Mon-Oct 26 2009
Too Big To Fail, Or Exist
Too Big to Fail: Why The Big Banks Should Be Broken Up, But Why The White House and Congress Don't Want To
" 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
Sun-Oct 25 2009
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."
Jablokov has 2 earlier books, Carve the Sky and Nimbus, that I cannot
recommend highly enough.
Sat-Oct 24 2009
Wed-Oct 21 2009
Mon-Oct 19 2009
Sun-Oct 18 2009
Sat-Oct 17 2009
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
Yea, good luck with that.
Saudis Seek Payments for Any Drop in Oil Revenues
Mon-Oct 12 2009
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)
Black Dynamite Official Site
Sun-Oct 11 2009
Wherein I Nitpick
So I'm watching FlashForward. Let's go to
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
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
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
17 tables of Lego Zombie mayhem at BrickCon.
Zombie Apocafest 2009
Thu-Oct 08 2009
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)
Fri-Oct 02 2009
The top ten things you didn't know about 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."
Via Glenn Greenwald