My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected to the new home page in 60 seconds. If not, please visit
and be sure to update your bookmarks. Sorry about the inconvenience.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blogger has decided to cap its label structure at 5000 labels per blog, which, believe it or not, renders this blogging platform almost useless for me as a research tool. So I've decided to finally bite the bullet and move to WordPress, effective immediately. I haven't got things looking quite like I want yet, but the basic idea is up and new posts are going to start appearing over there beginning immediately.



If you were using Feedburner, Facebook, or Twitter, those should have already updated automatically.

Sorry to force the update to your bookmarks. Hope you'll follow me over.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Today's coolest ten-year-old in the world.*

* award subject to revocation if it turns out his parents put him up to it

The wisdom of the market has determined originality is overrated.

Which is the only original feature film to make it into the the top 20 grossing films of this decade (so far)?

Finding Nemo, which lands at #15 with $864.6 million.

If you take a look at the top 30 films from this decade, there is only one other original film property among the bunch, that being…

DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda, #30 spot with $631.7 million.

In fact, out of the top 50 grossing films of this decade, there are only 9 movies based on original properties. And five of those nine films were created by Pixar Animation Studios.
This is my surprised face.

Mistakes Obama has made: Timothy Geithner.

Health insurance obscenity of the day: a twelve-year-old boy who has already spent his lifetime maximum benefit.


* The headline reads, "Las Vegas Nervously Watches The Water Drop."

* More likely that not, there will no major international climate deal at Copenhagen.

* NJ-GOV '13: Cory Booker drops the murder rate in Newark.

* The Nation considers the Palin effect.

* New York, after the flood. Via io9.

People or entities that share my birthday: LSD.

The best TV series of the 00s. I'm sad to say my record is 24/30, including the entire top fifteen. Via @drbluman.

How close is your state to committing Californiacide? Kevin Drum has your chart of the day.

How to speak like a 1950s hipster.

Fantastic Mr. Fox concept art. Via Drawn.

Today's my birthday!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

If Bruce says Auburn Hills is in Ohio, it's in Ohio, and that's all there is to it.

Google Maps says it's 90 minutes, tops.

For more information on my forthcoming senescence, please consult Superhero Decadence and Superheroes as Senior Citizens.

Today's the last day of my twenties. Tomorrow, I am old, as depicted in the following synopsis-of-my-life Spiegelman comic that was given to me by Amalle when I passed my exams:

Now entering panel four. Banana peel approaching. Abandon all hope.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday night.

* The TSA has finally put an end to the terrorist's favorite toy: snowglobes.

* When your neighbor is unemployed: Bob Herbert has a good column in the New York Times today about the disparate rates of unemployment on different socioeconomic groups.

* 2010 will be the year of the deficit hawk.

* Poetry fight: Stephen King in Playboy vs. an ode to Megan Fox.

* "History should record that whether through unprecedented administrative incompetence or orchestrated mendacity, the American people were misled about the nation’s response to the 9/11 attacks."

* As of July 2009, California's budget shortfall was 49.3% of its general funds. States have considered drastic options to fill such gaps. "I looked as hard as I could at how states could declare bankruptcy," said Michael Genest, director of the California Department of Finance who is stepping down at the end of the year. "I literally looked at the federal constitution to see if there was a way for states to return to territory status." Via Edge of the American West, where eric asks, "Seriously, though, what does it mean—this is not a rhetorical question, I’d really like to know and don’t have an answer—when it seems more plausible to engage in constitutional shenanigans than to, for example, restore the vehicle licensing fee to its full former level, and other measures of that sort?"

More infodump.

* Tentherism goes even more mainstream.
* Republicans vs. America's changing demographics.
* There's another excerpt from Žižek's First as Tragedy, Then as Farce online, this time at the London Review of Books.
* Why I Am Not A Catholic: "Catholic Church Says It Will Stop Charity Work If D.C. Passes Gay Marriage Law." Steve Benen isn't above quoting the Book of Matthew over this.
* In Obama's America, people wear hats on their feet, hamburgers eat people, and criminals are tried in courts of law. I should note that Glenn Greenwald says this isn't quite the big step forward it appears to be.
* What happened after Kelo vs. City of New London?
* Fantastic Mr. Fox reviews. Oh, to live in New York.

Friday night infodump of all the links I want to keep out of the papers.

* SciFiWire says the new Prisoner disappoints.
* Salon says it's time to bring back Marx. He went somewhere?
* NASA says that explosion last month turned up quite a bit of water on the Moon.
* Jermaine Clement says Flight of the Conchords was almost completely different—but it seems clear to me he's joking.
* And the RNC says it's not subsidizing abortions—anymore.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Plemons was tall and skinny and good-looking, with light brown skin. He had joined the Army late, at twenty-seven, after discovering that his master’s degree in writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro didn’t make him employable. “I wanted to pay off some debt and also be part of this war,” he said. “Whether it’s our war or Obama’s war, I’m kind of glad the focus is on Afghanistan. Not so much fighting war as providing security. I believe in the United Nations and NATO and the diplomatic side. It’ll take a couple of generations for real progress to come about.” His attitude made him “what the Army calls a liberal douche-bag—a term of endearment, I guess.” He went on, “A lot of guys here are eighteen, nineteen years old. They were twelve years old when 9-11-2001 happened. They’re ready to be warriors, they’re young—part of it’s posturing. They want to make a difference in the way they can, and the way they were trained to is to fight.”
One of my very best friends (and a personal superhero) is interviewed this week at the New Yorker's "Interesting Times" blog about his service as a medic in Afghanistan.
Plemons had been one of the speakers at the service. I had been struck by his remarks. He had said that soldiers had “dual lives” and had to hide one of their identities from their loved ones, “like superheroes.” He had concluded, “We cannot be swayed by feelings that could corrupt us: feelings of guilt, anger, and revenge. In the end, grief shall not take us, and we shall remember.”
Come home safe.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I regret to announce there will be no posts today. apologizes for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday night, post-Zizek-lecture links.

* President Barack Obama does not plan to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday. Probably the best of a bad set of options.

* How Food Preferences Vary by Political Ideology. I have to confess they have my number on Chinese/Japanese/Thai, not eating fast food, and delicious, delicious Samoas—but my love of pizza and PB&J proves that beneath my leftist facade beats a deeply reactionary heart.

* Already linked everywhere: Scenes From An Alternate Universe Where The Beatles Accepted Lorne Michaels’ Generous Offer.

* Ezra Klein: Four ways to end the filibuster. Related: Steve Benen, Harold Meyerson, Kevin Drum.

* GOP Death Spiral Watch: Lindsay Graham censured by the South Carolina GOP for acknowledging the existence of climate change.

* Salon: Wes Anderson's take on Roald Dahl is possibly the best movie about family, community and poultry thievery ever made.

Dollhouse canceled.


* In Galileo's time, science was clashing with religion; today, Robinson believes, we're living in a "Galilean moment" again, in which climate change means science has become politicised. This time, though, the clash is with capitalism. "There are cultural forces in our society which say, you can save the world or else you can make a profit, and they'll say sorry, we have to make a profit. So we have a strange religion now." As his global-warming-themed trilogy, which ends with 2007's Sixty Days and Counting, shows, a major theme for Robinson is ecological sustainability, and he stresses today his belief that "the climate crisis is an emergency." Another interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, this one focusing on his new time travel novel, Galileo's Dream.

* Fun graphic analysis of Choose Your Own Adventure novels, including Inside UFO 54-40, the only CYOA with an impossible-to-reach ending.

* The rhetoric of Google's suggested searches. Via Ezra Klein, who summarizes:

For instance: the most popular searches beginning with "how 2 ..." are "how 2 get pregnant" and "how 2 grow weed." Searches beginning with "how might one" tend to be about music or, weirdly, Andrew Jackson.

More titillatingly, people asking "is it wrong to" tend to have something sexually indecent in mind. The top results are "sleep with your cousin," "sleep with your stepdad after your mom has died," and "like your cousin." Searches beginning with "is it unethical to" tend to be about white-collar crime and animal rights.
One notes, at least in my geo-targeted region of the world, the top suggested result for "is it wrong to" is actually "is it wrong to sleep with your sister."

* Yesterday's Daily Show had a pair of fantastic clips: one on the Berlin Wall and another on Sean Hannity flagrantly lying (with video!) about the size Michelle Bachmann's health-care protest.

* Chart of the Day: Rock Music Quality vs. U.S. Oil Production.