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March 31, 2016

New Superman

I haven't been paying attention. What happened to old Superman? I also just read Geoff Johns said, "Rebirth is not a reboot." and that struck me as funny.

Anyway, remember when i posted that thing about Superman being Asian? Well, now he will be.

New Super-Man, launching in July, follows a Shanghai teenager named Kenji Kong who must learn to be a hero when he suddenly gets infused with the powers of Superman. The new monthly title will be written by Gene Luen Yang, with art by Viktor Bodganovich.

Gene, of course, is the award-winning graphic novelist behind such books as American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints and The Shadow Hero. However, he's also no stranger to the Man of Steel, having been writing for DC's ongoing monthly Superman title for the better part of the past year.

Ofc, he's a Chinese kid in Shanghai, so the whole "in a world not my own, just trying to fit in" thing is lost. That just makes him a Chinese guy with super powers. I mean, sure, that's awesome, too. Hope he comes up with a better name than "New Superman". It's not even a good name for a series title.

By min | March 31, 2016, 1:43 PM | Comics| Link

Was going to come up with a clever title, but got bored and played with my phone instead

Click here for more Super Fun Pak Comix. I was able to post this image thanks to the instructions in the How To Draw Doug feature.

By fnord12 | March 31, 2016, 1:39 PM | Comics| Link

Book Review: Boy, Snow, Bird

Sort of. Mostly, i'm just using this space to archive some quotes.

This is a novel written by Helen Oyeyemi. Here's the back of the book plot synopsis:

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts looking, she believes, for beauty--the opposite of the life she's left behind in New York. She marries Arturo Whitman, a local widower, and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow.

A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she'd become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy's daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African-Americans passing for white. And even as Boy, Snow, and Bird are divided, their estrangement is complicated by an insistent curiosity about one another. In seeking an understanding that is separate from the image each presents to the world, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

Mirrors and identity are definitely significant in this story. An English major could prolly write up an interesting analysis of it. Me, i just read the book.

Some parts got a little crazy in a "are you high or did this book become a paranormal?" sort of way. The book is in first person, which was kinda annoying, but i got over it. The first half is from Boy's perspective. The second almost half is from her daughter Bird's perspective. And then for a very brief time, we're taken back to Boy's POV. In the end, nothing is actually resolved, so if you're like me and that sort of thing drives you nuts, you've been warned. I kept trying to find more pages i could flip to. Then i IM'd fnord12 in outrage over the entirely nutty ending.

But despite that, i did find the characters and the writing style to be interesting and wouldn't be opposed to reading more by this author.

And now, the quotes.

Boy about Mrs. Fletcher:

I thought she was terrific, and hoped she liked me, but she was clearly very precise in the allocation of her affections, so she probably didn't.

Boy about Webster:

I'd fasted before, so I knew how being hungry can make a girl get a little bit enigmatic. Webster's psychology was one short straw away from abnormal.

Boy about how creepy bride and groom cake toppers are:

Each tiny bride and groom had this beseeching smile painted onto their face. The kind of smile that suggested dark magic was afoot, a switch had been made, the couple leading the first dance were not who they claimed to be, and wouldn't someone please intervene?

When i read that one to fnord12, he pointed out that it was furthering the theme of identity. I was the one reading the book, but he was the one understanding the subtext based on random quotes i threw at him. All i got from reading this quote was "She's so right! Those cake toppers are creepy!". I told him this was why i hated English class.


I'm mean. Dad's warned me about it; I know the risk I run when I find fault with people more often than I look for something to appreciate. It's like having grit in your eye; you see less and less of the real person standing right in front of you and more and more of the grit in your eye.

Holy crap! Semi-colons!

I'm still confused about some things in the book in the "but what does it mean???" sort of way, but since fnord12 didn't read it (cause he's too busy working on his comics chronology project!) i'll prolly never know. *sigh*

By min | March 31, 2016, 8:34 AM | Boooooks| Link

March 30, 2016

I can't stop watching this

Nothing implied politically (by me, at least), i just find this hilariously absurd.

By fnord12 | March 30, 2016, 9:30 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Bernie wins bisexuals in a landslide!

Ok, i assume that's just based on a small sample size. But for that and more breakdowns of Bernie's support, see this post by Carl Beijer which is actually kind of a follow-up to this media criticism post.

Beijer's data comes from the Reuters tracking poll and there are various caveats about that which i won't get into, but Beijer's broad point should still stand no matter how the data is sliced.

By fnord12 | March 30, 2016, 4:12 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Why i stopped about halfway through Dark Souls I

I guess i didn't have the proper training.

There are only so many times you can die and lose EVERYTHING before you say, "You know, i think i'm going to do something else.".

By fnord12 | March 30, 2016, 2:09 PM | Video Games | Comments (8) | Link

Bacon Jam

For those times when just eating your bacon becomes too much. Link

From the author of this recipe:

Connie shares, "Bacon Jam will win you legions of fans. Use the power wisely. I know of one marriage proposal after this jam was served with breakfast." Don't limit this jam to breakfast, try it as a sandwich spread or mixed with cream cheese as a party dip. Get creative.

Oh, Connie, i think you were creative enough for all of us.

By min | March 30, 2016, 9:26 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link

March 27, 2016

Bunny Butt Cake

vegan chocolate cake

The bunny is an upside down cupcake with cut marshmallows for the feet. All vegan, ofc.

vegan chocolate cake
You can see the buttercream tail on the butt a little better from this angle.

By min | March 27, 2016, 6:16 PM | Vegan Vittles| Link

Yuge wins

Thank you Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii for voting 70 to 80% for Bernie. At this point we have to ask ourselves why Hillary Clinton won't drop out. She's just forcing Bernie to spend resources that he could be using to unify the party against the Republicans in November.

By fnord12 | March 27, 2016, 2:47 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (4) | Link

March 25, 2016

And don't piss on their hospitality

The AD&D 1st Edition Fiend Folio was like the Monster Manual's poseur cousin, full of really weird and dumb monsters. There is some good stuff in there too, but it's not a book that i often flip through. So i was pretty amused to come across this for the first time, or at least the first time since i've seen Troll 2. As is often the case with Fiend Folio monsters, the creature is pretty dumb and i don't see how i could actually use them in a campaign. So don't worry, players. Nilbogism is not an epidemic in your world.

It's weird how it says nothing about how they are vegetarians that try to get around their vegetarianism by trying to turn you into plants so they can eat you.

By fnord12 | March 25, 2016, 9:16 AM | D&D & Movies | Comments (4) | Link

March 23, 2016

Kind of cute

Thank you Dems abroad, Idaho, and Utah. 70-80% blow-outs is pretty amazing.

As for Arizona, Clinton won big, and that is bad news for Sanders. But the situation in Arizona was a disaster. Too few polling stations, resulting in insanely long lines, and people that switched registration from Independent to Democrat to vote in the primary only to wait on those very long lines find out that their switch didn't happen. Lifelong Democrats are claiming it happened to them, too. And apparently the AP called the state for Hillary while people were still on line, which is malpractice when delegates are awarded proportionally. It's the sort of thing that breeds legitimate suspicion. And we've been seeing failures along these lines in most of the primaries so far (not necessarily this bad). It would be nice if our media could devote some attention to it on a national level, but as Nate Silver said:

I'm watching the coverage on CNN tonight, and they seem to regard the long lines in Arizona, Idaho and Utah as kind of cute, instead of something that's pretty much an outrage in a democratic country.

By fnord12 | March 23, 2016, 7:22 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

March 22, 2016

When Nerds are Geeks

They decide to calculate how quickly a vampire can drain a person's blood and submit it as a paper.

In this investigation we found that it takes 6.4 minutes to drain 0.75 litres of blood from the human body, this seems fairly reasonable considering it takes less than an hour to give 0.47 litres of blood when you donate from a vein [8]. However this blood is coming from your arm and the blood pressure is lower here whereas ours is coming from the external carotid artery. To take it one step further we could take into account more than 15% of the blood being lost from the body and also the pressure if the vampire was sucking as well as drinking. This would reduce the time taken and make the process more efficient.

They really only calculated how long it would take to drain 15% of a person's blood. After that, heart rate changes and their assumptions about flow rate would no longer hold. So, what? A good 20 minutes to really drain a person? Who has that kind of time? Vampires need to feed and run.

By min | March 22, 2016, 2:21 PM | Science| Link

Stop Scaring the Babies!


The experiment went like this: The babies, 270 15-months-old that included a mix of boys and girls, sat on their parents' laps across the table from a researcher called the "Experimenter."

The baby saw the Experimenter demonstrating how to play with a series of toys. In each trial, a second researcher, the "Emoter," reacted in either a neutral way ("That's entertaining.") or negative way by saying "That's aggravating!" in a stern voice when the Experimenter performed her action on the toy. The Emoter's reaction was the same for each toy.

Then the baby had a chance to play with the same toy.

The researchers measured how readily the babies imitated the Experimenter's actions. Babies who witnessed the angry outburst were less likely to play with the toy or to duplicate the adult's actions than babies who saw a neutral reaction from the Emoter.


Next, the Experimenter showed the baby how to play with a new toy. This time, however, the previously angry Emoter now appeared to be neutral.

"We wanted to see if babies would treat the anger they had seen before as a one-off event or whether they see it as being part of the person's character," Repacholi said.

When given the chance to play with the new toy, the babies who knew the Emoter's angry history avoided playing with the toy, compared with the babies who were in the neutral group.

"It's as if the baby doesn't trust that the Emoter is now calm," Repacholi said. "Once babies have detected that someone's prone to anger, it's hard to dismiss. They're taking a better-safe-than-sorry approach, where they're not going to take a risk even though the situation has apparently changed."

A second new study by Repacholi, Meltzoff and team suggests that babies are capable of coming up with appeasement gestures in situations involving anger-prone adults. The findings are published online and will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Infancy.

Using a similar experimental setup, another group of babies -- 72 15-month-olds, with an even number of boys and girls -- first observed either the "angry" or "neutral" Emoter's reaction to toys used by the Experimenter.

Then, the twist: the Experimenter brought out new toys designed to be highly desirable to the infants, such as a toy with a small ball that lit up when rotated.

Sitting on their parents' laps, the babies got to play with the appealing toy briefly before the Emoter -- who had a neutral facial expression and wasn't showing any anger at this point -- asked for a turn.

What did the babies do? Those who had previously seen the Emoter be angry readily relinquished the toys. That is, 69 percent of babies in the "anger" group gave up the toys compared to 46 percent of babies in the "neutral" group.

"I was so surprised to see the infants give the toys away -- it was like they were appeasing or compromising with the adult," Repacholi said. "They didn't want to risk making the previously angry adult mad again. They didn't act this way with the other adult who had not shown anger."

By min | March 22, 2016, 2:11 PM | Science| Link

March 17, 2016

Nostalgia's ok too

Mike Sterling has a nice counter-balance to my tendency towards negativity.

By fnord12 | March 17, 2016, 8:21 AM | Comics| Link

March 16, 2016

Oh well, Bernie

Keep fighting the good fight.

By fnord12 | March 16, 2016, 9:05 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (12) | Link

March 15, 2016

Democrats own healthcare now

I'm linking to an article about Hillary Clinton struggling to answer a question on Obamacare at a town hall, but i don't mean it in the context of the primary wars. The point is that every time someone has a problem with their health insurance, every time something is confusing, every time prices go up, it's now going to be thought of as part of the ACA, whether that's fair or not, or whether the person is doing the right things or not. This is the cost of going with the Rube Goldberg compromise that is the ACA.

It's certainly true that an "everybody can buy into Medicare" solution would have come with its own disruptions, but it would have been much simpler to explain, and that simplicity has major political value, which in turn has major practical value. People could not irrationally blame the system when their private insurance goes up, analysts (like the one in the article) could not blame people for making the wrong decisions on the exchange (or for not using the exchange), etc.. The Medicare solution would also have problems, but people and politicians would understand what those problems were and they could be identified without having to interview each person in great detail. And that would help in a big way with people that (think that they) don't like the ACA, which puts it at much more risk than it should be.

By fnord12 | March 15, 2016, 8:24 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Do not anger the vegans

Our wrath is wrathful.

By fnord12 | March 15, 2016, 7:20 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link

March 10, 2016

Try Convincing My Parents

It was normal for my mother to go to Parent/Teacher Conferences to scold my teachers for not giving enough homework. My middle school English teacher was the one who finally told my mother to stop coming to these things when she asked my teacher what else i could do to improve my work. I was getting an A in the class. As my mother points out, you can always do better.

So, there's no way they're going to believe homework is not useful.

For elementary-aged children, research suggests that studying in class gets superior learning results, while extra schoolwork at home is just . . . extra work. Even in middle school, the relationship between homework and academic success is minimal at best. By the time kids reach high school, homework provides academic benefit, but only in moderation. More than two hours per night is the limit. After that amount, the benefits taper off. "The research is very clear," agrees Etta Kralovec, education professor at the University of Arizona. "There's no benefit at the elementary school level."

Before going further, let's dispel the myth that these research results are due to a handful of poorly constructed studies. In fact, it's the opposite. Cooper compiled 120 studies in 1989 and another 60 studies in 2006. This comprehensive analysis of multiple research studies found no evidence of academic benefit at the elementary level. It did, however, find a negative impact on children's attitudes toward school.

School already sucked because you had to get up at the ass crack of dawn for it. Then you spent hours being talked at. Homework was just the icing on that shit cake. Explain to me how forcing me to come up with a drawing that represents each vocabulary word for that week helps me improve my vocabulary. I still haven't figured that one out. Do you know how difficult it is to draw an adverb? Hours of my youth i will never get back.

By min | March 10, 2016, 10:48 AM | Science | Comments (2) | Link

March 9, 2016

Thank you Michigan

That was a BFD. And a belated thanks to Kansas, Nebraska, and Maine. But Sanders' victory in Michigan, per 538, was "one of the greatest upsets in modern political history".

Which makes you wonder if he may do better than he's polling elsewhere, either in other rust belt states, or just generally. It also shows that he can be competitive with non-white voters outside of the South. And it shows that Clinton's last minute lie that he didn't support the auto bailout didn't work.

Sanders is still down in delegates, and, thanks to proportional allocation in Michigan and a big loss in Mississippi, that didn't change last night (in fact, it got somewhat worse). But for now i'm just very happy to see a surprise win for Sanders, and i'm happy to see that Sanders' message does resonate with people in post-industrial economies like Michigan. Whatever happens in this primary, politicians would be idiots to not take notice of that.

By fnord12 | March 9, 2016, 7:23 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (12) | Link

March 4, 2016

Elektra Teaser

Here's a 15 second (not really worth watching but i'm posting it anyway just in case you really wanted to see it) teaser showing Elodie Yung as Elektra in the upcoming second season of Daredevil.

Now, normally, you show me a woman kicking ass, and i'm all excited to see the fight. This time, my entire takeaway was "Holy crap, get that woman some protein!". They could put her on the Rock diet" and get her training with the Sucker Punch people cause she's not going to do much ninja-assassining without some muscle.

I'm hoping it's just the camera angle, and she actually has plenty of lean muscle. But just in case, i'll have a Gardein burger in her name.

By min | March 4, 2016, 1:40 PM | Comics & TeeVee| Link

Diversity in Sci-Fi and Comics

Two sort of related articles:

I thought this was an interesting way to view Superman.

Re-imagining classic characters as nonwhite may not always be as much of a stretch as the purists would have you believe. Take a closer look at some of the most popular comics franchises out here, and if you cock your head ever so slightly, you'll start to wonder if white really is the only color that matches these stories.

For starters, set aside the way Joe Shuster and hundreds of comics artists since have rendered Superman, and take another look at the hero's backstory: a dark-haired refugee from a distant, exotic place, where people have weird, hyphenated names like Jor-El and Lor-Van. Once he arrives in America, he is transracially (trans-specially?) adopted by parents in the Heartland, and raised to "fit in" with everyone else, but also to preserve and appreciate his hidden heritage.

He moves to the big city, where he hides behind dorky glasses and displays a humble, passive persona to his co-workers. But in his spare time, he embraces his true self, gathers with others like himself and lets it all hang out.

To sum up? That dude Asian.

Then i read this about the casting of a white Iron Fist.

When it comes to Danny Rand, a.k.a. Iron Fist, his story is essentially one of being an outsider in a mystical Asian city and learning the ways of the city's people. (It's steeped in Orientalism, but that's lengthy, separate discussion on its own.) Obviously Rand being white makes him stick out, and there are elements of his backstory, like his wealth, that are key to his experience -- a hero forged from painful experiences and having everything taken away from him.

What's tricky is coming up with a reason other than "this is the way it's always been" to explain why Rand must be a white guy to fully tell Rand's story. A half-Asian American boy or a black teenager or even a Latina girl from pretty much any American city would be just as freaked out and feel just as isolated if they were dropped into a magical Asian city. (Other characters, like Misty Knight, Rand's love interest, have already been cast. Changing Rand's race and gender would inevitably alter that story, and interactions he has with other characters. But let's just go with the hypothetical here.)

I don't buy that Danny Rand's whiteness is as integral to his character as Storm or Luke Cage's black skin, or Magneto surviving the Holocaust.

I'm kinda on the fence about the whole thing. I mean you've got the mystical kung fu city where the white guy shows up and is the best of the best. But would casting an Asian person in the role of Daniel Rand have made it better? Cause now you've got "Asian Guy Who's Really Good at Kung Fu". But any chance to get an Asian actor cast in a prominent role should be grabbed, so...i dunno. I'm sure i'll enjoy the Iron Fist mini-series as much as i've enjoyed Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Would i have cheered a bit to see a minority play the hero? Prolly.

Please please please just don't put him in those stupid slippers. Please.

Also wit, Carrie-Ann Moss' gender-swapped, lesbian Jeri Hogarth was amazing.

By min | March 4, 2016, 1:21 PM | Comics & Star Wars | Comments (13) | Link

Video Game Butts

If women walked in the way game designers wish we walked, we'd prolly injure an internal organ.

By min | March 4, 2016, 12:13 PM | Video Games| Link

March 2, 2016

My primary vote may matter this year

Thank you Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma (!), and of course Vermont. And a nod to Massachusetts; that one was close and it's a wash in terms of delegates.

The old narrative was that Bernie was going to get crushed in Nevada and South Carolina and then he would lose all his momentum and get knocked out on Super Tuesday. Well, he actually did ok in Nevada (he did get crushed in South Carolina). But the bigger problem with the old narrative was that the assumption was, like a typical insurgent, Bernie would be out of money by now and without the momentum he'd have to drop out. However, that's not what's happening. Bernie is being supported by a million+ small donors, and he's got enough money to go all the way to the convention. The fact that he won some Super Tuesday states is really just gravy. The calendar gets much better for him going forward. Most of the South, which seems to be Hillary's stronghold, has voted at this point. Granted she's picked up a decent delegate lead, especially thanks to Texas, and she's still definitely the favorite to win, but it's not over. And even if Hillary continues to add to her lead, there'd be no point in dropping out until California, which has 20% of the delegates. And California votes at nearly the end, at the same time as New Jersey. So i think for the first time ever, i get to vote in a presidential primary and have it actually potentially mean something. And for a candidate that i think is pretty awesome.

By fnord12 | March 2, 2016, 7:36 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (10) | Link

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