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Oh, My Goddess

Oh, my goodness is more like it. The anime series and film Oh My Goddess begins like Mahoromatic Maid and ends like Neon Genesis Evangelion. However, stay away if you're fans of either of those latter two series, as it brings little original content of its own, and poorly executes both of the elements it borrows.

Much Ado About Star Wars: Episode Two, Part Two

The release of George Lucas' two prequels to the original Star Wars films has prompted a lot of criticism from self-described fans, who accuse him of "ruining" Star Wars. I myself find it amusing, and in a way, the best barometer for Lucas' success. He has created a fantasy world so compelling, so seductive, and so immersive that thousands of its fans believe very strongly that it is as much their world as his-- that it is, in fact, something independent of him that he is capable of "ruining" to their detriment.
However, viewing the two recent prequels does give rise to a few basic questions that makes one wonder who reviews scripts and gives final approvals for things. Some of these questions are on minor issues, and others are so large that they cause the plot of the first three films to collapse into dusty debris.
Most of these problems start in Episode Two. The events of Episode One are significantly removed from the events of the original trilogy as to have almost no effect on them. The only real question that arises here is how Darth Sidious, a Sith Lord, apparently is a Senator from the relatively unknown planet of Naboo, and is apparently not a Jedi nor had any Jedi training. While Lucas may have ruled out doing the final three films of what was originally envisioned as a nine movie sequence, perhaps he could do a few pre-prequels to explain the genesis of the Sith in the first place. But as we'll see, the very idea of what the Sith is and where they came from cause a plague of problems in Episode Two that will need to be answered in Episode Three.

It's Coming Right For Us

This story about how hunters attract grizzly bears reminded me of the anti-gun legislation jokes in South Park. Jimbo never is shown using junk food to lure bears into range, but who knows, he might have if given the chance.

Uzbek gamers pick up PC skills

Rarely do two areas of interest dovetail so well. Too bad the article is rather superficial. I'll do better, I promise.Uzbek gamers pick up PC skills - BBC Dec 5 2003 4:02AM ET

It's The Economy, Stupid

One of the thornier problems that is the result of having a single-digit IQ president who doesn't even know what he doesn't know is all those other nations whose leaders aren't outright dimwits or don't have one track minds.Witness Germany, right now considering lifting a ban on arms sales to China at the same time China is saber rattling to the US over Taiwanese independence and the US' continued military support to the island almost-nation.

Blood And Profit

Earth to Central Asia: Complaints of torture do not "attract foreign capital". Quite the reverse. Aid workers might be well paid in contrast to the poorer locals, but by Western standards the salaries are below average. Much easier, in fact, to ignore such human rights violations while working for a foreign oil company or security firm, for instance. Kyrgyz Torture Ban - IWPR Dec 4 2003 1:50AM ET

Schroeder To German Kazakhstanis: Stay Put

Interesting how you need to read all the way to the end of an article like this to see the real point: that Germany doesn't want to continue to pay any "cultural assistance" to the ethnic German community in Kazakhstan, but doesn't want them to return home, either. The line about helping them "sustain themselves" sounds like so much Lockheed Martin "welfare to work" speak.Germany's Schroeder heads to Kazakhstan to promote ties - AFP via Yahoo! Dec 4 2003 2:53AM ET

Kazakhstan rehires subject of probe

Giffen's bank, Mercator, is under investigation for possibly funnelling bribe money in Kazakhstan; meanwhile, the state oil company, KazMunaiGas, in a surprise move, rehires the firm for negotiations over the Kashagan field.

Kazakhstan rehires subject of probe - Washington Times Dec 4 2003 0:30AM ET

Rock And Roll, Almaty Style

Incidentally, Almaty experienced an earthquake that registered 4 on the Richter scale early on Monday morning. At the epicenter, 300 kilometers east of Almaty in Western China, the quake reached 7 points on the Richter scale, killed 10, injured 30, and destroyed 700 structures. There were no victims or damage in Almaty. This was probably the strongest quake I can remember since I've lived here; it was quite noticeable and seemed to last for several seconds, but wasn't quite strong enough to cause any serious upset-- no overturned furniture or broken glasses, for instance, which has happened in earlier quakes

U.S. Military Takes Wife, Daughter Of Wanted General Hostage

This is actually pretty shocking to me. But when you say that forces have detained the relatives of an opposing military leader, I don't know what else to call it except hostage-taking. Anything else is a euphemism.

U.S. detains relatives of Iraqi on wanted list -