Wednesday, November 30, 2005



Superman, Batman (without Robin!), Wonder Woman, Supergirl, The Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Plastic Man, and Aquaman will become the Postal League of America next year as the featured images on a series of commemorative stamps issued by the United States Postal Service, as reported on Newsarama and brought to my attention by Harry Broertjes.

Here's the image I'm trying to upload (without cooperation from Blogger).

According to the USPS, the series will be followed in 2007 by Marvel characters. See the USPS release here.

I've got to guess that the comics stamps are the result of the Postal Service's short-lived make-your-own-stamp program, in which you could provide an image that would be made into a stamp. I wonder how many images of SANDMAN got uploaded...?

Ah, well, after Marvel it's only a short step to Charlton, Atlas, and First. Grimjack, anyone?


Robert F. Kennedy Memorial to Host Online Charity Auction with

The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial will host a charity auction online December 1-12 through the Charity Folks Online Auction Website ( featuring many one-of-a-kind experiences and items. The goal of Ethel Kennedy, friends, colleagues and supporters of the Memorial is to support the Memorial’s human rights and social justice work around the globe.

The word is out, and I don't think I'll be able to bid on any of these goodies:

• Shark fishing off Nantucket with former Congressman Joe Kennedy
• Tour the Spy Museum in Washington, DC with former CIA Chief William Webster
• Diving expedition in search of Columbus’s Santa Maria with renowned treasure hunter and pirate ship explorer Barry Clifford off the coast of Haiti
• Private lunch with Charles Grodin, Regis Philbin, and Alan Alda at a New York City restaurant
• Lunch with Bob Woodward, followed by a tour of the Washington Post
• Roundtrip travel on the Boston Bruins’ team plane to Montreal. Stay in the team hotel and ice it off with seats to the game
• Face down the green monster from President Kennedy’s seats at Fenway Park
• Tickets, airfare and a stay at the Four Seasons to see the ultra-exclusive “Christmas in Washington,” the annual holiday music celebration under the gracious patronage of the President and First Lady and broadcast by TNT. The concert features American Idol winner Carrie Underwood; country music superstars Rascal Flatts; new R&B songstress Ciara and Gospel great CeCe Winans, with more artists to be added
• See the Boston Red Sox from the player’s perspective with Dugout seats at Fenway Park
• Have Alec Baldwin help pick you a pound puppy at a New York or Los Angeles auction
• Drinks at PJ Clarke’s in New York with Law and Order’s Sam Waterson
• Walk-on role in the hit series Desperate Housewives.

Bidding will take place over the 12-day period on with all bids closing on December 12. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, a 501 (3) (c) non-profit organization. The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial works "to realize RFK’s dream of a peaceful and just world through domestic and international programs working to empower the disadvantaged and oppressed through supporting our next generation of leaders and tackling the toughest problems facing our society" (though apparently not well-constructed sentences).

Source: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial

So, if you're Christmas-shopping for that hard-to-buy-for bleeding heart liberal, here's a great place to spend your money.

And I just thought of something... with Republicans in power, and since they have all the money, maybe these items won't take that big a bid to win.

Okay, my twenty bucks is in. And, if you're buying for me, I'll settle for the Desperate Housewives gig or the lunch with Grodin, Philbin, and Alda.

Monday, November 28, 2005



Go easy on that.
You will drink too much gin. Not the worst way to die, but you won't remember too much of your life. Hey, at least you made some people laugh!

In checking out Jennifer Agee's website, I see my own spouse will be asphyxiated by a rug. Don't know what to make of that.

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, November 27, 2005



I guess they're worried about those tourists without American dollars. Thanks to Harry Broertjes for forwarding the story.

Friday, November 25, 2005



The spouse recently forwarded this to me, as collected by Laura Ann Gilman, who, like my spouse, posts on (as suricattus).

People spend a lot of time thinking up their children's names. It's just a pity they don't always think as hard about their domain names.

Firstly there is Who Represents?, a database for agencies to the rich and famous:

Second is the Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views:

Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island:

Need a therapist? Try:

And there is an Italian Power company:

Finally we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales:

Brings me back to college and the case study of the Chevrolet they couldn't sell in Spanish-speaking countries: the Nova.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005



I see that DC Comics has again advertised for a new marketing director. (It also looks like DC needs a new proofreader; read the ad carefully.)

I think I sent my resume off in April or so, when this last got posted to Publisher's Marketplace, mostly as a way to say hi to my former employer and fellow Legion fan, Paul Levitz.

Think I should apply seriously this time? I wonder if they'd let me live and work from here in Seattle...

Monday, November 21, 2005



Okay, this has been bugging me for a while. It ain't Plamegate, but it's important to me.

Apparently, Ichiro Suzuki, the much-ballyhooed right fielder and leadoff hitter for the Seattle Mariners, is unhappy with field manager Mike Hargrove (at least according to the Kyodo News Service). Hargrove, with four fewer seasons in Seattle and who never could get four 35-foot singles in a season, much less a single game, is said to make Suzuki unhappy because he does not make the same demands on his players that Suzuki makes of himself.

If he ain’t happy, send him away.

I’m not a huge Ichiro fan. There are things he does that are clearly amazing, but his whole approach to the game between the lines confuses me.

I have seen Suzuki single to lead off an inning, then sit on first base waiting for the minuscule Seattle offense to score him without a stolen base. He appears unwilling to risk being thrown out. I have also seen him bunt for a hit with two out and a runner on second. Getting a runner from second to third with two out is of marginal utility, especially with the series of mediocre second-place hitters the Mariners have employed of late. Suzuki appears to have some mastery of the bat; I’d rather he put the ball in play and give that runner on second a chance to score. Granted, they play for two differently packed offensive lineups, but compare Suzuki’s runs batted in to those of Boston’s Johnny Damon.

One other thing Damon does is take the base on balls. It appears that Suzuki is unwilling to take a walk, even if it helps the team. Suzuki recently faulted his teammates for not “having a positive feeling at the plate. Like being up on a 3-1 count and hoping for a walk, and the next pitch is a ball. Or, with the same count, you think you’re going to crush it.” The problem is that he instead prefers to swing wildly at a 3-1 pitch out of the strike zone, reducing his chances of reaching base from 100% on a walk to 33% on a single. With his low walk count, his on base percentage as a leadoff hitter does not compare well unless his batting average is well over .350. With his unorthodox swing, it appears that he must start the bat before the pitcher is finished with the windup, so it’s possible that Suzuki can’t change his mind, once committed. If so, his skill set is flawed.

I fear that Suzuki just does not do well as a team player. The “me first” attitude that is so uncharacteristically Japanese starts with his arrogant desire to force us all to call him by his first name only. Even today’s great North American players don’t do that; we all know who “Barry,” “Pedro,” and “Manny” and their egos are, even if there are others in the game with that same first name.

Right now, I almost wish I hadn't bought so many Ichiro Suzuki souvenirs to send to in-laws in Japan.

With the Mariners’ unique ownership situation, it looks to be essential to have a Japanese superstar. Watching Hideki Matsui play for the Yankees, I only wish it were he – with the ability to hit in the clutch (remember that double against Pedro in the 2003 ALCS?) – and not Ichiro Suzuki who played for the Mariners. The Yankees have signed Matsui for another four seasons, but I’d make trade for Godzilla in a minute. Seattle could still have a Japanese superstar – heck, Matsui was bigger than Suzuki was prior to 2001 – and Suzuki would indeed be valuable to the Yankees, who would benefit from having a genuine leadoff hitter. And, I'm betting, Matsui would not sit and stew, but would instead actually lead the other players on the team.



While wandering the Internet this morning, I ran across this website, which believes that if you buy Iraqi dinars, you'll make a killing when the country finally shrugs off those annoying suicide bomb attacks and resumes shipping oil to debt-laden democracies.

Me, I don't like the odds, but maybe you will. There's a funny pro-Dumbya joke there, too.



Remember that here in the United States prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks by al-Qaeda, we were entranced with stories about sharks and missing Congressional interns?

Well, in Belgium they're worrying about whether it's a good idea for the state to subsidize prostitution for the disabled. Right now, they'll pay for masturbation supplies, but they won't pony up for a hooker. Governments have to draw the line somewhere, you know.

Meanwhile, Stephen Hawking tossed out his first wife and married a second. The world confuses me.

All I know is that if this is the biggest issue in Brussels, I wouldn't be taking mass transit there right now.

Sunday, November 20, 2005



Our friend Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan, who is currently the editor of Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities magazine, an entrepreneur with her own business (Phantasia Chocolates), is a new American (she hails officially from India, though she grew up all over the globe). As she studied, we were amused to look at the materials she needed to know to become a citizen; materials that I was surprised proved difficult for some common US-born Americans to answer correctly.

Bill Hibler, a freelance client of mine (Quidnunc is his business) forwarded this to me. I'm proud to say that I got 29 of 30 correct. I hope you do at least as well.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The GOP Refuses To Let Its People Think

Did you know if you went to, the website for the Republican National Committee, it would WRITE letters to the editor for you?

This is one such letter.

Everything below is copy that Republicans don't believe members of their own party can say cogently in their own words.

For instance:

Fix the Broken Nomination Process: President Bush believes that judges should strictly and faithfully interpret the law, rather than legislate from the bench. He has appointed judges to the Federal courts who share his judicial philosophy, and his appointees have been rated the best qualified of any recent Administration by the American Bar Association. No nominee to the Federal courts of appeals had ever been filibustered prior to the Bush Administration, but a minority of Senate Democrats has conspired to filibuster ten of President Bush's judicial nominees. President Bush will continue his efforts to end this obstructionist behavior.

Social Security
Fix Social Security now once and for all: Social Security is sound for today's seniors and for those nearing retirement, but it needs to be fixed for younger workers - our children and grandchildren. The government has made promises it cannot afford to pay for with the current pay-as-you-go system. If we do not act to fix Social Security now, the only solutions will be dramatically higher taxes, massive new borrowing or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs.


Safety and Security
Protect the Homeland: President Bush is committed to keeping the nation strong and secure through strengthening our military, deploying a missile defense, strengthening the NATO alliance and supporting military families and veterans. The President is committed to promoting an independent and democratic Iraq to ensure further stability in the Middle East and the world on the whole.

You see?

By the way, if you go to the Democratic site, it's only slightly better -- it provides talking points, but doesn't make it easy for you to drop DemPolitSpeak into a form and mail it off.

I have read that some newspapers have fallen for this charade, which saddens me. Follow links on Google for the phrase, "demonstrating genuine leadership."

Were I to write a real letter to the editor, I might point out that the luckiest thing to have happened for George W. Bush is Osama bin Laden. Without his heinous attacks, Bush and his "strategery" would have barely made it out of an incompetent first term.

The lesson here is that whatever we think -- favoring the president or the party in power, or opposed to it -- it's good to use our own brains to think about the guys in charge. Blind loyalty -- on either side -- just leads to bad results.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005



Today's not-really-news-story-of-the-day is about a 37-year-old woman in Georgia who, for two years, has been having a sexual relationship with a teenaged boy. Like the case here in suburban Seattle, where a female 30-ish schoolteacher kept having sex -- and children -- with a middle-schooler, the story makes the national news primarily for its titillation quotient. I suspect that there are about as many of these instances as there are bird flu cases (at least, for the moment).

In Georgia, this woman is now pregnant. She did what some would consider the Right Thing -- she got married. Except that the boy is still 15, and while Georgia law permits children under 16 to marry with their parents' consent (can anyone say "sharia"?), apparently the 15-year-old father of a pregnant 37-year-old woman's fetus may not marry. I want the American religious right to explain THAT to me... I suspect that they want to have their fetus and stone the mother, too, but perhaps I'm stereotyping.

I have met well-adjusted, successful people whose parents were what I would consider ridiculously young, so this can't simply be a matter of presuming someone young can't handle a child.

More to the point, this case throws all sorts of water on the rush to try teenaged crime suspects as adults. If you can't be 15 and be married in Georgia, then one would presume that you shouldn't be tried for murder as an adult, either.

Is this the hobgoblin of small minds? Perhaps. I remain confused by laws that say that 18-year-olds are mature enough to incompletely sever chads in Florida, but can't buy a beer. And why should 16-year-olds be permitted to drive, but not get an abortion? And does it matter what the actual 16-year-old is like? I remember junior high school, where a room full of 14-year-old boys could include kids who were practically zygotes and kids with facial hair that would have shamed most middle-aged men and muscles that would have made Jose Canseco jealous. The girls were the same; some were better-developed than any centerfold model, while others were as two-dimensional as the page on which the photograph was printed.

Society demands more maturity of its children at all ages, but especially so at markers along their paths to adulthood. Two centuries ago, if a teenager could read and write and cook and sew or reap and sow, that was all that was necessary to get along. A century ago, you could still pretty much get by without much book-learning and awareness of the world. Today we have five-year-olds being dressed up to look like they belong in Vogue, ten-year-olds dealing drugs in middle school, and fifteen-year-olds who know more about technology than most people twice their age. More important, we expect children to understand things that would have been the crowning achievement of any thinker not too far in the past. And, for crying out loud, we give these children access to things that are inconceivably expensive and dangerous -- not just a car, but a luxury car; not just clothing, but designer clothing; not just a summer vacation but unchaperoned trips to Europe or Central America.

Is it any surprise, then, that adults in their 30s find themselves emotionally at ease with kids in their teens? Is it any surprise when adolescents misread the signals they're given by both parents and society at large? No, it shouldn't be.

So if we're saying that a 15-year-old is bright enough to figure that he shouldn't kill someone, then we must reasonably judge a 15-year-old bright enough to marry.

I'm just saying.

Monday, November 07, 2005



In 2008 I shall restore your dignity and make you servants worthy of my rule. This new government shall become a tool of my oppression. Instead of hidden agendas and waffling policies, I offer you direct candor and brutal certainty.

So says General Zod, an early candidate for the 2008 campaign for president. And, hey, if we change the Constitution to permit Arnold Schwarzenegger to run, it means Zod can, too!

Friday, November 04, 2005


You've got to read this post at Cyphering!

Then promise you won't buy any of these items.