Archive for August 23, 2008

Bank Collapse Watch: Number Nine Falls

August 23, 2008

Columbian Bank and Trust of Kansas Closed by U.S. Regulators

Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) — Columbian Bank and Trust Co. of Topeka, Kansas, was closed by U.S. regulators, the nation’s ninth bank to collapse this year amid bad real-estate loans and writedowns stemming from a drop in home prices.

The bank, with $752 million in assets and $622 million in total deposits, was shuttered by the Kansas state bank commissioner’s office and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the FDIC said yesterday in a statement.

And:

The pace of bank closings is accelerating as financial firms have reported more than $500 billion in writedowns and credit losses since 2007. The FDIC’s “problem” bank list grew by 18 percent in the first quarter from the fourth, to 90 banks with combined assets of $26.3 billion.

This one was not so high up in one of the two lists I referenced earlier:

Protect yourself.

Click here for a summary of posts in this blog’s Bank Collapse Watch category.

Where is your money today
?

Educate yourself!

Quote: Writer Warren Ellis

August 23, 2008

Wrong Fun For America’s Top Slaves!*

Learn to love the taste of water rats, America.

Watchmen: The Feeding Frenzy Is Apace!

August 23, 2008

Better Late Than Never: Watchmen

Much of this shift can be attributed to a single masterpiece: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen. Of course, Moore didn’t invent the dark, troubled superhero. He was working with archetypes based on specific pre-existing characters, in this case derived mainly from the roster of Charlton Comics, a long-suffering publisher that had recently been absorbed by Moore’s then-employer DC Comics. But Moore took the bleakness, neuroses, brooding philosophy, and nihilism that had been coursing through comic books for decades, and elevated the form to high art, something for the smart set and the post-grads as well as comic-book nerds and pimply teens. With Watchmen, he set out to write a comic-book series with the depth and heft of a Moby Dick. Audacious? Sure. Pretentious? Probably. Did he succeed? Indubitably. At the risk of being slightly hyperbolic, Watchmen is such a monumental achievement that it makes Moby Dick look like a flaming pile of horseshit by comparison.

He has the advantage on me. I’ve not yet read Moby Dick (shut up).

But Watchmen is a monumental achievement.

I’d stopped reading comics, but kept popping into comic stores. I saw the covers for the individual issues of Watchmen, but didn’t know what was up. I was out of the loop by then, having GAFIAted for good.

Then a (now-former) friend twisted my arm and had me read Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One in collected form.

Wow!

Somehow I also got to read the collected Watchmen.

Absolutely frikkin nuclear.

I’ve read it again within the past 2-3 years, and it still staggered me.

It’s one of those rare things that revolutionizes, redefines, and reshapes everything that happens after it. It is a turning point, a high point.

In the 1970s, artists and writers for DC and Marvel would again and again state that comics were able to do much more than what was being published. Many of them would go off to other companies or raise money and self-publish. But not one of them achieved Watchmen status. How sad is that?

And now the buzzbuzzbuzz is already building over the upcoming movie. A movie that is in some jeopardy of ever being released other than as a highly-pirated unauthorized leak! See Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily post: SAVE US! Warner’s ‘Watchmen’ In Legal Peril After Judge Won’t Dismiss Fox Suit.

I hope for a resolution. But sometimes these rights issues drag on and on.

In the meantime, if you haven’t yet, get the collected Watchmen and read it. Put aside whatever notions you have about comic books. This transcends all of them. It’s literature.

WATCHMEN Trailer – AMAZING!

Previously here:

Watchmen Movie: Video Contest (which is over, by the way)
Watchmen: The Movie

— via Medialoper

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: O.M.G.

August 23, 2008

Capote’s Queeny Cameo in The Clone Wars

Two thirds of the way through Star Wars: The Clone Wars appears the character of Ziro the Hutt – a villain who has orchestrated the kidnapping of his own great-nephew, the son of Jabba the Hutt. Jabba, you may remember is the giant alien slug that flash froze Han Solo and always seems to have an exotic dancer somewhere in his line of sight (even here, in a cartoon).

Well, Ziro it turns out is the spitting image of author Truman Capote in drag, complete with a peacock feather tucked into the purple scarf wrapped around his head and Capote’s fey, affected Southern accent.

Poor Truman, as if being a gay, alcoholic, unfulfilled genius wasn’t difficult enough. Now, he’s portrayed as a villainous cartoon alien slug, one willing to arrange the kidnapping of his own great nephew (a major plot point of the film).

Emphasis added by me.

Oh. My. God.

Go to the post to read the rest, especially the footnotes.

This was Truman Capote:

Retrobites: Capote in Kansas (1966)

Although my own TV memories are of him seemingly blitzed out of his mind on something and his voice even higher and a lot slower than it is in that clip.

Previously here:

Star Wars: The Clone Wars — The ONLY Review You Need

Free Crime Fiction: Hardluck Stories

August 23, 2008

Hardluck Stories

Oh you better get there quick. It will go completely offline on October 1, 2008!

Writer J.A. Konrath: Brain-Check

August 23, 2008

Brain-Check

4. Don’t compare yourself to other writers. No good can ever come of this. Ever. Writers aren’t in competition with each other for contracts or fans, and one person’s success doesn’t hinge on another failing. Envy is poison.

I won’t abide by #7, though.

Call me the Agent of Karma, baby.

Kindle Schmindle III

August 23, 2008

There was once a recurring Saturday Night Live character named Nathan Thurm. He’d sleaze his way out of answering questions with:

I didn’t say that! You said that! Did I say that? I didn’t say that! I think that’s so funny that you think I said that! I didn’t say that!

That’s how I imagine Amazon reacting, in two articles in which they try to deflate the blimpy sales numbers that have been bandied about for the abominable Kindle:

Andrea on Amazon.com and the business of online retail

Amazon officials gave McAdams Wright Ragen analysts the impression that high-end estimates on Kindle sales reported by TechCrunch and a Citigroup analyst are not reasonable. (See a previous blog post on the topic here and here.)

Amazon managers “told us that the Kindle is definitely selling very well, but they also said the analysts and reporters giving out these extremely high estimates ‘did not run them by company,'” Bueneman wrote.

And:

Amazon: Kindle Isn’t *That* Big A Hit; College Edition In The Works

Obviously, there’s more than one way to interpret that: The big numbers (TechCrunch says 240,000 sold to date, Mahaney thinks 378,000 by the end of this year) could be in the ball park, but Amazon wants to keep expectations low; or they could wildly off-base. Or somewhere in between.

New models of Kindle are confirmed as forthcoming. One marketed directly at those textbook-lugging college types.

There’s something about that news that troubles me. Bezos is devious. I have that cliched Star Wars Bad Feeling about this. Could they be doing colors?! And will one of them be red?!!?

Previously here:

Kindle, Schmindle II
Kindle, Schmindle

Post Revisit: Peak iPod?

August 23, 2008

Months ago, I wrote a post called Peak iPod: Has Apple Reached Its End?

Apparently not!

New iPods Coming Very Soon

I never foresaw the nano getting larger. The very idea is just, well, weird. (“The new Apple iPod nano. Now bigger.” WTF?!)

That now introduces the question of whether that is a precursor to an iPhone nano. Let’s see what that screen resolution will be!

I’m still waiting for leaks to confirm an October iPod Touchbook launch. Let’s see what new sync options await in the rumored iTunes 8.0 that might point to that.

Why I Vote For Nader

August 23, 2008

Listen carefully, Democrats. Oh, and you Rush Tie-wearing Republicants too.

Cornell West on Barack Obama

His criteria are why I am voting for Ralph Nader!

And … white supremacy?

I don’t know if Rangel actually said that — but it’s true!

When you’ve gotten fed up with the duplicity and with being sold out, click these:

Vote Nader 2008 website
Vote Pact

The Video Will Surface. I Am Patient.

August 23, 2008

It’s not yet on YouTube, but it will be.

“Why is Neil Kinnock the only one in his family to attend university?”

“Why is Joe Biden the only one in his family to attend college?”

Paraphrased. But that’s the gist.

The video exists.

I remember it from back then.

It will rise from the vaults, baby.

Previously here:

Jive-Ass Turkey Picks Jive-Ass Plagiarist
Scholars Ponder Bible Typos
NOW Would You Vote For Ralph Nader?
Focus On The Family: Busted!
Obama Vs. Nader: Politician Vs. Man
What Planet Is Obama From?
Obama Goes Into Whore Mode
Obama Will Lose. And Might Already Have.
Obama-Nader 2008? Never, I Say!
Jive-Ass Turkey
And People Are Going To Vote For This Eejit?
The Trinity Of Hell
Why Democrats Lose
Pastor Manning Asks A Valid Obama Question
Follow-Up To That Obama Video Post
“He Was Born Trash,” Pastor Says Of Obama
In The Meantime … Some Anti-Obama
Blow Soda Out Your Nose With These
Something More Not To Like About This Election
Presidential Campaign V.D.
Something Is Just Plain Screwy Here
Barack Obama: Whose Money Is This?