Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"ALWAYS ONE TO BE COUNTED ON TO MISTAKE TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENT AND ADVANCES FOR ART": And that's just the start of Dennis Cozzalio's response to James "Movies like Piranha 3D cheapen 3D!" Cameron. Dude's still bitter about Piranha 2 I'm guessing. I so love this little paragraph (bolding done by Dennis):

My favorite nugget re all this is the company line when someone, in this case the VF writer, notes Avatar’s apparent parallels to other big, familiar Hollywood movies. “I’m not really influenced by other movies that much,” Cameron says in the interview. “To me, storytelling is organic to the story you’re trying to tell. Which is not to say that there weren’t movies during that time period that I liked. I’m a big movie fan, but I tend not to be overly influenced by other films.” I think those comments speak plainly enough for themselves (except for that bit about storytelling being organic to the story you’re trying to tell—- Would anyone care to take a crack at interpreting that?) I can't think of another Hollywood director who has so garishly flourished by employing this recyclable narrative philosophy; perhaps the persistent existence of Piranha 2 is too sharp a reminder even for Cameron of where his roots really lie.

Original Cameron softball piece here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

IT'S OFFICIAL: Kim Jong Il went to China. North Korea confirmed it! Thus it really, truly did happen. Said visit provoked this thought from Robert Koehler:

Something else, too. It’s being widely reported that Kim’s visit is to seek Chinese approval of his son, Kim Jong-un, as successor to the family business. Now, I don’t really doubt that it this stage in North Korea’s decline, Pyongyang is very dependent on Chinese largess for the regime’s survival. Still, it seems to me odd — given Pyongyang’s nationalist rhetoric — that Kim would seemingly resurrect the old Joseon practice of Korea seeking Chinese approval of Korean kings, a practice — while mostly ceremonial — still symbolized Korea’s relationship as a tributary of China. If I were a South Korean leader, I’d be very worried about what that means.

Maaa-an, China doesn't really want the DPRK, do they? 20 million starving people? Though China does have that Borg-like appetite for raw materials, and I'm sure that's lots of stuff buried in the ground in the North...

(Note: ignore Robert's Carter-bashing in that post, everyone has their silly spots.)

Also: The Korean on the same visit.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Saturday, August 28, 2010

A NAKED CAPITALISM THREAD WORTH READING: Yves poses the question "What is the Proper Libertarian Response to Concentrated Corporate Power?" And her commenters are mostly not particularly libertarian, and you get a good sense of what the general problems people have with that school of thought (some of it trollish, but some of it well-considered.)
MAGNETO BEING AWESOME IN THE HANDS OF GRUENWALD BEING AWESOME: Some wonderful Scans Daily user dug up Magneto confronting the Red Skull. By Mark Gruenwald and Kieron Dwyer. When people have a strong reaction against Grant Morrison's Magneto, they're remembering scenes like this. Magneto's much closer to Namor, spiritually, than the Red Skull, or even Doctor Doom.

Friday, August 27, 2010

WELL IF YOU'RE GOING TO SMUGGLE A TRANQUILIZED TIGER CUB: Hiding it in a bag of stuffed animals seems like the way to do it, as noted here. A tiger amongst Tiggers, or something.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I HAVEN'T WATCHED THIS VIDEO: The one embedded here, done by some Scandinavian weirdo who embedded himself with the Taliban, but I enjoyed Spencer Ackerman giving us the gist of it:

Refsdal portrays the Taliban as a bunch of dudes goofily hanging out: combing their long dyed hair; joking with one another; praying a ton; and repeatedly firing on U.S. convoys from high in the mountains. (“Use the rocket launcher, Rafiq, the rocket launcher.”) Dawran is a doting father of young kids who tells the reporter stories about how he came this close to killing a “traitor” but then took mercy on him. His men gawk at how scared Refsdal appears and can’t seem to load their ammunition properly. “These guys sound and act a lot like a U.S. small unit, but replace all the quotes from ‘Anchorman’ and ‘Talladega Nights’ with ‘Allahu Akbar,’” observes Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

THE WEEK IN FIGURE SKATING: We cover figure skating around here sometimes, right? I'd check but I started blogging on a VIC-20, way before tags were invented, thus...I lack tags.

Anyway--SHOCK! Yuna Kim splits with Orser! Speculation is rife--there's been deleted tweets, hints of parental involvement (her mom), Orser claims he has no idea why he was fired. I'm wondering if maybe she's got her gold medal, made her huge payday, and just doesn't feel like getting up at the crack of dawn to head to the rink every day.

Enjoy this Soompi thread, for it is an information and speculation clearinghouse on this issue.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

DIRECTV SUCKS HARD, THE CONTINUING SAGA: $350 to watch Sunday Ticket on the Internet? Does anyone use DirecTV who doesn't have to? That is, either 1. you have it because you're in some sort of rural cable-free area or 2. you're trapped by Sunday Ticket (my situation.) I mean I suspended it sometime back in May and I haven't missed in the least--if there's ever something I really have to see, it will inevitably wind up on the Internet. I already get ESPN 3 for free (thanks, Verizon!) So, yeah, not looking forwarded to the crappy $100+ monthly bills because the stupid NFL prefers monopolistic practices.

Monday, August 23, 2010

TODAY IN CREDIT CARD COMPANY PERFIDY: Prime rate goes down, credit card interest rates go up! "Even though banks are getting all kinds of bennies from the Fed and regulators, such as a nice steep yield curve and lots of regulatory forbearance (econ-speak for extend and pretend), they are still out to extract a pound of flesh from the retail borrower. Since that has been a core element of their business model for the last decade, it is probably not so surprising that they are loath to give that practice up." Yep.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

OMG I OWE THE INTERNET A POST!: Ummm--this mosque thing is the dumbest thing ever. No links cuz that's not the kind of statement that needs a lot of supporting evidence. Totally unAmerican too, of course. Timing of it suggests another GET THE BASE EXCITED! issue from the increasingly out-of-ideas Gooper braintrust.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

REMIND ME TO NEVER MAKE ANY VARIATION OF THIS ARGUMENT: The old "box office success = quality of a film" argument. It's tempting! When you're on Team My Favorite Movie Ever, it certainly is tempting to take satisfaction when that movie scores in the box office. That's your team! They represent you! It is good that they win. And yet there are countless films that involved Bay or Ratner that scored FLAWLESS VICTORIES in the box office. There are Boll movies that no one went to see. Actual human beings are watching Vampires Suck right now. Fictional human beings are spending their hard-earned Monopoly money to see Scott Pilgrim in droves (possibly displacing most of the actual human beings.) There is next to no relationship between quality and box office. There. I said it. (Qualifier because...I don't know why? I can actually imagine a pretty good movie that literally goes unseen, in theory. And in theory and in practice there are massive turds that have drawn audiences. So....)....yeah. There is no relationship between cinematic quality and box office. Poor K-Drum--I know he means well, and wants a fresh angle on the Scott Pilgrim disaster, and of course for those kids to get off his lawn, but this is an argument that just should never be employed. And yet it rises from its grave again! It's A ZOMBIE ARGUMENT ARRRFGHH KILL IT WITH FIRE

Ah, shame about the box office and all, but they got the whole story done, so whatever. It's awesome. Go see it! You'll be able to pick your own row and stuff.

Friday, August 20, 2010

IT'S CALLED A GRIND BRO: Just to get another Scott Pilgrim line into Google.

I don't follow Spoony very much (mostly because I don't do video reviews, or podcasts, or really anything that isn't text, since, you know, text is fast) but here he mentions another possible "if you like this you'll like Scott Pilgrim" movie: Big Trouble in Little China. Well, I don't think he actually says it quite so explicitly (I was falling asleep as I listened) but he brings it up and I do think it's the sort of "strange stuff happens and people just accept it--don't think about why anything's happening on screen too hard" experience that if liked it, you might Scott Pilgrim.

Another one that might be even a better barometer was brought up in the comments of Outlaw Vern's Scott Pilgrim review: Streets of Fire. Oh gosh yes. If you loved Streets of Fire you are going to love Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. I speak from personal experience.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"I'M IN LESBIANS WITH" IS TO SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD: As "The cake is a lie" is to Portal: a quickly overused phrase on the Internet that doesn't make the source material any less fantastic.
THERE'S, LIKE, A JAPANESE VERSION OF EVERYTHING: Something or other is always described as "the X of Japan," even though it's usually a lazy shorthand and whatever the X is really isn't like his/her/it's alleged non-Japanese counterpart. But! Sometimes it's true! The DPJ really is the Obama of Japan! Maybe even more so--it depends on whether breaking decades of one-party rule and then going quickly into disillusionment is more paradigm-shattering than being the first black guy in the White House and then going quickly into disillusionment. Actually it's a thorny question since the DPJ being disappointing also involves Obama being disappointing...

(Via D.)
CLASSICS IN HEADLINE WRITING: Sharks Attack Missing White Girl at Ground Zero Mosque. Thank you Jesse Walker.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

IT'S THE LITTLE DETAILS THAT GET ME IN THE SCOTT PILGRIM MOVIE: Like the Ming the Merciless cue that plays when Gideon flashes his ring. Or the details of the Bass Battle--Scott is there spamming one or two chords like a noob, while Todd is playing actual combos with skill! So of course Todd wins. Or the slo-mo hi-five the Vegan Police give each other as they're leaving. I could go on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

LET THE ANTI-ANTI-HIPSTER BACKLASH BEGIN HERE: I guess all the people giddy over the fact that Scott Pilgrim tanked are the general audience version of the critics who were judging the audience, not the movie. I just don't get the hipster objection to Scott Pilgrim--when did comics that weren't done by Clowes or Ware become hipster properties? It's this Michael Cera person, isn't it? See, I never saw Juno or Superbad so there might be legitimate reasons to hate this person (I certainly have never wanted to see Juno, which did not look like something I would like from the descriptions I heard of it) but there is no legitimate reason to hate Michael Cera in Scott Pilgrim. What other Canadian are you going to get to play Scott Pilgrim anyhow? Jim Carrey?

Anyhow, box office doesn't matter anyway. You anti-Scott Pilgrim Hate Squad people? You guys are actually hilarious.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"I LOVE THE [PENNY ARCADE] GUYS TO DEATH,: but they are guys in the guyest sense of the term. And they do get incredibly defensive when anyone discusses that fact." Said by Punditus Maximus here in a Pandagon thread discussing somebody somewhere getting offended by a Penny Arcade comic. A dispatch from the occasionally productive Department of Recycling Comments On Other People's Blogs For Posts Here. Because it was a comment that struck me as fairly true, from my limited amount of PA exposure. (PA, like South Park, is one of those things I like and respect and find amusing, and yet am never motivated to seek out on a regular basis.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A LITTLE BIT OF LORD WHORFIN IN THE TEA PARTY?: My first thought after reading this:

Mark Williams, a controversial tea party political movement supporter, said the center would be used for “terrorists to worship their monkey god.”

Williams was publicly ousted by the National Tea Party Federation last month after posting a satirical letter supposedly from “the Colored People.” He resigned as spokesman of the Tea Party Express in July and told reporters he would focus on fighting the mosque plan, the New York Daily News reported at the time.

If the Tea Party was dominated by Red Lectroids it would explain so much...

Friday, August 13, 2010

DEPARTMENT OF CONFESSING MY IGNORANCE OF INTERNET CULTURE: I only recently discovered that the letters "FTW" in sequence mean "for the win" and not "fuck the world," as I had always been reading them. I'm going to go ahead and keep thinking it means "fuck the world," since it almost always applies just as well as the other meaning. Slotman FTW!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

COULDN'T GET PAST THIS SENTENCE IN THIS ARTICLE: "Klinsmann is not an American, so I don't want him coaching the U.S. soccer team." Gregg Doyel writes articles to troll at least as often as he doesn't, but this is particularly trollish.
THE TROUBLE WITH GIRLS IS THERE JUST AREN'T ENOUGH OF THEM: Oliver Wang offers anecdotal evidence, and asks for more evidence of that type, in support of his argument that people in our culture prefer girls as children, possibly as a reaction to the patriarchy. An interesting enough discussion topic, so anecdotal evidence should be freely admissible, but I suspect this is merely a quirk of Oliver Wang's social group and not a trend of the overall society (though it would not surprise me if some subcultures preferred one gender of the other, but on balance I suspect we're close to a 50-50 nation.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

HEY KIDS! COMICS!: Some sequential art stuff:

Neal Adams' current Batman comic is apparently so bad it's awesome (unlike Kevin Smith's current Batman comic, which is just bad.)

It looks like Michael Uslan is taking a page from Grant Morrison's "all Batman stories actually happened to Batman" playbook--there is now an Archie multiverse.

I loved today's One Big Happy:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MACHINES SHOULD DO THE WORK--THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE BEST AT: If only old IBM taglines applied to "network warfare."

Monday, August 09, 2010

DUR GOSH HOW ARE COMPANIES STILL NOT FINDING WORKERS?: It's, like, a depression or something! And the Wall Street Journal is mystified. It couldn't possibly be that companies are attempting to underpay skilled workers. Or that the jobs that are available are scarcely worth working. No, that can't be right.

By the way, it's encouraging to know that Yves Smith is a Spinrad fan. (And that she mistrusts the current wave of charity of the uber-rich. You should read that too.)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

NOT THE FIRST USE OF WIKILEAKS DOCUMENTS I THOUGHT OF: But now American families have a much better sense of what happened to their loved ones. The government was certainly never going to provide this level of detail.

Saturday, August 07, 2010


Friday, August 06, 2010

TODAY IN HISTORY'S GREATEST MONSTER: How Jimmy Carter saved the trucking industry. Not that Bacevich would necessarily agree with the statement I am about to make, but it's because of him that I am now of the view that Carter was the last serious person in the White House. (Well--Poppy sort of was. His public persona wasn't completely theatrical, at least.) Which might be seen as an overly hipster political stance--if there's a president hipsters would love, it's Carter. I mean he's from the 70s and everybody hated him and everything! (Everybody hated Dubya too, but there's some things not even irony can make enjoyable.)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

PROP 8 DECISION WAS THE RIGHT DECISION: And if you worried about social change via the courts producing a backlash you'd never get anything done in this country. But as Scott Lemieux points out, litigating now, with a conservative Supreme Court at the end of things, could have unintended consequences.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

MMMM YEAH GRIST FOR THE CONSPIRACY MILLS: IMF proposes global currency. Yeah, this'll end well. Though I am still libertarian enough to think there's nothing wrong with a global currency, provided there were competing global currencies--possibly even some backed by private entities! Of course that isn't much different from what we have right now, with the exception that we don't have a global currency that isn't backed by a government. Besides, I dunno, Pokemon cards.

In other finance blogging: the Chinese property bubble.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

YOU WANT ME TO NOTICE YOUR BLOG POST IN THE ENDLESS INFO STREAM OF MY GOOGLE READER?: Title it: "Army’s Vaccine Plan: Inject Troops With Gas-Propelled, Electro-Charged DNA." And then have your first paragraph be:

The Army’s got a one-two punch to perfect vaccinations and offer scientists the ability to quickly develop inoculations that stave off new dangers. First, they’ll shoot troops up using a “gene gun,” that’s filled with DNA-based vaccines. Then they’ll follow it up with “short electrical pulses to the delivery site.”

Yeah, much like the anthrax vaccine this is the sort of thing The Troops are going to avoid if at all possible.

Monday, August 02, 2010

DEPARTMENT OF UNDERHYPED SUMMER MOVIES: Or maybe I just don't peruse the venues where it might be hyped, Nickelodeon and such. Anyway--Ramona and Beezus is solid, says Dennis Cozzalio. I guess I can go see this, even though I'm really old, but I read those Beverly Cleary books back then goshdernit. Though I think I would be more hyped for Superfudge: The Motion Picture (different author, I know.)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

OH WHY DON'T WE JUST LINK TO TAIBBI?: Cuz I love his style sometimes:

It’s just not necessary to say whether or not these people are racists. All that needs to be pointed out is that when they get a chance to gape at a video purporting to show a black Obama official confessing to having mistreated a white farmer (it turned out to be the opposite of that, of course), or a tape of Black Panther King Shamir talking about “killing cracker babies,” the word that best describes the emotions they display at these times is glee.

They enjoy these morbid stories about offenses to white dignity way too much. I caught Glenn Beck talking about some case involving a Black Panther who was intimidating people at a voting booth back in 2008 – the guy had this pervy smile on his face that made him look exactly like one of those creepy dudes sitting hunched over at the edge of the bed playing the cuckold in cheating-wife porn videos. Over the Black Panthers! Who the hell has even seen a Black Panther since the seventies? The whole thing reminds me of that Chris Rock routine about Native Americans – “When was the last time you saw two Indians?”