All purpose vertically integrated publishing empire for cynicism, hopelessness and misanthropy. Mild nausea is common when using this product. Other symptoms may include, but are not limited to: dizzyness, headache, homicidal rage and yellow discharge. Rarely, users may begin to hear voices urging them to kill. If this occurs, discontinue use and seek psychiatric attention. Do not read when pregnant or nursing; the author thinks that's gross.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Browser Cleanup and Work-Ahead

Stories to Pique the Interest and Cleanse the Palate

OK, some of them are just weird.

Free Prostitutes!
No, seriously.

If you want to watch Nick having sex with a prostitute, he's happy to let you.

The 36-year-old bank-security technician drove eight hours from his home in Metz, France, to Big Sister, a Prague brothel where customers peruse a touch-screen menu of blondes, brunettes and redheads available for free. The catch is clients have to let their exploits be filmed and posted on the Internet.
Doing your part for Praque tourism, eh, ladies?

Source: AZCentral (probably a Nidoking link originally)

California Scheming
So California is considering mandating the installation, in new homes, of thermostats they can remote control to turn down your AC during peak useage, ostensibly to prevent blackouts.

Without your consent.

On the one hand, yeah, it's better than a blackout; but who decides who gets to roast, and how? What about people who need the cool? The sick, the elderly, or just a poor schmoe who works nights and desperately needs his sleep?

The potential for abuse is ENORMOUS.

Look folks; you live in one of the sunniest states in the nation. It's called Solar Power. It just so happens to produce energy best at times when you want to use your AC most.

Look into it.

Source: International Herald Tribune

Pundit Class Perpetually Wrong
Jon Stewart ripped into the pundit class on their New Hampshire predictions, and subsequent near-meltdown, on an episode of The...err, A Daily Show that I missed (the name has been changed for the strike, I dunno why).

There's a video of the skit but I'm waiting to watch it with the roomie.

Source: Raw Story

Atrocious Headline
This is a story about how apparently some sugar free gums are made with sorbitol, a sugar subsitute... that is also a laxative.

Who thought that would be a good idea? MORONS!

But the headline takes the cake here.
On the run: Chewing gum blamed for chronic diarrhoea
What the hell is that? That's not even remotely funny.

Of course, neither is this.
In an unusual case study reported by next Saturday's British Medical Journal (BMJ), gastro-entorologists at Berlin's Charite hospital describe how they investigated two patients who had persistent diarrhoea.

One was a 21-year-old woman who had been experiencing diarrhoea and diffuse abdominal pain for eight months and had lost 11 kilos (24.2 pounds) of her 51.8-kilo (114-pound) body weight.

The other was a 46-year-old man with flatulence, abdominal bloating and diarrhoea so bad that he had lost 22 kilos (48 pounds), or a fifth of his body weight, over the past year.

Once again, I ask: What idiot thought this was a good idea? The headline OR the damn gum?

Source: Raw Story

Promising Research
So there's some promising AIDS research out now, in part due to the Human Genone Project. Basically now that we have the genome mapped, researchers can produce little snippets of RNA to selectively turn off any individual gene and see what happens.

Some researchers working on AIDS did this with all 21,000 genes that the human body uses to code for protein, to see which of them the virus needed to work. They found a couple hundred nobody knew it used, that we could mess with to fight the disease.

This is outstanding, and proof that science is awesome.

Source: The Washington Post

Narrow Escapes

We Missed a Bullet Here

Not By a Lot, Though

I blogged a little this week about the revelation that we were lied into the Vietnam War, as the official reports on communications at the time prove, without a doubt, that there was in fact no attack upon American ships, and in turn, that the entire Gulf of Tonkin justification was a shame.

See here.

But it seems that history has a bad habit of repeating itself, or at least, that warmongers aren't terribly creative. This week, our own idiot in chief, Bush, tried to stage his own Gulf of Tonkin. Only something went wrong; or from the perspective of those of us who don't want to see yet another bloody, pointless conflict, something went *right*.

It began with a bizarre story from the Pentagon; Iran sent speedboats to drop mysterious white boxes in front of powerful US naval assets, then sent them a radio call, in unaccented English, threatening to make them 'explode'

The Pentagon's initial account of the Jan. 6 confrontation said the Iranian boats "charged" the US ships, dropped boxes in the water that were thought to be mines and threatened to set up "explosions." An unnamed US Defense Department official told the Associated Press the day after the incident that it was "the most serious provocation of its sort" in the Gulf, although Iranian officials tried to downplay the incident as a simple misunderstanding.

The US released a recording of this 'threat', and immediately, however, suspicions began to be raised by people who, err, knew what they were talking about.
Any Iranian can immediately identify Persian-accented English, particularly if the speaker has had little contact with the West, as is the case with Revolutionary Guardsmen and sailors. Iranians, you see, have difficulty with two consonants such as "p" and "l" next to each other; even Iranians who have lived in America for years will often pronounce "please" as "peh-leeze", or in this case, "explode" as "exp-eh-lode". On the tape, "explode" is pronounced perfectly, albeit as if the speaker was a villain addressing a superhero. Further, it is unimaginable, given what is known about the Revolutionary Guards (and I have met many), that one of its corps would speak in a such a manner, even if the accent were correctly Persian.
That's from Iranian expert Hooman Majd, who has, amongst other things, served as a translator to two Iranian Presidents on their US trips.

So he might, might, just know what he's talking about.
(Source: Huffington Post)

But this is the video age, and audio just won't do. So the US released a tape.

Of course, this IS the video age, so the Iranians had one too. The funny thing... the tapes don't match. Even the US tape doesn't show the actions we'd described, in particular, no funny white boxes.

And then the backpedaling began.
It was not until Thursday, after the Pentagon and Iran had each released videos of the encounter, that the US acknowledged the verbal threats they had associated with the Iranian speedboats from day one could have been broadcast from virtually anywhere.
Well, that's good. Now we've got a complete pantsdowner. Again. Nice job, Bush.

The consequences? We all look like tools. Again. But for now, we avoid war.

Aftergood said the information should have been more fully vetted before the White House began warning Iran of "serious consequences" of future showdowns.

"What you hear talking is the child on the schoolyard, not the sober national leader," he said. "And i don't think that serves anyone's interest."
Well put sir. Well put indeed.

Source: Raw Story

El Presidente Roundup

America Likes the Boomy-Boomy

The Bush Administration's Approach to Governance Involves High Explosives and Very Few Questions

Bush Says We Should Have Bombed Auschwitz
Rice does a good job spinning it though.

Bush: US should have bombed Auschwitz

Bush Visits Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial; Says US Should Have Bombed Auschwitz


"We should have bombed it," Bush said, according to Shalev.


"We were talking about the often-discussed 'Could the United States have done more by bombing the train tracks?'" Rice told reporters later aboard Air Force One. "And so we were just talking about the various explanations that had been given about why that might not have been done."
Yes, I'm sure that Bush was really into those wonky, difficult moral policy questions from over half a century ago. Then he wrote a thesis on high energy particle physics before putting in a couple of hours experimentation on neurobiology.


I admit, I skimmed the headline and didn't go down to Rice's explanation at first, which makes it sound a lot better, but do you believe her? This is the same White House that claims Chimpy is a genius who reads several books a day. You've seen the man; do you believe that?

Of course not.

As to whether the US should have bombed the train tracks leading to the death camps, that's a much harder dilemma. Would it have helped? Or would the Nazis have shrugged their shoulders and just shot the Jews wherever they were currently stuck, and the war ground on a bit longer without that aerial support hitting their cities and industry?

Ending the war ended the Holocaust. Anything else would have only slowed it. I'm not sure you can condemn either course of action... it's not like we can turn back time and try out alternate scenarios.

Personally I think Bush meant it literally; he thinks that you can save anyone, liberate anyone, by blowing the crap out of them. He has a fundamental misunderstanding of how bombs work; he thinks they give off magical freedom rays and candy, not fire, shrapnel and concussive death.


Source: Raw Story

IU Student Finds TSA Website Screws You Twice
So the TSA set up a website to protest your being on the no-fly list.

They set this site up in a highly insecure fashion, so you could phish the names of the people who wanted off the list to abuse however you saw fit.

Coincidence? Or pouring salt in the wounds of people they already didn't like?

Perhaps just usual Bush corruption:
The report, posted Friday on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Web site, also found that TSA awarded a no-bid contract to a small Virginia-based company to run the program.

Investigators found one of the senior program managers at TSA who oversaw the launch of the redress site is a former employee of Desyne Web Services — the company that received the $48,816 contract to develop the site and continues to do business with TSA today. The employee is also a high school friend of the company's owner, according to the report.

Wow, nobody could have forseen that going badly.
A graduate student in Indiana discovered the site's security vulnerabilities last February while researching a paper on boarding pass security. Chris Soghoian — who is getting his doctorate in information security at Indiana University — noticed that the redress site was not secure, yet it asked for names, Social Security numbers and birth dates. Soghoian said when he sees a site like this "alarm bells go off in my head."
Good on you, Chris.

Source: Raw Story

Oh, Is That All?
Bush says we could be in Iraq 'easily' another ten years.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush said on Friday the United States would have a long-term presence in Iraq that could "easily" last a decade, but that it would be at the invitation of the Iraqi government.

Source: Reuters (duh)

Jimmy Carter Responds
Courtesy of The Onion.

Cold, Uncaring Universe News

It's a big empty void, but it's OURS

Not that it returns my affection.

A Very Questionable Headline

Tuorla Observatory News, 20th October 2006:

OJ continues to surprise

The binary black hole AGN, OJ287 continues to provide astronomers with surprises. Long term monitoring of OJ287's optical brightness now indicates that the system may be precessing very rapidly, setting a record for general relativistic precession of orbits.

Basically the article is a release about two supergiant black holes, including the largest on record, orbiting each other. Every twelve years, the one comes close enough to hit the disc of gas orbiting the bigger one, and blammo, huge explosion of radiation.

Interesting story.

Terrible headline.

Source: University of Turku

What the hell is the University of Turku, you ask?

Good question.

Source: Wikipedia

Giant Death Cloud of Antimatter
So there's a giant cloud of antimatter around our galactic core.

This I did not know.

It seems to be linked to certain giant star pairs, which may be somehow emitting it.

This is nifty. It runs into regular matter and gives off a lot of gamma rays.

This is, err, dangerous?

I love the universe. It has ten billion ways to kill you.

Source: NASA

This Hole Blows (Story Not Related to Courtney Love)
So there's a hole in the universe almost a billion light years wide devoid of matter. No stars, galaxies, even dark matter seems to be gone.

It's a mystery, but very cool.
Source: NASA

New Scientist from November has an extensive article about how the hole may in fact be the imprint of another universe entangled with our own, bleeding antigravity into ours, thus driving out the matter and making the hole.

Unfortunately, it's behind a pay-firewall on the web, so I can't link to the full article. Sorry.

I'll probably type up a bigger explanation along with some theories as to just when the Great Old Ones will eat us tomorrow.

Source: New Scientist

Mars Sucks and I Hate It
So Mars is going to miss that asteroid after all. It just had to go and ruin my fun.

Stupid red planet. We should show it what for. We have thousands of nukes and no place to dump them.

Source: Sky and Telescope

Marriage, Megachurch and Other Unnatural Disasters

Cynical me, I know.

Separated at Birth, Reunited at the Altar
No, seriously. Some poor saps in England, given up for adoption, ended up getting married, and then finding out they were brother and sister.

There's an anime series like that, actually.

Aside from the whole 'eww' factor most people have, this really isn't a big issue. Studies have shown that one-generational inbreeding doesn't usually have a pernicious effect; if they decided never to have kids, it wouldn't matter at all.

Nevertheless, the marriage has been annulled. Who's to say if they'll go their separate ways?

Source: Fox Noise (I also saw it on Olbermann)

Proud Southern Tradition
So, there's a law on the books in Mississippi, and some other states, that says that spouses are property belonging to one another. Break up a marriage and you're stealing yourself from your spouse. Who can then sue anyone else you hook up with.

So there you go; slavery still exists in the South. Big surprise.

After then-named Sandra Valentine and businessman Jerry Fitch Sr. conceived a child during an affair, the Valentines divorced. Johnny then sued Fitch under the state's "alienation of affection" law, which entitles an abandoned spouse legal recourse for loss of companionship, love, and sex.

Mississippi is one of seven remaining states with such a law on the books, which considers a spouse the property of the other.

"I don't consider myself property," says Sandra Fitch, to ABC News.
Well, it apparently doesn't matter what you think, Sandra. You should have realized that you were no different than the gravy boat that you two got at the wedding.

Source: Raw Story

Gay In the Military.. With Kids
An article on the hardships gay soldiers face when they serve their country and have to hide their entire lives away, including their families, for fear of being outed and losing their jobs. What a country we live in, where it's ok to be in the Army as a convicted felon, but god forbid you're a homosexual.

An example of what we're talking about here, concerning their 3 and 5 year old sons:
Lewis explains "We can’t take them to the commissary together anymore. One of the boys will say ’Mom? Not you, my other mom.’ We can’t tell him, ’Don’t say that,’ because he’s going to say, ’Why?’ The best way to deal with it is just not to put them in that situation."

We really deserve to lose a War of Civilizations if this is the best we can muster.

Source: Bay Windows

Terrifying Church Commercial
The popcorn's been replaced.... by the Bread of Life!


Source: YouTube

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pretty Women News

Blowing out the candles.....

I Should Really Work On This Myself
So China is working on their geometrically increasing use of plastic bags, and are considering regulating or banning the ultra thin ones that get used in copious amounts in their (and our) grocery stores, in order to reduce the waste that piles up, unburied, around Chinese cities.

Probably a good idea, though honestly they might want to worry about their industrial sources first. I mean, the air in Beijing is almost completely unbreathable, and that's with the draconian crackdown on cars; I can't imagine how the Olympics are going to go anything but poorly there.


Still, maybe after they deal with the bags, they can deal with the people putting lead on childrens' toys and hormones in fish and such.

Also, the idea of creating massive trash burning power plants is hilarious.

Many of China's cities are in the middle of building huge "waste-to-energy" plants that will convert the vast bulk of their rubbish into electricity, but plans to build such a plant in Beijing last year led to protests amid fears it could fire lethal dioxins into the atmosphere as a consequence of burning plastics.
Who'd have guessed giant TRASH FIRES would pose an air quality problem, lolz.

Plus, imagine the perverse incentive; if your power is generated by trash burning, then you can't very well work too hard to cut back on trash, or you'll just run out of juice. It's setting you up on a course to environmental suicide; either you run out of trash, breathable air, or both.

Source: Guardian Unlimited

Boy Scouts Actually Do Things In Other Countries?
Here they just kick out gay kids and atheists, but in the Maldives a Boy Scout stopped an assassination attempt.

Before you get too worked up with enthusiasm, it should be noted the attempt was against an unelected dictator who has ruled the country for thirty years. So not as black and white as the Press might indicate.


Super Soaker Science
Did you know the creator of the Super Soaker was a nuclear engineer who used to work for NASA (including on the Galileo mission, of which I am a huge fan)? How about that he's taken the millions he earned from the water gun industry and rolled it into research into battery technology? No?

Well, now, already holding 100 patents to his name, he's come up with a novel heat engine that can, theoretically, harvest heat into electricity with 60% efficiency; his idea is to use it in combination with solar plants that concentrate light to boil water to increase their electricity generation (they are currently about 30% efficient, so that'd double their capacity).

This is all apparently for real and above the board stuff, so it's quite exciting; plus the technology isn't limited to solar energy, so it might one day be used to make electricity from all sorts of waste heat, including cars, and even people.


Source: Popular Mechanics

Ok, I Have to Ask
How do you 'gleam' a cube? What does that even mean?

Source: Wikipedia

Free to Eat Ramen
So there's a new anime miniseries out that is apparently very interesting. Katsuhiro Otomo of Akira fame does the character and mechanical designs, so you know it has a pedigree; apparently the animation is top notch, the show is film quality, and the story is novel and interesting.

It's getting a somewhat sporadic DVD release in the US on some very pricey HD-hybrid discs, and so far there's no word on whether the last episodes will come out. That's too bad.

Here's the weird part though: this big budget, arty, cerebral space-drama... is actually an ad campaign. For instant noodles.
And for those wondering about the prominent “Cup Noodles” product placements throughout the series? The series is actually a promotion project for Nissin Cup Noodles' 35th anniversary, so expect to see more of them in the future.
I've been going over this in my head, and I can't decide whether this is a horrible abomination, or an interesting way to harnass the foul wickedness of advertising for a positive purpose.

Source: Anime News Network

Nom Nom News

Cheddar Popcorn is Yummy

Honestly, What is WRONG With These People?
So there's a church group called Laces 4 Love operating in South Carolina, including in the public schools. They give shoes to poor needy kids... with a slight caveat. You have to have a Christian ritual foot washing first.

So the choice for poor kids is, let some stranger wash your feet and pray over you, or go without shoes. And the schools think this is appropriate.

I cannot stress this enough: I hate these people. They are the absolute scum of the earth and the living embodiment of my distate for evangelism and missionaries. They ought to be hauled out back of the schools and beaten to within an inch of their lives for exploiting the suffering of poor children to advance their cause.

Disgusting, filthy animals. I hope they all die of something nasty.

Sources: Jesus' General
Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Fly My Pretties!
Killer bees are marching across the South, much like Sherman.

Hooray for Bees!

Source: Raw Story/AP

Ratfuck the Republicans!
So in Michigan, you can cross party lines in the primary, it seems, and the Republicans have a long history of sabotaging Democratic primaries in doing so.

Fine, I guess; rules are rules. This year, the Democratic primary in Michigan has been negated since they moved it up without permission, so Dem voters have nowhere to go, really.

Except to the Republican side. Where they can sabotage the results.

But who to vote for....

And we want Romney in, because the more Republican candidates we have fighting it out, trashing each other with negative ads and spending tons of money, the better it is for us. We want Mitt to stay in the race, and to do that, we need him to win in Michigan.

Two polls the last couple of days show a tight race: Strategic Vision (R) shows Romney within striking distance with 20 percent to McCain's 29 (Huckabee is third with 18), while Rossman Group shows Huckabee with the lead -- 23 percent to Romney's 22 and McCain's 18.

Now here's the thing -- without a real Democratic contest on the ballot, and a lack of party registration in Michigan, this is an open primary. Anyone can pick up a Republican ballot. So Michigan Democrats and independents who want to see the Republican battle royale continue should just take a few minutes on Tuesday, January 15th to cast a ballot for Mitt Romney in the Republican primary.

Revenge would be sweet.

Source: The Daily Kos

Hilarious Graves
No, my high school principal hasn't died yet... that I know of.

These are just a couple of graves from Hollywood types with a sense of humor. Enjoy.

Sources: news from me

Our Mercenary Friends
So it seems that in 2005 Blackwater dropped tear gas on a street of US soldiers and Iraqi civilians. Why? Who the hell knows.

Probably because they could.

These people have held our troops at hostage, killed our Iraqi puppets, and now we find out they've been gassing people, on our side?

When will it finally be enough?

Source: Raw Story

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Memes, Zombies, Republicans and Other Menaces

Why did I wait? You tell me to wait, now he'll never come again!

Pesky missed opportunities for murder.

He Really Likes His Bucket
Poor Walrus.

Ahh, Zombie Spiderman, You're Such a Card
My Marvel Zombies obsession will surely lead to this being printed out and put on my wall someday.

I Ask Again: Are There Any Republicans Who Aren't Deviants?
Larry Craig wisely waited until the primary season was heating up to bury his latest legal ploy to erase his conviction for trying to get a little bathroom sex going on: that the statute says the behavior has to be likely to cause distress in others. Others, as in plural. He says that since he was alone with the cop in the bathroom, it was ok for him to solicit sex.

In a public restroom. In an airport. Where anyone could walk in at any time.

Yeah, good luck with this argument, Senator H-J.

Source: PageOneQ

Fashion Choices Matter, I Guess
So a lawyer is in trouble for wearing an ascot to court instead of a tie. Basically, the judge says he's doing it only when the jury isn't present, and to show his disrespect for said judge.

Yeah. Can't these guys find anything better to do with their time? Like, presumably, the trial?


I think I got this from Nidoking. I don't recall.

Cold Reading
Wikipedia article on Cold Reading, the techniques of leading questions used by various spiritualist and mentalist frauds, like John Edward.

Honestly, people are so dimly self-aware you can play them like a violin.

Source: Wikipedia, duh.

Vintage Phoenix Takes My Money News

So Close To a Complete Marvel Zombies Collection

Only Black Panther #27 to go and I have every issue either in hardback or single issue. Huzzah!

Phillip Agee and the non-Kage Baker Company
So Phillip Agee, the ex-spy who wrote a tell-all book on the CIA that exposed many of its less savory assets to public scrutiny in the 70s, has died in Cuba after illness.

His legacy is an odd one. Aside from a law banning ex-spys and government types from doing just what he did, which Scooter Libby et al broke on Valerie Plame without consequence, he certainly put a wrench in some of our CIA activities in that era... which were almost universally bad, bad things.

On the other hand, he's spent much of his later years as something of a mouthpiece for the Cuban government, which is neither as bad as Americans think, nor as good as they themselves profess. Odd for a civil libertarian, at least a supposed one, to become a shill for a country without a great record on liberty.

He apparently has been making his money arranging trips for Americans to Cuba in spite of the embargo. I approve of this as well, but on the whole, the guy seems sort of skeezy.

Ah well. Life goes on, for the rest of us at least.

Full Disclosure: I had a great-uncle who was CIA and supposedly had his career ruined by Agee's book. The family still thinks this is a horrible scandal. From what they've also told me about his 'work', I can't say I agree.

Source: Raw Story

Fox Noise: Factually Challenged
So on primary day in New Hampshire (Motto: A Rifle in Every Hand, We Matter Every Four Years), Fox ran a story saying that Paul Begala of CNN had joined the Clinton campaign, based it seems on anonymous sources. Without calling him to confirm it.

Ok, not a great practice, but not a huge deal?

Turns out the story was false, so Begala contacted Fox to tell them so, tell the 'journalist' in particular that he was not joining the campaign.

They refused to retract it, saying their sources were, err, better than Begala. They then added to the story, expanding it by saying he'd been on a conference call with the Hillary camp. That he hadn't.

Fox's official response to Begala's request not to, er, lie about him?

After I told Fox it wasn't true -- and this is the surreal part -- they kept reporting it anyway. In fact, Fox's Garrett told me he'd "take it under advisement." Take it under advisement? I realize I'm generally seen as just another liberal with an opinion, but this was not a matter of opinion, it was a matter of fact. Fox now knew their story was flatly, factually wrong, and they took it "under advisement."
Fox Noise, ladies and gentlemen.

Source: The Huffington Post

Do I Own Anything Orange?
The ACLU wants Americans to wear orange to protest the sixth anniversary of our legal netherworld in Guantanamo.

I guess I'll be making a run to Target for a nice orange t-shirt.

Source: Talk Left

Hillary Hecklers
From before the primary, some hecklers who apparently think because Hillary is a woman, that she should iron their clothes.

I don't own any clothes to iron. Or an iron. But if I did, I'd get punched a lot for trying to make the roommate do it for me.

Source: Raw Story

More Ballot Wackiness
So it seems in New Hampshire, people have very short attention spans, and will tend to vote for the name at the top of the list slightly more just because it's there.

Keep in mind in the primary this list is like 6 lines long.

Until this year, they solved this problem by having different ballots at different polling places, same candidates, different order. Studying the returns at these places is what allowed some political sciency guy to determine that the top listed viable candidate gets a 3% boost from being there.

This year, they went by random letter alphabetical order; the alphabet started at Z and wrapped around. Hillary was thus the first 'viable' candidate listed.

As the article notes though, Obama didn't lose by a 3 point swing; he lost by like a 12 point swing from early polling. Many theories are being advanced, including the old 'white guilt' one, where supposedly white voters lie in the entrance/exit polls because they don't want to be seen as voting against the black guy.


Whatever the case, just another random oddity of elections, and people who hate to read and yet turn out to vote. Yes, I know, there's bound to be a slight psychological effect on undecideds just seeing the name first. But if you're undecided, don't go vote! Yeesh. Random voting does not actually help the process.

Source: Raw Story

News (Vanilla)

These changes won't come easy, it'll take some time to lose these feelings..

Ice Creamy Fraud
So some net pranksters/fraudsters forged an ad campaign saying that the Cold Stone ice cream stores in Michigan would give away small ice creams to anyone for a single day.

There was of course no such promotion, leaving the stores somewhat flatfooted.

The stores in question had apparently recently changed ownership, reverting back to the parent company over a profit-sharing dispute, so I can imagine this might be the work of the former owners, but who can say.

Previous franchise holders said they lost money because the Cold Stone system required a 9 percent cut of sales, not profits. They claimed the system set up local business owners to fail.
That does sound a bit punitive, I have to admit. Still, rules are rules; the coldstones around here seem to do ok, for the most part.


Advance of Soviet America
In our never-ending quest to fix all of our problems with surveillance and bureaucracy, until we become what we most hated during the Cold War, or claimed to hate at least, in a horrible cliche, Indiana has started a crackdown on driver's licenses.

This has nothing to do with our new law requiring one to vote, of course. Nope nope.

In this case, a man has to change the name he's used, legally enough it seems for 65 years, the name he served his country under during WWII, because he had to get a new license. The reason? It doesn't match his birth certificate.
The BMV informed Francisco Mendez, 65, that he had to change his name to Francisco Mendez Vale to match his birth certificate even though he follows the custom of his native Puerto Rico and does not use his mother's family name. In many Spanish speaking parts of the world, children are given both the father's and mother's family names, but generally use only the paternal name.

"I've been Francisco Mendez for 65 years," said Mendez, who was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Gary. "I served in the military with that name. And I retired from U.S. Steel after 35 years with that name."
Well, see, he's a funny brown person with a funny name. We need to stop him getting a license, because then he could VOTE.

And yet, the Supreme Court will no doubt allow this law to stand. Next up are the TSA's internal passports, which you'll have to have a valid driver's license to get, of course. In our very near future, folks, is an America of the haves and have nots, the people with Papers and without. Without them, you can't get a license, can't get a real job, can't travel, can't vote, and might as well not exist.

Can you be sure they won't revoke your right to papers? Do you really want to find out?

Another Hat Tip to Nidoking and his News, btw. My comments there are very similar to here, so I'm doing my part to recycle.
Source: Associated Press

I Don't Think the Debate Clause Was Meant for This, Pelosi
So Florida investigators want access to pervert Mark Foley (R-Chat Room)'s computer, to see if they can find evidence to indict him on being a sick, pervy individual who tries to seduce kids from the House floor during votes.

The problem: the House as an institution is standing behind the boy-grabber to preserve their own privileges.
House lawyers previously refused to allow investigators access to the computers, arguing doing so would violate the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution. Only Foley can waive the privilege that allows lawmakers to keep their legislative papers private.
Look folks, I understand the legal rationale for having the Congress be immune to the Executive branch. I really do. Having that rubicon that the President can't cross is a great buffer against him just deciding, one day, to send in the FBI and shut you down on a pretense. Having the DC police under your control in turn provides a nice check to Executive misuse.

But this is going a bit far. Surely the House as a collective could grand a one-time exception here. Otherwise this kiddie hunter is going to walk completely free. How did it serve congressional 'debate' for him to seduce kids with your wifi? I'm confused.

Source: Raw Story

I Prefer the Term 'Church-Free' Myself
So the Southern Baptists had a study done on why so many people don't go to church. 22%, the highest ever in an American survey, now say they never go to church. Unchurched, for the purpose of this study, includes those people and anyone else who hasn't been to a church in six months.

The thing is, these people aren't, on the whole, irreligious; they're annoyed.
A new survey of U.S. adults who don't go to church, even on holidays, finds 72% say "God, a higher or supreme being, actually exists." But just as many (72%) also say the church is "full of hypocrites."

Indeed, 44% agree with the statement "Christians get on my nerves."
Oh god, chalk me down in that 44% plz, kthx.

USA Today spins this a bit to make it sound that the unchurched are ignorant when they say all religions are basically the same; but, you know, objectively speaking, they really sort of are. When you're not religious, they all look sort of scary and cult-like, historically systems of control and soothing people about their fate to rot in the ground, and the like.

Source: USA Today

My Floridian Friend Found This
Enough F's in that title? Heh.

So it seems there's a Sweeney Todd Cold Cuts registered with Florida as a profit-seeking corporation. This isn't a short term prank at least, they've been going for three years.
Detail by Entity Name
Florida Profit Corporation
Filing Information
Document Number P04000068778
FEI Number 201174392
Date Filed 04/23/2004
State FL
Effective Date 04/21/2004
I will have vengeance... I will have PASTRAMI!!!

Source: Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

This Should Be the Top Story In Every News Broadcast for Weeks

It won't be of course.
In a just-declassified government report on intelligence and counterintelligence during the Vietnam War, the government in essence admits that the Gulf of Tonkin attacks that supposedly provided the justification for the Vietnam war did not happen.

We now have everything but a recording of LBJ ordering the fakery. Fairly incontrovertible proof that the United States was lied into a war that cost 50k+ lives of our soldiers, something like a million Vietnamese dead, and god knows how many maimings.

But he said that probably the "most historically significant feature" of the declassified report was the retelling of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident.

That was a reported North Vietnamese attack on American destroyers that helped lead to president Lyndon Johnson's sharp escalation of American forces in Vietnam.

The author of the report "demonstrates that not only is it not true, as (then US) secretary of defense Robert McNamara told Congress, that the evidence of an attack was 'unimpeachable,' but that to the contrary, a review of the classified signals intelligence proves that 'no attack happened that night,'" FAS said in a statement.

"What this study demonstrated is that the available intelligence shows that there was no attack. It's a dramatic reversal of the historical record," Aftergood said.

We. Were. Lied. Into. Vietnam.

And yet, your top stories? Stuff about the primaries, which are admittedly important, and stupid celebrity news, and local crap about road construction and the occasional murder... gah.

What is WRONG with people?

Source: Raw Story


Stupid Pile of Stupid

Ok, So...

Why in the ten nether hells has Blogger suddenly decided to choke on my LJ-cut style code and put a useless Read More link on all my posts that lack them and lack the HTML to make them?

Ha Ha! Take That, Obama Fans

Hmm, Hillary wins in New Hampshire... oh yes.. your tears are so sweet and delicious, hmm...


Johnus Gift Wish List

Tis the Season

At Least This Diploma Would Arrive in a Timely Manner

The complete Miskatonic University Pack from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society! All the souvenirs of an undergraduate degree from a prestigious university of the black arts, without the pesky tuition or insanity.

I very much want that diploma on my wall.

Source: H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society

Radio Drama for the Modern Age
This also looks amazingly cool, no pun intended, and comes with a nifty hoodie sweatshirt to keep warm.

Source: H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society

Silent Movie (Not the Mel Brooks One)
Next up is the Silent classic, The Call of Cthulhu. Which includes the shirt, the soundtrack, the poster and the movie. Wow. What a collection.

Source: H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society

I Think the Evil Roommate Wants This One
Me, I dunno. It's a pretty quote, but the actual guy was a bit of a racist paranoid for me to wear on my shirt. That's reserved for foul evil gods and anime characters, blast it!
UPDATE: Apparently the roomie, as seen below, not so hot on this design. Please disregard.

Also, initially I typed 'roommite'. Like a deadite roommate.

Source: H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society

Tentacle Stocking for Our Monstrosities!
This combo pack has two great soundtracks and a tentacle stocking to hang on our mantle, if we had one.

The roommate seriously craves this. She thinks the stocking will be really cute for our little monsters in jars.

Source: H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society

Take That, Fiddler!
This is the Play that Must Not Be Named, which the humorless jerks who own the Fiddler on the Roof stuff put a stop to, post-haste. Take the music from a dull and bucolic musical, inject horrors from beyond the stars, and you get pure entertainment! The roommate loves this dearly.

Source: H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society

How Did I Miss This?? Kage Baker Watch
The last Company novel came out last JULY? I missed it?

Gah. I thought it'd be out by the end of 2007, but this is ridiculous.



Also, This.

And This

Or This

This could be Funny

Random Neat Stuff

Interweb coolness without any particular point.

Aqua Regia and Alchemy
I had always been under the impression that Gold was more or less impervious to acid; this is apparently not completely incorrect. However, thanks to the work of medieval Islamic alchemy, we have a acidic blend that will dissolve gold, platinum, and so forth with ease. It goes by the charming name Aqua Regia, latin for Royal Water (as it was devised to dissolve the so-called 'noble' metals in the pursuit of the Philosopher's Stone).

Nifty. Though in reality it's an incredibly dangerous mix of nitric and hydrochloric acids that is mad science approved (red or yellow and fuming).

One further cool fact: aqua regia was used to screw over the Nazis.

When Germany invaded Denmark in World War II, the Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy dissolved the gold Nobel Prizes of Max von Laue and James Franck into aqua regia to prevent the Nazis from stealing them. He placed the resulting solution on a shelf in his laboratory at the Niels Bohr Institute. It was subsequently ignored by the Nazis who thought the jar—one of perhaps hundreds on the shelving—contained common chemicals. After the war, de Hevesy returned to find the solution undisturbed and precipitated the gold out of the acid. The gold was returned to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Nobel Foundation presented new medals to Laue and Franck.[3]

Take that, you goosestepping sons of bitches.

Source: Wikipedia Article

I've Been Meaning to Store This Link Somewhere Forever
An anime series, god I forget how long ago I followed a link to it or why, called Brave Story. I like the concept, and I hope they bring it over on dvd sooner rather than later, to probably crush my dreams.
Plot Summary: When 11 year old Wataru's father leaves home and his mother is taken ill to hospital, he decides to change his fate by travelling through the door shown to him by his friend Mitsuru. In a land of magic and monsters, Wataru must summon all his courage and embark on a journey with several comrades to meet the Goddess of Destiny and change this "mistaken fate".
Apparently in the original manga it was a bit darker; his mother is in the hospital for a suicide attempt, and that is the event he's trying to undo.

I like oracles and the darker heroic quest narratives. It sort of appeals to an innate sense of justice I have, I suppose; it just feels right, dramatically speaking, that you should be able to do *something* outside the bounds of normal causality to change the world, though the price would always have to be absurdly high. In the real world, sadly, we don't have access to such things as oracles or Goddesses of Destiny.

Not effective ones, at least.

Source: Anime News Network

Something to Read my Uncle Brad the Next Time He Rabbits on About Jesus
This particular page of the Epic of Gilgamesh, left up no doubt by the roommate, seems eerily familiar to something I read as a child...hmm...
O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubartutu:
Tear down the house and build a boat!
Abandon wealth and seek living beings!
Spurn possessions and keep alive living beings!
Make all living beings go up into the boat.
The boat which you are to build,
its dimensions must measure equal to each other:
its length must correspond to its width.
Build a boat.. collect living things... no, not sure what it was yet... let's see if there's anything else that sounds familiar.
Six days and seven nights
came the wind and flood, the storm flattening the land.
When the seventh day arrived, the storm was pounding,
the flood was a war--struggling with itself like a woman
writhing (in labor).
The sea calmed, fell still, the whirlwind (and) flood stopped up.
I looked around all day long--quiet had set in
and all the human beings had turned to clay!
The terrain was as flat as a roof.
I opened a vent and fresh air (daylight!) fell upon the side of
my nose.
I fell to my knees and sat weeping,
tears streaming down the side of my nose.
I looked around for coastlines in the expanse of the sea,
and at twelve leagues there emerged a region (of land).
On Mt. Nimush the boat lodged firm,
Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
One day and a second Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing
no sway.
A third day, a fourth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing
no sway.
A fifth day, a sixth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing
no sway.
When a seventh day arrived
I sent forth a dove and released it.
The dove went off, but came back to me;
no perch was visible so it circled back to me.
I sent forth a swallow and released it.
The swallow went off, but came back to me;
no perch was visible so it circled back to me.
I sent forth a raven and released it.
The raven went off, and saw the waters slither back.
It eats, it scratches, it bobs, but does not circle back to me.
A giant flood... a boat stranded on a mountain... a series of avian scouts to find land... hmmm... definitely rings a bell.

Oh right! Noah's Ark! It's a bible ripoff.

Such blatant plagiarism, why, Christians should be really mad at those ancient Sumerians...When did they steal this anyway?
The earliest Sumerian versions of the epic date from as early as the Third Dynasty of Ur (2150-2000 BCE) (Dalley 1989: 41-42). The earliest Akkadian versions are dated to the early second millennium (Dalley 1989: 45). The "standard" Akkadian version, consisting of twelve tablets, was edited by Sin-liqe-unninni sometime between 1300 and 1000 BCE and was found in the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh.
Oh. So, err, they wrote this.. at least 4,000 years ago.

But the Bible's really old, right?
According to recent theories, linguistic as well as archaeological, the global structure of the texts in the Hebrew Bible were compiled during the reign of King Josiah in the 7th century BC. Even though the components are derived from more ancient writings, the final form of the books is believed to have been set somewhere between the 1st century BC and the 4th century AD.
Oh. So, err, the Bible comes from 1300 years later.

Yeah. Umm. Hi?

(Yes I know, this was very snarky and unnecessary. I'm aware that the Bible is actually largely sourced from Sumerian and Babylonian mythology, and that many of its big Gotcha stories are blatant ripoffs of earlier mythology. This is hardly surprising, unless you are a biblical fundamentalist. Like my Uncle Brad)

Sources: Wikipedia on Bible (subsection on Historical Research)
Wikipedia on Epic of Gilgamesh
Epic of Gilgamesh (English version, Flood Section)

Being Royal Seems To Mean Really Big Houses
So I saw this linked from the front of Wikipedia the other day and took a look. Geebus, Portuguese royalty loved their gingerbread mansions.

Some parts of this are really pretty, but others seem either monstrously impractical or just ugly.

Take a look at the King and Queen's rooms, for example. This place is MASSIVE, but the royal family have tiny living quarters. I think my roommate has a bigger bedroom than the King. We definitely have nicer bedding.

I wonder if there was some historical reason they didn't use larger personal spaces, or if it was just a design issue. Me, I need a nice spacious place to make my personal cave, but the rest of the palace is just unnecessary extravangance. Imagine all the dusting and mopping you'd have to have done just to keep it up!

Source: Wikipedia Article on Queluz National Palace


I've been negligent in cleaning out my PVR, so it automagically decided to delete an Olbermann and a Daily Show/Colbert that I wanted.


I really need to get some housekeeping done on this stuff.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Countdown to Armageddon

So El Presidente is going for a high level trip to Israel, and while there the Israelis are essentially going to present him with a wish-list of places in Iran they'd like bombed.

Israel security officials are set to brief President Bush on their "Iran file" regarding the country's alleged nuclear weapons program "and how it could be destroyed - when he begins a tour of the Middle East in Jerusalem this week," the UK Times Uzi Mahnaimi reported Sunday.

"Ehud Barak, the defence minister, is said to want to convince him that an Israeli military strike against uranium enrichment facilities in Iran would be feasible if diplomatic efforts failed to halt nuclear operations," the paper added. "A range of military options has been prepared."
Gee, thanks Israel. Thanks a load.

Sigh. Sometimes you just want to crawl back into bed when doing morning news like this. But that's not for me; I must learn to feed on my rage, hone it into a sharp, evil implement with which to maim my many enemies.

Bring on the pain!

Cobra News (Not the GI Joe Sort)

So kiss me goodbye... I can see the venom in your eyes... goodbye

Watch Out For Monoliths
So apparently the Russkies have signed on to the ESA's planned Europa mission, Laplace (named after an astronomer, as is the Europeans' want; see the Cassini mission for example, or the Huygens probe).

In particular the Russkies are expressing interest in landing a probe on Europa and melting through to the watery ocean suspected to be beneath it, searching for life.

Considering the Russkies experience with solid space engineering this could be a real boon. They're also pretty good at causing nuclear meltdowns, so they can probably get a hole in the ice. Maybe not the size or sort you want though...

Source: Raw

Batman, or BatMURDERER?
Shortpacked! author David Willis recently got one of these spiffy Batman First Appearance figures, and has noted the rather, err, callous approach to human life the early Batman displayed. (He mentions Batman kicking a guy in the head so hard his neck snapped too, which is just so awesome I need to see it).

It's worth remembering that it took a while for the modern, iconic Batman to evolve. Sometimes it takes a bit to find the real gem in a story or concept. Gives hope to all of us would-be creative types out there.

Also reminds me of the awesome Batman/Planetary crossover by Warren Ellis, who, when he's hot (Black Summer, Transmetropolitan, Planetary) is just unbelievably good)

Source: Shortpacked!, DC Direct

Kucinich Camp Fundraiser
Kucinich is raising some cash by selling actual Palm Beach County hanging chad voting machines from the stolen election of 2000. Apparently a collector, who sells them in his spare time, has given Kucinich a deep discount to sell the machines for his campaign. Only 200 bucks to get a machine that disenfranchised a bunch of elderly voters. It's a piece of history.

I'd ask for one, but I'm not sure where I'd put it.

Source: Raw Story

Fluff Article on Airships
They're kind of like fluffy container clouds though. So, err, it fits?

I dunno. Pop Mechanics is sort of like soft-core technophile porn to begin with. Their futurist articles consisting almost entirely of dreamy prose and CG mockups are sort of cute, sort of annoying. Still, there might be a future in airships. Their smaller cousins have shown themselves to be interesting in meteorology and astronomy; it'd be neat to make a go of having giant ships roaming the skies again.

Source: Popular Mechanics

Secret Comics
I'd forgotten about this Secret Comics Japan book, but now I want to buy it. I like the bizarre and experimental stuff in sequential art.. from time to time. Your Ben Templesmith unintentional comedy of incoherence doesn't count, btw, comic industry. Try harder.

Source: Anime News Network

Autism Conspiracy Freaks: Shut the Fuck Up

So for the longest time, desperately searching for someone, anyone, to blame, a lot of parents of autistic children have been blaming the mercury based preservative thimersol for childhood autism.

Nevermind that every reputable, scientific study on the subject has said there is no link; nevermind that when the preservative was phased out in Europe, autism rates went UP, not down. Still they wail, they gnash their teeth, they moan, it MUST be the mercury.

Color me cynical, but perhaps this is a guilt crazed buck pass sort of deal, since the predominant theory in the medical community is that autism is a genetic disorder with an unknown environmental trigger or triggers. People never want to think it's THEM, because then it's their fault, even though in this case that's a bit silly too.

Well, thimerosol has been phased out in the US too, and the results are in from California: autism rates here, too, went UP.

Researchers from the state Department of Public Health found the autism rate in children rose continuously during the 12-year study period from 1995 to 2007. The preservative thimerosal hasn't been used in childhood vaccines since 2001, but is used in some flu shots.

Doctors say the latest study adds to existing evidence refuting a link between thimerosal exposure and autism risk and should reassure parents that the disorder is not caused by vaccinations. If there was a risk, they said, autism rates should have dropped between 2004 and 2007.
So all the crazy conspiracy nuts who claimed that it was a massive coverup by the CDC, that there was no doubt that it was thimersol, despite the fact that you get a far larger dose of mercury from coal power plants and seafood? Will they be apologizing soon, for their decade long crusade of insanity and threats against legitimate researchers?

Of course not. These doctors must be in on it too. They must be in with THEM.

Once again: I Hate Americans.

Source: Raw Story

Monday, January 7, 2008

Eve of Apocalypse News

It may be World War III in the near future, but for now, on with the news!

Progress on Paralysis
So some researchers have discovered that the spinal cord, at least in mice, can reroute around blocks in the nerves that transmit the ability to control limbs and such, and are now looking into ways to trigger this repair in people. Apparently the mice were able to get the ability to walk back, but not entirely as well as before.

From the article, I guess the spine consists of outer layers of very long nerves that hook the brain directly to areas to be controlled, and a core of shorter connections. These shorter connections can be repurposed to route around cuts or damage to the very long nerves, it seems. The scientists describe it as being like a traffic detour.

Interesting, and hopefully they can continue their research after we pull ourselves out of the rubble.

Source: Reuters

GM Stands for General Morons
So, I guess GM is desperate to generate any news other than its plummeting market share and growing irrelevance, thanks to companies like Toyota with their silly ideas about actually delivering fuel-efficient cars to the end consumer instead of jerking our collective chain with hydrogen cars and guaranteed-to-never-make-it-to-market-electric auto show prototypes.

This has led to them promoting the idea of, in the near future... automated cars. Yes, GM may not be able to figure out a working hybrid engine, but they think you should trust them to make a car that drives itself!

As the somewhat poorly written article notes, DARPA has an annual contest to produce a car that can drive itself; the military thinks that having convoys that don't require drivers to be human targets is a good idea.

Stopped clocks and all that rot.

At any rate, how does the state of the art DARPA contest fare on automated cars?

The Defense Department contest, which initially involved 35 teams, showed the technology isn't ready for prime time. One team was eliminated after its vehicle nearly charged into a building, while another vehicle mysteriously pulled into a house's carport and parked itself.
Oh yeah. That sounds swell.

If GM was serious about this they could of course attempt to win the annual contest and get a big, fat military contract to pad their bottom line. They're obviously not, though.
He said the company plans to test driverless car technology by 2015 and have cars on the road around 2018.
Ahh, the future is... never going to arrive. As usual.


Kenya Crisis
So there's a big story in Africa, which means you're not going to see much about it on the nightly news. Kenya's latest elections degenerated into an orgy of chaos and violence as the opposition party leader accused the winner of the election of vote fraud. In response the country is flying apart on tribal lines, with the entrenched police brutally targeting tribal groups seen as allying with the oppo leader, and rioting groups forming in response, in some cases arming themselves.

The police are apparently particularly worthy of blame, shooting innocent people, burning children alive and the like.
Noor Adam begged police to spare his children as he lay bleeding from a bullet wound in front of his shop but they set fire to his store anyway, burning to death his 7-year-old daughter and teenage son inside.


Adam, a member of the Luhya tribe who have largely backed opposition leader Odinga, said he was sleeping in his shop with his daughter Saida and his 17-year-old son, Rashid, when the police from a different tribe arrived on Dec. 29.

"When I showed my ID, they said, 'He's from the Luhya community ... Shoot him,'" Adam said.

The police shot him in the leg, then turned their attention to his shop.

"I saw the police set the shop on fire. I told them I had children inside," said Adam who was being treated Saturday for an infected bullet wound at the Makina clinic in Nairobi's Kibera slum.

He said he couldn't bear to go back home to sift through the ashes for the bones of his children.

"I can never go back. I want to leave this country," he said, weeping. "They (police) are supposed to protect us."
Ahh, Democracy.

Don't expect to see a lot of coverage on your teevee, of course. This is occuring in one of those dark colored countries without oil. Instead, perhaps you'll get another series on the Evil Muslims Who Have All That Tasty Crude Oil That We Must Liberate For Purely Humanitarian Reasons.


Source: AP/Raw Story

They'll Do It Every Ye-Olde Time

Disney Does Something Right; Hell Freezes Over
So Disney World in Florida, it seems, has 98 separate full service restaurants. Only one of them is a formalwear required, five star joint, specializing in seven-course three hour meals starting at 125 bucks a pop.

People still, in spite of the dress code, tried to bring kids from time to time, so Disney has banned the anklebiters from the ultra formal restaurant.

They're getting some outrage over this from the lunatic fringe, of course.

Why is it a radical proposition to ban children from places they have no business being? Why must I put up with kids everywhere I go? In my movie theatre, at a play, at a nice restaurant, screaming, wailing, running and jumping around -- it's infuriating!

Many thanks to Disney for taking a stand.

Source: AZCentral
Hat Tip to Nidoking's own daily news.

Bush League Fakery

This one deserves its own special post.

Folks, Bush is officially trying to get us into a last-minute war with Iran. He's not even original enough to come up with a new excuse; he wants to reuse something from LBJ's Greatest Hits Collection:

(CNN) -- The U.S. military reported Monday on a "significant" confrontation involving five Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats that "harassed and provoked" three U.S. naval ships in international waters over the weekend.

U.S. military officials said the incident occurred early Sunday morning in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow shipping channel leading in and out of the Persian Gulf.

The five Iranian ships made "threatening" moves -- in one case coming within 200 yards of a U.S. ship, the U.S. officials said.

In one radio transmission, the Iranians told the U.S. Navy: "I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes," the U.S. military officials told CNN.

When the U.S. ships heard that radio transmission, they took up their gun positions and officers were "in the process" of giving the order to fire when the Iranians abruptly turned away, the U.S. officials said.

Firing on the ship of a sovereign nation is a cause for war, folks. Err, for them, not so much us. Random and completely undocumented radio transmissions, not so much.

Gulf of Tonkin Part Deux! Onward to Tehran!

God this is going to be a slaughter. We can't even handle Iraq, how they think we can do Iran at the same time is completely beyond me.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Insert Newsy Title Here

If you've ever wandered lonely through the woods..

Three Hour Tour
So some Russkie fishermen got 'lost', more like stranded, at a Russian military base after horrid weather during a fishing trip in October off the Kamchatka. They made their way to the base and survived off of old rations until some recently ventured out and found help.

Oddly, they still face charges, as technically they were fishing in military waters. Come on, guys, I think they learned their lesson. How about '3 months time served' and be done with it?

Source: Raw Story

Writer's Strike Progress
After Letterman's production company struck a deal with the WGA, it seems the floodgates may be creaking open. Now, what's left of United Artists, after it was converted into a vanity studio for Tom Cruise, is looking to cut a deal with the WGA, which would serve as a prototype for other studios. Supposedly the Weinstein Company and Lionsgate arelooking for a similar out.

I guess we can see who's going to win this one.

Source: The LA Times

Women In Refrigerators
So Gail Simone, famous for penning the 'Women in Refrigerators' rant, is now helming Wonder Woman. I'm a bit torn on this one. On the one hand, it's good to see someone who bitches about the comics industry step and try to help solve the problems, rather than just making a buck at the expense of the medium's flaws; on the other hand, having checked out their list of grievances for female comic characters, I'm a bit... underwhelmed.

Sure, women were treated badly for much of the history of American comics. Your point? How were minority characters treated during this time? Not terribly well, I can assure you. It was a big deal that Marvel, in the 80s, started having minority heroes on big teams. Marvel. You know, the least stodgy of the comic companies.

Besides, in their long list of things that female characters have suffered, they fail to note that the longest and greatest suffering hero of all is a male: Spiderman.

Let's see what I can think of, off the top of my head, without being by any means a Spidey scholar:

Spiderman: Gained powers through negligent science experiment; long-standing survivor's guilt; alcoholic; villains routinely target and kill his friends and family; best friend went insane, tried to kill him, died; wife routinely targeted; may be sterile due to spider-DNA; bones broken (countless times), eye gouged out, turned into spider-man-monster with 6 arms; violated and DNA used to make army of lame clones; clone took over life and relationship with mary jane; lost powers and ceded title to clone; violated mentally and physically by alien symbiote, which stole his memories and powers, conferred them to professional rival; endlessly humilated in work life by boss, who is rabid spiderman hater.

etc. etc. etc.

Face it, nobody, and I mean NOBODY, has taken it like Spiderman. He's the Christ of Comics; he suffers for the sins of the other heroes.

Sources: WIR Rant

Magic Typewriters, But Not Like Stephen King's Story
A frontpage Slashdot article, probably a paid one, links to two new word processors for writers, claiming to be the best thing since moveable type (not the blogging software, you sad nerds). One has every whizzy design feature under the sun; the other claims to remove distractions from you and your work by essentially turning your modern computer into a terminal from the good old days.

I guess different strokes, and so forth, but I'm not sure that your word processor is going to solve a lack of attention span. The words should come from your brain, and if they don't, then not much is going to help you. On the other hand, a comfortable writing environment...


Just musing, no conclusion here, let alone a point.

Sources: Whizzy Scrivener
Ultra Simple Writeroom

That Word Doesn't Mean What You Think It Does
So I sort of bought this Brandi Carlile CD, "My Story", thinking she did a song that I wanted that in the end was by someone else. No problem, it's a decent cd of its own. I particularly like the way the one song, 'Turpentine', that has been all over the radio, sounds.

Here's the thing though: part of the lyrics of said song really bugs me.

These days we go to waste like wine
That's turned to turpentine
Here's the problem: turpentine isn't made from wine. It comes from tree sap that's been fermented. When wine goes bad, it turns into vinegar.

Not turpentine.

Someone should have told her before they recorded this, I think. Surely another rhyme could have been worked out.

Sources: ME
Wikipedia on Turpentine
Wikipedia on Vinegar

Sunday Morning Stomachache News

Apple juice it soothes the pain...

I Just Hope It Doesn't Mean Another Costume Change
So the United Nations is teaming up with Marvel to do a comic promoting UN humanitarian efforts to children, starring Spiderman.

I've actually seen worse; I acquired for my brother in law a copy of a Target/Marvel comic to promote reading, when I worked at that hellstore. The plot involved traveling through time and reading hieroglypics, which were intrepreted as sequential art, thus proving that you had to have both literacy AND comics to defeat the villain and save the world.

Compared to that, this sounds positively restrained. Unless, of course, you get a new villain, Doc Republican, who tries to cut UN funding because he thinks that an army of black helicopters is going to invade his stately mansion, where he conducts illegal cloning experiments on puppies.

Hmm. I take it back; that could be entertaining, and couldn't be any worse than the original Spiderman Clone Saga..

Source: The BBC

Catholic Hospital Says Yes to Breast Implants, But Only for XX Women
Ok, long story short, a transgendered person wants to get breast implants. Their hospital says no, Catholic doctrine only allows us to give regular women breast implants. They're suing under a California law that prohibits religious discrimination in healthcare.

Honestly, it's about time. First we had to have an actual debate in Connecticut over making Catholic hospitals stock emergency contraception for rape victims, now this, and of course they still ban abortions and sterilization procedures. Why do we let any church dictate health policy in this country? If they want to help people by providing quality healthcare, fine, dandy; but they need to do it on reasonable, scientific terms, or they can pack up their game and go home to the Vatican already.

Source: PageOneQ

Fascism is What you Make of It?So, despite recent non-seller Liberal Fascism by that Doughiest of Pantloads, Jonah Goldberg, it seems that real world fascists remain stubbornly conservative. Sadly, No! highlights a recent ad by the Gathering of Eagles group, comparing anti-war protestors COde Pink to a lethal bacteriological strain, and noting how similar that was to certain Nazi propaganda tools... like....

The Jew will be identified! The same battle which Pasteur and Koch had to fight must be led by us today. Innumerable sicknesses have their origin in one bacillus: the Jew! Japan would also have got it had it been remained open any longer to the Jew. We will get well when we eliminate the Jews. --Good Old Liberal Adolf
Yeah, I think we win this one again, Jonah.

Source: Sadly, No!

This Had Better Not Stop Me From Getting Eureka 7 Vol. 11 On Time
There used to be defective runs of dvds like this all the time, but these days it's so rare it's actually newsworthy. A bunch of Bandai dvds for their January 8th release window have a very high rate of defect; reportedly as much as 10-25% a title being unplayable. That's a fairly astonishing quality assurance problem.

But like I said; this had better not stop me from getting Eureka 7 Vol. 11. I need to know what happens to *blank* when they get to *blank* after *blank* *blankity blank*

Spoilers removed for your convenience.

Source: Anime News Network