Bits and Pieces Without Any Meta Blogging Nonsense

Via Jim Ray, your job title is not your worth.


The trouble with video games isn’t the violence. It’s that most of the characters are dicks. There are so many quotable lines in this one:

Every pixel of Modern Warfare 3 oozes machismo. It’s all chunky gunmetal, booming explosions and stubbly men blasting each other’s legs off. Yet consider what genteel skills the game itself requires. To succeed, you need to be adept at aiming a notional cursor and timing a series of button-pushes. It’s about precision and nimble fingers. Just like darning a sock in a hurry. Or creating tapestry against the clock.

(I don’t actually think this is the trouble with video games; I’m a fan of plenty of them and am in fact entirely unable to resist the Humble Bundle).


Slacktivist continues to be among the very best things out there on the internets: The Search for New Ways to Take our Money

Banks were able to transfer more than $36 billion a year from us to them through the larcenous “overdraft protection” racket in part by stroking our egos. We Americans love nothing more than being told we’re above average — that we’re exceptionally virtuous and responsible people who are better than our neighbors. By indulging that vanity, banks were able to suppress much of the outrage that might otherwise have accompanied the annual theft of $36 billion. They got us to pretend that this was just something that happened to irresponsible people who irresponsibly failed to maintain large balances in their checking accounts.

But this new generation of myriad fees and fee-hikes designed to recoup that same $36 billion a year can’t be as easily dismissed as being a useful expression of disapproval of the irresponsible, immoral, undeserving poor. These hit everyone indiscriminately, and even the most financially responsible and insufferably self-righteous won’t be able to pretend that these are excusable or justifiable or anything other than flimsy pretexts for the banks reaching into private accounts and withdrawing money simply because that money is there and they want it.

(PS: Fred’s ongoing Jenkins and LaHaye read-along is simply a masterpiece.)


A Conspiracy of Hogs: While spinning a theory that the McRib is a function of fluctuations in the pig market (or, perhaps more specifically and grotesquely, the hog offal slurry market), Willy Staley turns out passages like:

Fast food involves both hideously violent economies of scale and sad, sad end users who volunteer to be taken advantage of. What makes the McRib different from this everyday horror is that a) McDonald’s is huge to the point that it’s more useful to think of it as a company trading in commodities than it is to think of it as a chain of restaurants b) it is made of pork, which makes it a unique product in the QSR world and c) it is only available sometimes, but refuses to go away entirely.

If you can demonstrate that McDonald’s only introduces the sandwich when pork prices are lower than usual, then you’re but a couple logical steps from concluding that McDonald’s is essentially exploiting a market imbalance between what normal food producers are willing to pay for hog meat at certain times of the year, and what Americans are willing to pay for it once it is processed, molded into illogically anatomical shapes, and slathered in HFCS-rich BBQ sauce.

Read the whole thing, as they say.


Made by Hand 2: The Knife Maker: Just a great short study in craft and expertise.


“To the Moon” review at Rock Paper Shotgun: Closure to the “video game characters are dicks” thread: Good video games make thick-skinned reviewers weep. I want to install Parallels and Windows just to play this.


I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to make the chimichanga the state food of Arizona. The rest of the country already thinks we’re sort of nuts, right?