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The Gamespot Advantage

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"...they're invented in boardrooms by souless, self-aggrandizing executives looking to make a fast buck by tricking you into thinking you might actually have fun playing their latest science fiction themed action thrill ride -- but this is the reality: this here, in fact, clearly could have been game of the year material just weeks ago, as evidenced alone by the slight shift in the frontalis, coupled by the abnormal tension in the zygomaticus."


Master Murphy's Law 3

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I can't believe my luck.

I get home with my copy of Halo 3. I am ashamed a bit to admit that I am excited and affected by all of the hype. I grab a beer, get ready to settle in for a fun night and fire up the Xbox to see...

the three red rings of death


Man, what HORRIBLE timing. A box is on its way for a return shipment. I think someone is trying to tell me something.

MP3.com goes Mandy Moore

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..and still is 100% unique amongst the machinery:


awesome work Roland and Rolls. the buttermelt in FULL effect.

Scout, you doth rock

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where've you been
where've you been....
you crazy girl

Jup Jup Jup jupa
jup jup jup jupa
jup jup jup jup jupa.....
I've been kidnapped by Neptune

I'm coming to the game late, but Scout Niblett totally rules.

Hoodoo Has Left the Building

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Can we all please have a moment of silence for Charles Nelson Reilly. RIP



I think the Dead Milkmen put it best in their song "Serrated Edge":

Up on the hilltop where the vultures perch,
That's where I'm gonna build my church,
Ain't gonna be no priest, ain't gonna be no boss;
Just Charles Nelson Reilly nailed to a cross.

Yeah, Charles Nelson Reilly, he's our man,
He can't heal the sick with the touch of his hand,
He can't walk on water, can't make wine flow;
Just another greedy actor on the late late show!

Just me on a hilltop with 15 girls,
In a Nelson Reilly orgy that'll make your hair curl.
I don't piss, I don't **** I'm gettin' no relief,
People shake their heads in disbelief

Marnie Stern - In Advance of the Broken Arm

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Marnie Stern
In Advance of the Broken Arm
(Kill Rock Stars)
Wonderfully weird and fractured pop tunes, overlaid with riff-metal guitar pyrotechnics.
It's incredibly clever and bold in the production and song arrangements, if not downright experimental -- a super unique mix of killer guitar hooks, vocal lines and really spacey call-to-arms lyrics.

There's a little math in the arrangements, like the track "Absorb Those Numbers" which is constantly flipping back and forth between different time signatures against these great big melody hooks of "Hey, now... where does it begin?"

When she sings "I'll draw a pyramid, now I'm in the American Revolution"... I'm in. This album has totally grabbed my imagination.

It was called Habeas Corpus

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Everything we learned in Civics class is now altered. On October 17th, Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law. This bill changes the essential protective nature of our Constitution and potentially will have ramifications for generations. If there is any one story to learn more about and get brained up on this year, this is the one. It marks a new turn in the continuing erosion of our democracy.

Keith Olberman has been doing a good job of getting the word out about what this all means, with humor and panache. (Watch this clip from 10-11-2006 about what Habeas Corpus is). I am amazed and pleased that a major network is finding the voice to educate and illuminate the current crisis that few are taking the time to fight against, much less even mention. Who would have ever thought the cocky L.A. sportscaster from my youth would grow into this generation's Edward R. Murrow? Below is a transcription from this past Wednesday night's show that breaks down some of the basic freedoms that we have now lost.

Keith Olbermann & Constitutional Law Prof Jonathan Turley On Military Commissions Act
MSNBC 10-18-2006

To assess what this law will truly mean for us all, I'm joined by Jonathan Turley, professor of constitutional law at George Washington University.
As always, sir, great thanks for your time.
OLBERMANN:  I want to start by asking you about a specific part of this act that lists one of the definitions of an unlawful enemy combatant as, quote, "a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a combatant status review tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the president or the secretary of defense."
Does that not basically mean that if Mr. Bush or Mr. Rumsfeld say so, anybody in this country, citizen or not, innocent or not, can end up being an unlawful enemy combatant?
TURLEY:  It certainly does.  In fact, later on, it says that if you even give material support to an organization that the president deems connected to one of these groups, you too can be an enemy combatant.
And the fact that he appoints this tribunal is meaningless.  You know, standing behind him at the signing ceremony was his attorney general, who signed a memo that said that you could torture people, that you could do harm to them to the point of organ failure or death.
So if he appoints someone like that to be attorney general, you can imagine who he's going be putting on this board.
OLBERMANN:  Does this mean that under this law, ultimately the only thing keeping you, I, or the viewer out of Gitmo is the sanity and honesty of the president of the United States?
TURLEY:  It does.  And it's a huge sea change for our democracy.  The framers created a system where we did not have to rely on the good graces or good mood of the president.  In fact, Madison said that he created a system essentially to be run by devils, where they could not do harm, because we didn't rely on their good motivations.
Now we must.  And people have no idea how significant this is.  What, really, a time of shame this is for the American system.  What the Congress did and what the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values.
It couldn't be more significant.  And the strange thing is, we've become sort of constitutional couch potatoes.  I mean, the Congress just gave the president despotic powers, and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to, you know, "Dancing with the Stars."  I mean, it's otherworldly.
OLBERMANN:  Is there one defense against this, the legal challenges against particularly the suspension or elimination of habeas corpus from the equation?  And where do they stand, and how likely are they to overturn this action today?
TURLEY:  Well, you know what?  I think people are fooling themselves if they believe that the courts will once again stop this president from taking over-taking almost absolute power.  It basically comes down to a single vote on the Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy.  And he indicated that if Congress gave the president these types of powers, that he might go along.
And so we may have, in this country, some type of ueber-president, some absolute ruler, and it'll be up to him who gets put away as an enemy combatant, held without trial.
It's something that no one thought-certainly I didn't think-was possible in the United States.  And I am not too sure how we got to this point.  But people clearly don't realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country.  What happened today changed us.  And I'm not too sure we're going to change back anytime soon.
OLBERMANN:  And if Justice Kennedy tries to change us back, we can always call him an enemy combatant.
The president reiterated today the United States does not torture.  Does this law actually guarantee anything like that?
TURLEY:  That's actually when I turned off my TV set, because I couldn't believe it.  You know, the United States has engaged in torture.  And the whole world community has denounced the views of this administration, its early views that the president could order torture, could cause injury up to organ failure or death.
The administration has already established that it has engaged in things like waterboarding, which is not just torture.  We prosecuted people after World War II for waterboarding prisoners.  We treated it as a war crime.  And my God, what a change of fate, where we are now embracing the very thing that we once prosecuted people for.
Who are we now?  I know who we were then.  But when the president said that we don't torture, that was, frankly, when I had to turn off my TV set.
OLBERMANN:  That same individual fell back on the same argument that he'd used about the war in Iraq to sanction this law.  Let me play what he said and then ask you a question about it.
BUSH:  Yet with the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few.  Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously?  And did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?
OLBERMANN:  Does he understand the irony of those words when taken out of the context of this particular passage or of what he perceives as the war against terror, and that, in fact, the threat we may be facing is the threat of President George W. Bush?
TURLEY:  Well, this is going to go down in history as one of our greatest self-inflicted wounds.  And I think you can feel the judgment of history.  It won't be kind to President Bush.
But frankly, I don't think that it will be kind to the rest of us.  I think that history will ask, Where were you?  What did you do when this thing was signed into law?  There were people that protested the Japanese concentration camps, there were people that protested these other acts.  But we are strangely silent in this national yawn as our rights evaporate.
OLBERMANN:  Well, not to pat ourselves on the back too much, but I think we've done a little bit of what we could have done, and...
TURLEY:  That's true.
OLBERMANN:  ... I'll see you at Gitmo.  Jonathan Turley, constitutional law professor at George Washington University.  As always, greatest thanks for your time, Jon.
TURLEY:  Thanks, Keith.

My Molyneux weekend from Heaven

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This acts as the Yin to my February 13th post's Yang.

I think Peter Molyneux is a wonderful freak. I hate/love his games: love what they aim for, hate where they fall short, but I always am compelled to give them a spin. Hence the older post about Black & White 2. I stopped playing after only one week -- or more accurately, I stopped attempting to play it. My video card was so underpowered: it wasn't worth playing in 640 x 480 and still have to turn details down.

But Lo and Behold: for my birthday, the Gods brought down an ATI Radeon 1900XTX (a lot of Mana was involved). As such, WoW looks insane, Fear and Far Cry can run with all details jacked up, but it was Black & White 2 that I came running back to first. So now that I can play it, here's the verdict:

It brings back an even better Populous-style RTS component (love the spells), but I could still give a rat's bun about my creature. I like the side quests they throw at you in each map, more so than the grander 'conquer the land' components. Having said that, as chaotic as the game comes across, I never feel rushed to do any one thing -- even in the later levels it retains more of a sandbox feel, rather than some mad dash towards goals. As with all Molyneux games, feature creep seems to have gotten the better of it... and yet I'm eyeing that expansion pack.
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