Ouchies

I

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.

II

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.”

Nope.

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.