July 30, 2009

It Just Blows My Mind

A coworker today told me a story that I can't get out of my mind. The coworker's niece has a heroin addiction. She has private insurance. She tried to get into a 28-day inpatient treatment program. Her insurance provider responded that before they pay for an inpatient program, they'd like to see her fail a few times in an outpatient program. Fortunately she managed to harangue them into paying for her inpatient program, but they were willing to literally risk her life because inpatient programs are more expensive than outpatient programs.

Bill Maher's right: the profit motive has ruined our health care system. If you ever needed convincing that our system needs to be reformed, there it is.

July 29, 2009

Wizard World '09

Finally, towards the end of the last day we found him: Fanny Pack Spider-Man. The years haven't been good to FP Spidey. You can see the gut and the fraying mask. And he kinda smelled a little. Damn it all though, he soldiers on, year after year, and year after year we'll find him and take his picture!

And that's it! Wizard World '09! We'll see you in a year Fanny Pack Spidey! Make sure Lou Ferrigno has enough blankets in the rafters or he'll catch cold.


Wizard World '09

Max Brooks, son of Mel and leader of all Zombiephiles, led a one hour discussion group on making your plans for when the zombie apocalypse comes. Yes, Wizard World is an amazing place where miracles happen. On the other hand, Max seemed kind of pissed off to be there.

Oh, but I did ask a question which led to me becoming a running gag for through the discussion. That was almost as cool as being yelled at by Bruce Campbell.

Wizard World '09

The Baroness is right not to trust a picture with Jay. You might not know this, but as you can see here, she's quite the photog. Even terrorist leaders have hobbies.

Wizard World '09


Wizard World '09

I have no idea who this magnificent bastard on the right is supposed to be, but it's one of my favorite costumes of the con. I mean, is that some kind of pick axe in his belt? Intriguing!

Wizard World '09

I have to say, in the ranking of "sexy outfits a lady could surprise me with", Harley Quinn is right up there. And yes, the top five, though I can't say I've ever taken the time to make it, is almost certainly all nerd-related.

You can tell that Joker here is really serious about his evil deeds because he rolled up his sleeves. He means business, and business is...um...bad?

Wizard World '09

Iron Fist is about to break his left wrist, assuming he's preparing to punch something.

I really wonder what the relationship between these two is. Are they father and son? That'd be pretty cool. Spring-Autumn friends that met at a Gamesworkshop over Warhammer 40k? Creepy.

July 28, 2009

Wizard World '09

"Do these shorts make me look fat?"

Also, Philly is a terrible place for parking an invisible jet.

Wizard World '09

Chewbaca gives a stirring speech on abolition on Kashyyyk. What a wookie.

Also, three "y"s? Really George Lucas? Really?

Wizard World '09

Army of Two is the most violently homoerotic game of all time. At least the one guy is Wrist Strong.

Wizard World '09

I've always wondered if the class struggle writ large ever played out between guys like Two-Face and Scarecrow (a former lawyer and psychologist, respectively) and some of the more blue collar guys in Batman's rogues gallery, say, Clayface or Killer Croc.

Wizard World '09

The crew of the Galactica, caught by surprise by a Cylon audience, engage the table's FTL.

Wizard World '09

Who knows what evil lurks within the hearts of men? Carlos, the Fightin' Plaintain!

Wizard World '09

"Rahble rahble rahble!"

July 23, 2009

Yeah, Socialism Sucks!

The government can fix my roads, but healthcare should be about me, my doctor, a variety of specialists and technicians, a hospital administrator, and my insurance company! The free market works! Link.

Hat tip over to MattY.

Wizard World '09

Friend 1: "Man, I'm going to be the new Bucky Captain America! It's going to be awesome!"

Friend 2: "Oh yeah? I'm going to be Deadpool, and it's going to be totally awesome despite X-Men Origins: Wolverine!"

Friend 3: "Well I'm going to be Banshee, and it's going to be...a costume!"

I have to say though, while the Cap and 'Pool costumes are totally awesome (somehow I think that's what 'Pool would actually look like in real life), I've always had a soft spot for Banshee. I have a soft spot for lots of characters that never get any respect. Like Cyclops. He's the X-Men's leader! That's cool!

Wizard World '09

So a big black guy walks past us at Wizard World with a yellow shirt, jeans, and a chain belt and we say, "Was that guy supposed to be Luke Cage? He doesn't look really dressed up, but he'd be a bad ass Luke Cage."

Five minutes later he walked past us again, this time having gotten a silver tiara painted on his head. Result!

I think Chris here is *this close* to being Danny Rand. He's also *this close* to hugging Luke Cage and getting his ass broken in two.

Wizard World '09

Is this guy the medic for a bank robbery team? A stylish safe cracker? A medical ninja? Your guess is as good as mine.

Wizard World '09

There's an orb joke in here somewhere, BUT THIS IS A CLASSY SITE!

I think she's Evil Lynn from Masters of the Universe, but I'm not 100% on that.

Wizard World '09

Ed falls for the siren song of Commerce Batgirl. She draws nerds in for a picture and then sells them the various wares stashed in her utility belt...well, it's somewhere in there.

July 22, 2009

President Obama's Preser

It's a sad comment on our public discourse that the talking heads that I saw on both Fox News and MSNBC talked about how this wasn't a great press conference because there wasn't some big new announcement or position taken. President Obama spoke eruditely on the issue of healthcare reform and made some great points. He didn't detail a plan because he doesn't have a plan of his own. There are several bills working their way through Congress and they're all different. Bill O'Reilly was, unsurprisingly, particularly annoying in this respect.

So he was good, and he was interesting, and he was smart. I call that a win.

July 21, 2009

Lily Allen

I've listened to most of the tracks on Lily Allen's album "It's Not Me, It's You" and I have to say...I like it. It's definitely light, pop music, which isn't my usual fair, but it's really damn catchy. Plus her lyrics are kind of funny and she's got a great British accent. So am I crazy or do other people like this over their most snobby impulses?

Wizard World '09

"Who ya gonna call?"

"Some other guys!"

Seriously, do any of those guys look like they have doctorates in anything relating to ghosts or nuclear physics? Ah, I get it! They're the Ghostbusters franchise from Wichita, where the only ghost is small scale agriculture.

Wizard World '09

"SHOOT HIM!" Ben said.

Wizard World '09

Rogue makes a return appearance! It's a good thing she's got all that spandex or she'd be flooded with Ed's memories. Trust me sister, you don't want to go on that ride.

Wizard World '09

Ed does not approve of alien suit Spidey! Well, maybe it's "Black Cat made me a black suit" Spidey, who appeared after he ditched the symbiote but his superhero girlfriend liked him in black. That seems way more lame than "I got this black alien symbiotic suit on an alien world called Battleworld."

Wizard World '09

Ah, obscure without being made up. Nice. In case you're wondering, I'm attempting to cloud men's minds.

July 19, 2009


There are plenty of interesting points to be made about the tension between agnosticism and atheism. Ultimately, I think Mr. Appel and I probably agree more than we disagree. Still, the passage that he quotes from Pope Benedict really irritates me. It assumes a false dichotomy between God not existing and the Roman Catholic conception of God. He offhandedly mentions the choice to live life as if God exists, but even if you narrow the field to Christian sects it'd be pretty hard to determine what is acceptable behavior in God's eyes. That uncertainty is one of the prime arguments that are made for agnosticism. It's that kind of straw man crap that instantly makes me think the person's not arguing in good faith. Link.

July 18, 2009

Jon Cohn On Fresh Air

My usual dislike for Fresh Air aside, this is a really great primer for healthcare reform if you find yourself a little confused about all the players. Link.

Hat tip, Ezra.

July 17, 2009

Wizard World '09

Ugh, bad, blurry picture taking Ben! Still, props to the woman appearing as Jubilee! One of the Marvel characters most associated with the 90s, Jubilee is also of of a small few Asian-American characters in comics, that is to say, a character who is Asian and not a ninja.

Wizard World '09

Another picture with the realest Thor I've ever seen. In this picture you can see his belt better. See that thick metal hoop by his right arm? That's because this hammer was seriously heavy.

Ed proves himself to be a true hero by being able to lift Mjolner, though he can clearly only do it with two arms, so maybe half a hero.

Wizard World '09

There were a couple Thors at Wizard World, but this guy was easily the best. Look at that hat! And that hammer was over 40 pounds of real metal! You heard that right, this lugged a huge chunk of metal around because it looked cooler than a fake plastic thing. Commitment!

Wizard World '09

This was probably the most popular costumed person at the con, with lots of pictures. I believe she also appeared in either the Philadelphia Inquirer or the South Jersey Courier Post. She also had a three year old with her that seemed to really want to be in the pictures.

July 16, 2009

Wizard World '09

Was Ed thinking we'd be confused as to who was the Imperial Guard in the picture? If you are confused, it's the fellow in red.

You know, somebody must have spent a pretty decent amount of time designing the Imperial Guard, only for us to only ever see them enter or leave a room. That must be the job that really good Storm Troopers get to ride out the last few years before they get their pension.

Wizard World '09

Like the Spaceballs, the best parts of conventions are seeing the people that go for pretty obscure characters. This guy here is Ragdoll II, from DC's Villain's United and Secret Six miniseries.

It's also always tough to come up with something to do while having your picture taken with someone in costume. Jay and Ed seem to like showing approval or disapproval. I seem to go for some kind of action shot with the person. It's weird.

Wizard World '09

One of these kids is not like the others. One of these kids is doing his own thing.

But seriously, with all the huge amounts of Star Wars nerdity at cons (Wizard World has had a light saber fighting/training area every year that I've been there), I've never seen anything from Spaceballs. I was genuinely thrilled when I saw these guys.

Wizard World '09

Boba Fett's are almost as ubiquitous at a convention as Storm Troopers and Jedi, mostly because you have been able to get really high quality replica helmets for years.

Here, it looks like Jay supports bounty hunting, but what is he doing with his other hand?

July 15, 2009


Look, I Love Lucy was a great show and I'm as likely as the next guy to drop a "Babalooo!" from time to time. But come on, Senator Tom Coburn! Do you really think it's appropriate to say "You've got some 'splaining to do" to the first latina nominee to the Supreme Court?! Who are these people and how do they keep getting away with this crap? Link.

Wizard World '09

Ok, this guy looks enough like Blade that he might actually patrol the streets of Philly looking for vampires at night. If you're especially pale you might want to reconsider you evening plans.

The other guy...I don't know. BUT LOOK AT THAT POSE! DYNAMIC!

Wizard World '09

This guy is exactly why I'll never go to a con wearing a costume. In order to really be awesome, as he clearly is, you either have to sink a ton of money or time into a costume. Probably both. I mean, that gun probably works! I'm assuming.

Wizard World '09

This is Marina Sirtis' booth. She wasn't there because she, her mother, and boyfriend had been abducted by damn dirty Ferengis.

I've mentioned it before, but I'm pretty sure Lou Ferigno lives in the rafters of the Philadelphia Convention Center as some kind of Phantom of the Convention because he's always there.

Wizard World '09

I appear inappropriately excited to see Link, considering that I'm pretty sure that I've never actually finished a Zelda game. I came pretty close to finishing A Link To The Past on the SNES, but I never owned it so all my play time was in rentals, which makes beating any game difficult.

No, Ed was not stoned. I don't think...

July 13, 2009

The New Hottness

Auto-tuning the news. Link 1. Link 2.

Update: There are lots of other auto-tuned videos, but I must say I'm partial to MLK's "I Have A Dream". Link.

Wizard World '09

The Question. He, like several other Charlton Comics characters, was the basis for a character in Alan Moore's Watchmen; in this case Rorschach.

Actually, the Vic Sage Question recently died in the comics (cancer) and was replaced by a female version (Renee Montoya, who was created for the Batman Animated series from the 90s). I'm pretty sure this was a lady in the costume, so maybe she was going for that.

Wizard World '09

So that's why Black Manta is always bothering Aquaman. Phantom Six told him to.

Wizard World '09

When you're a Storm Trooper, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 must seem pretty small potatoes. On the other hand, these guys can't hit the broad side of a sand crawler, so I'm not so sure I want him in my multiplayer clan.

Wizard World '09

Here's K.I.T.T., though they didn't have the Mr. Feeny voice on.

And for those that don't know, K.I.T.T. stands for Knight Industries Two-Thousand. Yup, like Batman, Michael Knight has a multi-national company behind him. Why does he drive around in a car? Because the company has an officially funded and supported vigilante division. I guess that's better than Wal-Mart, but it's still pretty crazy.

Wizard World '09

I wish I could use "Because I'm holding a thermal detonator" in more situations without getting arrested.

July 11, 2009


So, I don't live in the U.K., so there's no way I could have seen the new Torchwood miniseries. But let's just say I heard that it's both fantastic and heavy as shit. Everyone should watch it...when it's aired on BBC America.

July 09, 2009

Meet Q

We got a new kitten tonight. The fiancee thought our 2 year old cat "needed a friend." I thought that was crap, but whatever. So meet Q.

July 08, 2009

Transformers 2 F.A.Q.

Ok, as my review tried to establish, Transformers 2 isn't a good movie, but I thought it was kind of fun. In fact, though there are certainly better examples, I occasionally really like movies that are fun when I'm watching them but can also laugh at their absurdities later. And here is a hilarious F.A.Q. on Transformers 2 that puts it in just such a category. I might disagree with some of the points on substance (I don't think the movie is nearly as confusing as people both here and elsewhere seem to think it is) but it doesn't matter because his points work great for humor. Link.

Hat tip to Ezra for the find.

Update: Eh, Transformers, G.I. Joe, same difference. Here's a video of the most ridiculous escapes in the G.I. Joe cartoon. Link.

Update the Second: Ok, there's no real link to 80s cartoons with this one, but I did get this link from Ezra and I'm too lazy to do another post. The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. Link.

July 05, 2009

Review: Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen

In short: Meh.

Look, let's be honest. The original Transformers TV show and feature film are pretty crappy. Sure, they're awesome and I'll love them my whole life, but the plots were thin, the characterizations almost non-existent, and there's a thin...ok thick layer of cheesiness that's just slathered all over. But hey, it's robots that turn into other things and then back and then they fight. That's still pretty cool.

So, does Revenge Of The Fallen take the series to new levels of depth? No. Not even close. This is a movie where robots turn into other things and then back and then they fight. If you're down for that then you won't be disappointed. Would I some day like to see a really serious take on the Transformer concept, where they fought over something more metaphysical than energon and where they managed to elicit an emotion from the audience other than whatever emotion accompanies big explosions? Sure. That'd be great. On the other hand, based on the box office returns, I think I'm probably in the minority for wanting to see Transformers: Field Of Robot Dreams.

Any way, what I kept thinking as I watched the movie, however, was that this movie isn't nearly as confusing as I had heard. Yes, there are times when you might not be able to name the robots that are fighting, but most of the time it's because one of the robots doesn't have a name. Do people complain that you don't know who's getting shot in a battle scene in a war movie? No, in any battle scene there's going to be some generic fodder characters and there are indeed some here. But otherwise I really didn't have a hard time figuring out what was going on.

At the end of the day, this is a big summer blockbuster about robots fighting. If you can't sign on for that, then why complain when that's what the movie presents?

I Didn't Do It

Ezra's got a good post about people blaming the lack of speed or the quality of reform on Obama rather than the Legislature. Link.

Wizard World '09

Frequently at Wizard World, you'll run across someone who's clearly into it. They love the convention, they love the people, they love the source material, and they love the attention, so they make a very elaborate and super cool costume. Then you have their friends, who love the attention.

Here we have the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick. Not the custom Mercury's Helmet. No small feat, friend. Then you've got his friend here, who's, uh, a guy in a coat? Don't punch me Coat-Man! Just continue to bleed attention off your more industrious friend!

Wizard World '09

Ah, a cool Beaker and...and...and...people with me actually said the other guy was supposed to be Bunsen Honeydew. ORLY?! Let's look at the evidence: glasses, camera, satchel with a Spidey mask hanging out. Does that scream Bunsen Honeydew? NO SIR, IT DOES NOT!

Wizard World '09

This woman is an example of a certain type of Wizard World costume-wearer: SHE'S A LIAR! Wizard World is a place of happiness and wonder, but also commerce. And many of business people there have studied the nerds long enough to figure out that people in costumes get attention, especially pretty women. So this lady's job was to just walk around in her low-cut top, with a bat symbol all up on her boobs and then try to convince people to go to some leather working booth. I don't know, I didn't really need anything leather.

Wizard World '09

Ah, Wizard World. The happiest weekend of the year! It's like Christmas and Captain Picard Day rolled up into one! So, over the next however-long-it-takes-me, I'm going to be posting pictures that I took from our days at the 'con. Hopefully I'll think of interesting things to add to them.

Here, we have female Hush and Riddler. The Riddler must have come here after work, because you wouldn't want to rob a bank with a loosened tie. What would people think?!

Also, Jay's head!

July 04, 2009

Hot Off The Presses

Did you know you can read the script for the unmade full length feature film Grayson (likely to remain the best trailer ever)? It's true! Link.