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May 30, 2008

freak angels

Because he asked nicely on his blog and listserv, I am re-recommending the the free weekly webcomic Freak Angels by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield.

It's up to episode fifteen, a little past halfway done, Ellis says.  So that's more than seventy free comic pages waiting for your consumption (er, or for you to consume them).

It's super-good, and won't crash your browser with useless Flash geegaws like some of those other webcomics sites.

[Note: I received nothing other than the icky feeling that I might be just another blind follower of Ellis in exchange for this rec.]

Posted by mrbrent at 5:06 PM

harvey korman

I try not to make a habit of rushing to the keyboard any time an old hero of mine passes away, but Harvey Korman is surely worth a few words.

I don't think that I'd ever have said that Harvey Korman directly shaped my sensibility (I've always said that it was more of a Cosby/Letterman thing), but now that I think of it, I'm doing Carrol Burnett and her show a great disservice by not including them.  I was a bit young to be watching the show, but my parents were pretty religious about it, so, being a TV Baby, I got some massive doses of "The Carrol Burnett Show" in my formative years.

And Korman was as important to that show as Burnett was -- he could play straight, he could play the goof, he had timing, he had presence.  He was also the greatest "bagger" (i.e., laughing/breaking character during sketch) in the history of showbiz.  When Harvey bagged (usually thanks to Tim Conway), it was like the sun coming out.

The man was tight, and he seemed to be one of the few professional comic actors to be genuinely happy in his real life.

He left this place a better world than he found it.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:15 AM

uncontaced tribe: c'mere, i want to show you something

Am I a bad person for kind of hoping that the arrows didn't miss?  Or am I a worse person for pointing more eyeballs at it?

They are very striking images indeed, but I can't help wondering if maybe we should leave the uncontacted tribes of the world uncontacted.  Or at least safe from a paparazzi-swarm.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:20 AM

May 28, 2008

never seen that mp4 before in my entire life, no idea how it got on my phone

I'm way behind on keeping track of copyright issues and how the governments want to criminalize your entertainment, but this is some startling news from our neighbor to the north:
OTTAWA - The federal government is secretly negotiating an agreement to revamp international copyright laws which could make the information on Canadian iPods, laptop computers or other personal electronic devices illegal and greatly increase the difficulty of travelling [sic - Oh, Canada!] with such devices.

Nothing says "nefarious" like secret negotiations.  The upshot:

The deal would create a international regulator that could turn border guards and other public security personnel into copyright police.  The security officials would be charged with checking laptops, iPods and even cellular phones for content that "infringes" on copyright laws, such as ripped CDs and movies.

The extent to which intellectual property should be subject to different laws that physical property is a discussion that should be had, but hopefully we all agree that our police forces, on the local, state and federal level, should not be tasked with defending the interests of the music/movie/television industries.  And that is exactly what these industries are trying to accomplish under the cover of darkness -- they want cops to shake you down not just for drugs and weapons, but also any fileshared music you might have on your phone.

And please do note that this is not a purely Canadian issue -- it's reported in Canada, but the paper in question is a policy paper for a proposed new international anti-counterfeiting organization to be created by a treaty being discussed at the next G8 conference in July.  So basically the entertainment industries are trying to sneak into existence a global private copyright police force, like the Pinkertons, or the Injustice League.

The link is from Boing Boing, which devotes a significant amount of its posts documenting these issues worldwide, if you are so interested.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:09 PM

scotty mccellan forever

At the risk of referring to events so long ago that no one can remember them, intermediate Bush Administration Press Secretary Scott McClellan (known colloquially as "Scotty") has published his memoir, in which he decides that all that was not worth his dignity.

I haven't read it, and, to be honest, I probably won't.  But, in the spirit of service, if you want to click around, you can find the mainstream press round-up, the president's thoughts on cocaine use, the the take from Balk and implications of a secret Rove/Libby meeting.  Probably after this you won't need to read the book.  (Though no reason not to reward McClellan's apostasy with fat book sales.)

I'm just glad for the reveal.  All those years of watching him (and writing about him), I wondered if he was constipated, or if the sour expression and unfocused eyes betrayed some kind of conscience on Scotty's part.

Of course, the two are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:22 PM

my words can beat up your words

Another day, another jihadist, but this time a woman, exhorting the troops and excoriating the West:
[Malika El Aroud] calls herself a female holy warrior for Al Qaeda.  She insists that she does not disseminate instructions on bomb-making and has no intention of taking up arms herself.  Rather, she bullies Muslim men to go and fight and rallies women to join the cause.

Of course, she is also domiciled in the West (in Belgium), so when the Al Qaeda aerial bombardment of Brussels commences (to soften it up for the invasion), hopefully Osama bin Laden will let her know, so she can take cover.

And what is the extent of her operational capacity?

“It’s not my role to set off bombs — that’s ridiculous,” she said in a rare interview.  “I have a weapon.  It’s to write.  It’s to speak out.  That’s my jihad.  You can do many things with words.  Writing is also a bomb.”

That would make her equally as dangerous as Bono, with his red guitar, three chords and the truth!  And when her word-bombs go off, do I get word-injured?

I'm not trying to turn this into a "Look at the silly jihadists!" post (only because most people that subscribe to "LATSJ" are loathsome and boring).  I'm just saying that anyone, freedom-hating jihadist or freedom-inappropriate-touching American, should think twice, or three times, before busting out the "my words are my weapons!" meme -- it's trite and silly.

I like words very much (and am also a coward!), and sure, words can change the world!, but only assholes say it out loud like it's some truth no one else is ready to accept.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:27 AM

May 26, 2008

just amusing myself with the news

10:52p, Monday evening, an embarrassment of riches in the Yahoo! Headline Eyeball Flytrap:
• Scorpion stings 12-year-old girl at Wal-Mart in West Virginia

Of all of the things we have to worry about, now we add scorpions, which are probably of the communist Islamic terrorist variety.  Plus also, any headline containing both "Wal-Mart" and "West Virginia" is mandatory.

Dateline -- someplace in Massachusetts you can't afford to visit:

• Sen. Kennedy competes in sailboat race after cancer diagnosis

Jesus, they let dudes with cancer on boats?  I thought that once you got diagnosed with cancer, you weren't allowed to do anything but sit in a dark room and feel sorry for yourself?

Ahh, I should reign in the cynicism.  It's good for the world to see the realities of this in the headlines.  Nevertheless, I'm not quite sure why the presses were stopped for that one.

And finally, the president commemorates:

• Bush humbled by troops''ultimate sacrifice'

And the families of all the fallen soldiers can finally sleep the night through, as the president is "humbled".  And he gave up golf!  I'm understanding the comparisons to Churchill more every day.

Do you think that, every day, when the president wakes up, he has someone telling him how much he is not a punchline, over and over?

Posted by mrbrent at 10:45 PM

we hate it when our domain names expire

I was all eager to start the day by posting on the irrelevancy of what Sen. Clinton meant when she invoked the assassination of Robert Kennedy, because (i) she actually said the word "assassination" and (ii) of the self-fulfilling nature of irrelevancy, but I tried to log on and discovered that my domain name had expired.  Just like it does every year, because I am a jerk.

So I'm all reupped with my service provider, and I look forward to celebrating the Day of Memorializing the same way I did this year, by discovering that I let my domain name lapse.

In the meantime, ask yourself this: when constructing a bit of lite snark concerning the present behavior of Bill Clinton, is the more apt comparison Ross Perot, or a rabid squirrel?

Posted by mrbrent at 10:13 AM