Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Time Warner at it again...

Cable tussle threatens viewers' favorites

By Lynette Rice
Entertainment Weekly

(Entertainment Weekly) -- Can you live without "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Hills"?

Some of you may have to, if Viacom can't reach a deal by midnight Wednesday that would keep Comedy Central, MTV, and its 18 other networks on Time Warner Cable systems, according to a report in The New York Times.

The conglomerate was expected to take out full-page ads in major newspapers today explaining how fans would suffer if Time Warner refuses to ante up in the new year.

Viacom is home to kiddie powerhouse Nick (aka, the birthplace of "Dora the Explorer," "Drake and Josh," and "Zoey 101") as well as nets like Comedy Central, VH-1, and Spike TV. Time Warner cable systems reportedly reach up to 13 million subscribers.

Viacom believes the fees it receives for the nets are way too low, given how they attract a healthy percentage of eyeballs for Time Warner. The cable operator, in the meantime, is arguing that Viacom's profits are down because of the soft ad market and are desperate to increase revenue elsewhere. Stay tuned.
CNN and Entertainment Weekly are units of Time Warner, as is Time Warner Cable.

Truly hands-free telephone...

As of today, we no longer have a landline. We got cable internet installed yesterday because our DSL was on the fritz for two whole days, and I'd finally had enough.

From now on, you can reach Kev and I on our cell phones. If you need that number, email my amazon284(at)yahoo(dot)com address and ask for it.

We figure if we don't like it, we can always get Vonage or something like that. I'll be working hard to develop a habit of carrying my phone everywhere, so you can get a hold of me reliably.

We figure we'll be saving about $50 a month on something we rarely even use.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Judge In 'Watchmen' Case Rules For Fox; Fans Brace For Fallout

Dec 26, 2008, 01:12 PM | by Jeff Jensen

You know how Santa Claus gives lumps of coal on Christmas Eve to those who've been very, very naughty? Well, so do judges. In a twist befitting the comic book in question, the judge presiding over the legal battle for distribution rights to Watchmen found in favor of Fox. The bottom line: Warner Bros. had absolutely no right to roll film on Zack Snyder's adaptation of the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons superhero classic. As fans wait to see if the ruling will prevent the film from being released as scheduled on March 3, Fox and Warner Bros. are waiting to see if the court will determine how much Fox should get for being so wronged -- unless the studios decide to settle the matter themselves.

The ruling comes as a surprise to Hollywood observers, mostly because no one expected the judge would issue this ruling at all. The conventional wisdom was that Warner Bros. and Fox would settle privately, and the rightness and wrongness of the situation would never be officially called. Moreover, on Dec. 16, the judge set a Jan. 20 trial date for the dispute, saying he had no intention of fulfilling the request of both parties to issue a summary judgment. Why? Because, he said, the darn thing was just too complicated!

But on Christmas Eve, Judge Gary Allen Feess reversed course and issued a ruling that was clear and decisive. Why did he change his mind? Because Fox and Warner Bros. asked him to. In the wake of Feess' Dec. 16 edict, both studios pressed him to reconsider and issue a summary judgment, saying that settling this thing between them was all but impossible because they needed his guidance on interpreting an old contract between Fox and Watchmen producer Larry Gordon. That paper appears to indicate the following: Fox has always had the right to distribute a Watchmen movie; anytime Gordon put together a new version of a Watchmen movie (which is to say, develop a new script or snag a new director for the film), he had to offer Fox the chance to produce and distribute it; if Fox passed on the project, Gordon had the right to purchase Fox's interest in Watchmen and take the project elsewhere.

In his ruling, Feess concludes that Gordon never properly presented Fox with the option to produce and distribute the version of Watchmen developed by director Zack Snyder. He also makes it clear that neither Gordon nor Warner Bros. had bought out Fox's interest before Warner Bros. went into production. Indeed, Feess' ruling includes a rather sarcastic footnote blasting Gordon for his conduct in resolving this dispute. In section 3, Feess remarks that during Gordon's deposition, the producer claimed he couldn't properly recollect his contract with Fox. Feess seems so dismissive of Gordon's allegedly faulty memory, he makes the following side ruling: Should Gordon suddenly remember some salient bit of information that could now help Warner Bros.' cause, he should go back to conveniently forgetting about it. "[T]he court will not, during the remainder of this case, receive any evidence from Gordon that attempts to contradict any aspect of this Court's ruling on the copyright issues under discussion."

Feess' plainspoken declaration that Fox has always been in the right on this matter should represent vindication for the studio. Since Fox filed its lawsuit earlier this year, Watchmen fans and entertainment bloggers (including myself) have questioned why Fox waited until Snyder wrapped production before laying claim to the movie. Our questioning, of course, rested on two assumptions: 1. There was no way Gordon and Warner Bros. could have been so dim as to shoot a movie they had no right to make; and 2. If Fox was so possessive of Watchmen, how come it didn't try harder to stop Warner Bros. from wasting millions and millions of dollars on a movie it had no right to make? But as EW subsequently reported, Fox's lawyers did contact Warner Bros. prior to Watchmen's production with the goal of resolving the matter and allowing Warner Bros. to roll film with a clear conscience -- albeit one purchased, no doubt, at great expense.

Nonetheless, fanboy vitriol toward Fox for daring to meddle with a movie they have long wanted to see continues to this very day. Just check out aint-it-cool-news' report on Fox's victory; the site's message boards are currently chockablock with choice, colorful words aimed at Fox and its top exec, Tom Rothman, who has become an unpopular figure because of Fox's spotty track record with genre material under his leadership. Yes, many of them have been huge hits (X-Men; X-Men 3; I, Robot; Fantastic Four), but many of them haven't (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Daredevil, Elektra, The Day The Earth Stood Still), and with few exceptions (most notably, X-Men 2), none of them have made the hardcore sci-fi/comic book fans very happy due to the studio's penchant for short running times, stingy budgets, and adaptation choices designed to make the material more mainstream-friendly. For them, Fox's desire to lay claim to Watchmen gives them an excuse to vent. Some fans have even been calling for a boycott of Fox's Wolverine next summer if the lawsuit should effectively delay Watchmen's release indefinitely.

But does any of this really have anything to do with Watchmen? Absolutely not. With Feess' decision, Fox's lawsuit -- and its victory -- should be seen as an important move that really benefits all of Hollywood, as it affirms copyright laws that protect all studios. Fox deserves a break on Watchmen; according to Feess, their beef with Warner Bros. has always been legit.

How much will being right ultimately be worth to Fox? Perhaps a lot; perhaps nothing at all. Warner Bros. has been asking Feess to make one more crucial ruling in this case. The judge articulates the studio's request like this: "[T]o summarily adjudicate the issue of a contractual cap on the amount of compensatory damages to which Fox is entitled." Now, I am no lawyer, but here's how I might rephrase Warner Bros.' position: "Let's pretend for a moment that Fox is right in this matter. Judge, could you help us decide a fair price for Fox's rights? Because we can't." Perhaps all along, Warner Bros. has been gambling/banking that the judge will "adjudicate" a relatively affordable price for Fox's rights, or at least put a price tag on it that's much lower than the one Fox has been putting on it. As Feess has said that a longer version of his Christmas Eve ruling is forthcoming, perhaps the question of value will be determined at that time.

In the meantime, there are anxieties, questions, and theories: Will Warner Bros. appeal? If it does, Watchmen's release could be held up by months. If Warner Bros. doesn't appeal, what will Fox get in return? A cash payout per Gordon's original contract? A cash payout plus penalties? A share of Watchmen's total revenues? Might Warner Bros. settle the lawsuit by selling or ceding the film to Fox? If Fox got control of Watchmen, would they release Snyder's film in its current 2 hour 30 minute form, or would they order him to (gulp) trim it or (double gulp) make changes?

To be continued…

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Xmas traditions from around the world...


Catalonia Fecal Festival

Happy Christmas Eve

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2 days and counting...

We start the final phase of refinishing the bathroom on Friday. We'll be putting in a new tub, surround, shower doors, and faucet/handles. And once that's done, I'll be able to finish painting the bathroom. I'm excited. I'll be able to take a bath for the first time in 10 years without being grossed out at the very concept. I don't take one that often, but every once in a while, it's a treat to soak in a scalding hot tub and just chill.

I colored my hair the other night, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I mixed a dark auburn with a medium brown, and it's almost the color I wanted. I think I'll go with a dark brown next time, to make it a bit darker red.

Christmas is about to climb on top of us like a lusty teenage boy, and I'm ready for it be over with this year. I don't know why, but I'm just not feeling it. I haven't even watched my staple Xmas movies: White Christmas, Muppet Xmas Carol, and Scrooged. I wouldn't be averse to watching them if they happen to be on TV, but I can't be bothered to fire up the DVD player to watch them. But I AM gung ho for my 12 day vacation that starts after I work 2 hours tomorrow. I look forward to playing WoW, watching movies, and not giving a fig about my job for a 12 whole days.

My only agenda for tomorrow is sleeping in, hauling my ass into work for 2 hours, and then going home to prepare my Mediterranean spinach strata for Xmas day at my mom's. I've got a handful of presents to wrap, and I put Kev in charge of getting Brian and Jason's gifts this year because I've had enough to do.

Friday, December 19, 2008

God damn these electric sex pants!

Have you saved a word today?

By David Murray
A writer's campaign to keep our language rich

All it takes for good words to pass from the language is for enough good writers to stand around and do nothing.

Who said that? I did, a couple of years ago, when I smacked my elbow on a desk and exclaimed,"Ow, that smarts!"

The young editor sitting there gave me a blank look. "Smarts?" she asked.

"Yes, smarts—you know, hurts!" I replied, unable to conceal my annoyance at having to clarify and define my howl of pain.

She'd never heard that term. Rubbing my elbow, I stormed around the office like a madman, asking various people about smarts. I discovered, to my astonishment, that no one under 26 had ever heard the term used to describe sharp pain.

Of course, smarts isn't the first word to disappear from our collective vocabulary. Nobody calls anybody butterfingers anymore, and no one says untoward, either.

I like hanging around old guys, and whenever I do, I hear words that passed out of everyday American usage years ago. A friend of mine, when he hits a bad golf shot, calls himself a nitwit. I laugh every time.

My dad describes a pretty girl as a tomato, and when he's happy, he says, "I'm in the catbird seat."

Another friend, when he's got some money, says, "I'm in the chips."

But the king of old words is a 54-year-old guy I know. This baby-boomer-going-on-octogenarian never uses a modern term when an old one will do. He never says food when he can say chow. As in, "You ever had Polish chow?" He never says bar when he can say barroom, and he never says barroom when he can say saloon. He never calls a meeting. He always proposes a powwow. (He'd like to use the ancient palaver, but this stuff has its limits; people have to know what you're talking about. Or do they?)

"Don't queer the deal," he'll warn about a potential business scheme that could be easily derailed by too many people talking about it. "Keep it on the QT," he'll add.

If he's in trouble, he won't say so. He'll say he's in Dutch, a phrase whose etymology he's explained a hundred times and I still can't remember. If he's not in Dutch, he's in the soup.

He's a one-man defender of many old terms and expressions, and he's constantly explaining them. Making hay, for instance: "Why do you make hay while the sun shines?" he'll ask rhetorically. "Because hay isn't hay until you cut it. And you can't cut it while it's wet, or it'll rot. So you have to make hay while the sun shines."

There are good old euphemisms for sex from the days when we heated our houses with fireplaces and coal-burning furnaces. In those days, one man might say to another: "I need to have my ashes hauled."

My friend says he likes these words because they reference our historical
roots. Which is exactly why they're losing currency. It's said that language is a living thing and to try to engineer linguistic change or insist on its stability is a foolish endeavor. Perhaps. But we're writers, and one of the great benefits of the job is that we have more widespread influence on the language than anyone else.

I propose a movement: Pick your favorite old word or expression, and jam it into
your writing and your conversations wherever it will fit, or even where it won't.

"That dog won't hunt," you say?

Now you're getting the idea.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An excerpt from a great (though occasional) blog...

An excerpt from a great (though occasional) blog...

But right now, as I type and tear, I realize THESE moments, THESE raw fucking sad moments, are what builds true grit. It makes you stand straight in auditions when a producer won’t look your way or when some ‘somebody’ makes you feel like a no ‘nobody.’ When someone passes on your script or someone else doesn't like your eye color, you can shrug it off and walk out head high. This grief, this REAL shit, is like a trump card that you throw down in the chaos of everyday life and say ‘Ha ha. See life? I know the secret. And none of this shit matters.’ Because what really matters, at least today, late at night, tucked away in the Southern most part of The United States, with her expired face cream on, a Harry Potter notebook and a crumbled yoga schedule from the local place on my bedside, and some beat up flip flops tossed about---for ME---is human relationships. Building and cherishing the ones I do have and not chasing the ones I don’t.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Because I'm feeling festive...

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Stole this from Capricious Beast...

Zoom in to read the hilarious fine print.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Belly up...

So apparently, RoadRunner Records told Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer her belly was FAR too fat for her to be in a music video.

Above: Amanda Palmer and said horrifically F-A-T belly.

Why are women expected to have washboard abs? It's not normal. I'm sorry it's not. I had a 4-pack when I was 22, and it took HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS of cardio and working out to get them and maintain them. And that was just a 4-pack.

Look at historical paintings and photographs of nude women. WE ARE NOT MEANT TO LOOK LIKE MUSCULAR MEN. We have curves, and not all of them are meant to be concave.

In revolt, Dresden Dolls fans have created Rebellyon, a site dedicated to bellies of all shapes and sizes. I look forward to posting my own pudgy belly on the site. It infuriates me that women are held to damn near unattainable standards and then chastised and made to feel worthless and ugly when we can't reach those unattainable standards.

I spent my entire youth thinking I had an E-N-O-R-M-O-U-S pot belly. Seriously. I was 6 ft tall, weighed a buck-o-five, and I thought my stomach was repulsive. Christ. I wish I had that stomach now. I'd be wearing half-shirts to work every day, office clothing policies be damned!

So join me at the Rebellyon and post your tummy pics!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Nerd Culture Holiday

So did anyone actually SEE the Macy's T-day parade get Rick-rolled?


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bitte Gott, ließ mich sterben

My day yesterday was just sh-t.

On the way to work, I had a catastrophic wiper blade failure, and it was flopping all over the place. I wasn't somewhere I could pull over and fix it either. And thank goodness it was pouring rain at the time. So I got to work and put it back on, hoping it was just a fluke.

So after having numerous things of varying intensity go wrong at work all day, I did what most two year olds do to cope with frustration and sobbed in the bathroom for 15 minutes. The only thing I hate more than crying is crying in public, especially at work. I HATE IT. And that, in turn, made me even more upset.

On the way back from the dr.'s office to work, the wiper blade freaked out again. I realized that it's probably just broken and dealt with it till I got back to the office. IT Guy came out and put it on again, and I just needed it to hang on until I could get to AutoZone after work.

I left and got some winterized blades for my car. The guy behind the counter called me "sir," and I just felt that was par for the course of the day. I was able to get the broken one off and replaced, no problem. The other one wouldn't come off, though. So I had to go back in and ask one of the guys to help me replace the one. The guy raises an eyebrow and says with a smirk to me, "Usually when someone can't do something, they ask for help." I replied, "Well, I usually CAN replace a wiper blade, but as you can see, my left hand doesn't really work." /sigh

I went home, put on pajamas, crawled under my electric blanket, and refused to do anything for the rest of the day.

Today has only been mildly better. I'm looking forward to 5pm Wednesday. Ugh.

Monday, November 24, 2008

"If you live in that part of the Venn Diagram where Star Trek and Monty Python overlap, (as I do) I suspect you will be glad you watched this." - Wil Wheaton

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dunder borealis in the snofran, thank you.

Yar, it's been a crazy weekend.

I did a boatload of trailer checks on Friday. I had no idea Twilight was going to be an all-out frenzy for high school girls. Every showing Friday night was sold out, and they were already selling out Saturday showings. And I suppose it's unfair to say it's for high school girls because there were plenty of adult women, many in their 40s even, who were freaking the f--- out over this movie. I guess I'll have to try out the first novel and see if I can stand all the teen angst.

Yesterday, Amanda and I met my m-i-l for Chantilly's annual holiday open house and desert tasting. I reserved my usual chocolate log, and tried out some other tasty things. I then went home and made 4 loaves of pumpkin bread. At 3pm, Leah calls and asks me if I'm coming to her jewelry party. I'm like, "Yeah, it's tonight right?" And she's all, "Um, it started 45 mins ago." /sigh Worst. Friend. Ever. And to make matters worse, only her mom showed up. argh. I felt even worse about mixing up the time with Tanya's last week. I ended up staying in last night because I'm still not super-fond of driving after dark if I don't have to.

I dragged Kev to Flower Factory this morning, so I could get a Christmas tree. I donated my old one through Dayton Freecycle. It went to a family who couldn't afford a tree this year, so that made me happy. They came and picked it up off the porch yesterday. I picked out one last week, and Kev pointed out that it's awfully fat for the space we have. So he helped me find a slightly narrower one, and it was on sale for $85! Woohoo! Now I just have to drag out my Xmas decorations and get started.

Tonight, Amanda and I are meeting my mom for the Magical Night of Giving at Fairfield Commons. I'm not really planning to buy anything, and if I do, it'll be for Xmas. I just want to go and enjoy the festivities and do a dry run for DAT shopping this Friday. I'm giddy with the thought of hardcore shopping.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Is your cat trying to kill you?

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Adventures in car buying

Ryan and I first went to look at a dark gray 2006 xB that was listed for $11.6k. We took it for a test drive, and it shimmied like paint mixer at 65mph. We pulled it over on the way home to inspect it better. There were scratches all over it, holes and cigarette burns in the seats, and it was FILTHY. It looked like someone smeared mud all over the interior, let it dry, and then ran a vacuum over it. But strangely, as Ryan pointed out, the carpeting was pristine, which means they likely had to replace it because it was so damaged, and we speculated that it had been through about 2 feet deep (or more) muddy water by looking down past the engine under the hood.

When we got it back to the dealership, Shake (yes, that was really his name) tried to get us to put a price on it. I said, "$9000 out the door," and he was all but running to get the paperwork for me to sign. "BUT," I said, "I'm going to go look at the other cars I planned to today before I make a decision." Seeing his eagerness to dump a $12k car for $9k cash made the hair on my neck stand up and my gut flip-flop. I knew 100% right then I wasn't buying a car he was so eager to dump for so cheap. I'd like to add that Shake looked, acted, talked like, and even had the same mannerisms as Vince Vaughn. It was bizarre. And the whole time he was talking to me, I kept singing the Shake-zula verse of AquaTeen Hungerforce theme song over and over in my head.

So we headed to the next dealership. Unfortunately, I fell in love about 3 feet away from the car. You see, the key to getting a good price is to be able to walk away and not give a hoot if you get the car or not. So I was instantly selling myself short, and I knew it. I could probably have gotten another $500 knocked off the car, in addition to the $1200 I got knocked off anyway, but it was worth it.

It's beautiful dark blue, and it had some extras that xB's don't originally come with. It has the upgraded 6-disc CD changer, which I did NOT tell the salesman about. If he's not informed on his own vehicles, that's not my problem. It also has a remote starter, cruise control, dark tinted windows all around rather than just the back (again, I didn't tell the salesman about that), and it was pristine condition. It also still has about 11k miles left on the original warranty, which is nice.

I got a great deal on it, considering the same car is going for $14k-16k up here, and I'd never have gotten them down to the price I paid...

Friday, November 14, 2008

status quo

Sorry, have had some personal things going on that I can't talk about in a public forum. Will update again soon with something not newsworthy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My ballot is cast...

And no, I won't discuss it. Instead, here are some Onion headlines Amanda sent to me today that made me snort.

Headlines I read this morning:

Bush: “Can I stop being president now?”

McCain refusing to tell voters what’s in the box unless elected.

Struggling lower-class still unsure how best to f*ck selves with vote.

Blog by Cindy McCain: A vote for my husband is a vote for me not to break your f*cking neck

Voting machines elect one of their own as president.

Obama undertakes presidential internship to ease fears about his lack of experience.

Obama warns he may cease to exist unless America believes in him.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sarah Palin gets punk'd

Sarah Palin gets punk'd.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloweeny...for sure.

Went out for Halloween last night, and damn, was it disappointing. It was great to see Amy, Leah, and Mike, but the rest of it was the pits. The Monster Hop hadn't even had the first band play at 11:15, and hardly anyone was in costume. I ducked out around that time and went to the next party.

Therapy Café wasn't any better. Mike had warned me it was a lousy venue for dancing, but I was fine with just hanging out and listening to some great music from DJ Kris and catching up with the crowd since the Foundry closed. But only a handful of people from that scene showed up, and again, hardly anyone was in costume.

The sound was terrible, but it was the acoustics of the place that sucked and not DJ Kris. On the upside, you could have a conversation without having to shout. By the time they held the costume contest at 1am, there were about 10 people left in the audience. And when you have a contest based on audience applause, the same 10 people whoop for everyone, making it indiscernible as to who actually "won." I didn't bother entering. I didn't see the point.**

And it was so dark in the club, you couldn't even see what anyone else was wearing. Kind of lame for a costume party, no? I managed to dump 1.5 martinis all over Leah's ass and legs. Good times.

I decided to go into work for a few hours today to make up for taking off yesterday. I was so tired and had so much work left to do on my costume that I decided to take off. It's ridiculous I didn't get the day off anyway. But that's another blog...

**Audience-based judging is nothing more than a popularity contest and completely worthless as a judging technique for costumes. I don't waste my time.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Just in time for Halloween....

hee hee

Good people, bad shit

Mom called me yesterday and said that Pam Shouse, who used to live across the road (notice I said, "road" and not "street"...that's the difference between farm kids and city kids) from Angi was in an accident yesterday. Apparently, she drives a school bus for MEHS, and a dump truck blew through a stop sign and smashed into the bus. I guess some kids were still on the bus and were hurt, also. Pam ran my 4-H club growing up, and her and her hub were some of the nicest people you could know.

It happened on the road I grew up on, and let me tell you, I saw so many people run stop signs across that road that I felt like I was running the gauntlet every time I drove it. The worst was when the corn was up, and every intersection was blind. The rest of the year, you could at least see if there was a car that looked like it wasn't going to stop and do something about it.

Mom said she was in critical condition. This comes on the tail of one of our high school teachers burning up in a fire. Sara's b-i-l was one of the first responders on the scene and apparently found his body. Mr. Gumerlock was a riot. His teaching methods were outdated, but he was a nice old man. I just remember him telling the boys to "never tell your girl she's amorphous, instead, tell her she's voluptuous."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vaseline saved my life

I'm home. And exhausted.

I love Chicago, and I had a blast hanging with Sara most nights, but damn am I happy to be home. I woke up at 3am, and after laying in bed for an hour, I decide to just get up and go fly standby for the 7:30am flight. I then promptly crashed for 4 hours when I got home. I feel slightly more human now, and I'm trying to get myself in the mood for handing out candy tonight. I think I might break out my electric blanket to cover myself on the porch.

It was freezing when I left the airport. And I thought Chicago was cold this week. Ugh. But I guess the next week is supposed to be sunny and near 70, which will be a nice last hurrah before the holiday season kicks in.

Traveling is over until next spring, thankfully. And I'm looking forward to the holidays now that this trip is over. Tonight is beggar's night, and tomorrow, me, Amy, and Tanya are going out.

I'm still kind of fried, so I'm going to log off and go lay on the couch, waiting for my pizza to be delivered.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I'm headed to Chicago tomorrow, and I don't get back till Thursday. I likely won't have time to lurk around in the Hilton's business center, so I'll see you all when I get back. Peace out!


Current mood: amused

I've been a fan of for years now. They never fail to make me laugh out loud. Their anti-Halloween "Holyweener" campaign right now is cracking me up.

My favorites:

Will Jesus Sling Little Children Into Hell For Celebrating Halloween?
"You bet He will!"

Turn Halloween Into a Fun Filled Night of Wiccan Hunting!

Holy Ghost Halloween Costumes

Find Out How Movies Like "Scooby Doo" Are Turning Kids On to the Occult

Organize a Book Burning

And for those of you who take life WAY too seriously, this site is a satire. It's a joke. It's poking fun at the semi-retarded fundie point of view.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Organic Food Offers Little More Than Peace of Mind

Jami Nelson always tried to eat healthy and take good care of her body, so she was stunned to learn she had breast cancer at the age of 25.

Her cancer now in remission, the 26-year-old nurse is much more careful about what she eats. Nelson said she chooses only organic milk and meat despite their higher cost because of the way they are produced, without antibiotics and added hormones.

Organics give her peace of mind, and Nelson is willing to pay more to get it. But some experts say that's all she'll get — that there's nothing healthier or better about organic food.

Alex Avery, director of research and education for the Hudson Institute‘s Center for Global Food Issues and author of “The Truth About Organics,” said there are several misconceptions about organic food that make people believe it is healthier and better for the environment.

‘’It’s a total con,” said Avery, a plant scientist by training. "There is not a shred of science" to back up claims that organic is safer or more nutritious, he said.

To display the “USDA Organic” seal, a product must be produced and processed according to USDA standards, and at least 95 percent of its ingredients must be organically produced. That means growers can’t use most conventional chemical pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers or sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Animals must be fed organic feed, cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones and must have access to the outdoors. Genetic engineering and ionizing radiation also are prohibited.

But standards for labeling organically-produced agricultural products don't address food safety or nutrition, just how the food is grown.

Organic food is more likely to carry pathogenic bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli, because of the type of fertilizer that organic farmers use, Avery said. He also said that some of the natural pesticides used in organic farming are quite toxic.

For example, organic farmers are allowed to treat fungal diseases with copper solutions and remain within guidelines. Copper, which is toxic, is the 18th most used pesticide in the U.S. and stays in the soil forever, unlike modern biodegradable pesticides.

Avery singles out organic milk in particular as being no better, saying labs have not found “one detectable difference whatsoever.” Despite this, he said, his wife is the only woman in her circle of mothers with young children who serves her kids conventional milk.

Avery said that not only isn't organic always healthier for consumers, its perception of being friendlier for the environment isn’t always true, too. Although many organic crops require less energy in terms of fertilizer in production, conventional farms can produce more food and use less energy.

But Holly Givens, spokeswoman for the Organic Trade Association, which represents the $17 billion organic industry in North America and has 1,700 member businesses, said that there are real benefits to choosing organic options.

“Many consumers see a link between agricultural practices and the health of the earth, and how those systems are interconnected with human health,” Givens said. For example, organic practices she said help protect water supplies and counter the effects of global warming by keeping carbon in the soil. Healthwise, she said, consumers avoid pesticide residue and toxic chemicals.

“They see organic products as a solution, not as part of the problem,” Givens said. “Organic fits in with the desire to lead a more healthful life.”

The jury is still out on whether organic is safer or more nutritious.

Chris Kilham, a self-described medicine hunter who travels the world in search of traditional, plant-based medicines, said smaller studies show certified organic food to be more nutritious and contain more Vitamin C, Vitamin A and other antioxidants.

“We know with absolute certainty that organic foods are more nutritious,” Kilham said. “Nobody can find any studies that show less nutrition.”

For nutritionists, such as the Mayo Clinic’s Jennifer Nelson, the decision for people to eat organic is a personal one.

Nelson said organic isn’t better or worse. “It means it’s just as good.”

She warns consumers that produce isn't safer if its organic or conventional when it comes to foodborne illnesses: Organic foods, despite some misconceptions, still must be cleaned properly and cooked appropriately. Nor is it necessarily healthier if the food is cooked or processed in an unhealthy way (think organic potato chips).

Givens concedes that certified organic labeling does not necessarily mean the food is safer, but she does believe that the healthy soil associated with organic food leads to healthier plants and healthier livestock.

As for safety, Givens said there have been no studies comparing the prevalence of foodborne illnesses in organic versus conventionally grown food.

But the numbers show that despite these unknowns, the popularity of organic food has been on the rise. According to Packaged Facts, an industry research firm, estimates of 2008 sales of natural and organic food and beverages will continue at a double-digit growth rate to reach $32.9 billion, despite a faltering economy.

“A lot of people will give up almost anything before they give their kids food they don’t feel comfortable with,” said Mark Kastel, co-director of the Cornucopia Institute, an organic industry watchdog group. “Organic food is a bargain when you look at the total impact on environment and health.”

Despite his concerns, even Avery concedes that organic food is here to stay. He’s cut back to part-time at the institute.

“There's no money in being on the common sense side against a very popular bandwagon,” he said.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Droll house projects...

Not much going on that's terribly exciting. I'm working on getting my Halloween costume done before I leave Saturday. I'll be in Chicago Saturday-Thursday next week. I'm not terribly excited about going other than I'll get to spend some time with Sara & Joe. That'll be fun.

I spent several hours doing yard work on Sunday, and I've come to the conclusion that I'd rather just chop down all the damn trees around my house and erect a circus tent over the house for shade instead. It would result in far less raking and leaf blowing and would be quite decorative. Also, leaf blowers work much better if your grass is short. So I mowed the lawn in the back one last time for the year, I hope.

I cleaned out the garage last night, so I can start parking my car in there again. Tonight's supposed to be the first hard frost of the season, and I hate scraping windows. That and a friend is helping me pick up my new bathtub on Friday, and I need somewhere to put it and still have room to park my car until we actually finish the bathroom this December.

I hauled all the leaves I bagged Sunday and the yard debris from the flippin' hurricane over to the Kettering yard debris center. There's another pile I blew/raked to the curb for pick-up. Most people just put them in the street at the curb, but there wouldn't be anywhere to park in front of the house if I put them ALL up there. Hopefully, they'll pick up this week on schedule.

I figured I'd go ahead and mow the front law despite there not being a whole lot of growing going on with this dry spell. But as I concluded it's easier to get crap off the lawn when the grass is short, I figured I'd mow the front one last time, too.

My trees have barely even begun to drop their leaves, and I dread it when they really let go. Last year, I just mulched the bitches, and my neighbors all thought I was insane. But I really didn't care. But last year, I also didn't know we had three rounds of leaf pick-up by the city, or I'd have made more of an effort.

Well, rather than drone on further about the droll house projects I'm working on, I'll sign off.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I swear to god, CNN has made it an art to take the most unflattering pictures of Bush talking and post them on the front page for the main article.

I couldn't help myself today:

Caption your own here and share!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Best news I've heard all day...

Madonna and Ritchie to divorce.

Maybe now, he'll make a decent movie again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Soon, you may have no reason at all to even have cable...

Channel blackouts may not be over
Time Warner balking at paying broadcasters more to retransmit signal.

By Jim DeBrosse

Staff Writer

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

DAYTON — More station blackouts may be looming for cable subscribers here and across the country, industry experts warn.

The recent loss of LIN TV stations, including Dayton's WDTN-TV Channel 2, from Time Warner Cable's lineup is only the latest skirmish between cable operators and television stations that want money for allowing cable operators to retransmit their programming.

In coming months, Time Warner will enter negotiations with Univision, Fox, Discovery and parts of NBC, according to Pali Research analyst Rich Greenfield. And as advertising revenue slumps, TV stations are looking to bump up their consent fees.

Cable companies insist they shouldn't have to pay to retransmit channels their subscribers can get free with an antenna. They say federal regulations that grant regional monopolies to TV networks give broadcasters an unfair advantage in negotiations.

Broadcasters argue they provide programming that cable companies simply resell to their subscribers. "To me, it's no different than Target selling sweaters. No wholesaler is going to give them sweaters for free," Barry Faber, vice president of Sinclair Broadcast Group, said Monday, Oct. 13. Sinclair owns Dayton's Fox 45.

Networks have had the right to negotiate retransmission fees since Congress overturned a law protecting the cable industry in 1992. LIN TV is seeking 3 cents per month per cable subscriber from Time Warner. The Big Ten Network, which concluded a contract with Time Warner Aug. 25, asked for $1.10 per month per subscriber.


I love my DirecTV.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Borrowers with good credit, down payments still can get loans

Borrowers with good credit, down payments still can get loans

By Tim Tresslar

Staff Writer

Sunday, October 12, 2008

When it comes to home mortgages, what was old is now new again.

Old as in the old-fashioned notion of a down payment. Even with credit tightening and the global banking system roiling, local lenders say they have money to loan. But borrowers will have to pony up more of their own money than they would have during the housing bubble's heyday.

"The days of 100 percent loans, where there was no down payment required, are by and large over," said Doug Fecher, president and chief executive of Wright-Patt Credit Union.

In the case of Wright-Patt, other credit unions and community banks, this doesn't mark a change, Fecher said. At Wright-Patt, borrowers always needed a down payment of between 3 and 5 percent as well as enough cash or other assets socked away to cover a couple of months' payment should the borrower lose their job or hit other financial problems, he said.

Chuck Edmonson, a spokesman for Fifth Third Bank of Western Ohio, said down payment requirements and interest rates differ among banks and borrowers. But consumers with good credit continue to get loans, he said.

"The key is to make as much of a down payment as you can," Edmonson said. "The more of a down payment you can make, the better the chances will be of you getting a favorable interest rate."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Is this the start of another Great Depression?

By Barry Eichengreen
Special to CNN

Editor's Note: Barry Eichengreen is George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of "Golden Fetters: the Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939."

BERKELEY, California (CNN) -- Every time the economy and stock market turn down, financial historians get predictable calls from reporters.

Could this be the start of another Great Depression? Could "it" possibly happen again? My stock answer has always been no.

The Great Depression resulted from a series of economic and financial shocks -- the end of a housing bubble in 1926 and the end of a high-tech bubble in 1929 -- but also from truly breathtaking neglect and incompetence on the part of policymakers.

It couldn't happen again precisely because policymakers know this history. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is a student of the Great Depression. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson remembers the mistakes of Andrew Mellon, Herbert Hoover's treasury secretary.

We can be confident, I always answered, that there will not be another Great Depression because policymakers have read financial histories like mine. At least that was my line until recently. Now I have stopped taking reporters' calls.

The first thing that made the Great Depression great, of course, was the Fed's failure to act. It basically stood by as the banking system and the economy collapsed around it. This time, in contrast, the Fed can hardly be criticized for inaction. Not only has it cut rates, but it has rolled out one new unprecedented initiative after another.

Unfortunately, it has reacted more than acted. First, it provided funds to the commercial banks. Then, it targeted broker-dealers. Now, it is desperately propping up the commercial paper market. All the while however, the problem has been infecting new parts of the financial system.

One thing that restrained the Fed in the 1930s was the fear that rate cuts might cause capital to flee to other countries and the dollar to crash. The danger was that the same liquidity that the Fed poured in through the top of the bucket might just leak back out through these holes in the bottom.

There was a solution: coordinated rate cuts here and in Europe. Unfortunately, central bankers couldn't agree on what was needed. The result was further instability.

That central banks have learned this lesson of history and now see the need for coordinated action is at least one ground for hope. The problem is that they have already used their bullets.

U.S. Treasury bill rates have essentially fallen to zero, and the Fed's policy interest rates are only slightly above that level. Central banks are out of ammunition. This is no longer a problem they can solve by themselves.

What is needed now is Treasury action to address what has morphed into a global banking crisis. Between 1930 and 1933, not just the U.S. but also Europe and Latin America experienced rolling banking crises.

When Austria took desperate measures to prop up its banking system, its banking crisis only shifted to Germany. When Germany did the same, the crisis spread to the United States.

This was beggar-thy-neighbor policy at its worst. We have seen some disturbing evidence of the same in recent weeks, as when Ireland unilaterally guaranteed all bank deposits and thereby sucked funds out of the British banking system.

G7 leaders, when they meet in Washington at the end of this week, need to explain exactly how they will address this aspect of the problem. They need to commit money to recapitalizing their banking systems -- now, and not next week.

The U.K., which has just announced a $50 billion plan for bank recapitalization, has shown how this can be done in a matter of days. But a coordinated initiative will require the U.S. to put up a considerably larger sum.

My recommendation would be to abandon the idea of reverse auctions for toxic assets and instead use the $700 billion of the recently passed rescue plan for bank recapitalization. Although the Great Depression started in 1929, it took until 1933 for American leaders to grasp this nettle and recapitalize the banks. We can't afford to wait for years this time around.

A final thing that made the Great Depression such a catastrophe was that some of the worst shocks occurred right before the 1932 presidential election. There then followed an extended interregnum between the election and inauguration of the new president when no one was in charge.

The outgoing president, Hoover, asked his successor designate, Franklin Roosevelt, to cooperate with him on joint statements and policies, but FDR refused to do so. Meanwhile, the banking crisis deepened. Corporations failed.

The economy was allowed to spiral downward. It was this disaster that led us to amend the constitution to shorten the time between presidential election and inauguration from 4 to 2½ months.

The implication is clear. The two presidential candidates should be assembling their financial SWAT teams now. Paulson should promise that they will be invited into his office on November 5. This problem cannot wait until Inauguration Day.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

20 things to expect from the new post-apocalyptic economy

What will U.S. regulatory and financial climate will look like in a few months from now? It may look remarkably like the climate of five or 10 years ago.

By Jerome Idaszak, Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter
Renuka Rayasam, Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

September 26, 2008

When the smoke clears on the current financial and legislative turmoil -- the economic landscape will look considerably different than it did just a few months ago. Here's what we see ahead:

A much less leveraged economy. Cash will be king. In practical terms, that means: Little financing of speculative building and higher pre-leasing hurdles for commercial real estate. More money up front on merger and acquisition deals. Bigger mortgage down payments. Lower limits on credit cards. And higher capital reserves for banks.

And less risk-taking in other ways as well. Borrowers will need squeaky-clean track records. Financial deals at publicly traded firms will be more transparent. Buyers will demand a much clearer understanding of exactly what they're getting.

More modest rewards -- the natural consequence of less risk taking. Fewer stocks racking up double-digit gains. Slower appreciation of property values. Smaller returns on endowments for universities and nonprofits. For consumers: Fewer second homes, boats, new cars and so on. More households will live within their means.

A feast for bottom fishers. Investors with cash, the patience to wait out a gradual recovery and a heart stout enough to withstand periodic wild swings, will be in the catbird seat. They're positioned to make a bundle, snapping up undervalued assets -- businesses, real estate, securities, etc. Even out-of-work talent will go cheap to employers savvy enough to nab it.

Fewer financial firms, as big universal banks swallow up midsize regionals.

More government oversight of financial markets. Better communication and coordination among regulatory agencies. Increased disclosure requirements. A tighter rein on short-selling. Closer supervision of credit rating agencies. And more.

But a revival of private financial firms -- investment banking partnerships and boutique merger and acquisition houses, for example. Their allure: minimizing regulatory burdens and filling a need for investors willing and able to take larger risks for larger returns.

Simpler forms of securitizing debt -- plain vanilla ways to spread risk. Secondary markets for mortgages and other assets won't vanish. But the instruments bought and sold will be less exotic.

Greater scrutiny of executive compensation, whether mandated by Congress or not. Shareholders are sure to take on the issue more aggressively in the near term.
Higher taxes and/or a bigger federal deficit as Uncle Sam shoulders the load of Wall Street's toxic debt. Although eventually the government may make money on the deal, in the short term, the Treasury -- and therefore, the taxpayers -- will pony up billions.

Higher long-term interest rates. Treasury yields must rise to lure capital -- foreign or domestic -- driving up mortgage and corporate bond rates. Short-term rates will slide, though, as the Federal Reserve tries to keep the economy afloat and put banks back on solid ground.

In reality, the change isn't to a new environment. It's a return to traditional norms of the past, before cheap money inflated asset values, undermined lending standards and encouraged excess risk. It's bitter medicine, but it's necessary.

VP Debate

VP Debate
Current mood: argumentative

Anyone watch last night? I already made a comment on Bill's blog, but I'll reprint it here....

Kevin and I were discussing making a drinking game based on her saying "maverick" and Biden saying "fundamental."

After her disastrous interview with Katie Couric last week, I really didn't know what to expect from her. She sputtered and yammered and hem-hawed through the interview, and it came off terrible. I also expected Biden to be a bit more vicious.

I think she held her own, but Biden has decades of experience on her in this arena, and he definitely came off much more polished. I liked that he smiled a lot, and it even looked genuine. I couldn't help but yell "BOO-YAH!" when he made the bridge to no where comment. The look on her face was priceless.

I'd also like to point out that Biden tearing up when talking about his dead wife and kid was the money shot. But as the usual double standard, had Palin teared up over the same thing, she'd have been made out to be a weak, weepy woman who can't control her emotions. But it worked for Biden, I think.

I admit it. It pissed me off when Hillary cried while campaigning. It seemed forced and only came after the media said her image was "too hard." So what? That means you have to run to the first camera you can find and weep? BAH. You didn't see Iron Maggie weeping over stupid crap.

TWC is the rofflemow

I'm laughing over the outraged Time Warner Cable customers. I have long said that TWC is the devil. In case you don't know, our ONLY local cable provider dumped NBC over contract negotiations.

I love DirecTV, and while I can't just run a splitter for free to every room in my house, I have few problems with it. The only problem I've ever had was getting them to come out to the house when we moved. But once it's set up, it's pretty much trouble free. I don't think the package deal is that much better with TWC than it is to have AT&T phone/DSL and DirecTV, and now that AT&T has TV service, they might be competitive.

What's funny is that TWC is refusing to negotiate a like 1/4 penny uppage in price to "protect" their customers. But all they're really doing is driving people away completely. The DDN forums are full of people jumping the TWC ship and going to DirecTV and Dish.

You don't mess with a redneck's Sunday Night Football or a nerd's Heroes.

NYC more in depth...

As I drove to work in the dark this morning, my first holiday fever hit me. I'm ready for fall and the crispness of winter. I suppose I'm one of the rare few who actually enjoys the changing seasons. Summer all year round would make me appreciate it less, I think.

All the anger and disdain of yesterday was slept off. My day spiraled into shit somewhere around 1pm when the files that made me work 12 hour days last Mon/Tues didn't work after all. But what really pissed me off is that our expo people tried to blow smoke up my ass about a process. I'm not an idiot. I do this for a living. And if it takes their people 10 hours to lay something out that they're copying exactly, they either have the worst graphic designers on the planet, or they're being robbed blind for hourly pay.

I love NYC. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it. I mean, I love Chicago, and New Orleans, and utterly adore Toronto, but NYC is it's own animal.

Wednesday, I had the fastest cabbie of all cabbies EVER. The normal charge for a ride from Laguardia to Times Square is $45. I paid like $32. He was passing every cab on the street and cutting down back streets. I tipped him well. I checked into my hotel and immediately jumped on the subway and then walked to the Metropolitan Museum.

I waffled for weeks on which museum I wanted to go look at on Wednesday afternoon since it was my only day off alone. I considered the Gugenheim, and I really wish I had walked down and at least touched it and taken a picture of it before going back to my hotel. I worship Frank LW. He looked at the world in a way no one else could and had such a complicated understanding of it.

The Met was awesome. I'm a huge museum nerd, and I love nothing more than spending an entire day in a new museum. I have tons of pics, but I need to download them off my phone. That thing has a great camera. I was slightly disappointed by the Greek/Roman section. I dunno. Maybe I expected more than tan pottery. The sculptures were fascinating, but…I dunno.

The Egyptian section was amazing, and I really enjoyed the arms and armor. They had some sweet crossbows on display. I loves me some crossbows. I also took some pics of interesting patterns that I'm thinking about incorporating into the house somehow.

I loved it. I saw everything I wanted to see, and then most of everything else. I wasn't as interested in the paintings, so I save those for the last 45 minutes and kind of hustled through looking at the Rembrandts and Degas. I was disappointed that the Medieval art section was closed for renovations, though. I had wanted to see that; although, medieval art pretty much consists of Christian paintings and junk. Been there, done that.

That night, we ate in Little Italy and got a table full of desserts afterwards. I'd just like to say that coconut gelato is the food of the gods. nom nom nom. Thursday night, we ate at Jekyll & Hide, which wouldn't have been bad had it not been 80 degrees in there. As soon as I walked in, I got hit with the barf bat. I spent the whole time in there feeling like I was going to hurl, and it ends up Phenergen takes about 1.5 hours to actually kick in. Urgh. And when I feel ill, I have the attention span of a gnat. So I spent the whole evening feeling spacey and out of it. Around 8:30-ish I finally stopped feeling sick, but I was in the hotel room laying in bed.

Friday, Angi collected me after work and we ate in Jersey City at a place called Taqueria. Holy god. How good could tacos be, I asked myself. Though, oddly, I ended up fantasizing about eating them all day Friday leading up to it. Heh And I wasn't disappointed. I was unconvinced that taco without cheese could be delicious. And I was oh-so-wrong. They were PHENOMENAL. I could have eaten breakfast, lunch, and dinner there every day for the next month.

Saturday, we shopped our asses off. We meandered all over southern Manhattan. She refused to show me exactly how much ground we had covered until we got back to the apartment, for fear my ankle might explode at the very thought of it. But we covered a LOT of ground.

I got some kick-ass t-shirts, a cool punky jacket, and some delicious NY pizza. I love how the crust is so crispy and delicious. Mmmm I was also ecstatic that I got to go to the Giant Robot store. I happened to remember that there was one in NYC while we were out shopping, and Angi called the fiance to find out where it was. I got a t-shirt and a calendar, and I contemplated getting some other stuff but held off. I can always order from their website later. But I was thrilled just to get to go to one finally.

I'm kicking myself I didn't buy that damn hat at Century 21, which is an enormous multi-storied version of TJ Maxx but with higher-end discounted stuff. And there was something else I was wishing I had bought, but I've forgotten now. Which I suppose is good and probably means I really didn't need it anyway.

We had dinner at some pancake house that was featured on Dives, Drive-ins, and Diners--or whatever it's called. I got a burger that wasn't very good. But I learned the valuable lesson that if a restaurant is named for a certain food, you should probably just order that food if you want to be impressed. Next time…

I had a great time. And I'm grateful to Angi for taking me around. I've decided I'm old and need to eat dinner at 4:30, as I was in bed and asleep almost every night by 10:30. Oh well. :)

...but really, he was just talking to his backpack.

Good lord. Spent last week in Manhattan.

I've discovered I loathe Times Square, but I love the rest of Manhattan. My seminar was fantastic, and Angi and I had a great time. Thanks for the horse brutality, girlie. I got some t-shirts, an awesome jacket, and tons of delicious food. I can't wait to go back next November for her wedding. :)

I made my connecting flight by a god damn minute yesterday. I had to RUN between the 2 furthest points of the Atlanta airport just to make it. I decided I wasn't going to go around people; they could just get the hell out of the way of the giant running with a 20-lbs backpack and a rolling carry-on suitcase. And wisely, they did.

I'm tired. I spent today drinking from an open bar and riding around in a golf cart delivering beer to hoity-toity doctors playing golf. Rough life, I know. heh

Kev is demanding to go to the grocery, so I must log off and drag ass through Kroger.

Can Batman save Watchmen?

September 23, 2008 - The legal battle between Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox over the right to produce and distribute the film adaptation of the graphic novel Watchmen continues to rage on, complete with threats of a postponement of the film's March 6, 2009 release date -- a move that would put a serious crimp in Warners' '09 plans. But a new report claims there could be a possible means to settle the dispute and it involves none other than the Caped Crusader.

Batman-on-Film points out an article at the Comic Book Resources column Lying in the Gutters, which claims that Fox isn't necessarily just looking for a mere payoff from Warners in order to let the latter release Watchmen. "Sources tell me that Fox want the 1960s Batman TV series. Currently Fox own the TV footage, but Warner Bros own the characters and trademarks, via their ownership of DC Comics. [EDITOR'S NOTE: That's not exactly true; please see the paragraphs below.] The rights to a DVD release have been held up for a long time now, and this case looks like it may be the instrument to release them," CBR claims.

The article adds that "Fox will get a wodge of cash as well - many millions of dollars it seems. But it seems they also want the rights to release the Adam West-starring Batman on DVD, something long denied fans of the series. And Warners will get the Watchmen film, to release as planned."

But, as TV Shows on DVD makes painstakingly clear today, there are a lot more parties that Fox would need to haggle with than just Warners if the Batman series were to come out on DVD.
Although TV Shows on DVD does not say that CBR is wrong in claiming that Fox is trying to use their Watchmen film lawsuit as a means to settle their long-standing Batman on DVD issue, they do point out that there is a huge array of parties that new contractual arrangements would have to be negotiated with before Batman could be released on DVD. These parties include: on-camera talent (both the main cast or their estates, as well as guest stars, cameos, and their respective estates), behind-the-camera personnel (e.g. writers, directors), music, Greenway Prods.The Dozier Estate, costume makers, and the makers of the Batmobile and other props on the show.

The original deals that were struck in the 1960s apparently only covered televised airings. As the site points out, we're talking about several years' worth of legal work that would need to be settled let alone how pricey the whole endeavor will become. And then there's DC Comics to contend with, which owns the rights to the Batman character not Warner Bros. (who are behind the Bat-films) or Fox (who has the '60s TV series).

Holy headache, Batman! Now there's a legal morass and history of tangled rights lengthy and complicated enough to make this Watchmen movie mess look simple.

totally insane

So as punishment for having a free 5-day weekend last week, I was crushed beneath a mountain of work that I had to have completed by today. I worked till after 6:30pm last night and still had to come home and fold cards and stuff and label envelopes. Then I had to go in at 7:30am and stayed until almost 6pm again tonight, working through lunch both days. I told my boss that if I forgot something, I'm really sorry, but I can't do anything about it till I'm back in the office next week.

The yoga retreat was great except for the persistent feeling of feeling like I was going to hurl from sun up to sundown.I had a blood test yesterday, and no I'm not pregnant. But apparently, going off THE PILL after 14 years can cause severe withdrawal symptoms that are EXACTLY like pregnancy. It's ridiculous. My doctor gave me Phenergen so I can get through my trip to NYC this week, and she gave me something to get me regulated again. But I'm not taking that one till I get back from NYC. Who wants to go through THAT while traveling?

Apparently, a few minutes after I left the retreat Sunday morning, Lorie's bf showed up to tell her her dad passed away. I had just gotten home when she called me. My heart breaks for her. We had been talking about his health all weekend, and well, I guess when it's your time, it's your time. Send her some positive thoughts, vibes, prayers, whatever. I talked to her for about an hour tonight. She seems to be doing pretty good, but that first week is a whirlwind.

Tomorrow, I go to NYC. I'm hoping to get to go to the Met Museum for a few hours, provided my flight is on time. *crosses fingers* Thursday & Friday I have a business writing/editing class from 9am-5pm, and I'll probably have dinner with Angikins those nights. And then I'll be staying with Angi Friday-Sunday, returning home from Newark Sunday afternoon. I'm excited. This is the first time in a long time I haven't been freaking out about flying. I actually feel pretty good about the whole thing. Hurrah for yoga making me sane again.

NYC is so big. I don't even know where to begin as far as what to do in my spare time. I'm relying on Angi to take me to some interesting places for fun, frivolity, and most of all shopping.

I can't see this lady, it's shady

I can’t see this lady; it is shady.
Current mood: artistic

I have had this constant, persistant nausea for the last week. And no, I'm not pregnant, and yes, I am certain about that.

I did find out that it's probably because I went off the pill. I've been on it for 14 years; I expected my body to be totally jacked up, but this is super annoying. I constantly feel like I'm about to hurl, but I don't feel sick. It's very odd.

I'm back at work today, but trust me when I say I'm am sooooooooooooooooo grateful about having a 5-day weekend. We were lucky enough to have power, so it's been a nice break. I work 1.5 days this week and 2 days next week. Woohoo! I'll be in NYC with Angi next week. Well, outside of my work seminar. But I'm actually looking forward to that, too.

I've got my yoga retreat this weekend. I don't know how much I'll be able to do as far as poses every day, but I think I'll do all right. I rolled my ankle outwards Monday while cleaning up the yard, and it's hurt since then. I've avoided doing anything strenuous in the meantime. Hopefully, it'll be okay this weekend.

Holy f-ing hurricane, Batman!

We had 80mph straight line winds yesterday. Our house is undamaged, and our trees are more or less intact. But we had 300,000 people without power in the Miami Valley last night, and it's now been reduced to 200,000. Business are being told it could be 3 days before the lights come back on. Kev and I were told to stay home by our employers, as neither has any power.

We were without power for 11 hours yesterday, but we were the lucky ones. Our power kicked on at 2:30am, and Amanda, who is just down the street, is still without power. Go go City of Kettering! The DP&L trucks were circling our neighborhood for hours last night, trying to find the transformers that blew. We heard three small explosion in about 3 hours yesterday, so we knew why were without power. And exacerbating that is the fact that DP&L sent a large chunk of their service vehicles and manpower to Texas to help residents there regain power after Ike. They never dreamed we'd get blasted by Gustav all the way up here.

The devastation here is unbelievable. We were really lucky, though. We've got one 10-foot-long, six-inch-wide branch that broke off the top of one tree and landed in another. It's not precariously balanced over a power line (possibly cable) that leads into our house, not to mention that if it comes crashing down, it could do some serious damage to our house. I put in a service request, but they said it will be the end of the week before they even start attending to them.

The amount of trees that were just blown over and uprooted is amazing. I took some pictures around the neighborhood, but my cell service sucks, so I'll try to upload them later this week. Every single street you look down has trees across it. I've never seen anything like it. It's like tornado-lite.

I spent a total of maybe two hours over the course of the day getting my yard cleaned up. Kettering will begin debris removal this week, and I had to get everything hauled and raked to the curb. I've barely touched the backyard, but I'm going to try to get my hands on a leaf-blower to take care of that. I've got all the big branches cleaned up and cut down to manageable sizes, and I cleaned the gutter that was buried in leaves.

Mike and Leah stopped by last yesterday; Leah and I were supposed to go to the movies. But the stoplights were out all the way there, and everything up by the Dayton mall lost power. So we hit the highway to come home. People are either too stupid and too selfish to obey the traffic laws when stoplights are out. They're supposed to be treated as a 4-way stop, people. DUH. You don't blow through major intersections at 40-mph without even looking, as one enormous moving truck did at the 741 - Dixie Drive intersection. He almost obliterated a pick-up truck who was taking his turn. Leah and I were freaking out.

Because my cell was dead and the power was out to prevent me from charging it, I didn't get the message from my boss that work was cancelled. I should have guessed, but I drove all the way there only to find a "Closed" sign on the front door, and a 60-foot-tall tree laying across our parking lot. If this storm had happened today, about 15 of my coworkers would have flattened cars.


I'm moving out of this hospedaje; I'm afraid you'll cut me, boy

Okay, so I seriously just had a doctor, who is attending a training session here, walk into a window from the outside, thinking it was an open doorway or something. Why she would think an office building would have a huge opening with no door in the middle of a wall, I don't know.

She hit it so hard that she left a face-print on the glass, smudged her lipstick on it, and her glasses were half-knocked off.

Yes folks, these are the ER doctors saving our lives.


Kev and I have been watching season 1 of Dexter, which has turned out to be fantastic. I was unsure if I could accept Michael C. Hall in such a different roll. He was phenomenal in Six Feet Under. But he pulled off Dexter brilliantly.

Last night I watched Waitress. It could easily have been 25 minutes shorter and been a better movie. I got to the point where I just started fast-forwarding through Jeremy Sisto's abusive-husband scenes. I didn't need to be beaten over the head with what a crazy mo-fo he was. I got the picture pretty early on.

Scientists begin hunt for "God particle"

---I bow down to our new inter-dimensional warlords that will come through the rift in time and space that this thing is going to open.---

CERN, Switzerland (CNN) -- Scientists Wednesday applauded as one of the most ambitious experiments ever conceived got successfully underway, with protons being fired around a 27-kilometer (17-mile) tunnel deep beneath the border of France and Switzerland in an attempt to unlock the secrets of the universe.

Scientists applaud during the switch on operation of the Large Hadron Collider.

The Large Hadron Collider -- a $9 billion particle accelerator designed to simulate conditions of the Big Bang that created the physical Universe -- was switched on at 0732 GMT to cheers and applause from experts gathered to witness the event.

While observers were left nonplussed by the anticlimactic flashing dots on a TV screen that signalled the machine's successful test run, among teams of scientists involved around the world there were jubilant celebrations and popping champagne corks.

In the coming months, the collider is expected to begin smashing particles into each other by sending two beams of protons around the tunnel in opposite directions.

Skeptics, who claim that the experiment could lead to the creation of a black hole capable of swallowing the planet, failed in a legal bid to halt the project at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Others have branded it a colossal waste of cash, draining resources from its multinational collaborators that could have been spent on scientific research with more tangible benefits to mankind.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy hailed the project as a major achievement for Europe.

"The repercussions of this scientific investment without precedent in the history of humanity will be essential not only for the intimate knowledge of our universe, but also for the direct applications in fields as varied as intensive calculation or even medicine," he said.

The collider will operate at higher energies and intensities in the next year, potentially generating enough data to make a discovery by 2009, experts say.

They say the experiment has the potential to confirm theories that physicists have been working on for decades including the possible existence of extra dimensions. They also hope to find a theoretical particle called the Higgs boson -- sometimes referred to as the "God particle," which has never been detected, but would help explain why matter has mass.

The collider will recreate the conditions of less than a millionth of a second after the Big Bang, when there was a hot "soup" of tiny particles called quarks and gluons, to look at how the universe evolved, said John Harris, U.S. coordinator for ALICE, a huge detector specialized to analyze that question.

Since this is exploratory science, the collider may uncover surprises that contradict prevailing theories, but which are just as interesting, said Joseph Lykken, theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

"When Columbus sails west, he thought he was going to find something. He didn't find what he thought he was going to find, but he did find something interesting," said Lykken, who works on the Compact Muon Solenoid, one of six experiments inside the collider complex.

Why should the layperson care about this particular exploration? Years ago, when electrons were first identified, no one knew what they were good for, but they have since transformed our entire economy, said Howard Gordon, deputy research program manager for the collider's ATLAS experiment.

"The transformative effect of this research will be to understand the world we live in much better," said Gordon, at Brookhaven National Laboratory. "It's important for just who we are, what we are."

Fears have emerged that the collider could produce black holes that could suck up anything around them -- including the whole Earth. Such fears prompted legal actions in the U.S. and Europe to halt the operation of the Large Hadron Collider, alleging safety concerns regarding black holes and other phenomena that could theoretically emerge.

Although physicists acknowledge that the collider could, in theory, create small black holes, they say they do not pose any risk. A study released Friday by CERN scientists explains that any black hole created would be tiny, and would not have enough energy to stick around very long before dissolving. Five collider collaborators who did not pen the report independently told CNN there would be no danger from potential black holes.

John Huth, who works on the collider's ATLAS experiment, called such fears "baloney" in a recent interview, and noted that in normal physics, even if the black hole were stable, it could just pass through the Earth without being detected or without interacting at all.

"The gravitational force is so weak that you'd have to wait many, many, many, many, many lifetimes of the universe before one of these things could [get] big enough to even get close to being a problem," said Huth, professor of physics at Harvard University.

Because I think it's funny, that's why...

The photo below captures a disturbing trend that is beginning to affect wildlife in the US

Animals that were formerly self-sufficient are now showing signs of belonging to the Democratic Party... as they have apparently learned to just sit and wait for the government to step in and provide for their care and sustenance.

stripes on her eyes when she walk slow

Friday, we watched Doomsday again. I still thought it was stupid fun. Saturday, I cleaned the house, and then I had my jewelry party in the evening.

Sunday, I went to the pool, and it was P-E-R-F-E-C-T. Hot, sunny, and the pool was crisply cool and refreshing. And the best part…there was hardly anyone there. It was absolutely amazing. Sunday night, we had a few people over for a cookout, nothing major. But it was nice time. We again wrapped three kinds of meat in, as Leah calls it, "candy" meat. Yum.

Monday, I decided if I woke up early enough I'd go to yoga. And I woke up at 7:30am. Ugh. It was pretty challenging for my ankle but good. A TON of people showed up. I was surprised. I really think yoga is going to be good for re-strengthening my ankle. It's amazing how weak my foot still is. But I'll get there, and this is a no-impact way to work on it. I feel fine today, so I didn't overdo it.

One thing I have to say about yoga is that it tends to attract people of the whackjob persuasion. I suppose you could call them "free-spirited" or "child-like," but I guess I'm not in the "compassionate" mindset for yoga this morning.

Anyway, this chick was wearing some hand-painted T-shirt and start dancing around all crazy when Laurel mentioned it. Never mind there was hardly enough room between our mats to walk, much less dance around like a maniac. And then towards the end, we were doing our closing mantras, and the chick came up to the front, right under Laurel's feet and just started sobbing about how beautiful it all was. All I could think was, "You've GOT to be kidding me," and I had to restrain myself from rolling my eyes so far back into my head that it would have killed me.

I got home and mom said she'd go out to the Heritage Festival with me, so I picked her up, and we headed out. It was a gajillion degrees. At first there was at least a breeze, but by the time we got off the canal tour, it had died, and we were beginning to. We headed out around 4:30, having sufficiently gorged ourselves on delicious food. I downed 2 large bottles of water and wanted more. It was awful.

After showering the layer of stickiness off, I watched Infamous. It's about Truman Capote falling in love with a convicted killer. It was pretty good. I enjoyed it. Daniel Craig was a scary, intense mofo.

August 2008 Archive

August 25, 2008
Unfettered in De moss during a Duell. KUNTZ! I’m Rich!It starts out I'm walking up a huge spiral staircase in a hotel/performing arts center, and each floor has people milling about. Then Jason Demoss is with me, and we're looking for the floor that's supposed to have a sprawling continental lunch. We find it on the fourth floor, but it's really just a bunch of pretentiously cut, overcooked Digiorno pizzas.

Duell is there with his wife, but he's got this mountain man beard, and his hair is all mussed up, like he was caught in a windstorm. Suddenly, me, Jason, Nate, Duell, and Alan Fetters are all in a car headed to Alan's house.

We're greeted by Alan's parents, who both have stark white Einstein-esque hair and big black Harry Potter glasses. Alan is setting up an X-files boardgame, which looks suspiciously like Monopoly.

Next thing I know, Jason is shouting at me to come check something out. He's found an ice cavern--where in this suburban house, I don't know. But we all go into the ice cavern, which is amazingly beautiful and so cold the ice is blue and green (or so the explanation is in the dream). Everyone leaves but me because I'm picking up beautiful rocks.

When I'm done, I realize I've melted into the snow on the ground up to my armpits, and I can't get out. I yell for help for a while, and Alan comes rushing in dressed in what I imagine Jon Snow from George RR Martin's Ice & Fire novels would look like, down to the black leather gloves. He grabs my hands and whips me out of the hole in the snow as if I were weightless, scolding me for not coming with them when they left.

Next thing I know, we're all in a diner, sitting at the counter, but Rich has joined us. He's wearing some sort of Dracula-esque amulet around his neck and wildly gesticulating with his arms while we all laugh hysterically.

Then I woke up.
posted by Karabou at 7:38 PM EST


August 27, 2008
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of chum
Kev and I went to see Pineapple Express last night. It didn't blow me away, but it was pretty funny. It's worth a rent at least.

Chick flicks on HBO so far this month...

The Pianist
I felt sick the whole time I watched this. Of course, everything having to do with the Holocaust makes me feel sick. It's about a Polish Jew (an amazing pianist), who survives WWII in Poland. It was really good, though. I'm not a big Adrian Brody fan, but he pulled off the character really well. I rate it three tissues.

The White Countess
Another Ralph Fiennes period pic, this one is set in 1930s Shanghai. It's good, glad I caught it on HBO. I rate it one tissue.

Age of Innocence
I've caught bits and pieces of this movie a dozen times over the years. It's not one of Day-Lewis' best performances, but it's an interesting period piece if you like them. I rate it one tissue.

The Painted Veil
I'd been resisting watching this one for a good month or so. I don't like Edward Norton much, and Tivo's synopsis was thoroughly unappealing. I finally decided to just Tivo it, so if I didn't like it, I could fast forward and at least see the ending and be done with it. Hehe Surprisingly, it was really good. The evolution of the characters is really fantastic. I give it three tissues.
posted by Karabou at 7:38 PM EST


August 25, 2008
On jihad, rappin' Narnia, and Laser Cats
Iran so far away.
Lazy Sunday
Laser Cats 2
posted by Karabou at 7:38 PM EST


August 24, 2008
Superman Reboot
Warner Bros. is apparently rebooting the Superman franchise, as The Hulk did. Surprise.
posted by Karabou at 11:41 PM EST


August 22, 2008
we’re apin’ rapin’ tapin’ catharsis I hate when people bring perfectly baked plain brownies to a carry-in…or even within a hundred feet of me. Brownies are my weakness, my nemesis. I only bake them at home maybe once a year, if that, because of it.

I've eaten three brownies since I got back from PT at 1:30, and…OH MY GOD THERE ARE PINK CUPCAKES. Okay, now I have to eat a cupcake for a cure for breast cancer…or something like that. /sigh

Anyway, it's been a crazy couple of weeks. Last week, I was trying to crush my work week into three days since we were leaving for Gencon Thursday morning. I felt like I couldn't catch my breath to save my life, and when I got back on Tuesday, it resumed its breakneck pace. It did settle down by yesterday, thankfully.

Gencon was fun, more so than last year because our friends resumed attending with us this year. All seven of us won an $80 AT-43 starter set, and two of us (myself included) won an additional set. I picked the $75 Confrontation starter set, and our friend picked another AT-43 set. Woohoo!

You could definitely tell we're in a depressed economy, or so it seemed. The WotC booth seemed significantly smaller this year, and they didn't do the game-demo-roll-a-d20-for-a-prize thing this year. I was disappointed. Wizkids didn't seem to have any significant release at the show, unlike previous years when the rolled out HeroClix, MonsterClix, and HaloClix.

Upperdeck (sp?) had limited demos going of the new WoW minis game, and it looked really unimpressive. I thought it was going to be a skirmish game, but it's basically the card game with a miniature on a little chess-like map. This is just my opinion, but I feel like companies blow their wad when they don't have the game for sale when they debut it.

Fewer companies were giving away freebies for demos. Many companies will offer a "con exclusive" mini if you demo a game. Privateer Press was doing so, and we picked up some Monsterpocalypse. We also picked up Infernal Contraption, which is really fun.

It was still as much fun as ever. In my opinion, the whole point of going is to demo new games, buy some of them, and then go back to the hotel to play them together, which I didn't get to do because I was exhausted every night with some foot pain. The swag is just a bonus.

I went to the pool Wednesday night, and it was glorious. Kids are back in school, so there might have been 50 people there, total. And during the adult swim, maybe 7 in the pool. It was so awesome, I decided to go again Thursday night, but this time, I took Amy and Zoey.

Zoey was cracking me up. She hates getting her head wet, and it took much cajoling to get her to go under the mushroom waterfall. And when she finally agreed, she plugged her ears, squinched her eyes shut, and announced to her mom, "Okay, take me under!" It was a riot. She's small enough that I can swush her around in the water, which she seemed to thoroughly enjoy. We're going to try to go to Splash Moraine on Sunday, weather permitting. I hope it's nice. :)

Tomorrow, I'm dragging myself to a family reunion, and then I have to make Jambalaya for the guys. Tonight, I'm seeing Death Race with my cousin. I'm hoping it's big fun.posted by Karabou at 10:32 PM EST


August 21, 2008
Top Ten Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident
David Letterman apparently did a list of "Top Ten Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident" ... now there is some brouhaha over this list and whether or not it will be re-aired, blah blah blah. So in case you've yet to see it, here's the list:
10. Proposed a bill to change Oklahoma to "Oklabama"
9. Offered Bush 20 bucks for the "Mission Accomplished" banner
8. Asked guy at Staples, "Which chair will work best in an oval-shaped office?"
7. The affair with Barbara Walters
6. Having head measured for Mount Rushmore
5. Guy sits around eating soup all day
4. He's voting for Nader
3. Offered McCain a job in gift shop at Obama presidential library
2. Announced his running mate will be Andy Dick
1. Been cruising for chicks with John Edwards
posted by Karabou at 11:41 PM EST


August 19, 2008
Is McCain just another "W"?
Editor's Note: Jack Cafferty is the author of the best-seller "It's Getting Ugly Out There: The Frauds, Bunglers, Liars, and Losers Who Are Hurting America." He provides commentary on CNN's "The Situation Room" daily from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. You can also visit Jack's Cafferty File blog.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Russia invades Georgia and President Bush goes on vacation. Our president has spent one-third of his entire two terms in office either at Camp David, Maryland, or at Crawford, Texas, on vacation.

His time away from the Oval Office included the month leading up to 9/11, when there were signs Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America, and the time Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city of New Orleans.

Sen. John McCain takes weekends off and limits his campaign events to one a day. He made an exception for the religious forum on Saturday at Saddleback Church in Southern California.

I think he made a big mistake. When he was invited last spring to attend a discussion of the role of faith in his life with Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, McCain didn't bother to show up. Now I know why.

It occurs to me that John McCain is as intellectually shallow as our current president. When asked what his Christian faith means to him, his answer was a one-liner. "It means I'm saved and forgiven." Great scholars have wrestled with the meaning of faith for centuries. McCain then retold a story we've all heard a hundred times about a guard in Vietnam drawing a cross in the sand.

Asked about his greatest moral failure, he cited his first marriage, which ended in divorce. While saying it was his greatest moral failing, he offered nothing in the way of explanation. Why not?

Throughout the evening, McCain chose to recite portions of his stump speech as answers to the questions he was being asked. Why? He has lived 71 years. Surely he has some thoughts on what it all means that go beyond canned answers culled from the same speech he delivers every day.

He was asked "if evil exists." His response was to repeat for the umpteenth time that Osama bin Laden is a bad man and he will pursue him to "the gates of hell." That was it.

He was asked to define rich. After trying to dodge the question -- his wife is worth a reported $100 million -- he finally said he thought an income of $5 million was rich.

One after another, McCain's answers were shallow, simplistic, and trite. He showed the same intellectual curiosity that George Bush has -- virtually none.

Where are John McCain's writings exploring the vexing moral issues of our time? Where are his position papers setting forth his careful consideration of foreign policy, the welfare state, education, America's moral responsibility in the world, etc., etc., etc.?

John McCain graduated 894th in a class of 899 at the Naval Academy at Annapolis. His father and grandfather were four star admirals in the Navy. Some have suggested that might have played a role in McCain being admitted. His academic record was awful. And it shows over and over again whenever McCain is called upon to think on his feet.

He no longer allows reporters unfettered access to him aboard the "Straight Talk Express" for a reason. He simply makes too many mistakes. Unless he's reciting talking points or reading from notes or a TelePrompTer, John McCain is lost. He can drop bon mots at a bowling alley or diner -- short glib responses that get a chuckle, but beyond that McCain gets in over his head very quickly.

I am sick and tired of the president of the United States embarrassing me. The world we live in is too complex to entrust it to someone else whose idea of intellectual curiosity and grasp of foreign policy issues is to tell us he can look into Vladimir Putin's eyes and see into his soul.

George Bush's record as a student, military man, businessman and leader of the free world is one of constant failure. And the part that troubles me most is he seems content with himself.

He will leave office with the country $10 trillion in debt, fighting two wars, our international reputation in shambles, our government cloaked in secrecy and suspicion that his entire presidency has been a litany of broken laws and promises, our citizens' faith in our own country ripped to shreds. Yet Bush goes bumbling along, grinning and spewing moronic one-liners, as though nobody understands what a colossal failure he has been.

I fear to the depth of my being that John McCain is just like him.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.
posted by Karabou at 9:56 PM EST


August 13, 2008
A singularity
It's the only time I have ever wished the rule of three was true and would complete itself.

The loss of Hayes and Mac was a shame. Much too young. Jackson, on the other hand, we can only hope.
posted by Karabou at 6:52 PM EST


August 10, 2008
Hold on to your f-ing hat...
I very nearly fell out of my chair watching this. Please, for the love of all that is holy, watch it. **LINK FIXED**
posted by Karabou at 11:31 PM EST


August 6, 2008
Last Blood
I stumbled upon this and ended up really enjoying it. You can read the whole first trade paperback online here:
posted by Karabou at 9:24 PM EST


August 3, 2008
Giving credit when credit is due...
I have to give my husband a little pat on the back. He wrote a chapter of WFRP's Thousand Thrones, which was released a few months ago.

Two opinions:
...[Y]ou eventually get to Villa Hahn which is a dungeon in the vein of Castle Wittgenstein...and it's brilliant. I really liked this bit. It's well designed and really puts the gothic horror back in WFRP. Lucius Hahn's fate immediately made me think 'I really have to do this to one of my PC's sometime'. This Nurgle lair uses WFRP mechanics properly. What the PC's do can have nasty results and the diseases are used to potential, unlike some earlier WFRP2 products where Wound damage was the result of just about anything you come into contact with. The final showdown description is a bit confused as the results are very open. Nonetheless this is a great section.


Chapter 5: This is just plain good. Not much more to be said about it, except that I don't really like Nurglists as enemies, but that is entirely personal. It could be used as an independent adventure with little work.

His chapter was partially re-written in the development process, but the core ideas were his and were largely left intact, and I'm proud as hell that people really liked his section. Others have mentioned plans to use his chapter for stand-alone adventures, as well.

For whatever reason, GW refused to allow dungeon crawls to be written for other books in WFRP 2.0. Not everyone is capable of insanely involved roleplay, and my own group refused to play the game after running just two pre-made adventures. It was disappointing, as I felt the game had a lot to offer, but they lost their taste for it after becoming frustrated at the difficulty of puzzle solving that was required.

And just so you know, Hahn is my mother's maiden name. HAH!

posted by Karabou at 2:49 PM EST


August 1, 2008
The Dark Knight Yearns
I Kev and I saw the Dark Knight on Tuesday. The asshole couple behind us who decided to have a full-on conversation for the first hour and a half of the movie no matter how many times we asked them to STFU likely had some bearing on my experience.

But largely, I felt the movie didn't live up to the hype. That's not to say I didn't think it was good. But the incessant harping of the media going on about how Heath Ledger deserves a posthumous Oscar for his performance was nothing but the studios finding a way to get people who wouldn't ordinarily see the movie to pay for a ticket to go found out what all this mumbo-jumbo was about. For example: CNN, owned by Time Warner, publishes second straight top headline about "The Dark Knight," a film made by Warner Brothers, owned by Time Warner, and based on Batman, published by DC Comics, also owned by Time Warner.

I went in expecting Heath Ledger to give the performance of all performances EVER GIVEN, and I was greatly disappointed. He was good, sure. But I didn't lose myself in the character. I still saw him as Heath Ledger and not just The Joker. A truly great performance makes you forget the actor. I just didn't have that experience, and I definitely didn't find that character "terrifying."

I did, however, like the direction he took The Joker. He was a maniacal, brilliant, remorseless anarchist. It's a shame we won't get to see the character again any time soon. Nolan has said he won't recast The Joker so long as he's still directing the films.

And I was surprised by Two-Face being a main character. I could tell Harvey had become Two-Face in the trailer, but I figured he would be introduced and then be a main character in the next installment. It was a pleasant twist. But Aaron Eckhart was GREAT as Two-Face. I liked that he wasn't some giggly dipshit, like Tommy Lee Jones' version, but was instead a man who had been pushed over the edge and had truly lost all reason and rationality.

My other beef is that the movie felt long. When I start looking at my watch, it's lost me. The movie seemed to end more than once, and that's never a good sign, either. It would just dust itself off, yell "Ta-dah!", and keep going.

My only complaint about Batman Begins was that all of the action scenes were so dark you couldn't see what was going on. And they used that ridiculous flying CGI dirt that they used in Gladiator to mask the fight scenes. Dark Knight fixed that. It was a wise move. When people go to see superhero movies, they want to see superhero fights. I didn't go see Ironman to watch him wax intellectual and fight in the dark. I went to watch him fly around, blow shit up, and have at least one knock-down drag-out kick ass fight.

And dear god, I'm so glad they killed off the Rachel character. I don't know what's wrong with Maggie Gyllenhaal's face, but it was far more terrifying than The Joker's. She's got this pug nose, and her cheeks sag like socks full of marbles, just hanging off her face. I have to admit, I was caught off guard when she died. I thought for sure Batman was going to save her, and the police would save Harvey Dent, though he'd likely become Two-Face in the process. That was when the movie got good for me.

In summary, I liked it. I would probably have liked it better had I not been subjected to all the hype beforehand. I might even have been able to be absorbed more fully into The Joker as a character, rather than an Oscar vehicle. I'll probably watch it again at home when it comes out on DVD in the peace and quiet of my living room.

It's rumored that the next villains will be The Riddler, played by Johnny Depp, and The Penguin, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. And seeing as it's pulled in $440 million as of today, I'm certain there will be a few more Batman movies in the future.

posted by Karabou at 10:28 PM EST