Sunday, February 26, 2006

Big Sushi

Now all I need is a gallon of wasabi....

(And no I didn't make this, I'm being a horrid mooch)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Malkin Notes #2

Mr. Kendall has his post up on Michelle Malkin's talk at Oberlin (my first is here). The 'money quote' comes when he discusses a sheet that was passed around that implored the idiots students not to engage in bad behavior, why? What was their motivation for handing out such a thing?

Translation: We know Malkin and people who think like her don't belong on campus, but please don't let her anomalous intrusion result in the outside world getting a peak behind our carefully crafted "Potemkin village" facade of intellectual inclusiveness.

A couple other things stuck out to me, which due to his job, probably didn't phase Eric very much.

First, I was surprised that some of the grand inquisitors actually defended bogus, race baiting crimes, AND the Muslim cartoon riots. What are these people thinking? They always prefaced their remarks by saying "Now I'm not defending...", but then of course they would go on to do exactly that. This a really old ploy that's so tiresome that I was surprised people would still try to pull it off, some others...

  • "I'm in the college Republicans..." = "Much like at least half the guys in the audience who are claiming to be lefties, I've discovered that mouthing some concerned political views is a great way to get some tail from like minded females. Otherwise, my political opinions wouldn't extend much beyond what brand of beer to drink while watching sports."
  • "I don't label myself left or right..." = "I'm a liberal..."
  • "Now I'm not liberal..." = "I'm a communist..."
  • "Thank you for coming Ms. Malkin, I really like...." = "I hate you with my entire mortal being and I hope my question causes you such distress that you'll hang yourself in shame!"

As an additional note, some caring Muslim technophiles (or sympathizers thereof) saw fit to launch a DoS attack against Michelle Malkin's web site yesterday.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Screeners

Another winner of a piece by Peggy Noonan on airport 'security':
This week I flew to Florida and back to give a speech and got another up-close look at how well the Transportation Security Administration is running the show. And it's clear that no one jokes about TSA screeners frisking grandma anymore, not because it isn't still happening, but rather because it's not even darkly funny anymore.
It is a bit of a joke, though a sick one at that.

I think most (all?) people are convinced that airport security is much like 'school security' is a cruel farce that's put on to give the appearance of doing something, but not actually doing anything at all. Peggy relates some ill experiences with the TSA agents, but I'll tell you now that those people have one of the worst jobs in the world and they know it, and the people they 'serve' know it as well. It's hard to come up against an armed, bored, undereducated bureaucrat whose existence brings more harm than good to society with the expectation that they'll have a good attitude. More...
I am almost always picked for extra screening. I must be on a list of middle aged Irish-American women terrorists. I know a message is being sent: We don't do ethnic profiling in America. But that is not, I suspect, the message anyone receives. The message people receive is: This is all nonsense. What they think is: This is all kabuki. We're being harassed and delayed so politicians can feel good. The security personnel themselves seem to know it's nonsense: they're always bored and distracted as they go through my clothing, my stockings, my computer, my earrings. They don't treat me like a terror possibility, they treat me like a sad hunk of meat.
I don't think most of us get extra screening because they think we are terrorists. I think we get it because they know we're not. They screen people who are not terrorists because it helps them pretend they are protecting us, in the same way doctors in the middle ages used to wear tall hats: because they couldn't cure you. It's all show.
In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people on board as well as 11 on the ground (source). The bomb was unwittingly brought onto the plain by the pregnant girlfriend of an Arab terrorist (who was more than likely in the pay of Libya). The bomb was concealed inside a radio, which for all we know could have been operational. It's nice to think that all the harassment at the airports would stop such a thing, but I think we know in our hearts, it wouldn't; but like a lot of things governments in general do in the name of their people, it's more comforting to believe the lie.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Super Japanese Time Travel Adventure Type Show

It's been long in coming, but I'm finally writing up a quickie report on the anime series Zipang. I came by this one by accident while cruisin' the quick list of my favorite anime bittorrent aggregator. I'll let the plot line speak for itself:
A modern aegis cruiser of the Japanese SDF was on a training mission when a strange storm transports it back in time 60 years to the night before the Battle of Midway in World War 2.
If that plot line sounds familiar, then you're thinking as I was of the movie The Final Countdown, which in my humble opinion, is not the best store from which to steal ideas. Although I liked it as a young'un when it came out, later years revealed it for the cheese fest that it was. What was the crew trying to accomplish? What if they did accomplish it? Where was that friggin' tub going to get supplies from?

These questions, and others, are dealt with a little more...er...seriously in Zipang (which is actually pronounced like 'Xipaing' in the show). Although the crew shows up before Midway, it's basically used as a forum from which to see some fabled, long dead Japanese vessels, and as a memorial to the four trashed Japanese carriers. It's interesting at first to take in the reactions of the Japanese crew. Some crew members want very much to help their fellow Japanese, while others worry about upsetting the balance of history. This goes a couple laps before it starts to sink into the crew that they're pretty much a people without a country, that the Japanese people who exist in the era are (hopefully) a different breed. A comment is even made a couple episodes in about how the whole idea of the Japanese occupation in different areas was a bad idea that was never going to work. The ship then resolves itself to keeping the loss of life on both sides during the war to a minimum while combating the efforts of a renegade Imperial officer who wishes to defeat both Americans and militarist Japanese (yes yes, groan now).

I can understand the mindset at play though. Post war Japan has worked out pretty darn well for the survivors and their children, but....

The best allegory I could cook up was if an early twentieth century battleship that was stocked with Southerners found themselves traveling back in time to the Civil War. Yes their sympathies would lie with their fellow Southerners, but why would they want to be a part of such self destructive behavior? Why would they want to threaten a decisive defeat that arguably worked out better than any 'victory' could have?

Anyway, all the Japanese navel gazing in the show gets boring after a while; what I found to be more interesting is how the Americans are depicted in the show. Below is a shot of an American sub captain that is getting ready to fire two dud torpedoes at the state of the art missile cruiser (the word 'cowboy' came to mind).

Later, at Guadalcanal, the U.S. Marines are depicted as mildly racist (not that the Japanese harbored any such beliefs!) while they talk about the savage Japs on the island (in which the Japanese are depicted as fanatics who would fight to the last man; huh? oh yeah...). But most humorous of all is the artwork drawn up by one of the Marines (sub is from the show):

It's quite distracting as well when the 'Americans' in the show speak fluent Japanese. It was probably a bit much to ask to have English voice actors for what is supposed to be a Japan only show, but I know of other anime where Americans are voiced by Japanese actors using very broken English. As it is, the equivalent would be watching a WW2 movie and having the Japanese on the ship speaking with Brooklyn accents ("are they spies or something?").

Lastly, I'd like to point out what I think the true point of the show is: Japanese Military Porn. The show features sweeping shots of various ships, but the Yamato in particular, and much is made and shown when it comes to the capability of the cruiser (not to mention much fawning of Saint Admiral Yamamoto). No opportunity is missed to show missiles, guns, shells, and whatnot. Although the show has one female character (a medic), the creators wanted to make no bones about what the show was really about and drew the character as ugly as possible. A typical anime female lead from a different show appears on the right...


As a note, just to be fair I'll mention that I've only watched up to episode 15 (of 26 or so), that being the number translated so far. It could be that the series will go off in radical directions, which is quite possible; but the plotline isn't something I'd care to sit through to find out.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Left Wing Dudgeon Dungeon

Read 'em and weep, Mr. Kendall caught a bit where Michelle Malkin was to give a talk at a local University.

I remember at one point in my life, I actually liked being on college campi - the openness, the youth and vigor, the pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge, etc. I guess I've soured in my old age since I've come to the conclusion that colleges are just a centralized forum where the ill informed and self righteous congregate to polish each others poles (I think Rush Limbaugh said it once that the first word is 'circle' and the second word rhymes with 'Turk').

Michelle gave a good talk and then bravely went on to answer questions; although it wasn't bravery from an intellectual standpoint, but from tortuous boredom. Probably at least 80% of the assembled mass was there to 'get' Mrs. Malkin, but their own scope of knowledge was so shallow and points so vague that I felt myself dozing off.


The look on her face sums up the Q&A session for me

Of course when my buddy (who shall go unnamed) who works at a college said the Q&A reminded him of his teaching responsibilities, it cemented the fact for me that I'd rather be a garbage man than work at a university. There's more self righteous piety in those places than you're ever going to find in any church, mosque, or temple.

I noticed something about the guys as well: there weren't any. What were left were a bunch of self castrated, metrosexuals who were probably raised by some weak mother and/or absolute pussy of a father.


Metrosexual #562 poses another stupid question to Michelle

One more note, another friend has been hyping Macs to me for some time. There's a lot to like, but every time I start developing a shine to the idea I see some, ahem, 'Broadway choreographer' using one. Lo and behold there was some eunuch metrosexual blogging the event on his snazzy Powerbook. Time to start from scratch again buddy, just thinking about using one of those things makes the old groin feel like I'm jumping into an ice cold ocean.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Comic Bomb

I've thought that the solution to these Muslim comic strip riots is that the press should print more of them; just kick them in the teeth everyday like the press regularly does to Christians. Christians eventually learned that it was better to ignore the perp and not give his blasphemy any more publicity than it deserves and in turn the perps in question lost interest in egging people on. Only in this way will the Islamic weirdoes of the planet learn to cool their jets over every perceived slight so that they can concentrate on real issues, like Muslims being killed and repressed by other Muslims.

Well thank goodness a handful of people still have some balls. They started a related thread over at Fark ('Sitcom situations for Mohammed', thnx LGF), and like many Fark threads, most of it is crap and broken links, but then there are doozeys like this...


And for those that didn't catch it, this SA bit was amusing as well.

Moby Bento

From Here:
TOKYO — More elementary and junior high schools have resumed the use of whale meat in lunch dishes as the Wakayama prefectural board of education promotes it, board of education officials said Tuesday. Some 1,657 kilograms of whale meat were provided via the school lunch panel of Wakayama's board of education for more than 100 elementary and junior high schools in Kyoto, Osaka and Nara prefectures and Tokyo in January.
And I love this comment from the moderator of the open discussion section on the page:
Moderator: Readers, please keep the discussion focused on the question of whale meat and school lunches in Japan, not your favorite recipes.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Papers & Politics

On a mission to impart some personal responsibility, my son has had a job delivering papers for more than a year now; a job which I must help with, and one that becomes decided more difficult this time of year.

In the winter I begin to think that my neighborhood longs to be part of the third world*. Despite the fact that it's a rather urban suburb of Cleveland, we have very few street lights (none with the exception of two thoroughfares), and the citizens make up for this by not having A) Outside lights or B) Addresses on the outside of the house. When we go to deliver to house in the winter time and we're hunting for addresses, we see this:

Or even better yet, since the little old ladies who do turn on the outside lights abhor ladders or step stools of any kind, their exterior lamps will be mounted right at eye level so that you'll see this:

What I'm left is going down the street with a huge flashlight and shining it in at houses.

The whole operation is aggravating. Without tips, the carriers get paid less than minimum wage (not counting in my and my wife's 'volunteer time'), and not surprisingly the paper has to hire people whose full time job is to find carriers to deliver the paper. One would think that the newspaper business would be making a beeline for the internet, but there they run into two problems. First, they've squeezed every red cent that's possible out of their existing distribution mechanism, and no doubt charging for the paper on the net is a costly proposition. Secondly, 75% of the customers are easily more older than 65 years and wouldn't be able to check there news unless their grandkids came over to help.

Couple that with the fact that the locals are now owned by the same people who own the Plain Dealer, which may be the worst municipal paper in Ohio, and it's not a strong recipe for success.

*(Not that being part of the third world is all that unusual in northeast Ohio, there's more than a few areas where that would be a step up. That reminds me of a sales conference call I was on that involved myself and three other people from the company in question. Two of the people were from god-knows-where, but the third person was local to Cleveland. When I mentioned I was from Cincinnati, her tone changed completely - I was her enemy. As I could tell it was related to left wing jealousy since southwest Ohio elects conservatives and is (comparably) prosperous while northeast Ohio elects left wing kooks and is chronically depressed, notice a pattern? I was able to derive this when her coworkers pressed her for the differences and she stumbled to keep from saying.)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Bento Watch #34

I've been eating so badly that I decided to skip the bowl of starch on this one and replaced it with veggies. I made some more 'quick pickles' and rounded it our with some mango, shrimp, and tomagoyaki (copious soy sauce not pictured).

Now on a seperate note, this picture makes me chuckle, so I figured I'd share it with the class:

Monday, February 06, 2006

NoKo's Architecture

In the early nineties a South Korean firm was responsible for building what was then, the tallest building in the world (if I recall correctly, it’s that funky two tower Malaysian deal, but I might be wrong). Well the North couldn’t be shown up like that, so they began building the monstrosity below, shortly before the Soviets stopped sending them checks...


Click to view the full horror

Up until the late nineties, the North was careful not to take visitors too close and the ‘tour guides’ would make comments about how it was going to have a bowling alley, and fifty movie screens or some crap like that. Later, they stopped mentioning it all, but they still didn't let anyone close to their national embarrassment. This is, by far, the best photo I've seen of it.

The construction appears to be of a concrete press form type that my buddy had commented as easy to build, but begins self destructing right away (think of a sidewalk); and since its all one piece, refurbishment is damn near impossible. It's only a matter of time before the earth reclaims this bad boy.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Look Sharp

Congrats to my old congressional rep John Boehner on winning majority leader. Back around '93, he would occasionally sit in on a local (to Cincinnati) call in show that I would listen to and I was amazed that someone so smart and conservative could get elected to Congress (this was during the glorious two year rule of the country by the Democrats). Hopefully he'll turn those jackasses in his party around to some semblance of sanity.