* Josh Marshall has a good “New Yorker article”:http://www.newyorker.com/critics/atlarge/?040202crat_atlarge on the American empire.
* “Eve Tushnet”:http://eve-tushnet.blogspot.com/2004_01_01_eve-tushnet_archive.html#107484497646215295 ruminates after a long-overdue first reading of _Watchmen_, and “Jim Henley”:http://www.highclearing.com/archivesuo/week_2004_01_25.html#004983 has an excellent response that drifts into a broader consideration of the role of superhero fiction:
And of course the core question, “what could possibly make [volunteer firemen] think that it was worthwhile to risk their own lives to save others,” can be spun and flipped in a number of important ways. From _Why do firemen do what they do?_ to _Why don’t the rest of us do what they do?_ to _Why shouldn’t the rest of us do what they do?_ and even _What right do we have_ not _to do what they do?_ To me, superheroes become an interesting way of addressing these questions. I would argue that, if science fiction is the literature of ideas, the superhero story is the literature of ethics. Or say, rather, _it should be_.
* “Ed Hand”:http://homepage.mac.com/edahand/iblog/B1323778479/C1181413705/E1681227363/index.html comments on the new “Firefly”:http://www2.foxhome.com/firefly/ DVD. This prompted me to wonder why I hadn’t received my copy yet, which I ordered from Amazon a while ago. This in turn led to the discovery that I _hadn’t_ actually ordered it, but only marked it to buy later. Now it _is_ ordered — look for mucho Firely talk in a couple weeks.
* Via “Ed Heil”:http://ed.puddingbowl.org/archives/001821.html via “Beth Wheeler”:http://soli.inav.net/~penfold/, this gem: “The Lord of the Rings: A Source-Criticism Analysis”:http://www.mark-shea.com/LOTR.html. Priceless.
* Hearty congratulations to Michael Hall of “Puddingtime!”:http://www.puddingbowl.org/archives/stork/001816.php on the birth of a healthy baby boy, Benjamin Arthur Dunfree Hall. (I’ll be sure to steal that name the next time I’m in a Call of Cthulu game.) 10 lbs., 4 oz., 22″, to which I can only say: holy crap!
* UPDATE: Everyone will be happy to learn “the real story behind the Blizzard of ’96”:http://www.biblenews1.com/history3/20030216.htm. Hat tip to alert reader Bryan, who stumbled on the info while searching for ‘washing dc snowstorms.’