Friday, March 16, 2007

New Japanese AXE effect commercials.

Taking American products and injecting them into Japan. The first one is a bit clever, and the second two weave in the Japanese "culture" in a cute way.

Hat tip Japan Probe.

Ah, the sweet release of comedic profanity.

I love me some Kevin Smith.

YouTube - Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back: The F*cking Short Version:
"The great film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back reduced to its bare essence. Cut up and moved about by Victor Randolph."

"Army Strong." | 03/16/2007 | Sergeant says he lied about Iraqi murders to protect his squad:
"An Army staff sergeant said he lied to investigators about the murder of three Iraqi detainees to protect his soldiers.

But a pact that Staff Sgt. Ray Girouard testified about has little meaning as attorneys prepare to give closing arguments Friday in his trial. Girouard is accused of ordering his squad to release the detainees and then shoot them as they ran."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

We have to make sure people suffer and die very, very painfully.

Your tax dollars at work.

Medical Marijuana Fight Loses In Appeals Court - Health:
"A California woman whose doctor says marijuana is the only medicine keeping her alive can face federal prosecution on drug charges, a U.S. appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The case was brought by Angel Raich, an Oakland mother of two who suffers from scoliosis, a brain tumor, chronic nausea and other ailments. On her doctor's advice, she eats or smokes marijuana every couple of hours to ease her pain and bolster a nonexistent appetite as conventional drugs did not work.

The Supreme Court ruled against Raich two years ago, saying that medical marijuana users and their suppliers could be prosecuted for breaching federal drug laws even if they lived in a state such as California where medical pot is legal."

The best 1970's era pro-union profanity-laced Public Service Announcement ever.

Probably the only one, but hey...

YouTube - AFSCME:
"This is a rare gem. This was a PSA that the voice-over person decided to record an 'alternate' version of for fun. This comes from the archives of a local tv station."

Ghosts back in North Carolina.

I don't come across a lot of stuff that name-checks NC or Guilford County of all places. Plus ghosts, so coolness. Cue up that funky Twilight Zone music.

Our Strange World - Your Portal to the Unknown » Grave Hunting In Greensboro:
"Another possible ghost story was told in early December by a park patron who had been on the east end of the park.

“He said a re-enactor was sitting on the bench next to the restrooms,” Durham says.

The park visitor reported that he talked to the [Revolutionary War] re-enactor, who had nothing to say. The visitor said that he walked away then turned around to say something else, but the soldier was gone.

The visitor went to the park office, where he learned that there were no re-enactors in the park that day.

“He seemed shaken up,” Durham says."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"One of us... one of us..."

Stephen Colbert, huge geek, does us proud... inheriting the late Captain America's shield.

[Made, as Stephen notes, of pure Wakandan vibranium.]

Lost + Growing Pains = genius, I tell you... Genius!

I stopped watching Lost during the second season... but this is funny. I'd start totally start watching again if it was like this. Or they ever answered any plot questions. Or made it fun, even just a little bit.

"Show me that smile again..."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Doubt it affects anybody...

...but if you kept track of the blog via a feed reader, I've changed over the feed via Feedburner.

So if your feed hasn't automatically updated, re-subscribe as appropriate. That'd be the big orange button underneath my Biography on the right.

Or you can set up an email notification system for when posts happen. Same button.

The last word on the death of Captain America.

Via the hilarious Shortpacked!

"I don't agree with that in the workplace." - David Brent.

Except, you know...

Overheard in the Office | Bringing the Grand Total to Three:
"Young, blonde female: Um, wow, I just cracked my spine and grew, like, an inch.
Male supervisor: Yeah, I just grew, like, an inch watching you.

3rd Street and Colorado Street
Austin, Texas

Overheard by: Miss Informed"

Well that pretty much wins the "Sad Irony Championship" dunnit?

CALIFORNIA / Murder charge against former mental patient / He won the right to refuse antipsychotic drugs in '04 ruling:
"An ex-con and former mental patient who won a landmark state Supreme Court decision in 2004 that allowed hundreds of mental patients to stop taking forced medication appeared in an Alameda courtroom Friday on charges that he killed his roommate in September."

[Hat tip Warren Ellis.]

"Ariel... Ookla... Ride!!"

You know, I couldn't have been more than 9 or 10 when this was on Saturday morning TV, but man did I dig it. A cut above, considering it was worked on by the eminent Alex Toth and Jack "King" Kirby.

"The year: 1994. From out of space comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the Moon, unleashing cosmic destruction! Man's civilization is cast in ruin!
Two thousand years later, Earth is reborn...
A strange new world rises from the old: a world of savagery, super science, and sorcery. But one man bursts his bonds to fight for justice! With his companions Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, his courage, and his fabulous Sunsword against the forces of evil.
He is Thundarr, the Barbarian!"

Monday, March 12, 2007

Look, mercenaries and hired killers! Oops, I mean contractors. Or, you know, "contractors." Wink-wink. Nudge-nudge.

Boing Boing: Blackwater: superbly researched indictment of America's hired killers:
"Jeremy Scahill's brave and outraged "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" renders the story of the Blackwater mercenary group, and other mercenary groups that have seized the economic opportunities opened by the Bush regime's willingness to offer no-bid contracts and no-liability opportunities to fight America's wars. Backwater -- founded by ultra-right-wing Christian conservatives -- hires Pinochet-era Chilean war-criminals, ex-law-enforcement types and former military, and others to serve in Iraq, Afghanistan -- and in America. They can and do murder civilians with impunity, they line their pockets with cost-plus multi-billion-dollar military expenditures, and they kill their own men -- and the American soldiers they are supposed to be helping -- through corner-cutting profiteering.

Scarier still is their deployment on US soil, as with the Katrina disaster, where Blackwater took in millions for shoveling armed men and automatic weapons into the stricken city of New Orleans, where food and health care were impossible to come by but where there was no shortage of ammunition.

Scahill's book is incredibly, even mind-numbingly well-researched and documented. Framed around the gruesome, vile murder of four of Blackwater's mercs in Fallujah (Scahill shows that Blackwater sent them to their deaths by skimping on security, support, and intelligence), Scahill works from primary sources, Congressional testimony, on-the-ground reporters, and a wide variety of corroborating evidence to build the case against using hired killers to support American military objectives."

A great truth about Japan.

Treating adults like, well... adults. Most of the time, anyways. Radical concept, yes?

Ten, er, ELEVEN Things I'll Miss About Japan:
"My favorite thing about Japan is that, as an adult, I can freely indulge in adult activities without the hand-holding or censorship of a "protect us from ourselves" mentality. If I want booze, I can buy it in any convenience store or from vending machines or even at theme parks! According to the law you have to be twenty years old to drink but the rule is never thrown accusingly in anyone's face. Compare that to New York where, even in my late twenties, I am consistently carded and viewed with suspicion by bouncers, bartenders and supermarket clerks everywhere. Of course, once I buy my booze in Japan I'm free to drink outside if I want to. The same rules apply to cigarettes, although in the interest of public health/cleanliness the country is starting to restrict usage to designated "smoking corners" (喫煙コーナー). Still, that means you can smoke in the bar and most restaurants.

On a related note (in my opinion) Japanese TV is virtually uncensored. Admittedly, the language barrier excuses them from not caring about English profanity, but (non-genital) nudity and violence aren't edited either. In fairness I can't formally declare the reasoning behind these policies but I'd like to think it's because people are actually held accountable for their behavior here. If I get drunk, it's not the bartender's fault, it's mine. If I smoke and get cancer, it's not the tobacco companies' problem, it's mine. That isn't to excuse the American Tobacco Lobby from its shady behavior concerning marketing and addiction catering, but I've never been comfortable with the notion that someone who smoked cigarettes for forty years can suddenly plead ignorance to the effects and sue...

But there's more! Look at love hotels, a business catering to the needs of consenting adults who just want a few hours to themselves. Can you imagine the shitstorm that would erupt if one opened in Midtown Manhattan? There would be outcries of "immorality," "promiscuity," and you know someone would cry out "What about the children?" Then, of course, every room would fill up with homeless people."

Nothing quite like the Japanese version of "We Are The World."

Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross are pretty good. Ray Charles could use a little work. Still, doing impressions in a foreign language... pretty "not bad."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Police "expert" lied, repeatedly.


Okay, not really.

Let the appeals commence...

Police expert lied about credentials -
"A high-ranking police ballistics expert who testified in courts throughout Maryland and neighboring states killed himself after being confronted with evidence that he had lied about his credentials - a revelation that defense attorneys say could force new trials for some of the hundreds of people he helped convict.

Joseph Kopera, head of the Maryland State Police firearms unit, claimed on witness stands to have degrees that he never earned, state police acknowledged yesterday as they began notifying prosecutors and defense attorneys across the region of their findings.

...Questions regarding the longtime firearms and toolmarks examiner's credentials were raised several weeks ago by state public defenders working with the Innocence Project, a small unit of lawyers who represent defendants they believe have been wrongfully convicted.

Michele Nethercott, chief of the unit, said Kopera not only claimed in court to have degrees he did not earn but also forged at least one document that he offered to the Innocence Project attorneys to justify his qualifications.

"It raises huge red flags, and it's particularly disturbing because he had been doing this for so long that God knows how many cases he's been involved in," Nethercott said yesterday evening in a telephone interview from Annapolis, where she was testifying in favor of a bill that would require oversight of police crime labs in Maryland...
But you really have to appreciate the cognitive dissonace and denial required to still be able to say this:
"Joe would never, ever cut corners to put someone in jail or just to sell the case," said the former city investigator, who, noting the sensitivity of the issue, spoke on the condition that he not be named. "I don't care what degrees he did or didn't have. He knew his stuff. ... They aren't going to be able to discredit anything."