Miscellaneous notes

• While I applaud most efforts to annoy prissy leftists, I’m not all that concerned about the “Sad Puppies.” I’ve never regarded the Hugo award as anything but a popularity contest, no more significant than the Nobel Peace Prize. ((It doesn’t help that they’re named for a lousy writer.)) ((The Nebula awards, which are chosen by writers, are more meaningful, but only slightly: in 1971, Gene Wolfe and R.A. Lafferty, the best writer and the most original writer of our time, both lost to Noah Ward.)) It’s hardly worth all the histrionics.

• A useful term: “gong farmer.” (Via Professor Mondo.)

• Yesterday was the twelfth anniversary of the launch of my first weblog. It was not my first website, though; I’ve had a web presence of some sort since the final years of the last century.

“… de de de de de, dink ….”

I found this discussion of the War Powers Resolution difficult to follow. I wondered if the arguments might be easier to understand if they were sung to the melody of “The Primrose Polka.”


The lyrics can be found here. (I substituted “cuckoo clock” for a word I prefer not to use.)

Please note that this is not a good example of what Miku English is capable of. I picked a lively tune with many notes so I could get a lot of words in, and exaggerated the “clearness” and “brightness” of the voices. Fewer, longer notes, individually edited, would have sounded much better.

Maybe they can pixelate them out

What is going to give American critics more problems with Hayao Miyazaki’s last movie? This:

Although “The Wind Rises” has a strong pacifist message, it is essentially a biopic of Jiro Horikoshi, an aeronautical engineer whose contribution to the world was a killing machine. His designs led to the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter, which was used to devastating effect during World War II.

or this:

Mr. Miyazaki’s film, which is aimed at adults, also features at least eight scenes in which characters smoke cigarettes….

It’s just a matter of time before Haibane Renmei is rated “NC-17” for Reki’s horrifying habit.

Odds and ends

Little Arkansas River

After two summers of desert heat, we now have a summer of tropical monsoon rain. The Little Arkansas River, which runs north, west and south of my place, is the highest it’s been in years. More rain is predicted.


It occurs to me that comparing Stella etc. to Girls und Panzer is misguided. Yura has more in common with such painfully self-conscious characters as Inu x Boku SS‘s Ririchiyo and Tsuritama‘s Yuki than with with Miho, and the story thus far has been more about Yura learning to play well with others than about girls playing with guns.


Ryutaro Nakamura, who directed Serial Experiments Lain and Kino’s Journey, recently died. Jonathan Clements’ appreciation is here.


Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita‘s Mediator should beware the dangers of undead hair.


I generally consider “critic” to be a subset of the category “pompous fool.” Here’s an example why.


ISON is approaching.


One of my pictures was yesterday’s Botany Photo of the Day.

From the chariot boudoir

If you can’t find the video you want on YouTube, look elsewhere. (This is the complete recording of the song, not just the excerpt included in the eighth episode of Girls und Panzer (and censored on Crunchyroll). The missing section of the anime begins around 1:50.) ((Though the censored section is back on Youtube for now.))

So we’ve had girls with guns, girls as guns (or is that guns as girls?), girls with mecha, girls as combat aircraft, and now with girls with tanks. ((It’s actually not that new. See Those Who Hunt Elves — on second thought, don’t. It’s lousy; not even Kotono Mitsuishi could redeem it.)) It’s probably all just pandering to otaku, but perhaps there is something more sinister going on. If anime reflects reality, Japanese young men generally are either hapless dweebs or sparkly bishies and crossdressers. If you want to form an army, they’d be useless. You’d be better off drafting young women, who in Japan have talent for using the tools of war, and often magic, too. Girls und Panzer may be just the latest in a series of entertainments designed to accustom the Japanese to the idea of women as warriors.

At least one Chinese writer sees “evil intent militarism” in Girls und Panzer, though it’s difficult to follow the argument as interpreted by Giggle Translate. ((Giggle Translate insisted that the original language of the linked page was Irish.))

Today’s cultural trivia

Spotted by The Rat:

For many years I used to see Kurt Vonnegut shambling around the streets of Turtle Bay, on the East Side of New York, always with a disconsolate expression on his face. I could never figure out why he looked so miserable; he was, after all, one of America’s most successful and admired novelists. Then one day, while reading Exposing Myself, I found out that Vonnegut had briefly been Geraldo [Rivera]’s father-in-law.

Quote of the day

The astounding thing about all the quackeries, fads, and movements of the past hundred years in America is that they were first accepted by superior people, by men and women of education, intelligence, breeding, wealth, and experience. Only after the upper classes had approved, the masses accepted each new thing.

—Gilbert Seldes, The Stammering Century (1928)

Perhaps it’s not that astounding; I long ago observed that high intelligence is not necessarily associated with common sense.

Pre-Rush Day link dump

J.K. Rowling has been recognized in Thog’s Masterclass:

Dept of Trickle-Down. ‘There, in his poky office, Simon Price gazed covetously on a vacancy among the ranks of insiders to a place where cash was now trickling down onto an empty chair with no lap waiting to catch it.’ (J.K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy, 2012)

Daniel Barenboim also earns a mention in Ansible:

Pianist Daniel Barenboim is interviewed by Rosanna Greenstreet: Q. ‘What is your earliest memory?’ A. ‘In my mother’s belly, I remember not liking the tempi my father played the Beethoven Sonatas in.’ (Guardian, 2 November)

Christopher Tolkien doesn’t care for Peter Jackson’s movies:

Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to. Why? “They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25,” Christopher says regretfully. “And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film.”
This divorce has been systematically driven by the logic of Hollywood. “Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time,” Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. “The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away.”

So is the world going to end tomorrow? Nah. I suppose you could marathon RahXephon if you’re feeling silly, but I suggest listening to Geddy, Alex and Neil instead.

These are the acceptable ways to end civilization:

… asteroid/comet, climate, massive volcanic eruption, zombie pandemic, Daleks, the Master, the Mayor turns into a giant snake monster, Gachnar (although that would be a very tiny apocalypse), gateway to Hell opens over Los Angeles, Anubis, Tripods, Triffids, Ragnarok and possibly a Farnsworth Doomsday Device.

Are you still using Windows 95?

You have two cows ….

Memo to …

… the lady in the seat in front of mine at Mass last Sunday: Please choose shirts that extend below the top of your jeans when you go to church, and find pants that rise all the way up to your waist. You have no idea how distracting it was to see that you were wearing thong underwear.

… the bicyclist trying to light a cigarette while riding no-hands in the middle of the street: Idiot.

… the Department of Health and Human Services: I have never had the slightest interest in tobacco. However, whenever you subject me to one of your recent gross-out anti-smoking ads, as happens every single time I watch an episode of Soul Eater on Funimation, I get a powerful urge to buy a carton of cigarettes so I can blow smoke in your faces, you damned hectoring nitwit nannies.

Dear Howie

Odds and ends:

I didn’t get very far into Haiyore! Nyaruko-san the first time I sampled it. Sticking a fork into a little girl is not amusing, even if the girl is actually Nyarlathotep. However, both Steven and Ken the Brickmuppet found the first two episodes not entirely worthless. So I gritted my teeth, put my feet firmly on the floor, gripped the armrests of my chair, and grimly stuck it out through the rest of the first episode. Well, it is an improvement over the wretched flash shorts of two years ago, and the forking is not quite as offensive. ((Kirika Yumera remains the only person in anime licensed to use the fork as an offensive weapon.)) Still, I found it more irritating than funny, and I doubt that I’ll watch more.

By the way, Howard Phillips Lovecraft for a brief period was a Miss Lonelyhearts, answering questions such as this:

I am Xah’gnui, who has long delved into the annals of subterranean lore, conducting forbidden researches into the unknown, with a view to resurrecting aeon-silent interplanetary necromancer-lizards. Why is it so hard for me to get a date?

(Via Lynn.)


I see there is an “aniblog” tournament underway. The candidates were drawn primarily from AnimeNano, if I’m interpreting the rules correctly. Unfortunately, this leaves out some of the most interesting weblogs that deal with anime. For instance:

Aliens in This World

Brickmuppet Blog


Fun Blog

Mahou Meido Meganekko

Wonderduck’s Pond

All of these are worth a visit.


Allegedly, the more subtle your mind, the more difficult you’ll find this puzzle. I got it in about 30 seconds.

(Via AoSHQ.)


Mahou shoujo anime is pornographic. So is anime set in high schools. In fact, probably every anime produced this century is pure pornography.

(Via Dustbury.)


Quote of the week, sobering thought division:

The greatest legacy of the internet may wind up being Cute Overload.

(God and the Machine.)


Quote of the week, anime division:

If I had a daughter, I’d want her to watch this.

(The Brickmuppet on Mouretsu Pirates.)


Memo to Trek Bicycle Corporation: I see that your factory is in Waterloo, Wisconsin. There is a good chance that you can find literate native speakers of English there. Please hire one, and have him write directions for mounting your luggage rack on a bicycle, so customers don’t have to puzzle over the cryptic diagrams that come with the rack. By the way, it would be thoughful to note on the outside of the packaging that installing the rack requires a hacksaw and file, where customers can see it before buying the rack.

While at the bike shop earlier this week, I discovered that Trek bicycles include a line called “Neko.” Surprisingly, there is no suggestion of anything feline on the bike or on the Trek website. The Neko does feature “Women’s disc brakes.”

The triumph of dullness

Here’s a list.

Who’s missing? Here’s a name: Yes. Here are some other names: King Crimson, John Mayall, the Pogues, Deep Purple, Fairport Convention, ELP, Joe Satriani and Weird Al. I can add many more, and so can you. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame claims that “… musical excellence shall be the essential qualification of induction,” but are the Sex Pistols really better musicians than the band that recorded Fragile? In my lexicon, “critic” is a synonym for “idiot.” It’s nice that someone remembers the Small Faces, but induction into the R&RHoF is as meaningless an honor as the Nobel Peace Prize.

Not entirely unrelated: Twelve extremely disappointing facts about popular music.

(Via Professor Mondo.)

Bonus stupidity: Pearl Harbor? It was all America’s fault.