Mister Pterodactyl
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Or, 'Move along, nothing to see here.'

Cartoon Network’s ‘Justice League’ series was bookended with invasion-from-outer-space stories, the only circumstance in which I could see reinstating a military draft. [This did not occur in the cartoon, but real-life superheroes are considerably less impressive than fictional ones.] JL has now been succeeded by ‘Justice League Unlimited,’ featuring the original team (except Hawkgirl) plus several dozen new members.

Only eight episodes have aired so far (the website lists 13), so maybe it's too early to make judgments, but what the hell. Four of the original members – Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman - are taking up too much screen time. Two of the eight episodes feature them exclusively; only one doesn’t involve any of them. [Flash has been limited to a couple of walk-ons; Martian Manhunter is playing dispatcher.] In the other five, one or more of them lead a group on some adventure or other.

Eleven other characters have had significant speaking parts: Supergirl, Captain Atom, Green Arrow, Hawk, Dove, Zatanna, Steel, the Atom, Booster Gold, Plasticman, and that no-face conspiracy nut (Question? Answer? One of those). Black Canary has shown up twice, but just so Green Arrow can ogle her. Two episodes include large groups, some of whom I can’t identify (thus imperiling my comic-book-geek street cred).

Having that many heroes available means they can tailor teams to match a bad guy. Giant power source on the move in Asia? Have GL bring the energy-absorbing guy with Superman’s baby cousin for backup. Killer robot busting up third-world villages? WW and the passive/aggressive super-fast/super-strong duo got you covered. Legendary sorceress turning people into pigs? Batman knows where to find our own magicians. Nanotech super-android? We got your nanotech right here. The League is like a big Swiss army knife for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. [Everybody see where I’m going with this?] It’s (dare I say it?) the Blogosphere o’ Justice. Something for every situation.

I didn’t start writing this intending to make that point, but then I thought of this, from the days of the LGF/Powerline CBS smackdown, and couldn’t resist.

And doesn’t that seem like a long time ago?

My favorite episode so far is the Booster Gold one; he seems pretty powerful, but he’s also a careless, self-aggrandizing showboat and gets no respect from the League’s leaders, so when this superpowerful giant wizard guy shows up on Earth and the entire league goes to fight him (lots of funny scenes there), BG gets crowd control duty, which consists basically of waving at panicky fleeing civilians. Of course something unexpected happens and BG saves the day, but nobody sees it and he gets no credit.

I’d like to see Batman/Green Arrow or Supergirl/Wonder Woman, but I’d also like to see more of the new characters. Black Canary, Ice, and Fire having a girls’ night out. That robot tornado guy (there’s that street cred again) in a Radio Shack. While I’m at it, how about ‘a day in the life of Martian Manhunter?’ He really doesn’t get enough attention.

Has everybody noticed how much I like to use parentheses and brackets?

Saturday, October 30, 2004
I didn't want to do this...
...I really didn't. But I picked up today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the headline is about the new bin Laden tape. It reads, 'Bin Laden Surprise' and the subtitle is 'His threat of more attacks throws uncertainty into election.'

Uncertainty. Got that? Because everything was so straightforward before. We were on track for a nice, clear-cut election that wasn't causing any stress, doubt, worry, distress, exasperation or ulcers for anybody. CURSE YOU, BIN LADEN!

I mean really, who writes this stuff?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
A few days ago I declared a moratorium on political blogging. Looks like I got out just in time.

"Incredibly, Van der Leun's is not the first case in which a blogger's head has spontaneously exploded during these last few days of the campaign. Five bloggers are known to have exhibited of HCB in the last week.
The most recent explosion occurred just two days ago at Instapundit, when Glenn Reynolds' skull burst but his blog kept on updating itself oblivious to Mr. Reynold's absence. Documents unsealed in Washington today, disclosed that fading blogger Andrew Sullivan's head actually exploded in early 2004, but duct tape, chewing gum, and love has kept that blog's keyboard humming in the grisly aftermath."

Phew. Via Roger Simon.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Old Whig informs me that he's pulled ahead in the 'planet Sidna' search engine rankings. In response, I must point out that he's referring to Yahoo's search. Google it; I'm still number one.

Makes you wonder how those things work.

Monday, October 25, 2004
Well, I said I had one more post on Iraq, but having given it one more look I've realized that it sucks, and doesn't really contain any new ideas anyway. So screw it. Bring on the cartoons!

By the way, fellow cheesehead Ann Althouse (see links) is guestblogging at Instapundit. Wow. I've always thought he could use more Wisconsin news.

Sunday, October 24, 2004
Ranty goodness
Bozo-moonbat-nutjob (couldn’t settle on an epithet) Charlie Brooker, writing for the Guardian:

"On November 2, the entire civilized world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?"

Tim Blair has links and contact information.

[Dropping cloak of Vulcan-like calm] I am so sick of this. I am so sick of this global pack of whining losers grousing about America; everything’s our fault, if only we’d try harder to get along and work on consensus and not insist on getting our own way, then we’d see that nothing has really changed, we can still have the happy-happy time from the 90’s, but we don’t because we’re arrogant and uneducated and stupid.

And at the same time to have abandoned civility, and even decency? To feel free to say (and maybe do) anything, no matter how vile, if your target doesn’t share your fluffy hand-holding see-no-evil view of the world? I’ve had it.

Every time I hear this kind of moonbatty bullshit, I want Bush to win just a little bit more. Because after the election, I want to hear Franken and Soros and Sarandon and the Dixie Chix and, uh, that guy, that giant donut-filled chunk of unshaven mewling crap (what was his name? You know, the movie guy) and Kennedy and MoveOn-dot-whatever and all those nice people at the Guardian, I want to hear them howl. I want to see them come unhinged. I want to watch them hunt for excuses and point fingers, scream for recounts, chase down accusations of malfeasance, and gradually sink into despondency and drug abuse.

And I am going to laugh and laugh, as they realize that America hasn’t followed the light of their superior wisdom, as their fragile little egos start spinning like a cartoon duck. I am going to mock and ridicule and enjoy every minute.
I am sick of this. I want vindication.

Whew. I got one more post on Iraq coming up, and then I’m taking a break. Football and cartoons until election day. Did you know the Wisconsin Badgers are 8-0?

[Note to self: pick up cloak of Vulcan-like calm; you’re going to want it later.]

UPDATE: The Guardian has issued a mealymouthed apology and retracted the column.

Thursday, October 21, 2004
This post and the previous one are in response to NZ Bear’s Heroes for Bush effort. Scroll down for details. Even though he's not looking for essays, I couldn't resist comparing Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the global war on terror.

First a word about demons. Generally associated with supernatural evil, in the Buffyverse, a demon is simply a creature from another dimension and, as illustrated by characters such as Lorne, the green-skinned nightclub owner on Angel, not necessarily evil. Of course, the evil ones are by far more in evidence; whether that’s due to their predominance among demons, or to the fact that they’re the ones Buffy is concerned with (and thus the others rarely show up on screen), is unknown and really not that important.

What is important is this: a number of ‘people,’ extradimensional immigrants if you will, have surreptitiously arrived and are living here and some (possibly most) of them want to kill the natives, sow chaos and fear, and, in extreme cases, destroy the world. And they either keep out of sight or find ways of blending in, the better to carry out their plans.

As the Slayer, Buffy’s job is to root out and destroy them before they get a chance. In doing so, she can’t afford to wait and react; people die that way. So Buffy goes on regular patrols to hunt vampires. Her network of informants keep her up to date on the latest ‘who’s who in evildoing.’ A collection of books and various other resources provide the info on bad guys, what they want, and how to deal with them. And when they’re ready, they come up with a plan and execute it. Sometimes they get taken by surprise, but more often than not when the big bad shows up, they’re ready for it.

Although they lack the firepower to actually deter demons from coming to wreak havoc, they aren’t afraid to get pre-emptive. Faith scouts out vampire lairs for daytime raids (there are no recorded instances of Buffy doing this; it’s a ‘Faith-based initiative’). Angel, in the last season of his show, infiltrates a ‘cell,’ so to speak, to its highest levels in order to bring it down. Buffy brings a rocket launcher to the battle with the Judge and mobilizes the entire senior class to fight the mayor. She readily joins forces with the military-run Initiative, whose entire (stated) purpose is ‘get them before they get us.’ And in the series finale she goes after the big bad on it’s turf instead of waiting for it to come out.

In summary, there is a group of ‘alien’ beings living on this plane, a subset of which is here specifically to do harm. Buffy and co. oppose that subset with vigilance, intelligence gathering and pre-emptive strikes.

I guess that would make the Watchers’ Council kind of the UN of the Buffyverse, huh?

UPDATE: Via Truth Laid Bear, here's Ranten N. Ravens making the same point, through a conversation between Buffy and Xander.

Heroes for Bush
NZ Bear, noting with some alarm that Joss Whedon (creator of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly TV series) is hosting a series of parties for Buffy fans/Kerry supporters, has proposed a 'blogburst.' Despite my misgivings about that term, both this and the upcoming post are in support of that effort.
The idea, in NZB's own words, is to "imagine what your favorite [fictional or historical] hero would say about why he, she, or it, is planning on voting for President Bush."

So let's hear from Peter Parker, AKA the amazing Spiderman: "With great power comes great responsibility. Gee Dub gets that."

And Yoda: "Cast my ballot, will I, for George Bush. Terrible, war is, but to relieve suffering and quell hatred, sometimes necessary, aggressive negotiations are."

Pithy. Read all the entries (they'll be updated periodically) here.

UPDATE: TTLB's event has sure provided a nice bump for me. Hi, everybody!
A few of my favorite entries:
From What is Flig, the Tick endorses Bush.
From Elephant in my Pants, a little Gilbert and Sullivan.
And from Dog of Flanders, no endorsement but a poll of Buffyverse residents.

Go, read, enjoy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
This just in
I've got Fox News on the TV here, and they're reporting on a voter-registration scandal in Ohio. Tipping officials off was the fact that, among others, Packers quarterback Brett Favre (note correct spelling) has registered in that state.

Sunday, October 17, 2004
That's the Packers we've all come to know and love.
The announcers kept saying how hard it is on the players to lose four in a row. Y’know, it wasn’t that easy to watch either.

Speaking of announcers, Brian Baldinger and Dan Miller? Who’s that?

That’s what happens when you lose four in a row, I guess. But could somebody remind them that Jamie Sharper does not play for the Packers?

Gender equality watch: Jennifer Hammett (?), the first woman-on-the-field who doesn’t look like a supermodel. [And did everybody notice that adoring gaze she laid on Sherman?]

O-line looks much better. I’d been thinking that (center) Mike Flanagan’s season-ending injury might have had a greater effect on their play than people were saying, the center being responsible for directing the line. Maybe Ruegamer’s improving. Anyway, Detroit’s defense looked like they were on roller skates the whole second half.

Nice blocking on Darren Sharper’s interception return.

Ahman Green throws a pass. Didn’t see that coming.

Next week, Dallas. Don’t think I’ve forgotten those seven losses in a row (in, like, four seasons), all at their house.

Got me a shiny new template. Can't wait to play with it.
By the way, in switching from Haloscan to Blogger comments I lost all the comments that used to be in here. I'm working on that; in the meantime I'd like to ask my readers, if they'd be so kind, to go ahead and start replacing all the comments they may have left in the past. You remember what they were, right?

Saturday, October 16, 2004
I desperately need an economist, or something

Here's my problem: the Democratic party in general and the Kerry campaign staff in particular have been hammering Bush on the jobs lost since he became president. However, the vast majority of those losses occurred in 2001, and then the numbers stabilized (manufacturing job losses continued to drop in 2002, but at a slower rate).

So if there are any economists reading this, which policies of the Bush administration, going into immediate effect after his inauguration, had such an effect? Please advise.

Thursday, October 14, 2004
Well, I was going to liveblog the debate last night. I was all set in front of my keyboard, TV on, and then . . . the debate started.

When I regained consciousness, I looked at my screen and saw that I'd typed this:
Must . . . stay awake . . . but . . just . . so . . . boring cdvfgrgt5y6u7kuhjhgnn

That last part, apparently, was my face landing on the keyboard.

P.S. At least I didn't drool.

Friday, October 08, 2004
Message to Al:
Yesterday, I finally got around to doing the LA Times crossword puzzle from last Sunday. Check out some of these clues.
74 down - Dactyl opening (okay, that one was a gimme).
130 across - Tory rival (I trust you'll get it).
In addition, 108 across - 'Atlas Shrugged' author, 49 down - Follower of Lao-tzu.

See what I mean? They're spying on us, man.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Caught part of the veep debate last night. Right now the Fox News talking heads are pitching canned questions at one of their endless string of 'experts' about who won and what got accomplished and I'm already sick of the postgame, so just one comment. What the hell was that thing on Edwards' lapel? [It was like a little silver disk. What's that about?]

UPDATE: okay, one more. This one’s been bugging me.

John Kerry on pre-emption: “you've got to do it in a way that passes the test. That passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing."

John Edwards, after Cheney referred to that remark: “now, I want to go back to something the vice president said just a minute ago, because these distortions are continuing. He said that -- made mention of this global test. What John Kerry said -- and it's just as clear as day to anybody who was listening --he said: We will find terrorists where they are and kill them before they ever do harm to the American people, first. We will keep this country safe…. He also said very clearly that he will never give any country veto power over the security of the United States of America.
Now, I know the vice president would like to pretend that wasn't said, and the president would too. But the reality is it was said.”

Edwards is trying to steer the debate toward the parts (of Kerry's statement) that he'd rather have people remember, and implicitly accusing Cheney of doing the same thing. [Which of course he is, nothing wrong with it for either of them, but Little John wants him to look like the bad guy.] I think Cheney missed a good opportunity to score on Edwards here. I don’t remember what he said (and can’t be bothered to check the transcript), but it wasn’t this: “I am not ‘pretending’ he didn’t say those things. I know he did, I heard him. But he said the other thing too, and Senator, the two just don’t jibe. I want to know, the American people want to know, what ‘global test’ means.”

Monday, October 04, 2004
SpaceShip One is down! They did it.

Update to my last post on UNSCAM: a couple days ago Instapundit linked to this NY Times article by Judith Miller, reporting on a briefing paper given to the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. The subcommittee is investigating the UN Oil for Food program. "The paper suggests that France, Russia and China blocked inquiries into Iraq's manipulation of the program because their companies 'had much to gain from maintaining' the status quo. 'Their businesses made billions of dollars through their involvement with the Hussein regime and O.F.F.P.,' the document states, using the initials for the program. No officials of the three governments could be reached for comment."

Then there’s this report from the Times of London, also via Instapundit, describing a leaked list of 200 individuals and companies that profited from the scam.
From the report: “the regime gave priority to Russia, China and France. This was because they were permanent members of, and hence had the ability to influence decisions made by, the UN Security Council. The regime . . . allocated ‘private oil’ to individuals or political parties that sympathised in some way with the regime.” Benon Sevan, Vladimir Putin, and Jacques Chirac are mentioned.
Quoted in the report, Claude Hankes-Drielsma, an Iraqi government adviser who worked on the investigation: “the records demonstrate that the UN oil-for-food programme provided Saddam with a vehicle to buy support internationally by bribing political parties, companies, journalists and other individuals . . .this shows the need for a complete review of the UN.”

Again, perhaps if the United States withheld its dues (22% of the UN's operating budget), it would help persuade the Secretariat to finally come clean.

[I know everybody already saw this on Instapundit, but hey, I'm always happy to help the big guy out.]

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