Jack Kirby, Comic Book Genius, turns 90

The New York Times has a good article on Jack Kirby on what would have been his 90th birthday.

Kirby drew and (co) created some of the classics of superhero comics: Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, the original X-Men, the Silver Surfer, Doctor Doom, Galactus, The Watcher, Magneto, Ego the Living Planet, the Inhumans, and the list goes on.

Keep in mind that he drew for Timely during WWII, and then for Marvel as the publishing house evolved. He drew romance and horror comics in the 50s when superheroes died out, and then had a major hand in resurrecting them for the 60s.

Also note: he drew the first couple issues of Challengers of the Unknown, which some say was the prototype idea he based the Fantastic Four on. The Challs are personally one of my favorites.

In the 70's he left Marvel, spurned by he feeling that Stan Lee was hogging all the credit for creating the bulk of Marvel superheroes. He traveled back to DC, and started with a wild story line, again one of my favorites, in (guess what --- you'll never believe it) Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olsen. In these storylines Jimmy turns into a super reporter, and Superman is barely seen. You'll have to read 'em to believe 'em

Ok, 'nuff said.


Who is Tish Rabe?

Ok, here's a weird question: who is Tish Rabe, and why did she end up getting the permission to write in the style of Dr. Seuss? When I search for her on the internet I can't find anything specific about her except that "She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut."

Even more disturbing is that her name is an anagram Bear Shit. Is this some sort freakish joke played by a publisher from the house of Seuss?
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Crystal Creek 2007

Here are some pictures from my vacation to my mom's cabin.
It's near Port Orford, Oregon. The pictures on the bluff are from Cape Blanco, which is the west-most point on the contiguous United States.

The weather that week was perfect.

I've posted the pictures using Google's Picasa. The upside of this service so far:
- 1024 MB free space for posting pictures
- If you have a gmail account, you can use the same account for Picasa.
- The client software seems fast and easy to use. At least, easier than my Canon camera software

The downside:
- I had to download the Picasa client software. Not a big deal.


Pentagon Paid $998,798 to Ship Two 19-Cent Washers

I read this in the Oregonian today, but I can't believe it.

A small South Carolina parts supplier collected about $20.5 million over six years from the Pentagon for fraudulent shipping costs, including $998,798 for sending two 19-cent washers to an Army base in Texas, U.S. officials said.

The company also billed and was paid $455,009 to ship three machine screws costing $1.31 each to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq, and $293,451 to ship an 89-cent split washer to Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Pentagon records show.

I mean, they bilked the Pentagon out of $20 million over 10 years. Who was writing the checks?

Did the accountant at the Pentagon see an invoice for "Priority: Toroidal Spacer Component Delivery" and say "Oh, sure, one million bucks is a fair amount for that sort of service?"

C'mon, now. Let's cut the Pentagon's funding in half immediately. Then, take the excess and distribute it among the nation's primary and secondary public schools.

JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank

Only two left in stock.


Build your own home coffee roaster

Here, and here are two places that explain how to build your own coffee roaster.
In order to roast your own coffee, you have to start with green beans. Green coffee beans of course... not haricots verts. I guess that Sweet Maria's is a good place to get those.

I might try the lo-tech method of roasting the beans in a wok. That's worked for nuts that I've toasted. Or, maybe just go to Stumptown annex.

Flying Focus gets Willamette Week's attention

The video group that I work with, Flying Focus Video Collective, got a mention in Willamette Week's "Murmurs" section.

Call it the fluff tax. The Flying Focus Video Collective , a small Portland nonprofit that produces social-justicey fare for cable-access TV, launched an interesting fundraising pitch last week. The Flying Focus folks are demanding (their word, not ours) that local TV stations donate $10 anytime they lead the news with 10 minutes of “information citizens can’t do anything about” —i.e., weather, sports or “relatively trivial” fare like the live festival broadcasts that gave the world “Turtle Boy.” (Thanks, KGW.) Celebrity news would incur an additional $1 penalty , which is, by the way, tax-deductible. Murmurs bets OPB wishes it had thought of this first. Beats a pledge drive.

Here's the complete "Mainstream TV Challenge Fund-raiser."


No Fatties?

In late June, Clarian Health, an Indianapolis-based hospital system
announced that starting in 2009, it will fine employees $10 per paycheck if their body mass index (BMI, a ratio of height to weight that measures body fat) is over 30. If their cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels are too high, they'll be charged $5 for each standard they don't meet. Ditto if they smoke: Starting next year, they'll be charged another $5 in each check.

Is this fair? Is this a good idea? Would it even make a difference to some people? Would you pay $10 a month to be fat?

They don't mention what the company will do with the fines, but I'd suggest taking that, adding some matching funds, and putting them toward health benefits for the employees, like a free stop smoking program, or discounts toward a health club.