Wednesday, September 29, 2004

PERMANENT STUDENT: One of my less pressing fears (I don't sweat it too much) is being the permanent student. Accumulating a procession of credits and degrees while never quite stringing them into a career. I may be more process-oriented than goal-oriented. Hey--that's a pseudoscientific distinction I just made up. I am the John Gray of my generation. Unless somebody else made that up and I just remembered.

Anyway--process-oriented. Appreciating the journey more than the destination. That's another cliche.

But being more comfortable with the way things happen than the way they wind up. That's not very clear, but something that's the opposite of "goal-oriented" without a negative meaning and isn't men-Mars-women-Venus squishy crappy. Which makes me think academics may be more up my alley.

And there's a weird colloquialism, so three strikes and this post is out. But--in conclusion--there are a variety of things that can be done with a medical degree, academics being one of them.

Monday, September 27, 2004

LET'S JUST GET THIS OUT IN THE OPEN: That Texas quarter looks like a boardwalk token. Or a Parkway token. If you're not from Jersey, you won't know exactly what I mean; think Chuck E Cheese currency. But it doesn't look like real currency.
A WEEK BEFORE THE CHAMBER OF HORRORS WEEK: Check out the actual Chamber of Horrors Week:

10/5: Histology Exam #1
10/5: Genetics Exam #1
10/7: Biochem Exam #1
10/7: Microbiology Exam #1

Wherein it is determined whether or not 15 credits plus full-time job is doable. If I take the W in anything, it is Biochem, which only a few schools are interested in seeing on my transcript (Keck, I am looking in your direction.) Plus our professor for the class sent out an e-mail tonight letting us know how bad we all did on the first quiz. And he posted the answers on the web and included a note saying how important it is to do well on your first quiz, since it is your professor's first impression of you and can make the difference as far as giving the benefit of the doubt in grading, and we shoud keep this in mind for future classes but not for his because it was already too late for most of us. Thanks, teach! Thanks for the...inspiration...

Anyway. Genetics is the one I really need to graduate. The others are med school prep. Not to minimize that or anything, but when time is short, a heirarchy of priorities tends to emerge. Yes it does.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

CRITICISM ON INFINITE BLOGS: Some really great commentary over at Howling Curmudgeons on the once-in-a-lifetime series that was Crisis On Infinite Earths. I say "once-in-a-lifetime" because no matter how many times a bunch of superheroes team up to save the universe, only once did it happen that forty years of continuity was destroyed in the process. And continuity that evolved in a sort-of natural way, guided by forty years of editiorial decisions:

Meanwhile, National Periodicals had begun in the thirties and forties with a divided editorial approach: there was no Stan Lee who was in overall control: the Superman books did not coordinate with the Justice Society books, for example. (This lack of inter-company unity is one of the reasons that Superman and Batman weren't part of the original Justice Society comics that were published in the 1940's, as those were under the aegis of the All-American Comics editorial staff.) Long after this concrete division between All-American Comics and the Superman offices ceased to exist, Mort Weisinger rang the Superman books like a private fiefdom: instead of the deliberate creation of a continuous setting like that which Marvel had, DC comics instead had to constantly explain the disconnected setting created by this division, with two surviving cities of Atlantis underwater (one the home of Aquaman and the other where Superman's mermaid girlfriend Lori Lemaris came from) as just one example. Eventually, as Mort took his hands off the reins and Julie Schwartz took over the Superman office, the DC comics universe was created out of the until-then disparate editorial offices.

You should read that post and this one; read the commentators as well. There are actual Roy Thomas defenders there, and he was a guy who I always understood as this weird continuity obsessive. But I think that may have been unfair; here's the David Fiore comment that's got me thinking:

Thomas (like Gruenwald and Stern, and maybe Englehart) possesses (possessed?) the wonderful ability to obssess upon "what has come before" without coming off as merely nostalgic... What I'm saying, I guess, is that it always feels like there's more than just a passion for connecting the dots motivating this guy. He seizes upon "gaps" in past continuity as opportunities--he doesn't treat them as errors/problems that must be soldered/reified into bright hard spinning objects before the "faithful" awake from their hypnotic slumber...

In that sense, I kind of think that the whole DC Universe, pre-Crisis, was a gift DC editorial didn't appreciate. It was a total mess. It didn't have the streamlined cool of the single Marvel Universe (though there were alternate Earths in Marvel too, like where the Squadron Supreme lived.) But it was honestly created, and reflected years of fictional history and the economic/publishing history that led to it (the early editiorial splits in the 40s, the Captain Marvel lawsuit that led (I think) to DC's possession of the Fawcett characters, the Charlton and Quality characters they picked up. I have no idea why Marvel never bought any defunct companies. They did buy Malibu and then closed it down; I don't know if they brought that particular universe to a close or not.) It was irreplaceable, actually, and once DC killed it their universe became a lot less interesting. In a playful, childlike way, anyway; I can't tell you how neat it was to be like eight years old and thinking about two Aquamen, for example. The arguments at Curmudgeons suggest that DC kind of threw the baby out with the bathwater in Crisis, sacrificing the DC universe's uniqueness in the name of making it all more sensible. There was probably some Marvel envy in there as well, which--in retrospect--was completely unnecessary.

For reasons like the above I have become a Crisis skeptic in recent years. When it first came out I thought it was the greatest thing ever. But it ended up doing more harm than good, as DC didn't enforce its own rules about what happened at the end of Crisis--many unverses becoming one and only the heroes remembering. Everyone forgot it. Characters underwent multiple reboots. Continuity became joke-like, and it makes it hard for me to read--say--current Superman stories, knowing there is no link back to Weisinger era, or the Earth 2 era, or any other part of Superman's development like there used to be.

We did get the JLI, though, which was their attempt to cobble together a league from the five important alternate Earths plus a new character from Crisis (Dr. Light) and the first post-Crisis DC hero (Booster Gold.) But there were gentler ways of making continuity simpler (if that was the goal); but they didn't want that--they wanted the DC Universe Will Never Be The Same and that's what they got.

I'm also a Crisis skeptic because of accessibility issues. Would anyone but a comics fan appreciate Uncle Sam--the Quality comic book character based on the guy on the poster--soliloquizing on a floating asteroid? Rip Hunter popping up in odd places? The death of the Earth-2 Robin and Huntress? Only a comics fan knows what these things mean. You could enjoy it as a non-fan, but knowing where all these people are coming from--well, it makes it more meaningful. That's my point.

By the way, I can't believe DC published the original Who's Who as the same time as Crisis, seeing as it was a catalog of the universe(s) they were about to destroy. I guess they felt they could make a series out of all the research they did for Crisis.

Friday, September 24, 2004

THAT JUICY FRUIT AD: One of the more long-running areas of interest we've talked about around here is the art form of television commercials. We--I take the standard libertarianism-applied-to-culture view that commercials are tiny, legit narratives that often take more chances than big budget Hollywood pictures. Or maybe this is the Pagliaist view--I can't remember if I got it from her or from Reason. Anyway.

So this is the way we look at commericals around here and we have this Juicy Fruit ad. Apparently they've coated Juicy Fruit with a sugar coating and put under plastic and foil, a packaing style that used to reserved for things like Clorets. They're pushing it with this ad:

Scene: A pool. "Realistic" lighting if you know what I mean, nothing gleaming or polished and made-for-tv. "Realistic" people, too; no unnaturally satisfied looks on their faces as in every McDonald's ad.

It's CPR training day at the pool. This one sullen kid--white, male, longish straggly blakc hair--gets called forward to the CPR. He's chewing Juicy Fruit, but it doesn't make him look happy to be blowing in the training dummy's mouth. The dummy is male, and this is no important than any other detail in this ad. It's the overall weirdness of it.

So he's breathing in with his Juicy Fruit-spiked breath and the dummy comes to life. He stumbles to life and stumbles out of the pool to the shock of the onlookers. The kid at some point gets out, "He's got my Juicy Fruit." And the next shot is of the dummy hiding in the hallway from the kid. He has the product in his hand at that point, the package, but I didn't see when or where he got it. The subtext is, he has stolen ABC Juicy Fruit from the kid's very mouth. If this is not what happened--if the kid tossed his gum out and I keep missing it--I apologize.

Did I mention the dummy hits the door on the way out and his arm falls off? That happens too.

The dummy runs out the front of the high school, goes out of sight behind some bushes and a wall or something, and emerges back into view riding a bike. Being one-armed and a dummy, his driving skills are limited and he runs right into a parked car (a tiny older Ford Escort sort of thing; its alarm goes off) and falling to the ground. At this point the kid tracks the dummy down, and pulls his other arm off while wresting his Juicy Fruit back. A look of annoyance crosses his features as he drops the arm and turns away.

The setting is one of suburban squalor. Juicy Fruit does not remove the squalor, but it does make it more livable, apparently, as the kid will fight to get it back. Juicy Fruit is also capable of bestowing a transient life upon a dummy, but cannot make the dummy physically more stable (i.e., his arms fall off) or make him more coordinated or anything but a dummy.

So buy Juicy Fruit. I have no theory about the gum-swapping. It's a weird little narrative.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

WHAT WAS THE MATRIX?: I have yet to see any in-depth article about how the Matrix went from completely fascinating to entertaining poo in a matter of three movies. Was it the trans-gender Wachowski's attempt to make his own life a form of art sapping the life of his movies, and turning it into a big ol' undergound shoot 'em up? There has to be something. Star Wars started great, got greater, and then descended into entertaining poo and then utter poo, but this can all be chalked up to George Lucas' limits as a filmmaker. The Matrix started superhigh, got lower, and then sunk some more. Perhaps this was also due to filmmakers' limits, but nobody's really advanced a theory yet that I've read.

Biochem quiz tomorrow. I'm getting some sleep.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


The Hulk: This one went a little too far off the true-to-source reservation. And it's a delicate thing, adapting a comic book to the screen--you don't want to mess with it too much. Spider-Man did just enough messing-about, making his origin more contemporary (due to genetic manipulation and not radioactivity) and condensing his powers (sticking the webs into his arms and not making him a genius chemist who becomes a photographer.) X-Men did hardly any messing about and the X-Men movies really rule. But Hulk--they really blew up the father-son aspect of the Hulk, which was always pretty minimal in the comics (or at least it was when I was a Hulk fan. God knows I haven't plowed through every issue Peter David ever wrote.) The Hulk was supposed to transcend simple Freudianism and be something more primal; the green-skinned guy really was the beast within.

In the movie they throw a sop to the comics fans by having him say "Puny human" to Banner in Banner's dream but that just gives the game away, that Ang Lee couldn't find enough in the Hulk story to let it just be as intended. And there's no Leader and no Abomination and they made Nick Nolte both Banner's father and the Absorbing Man. So your Ang Lee's Hulk is Hulk vs. the Absorbing Man if the Absorbing Man was his dad. This sort of free 'n' easy mixing up of the source material just leads to a less consequential movie.

American Splendor: I knew every line of this movie (at least the staged parts) before seeing it, due to me being a Pekar geek. I need more digestion with this one. And viewing when I don't just have it on in the background.

Shaolin Soccer: Now THIS freaking ruled. Down and out Shaolin monks band together to form a soccer team and win the Chinese national cup. The final match was the greatest thing ever. They stuck in a bunch of special effects but it looked really good; it actually looked like some of the over-the-top Chinese comics (anyone remember Jademan Comics? Force of Buddha's Palm? Other less memorable titles?) with guys shooting balls of lightning and jumping thirty feet in the air and everything. I guess technology is getting to the point where all kinds of things can happen to the big screen that could previously only be imagined in a comic book, and that includes the Chinese big screen as well.

Monday, September 20, 2004

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED: You know what is about it? Or one aspect of it? It's what I thought Challenge of the Superfriends was when I watched it when I was much much younger. Or it's what I wanted it to be. Not that Challenge was ever particularly good. Watching it today, it's hard to argue it was anything but bad. Much better than the assembled crap of the Hanna-Barbera anti-pantheon, but still not very good. Paper-thin plots--well, JLU might have that too, actually. Interchangeable characters. Absurd crimes, like the Legion of Doom taking over the world and then robbing all the banks. I mean--you rule the world. Money isn't worth the paper it's printed on, but you're carting it off by the wheelbarrow, Legion of Doom. You make no sense.

But it had a million characters that I knew from the comics so it was good. I always hoped for it to come on, and not the Wonder Twins version, or the completely unwatchable Wendy & Marvin version. (They must've all been part of the same syndication package.) Now we have this JLU thing which takes the Justice League cartoons to the next level--much like how Challenge took Superfriends to the next level. The levels were just much lower at the time.

Let me just stress this again: the characterization is absolutely spot-on in JLU. In "The Return" Ray Palmer is as competent and dry-witted as a guy in a blue suit who can shrink himself real tiny can be. Lex is a jackass at the exact moment of his victory. It's the little things like this that separate JLU from Challenge, showing how much the genre has grown. And animation in general. I can only imagine how low the standards were that Hanna-Barbera could've been an industry powerhouse as long as it was. And since Turner bought their library, those cartoons will be on in perpetuity.

Don't blame me. I watched Voltron.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

MIDWESTERN COLLEGES OF MEDICINE THAT VEX ME: With the questions on their supplementary applications. So I put them off and become dangerously close to their due dates.

A certain large public university in a certain city where Lee Iacocca may have set foot in a few times wants to know the extent of my multicultural experiences. My answer should be something like, I've worked in Camden, New Jersey for the past seven years. Your move, sparky. But something that simple is probably not what they're looking for. I think it's just scare off the cornfed heartland types who have never seen someone with a high melanin content in their lives, so--so I won't sweat it.

A certain Catholic university in a certain megalopolis wishes to know my whole friggin' life story, though they are nice about it, offering me the chance to say "Please refer to my AMCAS essay" if I feel their questions are repetitive. But they have asked questions, and I will make an honest attempt at them.

So I will get these out Monday if I want to be considered by these places. And I do.

Moving on: JLU was once again great tonight--we haven't had a clunker of an episode yet. Geek orgasm fodder was provided by about twenty cameos, including the classic Green Lantern Corps. They continue to do an excellent job of animating the shared universe of about thirty years of DC comics. I'm starting to think I'm enough of a superhero fan that I would've enjoyed it even if I didn't get every little geeky reference--and actually there were a few that escaped me this episode and I still enjoyed it. It's just the inherent appeal of superpowers.

Thursday, September 16, 2004


I'm worried about a string of "Hey, this post sucks" posts. Not worried enough to do something about it at this moment. I just hope my Will To Blog isn't constantly drained by this semester's drag.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

GABBA GABBA HEY: I got homework to do:

--The biochem chapters I haven't read
--The genetics lab exercise in coin-flipping---literally; I walked into lab inexcusably late and it was tables of kids flipping coins as an exercise in applied probability. I had to get back to work.
--The genetics chapter to outline.
--The Netflix flicks to watch. Not homework actually, but I am sick of not knowing any movies. My cultural literacy has gone right in the hopper.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

WHOOPSIE: Missed a day there. Will have to post twice--twice--in one day at some future point to get the postrate back up.

In order to get Fred Dorfenstein off my back, I would like to announce that Canada beat Finland 3-2 in the finale of the World Cup of hockey. It's the last hockey Fred or anyone else will watch for a while, unless somebody puts the new WHA on the tv.

Diana Moon thinks Bush is still on the sauce. I just thought he was just well practiced at being down-home and aw-shucksy, but the sweet booze is also likely.

If the forgeries really are forgeries, I still think it's a Rovian trick since it is Bush voters who have the most invested in Bush's National Guard service, and who would get the most out of Dan Rather being taken for a fool.

Russia ended its experiment with democracy today in the name of combatting terrorism. Well, crap.

"Well, crap" is the limit of my analytical powers tonight.

Monday, September 13, 2004

OH MAN: The first glorious NFL Sunday of the new season. I had it on in the background at work on the little black and white tv. Some things did please me:

--The Roethlisberger team won.

--The Eli Manning team lost.

--The Lions won in what looked to be a crazy game from the highlights.

Other things were just interesting, like the Joe Gibbs Redskins starting off with a bang, the Browns beating the Ravens, the Testaverde-led Cowboys going down like you knew they would. Because of my nutty work/school schedule, I'm not going to get to enjoy this season in any kind of DirecTV Sunday-obsessive kind of way. But at least there's broadcast NFL, proof the No Fun League hasn't sold out the common man quite yet.

Switching tracks: My current opinion is that the documents are, in fact, for real. I mean, why hasn't the White House bothered to deny them yet? There's no way to tell if they're fake or not. Or if the copies are copies of fakes or not. I think it's more of the "shore up the base" stuff, because people who are against Bush already know he was a crappy national guardsman. Those famous swing voters aren't going to swing over whether these documents are forgeries or not. No, the only people whose opinion could possibly be changed by these documents being exposed as being for real are the people who are on Bush's side who were very willing to trash Kerry over the severity of one (I think) of his Purple Hearts but would be feeling intensely hypocritical if their boy was exposed as an actual duty-shirker, in writing, because their support for him is somewhat tenuous as it is.

So--taking as my axiom "Who gains if they are forgeries?" and being convinced that there is no irrefutable evidence to suggest they are forgeries, I, Justin Slotman, have concluded that they are real actual copies of military documents. Read my words and tremble, ye Internet.

And now I return to mundane life, where I cannot wield a keyboard like I can in cyberland. Oh! The sad life of a blogger, Peter Parker most of the time, and Spider-Man only a few posts a day. But that spider-sense--man, it never stops tingling. It. Never. Stops. Tingling. MJ--MJ--rub my feet, MJ.....

Saturday, September 11, 2004

WATCHED SOME TELEVISION TODAY: And, as it happens, I also have a blog.

The Batman: The Time-Warner mass-mind's latest Batman cartoon debuted today, on Saturday morning and everything. Unlike Batman: The Animated Series and every DC show that followed it, it does not have the distinctive Paul Dini-Bruce Timm (I think those are the guys) character design. Rather, it has the Jackie Chan Adventures character design, a show I never really cared for, but not because of the character design--it just seemed kind of a useless entertainment. I mean, animate Jackie Chan? Isn't the point of Jackie Chan that he does all this crazy physical stuff? Once you animate it, it isn't exactly impressive anymore. But anyway--I do not have a problem with the character design as such. And it's only the first episode. But there isn't much there to grab me, but perhaps I'm not the target audience. This new Batman seems to be looking for an entirely new audience; it's a complete reboot, and there's nothing there for the aging geek audience to grab onto like there was with Batman: The Animated Series onwards, save the main character.

Justice League Unlimited: "The Greatest Story Never Told." Speaking of pandering to the geeks and being in the lineage of Batman: TAS--this was the JLU episode starring Booster Gold and they tossed a ton of Giffen-DeMatteis types at us--Dr. Light, Fire and Ice, Rocket Red, Elongated Man in his purple 90s costume. So there was the geek part. I have no idea how I would feel about this show if I didn't experience the thrill of recognition watching it, the same problem I have watching the X-Men movies with the Colossus and Shadowcat bit parts. Having said that, the characterization was great, as usual. This is early, nakedly self-interested Booster, before he became Blue Beetle's sort-of straight man--actually, they shared straight man duties. So he gets treated like the unserious superhero he is for the entire episode and winds up saving the day and getting the girl in his usual unserious manner. Billy West voiced his robot sidekick and maybe that's why it seemed they were going for a Fry from Futurama as a superhero sort of thing. JLU continues to rule.

I also caught a cold, went to work, drove my grandma home, and went to the shore and ate a huge plate of food. And I still have the blog to prove it.
RANDOM POLITICAL POINTS: While I watch Boise State-Oregon State on the big blue field.

Obsidian Hilzoy: Why would a conservative vote for Bush? There isn't really a good reason.

Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum are being Reasonable People on the Bush document thing. Matt Yglesias is keeping an open mind and reopened his comments to prove it. I'm going with: 1. The documents are real. 2. The White House knew they were coming at eventually, so they made sure they had an elaborate forgery defense at the ready. My evidence for this is the fact that the White House is completely silent, while the right-wing MACHINE~! is all a-whirling. When it's something that the White House doesn't expect, as in the Plame affair, the White House is still silent, but the Machine is quieter as well. And, as the Yglesias thread points out, CBS is really not backing down.

I really like this Pudentilla comment in the Yglesias thread:

I think Rather's got more. I think he's playing chicken with Karl. I think he's playing the WH for chumps and willing to take the flack from the wingnuts and bloggers, hoping Karl will take the bait. I think Rather's got a source who won't go public unless X happens (and X if someone in the WH directly lying). If Karl bites (i.e., if the WH takes a stand on authenticity) I think rather will unload. If Karl doesn't bit, they're going to be stories every day until the Kitty Kelley book comes out. The CBS version of the stories will begin with questions about Bush's service in the TANG, not with questions about kerning.

"Kerning." And now I can be Googled for kerning.

And what's with all the Rather hate this is stirring up? At least Rather has been likable in his pomposity, unlike Brokaw and Jennings.

Boise State won by like twenty. I love it when a non-BCS team destroys a BCS team.

Friday, September 10, 2004

AND THE BEAT GOES ON: 2:15 in the morning and the most pressing political debate on the Internet involves Selectric typewriter fonts. Good night, and god bless.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


--DA ranks the NBA in terms of how all the teams did in the offseason, which I guess I miss when he first did it in July. He's another Jazz fan, putting them in first place and leaving all Boozer morality questions out of it. The completely imploded Nets are last, of course.

--The Chamique Holdsclaw mystery deepens. Maybe I'm a horrible sexist pig, but when these "mystery ailment" questions started coming up, I assumed it was something gynecological that a lady would be embarassed to talk about. But since it's been going on for so long maybe it's something more mundane and drug-induced.

--US vs. Panama tonight in World Cup qualifier action. Live on Fox Sports World if you're one of the lucky ducks with it.

--Canada vs. Slovakia in hockey World Cup quarterfinals on my tv right now. 0-0 after one, which is surprising. I think the Slovakian goaltender is ON tonight, as they say.

I have reached the natural limits of this post.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

USA 5, RUSSIA: And our World Cup hopes march on in a completely under-the-radar kind of way. I thought we were gonna get smoked since I knew we had a losing record but my brother told me so does Russia so it was sort of an even matchup. So we play Finland in the semis in our quest for VENGEANCE~! over the Canadians from Salt Lake City.

So I finally got home in time to watch a World Cup game. And that's all I have time for tonight. Go read McErlain for more.

Monday, September 06, 2004

I BLOG THE BODY ELECTRIC: Yeah yeah yeah yeah--big fancy blog post title, but what's it mean, junior? Well, nothing.

Tomorrow, and all Tuesdays for the rest of my life:

Histology Lab: 8 A.M.
Biochem: 9:30
Microbio: 11
Histology: 1:30
Genetics: 3 --And to give you a taste of why it's always bad to back to school as an adult, I give you Genetics 101. Your big lecture class. All bio majors have to take it but they usually take it early on, which is why this class is so huge. So it's all these young people and my ancient arse and a few of my fellow ancients. I know that--as a teacher--there are a limited number of ways of motivating a bunch of young people to try and study something that they're being forced to take, or they're too immature to apply themselves to, or they're too timid in a youthful way to embarass themselves by talking in class. Fine. That's great. But if your solution is that you throw a piece of crumpled up paper into the class and whoever it hits has to answer your questions--I mean, I don't think they teach that in educational seminars.

But my point is, I would have been so much better at dealing with this when I was younger. I would have resented it--like I do now--but I would've played along. I may have even enjoyed throwing the paper. If you get the question right you get to throw the paper next--did I mention that? Now I just recognize it for what it is: a huge imposition upon my dignity. Oh yes.

Our professor justifies himself by saying it absolves him of all blame so he's not picking on anyone, nyuck nyuck nyuck. Whatever helps you to sleep at night. Wait--that's too harsh. It's all tongue in cheek if you're googling me, Professor!

So tonight I sleep at a reasonable hour, so that I may wake at an unreasonable one.
REJOINED NETFLIX TODAY: Like a fool. I always feel like, I'll end up saving money by watching movies so I know what ones to not purchase. (And I will certainly not save money from copying DVDs. Nope. The RIAA finds that immoral.) But then I end up with wasted rental fees and movies sitting on the tv for months at a time. That's--inefficient. But--NO RENTAL FEES. Just PUT IT IN THE MAILBOX. It's so easy. And because it's easy--it's worth money! Basic economics! We create new markets by saving people time in our crazy fast-paced society. And so--it is my patriotic duty to rent movies on-line. That's it, basically.

Netflix has a lot more foreign flicks than I remember, which is good. Their recommendations, though, appear to be based on what you tell Netflix you like, and not based on what you've rented, or what it's in your queue. Which is less good. So it's hard to sort the various foreign films into discrete bits you might actually like.

So. I will fit in a few movies between the full-time school and the full-time work. Suuuuure. Hey, I have to stay culturally literate somehow.

Saturday, September 04, 2004


Boston College 19, Ball State 11
Michigan 43, Miami 10
Oklahoma 40, Bowling Green 24
Wisconsin 34, UCF 6
Iowa 39, Kent State 7
Penn State 48, Akron 10
Maryland 23, NIU 20
Indiana 41, Central Michigan
Minnesota 63, Toledo 14

A total disaster if you're a MAC fan like me and you wanted another weekend of upsets in the early going--really my favorite part of the season, before everyone gets bogged down in a bunch of tedious local rivalries no national sports fan cares about. AND before the useless conclusions to the season, with no real champion and a whole lot of whining and polling and senseless, sport-destroying controversy. But this year--nothing. Almost every MAC team got crushed by a BCS team. And Marshall lost to Troy State. Only NIU and to a lesser extent Bowling Green kept it close. (And the BC-Ball State game, but BC isn't exactly major college football either.) Now, most of these games were away games--BCS teams are far too cowardly to expose themselves to losses on foreign soil this early on--but still. Were the BCS teams just more prepared this year? Were they all worse last year? Or was the MAC better? Hey, I have no idea. I quit following college football in a few weeks anyway, when all the fun conference vs. conference stuff is over. (No American sport needs promotion/relegation quite like college football, by the way. No American sport needs legitimacy like college football, actually.)

At least Rutgers beat Michigan State.

Watching JLU tonight: How come only Siegel & Schuster, Bob Kane, and William Moulton Marston get credits for Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman? I know Siegel & Schuster had a legal settlement, and I guess Bob Kane did too. And Marston is famous enough that maybe DC would want to make obvious who created Wonder Woman. But none of those characters were even in tonight's episode. Would it kill them to have a "The Question Created By Steve Ditko" thing in there? Or "Supergirl Created By Mort Weisinger"? I guess they think it'll open up more lawsuits, but would not attributing credit preemptively defuse lawsuits?

And I thought Batman was created by Bob Kane AND Bill Finger. What happened to that? Well?

My other comics-related point: I have heard discussion within the comics blogs about the demise of the "floppy", or the 32-page traditional comic book. I am completely fine with this, as long as DC and Marvel keep coming out with these about 200-page collections that contain about an hour's worth of reading, are sub-twenty dollars, and are generally really worth the money since they generally don't leave you hanging until the next volume. Like the Greg Rucka-Klaus Janson Batman comic I just purchased--it's a great little read. I don't feel cheated by having my reading interrupted. So leave the floppies for the collectors, if you must--I understand the comics industry still depends on them--but keep up with the collections for us readers of comics.

That is all.

Friday, September 03, 2004


The Israeli spy thing putters along.

I am interested in how true the claims of "Arab" involvement in the hostage disaster in North Ossetia are. Why would Chechen freedom fighters ally with al Qaeda sociopaths? Their aims are pretty divergent.

Hey--that really is it, by the standard of, "Well, maybe if I mess around with Google News a little more, I'll find something else to talk about." End of post.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

YOU CAN'T POLISH A TURD: And after four days of attacking Kerry and building up the firm, resolute Cheez, you're still left with this guy. The guy who just states things that sound nice. "Liberty century?" That's--that's a winner. I guess "Pax Americana" sounded too Roman.

Kerry's supposed to be talking next. People have been slagging the DNC this week for not having anybody on the airwaves afterward to slag on whatever just happens. Maybe it's too little, too late, or they were just waiting for the last possible moment to come on strong--story of the Kerry campaign.

Anyway--my political analysis skills have sort of atrophied over the past year or two, but I'm sure you know where to go to get analysis that sounds right to you. The election will be decided anyway in our great rusting Midwestern heartland anyway, where I think the economy is still pretty well fudged and the terrorists aren't blowing up Sandusky and Kalamazoo--so there you go.

Four classes in a row, Tuesdays and Thursdays. This will be a low-fun semester.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

SEE--THIS IS WHY I HATE TEAM BUSH: Cheney repeated the "sensitive" thing tonight. You know--the out of context Kerry quote where he said we needed a more sensitive war on terror. It was subsequently proven that not only had the president used the s-word in the exact same way like weeks before, as had multiple members of the Bush team in the preceding year or so. And yet--he just repeated it tonight. Shamelessly. As if the point had not been proven to be utterly ludicrous.

Watch the Daily Show from tonight if you can--there was this great fake Bush biopic about Bush's heroic use of words to fight reality.

I really hope Atrios is right:

Best Convention Night Ever. People around me seem to be getting upset, but these speeches only resonate with those familiar with Rush Limbaugh's latest talking points. To everyone else it sounds like crazy bitter bullshit.

It's lie after lie, and the media won't bother to get a wee bit annoyed that the Vice President of the United States currently is wearing some burning dungarees, but it doesn't matter.

Remember, tonight's theme was "Land of Opportunity."

Matt Welch's reaction:

The crowd inside the Garden was absolutely howling for blood during the applause lines of Zell Miller's militaristic, Niedermeyer-like rant. As I watched a 45 foot image of the snarling senator on the big screen, I found myself thinking that this was the most frightening political speech I had ever seen in my life. I don't think I've ever been as uncomfortable at a political rally.

TAPPED thinks the Republicans screwed themselves by trotting Zell out there. The Corner hasn't exactly exploded with enthusiasm for it either, though they're not panning it, obviously. Insty, as is his habit, links and quotes people and doesn't really say what he thinks.

Oh, hey, look at this compare & contrast on the Zell vs. Matthews thing I missed:


MORE: Wolf Blitzer asks him why he's angry, and why he's still a Democrat. Miller laughs at being angry, and says "I'll die a Democrat. . . . But there's nobody that welcomes a conservative Democrat in the party anymore."

Democratic spin from Tad Devine: It's the politics of fear. (It must be: he looks afraid.) Jeff Greenfield: How can Kerry be the leader of a strong wartime America when so many Democrats are against the use of force? Devine: We'll defend the nation if attacked, and use force without anyone's approval. This Administration has a record of failure. Then he started talking about Halliburton. Blitzer: What about voting for and against the $87 billion? Devine: More Halliburton. And Dick Cheney wasn't in Vietnam.

STILL MORE: Now Miller's on Hardball. Chris Matthews asks him if Kerry really only wants to defend America with spitballs. Matthews calls him a "conservative Republican." Oops! Miller: I knew you were going to be coming at me with all that stuff. This is a bunch of baloney that doesn't have anything to do with what I said. He's right. I change channels. [LATER: By changing channels, I missed seeing Zell nearly challenge Matthews to a duel, and Matthews backing down, according to several reader emails. Jacksonian America indeed! Reader Daniel Wilkins sends: "Chris M. looked like a dog getting a bath. I've never seen him so humbled."]

Pandagon Ezra posting on Washington Monthly:

Bush's advisors will not be sleeping well tonight. Going this negative on national television is always dicey, but tonight, they pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed and, finally, fell backwards into backlash. Zell's speech crossed the line and Cheney's sneer sealed the impression. Tonight's theme was "Fuck you, John Kerry", and it's going to end up fucking them.

After Cheney, Zell was up in CNN's booth, and Blitzer, Greenfield and Woodruff brought out the knives, dismembering his various inconsistencies (noting that Zell praised Kerry a few years ago, bringing up the fact that Cheney voted against funding for the same weapons systems he criticized Kerry for opposing and reminding Zell that the president has called Iraq an "occupation" four times) and making him look like a bitter, rigidly inflexible old man. Greenfield ended the interview wondering about backlash from the speech while Blitzer asked Zell why he was so unreasonably angry. Apparently Chris Matthews eviscerated Zell just minutes later. The media's getting sick of these guys, and swing voters who tuned in tonight -- the voters who don't mind either candidate and just haven't decided who to vote for -- are going to find themselves turned off by the Republican's brutality.

Tomorrow night, I have no doubt Bush will attempt to be positive, hopeful and even uplifting. But tonight, on their last chance to take on Kerry, they roared too loud and I think it hurt everybody's ears. Voters aren't always informed, but they're almost always decent and they well know that no party's candidate is that singularly wrong, exclusively evil, and determined to bring America to its knees. The right insisted on a caricature of Kerry too satanic for any reasonable person to believe, and that dissonance will say all that needs to be said. The media responded with unexpected anger (though they originally planned to respond with almost all right-wing guests) and the moderates (like McCain) condemned the vituperation. The meme is out: tonight, the Republicans went too far.

I don't know. I try to be objective about these things, as anti-Bush as I am. But doesn't Zell--and the crowd's reaction to Zell--make them all look like a pack of crazies?
REALITY RESUMES THURSDAY: As school begins, and I get a heaping helping of basic science. Biochem. Microbiology. Genetics. Histology. Woof.

So: another random points post. Like talking about how the Bush twins were so terrible and in-jokey tonight. And how cringe-inducing Arnold's references were. Did he say the phrase "girlie-men"? Isn't that from people parodying him, and not from Arnold proper? I missed the Mike Steele speech, which Dean said was really choice. Laura was as wooden as ever. I guess you really do have to marry your opposite to get a chance at the big presidential brass ring.

A preview of the Olympics stat dorkery I want to come up with: alternate ways of calling the "true" winner of the Olympics. Well, it's going to be the US no matter how you do it, but maybe more the "true" results of the Olympics in terms of medal count. One system: a 5-3-1 point system for gold-silver-bronze, and a 3-2-1 that does the same thing. And something that contrasts the actual results with the Bernard-Busse predictions, and maybe the PriceWaterhouseCoopers thing Daniel Gross mentioned in Slate. Bernard and Busse were not as spot on as they were with Sydney, apparently. The question is: how much were they off? And so on. Good old fashioned stats dorkery that I despise in baseball fans but will forgive in my Olympics-love.

So can Dick Cheney stand up?

Anyway: no more posting in the early A.M starting tomorrow. Duty calls.