July 29, 2007

What The Hell Is Going On?!

My parents just told me about a video on You Tube that I hadn't seen yet.

There's also this follow up video, and this one as well.

Dogs and cats, living together; mass hysteria!

July 27, 2007


Alright Dr. Who nerds, you get a new comicbook.

July 26, 2007

A Quick Political Post

Anne Coulter doesn't buy Fox News' "fair and balanced" line either. Finally, something we can agree on.

In our continuing coverage of President Bush's approval rating woes, we see that not only are his favorables down dramatically, his disfavorables are up to nearly record highs. Now, I've always been a bit wary about the impeachment argument, but it'd be strange indeed if President Bush became the least liked president in the history of the nation and the issue wasn't even being discussed openly by Congress.

This Update From Ron Burgundy

The primary cast for Zack Snyder's Watchmen adaptation has been announced, and there are some interesting picks there. The fanboy response is, as is to be expected, mixed.

Jenna Jameson will star in a new comic book which. I'm sure it will be a masterpiece of sequential art.

Two teaser images from IDW. Is that Xander?

DC's going to be publishing a comic based on NBC's Heroes. I never followed the online comic during the first season of the show, but heard it complemented it rather well. Here's a question, whatever you think of this particular show's quality, would it be acceptable to produce a series which (mostly) required you to follow the story in two separate mediums? If a series did something like producing a comic which you wouldn't really understand without watching the TV series and vice versa, would it be fair to review those pieces separately? I seem to remember the X-Files TV series picked up on things from the movie, which might have been confusing if you only watched the series.

Adam Baldwin and James Marsters star as Superman and Lex Luthor, respectively, in the direct to DVD Superman/Doomsday, which was shown at San Diego. Though directed by Bruce Timm, I understand this doesn't take place in what is alternately known as the DC Animated Universe and the Timmverse, which began with Batman the Animated Series and concluded with Justice League Unlimited last year. Incidentally, as much as I like Baldwin, he seems like a really, shall we say, "serious" actor to work with. I can't remember if it was a commentary to an episode of "Firefly" or "Angel", but he's talked about getting upset when he feels people are goofing off too much on the set, which seems to be a somewhat low bar. Still, gotta respect a man that wants to work hard and produce good stuff.

Update: Tim Blake Nelson has been cast as The Leader in the upcoming The Incredible Hulk Not-Sequel. Rather the opposite of his character in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. So, any thoughts? Does he have the forehead for it? Link.

July 25, 2007

The Politics Of Harry Potter

I don't have time to come up with clever comments to this, but here is an interesting article on the politics of the wizardly epic, and here's a followup piece. Hopefully all you Potterians out there will start a vigorous discussion in the comments and then I might jump in with some thoughts.

The State Of American Healthcare

Ezra recommended I read this as a good article American healthcare, and now I recommend it to you.

Wow...Just, Wow: Revisited

So President Bush's approval rating is pretty abysmal overall and it probably wouldn't surprise you to find out that it's even lower with Democrats. Still, a recent poll has him at 1% approval. I didn't even think that was possible. Wow...


July 23, 2007

The Hell You Say!

I love my Xbox 360, but man, is this a funny bit of interview with Shane Kim, big wig in the Xbox Division of Microsoft. You can all come up with your own theories, but my guess is he was frozen a la Demolition Man and just got thawed out after two years. I'd be confused too.


So how many presidents has the country had since the beginning of 24? I haven't followed the show in a few seasons, but it seems like it's a lot and that all of them other than Palmer were ineffectual and/or jerks. Well chalk another one up since the new season will have a new, female, president. Given the political bent of the show I'm betting they find a way to make her somehow worse than the other executives.

On the other hand, the production of the show itself is going to be carbon-neutral, which evidently means the show is drafted into the liberal worldview. I guess some conservatives can't distinguish between the production of the show and the content.

Open Library

The Internet Archive and the Open Content Alliance, in cooperation with several coporate partners, has opened The Open Library for use. It's not complete yet, with some features still on hold until the official launch later this year, but it's complete enough that you can get a feel for what it might be like. It's not perfect, looking at first glance more like a pile of books on a table than an organized library, but the potential is there. Plus, I *love* the concept of the public domain and hate how hard people fight against it these days.

Also, this feeds into one of my grand theories; that in my lifetime digital text will eclipse print in usage. When people sit down to read a novel they will do so at a compter or, more likely, on some kind of wireless pad. Print will exist, but more as a novelty than as a legitimate form of media. Right now the technology is a bit raw and getting things digital means lots of tedious scanning, but eventually the scanning process will be largely completed and new works will be prepared digitally before they reach print, if they ever do. Hooray!

It's also worth pointing out that this isn't the first attempt at an online source of print. Google Book Search also lets you search the text of books and indeed includes non-public domain works that The Open Library doesn't. The difference seems to be a potential for differing goals. Google, though not by any accounts I've heard an evil scary corporation, is certainly a company interested in creating revenue streams. The Open Library is designed right from the start to be much more like a traditional library. The issue of copyrighted works aside, I think thinking of itself as a public resource rather than a business might result in a very different sort of site. Either way, there are indeed two online sources of books and hopefully the competition will make them better.


July 19, 2007

Blog Dump

After posting that bit on Stalin I realized I was just going to end up with several small little, "Go read Tapped" posts, so here's what I found intersting today:

Honestly, I would really like to meet several conservatives who buy into the argument that how much it costs to cut John Edwards' hair is a reasonable question to ask. At this point I'm just assuming that these people are all intellectually dishonest. I mean, it takes ten seconds to think it through and realize how ridiculous such questions are since you have to be rich to run for high public office. Source.

One of the things that's most frustrating about wingnuts like O'Reilly and Coulter beyond the extremely outrageous things they say (that dailykos is like Nazi or KKK websites, for example) is that they're more often than not founded on completely incorrect readings of the sources they cite. The posters on kos are simply not saying what O'Reilly says they're saying. Either he didn't read the whole posts or he's purposefully misleading people. I'll go with the second.

Weeeell, I really have to get some work done. I might add some updates to this later if I run across some other small posts.

Update: Ezra's got a great article on why Americans don't get more time off from work.

Bush vs. Stalin

A new poll has President Bush's approval rating at a dismal 19%, which is slightly better than half of Stalin's approval rating among Russians at 37%. Just so we're clear, that's 37% of Russians *today* who think the country was headed in the right direction under Uncle Joe. Whenever these numbers come out I remember that first season episode of West Wing when the staff is freaking out be because their poll numbers are in the *gasp* mid-40s. I don't think there's anything President Bush can do that will save presidency from being considered one of the worst, if not the absolute worst, in our history.

July 17, 2007

Two kinds of justice

Capitalist justice: An apple farmer sells his crop to the person who's willing and able to trade them for the most amount of money.

Actual justice: A community uses an apple orchard to feed itself.

Inspired by this exchange.

The Good Fight

Yeah, caving on the funding bill a few months ago was a pretty weak showing for the Dems, but it looks like they've learned their lesson. Let it be known, Republican Senators, even ones who don't think this war is going anywhere fast, are going to choose loyalty to the President over trying to end the war. This isn't a party, or at least it shouldn't be.

July 16, 2007

SiCKO Review

This movie is *so* frustrating I want to rip our my hair. I sit in the theater gripping the arm rest cup holder. I move from depression to rage and then just a bit of relaxing laughter before the cycle begins again. I leave nearly speechless; still mad, but mostly just shocked. This could describe both the experience I had watching the movie and the experiences I've had with most people talking about it. Like all of Moore's this is a profoundly compelling movie that is misunderstood by nearly everyone I talk to, even people who agree that there's something wrong with the American healthcare system.

First, let's talk about the movie. It's actually not nearly the funniest of his movies, mostly because, to me, it was the most depressing. I suppose that shouldn't surprise me. Bowling for Columbine was a rather small tragedy in comparison and the film was more about broader cultural themes. Fahrenheit 9/11 was certainly based around tragedy, but the focus was on how badly our leaders reacted and misled us. Not since Roger & Me has Moore really let the audience soak in the tragedy, hoping the sheer stupidity of the suffering would bring us to some action. In short, I love all his movies, but this one is even good by those standards.

Now let's move beyond the movie itself. Certain people don't like Michael Moore and make it their goal to tear him down anytime he puts something out. It's partly because he's truly liberal, partly because his movies and their crazy ideas usually do pretty well at the box office, and partly because he's fat and not quietly polite, like a good liberal should be. These people either through blind hate, deliberate deception, or simple ideologically informed ignorance set the memes for the discussion early. They infect the discourse by leading people away from the central messages of Moore's films, which are simultaneously more complex and more simple than these people want you to think. And, sadly, it works. Even people I've talked to that agree that American healthcare is pretty bad latch on to little bits which might not be true, small facets of the film which don't really matter, things about Moore that aren't the perfect picture of civility.

As Ezra says, this film is not about healthcare policy. He's not laying out a detailed map about where we should go to fix the system. He's not propping up a favorite candidate to champion this issue. The point he is making is that there is a lot of tragedy going on in America that's simply not happening elsewhere. Hell, screw elsewhere, there's a lot of tragedy going on in America and are we o.k. with it? Yeah, he doesn't spend time talking about the drawbacks of the French, English, Canadian, or Cuban systems. This movie runs two hours long. It's not a PBS seventeen part series. This is not, nor should it be considered, nor is it *meant* to be a complete discussion of dirty wonky healthcare policy. It doesn't tell us what kinds of COLAs we should be applying to paid leave or how we should make the move from HMO funded equipment in hospitals to government funded equipment, or if either of those should be done at all. This is a movie about emotions, about really taking a look at ourselves as a country that we do only too rarely.

It doesn't matter if other systems have problems that he doesn't discuss. By nearly every measure Americans are getting as good healthcare as other industrial nations for much higher costs, less good healthcare for much higher costs, or no healthcare at all. If you see the movie, take this away: America is a country founded on high ideals. Are we living up to them, and, if not, are we letting our pride keep us from seeing it?

Don't get bogged down picking at nits. This is big picture stuff here.

July 12, 2007

And I'm Back Too!

So yeah, I didn't announce my big vacation plans, but like Noumena I took some vacation time back on the good ol' West Coast. Saw the family and friends and all that, and I might post up some pics later on. In the meantime, the shadow of the formerly glorious E3 is going now and despite the smaller show there are some decently sized announcements.

First, EA has released the names of 15 tracks to be included in Rock Band. Here they are.

Also, the PS3 got a "price cut." I use to good ol' scare quotes because, as happens oh so often, the nerd fights are all ablaze about whether this actually counts as a price cut. See, last year Sony released two SKUs of PS3, the 20gb version for $499 and the 60gb version for $599. Now, Sony never intended the 20gb version to be the "real" system because they lost more money on it than the more expensive counterpart. To that end they never really produced many of those systems and eventually stopped producing it entirely. Then they decided to release an 80gb version, which they've now priced at $599 with the 60gb now at $499. I think both sides of the debate are, to an extent, right. The 60gb model is now $100 cheaper than it used to be. On the other hand, if I wanted to buy a PS3 last year, it would cost me at least $500. This year if I want a PS3 it will cost me at least $500. The cost of entry is the same, even if the purchase brings me a better product. To take the car buying analogy, some people go in to buy an Audi and buy one no matter what the price is. Most people, I should think, have a fixed budget; they'll buy the best car they can get for $20,000. It doesn't matter if the 2006 Audi has just received a price cut from $40,000 to $30,000, that person isn't buying an Audi. You can certainly characterize this as a price cut for the 60gb PS3, but for the majority of the buying public this is a meaningless price cut because it hasn't lowered the price of entry. I don't want to spend $500 for a gaming console so I'm not buying a PS3 until it just costs less, fancy new features or not.

As happens when I go away from the office, I'm pretty swamped right now, but hopefully I'll get some time to get back to posting regularly soon.

July 03, 2007

I Survived!

Made it through my sister's wedding in one piece. This most recent ceremony makes us 2 for 4 in the marriage department.

Those of us left need some serious help, though.

The majority of last week's down time was spent working on a song that is ever so slowly coming together. Been a good while since I've churned out anything I could call completed, so I hope to pin it down soon.

So... uh... how about that iPhone, huh? Neat, isn't it? There is a comprehensive review done by the perpetually helpful folks over at Engadget.

edited for clarity, linking, self-loathing