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June 29, 2014

The earliest online role-playing games sucked

By fnord12 | June 29, 2014, 5:48 PM | D&D & Video Games | Comments (10) | Link

Does It Do Away With String Theory?

Cause if so, i'm all for it. I never really grokked string theory.

Thinking of spacetime as a liquid may be a helpful analogy. We often picture space and time as fundamental backdrops to the universe. But what if they are not fundamental, and built instead of smaller ingredients that exist on a deeper layer of reality that we cannot sense? If that were the case, spacetime's properties would "emerge" from the underlying physics of its constituents, just as water's properties emerge from the particles that comprise it. "Water is made of discrete, individual molecules, which interact with each other according to the laws of quantum mechanics, but liquid water appears continuous and flowing and transparent and refracting," explains Ted Jacobson, a physicist at the University of Maryland, College Park. "These are all 'emergent' properties that cannot be found in the individual molecules, even though they ultimately derive from the properties of those molecules."

Not that i did great in Fluid Mechanics lab, but i blame that on my learning disability whereby i never understand what exactly i'm supposed to be doing in a lab experiment. Hands-on learning is so confusing. Can't you just show me with a diagram drawn in different colored chalks and an equation? That would make way more sense.

By min | June 29, 2014, 2:57 PM | Science| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Savage Hulk #1 - Due to a certain long term contract written in blood and in exchange mostly for some 1990s X-Men comics that no one ever needed to read, i am honor bound to collect every Marvel comic drawn by Alan Davis. Which is fine. I like Alan Davis. But i didn't know the specifics about this series, only that i was required to get it, so i'm only now finding out that it's apparently continuity inserts. Which is also fine in theory. Problem is that this story is potentially overloading the period in the immediate aftermath of the X-Men/Hulk fight at the end of their original series. Both John Byrne's Hidden Years and Gage/Alberti's X-Men/Spider-Man #1 take place then, and my understanding is that Erik Larsen's Fantastic Four World's Greatest Comics Magazine has X-Men appearances there too. Hidden Years actually recaps the Hulk fight and then has a gap of three days before launching into a very long story arc. X-Men/Spider-Man has Xavier "too sick" to make an appearance, during that three day gap. And now this story has a spry Xavier acting in the immediate aftermath of the original X-Men issue. I guess his sickness didn't fully hit him yet and we'll just hope this story lasts less than three days. The other problem is going to be if that is actually the Abomination. During this period, the Abomination, as a guy with normal intelligence in the body of someone who is baseline stronger than the Hulk, was too powerful to just be allowed to walk around in between Hulk fights, so he's generally held as a prisoner of the Stranger or at least stuck in space. So he can't just be showing up here. Hopefully that's explained; it's only a last panel cliffhanger splash so not time to complain about it yet. Anyway, this was a set-up issue, with the only action being the Hulk fighting some missiles while the X-Men stood around and talked, so hopefully next issue will at least have some nice Hulk/Abomination/X-Men battles from Davis, whatever the continuity problems.

Elektra #3 - Very nice art, the sort of thing you might have gotten in the rare Marvel Fanfare issue that actually lived up to its promise. And i do like the weirdness of the new villain. Storywise, i think it's about time to get the deliberately staid Elektra a supporting cast or maybe a talking monkey or something to infuse some personality into the mix. I also think we're possibly missing out on a more interesting story about a master assassin and his son traveling to the likes of the Savage Land, the Blue Area of the Moon, and sunken underwater kingdoms. That doesn't seem to be the sort of thing you leave to background narration. Overall i'm at the "nice art, but get on with it" stage and next issue's promise of a metaphysical guilt trip doesn't give me high hopes.

Iron Man #28 - Despite three different pencilers and two inkers, this is a decent wrap-up to the storyline. It's definitely shut down very quickly, with all these guys that were built up throughout the storyline getting stomped very easily at the end, in some cases by empty Iron Man suits. Mole Man dumping his ring and slinking away felt right, though. I found a lot to like in the post-fight wrap up. Any time you reference both Makluans (that's Fin Fang Foom's people, people!) and Rigellians, you've got me hooked. And i also really liked the in-universe explanation (or at least acknowledgment) for why so many alien races are monarchies and empires instead of democracies (or communist).

Daredevil #4 - Nice continued parallel between the Shroud and Daredevil's pre-Waid days of endless tear downs. And a really minor thing - i liked the Owl's little hand claws. Between his hair and his wrist claws, he's always looked like a fat Wolverine to me (i know he came first), but this slightly different claw style keeps his claws but gives them a more distinct look.

Ms. Marvel #5 - Nice first loss and subsequent training and spirit boosting. A lot here is right from the playbook of the first year of Amazing Spider-Man and that's a good thing. And this book does have a lot of personality and character development, so it doesn't need the talking monkey, but i see we are getting a talking Pigeon Man.

New Warriors #6 - As less than 20,000 other people know, this is the best book Marvel is putting out right now. We're taking a break from the High Evolutionary story to see how the Avengers feel about Wundagore suddenly appearing in New York and i see next issue will start something new about the new Inhuman character, so no need to wait for a Point One series if you heard a good buzz and were looking to jump on. This issue has the Elder God Cth'on making Thor look like a cool Lizard Man Warrior, plenty of talking animals, and Hummingbird trying to lift Thor's hammer. And only two pencilers, one of whom is Nick Roche who also drew last issue and is inking himself here.

By fnord12 | June 29, 2014, 12:04 PM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link

June 26, 2014

John McCain *lost* the election

Magazines are bathroom reading, so forgive me for talking about an article that came out in April, but i wanted to call something out of this Obama Vs. The Hawks article in Rolling Stone. The article is sourced from anonymous former Obama advisers so i don't know how much stock to put in it. For example, there's a valiant effort to give Kerry credit for his sarcastic offhand remark that gave us an out on Syria and barely mentions Britain's rejection of military action there. But what i wanted to call out was this:

"In part, the reason why they were focusing on doing something on Syria is that they felt people were pushing them," says another former White House adviser. "McCain, Lindsey Graham - it is unbelievable how influential Senator Graham was in the president's thinking. They desperately wanted Lindsey on their side. It's a fact that those two - and you have to include Joe Lieberman and Senator Kelly Ayotte - have had enormous influence on the way the White House thinks. But why? They have influence far beyond the reality of their power."

The article doesn't provide an answer. But i agree it's a mind-boggling question. These Senators are the Hawkiest of Hawks whose answer to everything is to bomb, bomb, bomb. Voters at a national level rejected McCain for Obama (and also rejected Lieberman). So why is Obama going to McCain and his little gang for approval? This is beyond the fact that, as everyone is pointing out nowadays, McCain has basically been wrong about everything so it's not like he's got some deep insight into foreign affairs. I'm just talking from a pure "what's the point of an election?" point of view if the guy we voted for is going to spend his time trying to please the guy we voted against. Of course he did the same type of thing by making Hillary Clinton Secretary of State and bringing in people from Bill Clinton's administration (Geithner!) but at least there you can argue they're all broadly part of the same ideological coalition. Almost by definition, if you can get McCain and Graham to agree with you, you're working against your own political party.

And beyond all of that, does anyone think Obama could ever do anything that would make McCain and Graham run to the cameras and talk about how great it was? For all that they influence Obama, have they ever complimented him for it, or more to the point, worked their connections in Senate to help him get bills passed? Have they ever made any compromise or concession at all with the Obama administration? Consistently wrong, ideologically opposed, and unhelpful and unable to be satisfied. Why in the world would you keep reaching out to them?

By fnord12 | June 26, 2014, 8:12 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

"Gosh, I'm gonna have to disagree with the doctor here"

Maybe because he's a madman?

By fnord12 | June 26, 2014, 4:14 PM | Liberal Outrage & Ummm... Other?| Link

Racism and AP History Exam Grading

So, WTF?

T-shirt front:

T-shirt back:

At the 2014 grading of AP World History exams in Salt Lake City, conducted by high school and college educators specializing in topics related to world history, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and College Board leadership engaged in culturally insensitive and racist behavior toward Asians, particularly Chinese people. The images above are from the front and back of a t-shirt designed for readers by the leaders of the AP World History exam grading. The images allude to one of the essay questions on this year's exam, a question about the Chinese Communist Party.

After Asian Americans and others pointed out that the shirt design was offensive, the director of ETS's Human Resources department agreed that it should be altered. But she later changed her mind, deeming it "not offensive," and approved it for printing and distribution. It was subsequently purchased by hundreds of high school teachers and college professors who were in Salt Lake City for the reading.

Sadly, many AP World History teachers and academics who were grading exams this year were not put off by this racist imagery. Hundreds of educators purchased this shirt and wore it on the last day. It is deeply disturbing that people who teach World History could be so indifferent to racial and cultural insensitivity.


Oh, well, i'm so glad the HR director wasn't offended. Guess that means it's totally not racist. Thanks!

As fnord12 said, what does this say about the bias of the people grading the tests?

By min | June 26, 2014, 3:59 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

iPod is testing me today

I have it on random, and Part 3 of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music came up. As i reached for the remote, i thought to myself, "No, if i'm going to have this on my iPod, i'm going to listen to it when it comes up." And i did and i actually mind don't having ambient noise in the background for 16 minutes while i work. Then, five songs later, up comes Part 1 of Metal Machine Music (this is on a 160 gig iPod by the way, but don't get me started on the limitation's of the iPod's "shuffle" feature).

Ok, iPod, you've made your point!

By fnord12 | June 26, 2014, 2:08 PM | Music| Link

"Pop" Metal

Friend Adam passes along an interesting article that uses the latest Mastodon album as a way to explore heavy metal's relationship with the rest of the pop music world.

One quick note, tangential to the main point. Mastodon is an awesome band, but there is no way they are going to get any kind of mainstream success. Their songs are long, multi-parted and complicated, and about whales. Metallica became popular when they took their 9 minute odd time songs on And Justice For All and cut them down into radio-ready one or two riff tracks produced by Bob Rock.

As a real unrelated aside, i love the formatting on that article, with the footnotes in a separate column alongside the article. If it were easy for me to do that, my comics reviews might be a lot more readable, as i could remove a lot of my parenthetical rambles.

By fnord12 | June 26, 2014, 10:55 AM | Music| Link

June 25, 2014

Marvel Sales


One quick observation is that Avengers books jumped 5K in sales due to the Original Sin tie-in. In the recent past, Avengers book were unaffected by crossover events, with the idea being that anyone interested in the line-wide crossovers was also reading the flagship Avengers titles. That doesn't seem to be the case here (or at least retailers didn't think it would be the case). It's a relatively small jump, but it possibly suggests that Avengers is losing its top slot in the Marvel line now that Bendis is no longer writing. Bendis' All New X-Men is higher on the chart than Avengers (and so is Amazing Spider-Man, but that's coming off the renumbering/return of Peter Parker).

By fnord12 | June 25, 2014, 2:01 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

June 24, 2014

Big Government Cheese

Reading Matthew Yglesias about an unrelated topic (a brewing fight about the Export-Import Bank, if you're interested), he says as an aside:

...did you know the US Department of Agriculture runs a Dairy Checkoff Program in which it partners with major fast food companies to design innovative cheese-intensive products such as Taco Bell's double steak quesadillas and Pizza Hut's 3-cheese stuffed pizza crust?

No. I did not know that. And that's pretty crazy. Here is the link.

By fnord12 | June 24, 2014, 10:55 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Words mean things

Or maybe they don't:

The paper offered an expanded definition of "imminence," noting that "an 'imminent' threat of violent attack against the United States does not require ... clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future."

Kevin Drum has more to say:

Thus, the problem I've always had isn't specifically with the targeting of Awlaki, but with the fact that the targeting was based on such a flimsy legal pretext. However, despite the fact that I'm disappointed in Obama's decision to interpret the AUMF widely, most of the blame on that score should be directed not at Obama, but at Congress. The AUMF is now more than a dozen years old, and it's long past time for Congress to emerge from its fetal crouch and write a new law specifically designed for our present circumstances. Among other things, it should address the president's ability to target American citizens for killing. If Congress wants to give the president that power, it should debate and pass a law and the courts should rule on its constitutionality. That's the rule of law. And regardless of whether I liked the law, I'd accept it if Congress passed it, the president signed it, and the Supreme Court declared it constitutional.

Instead, as usual, Congress prefers to do nothing. This leaves them free to kibitz if they don't like what the president is doing, or to simply avoid having to take a stand at all. It's shameful.

By fnord12 | June 24, 2014, 10:41 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

June 23, 2014

A Slight Underestimate

Remember when i proudly showed off the one sock i finished knitting back in 2012? Well, i finished the second sock so i now have a pair. And i'm only 25 months and 3 weeks over my estimated completion date!

From now on, socks will only be knit as a pair at the same time.

By min | June 23, 2014, 9:39 PM | My stupid life| Link

June 22, 2014

Vegan Strawberry and Blueberry Pie

It's both Strawberry Pie Month and Blueberry Pie Month in the SuperMegaMonkey household, but i thought for the sake of my belly i shouldn't make two full pies, so i split the difference and made both in one.

vegan strawberry and blueberry pie

Each fruit stayed politely on its side of the divide.

Double Crust Ingredients

  • 1 vegan egg* (we like Ener-G Egg Replacer)
  • 1 T ice water
  • 3 T cold, unflavored, non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 cup + 1 T white flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1 T white wheat flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegan butter, cubed and kept cold (we like Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
  • Yield: 1 double crust for 9" pie

Mix the egg, ice water, and milk together and place in the refrigerator to keep chilled.

In a food processor, mix the flours, sugar, and salt together. Add half of the butter (6 T) and process until the flour gets clumpy. Add the egg milk mixture and process until a ball of dough begins to form.

Add the remaining butter, pulsing in short bursts just until the dough starts to form a ball, pulling away from the sides of the bowl a bit. Do not over-mix. There should still be visible bits of butter.

Divide the dough in half. Flatten each into a disc, wrap, and refrigerate for a few hours before using. The dough will keep for a few days in the fridge and for a few weeks in the freezer if well wrapped.

*I use ice water to make the egg, as well.

Filling Ingredients

  • 3 cups strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3 T vegan butter, cubed (we like Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)

Toss the blueberries in the vanilla extract and set aside.

Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Add half of the sugar mixture to the strawberries and half to the blueberries. Stir to coat well.

On a lightly floured board, gently roll out one of the dough discs to fit your pie dish (it should be approximately 1/8" thick). Make sure to turn the dough frequently while rolling to ensure it isn't getting stuck to your board. Loosely wrap the dough around your rolling pin to easily transfer it to the pie dish.

If your pie dish has a lip, trim the dough even with the edge of the dish. If it doesn't have a lip, leave a 1/4" overhang.

Fill half of the dish with the strawberries, layering with half of the butter. Making sure all of the strawberries are contained on their half of the dish, fill the other side with the blueberries, layering with the remaining butter.

Take out the second disc of dough and roll out. Place it over the filled pie. Trim even with the bottom layer of dough. Seal the edges and crimp. Cut a few slits in the top to allow the steam to escape.

Put the pie in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425degF.

Optional: Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Cover the edges of the crust to prevent overbrowning. Bake for 10 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350degF. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the edges and bake for another 15 minutes.

Now, the hard part - Leave the pie alone for at least 12 hours unless you want to eat soupy pie. I know. I always want to cut into it right away, but it never ends well. Console yourself with the thought of being able to eat pie all day tomorrow.

Needless to say, if you wanted one pie of all one berry, double the amount of the berry of choice. This works because the spices and sugar amounts for each type of berry are the same. I'm not so sure i'd want to try making a half strawberry, half apple pie, for instance.

By min | June 22, 2014, 3:14 PM | Vegan Vittles| Link

June 20, 2014

Well, at least i'm not the only one making typos

The mSheeter:

By fnord12 | June 20, 2014, 11:28 PM | Master of Style| Link

June 19, 2014

Darth Maul Bin Laden

Does anyone else think maybe the CIA has too much money and not enough to do?

By fnord12 | June 19, 2014, 5:08 PM | Liberal Outrage & Star Wars & Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link

*More* primary choices?

Kevin Drum raises a number of concerns with Hillary Clinton's foreign policy positions, and i agree with him, but he ends with, "This is one of the reasons that Democrats need more primary choices in 2016."

More? Do we have any? I mean, i know we have this guy but i don't really see that going anywhere.

By fnord12 | June 19, 2014, 10:18 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

June 17, 2014

This algorithm will change the world!

If you've been watching Silicon Valley, this will all sound familiar.

By fnord12 | June 17, 2014, 5:47 PM | TeeVee| Link

June 16, 2014

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Black Widow #7 - Meh. Definitely didn't need the insert into 1970's Daredevil/Black Widow continuity, that's for sure.

She-Hulk #5 - Wow, the art just became a complete disaster, huh? Javier Pulido's art on the previous issues was obviously deliberately quirky too and i can understand why people didn't love it but this issue, with art by Ron Wimberly, is just... wow. Like indie indie style. Not what i want from a comic, that's for sure, not a comic with established characters that have a defined look. That battle between Hellcat and Tigra was, i mean it was just really distracting. Here's a quick photo:

You also have to love when a male writer has a female character saying that she doesn't mind being viewed as a sex object. Not that it's really a concern when Wimberly is drawing her. Also, should we really be revealing that the Shocker has severe memory loss issues due to his vibrations at the same time he's member of the cast of Superior Foes?

Hulk #4 - Extremis just this one time! I admit i've disengaged with this book since Waid is leaving, but i did enjoy the Hulk thwaking the Abomination with Captain America's shield.

Captain Marvel #4 - So i guess we're caught up to the flashforward from issue #1, but i can't say i'm any more engaged with these new characters than i was in that issue. I'm not sure i get the whole point of it. The plot is that these people won't leave their planet even though their government says it's killing them, because they don't know where they can go and they refuse to live in a spaceship. So the plan is to build an artificial ring around the planet and live on that? And that's better than a spaceship, i guess? But to execute that plan they need some kind of other ships and for that they need spare parts and for that they have to go to these black market planets and steal stuff and make shady deals? I don't think i'm following it very well. The Spartex emperor seems to be able to provide the means to evacuate a percentage of the population. If he's going to approve this ring plan, couldn't he also lend the ships he was going to use the for evac to move people to the rings instead? I dunno, again, i'm probably missing something but the whole thing is unwieldy and hard to follow and i'm not sure what it's doing in a Carol Danvers book. Can't she just be flying around in space punching aliens or something?

Iron Man #27 - One ring to bind them all. And the PR guy turns out to be the evil mystery villain. Well, Gillis is having fun, anyway. Did i actually miss a tie-in issue of the FF (footnote would be nice!) or did a Mole Man / FF battle just happen entirely off panel? Seems kind of weird. But this was fine. I do think that must be the least interesting Unnatural History Museum in the Marvel universe. Sure, there's a Devil Dinosaur and a cybernetic ape, but your other exhibits are an old suit of Iron Man armor and a statue of Hercules? That's the best you can come up with?

Superior Foes of Spider-Man #12 - We're back to Nick Spenser after two issues of fill-ins but i think this issue was unfortunately a little weaker. The Hammerhead/Cagney joke went overlong, and i really really really didn't like the addition of all the new "villains", including Armadillo who Marvel can't seem to make up their mind about but i thought he was last seen as a member of the Initiative and a good guy. I also wouldn't use the Spot in this way after his appearances in Mark Waid's Daredevil, and i wouldn't put the Bi-Beast in this group of loser villains, either. Generally, and this is something i was saying with the fill-ins too, i really don't like the idea that there are all these loser villains. This book has been good because it's shown the main characters as being a bit schlumpy and struggling to get by, but they've been given enough focus that they still seemed human and even credible as threats. Now we've just dumped a whole bunch of losers into the plot and it kind of cheapens everybody. I also didn't love the final splash page; did we really need a full page full of stiff lifeless characters to show up that Hammerhead's goons were closing in on Shocker's apartment, which we already knew? All that said, there are still some fun moments here and i still have hope that it will wrap up well. (It is getting cancelled, right? I did read that?)

New Warriors #5 - Now this continues to be great. I really love Hummingbird, and basically all the characters in this book have distinct and fun personalities. Interesting to see the Speedball/Penance thing rearing its head, too. Nick Roche replaces Marcus To on art but continues with a clean, solid super-hero style that also handles the comedy well. I guess not a lot happens this issue (still my major complaint with the series) but it's still a fun book and i'm pretty sure we're going to enjoy Jack Waffles and Mister Whiskers.

Special DC bonus review!:

Forever People #1 - I don't know much about the Forever People (i mean, i knew they were Kirby New Gods characters!) and i'm only now googling them to find out that they were basically New God Kirby Hippies that fought Darkseid and that sounds pretty awesome. Wanyas lent this to me as he did with the Giffen/Didio Omac books. So far it's not as mind-bogglingly awesome as Omac was from page #1 but it's a good set-up and definitely very much a Kirby tribute. That said, now that i know that they were originally flower children, why aren't we going with that angle? Because that would be awesome. (As an aside, when i started reading this i had forgotten that DC rebooted their universe and i was like, why are these New Gods talking about Earth almost like they'd never heard of it before?)

By fnord12 | June 16, 2014, 10:31 PM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link

June 12, 2014

Germany wasn't sure about Frankenstein by the 1960s?

We are deep into our annual Godzillathon and while looking up one thing or another we came across this movie poster:

The movie above is actually advertising Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. I first saw the image on IMDb and then found a better scan at Monster Brains, which has a ton of 1960s era Godzilla movie posters that are just awesome and you should go click on that link right now and if they don't make you want to watch Godzilla movies i don't know what's wrong with you. But even at Monster Brains there's no explanation for why the movie was billed as featuring Frankenstein when it's quite clearly Godzilla.

Of course even when Toho produced actual Frankenstein movies they were a far cry from any recognizable version of the Frankenstein monster. But Min has declared birthday privilege and we are sadly skipping over Frankenstein Conquers The World and War of the Gargantuas this time through (even if that means we're missing the origin of Baragon as we go into Destroy All Monsters!).

By fnord12 | June 12, 2014, 7:29 PM | Godzilla | Comments (3) | Link

June 9, 2014

Donut Gorging

A few days before my week off, i found out that PETA had come up with a list of the Top 6 Vegan-Friendly Doughnut Shops* (don't you mean "donut"?). Clearly, i studied it. And to my excitement, not only would i be in the vicinity of donut shops 1 and 4 in the near future, BUT shop #2 wasn't all that far away for someone whose two most pressing items on the Staycation Agenda were 1) doing tai chi every morning and 2) watching old Godzilla movies.

Well, Monday morning rolled around and i'd already failed at Agenda Item #1 (it was raining and i'm not dedicated enough to stand out in the rain for 40 minutes), so clearly, it was time for a road trip.


Two hours later...

Look, if i'm going to drive all that way, i'm not coming home with just 1 donut, ok? I mean, duh.

You might notice that top box is no longer taped shut. That's cause we ate the raspberry danish on the ride home. What raspberry danish, you ask. This raspberry danish:

That there is a 6" danish, ladies and gentleman.

It was a long drive, and we needed something to sustain us.

Now for the actual quest items.

From left to right: vanilla donuts with sprinkles, banana cream-filled, raspberry jelly-filled, boston cream

You might not think it, but this is me being restrained. Fnord12 had a little discussion with me before our trip about moderation. *sigh* I'm always being metered.

Oh, and i might have picked up a few other things...

From left to right: peanut butter bomb, turtle pie, canolis

They had 2 rows full of pastries! I only bought 3 things! That's totally restrained! Besides, i needed snacks for my Godzilla marathon.

*1) I was pretty happy to see Ronald's Donuts making this list because the donuts are so good that fnord12 and i always worried that the proprietors were lying about them being vegan. But if PETA says they're ok...(despite my suspicion that PETA is actually a front for the beef industry, because why else would they do so many things to make themselves and their causes look ridiculous?)

2) PETA, what is up with your date-less web post? Is this the top 6 donut shops of this year? Last year? Forever and all time? This is the internet. We need to put dates on things, people.

By min | June 9, 2014, 8:11 PM | My stupid life| Link

June 7, 2014

I Missed My Calling

By min | June 7, 2014, 8:27 AM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

June 5, 2014

Recap 57

Search for the Lizard God Egg, Part II

By min | June 5, 2014, 12:21 PM | D&D| Link

June 4, 2014

Carrots of Hunger

Bad enough i'm eating carrots at all. They're gross. But vitamins.

Now on top of the gross, i apparently ended up with the carrots of hunger variety of baby carrots. I'm hungrier after eating them than i was before. Jerks.

This reminds me of that time i accidentally made hungry soup. Mebbe there's a blackhole in my belly...

By min | June 4, 2014, 10:54 AM | My stupid life| Link

June 3, 2014

More on reparations

On a day when people won't even concede to a 30 year old name change of a character that was originally an ethnic slur, i thought it would be good to follow up on Ta-Nehisi Coates' writing on reparations. This one is a response to his critics, especially the piece from the National Review's Kevin D. Williamson, which you can click through to read as well.

By fnord12 | June 3, 2014, 9:18 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

June 2, 2014

Kudos for meeting your legal requirements

Yglesias and Krugman have positive things to say about Obama's decision to have the EPA regulate carbon emissions. Both essentially make the same point, which is that Obama is finally starting to see that he's not going to be able to reason with the Republicans. Here's Yglesias:

Once upon a time, of course, the White House had a fairly ambitious second term agenda...

Indeed, the "fiscal cliff" deal with congressional Republicans that raised less revenue than progressives wanted and less than it seemed like Obama could get by playing hardball was justified in part in the name of that agenda. The theory was that the president needed to clear the decks of the tax issue in order to make room for action on comprehensive immigration reform, gun safety regulation, a new surface transportation bill, and maybe even an overhaul of K-12 education.

But a fairly weak gun bill hashed out by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) was filibustered to death in the Senate. An immigration bill that did manage to pass the Senate is languishing in the House where John Boehner won't give it a vote.

I agree with all of that and i'm glad that the EPA will be taking this action. But it's worth noting (again) that this is basically required by law after a 2006 Supreme Court case. Both Bush and Obama dragged their feet on this, but it's not like Obama is suddenly and unilaterally making this decision. This gets surprisingly little mention, and when it does it's mainly to deflect (absurd) charges of fascism, but it was covered recently in a TPM Cafe piece.

By fnord12 | June 2, 2014, 10:38 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

June 1, 2014

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Thanos annual #1 - I bought this at least partially to contribute to Jim Starlin's consolation payment for inventing a major villain that will be appearing in Marvel's movies, but odds are pretty good i'll take anything by Starlin and certainly Starlin & Ron Lim, who does a great job with the art in this series and makes me nostalgic for the days when there were more than four panels per page. Storywise, though, this is largely a Thanos retrospective. I'm not sure how well it would work for someone who never read the original stories, especially when it gets towards the end and begins summarizing things like Infinity Abyss in a panel that basically says, "Hey, remember when Thanos and friends fought a giant headed version of himself?". But i guess it's a nice little reminder for those of us who have read those stories but not recently enough that they are fresh in our heads. And there's a somewhat useful continuity insert in here that gives us an explanation for how Thanos recovered (especially emotionally) after his first big defeat when Captain Marvel destroyed the cosmic cube. The insert does leave the Blood Brothers in a situation that i'll have to look at more closely for how it affects their appearance in Roger Stern's Avengers run. Ultimately this is a harmless time travel + mindwipe story but it's got nice art and as a good an encapsulation of Thanos' history as you can fit into the number of pages. The big news beyond that is a set-up for Starlin's upcoming work in the Savage Hulk back-ups and in the Infinity Revelation graphic novel. The idea is that even using the Time Gem, Thanos is unable to time travel beyond a certain point in the future, and that indicates that the universe ends at that point. That plus some rumors from Bleeding Cool have got some people saying that Marvel is planning a continuity reboot, but i am calmly and maturely not jumping to any conclusions.

Ms. Marvel #4 - I continue to like this. I am a little confused about her powers - she was shot while shape-shifted into a Captain Marvel form, and when she transformed back into herself she was fully healed, which i thought might mean she was dangerously overpowered and invulnerable. But then we saw she retained the bullet injury when she changed back into Captain Marvel form. Ok, good. But then a few seconds later, back in her regular form, she was able to shape-shift a different way and it the injury didn't reappear. So do are the injuries only sustained when she transforms back into the exact same form? I guess we'll see in future issues. On matters that normal people care about, i think the book did well with developing her relationship with her friend Bruno, with him reacting to her super-powers and her finding out that he likes her. The problems she runs into with her mother and the search for a kind of costume when she's not shape-shifted and the way she settles on a super-hero name for herself are all done well too; it's all very normal teen super-hero stuff with the Muslim aspect just adding a little bit of unique flavor. With the end scenes we're getting a little closer to moving into some actual action as well.

Iron Man #26 - I would say the reason elves are said to be weak to iron is because at the time those stories developed, iron was still a rare metal that common people weren't likely to have in abundance, and compared to people using bronze weapons it was practically magical. But sure, Dark Angel's explanation is fine too. I was a little disappointed in the lack of focus on the battle with the Mole Man and the other ring bearers. I know we're too embarrassed of being super-hero comics nowadays to actually show the fights, but after last issues set-up it was a letdown. I couldn't even tell you what ring the Mole Man has; what we saw of the fight was just people piled on top of each other, punching. Possibly related, note that the first 2/3rds of the book have a different art team; Luke Ross, who's been drawing this arc, is only on the scenes in the end with Arno. But i did like the "standard contract" that Dark Angel gave to Iron Man to use with Malekith, and the sentient ring conferences are always worth the price of admission.

By fnord12 | June 1, 2014, 10:29 PM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link

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