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Monday, December 31, 2007

Belated Christmas cards


Newsarama.com has a large holiday gallery up with images mixing Santa, superheroes, and swordplay. A few made me shake my head (I can do without a suicidal Santa, thanks very much), but overall they made me smile, particularly the one I've included above (is it wrong that I have no trouble identifying Hawkman's (or Hawgirl's) stocking by the boot design?). Happy holidays, all, and stay safe tonight.

A few other don't misses:

Samurai Santa












Creepy (but clever) 30 Days of Night Santa












Cute fur joke










Justice League of America snowball fight

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Mr. T with A-Team van bobble-head

There's no way I can really defend myself on this, but I totally want this for my desk in the study at home.

This is listed in the January issue of Previews. Thanks to Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin blog for the head's up.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

New look

I spruced the place up a bit. Let me know what you think. If you pop in and see anything really weird, it's probably because I'm tinkering around with some setting or widget or whatever, but let me know if something's really buggy. Right now the top bar seems to look "off" a bit in Internet Explorer, so I'll try to fix that when I can.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Devil's Cape

I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to post about this, but it's overdue.

My first novel, Devil's Cape, will be published by Wizards of the Coast in April as part of the company's new Discoveries line. Devil's Cape is a novel about superheroes, set in the fictional city of Devil's Cape, Louisiana, created as a sort of sister city of New Orleans.

Founded centuries ago by a masked pirate called St. Diable, Devil's Cape has never been big on heroes. Instead, it's known for its corruption and violence. But as the novel progresses, heroes do make a stand in the city in one of its darkest times.

I'll post more about the book as time passes and tell you more about the book and the publication process. If you're interested, you can preorder the book from Amazon here.

Other current links include:

If you have questions about the book or things you'd like to hear from me about the book, let me know here.

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Sports year in review

I'm no sports fan. But I wiled away a few minutes enjoying a slideshow of photos in sports from SeattlePI.com.

Here are a few glimpses of some of my favorites.

This photo, catching the soccer player with the ball right in front of his face, reminded me of Magritte's "The Son of Man."










Underwater hockey? Seriously? I think this might catch on more if A) women in bikinis were playing instead or B) the men used longer sticks and pucks in a color other than pink.





Wow. Sumo wrestling is weird enough all by itself without adding some "make the baby cry" ceremony (no, seriously--the goal here was to make a baby cry) to the mix.





Just a nice golf photo.






Love the angle here. Dude looks like he's flying.







Cool water environment.











Check out the full slideshow here.

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Casual Play: A Win at the End of the Tunnel


I didn't get around to posting it here right away, but I had a new article go up at the MTGO Traders/PureMTGO site. I take a look at a deck I play using the Singleton format (only a single copy allowed of any one card). Check it out there if you're so inclined.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Mel Tormé


I manage to read Mark Evanier's anecdote about Mel Tormé just about every year and every year it makes me smile.

Go take a look.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tips for taking a baby on a plane

For some strange reason, every few months I end up responding to someone or another who wants advice for taking a baby on an airplane. I have a list of tips that I pull out of an old e-mail, but it occurred to me that if I posted it here, I'd always be able to find it quickly. So if this interests, you, then rock on! Read on! If not, then carry on about your business...

  • One main thing you want to watch out for is the air pressure on the ears. You'll want your baby to be drinking or eating (preferably drinking) both on the ascent and descent (in my experience, the descent tends to be harder on the kids’ ears than the ascent). If your baby is on a regular schedule, this might mean getting your baby off of that regular schedule in order to be thirsty enough to drink at these times, but it's worth it--the earaches can cause your baby real discomfort, and drinking out of the bottle can really help to prevent that.
  • Obviously, if you can get your baby to nap during the flight, that's very helpful for you and the baby. Again, if you can work it out, it's probably worth disrupting your baby's schedule a bit. Some people use a dose of Benadryl or Tylenol to help with this, but keep in mind the new regulations for bringing liquids on board. And don't go overboard. You don't want to nauseate your kid.
  • Keep the baby in clothes that are easy to take on and off. It's difficult enough to change a baby on a plane without having the baby wear something complicated. It's tempting to dress the baby in something really nice so that the whoever you might be visiting sees the baby in it first thing when you get off the plane, but believe me--if it's complicated, you can give yourself headaches. It's probably worth changing the baby again when you land, before leaving security, in order to have some easy on/easy off clothing during the flight,
  • Along the same lines, airplanes are pretty bad about regulating their temperatures. While you're waiting for the plane to take off, the temperature in the cabin can climb into the high 70s even in the winter. Alex got sick on the plane once because he was dressed in something warm and we ended up sitting on the runway for half an hour in very warm temperatures. See the tip above, too. In this case, we had him dressed in something nice and warm with lots of buttons and such for a Christmas flight. He puked all over it (and us) just as we were taking off. Good times!
  • Depending on how you work things with the flight attendants, you can often roll an umbrella stroller right on the plane and then either stow it in the overhead or else roll it back to be checked at the gate. If you're loaded down with lots of baby-related bags and such, this can be very helpful.
  • We used to bring bubbles in the baby bag to entertain the baby (in the airport, not the plane). I suppose that wouldn't work with new regulations, but you get the idea--small, quiet distractions are helpful.
  • Ziplock baggies or scented bags for diaper disposal come in handy, especially in case you end up having to change your baby at your seat because the plane's taking off or landing or the bathrooms are occupied (not ideal, but it happens).
  • I don’t have a lot of experience with car seats on the plane itself, but if you check it, be sure that it’s either checked at the gate or is in a bag or something—it will get beaten up a lot otherwise.
For once I'm channeling Dr. Spock instead of Mr. Spock. Go figure.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Giant rat discovered in Indonesia jungle


Spotted this article today:

Giant Rat Discovered in Indonesia Jungle


Dec 17, 12:47 AM (ET)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Researchers in a remote jungle in Indonesia have discovered a giant rat and a tiny possum that are apparently new to science, underscoring the stunning biodiversity of the Southeast Asian nation, scientists said Monday.

Unearthing new species of mammals in the 21st century is considered very rare. The discoveries by a team of American and Indonesian scientists are being studied further to confirm their status.

The animals were found in the Foja mountains rainforest in eastern Papua province in a June expedition, said U.S.-based Conservation International, which organized the trip along with the Indonesian Institute of Science.

"The giant rat is about five times the size of a typical city rat," said Kristofer Helgen, a scientist with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. "With no fear of humans, it apparently came into the camp several times during the trip."

The possum was described as "one of the worlds smallest marsupials."

A 2006 expedition to the same stretch of jungle - dubbed by Conservation International as a "Lost World" because until then humans had rarely visited it - unearthed scores of exotic new species of palms, butterflies and palms.

Papua has some of the world's largest tracts of rainforest, but like elsewhere in Indonesia they are being ravaged by illegal logging. Scientists said last year that the Foja area was not under immediate threat, largely because it was so remote.

"It's comforting to know that there is a place on Earth so isolated that it remains the absolute realm of wild nature," said expedition leader Bruce Beehler. "We were pleased to see that this little piece of Eden remains as pristine and enchanting as it was when we first visited."

ROUSs? I didn't think they existed!

Don't get the reference? You've apparently reached this blog in error! No, seriously, read here. Then buy this movie or read this book or both.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

OMG cheese

Wow. Dina picked up Ford Farm Coastal Mature Cheddar at Central Market tonight. This is like the best cheese I've ever had. Wow. I'm going to go eat some more. That is all.

Dina said this cheese should be illegal it's so good. I think she's right. I suspect it's illegal in Georgia.

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Workplace horrors

I recently came across (via this site) a pair of workplace videos, one for forklift safety and one for kitchen safety. Both use shock and gore to make a point. The forklift one (in German, but with subtitles) is freaking hilarious. Gory, but hilarious. It's long, but it just keeps rolling along. Clever, memorable stuff.



The second one is clever and memorable, too. It should have a powerful, memorable impact on its target audience. Anyone seeing this video will think twice before being careless around this particular work hazard. That said, it's probably the most horrific thing I've seen since Saving Private Ryan. Not for the faint of heart. Kind of awful. Nightmarish, even. I've tagged this post with humor--that was for the first video, not this one. You've been warned. Mom, don't watch this.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Magic at MTGO Traders site


I haven't made much of it on this site yet, but I'm a casual Magic: The Gathering player, mostly online these days. It's a fun game and a fun way to keep the logical part of my mind firing. I started playing years ago when I lived in Boston and went to Emerson College. Friday nights, party guy that I am, I'd head over to M.I.T. where a bunch of casual gamers got together weekly in some empty conference rooms and slung down cards into the wee hours.

I played quite a bit and kept buying cards and reading about the game long after that, even as my time to play and opportunities to get together with other players waned. A few years ago, I eventually dropped away from the game.

A tour of the Wizards of the Coast corporate headquarters about a year back (more on that another time--soon) reignited my interest in the game. Before long, I'd installed a copy of the online game on my computer and I've frittered away quite a few hours playing ever since.

Both for fun and as a way of supporting my habit, I've started writing an occasional column for the MTGO Traders web site. I've had eight articles published so far, and I'll plan to update you here when new ones go live.

Here are the first eight articles:

  1. Casual Play: Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Cats of War!
  2. Casual Play: 101 Uses for a Dead Cat
  3. Casual Play: Psst! Psst! Help Me Build a Deck. Psst!
  4. Casual Play: Departing Standard
  5. Casual Play: Endless Whispers Followup
  6. Casual Play: Their Stock Is Rising
  7. Casual Play: Desolation Alley
  8. Casual Play: Feeling Crabby?
Feel free to comment on the articles on that site or here. If you comment on an old article and want a reply, please let me know here--I don't get alerts when older articles on that site get updates.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Indy: Holy crap!

Okay, first the downside(s):

  • The title (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) is unwieldy at best and dreck at worst.
  • They're making a big deal out of Shia LaBeouf's involvement and I am ambivalent about Shia LaBeouf.
  • From what I've heard, no Sallah, which is sad.
  • George Lucas is heavily involved, which hasn't been a good sign in the past and his early comments about the movie scared the heck out of me.
But I loves me some Indiana Jones.

And wow:



And wow again:



Dare I let myself get excited about this movie? George Lucas has disappointed me before. The Phantom Menace was so bad it soured me on the original Star Wars trilogy. Could he possibly poison Indy for me?

Let's hope not. Because looking at the images, I'm getting all tingly. I'm hoping for goodness.

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Belated RIP: Evel Knievel

I was sad to hear of Evel Knievel's passing. In a lot of ways, when I was a kid, Evel Knievel was more like a living action figure or superhero than a real figure. I probably wouldn't have recognized him outside of his distinctive costume. Didn't make me like him any less.

Here was Evel just a short time ago:



But here's the Evel Knievel I venerated as a kid (I had several of these toys and played with them a lot--I have fond memories of zipping him down our driveway):



Ride far and jump far, Evel. You'll be missed.

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Shift happens

Paradigm shifts, world shifts, life shifts...

This video is equal parts fascinating, depressing, terrifying and inspiring. Take a look.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

74% geek

Who said I'd never amount to anything?

74% GeekMingle2 - Free Online Dating

Thanks, Jeff, for the head's up on this one.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Woo hoo! We're number 1!

http://apnews.excite.com/article/20070602/D8PGPTPO0.html

Sigh. Sometimes Texas sucks.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

The advantages of limiting character options

There was an interesting thread on the Treasure Tables web site about limiting character options when you start out a role-playing campaign. Most of Treasure Tables seems to deal with D&D, but a lot of the concepts carry over. I used to keep things more or less wide open when starting a new campaign, particularly for Champions (the usual kind of "let the players come up with PCs, then find a reason for them to unite as a team" kind of thing). But I'm coming around to the story advantages of limiting character options at the outset, giving more focus to a campaign. Below is the comment I contributed to the thread:

I’m coming around more and more to the idea of limiting character options based on the campaign concept. It can actually be a big boost to interest and creativity if done right.

I play Champions, which is, of course, something of a different animal than D&D. Due to the nature of the game, you will typically have a few general guidelines as things start–a point total, a campaign city, and general guidelines as far as level of lethality.

My face-to-face campaign started along these lines. The primary PCs started with 250 points, including disadvantages (this was during 4th edition–it would probably be 350 points now), and all were tied to San Angelo. I ended up with a mage, a firefighter-turned energy projector, and an armored guy. They crossed paths during the first adventure and eventually teamed up, and the campaign has lasted on and off for several years. The upsides include flexibility for the players and a wide variety of play options.

But other games have taught me the value of more specific guidelines and how they can add value. In one of my favorite face-to-face campaigns, all the PCs had to be beholden to PRIMUS (a U.S.-based SHIELD-like organization) in some way, and they ended up under orders as a sort of second-tier superhero team. The initial structure of the campaign was much more limited (they went where their boss told them to go), but the campaign relied much less on coincidence to bring the heroes together and gave them real room to grow (for example, when they began to suspect that their boss wasn’t such a good guy). I run a PBEM campaign where all the heroes work for Disney and have Disney-themed powers (not really tongue in cheek, just corporate heroes and spokespeople, like Doctor Tomorrow who has gadgets and equipment reminiscent of Tomorrowland). It wouldn’t appeal to everyone, but the strong theme and limitations on character backgrounds really helped boost the players’ creativity in some areas and have helped to make for some cool storylines.

Sometimes adding restrictions can really help to get the creative juices flowing.

To carry this back to D&D, I could see a campaign based around the concept “you are all members of the duke’s elite guard” or “you are all performers for a traveling carnival” or “you are all dwarven soldiers separated from your regiment by a purple worm attack” as being more interesting than “you are all adventurers who met in a tavern.”

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Worst album covers ever

My eyes! My eyes! Browse through some of these (not entirely safe for work, by the way). Some of these gave me a good chuckle.

I'm including thumbs of a few of my "favorites" below.


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Friday, May 18, 2007

RIP, Lloyd Alexander


I just read some sad news from Heidi MacDonald's blog, The Beat. Lloyd Alexander has passed away. The Chronicles of Prydain, with their adventures of Taran, Eilonwy, Gurgi, and the rest, were a huge and important part of my childhood. I am sorry to hear of his passing.

On a more positive note, I look forward to sharing these books with Alex and Zack when they get older.

This cover is from The Book of Three, the first book in the five-book series that was Alexander's most famous story.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Archie Sims

I'm a big fan of Chris's Invincible Super-Blog. He started a new meme based on a picture of him holding Archie comics. I decided to take his picture to the next level... Yeah, sort of creepy, I know.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

A special gift

That's the General Lee, baby!
For anyone who's been looking to give me that special something, this would be a hell of a lot of fun to drive down the highway.

You can buy it here.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Oops


My Monday started off rather poorly. I was about to pull into the office and stupidly bent down to pull my badge out of my bag. The street was more or less deserted and I wasn't going all that fast (maybe 20 or 25 miles an hour). But I turned the wheel just enough and at just the wrong time to smash into the curb and the storm drain there. This had the unfortunate side effect of making my tire explode and bending the crap out of my wheel and hubcap.

Did I mention that this is my second flat in about a month? Or that the car has the unfortunate "feature" of hubcap locks for which I've lost the key? I had to have it towed to the tire place. And my back is still sore. Grrr.

At least I didn't have quite as much driving trouble as my buddy Jeff Hebert. Sometimes I think we were separated at birth. But Jeff, I'd like to amend your post. #2 should read "If the person looking back at you is Rob Rogers or Jeff Hebert, then you're an idiot driver."

Sigh.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Mirna and Schmirna


This article in the Deseret Morning News perfectly sums up what drives me nuts about Charla and Mirna on The Amazing Race.

The part about them being ugly Americans is particularly on-target. The way they talk to cab drivers and others they encounter is despicable.

Great show. I can't wait until they're no longer a part of it.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Rest in Peace, Marshall Rogers


I just read the sad news that Marshall Rogers, an extraordinary comic book artist, has died. The story included few details, except the fact that he was quite young--age 57. He was always a favorite of mine when I was younger, and I always wondered why we didn't see more of his work in later years.

What a shame.

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The Simpsons: funny couch gag

I'm not usually a huge fan of The Simpsons. I enjoy it when I see it, but don't go out of my way to see it. But this clip of an intro to a recent episode gave me a good chuckle--watch what Homer has to go through to make it to the couch.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Check out cousin Owen

In addition to being nice, adorable, and incredibly brilliant, my cousin's son Owen is apparently quite the dancer. Check him out strutting his stuff in this fun video. Way to go, Owen!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Thundarr the Barbarian

This was one of the coolest cartoons ever. Part sword and sorcery, part Gamma World (a beloved game from my teen years, likely beloved in part because of my love of Thundarr), all awesome.

I'm kind of afraid to watch an old episode since it might not be as good as I remember. But I kind of want to, too. I have a feeling that Alex would love this one.



Thanks to Jeff Rients, whose blog put me on to this.

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The new Cap?


This is quite possibly a hoax or something that will last an issue or two. But seeing as the idea of the Punisher as Captain America got my buddy Jeff so riled up, I figured I'd have fun posting the image. You can read a minor story on it here. Would it be terribly wrong for me to say that the picture is kind of cool, even if it does have that whole 90s vibe of big guns and oddly positioned ammunition, bandoliers, and pouches?

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Hero City characters


I'd be remiss if I didn't point out this cool post (and cool art) from Jeff Hebert especially since he mentions me. I've let the Hero City campaign die off a bit, but intend to bring it back in a month or so. I really have fun with it. Check it out.

Since Jeff uses three images on his site, I'll use one he left off, also by him, for CrashTest. Check the link above for the other three.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

And the laugh riot that is Funky Winkerbean continues ... again

When I was a kid, a pipe burst in my closet and I got a lot of flooded stuff, including a box or so of comics. Shortly after Dina and I married, I had another leak of some sort that ruined another couple of comic boxes in our apartment.

Both of these occasions sucked. Ruined comics = bad times.

A whole store filled with ruined comics sounds absolutely terrible. Almost as terrible as the "keep my head above water" punchline.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Toxico = awesome


Obviously, I haven't posted any gaming characters recently. The most recent "character of the week" was La Cucaracha back in September 2005.

But gentleman, scholar, and artist extraordinaire Jeff Hebert was kind enough to illustrate a character for me, a Chemo homage I came up with a number of months back called Toxico. And if that image (if you haven't clicked it yet to see it in all its glory, then what the heck is wrong with you?) isn't cool enough to warrant a post, I don't know what is. In fact, Jeff has posted about it as well, so make sure you visit his site for that.

The background he's based on is below. Or you can to see the full Hero System character sheet in all its glory. I was kind of proud of my build for him.


Background: No one's quite sure, or at least, no one admits to knowing, how Toxico came to be. It might have been an experiment of Baron Doom or CLAW, or perhaps it was created by a mad scientist who paid the ultimate price for his folly. But Toxico is clearly not of natural origin. The rampaging monster appeared for the first time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1961 and was narrowly defeated by two superheroes. Over the years, it has returned again and again to menace humanity.

Personality: Toxico seems to exist only to wreak havoc. A rampaging monster with subhuman intelligence, it derives its greatest satisfaction from breaking things--like buildings, army tanks, and superheroes. Toxico does not reason quite as a human being would--it acts more like an angry animal. It is fairly easy for a villain to manipulate Toxico into action. It possesses some degree of reasoning; it can understand English, although it can't actually speak, and it has an uncanny sense for homing in on the spot that the heroes would most like it to avoid. Toxico is less a personality, though, than it is a dangerous weapon that can level entire city blocks.

Quote: "RRRRAAAAAARRRRRRRRRR!" (Toxico can bellow, but cannot speak.)

Powers: Toxico is a humanoid creature with thick, transparent skin that resembles plastic. Inside this hollow shell is a mass of dangerous chemicals. When Toxico is exposed to large quantities of chemicals, its body can absorb them into itself, making its human-sized body swell to tremendous proportions--as much as 17 meters tall. In this form, it is incredibly strong and tough, and can project chemicals from within its body to burn or engulf opponents. The special effects of these attacks vary depending on the chemicals Toxico absorbed--they can be poisonous, acidic, fiery, cold, or even radioactive. Toxico can heal most quickly when it is able to expose itself to additional dangerous chemicals.

Appearance: Toxico appears as a roughly humanoid creature with thick, transparent, plastic-like skin. It has no bones or organs; instead, it is much more like a balloon filled with deadly chemicals. Those chemicals inside its body boil and churn inside for all to see. Toxico's head is bald, and its eyes are glowing green pools of light.

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Priests to purify site after Bush visit


A funny story I came across from Excite. If the Democrate retake the White House next year, I wonder if they could hire these guys. The picture of the ruins is one I dug up, so to speak. More conversation, and a question of semantics related to the Bush administration, below the article.

Priests to Purify Site After Bush Visit
Mar 9, 12:20 AM (ET)
By JUAN CARLOS LLORCA
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) - Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.

"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.

Bush's seven-day tour of Latin America includes a stopover beginning late Sunday in Guatemala. On Monday morning he is scheduled to visit the archaeological site Iximche on the high western plateau in a region of the Central American country populated mostly by Mayans.

Tiney said the "spirit guides of the Mayan community" decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of "bad spirits" after Bush's visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites - which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles - would prepare the site for the third summit of Latin American Indians March 26-30.

Bush's trip has already has sparked protests elsewhere in Latin America, including protests and clashes with police in Brazil hours before his arrival. In Bogota, Colombia, which Bush will visit on Sunday, 200 masked students battled 300 riot police with rocks and small homemade explosives.

The tour is aimed at challenging a widespread perception that the United States has neglected the region and at combatting the rising influence of Venezuelan leftist President Hugo Chavez, who has called Bush "history's greatest killer" and "the devil."

Iximche, 30 miles west of the capital of Guatemala City, was founded as the capital of the Kaqchiqueles kingdom before the Spanish conquest in 1524.
This article reminded me of something that's been on my mind the last couple of days. Media stories about Bush's trip to Latin America have discussed his early promises of focusing attention on relations with Latin America, and how that changed after the September 11 attacks. The phrase I've been hearing a lot, and not from Bush's spokespeople, but mostly from news people on NPR, is that the war on terror "took priority" over relations with countries in Latin America. To me, that's pretty poor phrasing coming from a group that's supposed to be neutral to Bush, and certainly for one that's been accused of being too liberal and too hard on him. It takes a certain responsibility off of his shoulders.

What follows is probably less of a political rant than a linguistic one, so bear with me here. Priorities are assessed and decided on. What made the war on terror a priority over Latin America was a decision from the Bush administration, conscious or unconscious. The Bush administration made the one thing a priority over the other. It didn't just happen by itself.

Now I'm not saying that that was a bad decision. I think that Bush and his cronies have made lots of bad decisions, and that history will continue to turn up more and more of these. But if I had been president, I would have started focusing on terrorism over Latin America, too.*

On the other hand, the fact remains that a choice was made here. To use an extreme example, if there's a fire and I grab my children and get them out of the house and leave a toaster to get burned, that's a choice. It's the right one, but it's a choice. My kids didn't "take priority" over the toaster. I prioritized my kids above the toaster. The war on terror didn't "take priority" over Latin American relations. The Bush administration prioritized the war on terror over Latin American relations.

* At least for the year or so following those attacks. I likely wouldn't have gotten us into a war on Iraq, though, so I would have had a lot more time on my hands to get back to addressing other things, including maintaining relations with neighbors in the Western Hemisphere, signing the Kyoto Protocol, not alienating the entire world, etc.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

See! Wizards of the Coast agrees with me


I declared my loathing of the character Uni the unicorn back in June and it turns out that I wasn't alone. Thanks for having my back, Wizards of the Coast. (The Wizards web site rotates a series of slogans, many of them pretty amusing, below its name--just hit refresh once you're on the site to see more of them).

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The four unspeakable truths about Iraq

There's a really good article on Slate about the Iraq War and the kinds of things that politicians are afraid to say about it. Well worth reading.

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Make it so. Or maybe not...

This image on the left isn't from a new Star Trek show. It's not from a movie. It's not from an attraction in Las Vegas.

No, this is some dude in his own apartment, which he has lovingly, painstakingly, and expensively designed to look like part of a Star Trek ship.

My initial reactions:

  • Hey, that's kind of cool.
  • That would get pretty old in about 15 minutes, and I like Trek a lot.
  • This guy is going to have serious trouble getting women (or men, as the case may be) to visit his transporter room. If you know what I mean.
  • What are his power bills like? How much time does he spend dusting those consoles?
  • Wouldn't you feel weird walking around that place in jeans? Of course, you'd feel pretty weird walking around in a Starfleet uniform, too. Except for you, Larry.
  • The article I linked to above refers to this as the guy's (Tony Alleyne's) "ultimate bachelor pad." Uh huh. It doesn't exactly go with Barry White, you know.
  • I can envision a really bad reality show where a dozen or so Trekkies have to live in this apartment together, and every week one of them is "fired out the photon tube" or "sent to the transporter room" or "put in a red shirt."

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My Star Trek inspirational thought for the day


There are more like this at this web site. Funny stuff.

Confession: I've had this one hanging in my cubicle at work for a while now.

Confession two: Yes, I know that the astronaut game is too wide for my site, so I'm bumping it down a bit lower.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Crazy astronaut lady

Astronaut Moonstalker
I'll probably get bad karma for this. Yes, I will get bad karma for this. Ouch, that ceiling tile falling on my head hurt.

But this Astronaut Moonstalker game is kind of funny.

EDIT: I originally had the game embedded here, but it causes all sorts of problems with the site.

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Cap follow-up



SPOILER ALERT: If you want to read Captain America #25 unspoiled, then read no further. Otherwise, scroll down.











Jeff Hebert, one of the three or four readers of this blog (Hi, Jeff! Hi, Andy! Hi, Michael! Hi, Mom!) and all-around good guy posted a comment to the Captain America story I posted earlier, and my reply to that got long enough that I figured I'd put it here instead.

Here's what Jeff had to say:

One word: Ugh.

And to have THE PUNISHER take his place? That's downright blasphemous. The Punisher is in every way the anti-Cap, standing not for the American way but rather the Punisher way. He'll always be the epitome of the villain-as-superhero archetype that turned me off of comics for twenty years.

There's room for anti-heroes in the genre, of course, but Captain America and Superman shouldn't be in their ranks. They're the opposite of anti-heroes; they're supposed to be the pure, unadulterated, wholly good (while still kicking ass) epitome of what a real hero is.

I'm very glad now I've avoided "Civil War". I've yet to read one of these epic, world-redefining, multi-series slugfests since I was too young to know better with "Crisis in Infinite Earths", and I clearly haven't missed much.

This really blows. I love Cap. Feh on Marvel.

1:47 PM

Jeff, to be fair, I haven't read enough of the comics to be sure where this is heading. I bought the first two or three issues of Civil War, but refused to buy the issue where they killed off Bill Foster, AKA Black Goliath, letting my money do the talking for me.

In the Civil War comics I saw, the Punisher had some serious hero worship going on for Cap, and when Cap took off his mask at the end of Civil War #7 in order to surrender as Steve Rogers, the Punisher picked it up and stared thoughtfully at it. Anything beyond that is conjecture.

And I looked at Captain America #25 briefly during my lunch hour. There's some potential ambivalence there as to whether he's dead. On the other hand, if Marvel has orchestrated this much media attention on the issue only to have it be a feint of some type (they're saying Captain America is dead, but he's really in protective custody or whatever), then shame on Marvel. If Marvel makes the news reporters look like chumps, the reporters will be that much less likely to cover comic bookrelated stories.

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Captain America


If you haven't read about developments in the Captain America series and want to read the issue coming out today before reading spoilers, stop now. Otherwise, scroll down.
















CNN is reporting that Marvel has killed Captain America off in issue #25 of the current series, a follow-up to the god-awful Civil War storyline that I've refrained from commenting on.

Yuck.

The writer, Ed Brubaker, is very good, and you never know how the storyline is going to shake out, but my initial reaction is pretty negative. In a lot of ways, killing Captain America has more cultural impact than killing Superman. Cap is both cultural icon and American symbol, and his death feels a bit to me like someone demolishing the Statue of Liberty. Steve Rogers has quit before. In fact, he's done it a couple of times. But actually killing him? It doesn't seem right to me. And if it's all a big smokescreen and he's not dead, or comes back right away? That seems wrong, too.

America's struggling with a lot of problems right now. Problems of leadership and corruption. Seems like it needs good symbols now as much as at any time I can think of. Not symbols to hide behind or support with jingoistic fervor, but symbols to rely on, to aspire to. Judging by a hint or two in previous comics, it looks like the Punisher might even take Captain America's place for a while. Or maybe the Winter Soldier (AKA Bucky the resurrected). This isn't the time for the good-hearted, straight-shooting Steve Rogers to be out of the Captain America role. This isn't the time for a gritty "realistic" hero to take up the shield. This is the time for our symbol to be a beacon for what America should be and isn't right now.

Say it ain't so.

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