Wednesday, February 28, 2007

NERD I mean NERO pics

These are pictures from a live action role-playing group called NERO (New England Role-playing Organization). If you are of a geeky nature, you'll probably find these amusing.

Of course, it would be easy to poke fun, but it looks like they are having fun and are *really* into it, and geeks in glass dungeons shouldn't throw +1 stones.


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Walking the walk?

OK, I'm guilty of not being anywhere near as green as I should be. But I'm not getting paid scads of money to be the standard bearer for the environment either. You'd think that given his political experience, Al Gore would know people would look at stuff like in this article. His spokesperson or whatever says that he invests in green energy to offset the $1,200 dollar a month electrical bill for his 10,000 square foot mansion, but of course there are no details.

Sorry, if I was championing a cause like that and such a public figure, I'd be having some solar panels and wind mills hooked up at my home, not to mention all of the energy efficient technology out there. Because if I could afford to maintain a 10,000 square foot mansion as one of my homes, I could afford those new super-efficient light bulbs that Wal-Mart is touting as part of their green store initiative.


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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Thor is returning

Another IGN article, this one from the New York Comic Con regarding the return of Thor to Marvel's line-up. And they mean the real Thor, not Klor / Thorg /Thor-bot from Civil War.

Well, real for a comic book superhero Norse mythological figure. But not the fake one.

Most interesting... the bit about putting Asgard in Oklahoma. I so wish there was video of that meeting mentioned in the article.

"What about Asgard?"
"I want to bring it back."
"Excellent. What about it?"
"I'm putting it in Oklahoma!"


"You want to do what?"


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Star Trek XI casting stuff

It's already out that J.J. Abrams of "Lost" fame is signed to direct Star Trek XI, which will take us back to Kirk and Spock's early days. Now there's an article regarding casting the holy trinity of Trek - Kirk, Spock and McCoy. I was surprised by the names, as I suspect, a lot of people will be.

Matt Damon as James Kirk, Adrien Brody as Spock, and Gary Sinise as Dr. McCoy. Abrams is not sparing the Hollywood clout if he is bringing these guys on board, and as the article says, shows he and Paramount are serious about rebooting the franchise.

I can definately see Damon and Brody. I haven't seen enough of Sinise to make a call there. Damon's challenge will be to play Kirk with enough traits as we remember him without reducing Kirk to a scenery-chewing caricature of Shatner.

My. toupee! My. burning. toupee!

Yeah, like that.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cheney on global warming

See the article here. It never ceases to amaze me how many conservatives try to deny or ignore science for the sake of votes, money and power.

Yes. I'm sure that this Think Progess site is a left-wing as Cheney is right-wing, but it doesn't change that the people in charge of our government are afraid that if they admit that we need to do something about global warming that they will take a financial hit from their oil buddies.

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Intelligent Design.

Of course there's a cat involved. :)


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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Mistaken Identity

Last night I went to see Here Come The Mummies, an awesome funk band at the Vogue with a group of people. Usually, we get there early enough to get seats on the balcony overlooking the stage, and that is where I watch the show from. But the doors opened earlier than expected, so we were too late to get seats, so we all went to the dance floor when the Mummies took the stage.

Managing to get only a few feet from the stage (and one of the speaker stacks... my ears are still ringing), we had a pretty good vantage point on the show, and on the stuff that I normally miss by sitting in the balcony

The show was a sell out, which meant that the floor was packed elbow to elbow. More than one person was toppled by overly-kinetic dancers. A couple of fights almost broke out due to jostling. Some girls got pissy when people wouldn't let them wheedle to the front of the crowd.

While on the dance floor, amid the wardrobe malfunctions and incidental (or not so incidental) contacts, I spotted a woman that I thought that I recognized. I don't even know her name, I've just seen her at the past three GenCons. And now I'm a dark, crowded dance club.

At one point she was dancing by me, so I got a chance to get a good look at her. She was the right height, build, hair, and eye color, and her facial features looked as close as I could remember. Even her mannerisms seemed familiar, but that may be because they also reminded me of my last girlfriend. But it's hard to strike up a conversation over 115 decibels of music and crowd, plus there was a guy with her.

I figured out pretty quick that the guy was just a friend, having been at enough events with female friends. But I couldn't say anything without leaning over and yelling in her ear, and even then it would be unlikely she'd understand me, assuming this was the right person and she knew what the hell I was talking about.

And there's the whole being reserved thing. I'd call it shy, but that would imply a consistent obstacle. I'm just not very talkative, and not at all practiced at walking up to strange women and striking up conversations with them. Helps explain the whole six years without a date thing.

Eventually she and her friend drifted into the crowd. I wasn't about to walk across the dance floor on the chance she was someone I'd seen (not talked to, mind you) at a convention only fellow geeks would even understand. I might as well walk up to her and go "Uh huh huh... yooor purty."

So cut to the Mummies' encore. I noticed that she was moving in my direction. We'd made eye contact a couple of times over the course of the night, so I'm thinking maybe she recognizes me from GenCon (it wouldn't be the first time). And if she thought I was some sort of repulsive wierdo, she wouldn't spend the last two songs dancing next to me.

I thought that the gods must be giving me a sign to come out of my shell and say something to her. After all, if she goes to GenCon, we'd have something in common. The show ended, she was still next to me. So overcoming my introverted nature, I lean over to start a conversation.

"I know this sounds cliche, but I think I've seen you somewhere before. Have you been to GenCon?"

"I don't know. I have no idea what that is."


Have I mentioned that the gods have a sense of humor?

"Sorry, you look like someone I recognize from there." The rest of the conversation has been rendered academic. I look around for my group and follow them off.

A much quicker but more humorous case of mistaken identity happened during the show. In the middle, a woman grabbed my hand. I turned, expecting it to be someone I know getting my attention (and maybe hoping it was not-GenCon-girl). I was surprised to find an attractive woman I didn't recognize holding my hand.

So was she when she realized her boyfriend was drinking his beer with the hand she thought she was holding.


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Kungfu Clowns



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Justice League movie

Not a lot of details yet, but it looks like WB is going to do a Justice League movie. Sounds cool, but also could be confusing with three seperate character-based film franchises.

And they need Green Arrow. Because Green Arrow cusses.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Geek test: what superheroine should you date?

Hey, don't look at me that way, she's legal now! In fact, her last job was a bartender at a bar in Chicago. Sounds like a match made in heaven.

Toomey sent me this test, so he *should* share his results too. And ladies, don't worry, there's a suerhero option for you as well.

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Jedi Trash

At first I thought it was just going to be a video of two drunks beating the crap out of each other with replica lightsabers.

"You do not want to arrest me."
"Shut the f*** up."


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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Old habits

I received an invite for the closed beta of Lord of the Rings Online (actually I received two for some reason). Since I had bought the presell, I already had the client loaded, so I was quickly able to get into the game.

I logged in, created a character, and entered a virtual Middle-Earth.

I know how junkies feel when they get a fix.

It *looks* like this game won't be as much of a time sink as previous MMOs, definately not like UO where I could spend hours scouring the world then more hours waiting for a house to collapse so that I could loot it.

I only spent two hours playing tonight, which considering that I had to go through the tutorial isn't much. And I have enough real-world things going on this weekend to keep me busy... Mummies concert at the Vogue on Friday, a Maven meeting downtown Saturday, and D&D on Sunday, so I won't sit with my nose glued to the monitor.

Besides, it's not like I have a girlfriend or something.


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Sunday, February 18, 2007

iPhone does everything

I wonder how many people will fall for the mindless hype that will inevitably accompany iPhone?


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Saturday, February 17, 2007

My Brain is Orange (and a year older)

Your Brain is Orange

Of all the brain types, yours is the quickest.

You are usually thinking a mile a minute, and you could be thinking about anything at all.

Your thoughts are often scattered and random - but they're also a lot of fun!

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about esoteric subjects, the meaning of life, and pop culture.

Scattered... yes that's me. Sounds better than senile. :)

Speaking of which, passed b-day 41 without incident or sulking. I indulged a lot... had some Ben & Jerry's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, had a mini-can (50 grams / 300 calories) of Pringles, and a few Guinnesses.

Penance. gym. tomorrow.


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Movie review: Ghost Rider

There's always an uneasy sense of dread whenever a new comic book movie comes out. While they don't have as bad of a track record as video game movies, movies based on comic books can often range from clunkers to down right awful, some so bad they never reach the screen.

Ghost Rider wasn't awful. It wasn't even really bad... unfortunately it wasn't really good either.

One the plus side, I didn't go in with a lot of preconcieved notions about the story or the characters, which may be just as well. In the X-Men movies, for every nod to the fans there were also breaches in what the fans knew as continuity. For Ghost Rider, I knew the basics: he's some sort of supernatural avenger that hunts evil things, has a penance stare that makes evil-doers relive the pain they've inflicted on other, and he's a flaming skeleton riding a flaming motorcycle. That's about it.

The movie does a decent enough job giving you the back story, though through out the movie the dialogue is weak. Not Lucas-bad, it just seemed flat and stilted in places. Speaking of back story, the actor that played the teenaged Johnny Blaze looks nothing like Nicholas Cage other than having black hair.

Cage does as good of a job as can be expected with the script, but Mendes seems a little flat, but again that could just be the script. She, or rather her costumer, makes up for this by showing as much cleavage as possible without her just taking her blouse off. I wonder how many female journalists gritted their teeth every time she was on screen (she plays a reporter). Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed looking at her cleavage, but it seemed... unprofessional for her character.

There are also some plot holes... things I can't go into without spoiling. But the writers at places chose to sacrifice plot for the sake of a "cool" scene. You're best off not thinking too hard.

Speaking of cool scenes, one thing the did really well was the effects. This movie was practically begging for bad CGI (Ananaconda anyone?), but actually they were pretty awesome. You can tell some of them was done by the same people that did the Mummy movies. Whoever was responsible for the Ghost Rider character itself did an excellent job.

Will I buy this movie when it comes out on DVD? NO, at least not until it's in the cheap bin. But it is the kind of movie I'd watch if I came across it flipping through channels. The action is decent, effects are great, Cage is believeable, and Mendes still hasn't buttoned her blouse.

Overall, three out of five flaming-motorcycle-riding flying monkeys.


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Friday, February 16, 2007

It's against the rules...

Remember the article that there will be a Firefly MMO?

Here's a webcomic on the subject.

Hmmm... since all relationships have a tragic ending in the Whedon-verse, I'd be safe. Well, except for the vampires and space cannibals.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

For Valentine's Day

No, this won't be a post full vitrol and bitterness... but my readers would be disappointed if I didn't share something in "honor" of Valentine's Day.

So take a loom at this Two Lumps comic.

"Bring me the head of the fat kid with arrows!" LOL

Oh, and for the record... Valentine's Day sucks.


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Star Trek - The Holy Grail

Thanks to Jeff Freeman, where I stumbled across this video.


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Snowed In

Yesterday we had crappy weather... snow, sleet, snow, ice, and snow. Down by my work it was more of the sllet and ice and less snow, but at home it was more snow. When I managed to get home, my car got stuck in the driveway and I had to shovel the drive to bring the car into the garage. In prep for this morning, I shovelled again before going to bed. Even with continued snowfall, I figured I'd still be able to manage.

THis morning I woke up and looked out at my drive. Despite the huge drift in front of my door, the drive itself looked to have about 4". Totally driveable. Proud of my foresight for shovelling the night before, I got ready for work and pulled the car out of the garage. Backing down the drive was no problem... the snow that was there was fairly powdery. Then I hit the street.

Actually, I hit an inch or two over the street. My cul-de-sac had not been plowed, so my car bottomed out. I was stuck at home.

I tried a couple of more times, to no avail. I could pull forward into the drive, but couldn't get more than half of the car into the street, and even if I could, I'd just be stuck out there.

I started shovelling. I recleared the lane in my drive and pulled the car back. Then I did something I hated to do... called off work. I mock others when they call off, and even when I'm sick I go in. But now I had no choice. Fortunately, when you almost never call in, your boss is more understanding when yo finally have to do so.

After I cleared the lane, I started on the other half of the drive, seeing as I was already out there and would need to clear the whole thing by Monday anyways. That side was harder, as snow ranged from 12 - 18" deep. I got about half of that done before my toes got really cold and I decided to come in and warm up.

One thing I noticed was that the past several months at the gym paid off. Last year shovelling this much snow for 90 minutes straight would have left me wheezing and miserable. While I feel it in my muscles, I'm not winded. And the exercise I'm getting shovelling makes me feel less guilty about missing the gym today.

Of course, I could hike about 30 - 40 minutes to the gym. Through the snow, the wind, the cold.

I don't feel that guilty.

Oh look... the neighbor across the street is stuck in his drive.


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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Shrek 3 trailer

Here's a link for the trailer to the next Shrek movie, Shrek the Third.

And they get bonus points for using Immigrant Song.


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Another reason to avoid Vista

As a rule, everytime Microsoft and Darth Gates comes out with an upgrade to Windows, I wait at least a year to upgrade. The more I hear about Vista, like this article, the more I'm convinced that Vista is just a massive Trojan program with a pretty GUI.

And more I read, the more the Trojan analogy seems apt... if you get my meaning.


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Sunday, February 11, 2007

New blog project

Okay, so after a Google search only turned up 4 hits, three of which were the same e-mail address copied in a posting in a forum, I decided of Cauldron Stirrings.

The work in progress can be viewed here.

I should have thought to check blogspot first, because there is a blog under cauldronstirrings, as opposed to my cauldron-stirrings, but it appears to be some Christian's(?) prayer blog with three posts in it. Why a Christian prayer blog would be titled Prayer Pot but addressed Cauldron Stirrings is beyond me. Maybe they're ex-Wiccan or something, but actually it'll be less confusing than another pagan blog.

Some folks in the tribe have expressed an interest in playing also... if so, let me know.


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LOTR Online crafting article

So much for keeping the MMO monkey off my back. I'm looking forward to the Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) MMO launching soon and have picked up the pre-sell. ON of the reasons I'm looking forward to the game is that it looks to have a decent crafting system. It somewhat reminds me of SWG back when SWG was good.

I'll probably get the lifetime subscription, assuming that I am as impressed during Open Beta as I've heard from players in Closed Beta. Yes, it's a chunk of change, but I look at it this way: if I play 20 months over the course of the game, I'll break even (and $10/month is cheap for a MMO).

And there's the tempting of fates: if I get the lifetime subscription, with my luck I'll get a girlfriend within 60 days of launch so I won't have time to use it. The bonus? Once we break up, I'll still have the subscription to the game. :)

Fortunately, it doesn't sound as time-intensive as other MMOs I've played, it sounds more like DDO (D&D Online), where I can go in for a couple of hours on an evening or afternoon and have fun without dedicating an entire day to running one raid or waiting for one IDOC to fall.


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Saturday, February 10, 2007

What kind of player are you?

You scored as Character Player. The Character Player enjoys creating in-depth characters with distinct and rich personalities. He identifies closely with his characters, feeling detached from the game if he doesn’t. He takes creative pride in exploring different characters, often making each new one radically different than others he’s played. The Character Player bases his decisions on his character's psychology first and foremost. He may view rules as a necessary evil at best, preferring sessions in which the dice never come out of their bags. For the Character Player, the greatest reward comes from experiencing the game from the emotional perspective of an interesting character.



Character Player


Weekend Warrior




Casual Gamer




Power Gamer


What RPG Player (Not Character) Type Are You?
created with

Not at all surprising given not only how I play but how I GM.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

What Action Hero Are You?

You scored as Captain Jack Sparrow. Roguish,quick-witted, and incredibly lucky, Jack Sparrow is a pirate who sometimes ends up being a hero, against his better judgement. Captain Jack looks out for #1, but he can be counted on (usually) to do the right thing. He has an incredibly persuasive tongue, a mind that borders on genius or insanity, and an incredible talent for getting into trouble and getting out of it. Maybe its brains, maybe its genius, or maybe its just plain luck. Or maybe a mixture of all three.

Captain Jack Sparrow


The Amazing Spider-Man


William Wallace


Lara Croft


Batman, the Dark Knight


El Zorro




Neo, the "One"


Indiana Jones


The Terminator


James Bond, Agent 007


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with

Not what I would have guessed. And I was good in not trying to slant it... but I figured I'd end up as Indy or Wallace.

Wow, I think I'm actually starting to learn a little of the html stuff... I actually fixed the craptastic formatting that the quiz generated by editting the html by hand.

Yay me.


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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Whedon on Buffy Season 8

Well, it sucks that Whedon is off Wonder Woman, but here is an interview with Whedon mostly about Buffy Season 8.

Not really much else... as I put in a comment, I haven't been feeling "bloggy" that past few days. But I'm sure that I'll soon find something pointless to rant about, like when are they going to get the cajones just to kill off Lana on Smallville?

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Already thought of...

On the way home from ritual last night, I got the idea to start a new blog specifically for my spiritual musings and pagan topics. More I thought about it, the more I liked it. I've recently felt like I'd been neglecting my spiritual life, and it might help to have someplace specific to articulate things and encourage me to do more digging.

Given the Celtic nature of my pagan beliefs, I began brainstorming for a suitable name for a place to put down my ramblings. A title came to me: Knotty Thoughts. I began to visualize a cool Celtic knotwork theme, with some Book of the Kells inspired lettering for the title. Then my Voice of Reason spoke up.

"Better Google that first."

Sure enough, someone had thought of it, only not in the same context as me. It was a bondage movie. And either a popular one, or there were multiple takes on the same phrase from all of the Google hits.

Crap. Back to the drawing board. Maybe I could use my Welshified term for druid that I had occasionally made use of? It wasn't a real word, I had just changed the last letter from a single "d" to a Welsh "dd". Odds are no one else would have used it.

Except for one or more gamers that is, who use druidd as ahandle and character names.

Currently, I'm thinking about "Knot on the Head", again playing on the Celtic knotwork theme and reflecting some of my spiritual experiences where I feel like instead of being subtly guided I've been hit over the head. That or something with Druid Oz, a handle I've use, but may confused people thinking I'm an ADF grove in Australia.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

RP Tools

Ever since I got my new DLP tv, I've been looking for a way to use it to display maps for my players. Now that I have my new notebook and my wireless network set up, it seemed that I had everything but the software.

There are tons of mapping software out there, but to really make the maps useful, I needed someway to put things on the map and move them around during gameplay. So I began looking and found RP Tools.

Their map tool software would let me show a map, block parts of it if I wanted, and most importantly, would let me move tokens around on the map.

Token Tool was easy to use once I figured out how to get an image in the tool. In the first hour I knocked out tokens for the 6 pcs (and most of that because I had to hand draw and digitally ink the artwork for one). The next hour I knocked out about a dozen and a half NPCs, though this was greatly aided by the fact that they were Marvel characters so artwork was easy to find.

The Map Tool was more challenging. It seems that I am cursed when it comes to mapping software. I find the UI's cumbersome and often counter-intuitive. I shouldn't have to fight to draw a simple four wall building on a scale I want and I almost gave up the whole project in frustration.

Even ProFantasy's Campaign Cartographer was a pain in the ass to use. While fairly simple for doing basic outdoor maps, it again became a fight to try to figure out how to do a simple building, not to mention one on the scale that I wanted. Much swearing ensued.

Importing a map into Map Tool is straight-forward, though it may require some tweaking for scale. But I was gnashing my teeth at these damned programs to make me a simple building map. Then it hit me.

I fired up an old version of MyHouse, a cheap-ass home design software. Fifteen minutes later, I had a six room block of a no-tell motel, complete with furniture and a couple of cars for my heroes to wreck. I took an overhead snapshot and loaded that into Map Tool. A couple of tokens showed that the scale was close enough, so I went to save the "campaign". The program gave me an error message.


Fortunately, now that I have the map image and the tokens, I can set it up in fifteen minutes. All of my hours of frustration and prep will pay off.

Unless, of course, my players decide to run away in the first round of the battle. :(

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Movie Review: Pan's Labyrinth

El Laberinto del Fauno, or Pan's Labyrinth is not your typical fantasy movie. In the age of the Harry Potter movies or the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it is an altogether different kind of film. At first glance one may think that it harkens back to fantasy classics such as the Dark Crystal or Labyrinth... it doesn't.

First of all, this movie is not for children. Trust me on this one. If you take your children to this movie, you will probably put some therapist's kid through college.

This movie is not going to be for everyone. In fact, many "fantasy" fans probably won't like it. The story is woven into the Spanish Civil War, with the fantasy world offset by the harsh reality of the real one. And not only is the movie set in late 1930's Spain, it's in Spanish with subtitles.

I heard one movie-goer grousing, "It's not Harry Potter, and they made you read."

Because, you know, there's no reading involved in Harry Potter.

Subtitles don't bother me much, and my Spanish is good enough that I could glance at the subtitles (in fact I could spot instances when the subtitles varied from what the actors said) and follow along. Add to that my interest in history and that as a Spanish major in college I studied Spanish history and it may have been more interesting to me than the average movie-goer.

Guillermo del Toro doesn't pull any punches. There are some squirm-worthy moments and we are reminded of the darker side of both fairy tales and human nature. While not gratuitous like horror movies, the film certainly earns its "R" rating.

I can't really get into much more regarding the writing without spoiling. If you like a movie that makes you think and can take some brutal reality alongside your make beleive, I think you'll enjoy this movie a lot. If you are looking for some popcorn entertainment and don't like foriegn language movies, then you will probably feel like you wasted your money. And remember, either way, leave the kids at home.

Oz rates this movie: 5 out of 5 Spanish-speaking make-believe flying monkeys.


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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Cat Accountants

I wonder if they do Triumph's taxes?

Also from Conan... the just wrong Jar Barf.


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Dinner for 5 w/ Kevin Smith

This is an episode of Dinner for 5 guest hosted by Kevim Smith with guests Stan Lee, Jason Lee, JJ Abrams and Mark Hamill.

The original article with the second two parts after the jump...

Go here for the rest of the episodes.


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Wal-Mart eludes taxes

OK, to be fair, Wal-Mart isn't the only corporation that uses this trick. But there's a reason why some of the richest people in the world made their riches from Wal-Mart, it won't pay a dime it doesn't have to.

In this case, we're talking about a tax loop-hole. As much as I love to gnash my teeth and bang my shield at Wal-Mart, shame on the states for not figuring this out. If what Wal-Mart (and other companies) did was technically legal, the simple answer is close the loophole.

Of course, being America, some states are choosing litigious route. Unless they can show that Wal-Mart actually broke laws, it will just be a waste of money. Sure, companies may have known it was wrong to exploit the loophole, but it was an exploit that saved them millions and millions of dollars in taxes (remember that when you do your taxes).

The simple solution: make it illegal for a REIT to rent property to the owners of any shares of the REIT or to the employers of any share holders.

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