarch, stirring until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the sugar and salt.

Slowly cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it boils. Let it continue boiling for another minute without stirring.

Take it off the burner and add the milk and butter, mixing until well-combined. Allow to cool completely before using. It's best if allowed to refrigerate for a few hours first.

Now that you've got lemon curd, what are you going to do with it? I made vanilla cupcakes (the recipe can be found here), dug a cone-shaped hole out of the middle, and filled those suckers with enough lemon curd that it pooled a bit on the top (a plastic squeeze bottle, like the ones sub shops use for their sandwich-making condiments, is particularly suited for filling cupcakes with things). Then i made buttercream frosting, substituting lemon juice for the milk and vanilla extract (for a more lemony flavor, use a little lemon extract).

I thought they turned out pretty well, although next time i'm making a bigger hole so i can stuff even more curd into each cake.

The fudge bars were made using the Double-Crust Fudge Bars recipe from Chloe Coscarelli's book Chloe's Vegan Desserts. You make some shortbread dough (2 cups flour, 1 cup vegan butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt). Line an 8"x8" baking dish so that the parchment paper hangs over the sides (very important if you want to have any hope of extracting this dessert from the dish). Press half of the shortbread dough into the pan, covering the bottom. Melt 2 cups of chocolate chips in 3/4 cup canned coconut milk and 1/4 cup sugar (although i think no sugar would be just as delicious), add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and pour all of that on top of the short bread. Then take the remaining shortbread and crumble over the top. Bake for 35 min at 350degF. Allow it to cool completely and refrigerate overnight.

The milk added to the chocolate chips is what makes the chocolate soft enough to bite into without getting a crunch like you would if you just used the chips as is. It's very much like a more solid ganache.

A very rich dessert, but so addictive. I'd like to experiment with it - perhaps a thinner layer of chocolate or some salted chopped almonds on the top instead of the walnuts inside - but i'm busy being ill from eating too damn many of them in one sitting.

By min | May 5, 2013, 2:28 PM | Vegan Vittles| Link

May 3, 2013

Better than what she wore during the DeFalco years

I'm just walking in a straight line with my hand extended.  If any floozies happens to be in my way and get karate-chopped, that's their fault, not mine.

By fnord12 | May 3, 2013, 4:30 PM | Comics| Link

Sign of the times

If you want to know how bad things were at Marvel in the mid-70s, here's a little scorecard they put in their Bullpen Bulletins that's only a joke in the sense that it's self-deprecating.

Not enough room to list all the inkers that were brought in at the last minute to quickly finish up a book.

By fnord12 | May 3, 2013, 4:26 PM | Comics| Link

Friday Holy WTF-ery: Flesh Eating Bacteria

John Hanneman, the guitarist for Slayer, got bit by a spider which infected him with a flesh-eating bacteria. Ultimately, he died of liver failure, which may or may not have been related to the goddamned flesh-eating disease on his arm.

WTF? Robin's fear of spiders is now completely justified. They can transmit a bacteria to you that will eat you!

Why the hell does a flesh-eating bacteria even exist?? It shouldn't exist!

And how can you avoid getting infected?

The best way to defend yourself against necrotizing fasciitis is to avoid the bacteria that cause it. That means washing your hands thoroughly and often, steering clear of people who have sore throat symptoms (in case they have strep throat), and taking care of injuries. If you receive a cut or abrasion, wash it thoroughly with hot water and soap and apply antibiotic ointment. And don't pop skin blisters -- the National Institutes of Health says keeping the skin intact is a powerful line of defense to ward off infection.

So, basically, stay away from people and never get a cut.

By min | May 3, 2013, 10:11 AM | Music & Science| Link

May 1, 2013

It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses an Eye

Or dies.

Remember A Christmas Story? All Ralphie wanted was a Red Ryder BB Gun and the adults in the film continually tell him no because it's dangerous? Ralphie should have grown up in Kentucky. Then he would have gotten that BB gun while he was still in diapers cause by the time you're five, you get real guns.

A 5-year-old boy accidentally shot his 2-year-old sister to death in rural southern Kentucky with a rifle he had received as a gift last year, authorities said.

The children's mother was home at the time of the shooting Tuesday afternoon but had stepped out to the front porch for a few minutes and "she heard the gun go off," Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said. He said the rifle was kept in a corner and the family didn't realize a bullet was left inside it.

The NRA and others will likely wring their hands over this latest gun killing story, crying foul when "progressives" use this as yet another example why we need stricter gun laws. In a world where guns can be manufactured and marketed specifically to children and be considered an acceptable gift for a five-year old, yes, we need stricter gun laws. We should have stricter parenting laws in that you can't be one if you're that much of an idiot, but that's a different post.

Why did they not make sure the gun wasn't loaded? Why didn't they keep it locked up while not in use?

Garen Wintemute is a doctor who does research on the effects of gun ownership. Because the NRA successfully lobbied Congress to prohibit the use of funding for research in gun control, he's had to get alot of his funding from private grants or fund his research personally. Based on what he was discovering, you can see why the NRA would want to prevent his research.

In June 1987, Wintemute published a paper called 'When children shoot children: 88 unintended deaths in California'. He reported that in 36% of these cases, the shooters didn't think that the gun was loaded or was real, or they were too young to tell the difference. Forty per cent of the childrens' fatal injuries were self-inflicted, including separate incidents in which a 5-year-old boy and a 2-year-old boy, using .38-caliber revolvers -- one found under a pillow, the other in his parents' bedroom -- each shot himself in the head.

No parallels can be drawn between the results of Wintemute's research and this latest incident in Kentucky, ofc.

Thanks, Senators, for failing to pass a bill on background checks (really?? people object to having background checks before we hand someone a weapon??) and thank you, Congress for helping the gun lobby stifle debate and research whenever they don't like the results. See? Government can accomplish the things they want.

You know, even during a zombie apocalypse, Rick was reluctant to let Carl have a gun. And they're from Georgia. Just saying...

By min | May 1, 2013, 2:34 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Post Toasties!

By min | May 1, 2013, 1:12 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link

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