Monday, March 31, 2008
The Cincinnati Reds are hosting a promotion this year that will award one lucky fan with a brand new truck if any particular Red happens to hit the truck with a home run. The truck is perched in center field, 500 feet away. It's a neat promotion. Except that it's physically impossible for anyone to hit the truck.
That was the rub: Out of the box, the XO lags behind in its ability to browse today's Web in all its multimedia glory. Even after I upgraded the XO with Flash software, it didn't smoothly or quickly play animations or videos -- the screen tended to jump around, games stalled while loading, video clips stuttered so much they were unwatchable. That ruled out most online video and Web-based games -- no videos on YouTube, no "Flight of the Hamsters" game on Cartoon Network's site, which even our five-year-old desktop PC can handle.
Seems like it was just last week that Yves Behar won a design award for the device.
The author of Jane Eyre plays sleuth in this enchanting historical from Rowland, acclaimed for her mystery series set in 17th-century Japan (The Snow Empress, etc.). After the instant success of Jane Eyre and the lesser success of her two sisters' novels, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey, Charlotte Brontë receives a letter from her publisher, George Smith, accusing her of breach of contract: Smith believes the same author penned all three novels, as they each appeared under a pseudonym with the surname Bell. On the train from Haworth to London to meet Smith, Charlotte and sister Anne encounter Isabel White, a mysterious girl who, once in London, is murdered. Charlotte becomes ensnared in a case involving a revenge plot orchestrated by an arch villain shaded with old school orientalism. Brontë fans will delight in Rowland's portrait of Charlotte, who closely parallels Jane both in personality and station. The men playing opposite Charlotte often echo the character of Edward Rochester, lending an enticing will-they, won't-they tension to the proceedings.
The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte
Sunday, March 30, 2008
In December 2001, Marvel experimented with the "'Nuff Said" event, in which comic books featured little to no dialogue. The results received some criticism, although I enjoyed Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's New X-Men #121, which revealed the origin of Professor X's sister. So, how did the cover artists try to get the silent concept across?
Well, some went the obvious route:
Some tried something a little more subtle:
Some illustrated the exact opposite:
And some pretended it wasn't happening:
But the cover of Peter Parker: Spiderman # 38 was definitely my favorite:
Covers found here, here, and here.
Last August, as a team at the North Pole prepared to plunge more than two miles to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, some of the dozens of specialists who staged the dive engaged in a time-honored ritual: drawing on foam cups, decorating more than 100 of them.
The cups were then gingerly sent into the deep. During the historic dive, led by Russian scientists, the pressure of the surrounding water crushed the cups to the size of thimbles, also squeezing their whimsies of writing and drawing.
Afterward, the tiny cups became instant mementoes of the polar dive, offering striking proof of the descent into an unfamiliar zone and silent testimony to the crushing power of plain old water.
Just one of many Star Wars amigurumi figures by Geek Central Station:
Click here to see more in the Flickr gallery or go here for the Etsy shop, which currently has Han and Chewie on sale and also features Lord of the Rings figures.
*Update: There's an interview with the artist here.
Here's the very cool interactive retrospective.
Here's a NY Times article about Jaffee, who is 87 and still creating fold-ins.
Relatedly, there's some cool fold-in effects starting approximately 30 seconds into Beck's video for "Girl"
Saturday, March 29, 2008
As I've mentioned before, Lilo & Stitch is easily my favorite Disney cartoon. Lilo carries around a deformed little stuffed animal she made herself called Scrump. Raúl Villanueva teamed up with his wife to make one for their daughter.
*See also: Burn-E paper toy.
*Buy Scrump toys at eBay.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Well, 10 needless figures in toy lines. These are actually all pretty old. I'm sure someone could come up with a more recent list. Build-A-Figure Blob comes to mind. Was anyone buying a figure just for the chance to build him? Notice: no bids.
So why'd it take months for someone to challenge Clinton's claim to have landed under sniper fire? Link.
Relatedly, a terrific Freudian slip by one of Clinton's advisers.
*Previously: Video proves Clinton WAS in grave danger during the Bosnia trip.
Microsoft has been so cagey about the candidates it plans to nominate to Yahoo!'s board that speculation is mounting that the software giant actually doesn't have anyone lined up.
The invisible footnote: Our once-cooperative sources at Microsoft don't see any reason to keep us updated on negotiations. Here's a reason: Talk or we'll make up things and call it "speculation." We won't make up nice things.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
and making big money and being treated like princesses. But it's not all fun:
Taurasi joined her on the Dynamo roster two winters ago, reuniting the two friends from their UConn days. Still, because of difficulties with the coaches and a brutally cold winter, that 2005-06 season was so unpleasant it wore down even relentlessly upbeat Taurasi. She compares it to the episode of "Married With Children" when the Bundys travel to Lower Uncton, an English town living under a constant dark cloud. Lower Uncton became her code for anything that went wrong during the season.
"My goal was to make one Russian smile a day -- one Russian," she said. "That lasted a couple days and I gave up."
(I loved the Bundy's trip to England.)
He says his parents were so moved by the freedom marches that they conceived him. Alas, he was already three years old at the time. Link.
Shoddy might be generous:
Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the State Department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete, and have spent millions of dollars to have destroyed.
In purchasing munitions, the contractor has also worked with middlemen and a shell company on a federal list of entities suspected of illegal arms trafficking.
Moreover, tens of millions of the rifle and machine-gun cartridges were manufactured in China, making their procurement a possible violation of American law. The company’s president, Efraim E. Diveroli, was also secretly recorded in a conversation that suggested corruption in his company’s purchase of more than 100 million aging rounds in Albania, according to audio files of the conversation.
The company is run by a 22-year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur. Link.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
So says the WSJ:
So Mr. Bothwell whacked the stand with a machete. It grew back. He bought a pickax and tried digging up the roots, a process that traced a 30-foot arc across his once-pristine lawn. One month and two broken shovels later, he rented a Bobcat minibulldozer and a big metal trash bin, acquired 14 gallons of poison and bought 24 cubic yards of dirt to fill the resulting hole. Total approximate cost: $1,500.
One year later, a single shoot appeared. "It gave me ... the final salute." Mr. Bothwell says. "I was like, 'Mother of God.' "
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Back in 1997, DC Comics featured painted pulp-style covers on all of its annuals and called the event "Pulp Heroes." I wish this had become an annual event. I've done my best to gather an image of every issue in the series, along with links to the cover artist's site. Where available, I also linked to a higher res image of the cover. If you can recommend a better image, let me know.
Pulp Heroes Checklist
Adventures of Superman Annual No. 9 cover by Laurel Blechman
Action Comics Annual No. 9 cover by Doug Beekman
Aquaman Annual No. 3 cover by Glen Orbik
Azrael Annual No. 3 cover by Glen Orbik?
Batman Annual No. 21 cover by Joel F. Naprstek
Legends of the Dark Knight Annual No. 7 cover by Gary Gianni
Shadow of the Bat Annual No. 5 cover by Glen Orbik
Catwoman Annual No. 4 cover by ?
Detective Comics Annual No. 10 cover by Glen Orbik
Flash Annual No. 10 cover by Joe Chiodo
Green Lantern Annual No. 6 cover by Gary Gianni
Hitman Annual No. 1 cover by Laurel Blechman
Impulse Annual No. 2 cover by Glen Orbik
JLA Annual No. 1 cover by Gary Gianni
Nightwing Annual No. 1 cover by Joe Chiodo
Robin Annual No. 6 cover by Laurel Blechman
Starman Annual No. 2 cover by Tony Harris
Superboy Annual No. 4 cover by Gary Gianni
Supergirl Annual No. 2 cover by Joe Chiodo
Superman Annual No. 9 cover by Glen Orbik
Man of Steel Annual No. 6 cover by ?
Teen Titans Annual No. 1 cover by Dan Brereton
Wonder Woman Annual No. 6 cover by Doug Beekman