Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Ontario, Canada government revealed plan to open protected land to development weeks after developers bought the land

Globe and Mail:

Since Ontario Premier Doug Ford was first elected four years ago, developers have paid tens of millions of dollars for a number of properties that include protected lands the province is now proposing to carve out of the Greenbelt.

Among those properties is a substantial piece of land lying largely in the Greenbelt that sold for $80-million in September, just weeks before the government revealed its new plan.

During the 2018 election campaign, Mr. Ford promised not to touch the Greenbelt – a vast arc of farmland, forests and wetlands across Southern Ontario. The pledge followed public uproar over a video that showed him saying he would allow housing development on a “big chunk” of the protected area. Again, in late 2020, he made a similar promise.


a former provincial land-use expert considered the main architect of the Greenbelt, questioned why developers would have paid so much for land that was considered off-limits for development.


[The Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister] was asked multiple times Tuesday, including in question period, whether he tipped off any developers that parcels of Greenbelt land would soon become much more valuable. When asked for a yes or no response, he refused to deny the allegation.

"The main difference between the luxury and non-luxury seats at this year’s World Cup is alcohol"


[The ban on the sale of alcohol] didn’t affect the flow of free beer — or free champagne, Scotch, gin, whiskey, wine and other drinks — available to non-regular fans in the V.I.P., V.V.I.P. and hospitality areas. The rules, it seemed, did not apply to them.

At a $3,000-a-seat hospitality lounge at Al Bayt during the U.S.’s game with England, for instance, the bar menu included Taittinger Champagne, Chivas Regal 12-year-old whisky, Martell VSOP brandy and Jose Cuervo 1800 tequila.


In all, there are five tiers of “hospitality” in the stadiums


The most exclusive suite is the Pearl Lounge, right above the halfway line at Lusail Stadium, which offers each guest an “exceptional commemorative gift.” There is also, according to someone who has been in it, a suite at Al Bayt that, for some reason, boasts a retractable bed and a bathroom equipped with a shower.

The Disney+ Star Wars Visions Karre and Am figures by Bandai are really good

S.H.Figuarts Karre and Am in stock at the BBTS. They're both super-articulated and come with some many parts that accessorizing is like choosing between entirely different figures. Karre includes an alternate torso, head, and cape to give him the armored Sith look; Am includes an unarmored head plus detachable set of articulated mechanical arms (clear figure stand not included):

BTW, here's the store's estimated holiday shipping cutoffs:

Today's funny posts

New meets old as Chinese police in full PPE form a turtle; Homes with plastic portals; Disney Japan sells an appropriate protest tee

"The late Queen's lady-in-waiting ... has apologised and resigned after she repeatedly asked a black British charity boss where she was from"

BBC with the summary.


She is the fifth and youngest daughter of the 12th Earl Waldegrave and Mary Hermione, Countess Waldegrave, née Grenfell (1909–1995). On 25 April 1959 she married Marmaduke Hussey


She is a godmother of William, Prince of Wales and was chosen to accompany Queen Elizabeth II at the funeral of Prince Philip


She has also received the Queen Elizabeth II Version of the Royal Household Long and Faithful Service Medal with 30-, 40-, 50- and 60-year bars

Four-Person "Buddhist Temple Left Without Monks After They All Test Positive for Meth"


It’s not clear why police targeted this particular temple, nor these particular monks, to test for drug use


In recent years, the sacred institution of Thai Buddhism has been tarnished by a series of high-profile arrests and scandals relating to corruption, murder, and drug trafficking among its clergy.

More items on clearance at Entertainment Earth, including lots of Marvel Legends

Landing page. The What If? T'Challa as Star-Lord figure (with the head of The Watcher) is $7.49.

Cutaway illustration of the Red Bull garage

Mercedes garage and Fifa headquarters:

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A look at how soccer fans from other countries were selected to cheer for Qatar at the world cup


The code of ultra culture is antagonistic and deeply anti-authority, and in constant conflict with the police and the news media. In the Middle East and North Africa, ultras have been politically influential, too: Egyptian ultras played a key role in the 2011 Arab Spring that toppled Hosni Mubarak as president, and such was their street power and popularity that ultras were barred by one of his successors, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, after he came to power in a coup.

The songs crafted on the bleachers in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Lebanon have been the soundtracks to antigovernment protests, too. But inside stadiums, they can fill even the most sterile spaces with passion, color and sound.

So, in April, a test event was arranged in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. Hundreds of Lebanese students and fans of a local club, Nejmeh, were recruited to make a proof-of-concept film at Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium by recreating the atmosphere an ultra group can provide. The video shows hundreds of fans chanting, displaying banners and letting off pyrotechnics.


The video impressed the right people in Doha. Through word of mouth, young Lebanese fans were offered an extraordinary deal: free flights, accommodations, match tickets and food, plus a small stipend, to bring some ultra culture to Qatar’s World Cup games. The fans arrived in mid-October to rehearse their choreographed actions and to practice their newly written chants.

And to learn Qatar’s national anthem. 

Today's funny posts

Ornate video game weapon props

Monday, November 28, 2022

Picked up from my wishlist, "The Appeal: A Novel" is $1.99 right now; Also, there's a free short story by Tamsyn Muir

at Amazon.

NYT said:

It’s a new year, which means a new crop of thrillers to provide some delicious diversionary relief from the sometimes less thrilling things going on in the world.

Let me suggest, to begin with, Janice Hallett’s witty, original THE APPEAL (Atria, 416 pp., $27.99). Reading it is like taking part in an immersive theatrical production in which you wander through an unfamiliar house, collecting clues to a nebulous mystery.


The whole thing is a delight; teasing out the mystery is almost as fun as searching for its solution.

And even cheaper, Tamsyn Muir wrote a 59-page short story for Amazon called "Undercover." (Free with Prime.) It's a good, creepy thriller. I recommend not reading the plot summary because each reveal is part of the fun. (It's not funny, and not connected to the Gideon series, as far as I can tell.)

"Brooklyn Democratic Machine Appoints Little Pakistan Residents to Party Posts Without Their Knowledge"

The City:

It was part of a successful effort to shut out a slate of would-be appointees assumed to be at odds with party leadership. 


In April, THE CITY reported that party members allied with the establishment forged at least five residents’ signatures in a bid to block rivals campaigning to join the county committee.


When political pundits predicted a national “red wave” in the midterm elections, they never imagined that one of the few areas it would actually surface would be southern Brooklyn, New York.

"Nine Civilians Killed in Militant Siege at a Mogadishu Hotel"

The assault began Sunday evening when six fighters from Al Shabab, an extremist militant group that swears allegiance to Al Qaeda, stormed the Villa Rosa hotel after evening prayers. At least one assailant detonated a suicide vest while others opened fire with guns on the guests, witnesses said.  

At least three government ministers were present, including the internal security minister, Mohamed Ahmed Sheik Ali, who was injured after he leaped from a window to escape the assault, according to local news reports.


The siege ended after the six attackers had been killed
In August, three months after taking office, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud pledged "total war" against the Islamist militants following an attack on another popular Mogadishu hotel. More than 20 people died.

Two months later, twin car bomb explosions near a busy junction in Mogadishu killed at least 100 people. Al-Shabab also said it was behind that attack.

Amazon toy deals: Micro Galaxy Squadron Millennium Falcon is 44% off, G.I. Joe Classified Series Kamakura is 31% off

Millennium Falcon is $24.99 at the moment (four figures, lots of action features on the ship)

Kamakura is $23.49:

Today's funny posts

Six pack of Muppets Minifigures is on cyber monday deal at Amazon

$20.99 at the moment for a six pack of Muppets; $20.99 for a six pack of series 23 (includes ferry captain with ship ); $24.22 for Guardians of The Galaxy advent calendar (six minifigures).

Cyber Monday sale at Entertainment Earth includes Ultimates Optimus Prime for $21

Main landing page. Ultimates Optimus is $21; Ultimates Ghost Starscream is $21; Fortnite's The Scientist is $9.49.

Great documentary from 1997: Lewis Hamilton, age 12, speaks about his ambition to become an F1 racing driver

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Today's funny posts

An AI draws the contents of Link's and Gandalf's gear bags; If Jodorowsky directed Tron; Lament Configuration jack-in-a-box

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Prototype Armor Boba Fett, Saw Gerrera, and a bunch of other 6" Star Wars Black figure on sale right now

SW Black figures starting as low as $8.99.

Saw (great figure)

Interactive Lola (Leia's droid) too

The Wirecutter's pick for best portable charger battery pack is on black friday deal right now

30% off plus an additional 5% coupon for the Zendure Power Bank 10000mAh Mini Portable Charger Battery Pack at Amazon.

New Humble Bundle is Image Comics

Copra is in the $1 bundle if you haven't tried it. The big bundle is hundreds of comics.

Some good figure in Entertainment Earth's weekend sale

Landing page

King Ghidorah S.H.MonsterArts is 50% off

Mezco five figure Godzilla set, including King Ghidorah is 50% off

Marvel Legends Five figure Wolverine set with Omega Red and Cyber is 50% off

Venom Nendoroid is 40% off

Flynn (Tron) figure is 70% off

Deluxe Battlecat is 57% off

S.H.Figuarts Tech-On Avengers Iron Man is 35% off

(You might get an extra 10% off starting with this link.)

Today's funny posts

This week's best Warhammer 40k miniatures and other hobby creations

Friday, November 25, 2022

Carrots as X-Wing exhaust and other clever reuses of pieces in official sets

(The Lego Razor Crest is 30% off right now at Amazon.)

New toy preorders include a cyborg pigeon and a deluxe Quark

Toy preorders today:

New Gangsters Kingdom figure based on Jason Momoa, I think (altho at first glance I thought LeBeouf)

And the latest Ultimates from Super 7, a demonic samurai baseball player, and a cyborg military commander with cyborg pigeon:

Knives Out poster

By Dakota Randall, available in regular and gold foil:

Today's funny posts

Coppola/Bram Stoker's Dracula deluxe figure with extra monster head


*See more custom toys.

The Wirecutter's picks for best gaming headsets are on Black Friday deal; some other deals I spotted

HyperX Cloud Alpha (their pick for overall best) is $54 (45% off).

Razer BlackShark (upgrade pick) is $100 (44% off).

Clancy's "Red Storm Rising" is $1.99.

"Piranesi" is $2.99.

Jean Jacket/Nope costume for a dog

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Kurn shares a turkey; Ouroboros pie crust; Thanksgiving is for labor

New Humble Bundles today are for Lone Wolf & Cub comics, and World of Warcraft books and comics

The Lone Wolf and Cub bundle is $18 for over 50 voumes of Lone Wolf and Cub, Lady Snowblood, and Samurai Executioner comics. The Warcraft bundle is $18 for 22 volumes and books.

Today's funny posts

"Putin was repeatedly snubbed at an international summit of countries meant to be Russia's friends"

Keto Krisp bars are 30% off right now as a Black Friday Deal

at Amazon. (9g fiber, 11g protein, 2g sugar, 3g sugar alcohol; taste great and great consistency, but would not call them a "meal replacement")

The Black Chapel

The oval shape of the Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls’ school is inspired by local forts

By Diana Kellog:
Constructed with hand cut local sandstone, The Rani Ratnavati Girls’ School will address the need to educate girls and empower women from the neighboring villages in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. The oval forms were employed to reflect the curvilinear shapes of the local forts and also universal symbols of female strength

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Clearance sale on Last Exit to Nowhere's Nakatomi Corp. Christmas 1988 sweatshirts and tees

They've been discontinued.

"Congressmembers Tried to Stop the SEC’s Inquiry Into FTX"

"The March letter from eight House members—four Democrats and four Republicans—questioned the SEC’s authority to make informal inquiries to crypto and blockchain companies, and intimated that the requests violated federal law."

Today's funny posts

The Black Friday sale at Entertainment Earth has started

Features lots of McFarlane figures.

Massage guns are steeply discounted today at Amazon

The Theragun Prime (wirecutter's top pick) is $100 off.

And the budget pick, the Mebak 3, is $70 with listed coupon on lighting deal.

Good photo of LA at sunset

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Fifty drones failed and plunged into the river during a light show in Australia

“We’re looking into GPS interference to see what has gone wrong,” he said.

“If there is any wind interference drones do hit each other, that does happen, propellers snap, there are things that go wrong ... two to three drones [falling] per show is actually normal ... last night was not normal.”

"L.A. prosecutor put on leave over questionable case sparked by election conspiracy theories"

LAT on the latest update to a bizarre story from last month:
A Los Angeles County deputy district attorney has been placed on administrative leave for his role in the questionable prosecution of a Michigan software executive that may have been sparked by conspiracy theorists who deny the validity of the 2020 presidential election.


The district attorney’s Public Integrity Division, which filed the case against [the executive], this week was brought under the control of [Los Angeles District Attorney] Gascón’s chief of staff


Gascón announced [the] arrest Oct. 4, claiming that the 51-year-old chief executive had endangered the personal information — including Social Security numbers — of an unknown number of L.A. County poll workers by storing it on an overseas server.


But by November, prosecutors had dropped all charges ...

During his initial news conference, Gascón did not mention that his office’s investigation was sparked by a conversation with one of the founders of True the Vote, a Texas-based nonprofit that has fomented conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election.

Former President Trump praised Gascón and called on him to dig further 

Tom King's recent comic book collections are steeply discounted at Amazon

I still loathe what Amazon did to their comic app, but FWIW:

Rorschach 1-12 by King and Jorge Fornes is $4.99

Strange Adventures 1-12 by King, Mitch Gerads, and Evan Shaner is $5.99

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow 1-8 by King and Bilquis Evely is $2.99

(And since I'm mentioning a Watchmen property, Alan Moore's new book Illuminations is 70% off

Translucent Witch King, Kirby Car, and Dinosaur Corps Koseidon Goh Toki up for preorder

Some good toy preorders today: Witch King (solid or translucent) and Elrond figurines by Weta; blind-boxed Kirby figures; and Dinosaur Corps Koseidon hero Goh Toki figure by Joy Toy:

(Episodes available at Youtube)

Golfer Bryson DeChambeau talks about losing 20 pounds in a month

From 2020, "During quarantine, Bryson DeChambeau added another 20 pounds in the gym"


DeChambeau went on the 5 Clubs podcast last week and admitted that particular part of the experiment was a miss.

“I ate improperly for almost a year and a half and I was starting to feel weird,” DeChambeau said. Weird was a bit of an understatement. He experienced internal inflammation. His game and day-to-day life suffered. Facing all kinds of unpleasant side effects, DeChambeau decided to make a change. “My gut was all messed up, and so I went completely healthy, went on a Whole 30 diet, got a nutritionist, did blood work, measured stuff in my gut biome. I was super-inflamed.”


"I mean, get stronger in a healthy way. Go get a blood sensitivity test"

You can watch the discussion starting at 33 minutes. Says he lost 20 pounds in a month and had "such huge mood swings":

"Alabama Pauses Death Penalty Executions After 3rd Botched Attempt"


The move followed the uncompleted execution Thursday ..., which was the state’s second such instance of being unable to put an inmate to death in the past two months and its third since 2018. The state completed an execution in July, but only after a three-hour delay caused at least partly by the same problem with starting an IV line.

Today's funny posts

Sin City cover for a 1991 edition of the LA Weekly

Monday, November 21, 2022

Andor, the 1975 TV Intro

Lots of spoilers:

Arnold/King Conan Ultimates figure by Super 7 up for preorder

New Super 7 preorders include Ultimates Notorious BIG and King Conan (throne sold separately), plus Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Reaction figures. 

Also, today's clearance sale items include 52% off the Ghostbusters figure wave with build-a-figure Sentinel Terror Dog.

Joining California, Oregon, and Alaska, Washington banned net-pen fish-farming; Biologists discover "zoop soup"

Seattle Times:

the 2017 Cooke Aquaculture net-pen collapse ... released some 260,000 nonnative Atlantic salmon into the sea


“It’s about the disease vectors and how that can escape into wild populations”

(Longer article on such fish farming)

Related, Reuters from February:

In an experiment a decade in the making, biologists are releasing hatchery salmon onto flooded Northern California rice fields, seeking to replenish endangered fish species while simultaneously benefiting the farmers' business model


Now, for the cost and inconvenience of flooding their fields, rice farmers are earning goodwill and betting that a healthy salmon population will avoid new regulations to protect wildlife and keep adequate water flowing.

In recent years, biologists discovered that as rice straw decomposes in flooded fields it creates a broth rich in fish food. They call it "zoop soup."

"The zooplankton are so big and they're so juicy, it's like filet mignon"

Today's funny posts

"Desperate for Growth, Aging Casino Company Embraced" a man that declared bankruptcy in 2004

He owed $59,000 to credit card companies and $18,000 to his father. In one year alone, he had lost $30,000 gambling, court documents show. In January 2004, the 26-year-old filed for bankruptcy protection.

Nearly two decades later, [he] rarely if ever mentions the bankruptcy. Yet he and his company ... are urging their tens of millions of followers to dive into the fast-growing and lightly regulated world of online sports betting.

Wild dashboard and steering controls for the Oldsmobile Incas concept (1986)

More photos here.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Manhattan gay bar owner says NYPD's "nonchalant response to vandalism attacks" has "emboldened" him and reminded him "we have to protect ourselves”


an unknown individual has thrown a brick at the windows of his establishment three times in the last week. In the most recent incident, just before 10 p.m. on Saturday night, surveillance footage showed a man approaching the store and heaving a heavy object at the window.

[The bar owner] said he had gone to the NYPD each time. But detectives were “dismissive” of his suggestion that the attack could be bias related, going so far as discouraging him from reporting it to the Hate Crimes Task Force

"one of the most well-known names in NBA training circles, was reportedly arrested Friday and charged with rape"

Very brief summary of the charge, with long list of celebrity clients. (Instagram feed.)

This Tweet about DeVries leaving Mercedes is quite literal, and not an exaggeration


"In order to reap millions of dollars in fees, universities are partnering with betting companies to introduce their students and sports fans to online gambling"

NYT looked at specific universities:

a top executive at Caesars Sportsbook, said in an interview that the email was sent to underage students by mistake. “We were very disappointed that it happened


The deals came together largely in private, The Times found, with minimal discussion on campus about their potential impact on students, athletes and the integrity of college sports.

To secure these partnerships, athletic departments depend on the companies that handle the promotional and advertising rights for their teams. These companies, which arrange all kinds of deals with sponsors, act as middlemen. They negotiate the agreements with betting companies and take a cut, sometimes in the millions of dollars, of whatever money changes hands.

Unlike public universities, which are subject to government disclosure rules and freedom of information requests, the sports-marketing companies are privately held. That means the terms of the deals they strike don’t have to be publicly disclosed if the universities are not a party to the contracts. (University athletic departments have routinely sought to shield their dealings and often route some of their most complicated contracts, including lucrative television agreements, through intermediaries like athletic conferences.)


“With the multimedia rights holder, public institutions ... no longer have to disclose all those sponsorship deals,” he said in an interview. “This helps with the sponsors being able to spend what they feel is appropriate without having the public or employees or stockholders question that investment.”

Today's funny posts

Three good comic book covers

Lava Skull NHL goalie mask