Memo to cosplayers

1. Underwear goes under your other clothing. ((And a bath towel cape looks really stupid.))

2. Heath Ledger’s Joker might be a great character, but the makeup is ugly.

3. Please don’t shriek when you’re standing next to me.

4. An all-ages anime convention is not an appropriate place to lead your pet about on a leash.

5. Please don’t stage large group photos in the middle of congested hallways.

Music appreciation

One of the books I tested my new glasses with is Alex Ross’ The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, recommended by Steven. Here’s a trivia quiz based on it.

Identify the speaker:

1. “I have actually outlived myself.”

2. “Defend me, Spaniards, from the Germans, who do not understand and have never understood music.”

3. “All the doctors who wanted to forbid me to smoke and to drink are dead.”

4. “Beauty of sound is beside the point.”

5. “Thank God! Finally a Reich Chancellor who is interested in art!”

6. “There is, thank God, a large segment of our population that never heard of J.S. Bach.”

7. “Beethoven was wrong!”

8. True or false: Debussy served as the thirty-third grand master of the Prieuré de Sion.

9. Who told a tenor saxophone player to play a descending major seventh with “sex appeal”?

10. Who was known to wear “a peach-colored shirt, a green tie with white polka-dots, a knit belt of the most vivid purple with a large and ostentatious gold buckle, and an unbelievably loud gray suit with lots of black and brown stripes”?

11. Who, according to Pierre Boulez, “… had displayed ‘the most ostentatious and obsolete romanticism'”?

12. Who, according to Pierre Boulez, was “… a ‘performing monkey” whose methods betrayed ‘fascist tendencies'”?

13. Who was apparently born near Cologne in 1928, but actually was of extraterrestrial origin and had lived many past lives?

14. What is 8’37” better-known as?

15. Who was “the best drug connection in New York”?

Continue reading “Music appreciation”

Anime knitting

Here are some curious items from the most recent batch of search terms:

heresy is not kawaii
gurren lagann knitting
cowboy bebop knitting
knitting anime themes
ponyo on a stick
sailor moon cardboard cutout
a religion based off of sailor moon
canzoni kawaii
languid gay charles solomon
gender critics are idiots
anime girl wolf boy frog
haruhi peanuts
kawaii the murderer pics
safe for work babes
oink supervisor

There were a few that make me glad that I am unlikely ever to meet the searchers:

anime manly girls
armpit hair pictures
kawaii tentacle monster


Anime cosplayers are normal, sane people — at least compared to these.

Via Steven, who recently discovered Pokémon. (Update: note the third-place item in this list.)

Ubu, meanwhile, has discovered RahXephon. In a comment at Ubu’s place, Avatar confirms what I had suspected:

RahXephon was a show where we constructed a couple of really elaborate theories that explained everything, wrote off to Japan with a “so which one is it, we need to know for the translation”, and got back “huh? We did all those things because they looked cool.”


I recently watched the first two episodes of El Hazard: The Magnificent World. Good grief. Here’s our hero:

I really wonder sometimes: do Japanese boys want to be girls? If you think I’m exaggering, count the thumbnails on this graphic:

The first El Hazard OVA was written by Ryoe Tsukimura. He also wrote the scripts for the first Tenchi Muyo! movie and the many UFO Princess Valkyries. They have their moments, but they’re all essentially anime junk food. Most of the rest of Tsukimura’s output looks similarly undistinguished. However, he does have one classic to his credit, Noir, which was his idea and his script. In this, he reminds me of Kou Ohtani, a competent, unmemorable soundtrack composer who on one occasion exhibited afflatus.


Since I closed nominations for the current poll, commenters have mentioned Ghost in the Shell, Tenchi Muyo GXP, Kimagure Orange Road, Spice and Wolf and Wolf’s Rain. The first has been mentioned twice (the second time in an email), so I’ll probably add it to the second round candidates. Would anyone care to second any of the other series?

Today’s idiotism

And besides, I don’t really see how there could be such a thing as a “surge” in popularity for Light Novels; they’re basically just romance novels written for men, which is, uh, not a terribly large demographic here in America.

This is too imbecilic to let pass. “Romance novels” for men — absolute nonsense. A “light novel” is essentially the Japanese equivalent of an occidental “young adult” book. Fuyumi Ono and Nahoko Uehashi are counterparts of such writers as Diana Wynne Jones, ((One of my favorite writers. Her book Howl’s Moving Castle is far better than Miyazaki’s botch of a movie and is strongly recommended.)) not Harlequin romance hacks.



My sister sent me a link to an “identify the album” quiz. The page is no longer maintained — the link to the answers returns a 404 — and at least one of the identifications is wrong, but you might find it amusing anyway.

The above is one of my favorite covers, though the album, a collection of medieval dances, is too obscure to be fair game for such a quiz. Here it is in higher resolution.



Is there a superhero in your neighborhood? Check the registry. (Via Ken the Brickmuppet.)


Introducing Edward, the Veggie-Vampire.


I’m an embarrassment to Barack!

I only scored 14 on the Obama Test

(Via John Salmon.)


Right now I’m playing loud music to drown out today’s treat: a bunch of no-longer-young drag queens lipsyncing to mediocre music down at the corner. No pictures; I want to forget the images, not share them with unwary visitors. There’s also an ice cream vendor playing tinny banjo recordings of teevee themes in the parking lot across the alley.

Memo to Senator Pat Roberts

When the phone rings these days, I awkwardly rise out of my chair, lumber across the room with the walker and, struggling to not lose my balance, pick up the phone. It is a nuisance. I don’t mind making the efforts for friends and colleagues. However, when I put the receiver to my ear and hear a recording of a politician, I regret that I don’t know more maledictions. If you want to guarantee that I’ll never vote for you or any of your causes again, this is the way to do it.

Dance and more

Let’s take a break from ballet and look at some other kinds of dance. Via Mark Sullivan comes this example of dance as a martial art:

Bonus points if you can identify the pianist.

Via Robert the LLama Butcher, an outstanding canine performer.

And there’s the dancing stormtrooper of Akihabara.


One more reason why I intend to remain the last person in North America without a cell phone.


If three women together mean “mischief,” what would, say, three geeks mean?


An epic win for the Japanese: the Gurren-Lagaan Jack. 

 Via Will.


Let’s get into the Olympic spirit: 

 Via the Rat