Cultural Enrichment, Issue… 5?

A few quick things so I’m not horribly late for work: first, I will be listening to Chuck Berry this morning. Does every song sound alike? Sure. But it struck me a bit ago that it’s great Friday music, just the same.

Thing numero dos: My roomate just showed me a short and wonderful video from YouTube, everyone’s favorite (and least favorite) home of grainy video clips. Adjust your speakers to the appropriate level, and check “Birdtown” out!

Finally, please tell me you’ve been watching Reaper. My parents recommended it to me (let the record show that they also watch The Big Bang Theory – so, I don’t always agree with ’em), and it’s the best thing going for the CW at the moment. Which, alright, may not be saying a lot…  still. The guy playing the Devil is spot-on: sharp and sly and of course, awful. All the cast is entertaining, but Sam especially. It’s fun to watch an actor go from being the dork in Grounded for Life to being the awesome dork in Reaper.

And I’m off — everyone have a decent Friday and a great weekend!

IMAO

I just now realized that IMAO.us posted a few of the pictures I sent them for entry in their excellent lolterizt series, and can only assume HostMySite‘s WordPress servers are crying a little as a result of this site having… you know, more than 7 hits. So if you’ve followed a link here in some sort of stupor and are wondering what the deuce is going on here… wander a little further! Thanks, Harvey, for the link.

While I’m on the topic of IMAO (now that they’ve linked us, at worst this will come off as retroactive butt-kissing instead of the usual link-begging), I should point out that if you’ve not visited their site a good place to start would be Frank J.’s Nuke the Moon essay, for which I’ll admit a troubling affinity.

Cultural Enrichment: Joss Whedon Edition

It has been over a week since the last cultural enrichment, and my partner in crime – the post’s normal author – is at work. Due to the information held in this post, I think it is necessary to get this up before he returns from work. That’s right, I’m taking over this week’s cultural enrichment post. Bwahahaha! This week, I am concentrating on Joss Whedon, obviously. There are three important bits of information that you need to know.

Jumping right into some of the best news I’ve heard in months. IMDB had a link to a post on io9 that went a little something like this…

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog will be a series of three 10-minute webisodes about “a low-rent super-villain, the hero who keeps beating him up, and the cute girl from the laundromat he’s too shy to talk to,” Joss revealed on Whedonesque, his fansite. Neil Patrick Harris will play Dr. Horrible, Nathan Fillion will play Captain Hammer, and Felicia Day will play Penny. Plus “a cast of dozens!”

Next, second on my list of awesome Joss Whedon news is something also found on io9, which is good news for all of the Firefly followers. My only complaint is that it seems like something that would make for a good movie as opposed to comic book issues. We can only hope that a movie is around the corner for this 3-part story.

Pick of the week for the majority of io9 readers would probably be the first issue of Serenity: Better Days, a new three-issue series set between Firefly and Serenity

Last but not least is Dollhouse. A new television show that is to be launched in May. It stars Eliza Dushku as an amnesiac agent named Echo. It will be nice to have a new Joss Whedon series on tv, since all you can see any more are reruns of past Joss Whedon adventures.

I know that Joss Whedon has had more of a cult following in the past, but at this point he is becoming more of a household name in small – and big – screen entertainment. I, for one, hope he continues to put entertaining content out on all four of his most frequently chosen mediums (movies, tv shows, comics and the internet).

Smoke, Mirrors, and Snake Oil

I refrained from posting about Barack Obama’s maybe kind of just-a-little-bit racist preacher – whose church Obama attended for two decades, who baptized Obama’s children, and who Obama has supported with 5-figure donations as recently as 2006 – following Obama’s speech yesterday. I was annoyed that the usual suspects would so happily take 20 years of bad judgment from a presidential candidate and gloss right over it now that Obama has given an airy speech that hardly addressed why he’s so close to such a crazy racist. Why try and break it down any further myself when they’re doing a better job of saying what I’m thinking at The Corner? First, from Victor Davis Hanson:

The message? Wright’s motives for espousing hatred are complex and misunderstood; your motives for worrying about Obama and his Pastor are simple and suspect.

VDH’s post is, true to form, a wordy but interesting one. And for the shorter, grumpier John Derbyshire reaction:

Yesterday’s speech, read through in the clear light of dawn, is worse than I thought: an ugly mish-mash of ancient socialist clichés and Gen-X spoiled-brat self-congratulation, all enveloped in clouds of flatulent Oprahnian rhetoric. Ugh!

Ugh, indeed.

Simply Heroic Issue #3

For all of you on the edge of your computer chairs at home, you can relax now because issue 3 has been posted.  Just click on the thumbnail below or on the ‘comic’ link above, sit back, and enjoy the thrilling third installment of this heroic tale.

issue three thumbnail

Consider me Stimulated

I received notice today from the IRS that I may be entitled to a payment of up to $600! Yaaaayy!!!

How, you ask, shall I spend this fortuitous government windfall? It’ll cover half the enormous sum of taxes I had to pay on savings bonds cashed in 2007. Yaaaayy(???)

It’s a shame, really. I’m ruining the lives of poor people by not buying something for which I’d have to pay sales tax. Or buying a certificate of deposit and paying taxes on the interest. Or investing in a stock that pays dividends, then paying taxes on the dividends, and then paying more taxes if I ever make a profit from selling the investment. I am what’s wrong with America.

Curse you Sony!

As expected, Blu-ray prices have increased since the end of the format war with HD DVD.  Without opposition, Sony has succesfully driven high definition content out of reach for a lot of people.  Their players are, on average, 2-4 times more expesive than the HD DVD equivalent.  The cheapest HD DVD player you could purchase (before the format war was over) was around $100, and that was for a third generation player.  On the other hand, the cheapest Blu-ray player on the market was closer to $300.  Now, however, the same blu-ray player costs $400…that’s a $100 increase since the end of the format war, which was about a month ago.  At these prices, Sony is making it quite impossible to purchase a standalone player since the PS3 is also in that price range and features a built in Blu-ray disc player.  There have also been about 3 good game releases on the platform, so you could get in on that as well.

It boggles the mind why Blu-ray players are so expensive, when they are unable to connect to the internet at all.  That feature is on the horizon for the players, but all versions of the players so far will never be able to access online content for movies or receive firmware updates, which could possibly mean the inability to watch future Blu-ray movies.  One would assume Sony would distribute firmware updates through the mail on a Blu-ray disc to remedy this issue.  Even with this being the case, Blu-ray prices continue to rise.

It is also popular belief that the upconversion on the Blu-ray player does not match that of the HD DVD format.  This has also been tested by professionals and determined to be true.  This being the case, you can easily grab an HD DVD player for under $100 and enjoy a great upconverting DVD player for the same price (or even less in a lot of cases) as a good upconverting standard DVD player.  Hopefully Blu-ray improves this in the next generation of players, as I have an extensive standard DVD collection and would enjoy a good upconversion for all of them.

Considering all of this, now is the absolute worst time to purchase a Blu-ray standalone player.  The costs are soaring, and they will be obsolete by the time the next generation Blu-ray player is released.  If you really need a Blu-ray player, buy a PS3.  This way you spend about the same amount, plus one would imagine that you will be unaffected by the looming upgrades since the PS3 has online capabilities.  I make it a point, however, to never assume anything with regards to Sony.  I am continually let down by their utter lack of interest in what is best for the consumer.

Simply Heroic Issue #2

Here you go, the long awaited second installment to our new groundbreaking web comic!  Just click on the ‘teaser’ below to be magically transported (via the interwebs) directly into the lives of our three heroes!  As always, we hope you enjoy.

issue two thumbnail

All the Lines Have Been Crossed

And now it’s just a matter of whose face gets kicked in first. Somehow Reuters can take even a Chuck Norris filler news item and put a ridiculous spin on it. From “Chuck Norris is the only WMD in Iraq, say U.S. troops,” which was one of the top stories listed at Yahoo! news Monday:

Known as Chuck Norris “facts,” the claims have already become an Internet phenomenon, and scores are featured on www.chucknorrisfacts.com, including “Superman wears Chuck Norris pyjamas,” and “There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Chuck Norris lives in Oklahoma.”

If you can read, as the Reuters stringer apparently cannot, it’s obvious that the dweeby Chuck Norris fansite is the source of the WMD quote, not the soldiers quoted elsewhere in the story. Nonetheless, whoever gave this little gem a headline felt it was accurate to say that American troops think WMDs in Iraq is just another Chuck Norris joke.

Assuming IMDB.com’s bio can be trusted, also on Monday Chuck Norris turned 68. Sixty eight! I would have guessed he was in his mid-50s, but no matter; those America-hatin’ hippies had better get a head start and go into hiding until Chuck’s an octogenarian, at the very least.

Fashion Statement

Yasser Arafat - Time Magazine photo

“I sure do love suicide bombings. Oh, and young men. Mmmm, young men.”

I saw some tool on campus wearing a kaffiyeh today. Second time in as many weeks I’ve noticed a guy wearing the symbol of the two-faced Palestinian suicide cult — and I don’t leave my office all that often. I know full well that cataloging examples of clueless leftism on a large college campus would be an exhausting task, and it’s not one I plan to undertake. But come on, people. Israel is better than Palestine, and that is a demonstrable fact unless you love people whose claims to fame are losing a war 40 years ago and celebrating the murder of civilians.

Nice scarf, though. Idiots. Dead terrorist photo copyright Time.