* Josh Marshall has a good “New Yorker article”: on the American empire.
* “Eve Tushnet”: ruminates after a long-overdue first reading of _Watchmen_, and “Jim Henley”: 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”: comments on the new “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”: via “Beth Wheeler”:, this gem: “The Lord of the Rings: A Source-Criticism Analysis”: Priceless.
* Hearty congratulations to Michael Hall of “Puddingtime!”: 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”: Hat tip to alert reader Bryan, who stumbled on the info while searching for ‘washing dc snowstorms.’