I'm attending a Barack Obama fundraiser tonight. At my job, where we do a large amount of work for Hillary Clinton, I'm slacking severely. But am I doing enough to damage Hillary Clinton's chances and help Skinny Man into the White House? Sadly, nay. Until today.
Hillary Clinton hates Grand Theft Auto, which is the main reason I could not ever vote for her. I am a single issue voter. So the best way you can help Obama's campaign is to support GTA:IV.
And they're making it so easy to get excited. They've relaunched the GTA website with LOADS of goodies about the new game. It's especially exciting because the whole game takes place in the city in which I currently hang out often. From that perspective, how good of job did they do?
Well, for starters, they included the Astoria Beer Garden:
"Because they are government sponsored, the government let them get away with practices that would never fly in the private market."
The US is not a free market. In a free market, winners get the princess and losers get a big fat game over. In our economy, failing companies have a cheat code to get unlimited continues (at taxpayer expense).
Given the probable consequences of some of these companies failing, the government's reaction is understandable. Yet it's irritating, as we'll never fix the problem when times are good, and when times are bad we can't afford to fix it. Maybe the solution is a president whose admitted weak spot isn't the economy.
In a free market, companies compete on an equal footing. In America, here's a short listing of large companies which benefit from corporate welfare (feel free to add others in the comments):
Agribusiness (Archer Daniels Midland, ConAgra. et al): Each receive major subsidies from the government in the form of periodic farm bills.
Tobacco (Altria, RJ Reynolds, et al): In the master settlement agreement, tobacco companies essentially agreed to fund our Medicare system in exchange for government protection against competition.
JPMorgan Chase: Received a favorable deal from the US government to acquire Bear Sterns.
Boeing: Preferential military contracts and major tax breaks help it compete against foreign competitor Airbus (which also receives preference in the EU.
For proponents of government-run health care (also major beneficiaries of the government's largesse), the solution is clear. Privatize health care, wait for our "too big to fail" health care companies to fail, then wait for the government to take it over.
The game of Go (a game exponentially more complex than chess) has succumbed to the Turing test. Scientists previously thought it impossible to program computers to play this difficult game with any effectiveness. Instead, artificial intelligence has taken another step towards robo-domination of the world.
Should you be afraid? Not necessarily. I see a silver lining. I'd previously mentioned that the omission of Dr. Mario from Smash Bros. Brawl was disappointing from the standpoint of a biotechnological house rule. Fortunately, the new house rule can be adapted to the cybernetic, flesh-free paradigm, by replacing Doc with the demented R.O.B. who assimilates humans into his matrix of evil.
Checkit. Good is out. Evil's in. Heck... it was never actually out.
Take Fallout III. You're playing as some dame or dong who just released from a vault into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Whaddya do? Help old ladies cross the street? No! You find the only settlement for miles and drop a tactical nuke in the middle of it. Goodbye to Megaton and all sorts of innocent lives who never saw it coming.
And what happens? You lose a little karma, but gain a sweet house and some killer threads. Time after time, evil triumphs over good.
Take romantic doings. Every time a dude tries to be nicer to his lady, the relationship goes to pot. Every time a dude decides to treat his lady like dog feces, the relationship grows strong like ox. Just how it is. Rather than try to be nice, I've declared that insult is the new pickup line. If you catch me making eyes at you over at the soda fountain, you can expect the first words out of my mouth will be something like "If I could rearrange the alphabet, I'd put You next to Aitch Ay Arr Ell Oh Tee". Words she cannot resist... evil wins again!
Doing evil is the only bear market right now. It's the law of antikarma... no bad deed goes unrewarded.
But why must the universe test me so? I find myself at the locksmith, making a copy of a key. I ask if I can charge it to my sensible American Express blue card. The guy asks if I have any cash on me, and I say "Pshaw... do I look like I'm employed?" He says "Don't worry about it, just come in and pay me back next time you're in the neighborhood."
So what's a brethren of darkness supposed to do? I could easily abscond and write up $3.50 in negative costs for the year. Plus, as established above, antikarma dictates that if I do something evil, good things will happen to me. But part of me thinks I should do the right thing, even though good deeds so often get punished and I would need to have the added hassle of begging for this sum of money.
So what of it... do I take the $3.50 and whatever's in the antikarmic mystery box, or do I listen to my danged conscience? Hurry and answer, people... hesitation is a sign of weakness.
I am now four games into my 162-game season in MLB 2K9 on XBox 360, and the virtual Orioles are 1-3 thus far. The various maddening glitches, hitches, and twitches of this year’s edition of the game have been actively covered elsewhere, so I won’t dwell on them too much–but the thing I find most striking about the game is that despite the common occurrence of such wondrous events as a throw beating the runner to first base by ten steps and the runner being called safe, it actually sort of manages to emulate the viability of the real-life Orioles fairly well.
In the first game, Jeremy Guthrie kept the Orioles in the game for six innings, giving up four runs. He then handed the ball off to Jim Hoey, who allowed six runs over two innings, putting the game out of reach. The Orioles scratched out 4 runs on clutch hits from Melvin Mora and Aubrey Huff. In Game 2, Koji Uehara and his nonexistent off-speed repetoire were tagged for 11 runs in the first two innings, after which Dennis Sarfate pitched five scoreless frames, during which the offense again assembled four runs out of a patchwork of clutch hitting from Mora, Huff, and Wieters (who is listed as “Mark Weathers” in the game, because he is not yet a member of the players union. Uehara also has an alias–something or other “Uto”). In Game 3, Rich Hill (whose left arm will be sorely missed in the rotation as he begins the year on the DL) pitched a solid but wobbly seven innings, allowing five runs on fifteen hits, but the offense came alive with seven runs (two of them on a homer by Adam Jones, who is eight for his last ten–and who the buzz indicates may be poised for a breakout year), and Chris Ray surrendered a run in his first appearance since his surgery, but got the save. In Game Four, Matt Albers (who will also admittedly not be a part of the 2009 rotation to start the season) held Tampa Bay to two runs through six innings, and then exploded in the seventh, allowing five runs without recording an out. Jim Johnson entered and proceeded to surrender three more runs, but the Orioles rallied to close the gap to 10-9 with more clutch hitting from Mora, Jones (and, hilariously, Cesar Izturis) in the eighth. They were unable to close the gap further, however, and ended up losing 11-9.
Roster-based inconsistencies aside, it’s hard to imagine the Birds first few games in real life going very differently than this (unfortunately). A wobbly pitching staff will be enough to keep the opposing teams at bay temporarily, but no amount of run support from the undeniably potent Orioles lineup can make up for the lack of overall competence from the mound. Replace Hill and Albers with any of the other contenders for the remaining three spots in the rotation–Mark Hendrickson, Alfredo Simon, Hayden Penn–and the results are likely to be the same: flashes of quality but little hope of anything sustainable.
The question, of course, is does that mean it is actually fun to play MLB 2K9? I suppose there’s a certain geeky glory in callibrating the progress of a make-believe cadre of animated sprites to match that of their human counterparts–but it would be cooler if at least one version of the Orioles had an .800 winning percentage, and it ain’t lookin’ like Team Trembley is going to fill the bill.
Have you ever dreamed of shaking a baby to death? Well, that's none of my business. However, if this was a dream of yours, it could have come true with a simple 99-cent app for the iPhone: The Baby Shaker App. But those sick bastards at Apple have decided to take the app off the market.
Watch this video. What's so harmful about this?
It's just a simple game, and hardly as elaborate as others out there. You can hire and murder prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. In True Crime: New York City, you play a cop who can plant evidence at crime scenes... and these games haven't been pulled. So what's the harm in the Baby Shaker app? What do you want, a video game about the signing of the Declaration of Independence? How about the exciting life of an alcoholic deprived of his goods by the Temperance movement?
In Super Mario World, I learned how to punch a lizard in the back of its head while riding on its back to score points, but that doesn't mean I do this in real life. Video games present the perfect opportunity to teach our children about just how fucked up the world is.