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Posts posted by emb021

  1. While I enjoyed the 2 Hellboy movies, I much more enjoy the original comic book stories they are based on.

    I had gotten into Hellboy because of its mixing of occult detective, lovecraftian horror and pulp fiction elements.

    The Hellboy comics are a much richer universe then what its touched on in the movies.

    There is one element from the character that I picked up fairly early on, and would be of interest to people here, which is the idea of free will vs destiny. What do I mean.

    Well, let's be clear. Hellboy is a demon. Its obvious when we see him. And in the comics we are given bits and pieces of his backstory (much of which he himself doesn't know). He is the son of a demon prince and a human witch. Somehow he was born with the Right Hand of Doom, the right hand of the Watcher spirit who took Vril from God to form the dragon Ogdru Jahad. With that same hand, he bound the dragon, but then his fellow spirits turned upon him for his deeds, and destroyed him utterly, leaving only his right hand.

    So by that hand, Hellboy can free the Ogrdu Jahad, who will lay waste to the world. This is why Rasputin summoned him to Earth (as seen in the first movie). Also, as prince of hell, he is destined to lead the armies of hell in a future apocalypse.

    So that is Hellboy's destiny.

    And in most such works, he would have given in to his destiny, etc etc.

    But it wasn't so.

    Instead, the baby Hellboy was raised by humans (see the flashbacks in the first 2 movies), and he steps away from that path, choosing to be a good guy. (in the comics he is made an 'honorary human'). In the comics, we see him making friends with many priests and holy men, helped to defeat many demons and evil creatures. In fact, in several stories, many of the mythical creatures speak of Hellboy now walking his own path.

    In my mind, he's a great example of free will, of making a choice to be good, rather then just being evil because its ones 'destiny'.

  2. I've always heard that a satisfied client will tell a friend. A dissatisfied client will tell 10.

    Actually, its worse then that. <_<

    I saw a blurp in the latest Time magazine on a book about satisfied customers. Basically in our connected lives today, a satisfied customer will tell about 10 people or so, but a dissatisfied customer will tell 4000! With mailing lists, blogs, forums, and such, more people will learn of poor business behaviors, making it even more critical for business to have better customer service policies, procedures and training.

  3. The 2003 Hulk movie had its moments, but most people didn't care for its rejiging the Hulk backstore.

    The new movie has tie-ins with the Hulk tv show. It also has tie-ins with Marvel back history (hints to Captain America) , and possible future movies (we met the future Leader and Doc Sampson, and tie-in with future Avengers movie).

    This is amoung the better of the Marvel movies.

  4. FWIW-

    I find the discussion from the last few days regarding Valiant's inability to understand the basics of quoting, etc, some what amusing.

    Myself, I was taught the basics of quoting, citing sources, etc, when I was in high school. When I went to college (and grad school), it was expected I would understand these concepts, with the only changes being in how I would cite sources (footnotes vs MLA style vs APA style, etc).

    I had a bothersome episode a few years back with an older individual in an org I'm in that didn't seem to understand the basics of doing research. He made claims of a historical nature that were untrue, when I passed along information from people more knowledgeable then he was (after he claimed to have 'extensively researched the topic'), he was a little embarresed. And then proceeded to try to paint me as the 'bad guy' for daring to point out his error. (sorry, but my view as a researcher is that getting to the truth of the matter is more important then 'saving face'). And I was less then pleased when I saw his self-published work on the subject that he included verbatim several paragraphs of material I had written and been posted to a website, all without giving any citation as to the source, giving the impression he had written the materials.


  5. "Teach the Moral ABC that unites all mankind free, Instantly 6 billion strong & we're All-One.

    All-One or None!

    "Replace half-true Socialist-fluoride poison & tax-slavery with full-truth, work-speech-press & profitsharing Socialaction! All-One! So, help build 4 billion Hannibal wind-power plants, charging 96 billion battery-banks, powering every car-factory-farm-home-monorail & pump, watering Babylon-roof-gardens & 800 billion Israel-Milorganite fruit trees, guarded by Swiss 6000 year Universal Military Training"

  6. ...I was a fan of the character in the comics, back when, but there's something I can't remember: Did Tony Stark ever smoke in the comics (pre-'tobacco is evil' days)?

    Not that I recall. He did have an problem with alchoholism, which was used for some story lines. Supposedly this will be an theme in the next movie.

    To be honest, I'm not aware of many that did. There were a few that might have a cigar (say Sgt Fury et al). Eeevil villians might have a cigarette holder.

  7. Someone is making sure all of Stan Lee's creations hit the silver screen before he leaves us.

    "stan lee's creations"?

    Gee, I guess Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, Bill Everett and all the rest had nothing to do with the CO-creation of these characters...

  8. Secondly, there is an announcement for a new book of work from Ditko himself! This comes from Robin Snyder, who has pretty much been his editor and publisher for most of his new works for the last couple of decades. No new info as yet, but hope to hear more. There is a page about it at Blake's site: http://www.ditko.comics.org/ditko/08ditgn.html

    There is now more info on this new book.

    The title of the book is apparently "The Avenging Mind". It is 48 pages and costs $4.95. Copies can be ordered from Robin Snyder (address and postage costs are given at the above link).

    Its uncertain how much of this book is 'new', or reprints of articles and works from Ditko that have seen print in Robin Snyder's newsletter "The Comics". Blake Bell, the owner of the above website, says this about the book: "Back in March 2003, Ditko launched a 3-part series, "The Avenging Mind," in The Comics, attacking Fantagraphics co-publisher Gary Groth and me as "anti-Ditko" based on the title and cover image of our book on his career, (then-titled) Steve Ditko: The Mysterious Traveler (now retitled Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko) and based on his perception of past "indiscretions" against him by Gary and me. Ditko had not seen any of the innards of the book, but that didn't stop him from labeled it a "poison sandwich." He revised the essays in The Comics again in 2004 and the title of this new 2008 book suggests that it could be a revised attack on Gary, myself and any others perceived as being part of the "unearned/undeserved" collective. We'll update this page as we learn more. "

    He's probably right, but I plan on getting the book anyway. I still hope for a collection of previously unpublished works. I always hope that Ditko had done other works (ideally more heroic work) that has yet to see print.

  9. Sorry, but the comic book fan in me must respond.

    I have come across 3 films that look very promising that will be coming out soon! They are:

    1) The Spirit - This movie was written and directed by Frank Miller (300 & Sin City) and is based on the comic book series by Will Eisner. It is about a police officer who is murdered and some how is resurrected where he becomes a clandestine crime fighter.

    As many of you know Miller dedicated his Martha Washington series to Ayn Rand and is a self-professed libertarian.

    Ah, the Spirit. Will Eisner's classic series. Interestingly, in a time in which comic companies and newspaper syndicates owned the characters, Eisner was able to retain ownership of this work. He also wasn't a big superhero fan, and he only put a mask on the character as a consession. The original stories are great, especially the post-war Spirits. Sometimes the Spirit almost became a secondary character in his own series.

    The Spirit was really criminologist/private eye Denny Colt. During the investigation of a crime, it appeared he was killed, but instead was put into a death-like trance. He awoke, and desided to create the identity of The Spirit to fight criminals as a kind of vigilante (tho he never killed).

    It will be interesting as to how Miller deals with this.

    I haven't seen too much libertarian views in Miller's work. There are some sections of the Martha Washington series that hints at it (and in one series, a sort of randian/libertarian galts gulch group liberates the world). His final Martha Washington story, which seems to show a world back in chaos due to an unknown source (radical muslim terrorists seems to be hinted at), was a bit strange and a let down. There is a complete collection planned of this series, which will be nice.

    2) The Watchmen - This movie is based on the comic book series of Alan Moore (V for Vendetta). It takes place during the 1980's and the war is about to break out between the US and USSR. While this is going on, former superheroes of the Crimebusters are the targets of a campaign to kill or discredit them.

    Website: http://watchmenmovie.warnerbros.com/

    The Watchmen. Alan Moore's revamp of the old Charlton Comics heroes, which include the Steve Ditko created Blue Beetle (as the Nite Owl) and the Question (a more commercial take on his clearly Objectivist hero, Mr. A., now reimaged as the insane Rorshack). Moore is not a fan of libertarian values, as he's a leftist. So it remains to be seen how things go.

    In the world of the Watchmen, thanks to the fact that the US has Dr. Manhattan, a nearly god-like superhero, the tensions between the US and USSR is much worse. The US wins the Vietnam War, and I think annexs Vietnam. And someone is killing off the superheroes. We'll see how this goes. Hollywood screwed up the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, also based on a Moore series. There have been rumors of a Watchmen film (or that doing on is impossible). We'll see how this come out.

    You can get the complete collection still from DC Comics.

  10. Michael Brown,

    Glad to learn that back issues of Liberty magazine are available for purchase. Below is an issue you might like to have in your personal library.


    This is only an aside to your topic. You have mentioned that you do not have John Hosper's articles concerning his acquaintance with Ayn Rand. I still have an issue of Liberty magazine in which Professor Hospers recounts his conversations with Miss Rand. This is in Volume 4, Number 1 (Sept 1990) of Liberty. I don't know whether this publication is available in libraries.


    Actually, I should soon have a complete set of the magazine. I dropped about $100 getting about the first 10 years or so of the mag, and subsequently sent in another order to fill a few holes.

    Hospers actually has several articles in those early issues of Liberty. There was, I recall, a 2 part memoir he wrote, which gave a complete history of his involvement with Rand. I believe there were also 1-2 others.

    In addition was an interview with Roy Childs that focused a lot on Rand. And there was a similiar memoir by Tibor Machan of his dealing with Rand & Branden. Childs' work was a bit too gossipy for me (too much based on 2nd/3rd hand stuff). Machen's was pretty good, and I think pointed to much of the bad stuff of the NBI days to Branden, rather then to Rand. I think Machen was treated shabbily by both. There was also a good interview with Barbara Branden. Liberty would publish a more complete version of this interview, but that's no longer available (unfortunately).

  11. FWIW, Liberty magazine (a libertarian magazine I've subscribed to for some time) has been selling at a discount their back issues (which I didn't even know they had available...). Because I'm one of those strange people who like to have a complete run of magazines I like, I took advantage of this to get the earlier issues I missed and fill in some holes. I don't think I discovered Liberty until some time in the mid 90s, so there are several years I needed.

    In getting these back issues, I've been reading thru them. In the earlier years, there were several articles about Rand. Interviews with people who knew her, articles by people who knew her, etc. Overall I enjoyed them. They didn't really change my overall view of Rand. Nor my view of Barbara Branden. My view of Nathaniel has changed, in that my opinion of him is less then it was.

    Now, one thing I did notice was a ad for a self-published booklet called "In Defense of Ayn Rand" by a Virginia L.L. Hamel which came out in 1990. There was also a review of this work. The work was mainly 3 essays in 'answer' to PAR, Rothbard's "Socialogy of the AR Cult", and Judgement Day (as well as something called "Passages Cut from Judgement Day").

    Now, I'd never heard of this work (not surprising, as at the time I was busy in college and not really involved with the libertarian/objectivist world(s) at the time), and it doesn't appear to have been around long. The author apparently knew Rand, but the review seems to reveal she didn't care for the Peikoff crowd.

    Since this work seems a forerunner to the PARC, I have to wonder if it had any bearing. (one thing was it had the coriners report on Patrecia's death, I guess to bring up issues with Branden's account).

    So, was kind of curious about the impact, if any, of this work.


    (Reuters) - On the day of a crucial vote in her nomination battle against fellow Democrat Barack Obama, the New York senator said she wanted to make clear to Tehran what she was prepared to do as president in hopes that this warning would deter any Iranian nuclear attack against the Jewish state.

    "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

    "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them," she said.

    "That's a terrible thing to say but those people who run Iran need to understand that because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish and tragic," Clinton said.

    It just jumped into my head that one of the reasons given for having a women president is that a women wouldn't lead us to war.

    So, uh, guess that's another liberal myth deflated?

  13. You know, I thought this thread was about Princess Diana...


    Do you have any sources of her possible mistreatment at the hands of the Brandens, Sciaberra (etc)? I'd like to read them.

    AFAIK, Diana has never had any dealings with Barbara.

    She WAS, for a time, Nathaniel's webmaster. I guess he rubbed her the wrong way, and she no longer liked him, but only when she got involved with the ARI-crowd did she adopt the official anti-Branden attitude.

    AKAIK, she was never mistreated by Sciaberra. For reasons I can only assume is due to her involvement with the ARI-crowd, she turned on him. This dispite his apparent help to her in the past, as I understand it.

    Her website, Noodlefood, is a decent repository of her attacks and disavowment of people.

  14. All-

    I have mentioned on previous threads about Steve Ditko, the artist/writer who co-created Spiderman and Dr. Strange and who became an Objectivist, and created several Objectivist-influenced work since the 1960s.

    Well, 2 new books are coming out related to him.

    First off, is a long-awaited book by Blake Bell about Steve Ditko. It should be coming out in June, and is the first comprehensive work on the artist. Its called "Steve Ditko: Strange and Stranger". There is info on the web about the book, which includes a chapter breakdown: http://www.ditko.comics.org/ditko/newBK.html There are several chapters that should be of interest to Objectivists:

    CHAPTER SIX: Ayn Rand & The End at Marvel - Ditko, Ayn Rand, Lee and Goodman collide. Creative and financial turmoil between the group leave Ditko walking away from his two co-creations before they make millions for everyone but Ditko.

    CHAPTER EIGHT: Randian Heroes at Charlton and DC (1967-68) - Ditko the freelancer chases work from Tower Comics, to reviving Captain Atom and the Blue Beetle, to joining DC Comics. But Steve Ditko's career is about to change with the creation of The Question and Mr. A.

    CHAPTER NINE: Fans vs. Ditko (1959-75) - Ditko spends the 1960s legitimizing comic-book fandom - the only home he can find for his Rand-inspired material - before fandom bites back, forcing Ditko to blaze a trail in independent publishing.

    CHAPTER TWELVE: The Avenging Artist - The 1970s sees Ditko make a complete split between his work-for-hire & Objectivist material. Did he lose his artistic focus while spreading the Objectivist doctrine? What are the successes and failures of his highly personal work?

    I have no idea of Blake's views of Objectivism are. I read some of his writings about Ditko, and he didn't strike me as someone who put Ditko down for his idea or spoke against his philosophy. So I'm hoping it will be fair.

    Secondly, there is an announcement for a new book of work from Ditko himself! This comes from Robin Snyder, who has pretty much been his editor and publisher for most of his new works for the last couple of decades. No new info as yet, but hope to hear more. There is a page about it at Blake's site: http://www.ditko.comics.org/ditko/08ditgn.html

  15. There is also the segment from the Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy (preferably the radio show or tv, not the movie) when the representatives of the "Amalgamated Union of Philosophers, Sages, Luminaries and other Professional Thinking Persons" appear to protest a demarcation dispute against the Deep Thought computer being asked to determine the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything, and to demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty.

    They maintain that the search for ultimate truth is the inalienable prerogative of your "working thinkers".

    Deep Thought solves this by pointing out it will take him (it?) millions of years to work it out, and in the mean time, the philisophers can argue about what his answer will be, keeping them on 'the gravy train for life'.

    Here's the segment on YouTube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=GEVptpZmrOw

    There are short segments in the tv show about the works of Oolon Colluphid, such as "Where God Went Wrong", "Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes", "Who Is This God Person Anyway?" His work "Well That About Wraps It Up for God" used the Babel Fish to prove the non-existance of God.

  16. I do not recall hearing of any Objectivist manga (japanese comic books).

    The only comics out there based on Objectivist ideas are some of the work of Steve Ditko. There are some other threads about him here on-line.

  17. Jim Cramer has New York Gov Spitzer on his CNBC show last night. They are apparently friends from college.

    Did anyone else see it as I understand he attacked Miss Rand saying that laissez faire capialism would not work. I missed it.

    Spitzer was taken to task on the following show.

    Did anyone see either of the shows?

    I saw the first show and it seemed like Cramer was agreeing.

    I couldn't fully understand Spitzer point (if he had one). The gist of it was that he seemed to be critizing Alan Greenspan for 'putting Ayn Rand on a pedestal', and then going off on a rant about 'Ayn Rand' being wrong and how we need regulation etc in the economy. He seemed to feel that otherwise the 'greedy capitalists' would somehow get away with things. He seems to confuse laws intended to prevent fraud with regulation with controls what people do but has nothing to do with what is right or wrong.

  18. LFB is offering for sale a unique letter from Ayn Rand that is pre-split that does make mention of the split.

    You can read about it on their blog here: http://laissezfairebooks.blogspot.com/2008...e-for-sale.html

    But some facts.

    The letter is dated September 27, 1968. The letter is on Objectivist stationary, but the Empire State Building address is X'ed out and her home address typed in.

    As to the split, she speaks of an 'unfortunate experience with NBI', and that more can be read about it in the forthcoming Objectivist. (obviously the TWIMC article coming out in October).

  19. "Free and open trade" is not possible without this "mucking about" as you call it. You are an idiot. An extremely dense one, the black hole of idiots. Any attempt to shine a light on you reflects only darkness.

    Free and open trade is not "mucking about". They refer to 2 different things. "treaties, alliances, trade agreements and commercial enterprises of this great nation" are not "mucking about" and is not want Ron Paul is speaking of.

    Here's a good example of "mucking about":


    Yup. Perfect example. One that I didn't understand myself until the last decade or so. I was in high school when the Shah was overthrown, but had no understanding of the history behind what occured there. Other examples are our fiasco in southeast Asia (which Paul gives an example of how we've changed in our dealings with Vietnam), nonsense in Latin America (which has been shown in both serious movies as well as more comedic ones) and the like.

    There is the old quote of 'those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them'. Too often we were not taught what really was going on in schools (we just got the approved, sanitized story), and so too often Americans are allowing things to occur in their name without fully understand the full story and background. People's reactions to Paul pointing out our mistakes is a perfect example of this bad thinking, as shown in this bad attack ad: http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a208/ori...k/pedenback.jpg.

  20. Jefferson was willing to move against the Barbary pirates who were the Islamic terrorist of his day. Thousands of Europeans were enslaved by the pirates. Christopher Hitchens has pointed that the line in "Rule Britania" that says "Britons will never be slaves." was written because Britons were being enslaved until the British and American Navies stopped it.

    Jefferson did take action against Islamoists.

    Ron Paul voted to go after the 9/11 terrorists too. A little reading comprehension would be nice.

    True. He's made it very clear he was in favor of going after them, and is critical that we screwed that up, and used 9/11 as one of the excuses for invading Iraq.

  21. "Free and open trade" is not possible without this "mucking about" as you call it. You are an idiot. An extremely dense one, the black hole of idiots. Any attempt to shine a light on you reflects only darkness.

    Free and open trade is not "mucking about". They refer to 2 different things. "treaties, alliances, trade agreements and commercial enterprises of this great nation" are not "mucking about" and is not want Ron Paul is speaking of.

    A MSK mentioned, and anyone who keeps up on what going on in the world, the US too often interferres with other countries for their own interests. This is stuff like proping up right wing dictators because they are 'anti-communist' (which too often then not creates resistant groups who are marxist), or formetting 'freedom fighters' who too often then not don't bring real freedom, but yet another strong man dictator.

    There is a reason Paul quotes the founding fathers and gives example of how we should deal with foreign countries. Paul is definetly for having trade and commerce with other nations. You either aren't paying attention to what he says, or choosing to misinterpret what he says.