The microwave of doom

Death on a paper plate?

The dangers of dihydrogen monoxide are well-known, but there are other hazards that you might have been unknowingly exposed to. For instance, studies have demonstrated that over 93% of all cancer patients have at some time inhaled O2, a powerful oxidizer. More than 87% of people with bipolar personality have looked at a full moon without adequate eye protection. Anecdotal evidence suggests that individuals exhibiting egregious political activism ingested acetylsalicylic acid during childhood. It has been hypothesized that the majority of people who during early adulthood order a steak rather than a salad will not live to see their 100th year.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have important culinary matters to attend to.



Cenchrus longinspinus

Cenchrus longispinus, “sandbur,” which is replacing crabgrass in Wichita lawns. Those minutely-barbed spines penetrate skin with alarming ease and resist extraction. They have a particular affinity for socks.


David French:

Whoa to the white liberal … who doesn’t pay homage.

I assume this was a spellchecker accident. If not, then whoa to French and his editor at National Review. (Update: It’s fixed now.)

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.