The 2005 Sunset

The first part of a series investigating the PATRIOT Act. An important axiom for our times is buried within this article: Don't mess with librarians.

It also seems to contradict Ms. Comstock's assurances in last week's Nightline documentary. Although the agencies need a judge to get a secret warrant, the judge is powerless to refuse their request, as long as they've filled in the paperwork correctly. Which seems to get rid of some of those pesky checks and balances,

currently playing: Radiohead - Optimistic

Going Slowly Insane

It's in 32V! 32V! 32V! 32V! Stop lying, corporate scum!

Ahem.

currently playing: Radiohead - Thinking About You

Uncle Sam Wants You


To Shut Up.
currently playing: Suede - Animal Nitrate

For Your Consideration

The Greatest Computer Game Review. Ever.

(In memory of YS, AP, Digi, and now Digiworld. *sniff*)

currently playing: Orange Juice - I Can't Help Myself

I'm A Big Nerd

But then, I'm fairly sure that everybody reading this already knows that.

Still, you'd be surprised at the huge grin on my face after reading JLA/Avengers earlier this evening. Sure, superhero comics are a childish power fantasy, most likely responsible for holding back the acceptance of comics as an art form in the US and UK. And this book is probably the ultimate fan-fantasy, teaming up the two big teams from the DC (Batman, Superman, Flash, etc.) and Marvel (Spider-Man, Captain America, The Hulk, and so on) Universes.

But, for what it was, it managed to include everything that can make these things great. Stupid gigantic cosmic menace that wipes out inconsequential universes in the first few pages? Check. A silly quest to find important objects? Check. The two teams meet up, immediately distrust each other, and start fighting? Check, check, and check.

It contains everything you need in a good crossover, backed-up with the usual gorgeous art from George Perez.

And! Jokes! The Batman beats up the Punisher off-panel! Quicksilver looks forward to being worshipped as a super-speedster in the DC Universe! Hawkeye thinks that the JLA are a copy of the Squadron Supreme! Plastic Man! Lobo versus the Sh'iar!

(Of course, none of that makes sense to the majority of you, but trust me, it's amusing. Nod your heads and back away slowly...)

It's gloriously unashamed superheroics, casting aside the dead-end of the Authority and Dark Knight eras, and going back to crazy, goofy ideas. Can't wait for issue #2.

(Quick comic round-up: The Priest Curse strikes again, so The Crew will be ending with issue #7. Grr. Neil Gaiman's 1602 is intriguing, but I think it's definitely going to be a minor work. The Filth continues to get better. I'm thinking about selling all my Global Frequency issues on eBay, in the hope that some Ellis fan will appreciate them more than I did, and boy oh boy did Morrison pull a fast one on us, eh readers?)

I think this entry can only go downhill from here. Soon, I'll be explaining my love of the Five-Year Gap, why it was Straxus in Time Wars rather than Megatron, thinking about why Delight became Delirium, the identity of V (in both instances), and the significance of the different Key viruses in The Invisibles. So I'd best stop here, for all your sakes.

currently playing: Oasis - Don't Look Back In Anger

The War Against Oceania Continues

This is likely to be a patchy entry, but anyway…

Here we go!

First 9/11 mention. We took out Afganistan! Yay! 2/3 of known leaders captured (don't mention Osama).

And on to Iraq. Ah, it was a humane war. Good to know. And it's only since 9/11 that terrorists have been stopped? Er, okay, we won't mention the Irish and Basque groups, shall we.

Decent and Democratic society! Except women can't go out alone at night. But hey.

Okay, he's not actually said anything yet. And dances around the point that a Free and Democratic Iraq could conceivably elect a party that promises to institute Sharia law...

More foreign terrorists in Iraq. Is there any confirmation of this yet? They keep harping on about it, but I've never actually seen any evidence…

It's just Baghdad and Tikrit that are causing problems.

"A different kind of war"

"We will spend what is necessary" —

Okay, first WWII mention. Thankfully he avoids the Werwolf issue.

The Coalition is still on the offensive, apparently. But major combat operations are over. It's not a war. It's not.

We need help! 130,000 US troops in Iraq at the moment, 20,000 troops from other countries. Colin! Colin! Colin! He'll save us all, but we're still calling the shots, okay! But we were right, so suck it up and send us troops that we can order about.

Of course, the Governing Council is regarded as a joke by many Iraqis, but at least you're doing something.

Here comes the begging bowl 8-).

$87bn. Ow. And that's just for the next year. Colin gets to go to the other countries asking for money. He gets all the nice jobs.

More careful mingling of Iraq and 9/11.

Okay, that final pull away shot - very, very scary.

Incidentally, this is complete hearsay, but it sounds as if Donald Rumsfeld had a lucky escape yesterday…

currently playing: Dexy's Midnight Runners - Jackie Wilson Says (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)

The Fourth Estate Awakens

An ABC report into the PATRIOT Act.

currently playing: The Cardigans - Carnival

Next Up - P2P Supports Terrorism!

I suppose that I shouldn't be too surprised; the British equivalents of the MPAA and the RIAA have often drawn links between commercial piracy and organised crime, so attempting to scare people from KaZaa on the basis it might contain child porn is just a natural extension of their scare tactics. Expect to see news stories showing how Al-Qaeda is using P2P software to communicate in the next few months, just before John Ashcroft unveils his revised VICTORY Act (unless he decides to drop the pretense and simply name it the WAR IS PEACE Act).

Also, if any American readers are thinking about taking up the RIAA's amnesty offer, this article in Wired explains why you should be a little cautious before doing so.

But...But wait? Surely we overthrew the previous regime out of the goodness of our hearts? To install a democracy in the Middle East? We wouldn't stoop as low as using Iraq's future oil production to fund our invasion, would we? Oh, we would. Look, the news has been full of references to post-WWII Germany in the past week. While you're combing through the files trying to find some evidence of German insurrection, have a look at something called The Marshall Plan, will you? It could give you a few ideas…

currently playing: Bob Dylan - Joey

Slightly-used Music Friday!

Yes, it's that time again (what, where you feel there's nothing you can say, and so you fob your readers off with a few songs, inevitably trying to defend the choice of picking something with a female vocal? — Ed. Yes. — Ian. Okay, but don't come crying to me in the morning — Ed.).
  • Belle & SebastianRoy Walker
    Taken from their new album, Dear Catastrophe Waitress. I like this because it's jam-packed will all the twee clichés that you could possibly imagine, but it's still quite fantastic. Even the wazoos. This MP3 has a few encoding errors, but that should entice you to go and buy the album when it comes out in October (or, it could just be that I couldn't find a proper copy on Soulseek. You decide).

  • Club 8You and Me
    I know very little about this band. They're from Sweden, they have a website (which isn't working as I write this), and they're rather good. And it's only two minutes long, so you might as well give it a try.

  • Nick CaveGood Good Day
    Just to show that Nick Cave isn't always miserable. Although my sister insists that Where The Wild Roses Grow is a happy song, because Kylie Minogue gets killed at the end.

  • SuedeAnother No-one
    A sad and haunting b-side from their Trash single. I seem to remember playing it a lot during the winter of 1996.

  • Betty BooDoin' The Do
    No explanations. No apologies. Betty Boo is doin' the do.

currently playing: Carole King - So Far Away

Ticketmaster: Your Official Scalper

Deep within the bowels of Ticketmaster HQ, there must be a special department set with the task of finding new and exciting ways of making music fans hate them further. They've had successes: the Orwellian masterstroke of 'Convenience Fees', managing to get consumers to print their own tickets, and of course becoming a monopoly force in the American arena scene. This new idea ensures that they'll get their Christmas bonus this year.

But what of the poor scalper? Will they become extinct? What will happen to the honoured tradition of being asked if you have any tickets to sell while you wait in line for a concert? And the stranger cousin, being asked if your want to buy tickets when you're standing in line. I've never, never understood this. I know it's considered an amusing stereotype that the British, when left to their own devices, will naturally form queues, but surely it should be assumed that if you're waiting in line, there's pretty good odds that you have a ticket. My favourite example of this was during the mile-long queue to Glastonbury a few years back. Yes, I'm standing here, in line, in sweltering heat, with a backpack containing far too much food, a gas canister, a two-man tent, clothes, plus an oversized coat for when it inevitably rains. I've been here for an hour, and I've moved two hundred metres. Do you think I would be doing this without a ticket? I mean, really?

Ahem. Actually, now that I come to think about it, I've never seen anybody either buy from or sell to a scalper. And the tickets that Ticketmaster will be selling are very different to the ones that you can pick up on the street five minutes before the doors open. So, erm, the last paragraph was a little pointless, but hey, you've all got used to that by now, right?

To sum up: Ticketmaster - still corporate scum.

(Today's entry may be coloured by the fact that they're charging me $20 for posting my R.E.M. tickets. My, that's a big stamp.)

currently playing: Kraftwerk - Europe Endless