"If you understood everything I said, you'd be me" - Miles Davis
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." - Bertrand Russell
"Take away the right to say fuck and you take away the right to say fuck the government." - Lenny Bruce
"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!" - Homer Simpson

Utility Fog Banner

Too Big To Fail, Or Exist

" And now there are five -- five Wall Street behemoths, bigger than they were before the Great Meltdown, paying fatter salaries and bonuses to retain their so-called"talent," and raking in huge profits. The biggest difference between now and last October is these biggies didn't know then that they were too big to fail and the government would bail them out if they got into trouble. Now they do. And like a giant, gawking adolescent who's just discovered he can crash the Lexus convertible his rich dad gave him and the next morning have a new one waiting in his driveway courtesy of a dad who can't say no, the biggies will drive even faster now, taking even bigger risks.

What to do? Two ideas are floating around Washington, but only one is supported by the Treasury and the White House. Unfortunately, it's the wrong one."

Too Big to Fail: Why The Big Banks Should Be Broken Up, But Why The White House and Congress Don't Want To


New Alexander Jablokov - Hot Damn
After more than a decade, one of my favorite authors is coming out with a new book January 2010:

"Bernal Haydon-Rumi is the executive assistant to a wealthy socialite, Muriel, who funds eccentric projects such as resettling mammoths on the Great Plains and needs Bernal's management skills to respond to the resulting burnings in effigy by the local citizens. On the way back to Boston from South Dakota, Bernal stops by Muriel's house to spend the night and catch her up on the results of numerous potlucks and football games.

By the next morning, Bernal's been knocked out, Muriel has stolen a car and disappeared, and the local artificial intelligence project she's been funding, a self-guiding probe to explore the surfaces of terrestrial planets, has proved to be way stranger than it seemed on the surface.

Before he can figure out what's going on, Bernal has to deal with an anti-AI activist toting a handmade electronic arsenal, a local serial killer with a penchant for bowling bags, a street-level drug dealer with marketing problems, a cryonic therapist who claims to have figured out a way to strengthen the human personality, Freon-smuggling junk dealers-and someone who wants Bernal dead.

In part an homage to 80s movies like Repo Man and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, Brain Thief is a fun, literate speculative fiction adventure set somewhere between the Berkshires and Boston, and includes, at no extra charge, a 30-foot fiberglass cowgirl."

Squee!

Jablokov has 2 earlier books, Carve the Sky and Nimbus, that I cannot recommend highly enough.

Brain Thief

Lee Dorsey - Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further?

It's an old thing, It's a soul thing, But it's a real thing.

Lee Dorsey - Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further? (YouTube)



If I Had A Front Yard, This Would Be The Fountain
giant baby on a cannon statue

Via My Modern Metropolis



Big Coat
huge enormous coat parka
really huge coat

Lost - Ep109, Ep110, and Ep111 Analysis
There's a new, great, big, screencap-filled essay by Fishbiscuit: Into the Woods - 1.09, 1.10 and 1.11 "Solitary", "Raised by Another", "All the Best Cowboys have Daddy Issues"

Toots & The Maytals - Funky Kingston
Toots & The Maytals - Funky Kingston


What's Arabic For Chutzpah?

"Saudi Arabia is trying to enlist other oil-producing countries to support a provocative idea: if wealthy countries reduce their oil consumption to combat global warming, they should pay compensation to oil producers."

Yea, good luck with that.

Saudis Seek Payments for Any Drop in Oil Revenues


Dalek Garlic Bread

Because making food shaped liked genocidal robots makes us feel better in the face of inevitable death.

Via Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Who's The Cat That Won't Cop Out When There's Danger All About ?

Even the camera angles are vintage blaxploitation.

"When The Man murders his brother, pumps heroin into local orphanages, and floods the ghetto with adulterated malt liquor, BLACK DYNAMITE is the one hero willing to fight all the way from the blood-soaked city streets to the hallowed halls of the Honky House. Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight) stars as BLACK DYNAMITE, a gun-toting, nunchuck-wielding, ladies man and soul brother. Written and directed by Scott Sanders (Thick as Thieves), BLACK DYNAMITE also stars Tommy Davidson, Nicole Sullivan, Bokeem Woodbine, Arsenio Hall and John Salley. Black Dynamite in theaters on Oct. 16th. "

Thick as Thieves was good; a smart, understated crime movie.

Black Dynamite (Official Movie Trailer) (YouTube)

Black Dynamite Official Site



In The Future We Will All Be Comforted By Snuggly Robot Maggots
Funktionide Part II
Via Futurismic

Wherein I Nitpick

So I'm watching FlashForward. Let's go to Wikipedia for a semi-quick synopsis:

"The premise of FlashForward is that a mysterious paranormal event causes everyone on the planet to simultaneously lose consciousness for 137 seconds, during which people see what appear to be visions of their lives approximately six months in the future - a global "flashforward". A number of people saw newspapers or calendars and it is established that every vision occurs on April 29 or April 30, 2010 at the exact same time, depending on time zones at 5 am UTC. It is also established that the precognitive visions were shared; if one character sees another in their vision, the other character also reports the same events in their vision. The event results in deaths from accidents and leaves the survivors wondering whether what they saw will really happen.

In the pilot, a team of Los Angeles FBI agents, led by Stanford Wedeck (Courtney B. Vance) and spearheaded by protagonist Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes), begin the process of determining what happened, why, and whether it will happen again. Benford is in a uniquely valuable position to lead this investigation because during his flashforward, he was looking at a project board of the investigation. The board was covered with pictures and notes, and Benford was able to remember several significant details, including a note that said "D. Gibbons". At the end of Mark's blackout, he sees a bunch of masked gunmen (one with a three-star tatoo) trying to kill him. He also notices a woven friendship bracelet on his wrist that he does not recognize. Shortly thereafter, he is given a bracelet of that design by his daughter. With the help of his team, Benford creates a website database of people's flashforwards from around the world. He calls it the Mosaic Collective after the case he saw himself investigating during his own flashforward."

Besides why and how the blackout visions occured, one of the major mysteries of the show is whether the future shown in the visions is inevitable or not. What's been irking me is that it never occurs to anyone, and particularly Mark Benford, to try making the future they saw impossible. All Mark has to do is change the investigation project board from the way he envisioned it to prove that the future they saw is not preordained, at least in small ways.

And it's very strange that future-Mark, who's had a vision that armed men are going to attack his office on April 29th at 9pm is just sitting there alone in the dark waiting for them, unless he has reason to believe that changing the future is bad. I would theorize that the visions are of a future that doesn't include the visions.



The Plastic Undead
brickcon lego zombie apocafest

17 tables of Lego Zombie mayhem at BrickCon.

Zombie Apocafest 2009 (Flickr)
Via io9

Wrasslin' Botchmania

Collection of professional wrestling mistakes, blunders, and misspeaks. Warning: NSFW-Bad Language.

Personal favorite: The guy in the giant-headed dragon mascot costume at 5:20 - "Somebody's gonna get fired".

Best of Botchamania (as voted by you)
More: MaffewofBotchamania
Via MetaFilter

Iran

"Belief: Iran is a militarized society bristling with dangerous weapons and a growing threat to world peace.

Reality:Iran's military budget is a little over $6 billion annually. Sweden, Singapore and Greece all have larger military budgets. Moreover, Iran is a country of 70 million, so that its per capita spending on defense is tiny compared to these others, since they are much smaller countries with regard to population. Iran spends less per capita on its military than any other country in the Persian Gulf region with the exception of the United Arab Emirates."

The top ten things you didn't know about Iran
Via Glenn Greenwald