Friday, March 31, 2023

Previously exclusive 1966 Batman figures up for preorder

Entertainment Earth has King Tut, the library playset, and more.

Nike's got to re-release these as a Caitlin Clark edition

From 2013, Pat Robertson preaches acceptance of transgender people

"It's not for you to decide or to judge." (It's real.)

That Dodgers on-field marriage proposal that resulted in a vigorous spear by security was successful

She said yes:

A look at how Los Angeles police "abortion squads" operated before Roe v. Wade


In true Hollywood fashion, [an officer] played the role of angry boyfriend when confronting people who performed abortions. He’d tell them his loved one was sick due to the operation and demand money for hospital bills. When the abortionists paid up, [the officer] arrested them.


The officers rifled through her purse. She had worked for an eye doctor and they pulled out his card and asked if he was involved. They said they would contact him along with everyone in her address book if she didn’t come clean.


In September 1969, in what was touted as a landmark decision, the California Supreme Court reversed [an abortion provider's] conviction. Splitting 4 to 3, the high court held that the state’s century-old abortion law was so vague as to be unconstitutional.

By the time the ruling was issued, lawmakers had amended the state’s law to legalize abortion when a woman’s mental or physical health was at risk or if pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. In its decision, the state Supreme Court said it would not rule on the validity of the amended law.

And so, criminalization of abortion continued in California.

Sega made a free game called "The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog" for April Fool's

Ultrahand Link amiibo up for preorder (plus some fan art)

at Amazon:

The real Ultra Hand and some fan art:

A fan screamed "1-2-3, let's go bitch!" during a pause in a quiet Taylor Swift song and now it's a super popular tradition

@emilyvalencia94 #duet with @folkloretay i have to live w this forever #taylorswift #123lgb #fearlesstv #uh #yeah? ♬ original sound - folkloretay


In the thousands of TikToks chronicling Taylor Swift's Eras Tour, there's one beloved Swiftie moment that appears every night: the crowd screaming the words "1, 2, 3, let's go, bitch" before Swift sings the first verse of "Delicate."

But those lyrics don’t appear in the original song. Instead, they come from Emily Valencia, who at 15 years old randomly shouted it during Swift’s May 2018 Pasadena concert and posted the video on Twitter.


The chant got Valencia noticed by Swift, scoring her an invite to the 2019 Lover Secret Sessions, an album-listening event Swift hosted for fans to hear the album before it was released. 

When Valencia attended the listening party, she warned her mom that other Swifties there might recognize her, although her mom assured her “you’re not famous.”

But the 20-year-old from Los Angeles was right. “People were talking to me like, ‘Oh my god, you’re an icon, you’re literally famous in the Swiftie community,’” she said. “And my mom was like, ‘Holy shit.’”

Passover Haggadah with text by ChatGPT and images by Midjourney

Haggad.AI: The First AI Haggadah available at Amazon:

Haggad.AI is the world's first AI Haggadah, complete with original commentary, midrash, and divrei torah created by ChatGPT, and over 30 stunning images created by Midjourney. This unique Haggadah combines the power of artificial intelligence with the beauty of traditional Jewish texts and artwork.

The Haggadah

The Haggadah is a guidebook used during the Passover Seder, which tells the story of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt. Haggad.AI takes this timeless story and presents it in a modern, engaging format that is accessible to everyone. The AI-generated commentary provides insights and interpretations that are both thought-provoking and relevant to contemporary times.

Original Commentary, Midrash, and Divrei Torah by ChatGPT

It's important to note that all of the commentary, midrash, and divrei torah in Haggad.AI are original works created by ChatGPT. This means that readers can expect fresh insights and perspectives that they won't find in other Haggadot. ChatGPT's AI technology has been trained on a vast corpus of Jewish texts, allowing it to generate commentary that is both knowledgeable and thought-provoking. The result is a Haggadah that is both deeply rooted in tradition and uniquely modern.

Artwork by Midjourney

All of the artwork in Haggad.AI is original work designed by Midjourney. Each illustration and image has been specially created to complement and enhance the text, bringing the Passover story to life in a visually stunning way. Midjourney's artistic talent is on full display in this Haggadah, and readers will be treated to a wide variety of styles and techniques that showcase the breadth of his skill. From the whimsical to the awe-inspiring, every piece of artwork in Haggad.AI is a testament to Midjourney's creativity and talent.

New Humble Bundle is "survivors-like" video games

This one does prominently feature Steam review scores.

Mona Lisa unchained action figure up for preorder

The latest addition to the Table Museum line of figures:

Today's news and jokes

Transformers pin to benefit trans rights

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Neca's latest "ultimates" figures are some fun updates of 80's action figures

Strongheart the knight and Zarak the assassin up for preorder:

(Ebay has the original figures.)

Touching moment where Jason Ritter describes staying sober long enough to feel he was worthy of his wife's love

"grandson of actor Tex Ritter...first appeared in the opening credits of his father's show Three's Company with Joyce DeWitt in the petting-zoo scene"

GameStop apparently needs to be shamed into putting up signs warning people about gift card scams


Someone walks into a GameStop and asks where the gift cards are. They proceed to buy a bunch of them. Not just $40, or $80, but hundreds of dollars worth of Steam cards, Razer Gold, or some other gaming currency. They don’t look like someone who’s knee deep in the seedy underworld of Counter-Strike skins. The person behind the cash register gets suspicious but they aren’t supposed to pry. They know the customer is probably getting scammed but they don’t want to insult them. The whole thing is incredibly awkward and sad and it happens more often than you think.


The employees said that while the issue is well known, GameStop never had an official policy or protocol for addressing it. A few years ago it implemented a cap of $200 in gift card purchases per customer per day, but gave no specific instructions or training for how to talk to customers who might be getting conned. [One worker] contrasted this with Best Buy, where he said the gift card section included printed-out warnings about possible scams. 

New Humble Bundle starts with five volumes of Dungeons and Dragons comics for $1

Including Lord Soth and Dragonlance Legends. BTW, there are apparently some good shooters in boomer shooter bundle.

Marvel Legends original armor Iron Man up for preorder

at the BBTS.

Today's news and jokes

Distressingly accurate Forge of the X-Men cosplay

At the other end of the spectrum, various Hellfire Gala looks:

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The novel "The Vorrh" is $1.99 right now

at Amazon.

One of the most original works of visionary fiction since Mervyn Peake.―The Guardian

a daring debut that Alan Moore has called “a phosphorescent masterpiece” and “the current century's first landmark work of fantasy.”

Unused Mondo poster concepts for Moon Knight, Doctor Strange, and more

Designs from two more artists that we'll apparently never see completed:

Executive director of the San Jose Police Officers' Association charged with attempting to import opioids for sale


The complaint alleges that between October 2015 and January of this year, [she] had at least 61 shipments mailed to her home. Countries of origin included Hong Kong, Hungary, India, and Singapore. The manifests for these shipments declared the contents of the packages with labels like "Wedding Party Favors," "Gift Makeup," or "Chocolate and Sweets." However, between July 2019 and last January, officials intercepted and opened five of these shipments and found that they contained thousands of pills of controlled substances, including the synthetic opioids Tramadol and Tapentadol, which are similar to fentanyl. 


According to the complaint, [she] continued to order controlled substances even after being interviewed by federal investigators last month.

A Florida charter school principal wrote a $100,000 check to an internet scammer posing as Elon Musk, says she's "very smart" and was "groomed"


A-rated with just under 1,000 students and a huge waiting list. The principal who has guided it all these years is a superstar in many circles, but a huge lapse in judgment has cost her her job.

“I am a very smart lady. Well-educated. I fell for a scam,” [she] said.

[She] told a packed audience she was taken in by a fake Elon Musk, someone posing online as the space pioneer. Someone she'd been talking with for at least four months despite being warned by staff that the person was a fraud. She claims he groomed her.


Fortunately, the school's business wind and stopped the check before it cleared.

*Previously: The CEO and chief operating officer of Texas’s largest charter school network were fired after a financial audit 

Look at the faux-mosaic tile painted on this Warhammer+ Vindicare Assassin

One of the rewards for a Warhammer+ subscription is a Warhammer 40k Vindicare Assassin diorama. This artist has been regularly posting updates on his painting odyssey. It started with bronze:

And progressed to verdigris:

New Humble Bundle features "boomer shooters"

I don't know if any of these are any good (noticeably, sometimes the bundle shows Steam scores for every game and sometimes the bundle does not), but the titles are funny (Impaler, Viscerafest, Forgive Me Father).


Today's news and jokes

Diverse Names Generator

Add a few parameters or just generate at random.

(I believe it's the creation of this semanticist, who is also a tango instructor and an acroyoga instructor ("acrobatic partner yoga")).

Ram and Bheem (final battle) custom action figures

*See more custom toys.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

There was reportedly a runaway train in California Monday


A train hauling iron ore with 55 cars derailed in the Mojave Desert Monday


Officials are declining to comment on reports the crew jumped off the train before it derailed.


Train OUTSI-25, which originated in Iron Springs, Utah, with 154 cars of ore destined for export at the Port of Long Beach, Calif., was operating with distributed power in a 2x1x2 configuration, according to a UP train report shared with Trains News Wire.

The train separated between the 55th and 56th cars while on Cima Hill. At some point while the crew was attempting to put the train back together the lead units and 55 cars ran away down the grade. The last GPS report from the lead locomotive showed the train moving at 118 mph, according to a UP document.

UP would not confirm these details

Remarkable moment when Robin Williams protected Nathan Lane from being outed during an Oprah interview

Ultimate Bride of Frankenstein (Black & White) up for preorder, includes alternate screaming and fully bandaged looks

Some fun new toy preorders: impressive and tiny third party Galvatron; heat ray Godzilla by Hiya Toys; and this Bride of Frankenstein by Neca

Oliver Barrett posted a bunch of unused poster concepts for Mondo

Including this one for Captain America: Civil War:

*Previously: Jock posted unused poster concepts.

An Alabama senator is obstructing military promotions to protest the granting of abortion access to troops


between now and the end of the year, 650 general and flag officers will require Senate confirmation. Eighty of those are three and four-star generals or admirals


the list includes officers tapped to command naval forces in the Pacific and Middle East, as well as a military representative to the NATO Military Committee


[The senator] has indicated he won’t stop his obstruction of nominees unless the abortion policy is reversed or suspended.

Speaking of the military:

Jonathan Majors’ ad campaign for the U.S. Army, pulled after his Saturday arrest for allegedly assaulting a woman during a domestic dispute and since scrubbed from the organization’s official channels, was no ordinary sequence of commercials. The two spots, filmed in the Southern California area in January, were crucial components of a much larger ongoing rebranding effort for the military force as it pivots its recruitment message for Gen Z

Disney+ Obi-Wan figure with Leia's ladybug droid is $7.49

at Amazon (that's a remarkable number of accessories compared to a lot of toy lines):

Liquid Death is selling a basketball that looks like a severed head

Available here, art by Will Carsola.

Fighter jet with a peace/war toggle

I assume it looked like this:

Today's news and jokes

"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference"; "thoughts and prayers."

Fan concept for a blind-boxed gelatinous cube

Bonus: Concept for a Spider-Verse character that makes blood golems:

Monday, March 27, 2023

The newspaper for a California city now has no reporters and its only original content related to the area is paid obituaries


[It] used to be the principal local news source in this city of 163,000.

Owned by the largest newspaper publisher in the nation, Gannett, the venerable Californian now carries stories from the chain’s USA Today flagship and its other California papers. The only original content from Salinas comes in the form of paid obituaries, making death virtually the only sign of life at an institution once considered a must-read by many Salinans.


Gannett’s downsizing accelerated after the company’s 2019 merger with GateHouse Media to form a company that owns roughly one-fifth of all daily newspapers in America. Gannett employed 11,200 people at the end of 2022, regulatory filings showed, a 47% decline from three years prior.


(More information on that particular strike.) 

Ohio's new photo Id requirement is such a mess that Ohio State University has advised its out-of-state students against voting in person on election day


Ohio State University has advised its roughly 16,000 out-of-state students against voting in person on Election Day — for fear that obtaining the necessary state ID card could invalidate their driver’s license in their home state and disrupt their financial aid and residency status. The schools suggests such students casting Ohio ballots do so by mail.

Backers of the photo ID requirements have widely moved away from the argument that such laws prevent voter fraud, which happens only rarely. The conservative Heritage Foundation’s database lists only 26 convictions for voter impersonation fraud — the type deterred by photo ID requirements — anywhere in the U.S. between 2004 and 2022. 

A Norwegian arms manufacturer says it can't make artillery rounds any faster because TikTok's data center is using all the electricity

The company is called Nammo.

Jock posted a bunch of unused poster concepts for Mondo

 Including these for Gravity:

*Previously: The crazy lengths Mondo goes to get likeness rights

Netanyahu announced the creation of a "National Guard" controlled by National Security Minister Ben-Gvir

CNN really hides that development way down in its summary of today's events.

From his Wikipedia page:

When he came of age for conscription into the Israel Defense Forces at 18, he was exempted from service by the IDF due to his extreme-right political background


In 1995, a few weeks before the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Ben-Gvir came to public attention for the first time when he appeared on television brandishing a Cadillac hood ornament that had been stolen from Rabin's car and declared: "We got to his car, and we'll get to him too."


In 2007, ... he was convicted for incitement to racism

New Indiana Jones toys, including one based on the upcoming movie, up for preorder

I believe "Helena Shaw" (with motorcycle) is Phoebe Waller-Bridge's character. 

The new Humble Bundle features home improvement "for dummies" books

Starting at three books for a $1. (Bathroom remodeling is in the middle tier.)

Today's news and jokes

Eatrenalin is a multimedia high end dining experience where you ride in a motorized lounge chair like a character from Wall-E

Also, there's a neon jellyfish display:

"Eat Pie, Kill Demons" neon sign

No merch online. Bonus sign:

Sunday, March 26, 2023

The tigers that escaped a Georgia safari park ravaged by a tornado have been captured

Wild Animal Safari:

Like much of Southwest Georgia, Pine Mountain Safari sustained extensive tornado damage this morning. Fortunately, none of our animals and employees were hurt. However, several animal enclosures were breeched, and two tigers briefly escaped. Both have now been found, tranquilized, and safely returned to a secure enclosure.

Sculpture of Lance Henriksen as a T-800

Bonus: bio-control unit

A specific part of Houston is plagued by stopped trains blocking intersections

Houston Landing:

It’s a running joke: If you live in the East End, you have a “stopped train” story. I’ve heard them all. Kids throwing bikes under train cars to reach McReynolds Middle School – just a few yards from the track – in time for class. 


Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña says that as recently as two months ago, his department experienced, on average, “96 instances a month where our crews were either delayed or they had to reroute because of blocked crossings.” The obstructions added up to 10 minutes to response times. 

The problem is so persistent for Houston Fire Station 18 that crews installed a camera allowing them to check whether streets are blocked by a stopped train as they load up to respond to a call. But even that’s not perfect. Trains that appear to be in motion at the time a call comes in can grind to a halt by the time a fire engine reaches the intersection. 

Fiancial advisor charged with defrauding NBA players out of millions

Among other things, he allegedly "directed the basketball players to give donations to a nonprofit, which he ultimately used to build athletic facilities in his backyard." 

The article's headline and first sentence start with "Ex-Morgan Stanley advisor" and "Former Morgan Stanley advisor", since he was fired in 2021, but:
[He] was an advisor for Morgan Stanley from 2015 to 2021, according to his Financial Industry Regulatory Authority profile. The DOJ said in its indictment document that the alleged fraud schemes took place from roughly 2017 to 2020.

Totally separate allegations, too. 

Today's news and jokes

Wrath of Khan poster

Two more designs. "He was really determined to have Enterprise fire on Regula One"

Saturday, March 25, 2023

The BBTS has the exclusive Marvel Legends Galactus with three heralds in stock

Alternate Doom and skull faces plus Frankie Raye, Silver Surfer, and Morg.

WaPo looks at the disguises and other tactics people are using to escape Russia

It's packed with anecdotes abut several escapes. Here's one:
The trip, using seven cars, took more than a day. Nearing the frontier late at night, the seventh car got stuck in mud and the driver panicked. [She], her daughter and a guide had to get out and walk, farther than planned.

“The moment we got into this field, we just fell down in the mud,” she said. “It was pitch black. There were tractors and the headlights of border guard cars. The guy who was with us kept saying, ‘Girls, get down, quickly!’ It was terrifying, like a movie.”

The guide’s phone had no signal but he told them he could navigate by the stars. “He said, ‘Look at the tail of the Great Bear in the sky.’ And I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It seems funny now but it wasn’t at the time,” she recalled. “We were hysterical.

*Previously: Boat disguised as a rock