Saturday, February 28, 2009

@ursulas I think it's more of...

@ursulas I think it's more of an Apple thing--I got my tickets just fine, but it was iTunes that was confusing & did things w/o asking.

Orignal From: @ursulas I think it's more of...

@tomzer1 he'd fly to Japan and...

@tomzer1 he'd fly to Japan and bring back unsubbed anime LDs which he'd then translate for us.

Orignal From: @tomzer1 he'd fly to Japan and...

@caliblondie well, it's a grea...

@caliblondie well, it's a great user icon is all I'm saying :) you look really good in it. And that seems to mirror your mental state.

Orignal From: @caliblondie well, it's a grea...

@tomzer1 I had heard English t...

@tomzer1 I had heard English teachers got flown over and free (or cheap) room and board. Not so. Learned the hard way :(

Orignal From: @tomzer1 I had heard English t...

@tomzer1 he's a family man, so...

@tomzer1 he's a family man, so I don't blame him. Interesting guy, tho': Taiwanese-American from Texas... (cont)

Orignal From: @tomzer1 he's a family man, so...

@tomzer1 it was sort of a grit...

@tomzer1 it was sort of a gritty take on a BGC/GitS mashup with some Yakuza mixed in for good measure.

Orignal From: @tomzer1 it was sort of a grit...

@tomzer1 but I don't want to s...

@tomzer1 but I don't want to sound all artsy-fartsy. Only had my stuff in 1 gallery show and was a "contributing artist" to a Toy2R piece...

Orignal From: @tomzer1 but I don't want to s...

@tomzer1 ah OK, personally, I ...

@tomzer1 ah OK, personally, I don't get the need to make live action versions of anime. Just show me the anime again (mostly).

Orignal From: @tomzer1 ah OK, personally, I ...

@caliblondie yes, we do requir...

@caliblondie yes, we do require--I mean THEY do require patience! :) (And we--I MEAN THEY--appreciate it!)

Orignal From: @caliblondie yes, we do requir...

@tomzer1 I am a huge fan of so...

@tomzer1 I am a huge fan of soundtracks, as well. I have actually been deleting some because I just don't have the storage space :(

Orignal From: @tomzer1 I am a huge fan of so...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rant Time: Why are there Still Republicans?

OK, I'll try to keep this short.

We've lost in Iraq.

We've lost in Afghanistan.

911 was allowed to happen.

Hurricane Katrina was bungled.

Our economy is a total, absolute mess.

George W. Bush, a Republican, was in office for 8 years up until about a month ago.

Why are there still Republicans??

Are you people seriously thinking that there's a place for your politics? 8 MILLION more people voted for the Democrat for the White House than they did the Republican.

Newsflash: your point of view is not popular with America, I don't care what color skin your man has or if your man is a woman. Your politics are done.

Your little tea parties and your socnetting and your plans to rebuild your party and retake America are a JOKE. YOU WILL FAIL because you still exclude people. Gays, women and minorities want to be represented equally. You don't do that. You also think torture and terror are just fine so long as they are weapons in YOUR arsenal and fail to see the COMPLETE FLAW in your logic.

So, just go quietly, please.

Let's stop talking about "parties" and start talking about the issues that matter.

We've got problems, stop pretending your party's crappy leadership skills aren't behind most of them and let's start finding solutions. AND FOR GOD'S SAKE STOP BITCHING ABOUT HOW THE DEMOCRATS ARE SPENDING MONEY. CHRIST you think we AREN'T FUCKING PAYING ATTENTION???

Some of you bitch about a few million here, a few hundred thousand there, what about a trillion in useless wars against a useless, loser enemy in two countries that have noting to do with 911? What about spying on Americans? What about the robbing of unalienable rights supposedly guaranteed in the US Constitution to all humans??

And NOTHING the Democrats can do at this point will hurt the country more than Republicans already have.

And yes, I'm broad-stroking all Republicans because if you disagreed with how your party behaved you should have spoken up or LEFT THE PARTY. I was raised to be a good little Democrat and so when they started doing things I didn't like, I LEFT. Now I can't be blamed for their stupidity or their mistakes or anything the Dems do. If you call yourself a Republican, you are giving yourself the same label as George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, John McCain and all the other big-name Republicans that think:

Torture is fine in certain circumstances Banks and businesses should be bailed out for their own mistakes America is weak enough for a few religious freaks in the desert to be a threat There is a pro-abortion movement Women should be paid less than men for the same work

Should I go on? I said I'd keep this short, so I won't.

Take responsibility for yourself and your party's actions and leave it!

Leave the labels, face the problems. Working together we can make the world a better place.

This isn't a diatribe against conservatives or Christians or anyone who shares similar views. It's just a critique against people who call themselves Republicans.

Posted via email from thepete's posterous

Orignal From: Rant Time: Why are there Still Republicans?

Wikileaks Cracks Pentagon Encryption; My Faith in Our Leaders is Restored (or NOT)

This is hilarious--well, assuming you think massive incompetence being
a Pentagon job requirement is funny. Can you believe this?
Apparently there was a password on the politically sensitive file at
this URL:

By the look of it, the only thing protecting the contents of this file is the fact that it's a password-protected MS Word doc. Wtf?? What bright-eyes thought this would be a good idea? Let's just leave a politically sensitive WORD DOC in an unprotected directory and expect a fracking MS Word password to keep it safe. WHAT COULD HAPPEN?

So, anyway, the post at (see screencap above or original here: ) doesn't explain how the "encryption" was "cracked" but I suspect it was something simple, like the highly technical process of entering random words until something worked.

You may be wondering what was so politically sensitive in the Word doc. Well, it turns out it was a document meant for NATO officials, and it tells them not to tell anyone that the country of Jordan is involved in helping us with the War Against Terror (aka tWAT) in Afghanistan. What's the catch with the world knowing Jordan is involved? It's supposed to be a secret. Apparently, back in 2001 they officially withdrew from the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force), which is officially in charge of our efforts in Afghanistan. It seems like they sure didn't stop helping us.

Why is it a big deal that Jordan is still involved in our Afghani efforts? Well, it seems they're real big in the torture community. They are also said to be big helpers with our extraordinary renditions program. So, essentially, they help us when we go into one country, kidnap a suspect and deliver said suspect to another country where we ask them questions and let local authorities torture if we don't like the answers.

In an obviously related story the Pentagon shut their entire site down this afternoon. Gee, I wonder why they did that!

Does anyone still wonder why the world has so much wrong with it when our leaders are smegging moronic enough to use only a single password to protect sensitive information?

OH yeah and the password on the doc? Progress.

Well done, Pentagon! Well done!!

Massive kudos to Twitter-user Zaibatsu who posted about Wikileaks cracking the password on the NATO file.

I wonder if this story will hit CNN or any of the other MSM news "sources."

Posted via email from thepete's posterous

Orignal From: Wikileaks Cracks Pentagon Encryption; My Faith in Our Leaders is Restored (or NOT)


Buy it!
Positive Experience/Entertaining? Wow, was this anime series a lot of fun! No mecha, no sexy teen girls in school uniforms, nothing that is typical to anime "aimed at adults" makes an appearance in Paranoia Agent. But it's really for adults--though I think kids would enjoy it just fine. It's a show about a psycho-sociological phenomenon (like a fad that effects how people think) that sweeps the city (but it's a lot more fun than it sounds).

Technically any good? I usually don't care for stories that blur the line between reality and fantasy but creator Satoshi Kon manages to blur and blend that line so skillfully, I didn't care. The characters are so well defined, the story is so intriguing and the acting so solid that I just kept watching even when I couldn't quite reconcile what I was looking at with reality.

The reality-bending stuff is explained in the end, but only if you look for it. That's, of course, what I like about a lot Japanese media--they don't spoon-feed everything to you.

So, on a technical level, this series is about as solid as solid can be. Even the animation (save for one episode) was impressive for a series (usually series get smaller budgets than movies).

How did it leave me feeling? Definitely satisfied. The show makes a very interesting and critical statement about culture and how humans can give into fear and paranoia and, in a way, enjoy it.

Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now. This is an anime that is safe for most ages. There are isolated acts of violence, but they are quick. The only catch with kids watching this is that it is a very mind-bending show at points. Of course, that's one of the reasons I loved it so much.

Sadly, it appears to be out of print in the US. I do think it's worth seeing if you can find a copy, though. I found mine on Netflix.

Orignal From: PARANOIA AGENT (2004)

Depressing to hear about small...

Depressing to hear about small local newspapers big enough to be heard of but not big enough to survive. RIP local newspapers :(

Orignal From: Depressing to hear about small...

@cherishhellfire haha! That wo...

@cherishhellfire haha! That would be... Uh... Uh... Sorry just trying to shake that image you just put in my head

Orignal From: @cherishhellfire haha! That wo...

@cherishhellfire haha! That wo...

@cherishhellfire haha! That would be... Uh... Uh... Sorry just trying to shake that image you just put in my head

Orignal From: @cherishhellfire haha! That wo...

@cherishhellfire your eyes roc...

@cherishhellfire your eyes rock and your soul rocks more for being so strong. Still, I'm sorry you had to deal w/that. Wish I could hug ya.

Orignal From: @cherishhellfire your eyes roc...

@cherishhellfire your eyes roc...

@cherishhellfire your eyes rock and your soul rocks more for being so strong. Still, I'm sorry you had to deal w/that. Wish I could hug ya.

Orignal From: @cherishhellfire your eyes roc...

@cherishhellfire I'm thinking ...

@cherishhellfire I'm thinking she didn't her research on you. I also love how she's "proud to be white." I mean, WHY?

Orignal From: @cherishhellfire I'm thinking ...

Ballpoint Adventures for February 27, 2009

Please check out more Ballpoint Adventures at!

Orignal From: Ballpoint Adventures for February 27, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009


It's Documentary Thursday at, when I post a pocket review of a documentary on a given topic that interests me. One thing to bear in mind is that not all documentaries deserve the name "documentary." However, not all documentaries have to include a British-accented voice-over and a big-money distributor to be worth watching.

Watch or buy it!
Positive Experience/Entertaining? Definitely a positive experience, but I think the filmmaker was a little overzealous with some of the shock treatment-style cinematic devices he uses in this film. This is another in an ever-longer line of "opiniontaries" that generally try to come across as a documentary but ultimately are just trying to put forward their own agenda. Not that this is that different from what other "more acceptable" documentaries do.

Technically any good? This film is incredibly effective. Moving at a quick pace, this film picks you up, carries you along, smacks the crap out of you (and your belief systems) and then drops you off at the side of the road like a cheap prostitute. I've heard from friends and strangers that this film changed their lives. I can't say it changed mine, but it did have an effect.

Over the years I've watched a LOT of so-called "conspiracy documentaries." They all claim to have the answers and the truth and the warnings about the coming "New World Order" blah-blah-blah. I watch them because they are hilarious and, creepily enough, sometimes accurate. Zeitgeist takes the best, most believable of these conspiracy theories and rolls them into one film.

For that reason, I think this is the most effective film to watch if you're growing dissatisfied with the way the world is run. Zeitgeist does a good job of explaining where our culture comes from and where it is likely going (though I didn't find myself agreeing with it all the time).

Sadly, it gets mired in 911-related shock tactics that made me wonder if the filmmaker realized how hypocritical he was actually being. Like most opiniontaries, this one gets a few things wrong and the film's use of what Naomi Klein calls "The Shock Doctrine" as a cinematic technique has the power to undo the rest of the good the film does.

How did it leave me feeling? Definitely educated. After growing up a news-junky and then spending the last seven years exploring the world of conspiracies (for a novel series I've written), I do have to say that I have no idea what to believe about our past, present or future. And this film doesn't help make things clearer.

It does point out a lot of evidence that suggests our civilization is largely built on lies told by power-hungry people who want to control everything through the control of money.

Gotta admit, the film has a point.

Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now - BUT WITH A WARNING: While Zeitgeist is a genuinely powerful and effective movie, it does rely on many of the same tactics it criticizes the "ruling elite" of using to control the masses. It's important to watch ANY documentary with a clear and critical mind. And most importantly, when you're done watching it, do some research. Read up on some of the things you've been told about.

If nothing else, by presenting such a radically negative view of Western Society, documentaries like this remind us to think for ourselves. Even if you don't agree, it's important to consider what other people say. Zeitgeist, I think, nails a lot of things on the head, but it's not for the faint of heart.

Click the poster image above to go to the official site where you can watch the movie and its sequel (I'll be reviewing it next week), or buy copies of both on DVD.

Orignal From: ZEITGEIST (2007)

Ballpoint Adventures for February 26, 2009

Check out more Ballpoint Adventures strips at

Direct all hate mail to: youareoverlysensitivetostickfigureviolence@ (and don't expect a reply).

Orignal From: Ballpoint Adventures for February 26, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jay Doesn't Understand Obama's Plan

And neither do I.

Here's Jay's 12 second take:

Jay Doesn't Understand Obama's Plan on

Sure, it's an oversimplification, but if loans are what got us into trouble in the first place, how are more loans going to fix things?

Seriously: Banks give loans to people who can't afford them and then pawn off the lawns to someone else who then gets screwed.

Obama wants us to give money to the same banks who will then, somehow miraculously NOT give money to people who will default on the loans?

Since the economy is hurting, a LOT of folks won't have good enough credit to get loans, so who are these loans going to be given to?

Orignal From: Jay Doesn't Understand Obama's Plan

TheVlog (in HD) for 1/20/9: ThePete's Adventure on Inauguration Day in DC part 2

PLEASE NOTE: This was SHOT in HD, but is not in HD on YouTube thanks to problems I've been having uploading my HD videos. Sorry :( That said, the picture was still pretty clear when I looked at it on my laptop before uploading. What IS this video? ThePete, Siskita and Jay ThePal visit DC for the Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama. This is part 2 of their inauguration day adventure! In this episode they reach the reflecting pool, the Washington Monument and come face to face(s) with 1.5 million screamin' Americans!

Watch it now:

Two more parts to go! Wahoo!

Orignal From: TheVlog (in HD) for 1/20/9: ThePete's Adventure on Inauguration Day in DC part 2


Buy it!
Positive Experience/Entertaining? YES. It's been a long time since I've seen a movie for adults that actually respected my intelligence and entertained me in a fun way at the same time.

Technically any good? Based on a play of the same name, this movie is pretty tight script and story-wise. There is almost nothing I would have done differently and there was no point in which I was bored. The movie tells its story, develops its characters and slides you to the edge of your seat with subtle skill. The acting from Michael Caine, Dyan Cannon and Christopher Reeve is is solid and very convincing.

The only flaw, I felt, was the music--while there was nothing wrong with it, in theory, I felt it was jarring in a movie that simply didn't need any music. The performances and the editing are enough to pull you along and keep you enveloped. The perfectly reasonable, but fairly period, music knocked me clean out of the film.

How did it leave me feeling? Definitely entertained and definitely satisfied. It made me want to read the play and maybe even want to be in it. :)

Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like intense but not terrifying moments. There are some definitely adult themes here, but for intelligent adults looking for a fun movie that won't make you feel like you're being spoken down to, this is a perfect pick.

If you haven't seen this movie, don't talk about the plot with anyone. Conversations about this film with even those who haven't seen it are tantamount to spoiler mine fields that are very likely to destroy your first experience watching this film.

Orignal From: DEATHTRAP (1982)

@gtowna Thanks for the suggest...

@gtowna Thanks for the suggestion! I think it's about billing address not the shipping. Hoping to convince a friend in another state to help

Orignal From: @gtowna Thanks for the suggest...

@philiphodgen Patterson's lost...

@philiphodgen Patterson's lost my vote! Ironically, many vendors Amazon works with are in NY so by forcing sales tax, they're hurting NY biz

Orignal From: @philiphodgen Patterson's lost...

@philiphodgen Am going to seri...

@philiphodgen Am going to seriously consider how to handle this. It's not like I can buy a Kindle at J&R or Best Buy, annoyingly.

Orignal From: @philiphodgen Am going to seri...

Ballpoint Adventures for February 25, 2009

So, the American worker is no longer worth paying for? We're doomed

then, aren't we?

Orignal From: Ballpoint Adventures for February 25, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Republicans Celebrate Bobby Jindal's Coming Out Party--Apparently, the GOP Likes Gays Now

The headline of that article
cracked me up when I first saw it late last night. Turns out the GOP
actually used the phrase "coming out party" to describe Louisiana
Governor Bobby Jindal's turn at responding to President Barry's
Mini-State of the Empire address tonight. Jindal's appearance on
national TV (people still watch that?) is seen as a big deal for the
37 year-old Indian-American who was a US Congressman before taking
office in January 2008 (I read his Wikipedia article!). But is this married minority coming out of the

Of course not. It just goes to show you how effing clueless the Republicans still are.

They think they can "put a fresh face on the party" by making sure that "face" isn't white.

As if that somehow changes the bad ideas the party embraces. As if it means the Republicans suddenly like minorities and think women should get paid the same amount as men. As if "GOP" now stands for the "Gay Old Party."

That IS something to remember--the Republicans still don't like gays.

They still believe that a "pro-abortion movement" actually exists.

They still favor businesses and bankers over American citizens, think that Al Qeada and the Taleban are two mighty armies that threaten our way of life (instead of being two loose-knit bands of extremist losers) and most of all don't seem to mind when the American government commits domestic and international crimes (too late to impeach Bush, but he can still be indicted, can't he?).

Then again, the Democrats believe those things, too.

In the end, it doesn't really matter what color skin the face on which ever party has. It's all the (corrupt) business as usual.

Posted via email from thepete's posterous

Orignal From: Republicans Celebrate Bobby Jindal's Coming Out Party--Apparently, the GOP Likes Gays Now


Buy it!
Positive Experience/Entertaining? Well, I've got to say no, not really. I know it seems silly to even review a film like this, but hey, I watched it, might as well write about it. But no, this was not a positive experience.

Technically any good? This is your standard, bad b-movie, designed to entice dumb teenage boys to watch in the hopes of finding some nudity and there is a bit of it, so that's nice for those of us who enjoy seeing topless women. Of course, one of them gets raped, so you might want to bear that in mind.

Aside from the rape scene, the film is generally what you would have expected to see on MST3K since it's pretty much on the level of Hobgoblins (and even shares a cast member). The acting is as flat as you'd expect, though I never blame the actors. The story is damn near non-existent, though I have to say it's more coherent than what we've got going on Battlestar Galactica, so there is that.

How did it leave me feeling? Achy neck from shaking my head so much. Even as a dumb b-movie, this isn't one I'd recommend. I also found it kind of weird that while we see a topless woman get raped, during the healthy, nice sex scene between consenting adults we see later on, there is no nudity. Kinda sad if you ask me. I always prefer to see boobs in a positive situation.

Final Rating? DNS - Do Not See. There are loads of better (read: more fun) bad b-movies out there (even with nudity) if you're interested in doing your own MST3K-style DIY quipathon.

Orignal From: TIME BARBARIANS (1990)

Ballpoint Adventures for February 24, 2009

Remember kids, it's just a poorly drawn comic strip!

Read more Ballpoint Adventure comics (including ones from years ago)


Orignal From: Ballpoint Adventures for February 24, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

INGLORIOUS BASTERDS (2009) (Preemptive Strike)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? based on the trailer? I'd say this movie is bad for all of humanity. You know? There was a time when I would have wanted to see a movie like this--it was the 1980s--a time of shallow, petty, self-centered thinking, when it was still easy to think of a world in terms of "us" versus "them."

The trailer makes me wonder if the director has grown-up at all since then.

Technically any good? I have to admit that I am seriously biased against Tarantino's films. The only one I've ever liked (and I do love this movie) was True Romance and he only wrote the script. I thought all the others he's made have been over-rated and ultimately kinda stupid. This movie, again based on the trailer, looks no different.

Sure, the FX will look great--it's QT, his movies are always slick looking. They're just lacking in any interesting story or characters. Speaking of story, the story of this movie looks amazingly simple and uninteresting. Not to mention amoral and encouraging the audience to feel good about being violent again.

We can't feel good about our war on terror, so we'll feel good about killing Germans.

Yeah, that's just what we need.

Acting-wise? Who cares? It's a QT movie. Good acting doesn't really matter. It's all about TheSlick.

How did it leave me feeling? It left my skin crawling. How Brad Pitt agreed to do this movie after reading the script is beyond me. The trailer illustrates one of the few things that was wrong with World War II on both sides--the absurd hatred of the other side.

Now Tarantino is going to glorify that hatred.

Yeah, there was a time when I would have loved a movie like this. But then I grew up.

Final Rating? DNS - Do Not See. Let's not encourage this kind of storytelling. Let's ignore QT for a while in the hopes that he'll go back to telling actual stories with actual characters, like he did in True Romance. Wouldn't that be nice?

But don't trust my opinion--click on the poster image above and watch the trailer for yourself and see how good it makes you feel.

Orignal From: INGLORIOUS BASTERDS (2009) (Preemptive Strike)

Ballpoint Adventures for February 23, 2009

Whoa--check it out! It's my first Ballpoint Adventure strip in like a

WHILE. Got plenty more, too. Be sure to let me know what you think!

Orignal From: Ballpoint Adventures for February 23, 2009 End Life Crisis

I designed this for the Mimoco DIY Vimobot contest. I didn't even

place :( But I'm happy with the design nonetheless. I think I do

pretty well with a few sharpies and some vinyl. :)

See, the idea of the contest was to create a design that would be used

for one of their thumb drives. My thought was that the metal

electrocution cap on this guy would be the cap of the USB so when you

plugged ELC into your USB port, he'd look like he was all nervous

about being plugged into your computer--like the 3 volts a USB port

puts out was going to kill him.

I guess not everyone has the same sense of humor about capital

punishment that I do.

Check out more pics of my End Life Crisis piece, including progress

shots and even some original sketches for this and other Vimobot

designs, in the Flickrset for this project:

Orignal From: End Life Crisis

Sunday, February 22, 2009

@Siskita and Kay After Performing at the Oscar Night at the Algonquin Salon

I'm missing the Oscars but I just got to see these two perform! Video

coming soon!

Orignal From: @Siskita and Kay After Performing at the Oscar Night at the Algonquin Salon - The... - The Miley Cyrus Pic CNN Mobile left up for 45 Minutes

Orignal From: - The...

The Miley Cyrus Pic CNN Mobile left up for 45 Minutes

CNN's mobile page for 45 minutes earlier tonight. Can't imagine why!

Orignal From: The Miley Cyrus Pic CNN Mobile left up for 45 Minutes

Obama Agrees with Bush: Unalienable Rights? Meh.

This was a very depressing bit of news to come across on Friday. reported that Obama is keeping the same policy on "battlefield detainees held without charges by the United States in Afghanistan" and agree that said humans "are not entitled to constitutional rights to challenge their detention."

Isn't that nice?

SO, let's review:

According to Bush AND Obama, when the founding documents (the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution) say that We, The People of the United States of America agree that "all men are created equal," and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights," we actually only mean AMERICAN men are created equal and are endowed with certain unalienable Rights. FOREIGN men are not really human, apparently, and deserve no such Rights.

Like that one "habeas corpus" that guarantees your right to challenge your imprisonment in a court of law. Seems like a good right to have though, you know, just in case any mistakes have been made.

So, I'd like to thank Barry O'bama for reminding us that while Barack Hussein Obama may be the first black guy in the White House he's also just another American President who was corrupted by his power. See? There really is no difference between white people and black people!

Ironically, watch for part 2 of TheVlog for January 20, 2009, featuring footage Siskita and I shot from Washington DC, the day Obama was inaugurated. I'll be posting part 2 at soon. Watch for it!

Posted via email from thepete's posterous

Orignal From: Obama Agrees with Bush: Unalienable Rights? Meh.

Terry Pratchett: We need to ta...

Terry Pratchett: We need to talk about dementia - Telegraph (

Orignal From: Terry Pratchett: We need to ta...

Ahhh, taste the irony!

We all need a little iron(y) in our diet, don't we?

Note the date of this issue of time. Ten years ago last week. In fact, Twitter user theeconomysucks was sharp enough to post this on February 19, 2009. :)

We humans think we've got it all together. It's a shame we can't just relax and admit we (and our leaders) do make mistakes from time-to-time. I think we'd benefit from a healthy dose of second-guessing of the folks in charge. In fact, I was just reading Volume 1 of the Action Philosophers compilation (written and illustrated by old college buddies of mine) and it turns out that one of Ayn Rand's devotees was none other than Alan Greenspan. Not sure what that means entirely, but if the Action Philosophers comic is to be trusted, we, maybe, shouldn't be too surprised that Greenspan was so wrong about the Free Market and deregulation.

Ah well, live and learn... I hope!

Posted via email from thepete's posterous

Orignal From: Ahhh, taste the irony!

@tomzer1 can't remember what m...

@tomzer1 can't remember what my 80s-era graphic tablet was called but I used it on my family's Apple //e so you can imagine the masterpieces

Orignal From: @tomzer1 can't remember what m...

@tomzer1 Ahh, so sorry to hear...

@tomzer1 Ahh, so sorry to hear about that, man--I hope you're not giving up on the art completely. Don't wanna let those muscles get weak!

Orignal From: @tomzer1 Ahh, so sorry to hear...

@tomzer1 Degas on the Atari ST...

@tomzer1 Degas on the Atari ST? You're the Fatboy Slim of illustration! :) Is that what you do for a living, btw? Illustration?

Orignal From: @tomzer1 Degas on the Atari ST...

@tomzer1 Degas on the Atari ST...

@tomzer1 Degas on the Atari ST? You're the Fatboy Slim of illustration! :) Is that what you do for a living, btw? Illustration?

Orignal From: @tomzer1 Degas on the Atari ST...

Saturday, February 21, 2009 Gives Me VERY Inaccurate Search Results

Not that there's anything wrong with the subject matter of the book it
listed amongst the other results a couple weeks back while I was
comparison shopping for "electric razors"--it's just DEFINITELY NOT
what I was looking for. You would think Amazon MIGHT have a
protection against this sort of thing.

Just another episode in the never-ending adventure show: "Perils in Online Keyword Usage!"

For the last episode, go here:

Catch a clue, oh, Masters of the Internet! Sometimes keywords aren't everything!

GASP... I know it's practically blaspheme but, sadly, it is the truth.

I really wasn't looking for a novel called "Razor Burn" from a company called "Romentics".

Posted via email from thepete's posterous

Orignal From: Gives Me VERY Inaccurate Search Results

Friday, February 20, 2009


Buy it!
Positive Experience/Entertaining? I suppose on a very basic level this movie was entertaining. I just didn't care for it.

Technically any good? The acting was fine and the animation was gorgeous. However, without an interesting story, I got bored fast. The story and script for this anime was as cliche as they come. The only thing not cliche was the ending which was unsatisfying. On top of that, this anime falls prey to a trap that no piece of animated art should ever fall prey to: there was no reason for this anime to be animated.

It was all realistically done, there were no monsters, no spaceships (well, there was one, but it could have been easily CGed)--it was just a straight romance that I probably would have enjoyed more if it was live action. Not everything has to be scifi/fantasy or crazy story-wise in animation, but for crying out loud, do something that you can only do in animation--camera angles that would be impossible to do with live action, SOMEthing. I suppose some of the train sequences would have been a pain to shoot live-action, but I'm thinking paying people to draw 24 pictures per second as opposed to hiring some people to shoot in the snow would be more expensive.

How did it leave me feeling? Unsatisfied. This "movie" is divided into three uneven chunks, one of which could be a completely different story but involved a character from the main storyline for no reason that seemed required. Ultimately, I felt this movie was very self-indulgent. I'm fine with realistic, non-scifi/fantasy stories being told using animation, but make it interesting, damn it. I'm almost done watching Satoshi Kon's Paranoia Agent and this is a great example of animation that tells a non-scifi/fantasy story that is interesting and takes better advantage of the medium.

Final Rating? DNS - Do Not See - there are far better and more satisfying love stories done in anime. I'd suggest you check out Love Hina if you're interested in good cliched storytelling that follows a romance. 5 Centimeters Per Second was sadly sleep-inducing.

FYI: Strangely (or maybe not so strangely), 5 Centimeters Per Second is not available on DVD in the US any more, but you may be able to score it used through Amazon--click the movie poster image above to get started.. I was able to find it on Netflix.

Orignal From: 5 CENTIMETERS PER SECOND (2007)

Tipping-Point Coming Soon as Climate Change Moves Faster than Scientists Expect

The above capped article comes from (here:
) and was posted back on February 15, 2009. However, I felt is was
important enough to blog about it to make sure people were aware.

See, in typical human fashion, it seems like scientists haven't been thinking deeply enough about how Climate Change is occurring. Up until recently, scientists have been fixating on what they say are the causes of Climate Change (ie carbon emissions from fossil fuels causing the greenhouse effect, warming up our planet and screwing up weather and climate patterns). The thing is, they didn't think about what the effects of the effects are.

In this WaPo article they begin to talk about this. Here's an excerpt:

Unexpectedly large amounts of carbon dioxide are being
released into the atmosphere as the result of "feedback loops" that
are speeding up natural processes. Prominent among these, evidence
indicates, is a cycle in which higher temperatures are beginning to
melt the arctic permafrost, which could release hundreds of billions
of tons of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, said
several scientists on a panel at the meeting.

The permafrost holds 1 trillion tons of carbon, and as much as 10 percent of that could be released this century, Field said. Along with carbon dioxide melting permafrost releases methane, which is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

"It's a vicious cycle of feedback where warming causes the release of carbon from permafrost, which causes more warming, which causes more release from permafrost," Field said.

The Field quoted at the end of that excerpt was Christopher Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University.

If you want to learn more about this, you can check out the rest of that article. You can also check out a cartoon I posted on back on January 13, 2009 that explains the whole Climate Change tipping-point thing in a fairly simple, straightforward way.

Of course, unlike religion, there are no absolutes here--these scientists could have it wrong. They're only human, after all. Still, there's a lot of science that supports all of this (not to mention basic logic). The thing that worries me, though, is that there are still a lot of people who fixate on the "man made" part of Climate Change. They think that we humans don't bear any responsibility for causing the changes that are occurring on our only planet. To these people I say this:

Who cares?

The fact of the matter is that glaciers ARE melting. Our climate IS changing.

And guess what: getting off of fossil fuels, limiting pollution and waste is GOOD for us. Not only does it help the environment (the medium in which we LIVE and BREATHE in) but it also helps the planet politically. Sure, it may harm economic interests, but which is more important to you? Your money or your life?

Plus, with this whole new "tipping-point" thing, we need to start thinking about how we're going to deal with these changes, not with how to stop them--that's the real issue here. I don't give a crap which side of the political fence you sit on. It doesn't matter if cars did it or factories, or if it's the sun--the climate is changing and it just may get really messed up fast. Now, that little cartoon seemed to think we can still stop this doomsday-ish scenario from happening, but I think we really need to be prepared to fail.

Come on, it's not like we humans have been doing so well, lately.

You want to trust the government to get it right when they screwed up Iraq, Afghanistan and New Orleans so royal?

Or should we trust the free market to not hike up the price of water-wings when our coastal cities begin to flood?

My solution? I think I'm going to go check out NYC section to look at boats for sale. I've always wanted to live on a boat! :\

Posted via email from thepete's posterous

Orignal From: Tipping-Point Coming Soon as Climate Change Moves Faster than Scientists Expect

Odd morning--pretty sleepy but...

Odd morning--pretty sleepy but awake for some reason. Wrists acting up still. Hurts to hold iPhone a bit. May not be very socnetty today.

Orignal From: Odd morning--pretty sleepy but...

@tomzer1 I stopped caring righ...

@tomzer1 I stopped caring right after that midpoint, sadly. I just started liking it again, too. Still enjoy watching thanks to the actors.

Orignal From: @tomzer1 I stopped caring righ...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

1948 Cartoon Predicts Current Socio-Economic Problems (sort of)

The really funny thing is that everything in this cartoon is both right and/or wrong and everything it warns about has come to pass in the America of 2009--sixty-one years after the cartoon was made--the only problem is that it claims our current situation will occur thanks to communism.

Ah, fresh, sweet irony!

Siskita first pointed out "Make Mine Freedom" to me after she saw it in the Vintage ToonCast (which doesn't seem to have been updated since late last year). As I watched this fun little propaganda cartoon for the first time, I couldn't help but wonder if the slick, slightly darker complexioned man, with the thin mustache, in the almost-zoot suit, peddling the "imported double-talk" was actually peddling capitalism.

After all, Wal*Mart has tried to crush unions, the Bush Administration loved to repeat that everything was fine over and over and over (as do most politicians and the mainstream media even still, though they may not use that exact language), banks and businesses are being bought up by government now in the form of those bailouts, it sure seems like there's less private property since we can't afford to buy any, and government has been subsidizing farmers for decades.

Even earlier on in the cartoon, we are told that certain things are guaranteed to us under the freedom of the capitalist system.

1) "Freedom to work at the job you like." Unless they're not hiring.

2) "Freedom of speech and to peaceably assemble." Just so long as you do it in the "Free speech zone" set up several hundred yards from the event you're protesting.

3) "Freedom to own property." ...and to pay property taxes, mortgage payments and to desperately cling to any job you can get (whether you like it or not--so much for point #1) in order to keep paying said mortgage.

4) "Security from Unlawful Search or Seizure." this one is completely out the window in our "Post-911 World".

5) "The right to a speedy and public trial." ...unless you're labeled an enemy combatant in which case you can be held without charges, indefinitely, without a lawyer and without the right to challenge your detention (habeas whatsis?).

6) "Protection against cruel punishments and excessive fines." Unless you're labeled an enemy combatant or copyright infringer. For the former see #5 and for the latter you could be fined thousands for downloading one song. Oh and the imagery used in the cartoon at this point is a fat and satisfied prisoner sitting at a table with a roasted chicken while being waited on by a prison guard. Yeah, I don't think that's how it works these days, either (did it ever work this way?).

7) "The right to vote." ...but apparently not the right to proof that your vote counted. Sure, we got Obama in, but we will never know for sure if Bush was supposed to have been in the White House for those horrible eight years.

8) "And to worship God in your own way." But Atheists can go suck it.

The cartoon explains that the above freedoms are what has made America strong. Since we really don't have those freedoms any more, does that mean America is weak now?

The funny thing is, the cartoon is right--all those things do make any country strong. However it's not "capitalism" or the "free market" that guarantees those things. It's good leaders.

It's good leaders who make sure that only proper, just laws are passed.

I won't even go into the overt racism of the cartoon, with any non-white ethnicity being all but left out completely (two shots depicting dark skinned Americans doesn't count). And what's with the "ism" peddler, anyway? He's not as white as everyone else. He's also selling "Ism" using the exact language that the USG has been using over the past few years to sell us on everything from privatizing Social Security to invading Iraq. High profits, maximum security, etc. And what the hell? The peddler's company is called "Ism Incorporated!!" Doesn't that make HIM a capitalist, too?

And that "scrap of paper" seems to be describing the exact effects of the various bailout bills businesses and banks have been begging for. Our money is worth MUCH less now and therefore allows us to do less with our freedom, too. And since our kids will be paying higher taxes (as will their kids), doesn't that rob freedom in just the same way as Dr. Utopia's Ism Elixir?

There is one last thing I can think of that "Make Mine Freedom" gets kinda right. That last bit where the John Q. Public character says the following:

"When anybody preaches disunity, tries to pit one of us against the other through class warfare or race hatred or religious intolerance, you know that person seeks to rob us of our freedom and destroy our very lives and we know what to do about it."

Of course, John Q. seems to endorse violence, or at the very least the threat of violence, against those doing the exact things he describes. The thing is our government has been doing this for the past eight years and has pretty much always done these things to control us. Whether it's the military which aims recruiting efforts at the poor, or the Bush campaign, back in 2000, spreading rumors about John McCain's "black baby."

Religious hatred is also used by Christians against Muslims and gays on a regular basis (not to mention the generally sucky attitude toward us Atheists).

The ultimate point here is that everything in this cartoon is both right and/or wrong and everything it warns about has come to pass in the America of 2009--sixty-one years after the cartoon was made.

Boy, I sure am glad we didn't drink that ethnic man's "imported" (commun)Ism Elixir back in 1948! Who knows how much WORSE things would be right now!?!?

/ sarcasm

Orignal From: 1948 Cartoon Predicts Current Socio-Economic Problems (sort of)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

@thomasjkeeley Greenspan is ma...

@thomasjkeeley Greenspan is married to Mitchell? I learn something new every day!

Orignal From: @thomasjkeeley Greenspan is ma...

OK time to shower and get out ...

OK time to shower and get out the door. Mtg w/a fellow writer today! I feel so professional! It's as tho' he and I are actually employed!!

Orignal From: OK time to shower and get out ...

@tomzer1 he's not a close frie...

@tomzer1 he's not a close friend but we still wish we had heard better things about the show.

Orignal From: @tomzer1 he's not a close frie...

@thomasjkeeley wow--Greenspan ...

@thomasjkeeley wow--Greenspan is openly saying he wants to nationalize the banks? I'm now expecting him to be marginalized in the media.

Orignal From: @thomasjkeeley wow--Greenspan ...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

@gypsyjr wanted to make sure y...

@gypsyjr wanted to make sure you saw this: You get a mention at around the 2 minute point. :)

Orignal From: @gypsyjr wanted to make sure y...

The(HD)Vlog from Inauguration Day 2009 (pt1)

The learning curve on cutting AVCHD video (MTS files) on my MacBook has been STEEP for me. Finally cut together a forty-minute cut of the HD stuff we shot in DC the day President Barack Hussein Obama was inaugurated. Below is the first ten minutes of it and while I encoded it at 720p, I'm not sure YouTube is displaying it that way, however. Like I said, the HD learning curve has been steep so gomen, gomen!

If it's not in 720, it still looks pretty damn good for a YouTube video:

Sorry I don't have an mp4 version yet--still working out how to keep it in 720. I'll add it soon, though.

Orignal From: The(HD)Vlog from Inauguration Day 2009 (pt1)

US Judges Admit to Jailing Kids for Cash

Saw this via my Twitterstream a few days ago and somehow still managed to be shocked. This is yet another story that should be making headline news but isn't because it suggests something is wrong with the system--how do judges like these make it to the bench? How many more like these are still on the bench and are getting away with it? For Christ's sake--Bush was whining about "activist judges." What about judges that are on the take at the expense of the futures of some American children? Aren't these greedy judges, in fact, a bigger threat than judges who think the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional?
Of course--but we can't admit that on National TV because it would undermine the public trust in the justice system. Of course, some of us have already lost trust in it.

Posted via email from thepete's posterous

Orignal From: US Judges Admit to Jailing Kids for Cash

Monday, February 16, 2009

@LilPecan haha, but I can't! I...

@LilPecan haha, but I can't! I have no other contact with some people in my life. Trying to convince them to use Twitter is an uphill battle

Orignal From: @LilPecan haha, but I can't! I...

Sunday, February 15, 2009 Mini-Self! Mini-Self!, originally uploaded by thepetecom.

A few years back, one of the first custom toys I did was this one--before I was even a blond, I took a blank, Toy2R Devil Baby Qee Toyer and made this self-portrait. I turned the Toyer's teeth into my beard. I used to wear a leather motorcycle jacket and a red T-shirt. The shoes are accurate to some sweatshop friendly Chuck-ish shoes I still wear today. :)

That belt is a mystery though...

Check out the full photoset on Flickr here:

Orignal From: Mini-Self!

How Keyword Targeted Ads Are Far From Perfect (Why does Facebook think I'm Christian?!?!)

I am such a vocal Atheist, I am baffled as to how Facebook thought I'd

be interested in a band called "Lamb of God." This isn't the only

Christian ad I've seen on, either. I suppose this kind

of ad is better than ads for body hair removal or ads asking

me to be thankful for George W. Bush

Still, this whole keyword-targeting thing needs an overhaul. Like

when I blog about how Republicans are lame, I get Google Ads for Republican

dating services
. Then there was that one time where I

got two Google Ads that conflicted with each other on a topic that I

never even wrote about to begin with

No wonder there's no real money in Internet advertising--it doesn't work for crap.

Orignal From: How Keyword Targeted Ads Are Far From Perfect (Why does Facebook think I'm Christian?!?!)

@LilPecan I'm thinking your cu...

@LilPecan I'm thinking your currency has to be worth more than the US dollar.

Orignal From: @LilPecan I'm thinking your cu...

Friday, February 13, 2009

FREEDOM (2007)

Buy it in HD!

Buy it on Blu-Ray!
Positive Experience/Entertaining? Definitely a fun anime--nicely written and worth seeing, but maybe not for the price Amazon is asking.

Technically any good? The story is cliche, but in a good way (for the most part). I am getting tired of the dorky hero who is somehow brave and daring but inept with women. However, the rest of the story elements make this mini-series fun to watch. You'll likely recognize the design style of Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of Akira but the character and set designs and the lead characters' love of racing (what amount to) motorcycles, are the only things that reminded me of Otomo's work.

The animation, itself, is hit and miss--it's obviously CG-cell animation, which looks cool, but the motion capture looks a little stiff and unnatural at times. Plus, the titles are so cool and comic-book-looking, I found myself wishing the rest of the series looked like them.

How did it leave me feeling? Sadly, this show feels like it needed to be about seven episodes longer to better flesh things out. As it ends, things feel rushed (two years jammed into one episode? Yeesh) and there are more than a few things left unexplained. Things generally resolve, however, so I wasn't disappointed, just annoyed. I can't believe they didn't give Otomo a longer episode-run. I feel like the Freedom universe isn't boundless, but they could have done a lot more to make the characters more memorable and resonant than rely on cliches.

Final Rating? NFI - NetFlix It. This is a fun anime, but it's NOT worth the $82 Amazon wants for the Blu-Ray and it's sure as hell not worth $30 per episode for the combo SD/HD DVDs. Sadly, it doesn't look like Netflix has this on DVD at present.

Orignal From: FREEDOM (2007)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Economic Crash Now Directly Risking Human Lives

I first found this Salon article through a posting at a great Digg alternative for folks who like to think for themselves but still like to see what sites/articles other, like-minded, folks are checking out. The article in question is entitled "Is a shortage of patients hurting hospitals?.

The headline alone turned me off to reading the rest of the article, though--the DisInfo post points out: "Hospitals, doctors, and dentists are of late experiencing a shortfall of patients, as people who have been laid off lose their insurance (and thus the ability to pay for treatment)"

So, this is where the rubber hits the road--the private health care industry, that forces all Americans to pay for health care is now too expensive for a growing number of Americans to pay for.

The economic downturn is now putting a tremendous number of human lives at risk.

And it's all in the name of making a profit, making a living, keeping businesses alive.

So, now businesses are more important than the lives of average Americans.

THIS is where our wonderful system has taken us.

Maybe now we can agree that capitalism unbridled is a bad idea.

Maybe now we can agree that the free market in all corners, unregulated, is a bad idea.

Perhaps, at this point, we can move toward universal health care for everyone since so many more of us now, thanks to the mistakes/insane greed on Wall Street and in Washington DC, can't afford a doctor's visit.

I don't see any other way to cut this one.

You can't blame all the people who got laid off during this economic crash for getting laid off.

Free health care MUST happen now.

If only our politicians would realize this.

Orignal From: Economic Crash Now Directly Risking Human Lives

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Economic Armageddon Narrowly Averted According to Dem Rep

I think I found the original version of this clip via a Tweet from theeconomysucks but what it talks about is pretty damn newsworthy and I'm a little surprised that it didn't merit some sort of mention in the American mainstream media when the event occurred. Essentially, Pennsylvania Democrat, House Representative Paul Kanjorski tells C-SPAN, on February 6, 2009, that, last September (2008) he and other reps were told by the Fed that the world was a single day away from a total and complete economic meltdown.

I'm not kidding.

The original video, which I found here: but can also be found on YouTube here: , ends up being much longer than I think it needs to be to get the point across, so here is the important 1m37s where Kanjorski explains what happened.

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

In case there's anything funky with that video player, you can also watch an mp4 version of it or download it here and the original clip, also converted to mp4, is here.

Let me nutshell it. According to Kanjorski:

1) The was an electronic run on money market accounts on the morning of September 18, 2008.

2) The Fed watched as $550 billion was pulled from these accounts.

3) The Treasury "opened up its window" and "pumped $105 billion in the system and quickly realized they could not stem the tide."

(I'm not sure what point 3 literally means, but that's what he said.)

4) They then closed down the accounts, stopping any more money to be removed and then upped the FDIC limit to $250,000. Yeah--this is why they did that. I saw it in the news back then and wondered why that was specifically done.

5) If they hadn't acted as soon as they did, the Fed told the House reps that $5.5 trillion would have been removed from the US economy by 2pm that afternoon. The conclusion the Fed reached at that point was that the US economy would have faced a complete crash and would have taken the world economy with it within a day.

According to Kanjorksi, they felt that if that had happened it would have been "the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it."

Missed it by THAT much!

Oh, I kid the end of the civilized world, but I love it!

Joking aside, it's pretty damn scary that we came this close to economic apocalypse and no one seems to have reported on it in the news. Apparently, it's all over the blogosphere now, but the only thing I found on it that was more than a WTF post (like mine is) was a post at which seems more concerned with corruption than the fact that the economy almost evaporated last year.

There's also a transcript for the February 10, 2009 (yesterday) episode of Countdown that you can read which also talks about this story, but it doesn't go into much depth. It just reassures us and blah-blah-blah. What it completely fails to do is really explain why this "electronic run on the banks" happened, how it could happen to the tune of $5.5 trillion and why the hell this wasn't major goddamn news across the world. It also fails to give us a legitimate reason to trust that it won't happen again.

Let me put it simply: if the US Treasury Department hadn't upped the FDIC limit to $250,000, the economy wouldn't be here today.

The really scary thing is that all the Treasury had to do was SAY something that sounded good to people. It doesn't appear to me that anyone in government or at the Fed is doing anything differently due to the economy almost melting down.

There's something seriously wrong with that.

Orignal From: Economic Armageddon Narrowly Averted According to Dem Rep

MATEWAN (1987)

Buy it!
Positive Experience/Entertaining? Wow--what a great movie. Powerful and depressing that these events really happened.

Technically any good? It was a little disjointed, probably due to the fact that it was based on real life, but generally, it was very well put together. The acting was great, as you would expect from a John Sayles movie and the attention to periodness also seemed spot-on. I should mention that a couple of the characters end up being very pat badguys. It's obvious who they are and I don't blame the actors for this. I blame the script and the direction, so I blame Sayles for both, since he was also the screenwriter. Still these few mistakes don't ruin the movie, not by a long shot.

How did it leave me feeling? Depressed, as I mentioned above, these events really happened. If you're curious what I'm referring to, just see the movie and you'll see what I mean. It's worth it and what's scary is that it all happened on American soil and still does happen today in other countries.

Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now - it's an important (if flawed) history lesson (a flawed history lesson is better than no lesson about this little heard-of part of American history).

Sadly, this film is no longer in print. However, I was able to Netflix it. You can probably find it used via, too.

After watching this movie, you might want to check out the article for the Battle of Blair Mountain which was an event that was inspired by the events depicted in the climax of the film Matewan.

Orignal From: MATEWAN (1987)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

@tomzer1 Haha, yeah, the MST g...

@tomzer1 Haha, yeah, the MST guys do have some witty quips, but provide fodder for them, too. :) As for the 2nd Gig clue, it's anime-subtle.

Orignal From: @tomzer1 Haha, yeah, the MST g...

In Case You Missed It: At Least 78 Billion Lost in TARP

Yeah, this kind of thing cracks me up. While the Republifools are freaking out about the Citizen's Bailout bill that just passed the Senate, no one seems to be
raising a big stink about $78 billion being lost when the USG paid
$176 billion for $254 billion of bank crap--er--capital purchases from
banks. Sure, $78 billion isn't that much these days (!!) but compared
to the stuff the Republicans were bitching about yesterday it seems
pretty substantial.

The really frustrating thing for the "law and order" crowd is that former TreasSec Henry "Hank" Paulsen effectively committed fraud on Congress and the American People. According to the February 6, 2009 article capped above, the oversight panel in charge of the TARP bailout was run by a woman called Elizabeth Warren. She said, according to the Bloomberg article, that:

The panel asked Paulson in December to value
taxpayers' return on the investments, Warren said. According to
Warren, he said they were made "at or near par," meaning they received
about $1 for every $1 invested.

The panel subsequently found the value to be about 66 cents on the dollar, Warren said.

So, if you consider 66% "at or near par" with 100%, then you shouldn't have a problem. In which case, I'd like to buy all the money in your bank account for 66 cents per dollar. Sound good?

Didn't think so.

So, here we go again with another example of how Obama will be letting the previous administration get away with lying to the American people.

CHANGE HAS COME TO AMERICA and it looks really familiar!

Oh and in case you think $78 billion still isn't that much, here's something else from that Bloomberg article:

"The loss estimate is conservative," said
Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat on the House Financial
Services Committee. "It could turn out that those assets in the end
are worthless. These are massive handouts to favored institutions to
try to make up with taxpayer money the mistakes they made with
investor money."

Yeah, so it's possibly more than $78 billion. In fact, with the track record of this whole thing, I'm expecting it to definitely be more than $78 billion.

Posted via email from thepete's posterous

Orignal From: In Case You Missed It: At Least 78 Billion Lost in TARP

ObamaWatch: Letting Us Down on Civil Liberties

See how wrong all those racists are? A black guy can be as
lame as a white guy! But I'm getting ahead of myself.
So, these five guys were in countries other than America. They were
literally snatched from the street, kidnapped, transported to other
countries, by American intelligence agents, via aircraft owned by
Boeing (Jeppesen is their parent) and then tortured in those
countries. They're now suing Boeing but can't have their day in court
because the USG is invoking the "State Secrets Act" to stop them. The
theory is that in order for the five guys to sue, they need evidence
from the government that proves Boeing allowed this to happen on their
planes. Of course, the USG doesn't want to give up said evidence
because, we assume, it will make them look pretty bad too, right?
Well, right or wrong, the Obama Administration is keeping the State
Secrets Acts firmly invoked.'s Gary Greenwald makes the point in a recent opinion piece: "What makes this particularly appalling and
inexcusable is that Senate Democrats had long vehemently opposed the
use of the "state secrets" privilege in exactly the way that the Bush
administration used it in this case, even sponsoring legislation to
limits its use and scope."
So, now, Obama is protecting the Bush 43 Administration by keeping
this evidence secret (despite the fact we all know it happened). Why
protect the Bush Admin? My only guess is so that the Obama Admin has
the latitude to also use the Extraordinary Rendition program to
randomly kidnap people off the streets of foreign countries and then
spirit them away to countries where torture is legal. From there, the
CIA can ask questions, but locals can do the torturing. Well done,
Geh... now why did I buy that Obama sweatshirt and that Obama T-shirt?
Oh yeah: I had hope.
Of course, I'm not surprised by this--like I said, all men are created
equal--in good ways and bad.

Posted via email from thepete's posterous

Orignal From: ObamaWatch: Letting Us Down on Civil Liberties

SATURN 3 (1980)

Buy it!
Positive Experience/Entertaining? Haha, positive? Sure, if you count seeing Farah Fawcett's nude boobs for a split second. But definitely, if you count seeing Kirk Douglas' nude butt for much longer. Yep, before Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises, there was Kirk Douglas taking on Harvey Keitel in the nude. Surprisingly, Keitel was not nude (sorry, ladies!).

Technically any good? The FX, for 1980, were perfectly reasonable. A little cheezy in that there probably isn't liquid water in the rings of Saturn, but nothing that screamed "NOT REAL" at me (again, for 1980). The sets were downright gorgeous. The acting was fine, I bought Douglas and Fawcett, though their relationship seemed creepy as hell. Of course, Keitel was supposed to be bland--however, it must have been hilariously bland on set since they dubbed him with a British guy's voice. Yeah, try not giggling at that.

How did it leave me feeling? The ending was a seriously big: "WHAAAAA?"

Honestly, worst ending ever. Director Stanley Donen really should have just stuck with musicals. I do give him points for trying something else, though. Still, not sure what was up with that ending.

Final Rating? NFI - NetFlix It. While I can't really recommend this movie, it is something fun to have on while doing something else or if you're making fun of it. It's great fodder for MST3K-style quipping. Sadly, it's out of print and is currently unavailable. Luckily, you can watch it via Netflix's Instant Play and I found it on's on-demand service.

Orignal From: SATURN 3 (1980)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Amazon's Kindle 2: ThePete's Take: Better, but Wait for Kindle 3

The new Kindle 2 has been announced by and while I like it better than
I did the original Kindle, I still think it has a seriously limited
feature set for the price.

The Good News

The thing that makes me salivate for the Kindle 2 is its new design. Holeee crap is the new Kindle 2 easy on the eyes. It looks like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos took a third generation iPod, a Blackberry and a first generation iPhone, mushed them all together and made a paperback-book-sized device. The damn thing actually looks like it would feel comfortable in my hand now--unlike the original Kindle which looked much to angular and sharp-edged to be comfortable after an hour of reading.

Part of this new design is the form factor. It's skinny as HELL!! This is what really makes me want to pick up the Kindle 2: it's thinner than the iPhone. Yeah, that's some serious skinniness. A .4 inch width makes Kate Moss look like one of those fat people who can't get through doors.

The Kindle 2 will actually surf the web now. It won't look pretty, but it can do it. The old Kindle could surf too, but not officially (the browser was listed under "experimental," apparently). Officially you could hit up Wikipedia, but that was about it. Kindle 2's browser is limited, but at least you can get out onto the 'net. It'll display text-centric web pages just fine but, one assumes, layouts will be screwed (browsing like a Sidekick 3?) and graphics will go undisplayed. Ironic because apparently this baby has all the right hardware under the hood for much more than it is officially sanctioned to do (shades of TheRedFruit--Apple).

According to some reports (already) it's faster at turning pages and easier to refer to the dictionary.

You can still connect to the web wirelessly with no monthly service charges--which, I have to admit, is pretty awesome. I was going to complain about the Kindle 2 still running on Sprint, but if I never have to pay too much for their services, how can I complain?

Battery life is crazy long. With it's EVDO modem powered up and running, the Kindle 2 can go four days without recharging. With wireless off, it can go two weeks without recharging. Yeah, that's pretty damn impressive. Of course, if you go heavy on the mp3 playing and heavy on the wireless usage, you're going to drop that life down a bit, but still, it beats the iPhone. I was at the NY Comic Con the other day and my iPhone didn't last the six hours I was there. Which is sad since it was just sitting in my pocket with wifi and 3G turned off the whole time.

Since Amazon admits the browser works, other browser-based applications should be usable on it. Over on, last May, they posted about using Krypton. Sure, Flash wouldn't show up on the Kindle, but an awful lot of sites are making iPhone-formatted sites available to users--how would they do on the big K?

The Bad News

It lost it's SD card slot. Yeah--unbelievable. The Kindle 2 comes with a whopping 2GB of internal storage (only 1.4 gigs of which you can actually use) and still plays mp3s (like it's predecessor) so between e-books, comics (manga), audiobooks and music, you just might fill that puppy up pretty fast (I definitely would).

Still too damned expensive. The screen is gorgeous for black and white text, but so is the XO and it only cost OLPC $200 to make it AND it's a full laptop. (Well, hardware-wise it is, anyway.) Why does the Kindle 2 still cost $359 when it actually does less than something like the XO or your average netbook? I can get an eee pc for under $300 at Target. It's about the size of some larger paperbacks and it lets me surf the web with Flash and everything.

Then again, it does come with free wireless service forever, so that may make up for the price. I'm on the fence about this.

Why I Want a Kindle 2 and Why I'm Going to Wait for Kindle 3

There are three things that make me want a Kindle 2 and one reason I am going to hold out (or at least try to hold out) for a Kindle 3:

1) Everyone who uses a Kindle seems to love it. My mom got to mess with one at her dayjob at a university library and fell in love with it.

2) My iPhone. Using my iPhone for so very much, as I do, really brings out the limitations of the wonderful little device. The damn thing puts James Bond's Q Branch to shame. GPS, media playing, file reading and a LOT more. The thing is, I'm reading a friend's screenplay on it now and while it's fine, it's missing a lot of features that it really needs--like bookmarking. Also, the iPhone's backlight needing to stay on while I read uses battery life. Plus, the screen is kind of small for so much reading. Simultaneously, I've been reading Naomi Klein's brilliant book, The Shock Doctrine and while it is a great read, it's BIG--I own one coat with pockets big enough to hold it. I'm now so used to taking everything with me on my iPhone that I've found myself wishing I had bought an e-book version of Shock Doctrine just so I could read it where ever I took my phone. Of course, my iPhone was cheaper than a Kindle 2.

Then again, the screen is smaller, too.


3) Hackers. The iPhone has been wonderfully hacked to bits (and bytes--ha) since it was first released--my 3G iPhone, included. I am no longer with AT&T, I can drag and drop media files to the iPhone, can shoot video, etc. So, I'm hoping the hackers will go to town on the Kindle 2 and really let software take full advantage of its hardware. The catch? The Kindle 1 has barely been looked at sideways by the hacker community--I can only find one guy who has hacked it in all the time it's been out. Igor Skochinky reverse engineered it, unlocking cell-based GPS, minesweeper, the ability to take screenshots, and a few other cool things. Check out Igor's not-updated-lately blog on hacking e-book readers here: Sadly, he's all I could find Kindle-Hacker-wise.

I'm thinking that the reason hackers aren't flocking to the Kindle is because of the price. Right now, the Kindle seems like the laserdisc player of the gadget world. Sure, everyone knows it's cool and everyone would like to own a Kindle, but they're just too expensive. However, like I said, if you think about wireless service fees for a year or even three, the thing kinda pays for itself. Or at least, it would, if it had VoIP capabilities. Ha!

The reason I will wait for the Kindle 3 (barring a Christmas gift, an extreme price drop or a lottery win), is the that hardware really can do a lot more than Amazon will let it do. I mean, come on, guys, I can watch videos on my phat Nintendo DS. You're telling me the Kindle 2 can't handle video? Sure, the screen is e-ink and is only black and white, but what about that? Why not license the XO's display from OLPC and give us a dual-mode B&W and full color display with the ability to turn off or on the backlight?

I'm not even asking for touchscreen, here--I love that the Kindle has a tactile keyboard. It's the one thing I miss about my iPhone (especially now that I have cut and pasted now--yay!).

If Jeff Bezos has any smarts in him, the Kindle 3 will have full multimedia capabilities--it'll play video, audio and that will be on top of it's ability to read e-books, and connect wirelessly to the 'net. OH and it'll list price at UNDER $300! Come on, Jeff! It's the economy, stupid! No one can afford this thing right now!

Just my ¥2, as always!

Posted via email from thepete's posterous

Orignal From: Amazon's Kindle 2: ThePete's Take: Better, but Wait for Kindle 3