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Angry Gamers vs. Angry Birds

October 27, 2011

Great piece on the Angry Birds phenomenon by freelance writer and blogger Russ Pitts:

Angry Birds was released late in 2009. That year, many major outlets (including the one I ran) proclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum their game of the year. Last year, many of those same outlets (including mine) selected Red Dead Redemption. Both were fine choices. Both games presented vast, semi-open worlds, cross-genre play styles, and deep narrative experiences. Both games have sold approximately 13-15 million copies combined.

Meanwhile, Angry Birds has moved approximately 400 million. And that number has roughly doubled from approximately 200 million in May of this year, just a month before Apple announced that it had sold approximately 222 million of its iOS devices. In other words, almost every person who has purchased an iOS device (the best-selling electronics devices in the history of the world) has also downloaded Angry Birds […]

[…] Nintendo has sold only approximately 260 million copies of its Super Mario-themed games in the nearly 30 years it has been making them. That’s roughly half the number of Angry Birds titles that are estimated will be downloaded by the end of this year, just two years after it was first debuted.

As the titular stamp of this article suggests to hardcore gamers and mainstream video game journalists alike, It’s Time to Stop Ignoring Angry Birds.  Love it.  Hate it.  Cuddle with it.  Stuff it into the trash compactor.  Angry Birds is branded into the hide of pop culture and will stay that way long after Rovio wears out its welcome.  As a “casual-to-serious” gamer, my biggest gripe with the Angry Birds craze is the unwitting mascot seal it superimposes onto the iOS gaming platform, which does, conversely, feature a wealth of campaign-caliber game titles that provide in-depth, meaty experiences.

What do “serious gamers” think of when they think of the iPhone and the iPod Touch?  Angry Birds?  Or Dead Space, Dark Meadow, Infinity Blade, Chaos Rings, Galaxy on Fire II, Real Racing 2, Rage HD, NOVA 2, Final Fantasy III, Order & Chaos, Espgaluda II, FIFA Soccer 12, Pocket RPG, Zenonia 3, King of Fighters, Final Fantasy Tactics, or ShadowGun?

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The "Voodoo Economics" of the Tea Party

July 20, 2011

Roger Ebert, today, commenting on the rightmost wing of the GOP:

The Tea Party is fanatically opposed to increasing taxes. Seventy-one percent of Americans agree right now that taxes should be increased. There are two ways to reduce the debt: Cut spending, and raise taxes. The Tea Party would permit only one of these. Reasonable Republicans agree, but their hands are tied by their need to placate the radicals.
There is also the curious refusal to raise taxes for the rich, who would best afford to pay them. How many grass roots Americans agree with that? The theory that wealth and jobs will “trickle down” is a fossil from the Reagan era. Voodoo economics. Money that goes to the top has a way of staying at the top, which is why the richest Americans have prospered in these hard times.

Ebert is in top-form here.  Now check out his views on Obamacare:

Most Americans in both parties are in favor of Medicare and the recent expansion called Obamacare. We remain the only developed nation in the world without universal health care. Most reasonable people agree the time has come to move in that direction. Even the American Medical Assn., for decades the fiercest opponent of national health insurance, has for several years been in favor of it.

The Tea Party fights it using the boogie man of socialism. Opponents of health care are financed by lobbyists paid by the insurance and drug companies. Ask the Republicans of Massachusetts how they like Romneycare, which is Obamacare under another name. They like it just fine. So do most of us. Decent health care is a humanitarian service a society can provide its citizens. Only the richest can afford to pay for a catastrophic illness.

The Tea Party is a movement of radicals working from a simian, primitive, superstitious ideological framework.  There is really no other way to respond to their views except to shake one’s head in shame that such beliefs are supported in this great country of ours (which is slowly unraveling at the seams).

They should be abolished from Congress.  They should have never gotten a seat at the table to begin with.

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Remembering Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961)

June 6, 2011

The BBC News reflecting on Carl Jung, who died 50 years ago today:

But Jung would also be troubled by the way life is unfolding now. For example, he lived in a period “filled with apocalyptic images of universal destruction”, as he observed – thinking of the Cold War and nuclear bomb.

These particular horrors have receded. But it is striking how quickly they have been replaced by new threats. The most obvious is the devastation that is anticipated as a result of climate change. Or you could point to terrorism. And it does not stop there.

We seem to have a fascination with ruination that extends beyond the possible or probable to the purely imagined. Look at how the end of the world provides an irresistible storyline in movies. Or recall how the Rapture predictions of Harold Camping spread like wildfire across the internet last month […]

He argued that while modern science has yielded unsurpassed knowledge about the human species, it has led, paradoxically, to a narrower, machine-like conception of what it means to be a human individual.

This presumably explains why complementary therapies are flourishing in the 21st Century. They try to address the whole person, not just the illness or disease. Or it suggests why ecological lifestyles are appealing, because they try to reconnect us with the intrinsic value of the natural world.

In short, the life of the psyche is crucial. Jung believed it is fed not just by psychology, but better by the great spiritual traditions of our culture, with their subtle stories, sustaining rituals and inspiring dreams. The agnostic West has become detached from these resources.

It is as if people are suffering from “a loss of soul”. Too often, the world does not seem to be for us, but against us.

Towards the end of his life, Jung reflected that many – perhaps most – of the people who came to see him were not, fundamentally, mentally ill. They were, rather, searching for meaning.

As founder of the school of Analytical Psychology, Jung is the most important aspect of 20th century psychology (this, of course, being relegated to an opinion).  Freud comes close.  But he wasn’t as brave or exploratory as Jung was in his research (who meticulously studied Eastern and Western philosophy; alchemy; astrology; and sociology.  Take a look at The Red Book, and you’ll see what I mean).  Without Jung’s research, the 21st century Western world might have completely removed God out of modern psychology and psychiatry; leaving us depressives and anxiety disorders prey to spiritless empiricism and behaviorism.

“The world has a soul.”

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Is Birtherism Racist?

April 29, 2011

These three videos will tell you why.

The rightmost members of the GOP are doing little-to-nothing to convince us they’re not the backwards movement of Republillogical RepubliKKKans the media is proving them to be.  Modernizing, reinventing and encrypting the smoldering bigotry and racism of America’s recent past.

Haven’t we learned anything from the African-American Civil Rights Movement of the ’50s and ’60s?

Wait, is Republillogical a word?

You bet your ass it is:

The right-wing tendency to make completely ridiculous claims based on flimsy or downright nonexistent evidence. Often followed by demands that opponents prove that something that has never happened actually never happened.

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D Trump and Bobby D Volley Harsh Signifiers

April 26, 2011

Huffpost Politics reporting on Donald Trump’s publicized doubts that President Barack Obama was born in the United States (hello automatic douche bag):

In releasing his birth records to Newsmax on Monday, Trump called on President Barack Obama to do the same. The billionaire and potential presidential candidate has sparkedcontroversy in recent weeks by questioning whether the president was born in the United States.

“It took me one hour to get my birth certificate,” Trump said of what now appears to be his “certificate of live birth.” “It’s inconceivable that, after four years of questioning, the president still hasn’t produced his birth certificate. I’m just asking President Obama to show the public his birth certificate. Why’s he making an issue out of this?”

Via Richard Sharp of Yidio, Robert DeNiro recently commented on the matter in The Daily Beast:

“It’s like a big hustle. It’s like being a car salesman. Don’t go out there and say things unless you can back them up. How dare you? That’s awful to do. To just go out and speak and say these terrible things? Unless you just wanna get over and get the job. It’s crazy.”

Yesterday morning, Trump threw a thorny ball of Oh Snap back into DeNiro’s court on Fox & Friends:

“Well he’s not the brightest bulb on the planet” [ … ]

“I’ve been watching him over the years and I like his acting, but you know in terms of when I watch him doing interviews and various other things, we’re not dealing with Albert Einstein.”

Lastly, Mr. Sharp provides us with a sober, cogent translation of these proceedings:

Speaking of genius moves, we’re not suggesting DeNiro is going to resort to violence like the characters in his films, but engaging Bobby D in battle, over politics or anything else, doesn’t strike us as the most intelligent maneuver an aspiring Presidential candidate (or anyone really) could make.

While we understand why Trump’s hairpiece would be out of whack over DeNiro’s comments, we’d suggest maybe Trump stick to shaking hands, kissing babies (or harassing Meatloaf), and ixnay on the Eniroday before he ends up unleashing the Raging Bull …

Spot on.  Lesson-be-learned: Don’t fuck with Bobby D.  He’s way too much of a contemporary cinema legend.  You just don’t call Bobby D an idiot.  It just automatically unmasks you as the colossal idiot.

Speaking of idiots: Why do ugly, spoiled, silver-spoon-fed, pubic-hairpiece-laden old blowhards get rewarded with bottomless riches for being conceited pricks all their lives?

Oh, that’s right … America.

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"Fuck you, Republicans"

April 14, 2011

Mother Jones political blogger Kevin Drum [via John Gruber]:

Have I mentioned my favorite part of Obama’s speech yesterday? Here it is:

“America’s finances were in great shape by the year 2000. We went from deficit to surplus. America was actually on track to becoming completely debt free, and we were prepared for the retirement of the Baby Boomers.

But after Democrats and Republicans committed to fiscal discipline during the 1990s, we lost our way in the decade that followed. We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program — but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending. Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts — tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.

To give you an idea of how much damage this caused to our nation’s checkbook, consider this: In the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.

But that’s not what happened. And so, by the time I took office, we once again found ourselves deeply in debt and unprepared for a Baby Boom retirement that is now starting to take place. When I took office, our projected deficit, annually, was more than $1 trillion. On top of that, we faced a terrible financial crisis and a recession that, like most recessions, led us to temporarily borrow even more.”

Translation: Fuck you, Republicans.

And I’d say it’s a well deserved flip of the bird. Republicans, as you can imagine, are less enthusiastic, and this bit of the speech undoubtedly accounts for most of the bile being tossed around on Fox and elsewhere today. But hey — sometimes the truth hurts. And all Obama did was speak the simple truth. In the past decade, Republicans slashed taxes, started two wars, approved a big unfunded entitlement, and presided over an economic collapse that cratered tax revenues and required massive government spending to counteract. That’s pretty much 100% of our existing deficit problem right there. All we’re doing now is trying to clean up the mess the GOP has left us.

The partisan blame game forges on.

A sweaty nightclub dance-off with no endgame.

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RE: The quintessence of dust

March 31, 2011

An evolutionist’s perspective on the Universe from the ever-cogent EggBert himself:

But what good does it do me to think of the universe as an unthinking mechanism vast beyond comprehension? It gives me the consolation of believing I conceive it as it really is. It makes me thankful that I can conceive it at all. I could have been a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floors of silent seas. In this connection I find the Theory of Evolution a great consolation. It helps me understand how life came about and how I came to be. It reveals a logical principle I believe applies everywhere in the universe and at all levels: Of all the things that exist, animate and inanimate, some will be more successful than others at continuing to exist. Of those, some will evolve into greater complexity. This isn’t “progress,” it is simply the way things work. On this dot of space and in this instant of time, the human mind is a great success story, and I am fortunate to possess one. No, even that’s not true, because a goldfish isn’t unfortunate to lack one. It’s just that knowing what I know, I would rather be a human than a goldfish.

Some reject the Theory of Evolution because it offers no consolation in the face of death. They might just as well blame it for explaining why minds can conceive of death. Living things must die. That I can plainly see. That we are aware of our inevitable death is the price we must pay for being aware at all. On the whole, I think we’re getting a good deal.

When I die, what happens? Nothing much. Every atom of my body will continue to exist. The sum of the universe will be the same. The universe will not know or care.

He keenly and convincingly finds paradoxical comfort in the ineffable vastness of the great unknown, and the perplexing eventuality of the sentient beings that we are — that is, mankind being the result of atomic and subatomic particulates from an exploded star (supernova) — particulates with an avid agenda. Yet, I find the very existence of “animate” (or even inanimate) subatomic, atomic, molecular, cellular and microbial “life” a vast mystery in of themselves. Unseen particles of “energy” with one feral purpose: to evolve into something greater, into a greater intelligence. My question to EggBert is: Where does that “energy” come from? Where does that subatomic “purpose” come from? It is a desire, is it not? A design. Atomic energy, to me, is comprised of invisible vessels of design and propulsion. Energy seedlings. In the seed, there is power.

Who turned the power on? As a Creationist, I find that the quintessence of dust (by dust I think stardust), and the manner in which we choose to perceive it, requires a Kierkegaardian leap of faith, notwithstanding which side of the debate you fall on. This specific subject of quintessence (in relation to the universe) is like a coin — and a coin will always have two sides. Call me an old-fashioned, Paley-bred teleologist, but it is within natural design, energy and purpose that I see God, not a random explosion of life.

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Penthouse Magazine launches 3DHD channel in Europe today

March 15, 2011

Ian Paul of PC World reports:

Penthouse Magazine will launch the first adult 3D high-definition channel in Europe today, a venture dubbed PENTHOUSE 3D. The new channel offers naked programming daily from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. (5 to 11 p.m. Eastern) to satisfy every European’s quest for ooh-la-la. It’s not clear whether Penthouse has any plans to launch its 3D channel in the United States.

Penthouse 3D will offer 30 hours of new 3D programming every month with content to satisfy the prurient interests of both softcore and hardcore fans in what the company describes as “100 percent Full 3D Native HD.” The channel is available through European satellite provider SES Astra.

OK.  Good to know.

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Game Informer Exceeds 5 million in Circulation

February 8, 2011

This according to a news wire in the Sun Herald’s website yesterday, the gaming magazine giant managed to bolster their circulation by 33 percent, making it the “fifth largest consumer magazine in the United States.”

As of the December 2010 Audit Bureau of Circulations’ (ABC) report (released on February 7, 2011), Game Informer raked in a six-month average of 5,073,003 paid subscribers.

Its digital format subscription isn’t doing too badly, either, according to the same Sun Herald piece:

“The digital format of Game Informer also saw strong growth since its launch in May 2010 with 127,320 paid subscriptions as of the December 2010 ABC Publisher’s Statement. Digital Game Informer is an interactive, monthly edition of the magazine delivered to subscribers online.”

Evidently, the glossy mammoth’s head-scratching neglect to cover the widely anticipated launch of the Final Fantasy XIV MMORPG (namely their wrap-up edition of E3 2010) didn’t do much to disenchant their spell of the coveted 18 to 34-year-old male demographic — perhaps it helps that FFXIV (so far) is a colossal failure in need of a messiah.

Anecdotally, of course, it can’t hurt that the inky behemoth’s February issue features an exclusive first look at the next installment of the upcoming open-world RPG, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Bethesda Softworks, which appears to be a technical marvel. A Western RPG nerd’s wet dream.

It’s a publishing feat that can’t be ignored.  It postures as an indication of how gaming (in all its various breeds) has evolved into an integral, albeit virtual, aspect of our culture (domestic and abroad).  Forget it being a subculture of acne-ridden geeks and pale shut-ins, at this point — particularly when your girlfriend is urging you to play a round of Little Big Planet 2 on a Saturday night.

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2010 in review

January 2, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2010. That’s about 3 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 80 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 122 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 33mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 1st with 44 views. The most popular post that day was Thank you, James Jay Lee.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, healthfitnesstherapy.com, youoffendmeyouoffendmyfamily.com, obama-scandal-exposed.co.cc, and slashingtongue.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for armond white, the social network negative review, the dark tower, skavinger’s blog, and “blockbuster inc”.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Thank you, James Jay Lee September 2010
1 comment and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

2

Armond White gives The Social Network a negative review: surprise surprise October 2010

3

The (Anti)Social Network October 2010

4

A quick word about heating problems with Apple’s Boot Camp September 2010

5

“That’s the type of girl that’s liable to boil your rabbit.” June 2010
2 comments

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Ebert on (cyber)loneliness

November 9, 2010

An unexpected yet mesmerizing blog post by Roger Ebert:

The biological reason we fall in love may be to encourage reproduction. Yet why did nature provide homosexuality if that is the only purpose? Why do people marry with no prospects of children? Babies are not the only thing two people can create together. They can create a safe private world. They can create a reality that affirms their values. They can stand for something. They can find someone to laugh with, and confide in. Someone to hold them when they need to be held. A danger of the internet would be if we begin to meet those needs without feeling there has to be another person in the room.

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Food myths you love to watch decompose in the light of science

September 15, 2010

Via RD.com, 7 Food Myths You Probably Know.  It’s worth reading the entire post (chock full of great dietary highlights, sponsored by our good and reliable friend, Science), but here are some especial favorites:

  • “Eggs are also filled with plenty of useful nutrients that may offset any damage done by their cholesterol content, including unsaturated fat, folate and other B vitamins, and minerals. And if you shop around, you can find eggs that are enriched with healthful omega-3 fatty acids.”
  • “For starters, salad dressings made with healthy monounsaturated fats, such as olive or canola oil, may help prevent heart disease and other conditions. What’s more, a recent study shows that you may be missing out on important disease protection by going oil-free. That’s because without some fat in the meal, your digestive tract won’t absorb many of the nutrients in a salad.”
  • “By contrast, food processors quick-freeze fresh-picked produce, which preserves much of its vitamin and mineral content. “With some fruits and vegetables, you actually lock in a higher nutrient content by freezing,” says Douglas Archer, Ph.D., a professor of food science at the University of Florida.”
  • “To be sure, nuts contain a lot of fat, but it’s mostly the good kind. Dry-roasted peanuts, for example, have three to four times more heart-healthy monounsaturated fat than saturated fat. Recent research suggests that eating nuts as part of a healthy diet may even help you lose weight. Researchers believe that the fat in nuts helps people feel full, and the protein may use up calories as it digests.”
  • “As it turns out, though, it’s the alcohol in red wine — and white wine and beer — that’s responsible for most of its heart-related benefits. Large population studies suggest that most people enjoy at least some health benefits from sipping any form of alcohol in moderation. For example, the Harvard School of Public Health asked more than 38,000 men about their drinking habits, then checked up on them 12 years later. Men who had up to a drink or two per day were 37 percent less likely to have had heart attacks than men who rarely or never indulged.”

Required reading for anyone that prefers long life over an early grave.

I love scientists.  Without them, Earth would still be flat and at the very center of the universe (er, see heliocentrism).