Monday, March 30, 2009

Graphical Reviews of Novels

I've seen reviews like this before. Interesting, but for whatever reason, it doesn't do a whole lot for me. And I like comix! I'm probably just too attached to my textual book reviews, but it may also be that I think that there's too little space devoted to book discussion as it is, and presenting reviews graphically takes away from the textual discussion of the book.

Donno. I'll need to ponder this more.

Big Meat Strkes Again

The USDA recently announced some rule changes for meat labeled as natural. However, as the Atlantic's food blog covers, this does restrict labelers from calling factory-farmed meat "natural".
The new rules require that meat called natural not be fed antibiotics or meat by-products. This is good but really just scratches the surface. Unfortunately, as previously, the rules are silent on the conditions in which animals are raised.

We joined a CSA about a half-year ago after reading Babara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I've been amazed at how much better that meat tastes then the crap you buy (however cheaply) in the supermarket. I highly recommend it!

What about writing in the margins?

I'll miss physical books too.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Jesus is my Friend

This is my new favorite song. Love the whitebread reggae backup singers.

The Republican Budget

Not to pile on, but it's hysterical that the Republicans released their "alternative" budget wthout numbers. Bonus: super-simplistic inane graphics!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Lost is underwhelming me now. Last week's episode was fantastic, but this week - He's Our You - was boring and predictable. Again, i'm going to argue that this is because the attention on annicilary characters has dissapeared, combined with the main characters acting in strange ways (when did Kate become so passive? Where's the fire she had when she was in LA? etc).

I'll continue to watch, but they're on notice - i'm getting bored. And this from a show with so much promise!

So, How's He Doing?

Andrew Sullivan's take on how Obama's doing so far.

I always thought this was strange too...

An interesting take on "the publishing industry needs to die" that lists the industry's many sins, including this, which always struck me as odd: a matter of practice [they] tear the covers off of books, ship them back to the publishers and THROW AWAY the books, because actually shipping them costs too much. Yet, these same stores will not stock even one print on demand book (the wave of the future), because they are not "returnable" -- even when they rarely return a book to the publisher in the first place.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Deep Thought

I used to think I was patient, but Hunter has taught me that I don't yet know the meaning of the word.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Life Skills

I still wish that my High School had presented us with a class like this one. The closest they came was a Finance class, but didn't really talk about budgeting or credit cards.

Amazing, really, that public eduction doesn't focus on these commonsense things.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

State of the State

So I can't pretend to know the first thing about what's good or bad about the financial plans presented by the Obama administration. But Matt Yglesias provides a smart, commonsensical explanation. Doesn't look good.

Update: Matt provides more. Quote:
The Geithner Plan, even if all goes well, will leave us with a situation in which essentially the same large firms with essentially the same management still dominate the economy, but now with a bunch of added moral hazard.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Well Put

I liked how Matt Yglesias summarized the thinking behind the current financial mess:
If you have some money automatically deducted from your paycheck and put into a 401(k), the value of your investments will go up during booms, but down during busts and recessions. Nobody would, I think, consider you to be a genius investor. But on Wall Street, if you make a lot of money during booms and then lose all your money and require a government bailout during a bust, that’s considered “no one could have predicted” territory and it’s very important to pay you millions of dollars lest your unique talents be lost.

People Still Do This?

The guy shaving next to me in the gym this morning kept the hot water on full blast the entire time he was shaving - at least five minutes long.

Note to random guy: Not only is this wasteful of water and the energy it took to heat it, it does nothing to improve your shave and it tells the world what an inconsiderate person you are.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Deep Thought

I don't even know what to think about politics anymore. The issues around all this financial / credit mess are so complex, the sums of money so mindboggingly large, and the politics so intertwined, that I have no idea what to think about the actions being taken.

Case in point, this post on talkingpointsmemo. Wow.

R U Crzy?

For those of who who bemoan the "bastardization" of the English language because of SMS and txting, you should remember that English is a bit of a bastard language anyways. Plus, stuff has been shortented for years to make room for it on street signs. The sign across from my house says "Not a Thru Street". Plus, on I-495, all of the "borough" towns - Northborough, Southborough, etc. - are all shortened to "oro".

Information Wants to be Free

Can someone tell me why Pete Townshend puts his very interesting blog behind the firewall? Does anyone really pay them $50 a year for the right to buy recent live gigs and read his blog?
I'd be more inclined to keep up - and potentially buy stuff - i I could do it for free.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What I'm Listening To Right Now

I discovered this fantastic blog called Music in my Mind where you can download entire albums, and came across Susumu Yokota, an ambient/electronic musician. His music is strange as hell - i'm listening to Laputa as I type this - but it's great stuff. Sakura in particular is amazing; Yokota plays guitar resonations off of bass resonations and the result is electrifying: turn up the subwoofer!

Cheney Unveiled

It's kind of a joke in liberal circles not only how evil Cheney is but how much he looks like the Penguin from the Batman TV series. The problem with this portrayal is that you lose sight of how awful a leader he really was. Andrew Sullivan reminds us. Best part:
What people forget about Cheney is his rank incompetence - which he covers up with fear-mongering and sadism.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I don't have much to say about the movie version of Watchmen because it was so faithful to the comic book. Sure, some stuff was left out, and a pretty major change was made to the reasoning behind the ending, making Veigt much more evil-seeming then in the comic, but overall it was basically the comic on the big screen. And the acting and the special effects were top notch! Man was it a fun flick! My only two quibbles are:

  1. The movie was MUCH more violent then the comic was made out to be, but I think that's just the director's influence. In the comic, most of the "superheros" are really just strong men with cool toys.

  2. The actor playing Veigt wasn't very good. He seemed like the villian in a prep-school drama.

But, as I said, those are just quibbles. It's an excellent movie. Although I recommend reading the comic first, because it's hard to keep up with the plot lines in the movie. And, of course, the comic is still better.

Deep Thought

Facebook's UI sucks. More.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Quote of the Day

Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.
- Stephen King

CNBC madness

I don't watch CNBC, but I'm getting a kick out of Jon Stewart's smackdown of Jim Cramer, and laughed at this Time article about CNBC:

The commentators on CNBC murmur about the Market as if it were the Island on Lost: a mystic force that must be placated, lest it become angry and punish us. "The Market doesn't like ..." "What the Market wants to see is ..."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Baghdad Batteries

From the malicious damage news list:

there'll be a new orb album released on malicious damage in june
it's called baghdad batteries, is the third in the orbsessions series and it's all brand-new material from alex paterson & thomas fehlmann

That's good news, because I thought that The Dream, the Orb's last Fehlmann-free release, was sub-par. I think Fehlmann is the driving force behind the group now, as evidenced by the excellence of the unfortunately-titled Okie Dokie It's the Orb on Kompakt.

Elmo and Ricky Gervais


TO update

I'm going to make an effort not to blog about TO all of the time, but a few recent news items grabbed my attention:

1. Apparantly TO is inspiring Bills fans to buy more tix and merchadise. Gotta admit, I'm a bit suprised.

2. Not that I'm a huge James Hardy fan, but TO's grab of his jersey number is typically egocentric and tone deaf. It's reasons like this that nobody likes him.

3. This sounds like a train wreck in the making. I can't imagine what the scene will be like the first time TO hits up Chippewa St. with his entourage in tow...

Supreme Idiocy

This is just incredible: Now-needy FDIC collected little in premiums

Money quote:

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures deposits up to $250,000, tried for years to get congressional authority to collect the premiums in case of a looming crisis. But Congress believed that the fund was so well-capitalized - and that bank failures were so infrequent - that there was no need to collect the premiums for a decade, according to banking officials and analysts.

Holy crap.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


So, no lie, my mother of all people was making fun of Terell Owens with me on Friday night. So imagine my suprise when I got the news that he signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills. I'm still getting over the shock, since this is *not* a signing one typically associates with the team, but here's my reaction...

While this is a high-risk, high-reward move in that he could destroy your team and/or bolster it up with his still above-average skills, it doesn't make much sense for the Bills. It's not like they're one piece away from a championship. At best, TO might help them get from 7-9 to 10-6 with a shot at the playoffs. Since TO's probably hoping to take one good year as leverage for one last long-term contract, he probably won't be here long, meaning that this is a short-term fix and that he'll be taking away playing time from other recivers. On the other hand, Lee Evans really needs someone to take the heat off of him.

To me, this move only makes sense when you realize that the team is desperate to sell tickets and make the playoffs with all of the revenue that that entails. Keep Dick Jauron's hot-seat in mind and the move makes even more sense. This is a time-buying move, one designed to bring some excitement and flavor to a team that has been painfully bland for years now (just look at their awful uniforms). Here's hoping that it all pans out.

He Watched the Watchmen... Twice

Roger Ebert chimes in with a very lucid take on the movie and psyches me up for my Thursday viewing.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Quote of the Day

Mere distance from fact is no arguement against an ethical maxim or mystical hope.

- Joseph Schumpeter

Friday, March 6, 2009

What is realtime?

Hysterical analysis on the war on spaces.

Why Star Trek won't die

Kelly surprised me last night with season two of the original series of Star Trek. Dramatic Captain... Kirk pauses for... all!

Kitchy bad-yet-entertaining acting aside, the gift got me thinking about what keeps me coming back to Star Trek again and again after all these years. I think that one of the factors is that the Star Trek universe has an essential optimism about humanity that I find very attractive, yet this optimism isn’t presented in a cheesy fashion (at least, not all of the time). No, the Star Trek universe recognizes the weaknesses of humankind, and even, to a point, celebrates them. Think of how Spock’s cold logic is played off of Kirk’s passion for his duty, or McCoy’s sentimentalism. I’m also reminded of an episode where the Enterprise was invaded by aliens and Scotty dispatched one of them via a drinking contest. Especially when contrasted with the other “grim” science fiction dystopias out there (Blade Runner, Matrix, etc.), this uplifting world view is really distinguishes Star Trek.

Interestingly, this same thing could be said of everyone’s favorite horror writer, Stephen King. I don’t have the time to go into details, but think of all of King’s flawed protagonists (Stuttering Bill’s speech in It being my favorite example) and how these flaws turn out to be one of their biggest strengths against the darkness with which they are contfronted.

Live long and prosper!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lost is a bit... well, Lost

Last night's episode of Lost was everything that I don't expect from the show: predictable, sappy, and boring. Once we figured when in time the characters were, there was no more suspense because the newer characters (the Mad Scientist, the Asian ghost hunter, the new Dharma project people) aren't as well developed as the older characters. The show is so plot driven now, they're not taking the time to really make the new characters individual. Plus, it was so blatantly obvious not only that Sawyer wouldn't learn how to button up his shirt in three years but also that Juliette - in a break from her character - would fall for him, just as it was that Sawyer had never really had gotten over Kate. The last minute of the show as he stared at Kate was just simply cheezy as hell. Ugh. Give me a Ben-backstabbing episode any day - the Sawyer/Kate/Jack plot lines are just boring!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

So they were criminals after all...

Andrew Sullivan, my favorite conservative, reviews the details of the Bush administration's crimes. Makes me cringe.

Fun with Facebook

Get your FB profile pix painted!

Who Watches the Critics?

While I haven't yet seen the movie, Anthony Lane gets his snarl up in a snarky review of the film adaptation of Moore and Gibbons' masterpiece, The Watchmen.

I'm not sure why he feels the need to spend so much time busting on comix fans, but it's not becoming, and his lack of faith in what is almost universally acknowledged as a very interesting and intelligent comic book is telling in that I doubt that he ever gave the movie a chance. I'll be doing so on the 12th. I'll report back then.

UPDATE: I'm not the only one that feels this way.

"I hate you"

The good foax at Joy of Sox are big David Foster Wallace (DFW, for those in the know) fans, and pointed me to this (long) summation of his career, including rumors of an unfinished novel that will no doubt be released in a bloodsucking "Last Tycoon" kind of way.

Personally, i've never even attempted Infinite Jest, but, given how much I like his other writing, i'll have to try one of these days.

A commenter on the JoS post relates this hysterical story from her Amherst alumni magazine:
One woman took his creative writing class when he came back to teach at Amherst. She said she continually mixed up further and farther. After correcting her several times, he finally wrote in the margin where she had repeated the mistake, "I hate you".

Paging Bruce Willis

You may be needed sometime in the near future. Don't make any plans.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Action Figures

So i'm working a part-time contract and spent three days last week on site getting up to speed on their products and the procedures that they want me to follow. The office space is essentially an extremely large room with an open layout, meaning that I can see almost 100 desks from where I was sitting. The interesting thing is that a lot of people have a lot of posters, graphics and, yes, action figures on display in their cubes. Off the top of my head, I can remember seeing a Cobra Commander, a lego Iron Man, and a Jack Sparrow. Got me thinking what action figure would i display if I was inclined to do so? For those of you who care, it would have to be either Thurman Thomas or Hellboy.

Typically Disapointing

The recent inept performance by the Bills front office, where they had a deal in place to trade Derrick Dockery to the Lions but could not because someone in the organization didn't file the paperwork in time, is infuriating. First of all, it forced them to cut a player that they paid at least $18 MILLION for two years for nothing in return. Secondly, it's indicative of the organization's lack of focus and direction.

Get it together guys!