Good stuff from all over, by categories: politics, comics, cultural criticism and uncategorized.
Politics, Humorous and Otherwise
• A totally awesome McCain political cartoon. (And another.)
• The best thing I read about the successful conclusion to the Writer's Guild strike. It's all about the context, baby.
• Chalmers Johnson is one of the more interesting people on the current state of our beleaguered American Republic. There's a long interview with him here (both video and a transcript thereof). (He also writes at TomDispatch a lot.)
• RIAA bashing: always funny. (I like the slogan in particular: "We don't make music: we make music illegal.")
• What were the best comics of 2007? Don't ask me -- I just work here. Indeed, don't ask any one person: ask the hivemind. Dick Hyacinth has been assembling (according to a complex and arcane -- but very sensible, when you think about it -- set of rules) best-of lists from all over the web, creating a Meta-List of the Top Ten Comics of 2007. I can't express on the quality of the list, since I have read about or under half the list, depending on how you count. (And anyway, what is my opinion next to the hivemind's?) I will express surprise that my favorite comic of 2007, Alice in Sunderland, wasn't on that list -- and less you think this just me, I'll note that Dick Hyacinth himself predicted before making the list that it'd be in the top ten. -- I suppose it still has a chance, though, since the list so far is preliminary, since more results are due in and DH is going to revise his list to fit it. Anyway, check it out -- some good comics listed there.
• Someone took one of Jack Chick's creepiest tracts (online in four parts: one two three four) and made a musical narrative youtube video of it -- fascinating bit of cultural transformation there. A very creepy story -- that's one bit that survived the translation.
• Reading Tintin-in-America (part two is here): a very funny demonstration that the first Tintin book (first since we're all pretending Tintin in the Congo didn't exist) is batshit crazy. I'm convinced (although I still love the book -- hey, it's Hergé). (Update: this "Tintin-in-America is the first Tintin" is a joke from the link post; it wasn't really the first. Derik Badman points out in comments that it wasn't even the second; it was third, after not only Tintin in the Congo, but also after the he-never-colorized-or-redrew-it-so-it-somehow-doesn't-count Tintin in the Land of the Soviets.)
• Abigail Nussbaum blogs about fiction, both prose and televised. Her just-completed eight-part series on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine -- inspired by a recent rewatching of the show -- is really fantastic. I haven't seen the show since it aired (and only saw bits and pieces of the later seasons), but found her essays fascinating. There are spoilers throughout -- it's written, she says, for people "who watched, admired and loved Deep Space Nine in its original run, but who haven't thought about it much in the intervening years." I don't know if I ever loved it (although I loved some episodes), but as someone who watched it once, her essays gave me food for thought -- and an impulse to go re-watch the series from stem to stern, or at least the ones she said were worth watching. But if you dimly remember DS9, go read her essays. If you never saw it, or are a crazy fan of it, probably better to avoid them.
• Andrew Rilstone on Tolkien is always worth reading.
• Bruce Sterling on Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities (scroll down).
• I just read (large chunks of) Daniel Lord Smail's book On Deep History and the Brain. Interesting stuff (although a bit scattered I thought... but then, I didn't read the whole thing, so I really shouldn't say). Here's an essay he wrote to promote the book, which will give you a taste of some of it.
• This video of over 200 people freezing in Grand Central Station -- some sort of avant-garde art project presumably, although it's never really explained -- is awesome.
• The finalists of the New Yorker's redraw-their-anniversary-cover contest. Some of these are terrific; the whole idea is too.
• All the Nebula-award-winning SF novels rewritten as haiku. (via -- as were a few others of these, probably -- they have some of the best weird links on the web)
• Chimps have better memories than we do.
• Did L. Ron Hubbard really say "the way to make a million dollars is to start a religion" shortly before founding Scientology? This exhaustive analysis investigates. The short answer: he probably did. Click through if you care about the details.