Nice work, major theatrical chains!
Owl always love you.
Jordan Hoffman of Playboy has ranked all 695 episodes of every Star Trek series, with comments on each episode. It's a monumental effort that could be a book.
Both. Read the rest
"Hello, park-goer. Would you like to buy this decently-priced bench person? I will throw in the hat for no additional charge. Good price."
Any digital text can be read aloud through text-to-speech, granting people with visual impairments the basic human right to read -- unless there's DRM in the way. Read the rest
Two recent Storify pages provide some fascinating insight on how this group came to conceive of "gamer" as a fictional "ethnicity" with a persecution complex (from Katherine Cross), as well as on how the cultural norms of Chan-style boards drive this perplexing clash with the realms of people's real working and social lives (from A_Man_in_Black). Read the rest
The pay is pretty good, and I guess we now know what a soul is worth: at least a few million dollars.
The man called “CIA Officer 1″ in the Senate report on torture has been identified as Matthew Zirbel. Zirbel was a fuck-up from the get-go, but he still got appointed to be in charge of the Salt Pit, the torture dungeon in Afghanistan.
Zirbel was on his first foreign tour for the CIA and colleagues, according to the Senate report, had recommended that he not be allowed access to classified material due to his “lack of honesty, judgment, and maturity,” according to the Senate report. A Senate aide who briefed reporters about Zirbel said the CIA officer had “issues” in his background, the Daily Beast reported, and should never have been hired by the CIA.
He still killed people, anally raped them, and tortured the innocent as well as the guilty. I guess you don’t need to be competent if your job is simply to ruin lives — even a fuck-up can do that well.
You might be wondering what happened to a professional murderer-torturer in modern America. It seems that Zirbel’s case was one of constantly falling upwards.
In 2005, it was recommended that Zirbel be punished by…being suspended without pay for 10 days. Even that didn’t happen, since the corrupt director of the CIA (literally, he was thrown in prison for fraud) gave him amnesty.
Since then, Zirbel has been working as a State Department foreign service officer in various agencies in Saudi Arabia. Apparently, he’s been raking it in.
It’s not clear if Zirbel currently works for the CIA, or government, but wherever he is, he certainly doesn’t appear to he hurting for money. Public records show he owns several properties, including the house in Great Falls, which he bought in 2006 for $1.3 million and still owns. The house sits on five wooded acres and is apparently being rented for $4,500 per month, so Zirbel lives elsewhere.
Of course, Zirbel is one of the small fry. Dick Cheney still stalks the earth, appearing on Sunday morning talk shows as if he was a respectable human being instead of a soulless revenant sowing malignant evil beneath his feet as he marches uncaring amongst the populace.
I have to say this for Germany: after the war, they openly faced the horrors of the Nazi regime and cleaned house, and to this day have a strong aversion to any proponents of that vileness. In the US, we let our war criminals walk free and profit mightily.
Like all of us, I've had to spend the past several days listening to a procession of stony-faced men—some of them defiant, others obviously nervous—grimly trying to defend the indefensible, and I'm not sure how much more I can take. How hard is this, after all? Following 9/11, we created an extensive and cold-blooded program designed to inflict severe pain on prisoners in order to break them and get them to talk. That's torture. It always has been, and even a ten-year-old recognizes that legalistic rationalizations about enemy combatants, "serious" physical injury, and organ failure are transparent sophistry. Of course we inflicted severe pain. Moderate pain would hardly induce anyone to talk, would it? And taking care not to leave permanent marks doesn't mean it's not torture, it just means you're trying to make sure you don't get caught.
Christ almighty. Either you think that state-sanctioned torture of prisoners is beyond the pale for a civilized country or you don't. No cavils. No resorts to textual parsing. And no exceptions for "we were scared." This isn't a gray area. You can choose to stand with history's torturers or you can choose to stand with human decency. Pick a side.
Jon Hall built five incredible planes this year. To commemorate that, he just posted this montage. Somehow we dropped the ball and only posted one of them here. That lapse has now been rectified. Here they are, all together in their breath-taking awesomeness.
Jon’s planes are truly works of art. So smooth, so seamless, so beautiful. He does paint some of them and uses custom stickers, which probably irritates somebody, somewhere. But he does it so well, I feel it just adds to the “realism” and makes the suspension of disbelief that much easier.
Amy Barnes was jailed and held in solitary in 2012 when she called out "fuck the police" as she bicycled past Cobb County cops who were questioning a suspect by the roadside. Read the rest
At the moment nobody knows, but the New York Times reports that a judge in Fort Worth is stuck deciding this question.
Oswald was exhumed in 1981 to make sure it was really him in there, and after tests confirmed his identity (or did they?) he was reburied in a new coffin. That's because the original pine coffin was not doing too well after almost 20 years in the ground, as you might have expected. So what does one do with a used coffin? Well, if it's Lee Harvey Oswald's coffin and you're the Baumgardner Funeral Home, you apparently stick it in a closet for another 30 years and then put it up for auction. (The Times has a picture of it sitting in an office near two workers' desks, and that must have been a very pleasant day for them.)
This super-neat collectible sold in 2010 for $87,468, but Oswald's brother Robert sued to block the sale. This week a Texas judge heard arguments in the case and is expected to rule later this month.
There is no question that Robert Oswald owned the coffin for some period of time after he bought it in 1963. According to the Times, the funeral home's argument is that he then effectively donated it to Lee Harvey's estate, and that the heirs to said estate, Oswald's widow (who is still alive) and his two daughters, have never claimed it. I have not yet seen the trial briefs—which I am currently trying to get—but presumably the argument is that after 20 or 25 or 30 years or whatever, the heirs should be considered to have abandoned their claim. Why the funeral home would then be entitled to it, unless it's just by virtue of possession, is not yet clear to me.
Why anyone would want it is also not yet clear to me. I suppose it would make quite a conversation piece if you turned it into a coffee table or something like that. The conversation would probably involve the phrase "what is wrong with you?" but still.
More to come on this creeptastic legal drama.
I've never done any "best of" posts, so this year, I'm gonna! Hold on to your hats, wrecky minions, 'cuz I'm about to unleash my personal favorites from over six years and 10,000 wrecks, throughout the rest of the month. Enjoy!
When a card just isn't enough.
Now for extra fun, go back and read all these imagining they're from the same person, TO the same person, over the course of a single weekend. That's like the next Adam Sandler movie script, writing itself.
Thanks to Ian S., Casey H., Sara W., Kris K., Rachel B., Michelle B., Andrew C., Brooke J., Micah C., & Adam Sandler, who I'm sure will be sending me a fruit basket.
A reader writes, "The USB Armory is full-blown computer (800MHz ARMÂ® processor, 512MB RAM) in a tiny form factor (65mm x 19mm x 6mm USB stick) designed from the ground up with information security applications in mind." Read the rest
Spain's insane new compulsory fee for quoting news stories has shut down Google News there -- and will prevent any new news search-engines from emerging to replace it. Read the rest
This is what gender ideology looks like:
That’s The Walking Dead’s Rosita Espinosa with newly shaven armpits.
This is also gender ideology at work: the privileging of an idea of gender over real life or, in this case, realism.
The Walking Dead’s producers go to great lengths to portray what a zombie apocalypse might be like. They are especially keen to show us the nasty bits: what it really looks like when dead people don’t die, what it looks like to kill the undead, and the evil it spawns in those left alive. It’s gruesome. The show is a gore orgy. But armpit hair on women? Apparently that’s just gross.
If gender ideology had lost this battle with realism, we’d see armpit hair on the women in Gilligan’s Island, Planet of the Apes, The Blue Lagoon, Beauty and the Beast, Waterworld, Lost, and The Hunger Games – but we don’t. (Thanks to Ariane Lange at Buzzfeed for the whole collection and to @uheartdanny for the link.)
At least Rosita could conceivably have a razor. How do women supposedly shave their armpits on deserted islands? Did the Beast slip Belle a razor, you know, just as part of his controlling personality? And maybe some persnickety women would continue to shave even if they were lost in purgatory, but Riley in Alien? Come on.
Our interest in realism only goes so far. Armpit hair on women is apparently one of its limits.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
This is why earplugs were invented.