Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Not much posting coming from me over the next two weeks; not that I post a lot anyway, but I'll be busy on other holiday related matters.

I have one holiday link though. This is a site a found a couple weeks ago and never got around to noting, but it's a page that speaks to the Caribbean Dutch Christmas experience, which apparently involves Santa's little helpers dressing up in blackface!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Anime Memories

I recall in my youth owning a cool Voltron set that consisted of the five robo-cats that could be assembled into the giant Voltron mecha. I had vague, though fond, memories of watching the show, and I half (more like quarter) thought about picking up some of the special set that's now out for the show, but Carl Kimlinger at ANN sets me straight:
The nostalgia surrounding Voltron is a palpable, living thing. It hovers over the show like a shroud, blinding the eyes and fogging the brain. How else can you explain why so many people are so fond of something that is so obviously ill-made, ill-written, and just plain stupid?
Guess I'll leave those memories locked away and not soil them by revisiting what was nothing more than something handy to sponge up a half hour worth of time. As well:
Included are the original pilot episode, staff interviews, an overview of the remastering process, and, most importantly, the “You Got Robo Served” episode of Robot Chicken featuring a break-dancing Voltron. Ironically, the parody is not only funnier than the original, but has better animation as well.
Oh yeah, that was a good bit...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Computer Ads

The sight of the latest batch of computer ads from HP and Dell bring a grim chuckle to my heart. They reek of a desperate attempt to frame their product as some trendy, highly personalized product. The reality is that they're no different than the Wonder bread bakery down the road. Their exciting personalization functions work out to be the equivalent of telling the bakery how many slices of .5" thick white bread you want in your loaf.

Harder to pigeon hole are the latest Apple Mac ads. I never cared for them and their target demographic seems to be people who already buy Macs. I'm especially confused when I see these same Mac ads during a football game sandmiched in between a beer ad featuring scantily clad women and an ad for enlarged prostate medication. However, late last month my buddy pointed me to the Japanese Mac ads. These are cool in that you can't understand the inane banter going on between the Japanese Mac dude and the Japanese Windows dude (with the exception of the ethnicity of the actors and the language, it’s the SAME ad). I figure Apple should switch the American ads with the Japanese ones (and probably vice versa) since I've every confidence that the Japanese ads will work just as well or better than the super lame domestic Mac ads.

I guess at least unlike Dell and HP, Apple doesn't have a lame system to go with their lame ad.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Okonomiyaki vs Islam

Mrs. Sandmich has been teaching an intro to Japan session for some ungrateful wretches in one of our home school co-ops. Due to their generalized dislike for anything fishy tasting, her demonstration of okonomiyaki had to be very Americanized. Since it was up to me to cook, it was time to start makin' bacon!

The okonomiyaki was just 4 inch patties of chopped bacon and cabbage with just enough batter to hold them together. When I dropped them off, Mrs. Sandmich was stressed, saying that one of the kids is fasting and two of them can't eat bacon, for religious reasons. Now mind you, they're Christians, so this anti-bacon thing is entirely self imposed since, to the best of my knowledge, Jesus wasn't the biggest fan of the mosaic laws upon which the 'no pork' thing would be based.

I myself would have nothing to do with any religion that banned bacon, and I wondered how well those Christians would hold out upon smelling some crackling bacon. But thinking of a slightly larger scale, maybe our problems in the Middle East could be solved much the same way: just coat the region in a delicious fog that consists of the smell of thick, maple smoked bacon slices cooking and those Muslims will realize the error of their way!

(As yet another aside, I recall watching MTV back in the eighties when they were interviewing some female artist of some sort who had tooled around with vegetarianism at one point. I don't remember anything about the interview except for the fact that the woman said that the hardest thing about being a vegetarian was the smell of bacon cooking. Since then, I've been struck by what a magical smell it is, and I've little doubt in its power to bring people around to a right frame of mind. So get that bacon cooking for the good of mankind!)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More Environmental Fun

I remember a couple years back when environmentalists started to make wine makers use synthetic corks because, I guess, harvesting real cork is mean to trees. Low and behold, unable to sell cork, Spaniards began to cut down the cork forests so that they could grow something that they could sell. Whoops!

Well they're at it again. I love stories like this, from WSJ on dead tree (12/05/06):
Here on the island of Borneo, a thick haze often encloses this city of 500,000 people. The cause: forest fires that have blazed across the island. Many of them were set to clear land to produce palm oil - a key ingredient in biodiesel, a [ahem] clean-burning diesel fuel alternative.
Exactly where do all these fans of biofuels expect this stuff to come from? The production of biofuels doesn't scale very well and any large implementation will require putting vast swaths of the planet under the till.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Something Fishy

I picked up the Japanese snack below a couple weeks on the word that it was mildly healthy. I was actually hoping that it tasted foul and would act as an appetite suppressant.(Un)Fortunately, it's not half bad; kind'a like a 'trout almondine' an astronaut would eat.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pearl Harbor Forgotten

In the past I've been disappointed with some Japanese views on the war, but at least I feel I know where they're coming from. However, I've been increasingly disappointed in the likes of Clint Eastwood and others poo pooing WW2 American self defense as well. It's one thing for a few Japanese to say that American racist warmongers were the cause of the war, but it's nothing short of being completely disgusting to have many people in the American intelligentsia saying the same thing (I guess you no longer have to be intelligent to be in the intelligentsia). If a person doesn't think a nation has good standing to defend itself under those circumstances, then I'd doubt there's any situation in which a person like that would find self defense acceptable. It also stinks of the communist tendency to trash a nation's history so that it can have a grand, socialist future.

I'd say the commies are mostly on the path to success as I've had way too many conversations along the following lines:
[product of American public education]: "So WW2, that was the one with the Germans, right?"
[Sandmich]: "Well...umm...yeah"
[product of American public education]: "So WW1 was the Japanese?"
[Sandmich]: *cries*

Anyway, here's links to my previous Pearl Harbor posts:
http://sandmich.blogspot.com/2004/12/bombs-away.html
http://sandmich.blogspot.com/2005/12/date-with-war.html

Death of Social Security

It's a loud death to be sure, from the WSJ (subscription):
The "compromise" plan [to fix Social Security] would eliminate the payroll tax cap (now at $90,000 a year in income), raise the retirement age, and cut benefits for wealthy seniors.
The 'out' always used by supporters of Social Security was that the plan pays out benefits from taxes collected by that specific program; thus making it a form of a ponzi scheme government guaranteed pension. By enacting 'reforms' such as those above, Democrats (and the like minded) are basically giving up one of their better arguments. Social Security could never pay out benefits on salaries higher than $90,000, and thus by eliminating the ceiling AND curtailing benefits for wealthy seniors they're showing what Social Security actually is: a glorified welfare program. All that'll be left to do is to fold FICA into the regular income tax and we'll be done playing this silly government shell game.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Umm....Okay

From a cap gun search on Amazon:

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Grocery Paradise

There's been some news in Cleveland about the fact that the larger grocery chain bought out the slightly smaller one. The result, which can be predicted, is the shutdown of all the stores operated by the smaller chain. Cleveland and it's surrounding suburbs now have exactly ONE real grocery store to choose from. There's a menagerie of bit players, but they all have various faults which relegate them to permanent second tier status.

The joke? For the most part these faults are self inflicted (except for maybe K-Mart which I'm given to believe is just poorly managed). They do this in order to stay under the radar of the omnipresent, corrupt, evil unions (and their corporate enablers) that dominate the region.

When discussing the issue with a coworker I'd asked if she had ever been to a Super Wal-Mart or Meijer type of store. I was about dumb struck when she said no. Another coworker chimed in that she had been to one, once; and she also seemed to get dreamy eyed about the experience, as if she was recounting a romantic date.

"Wut up wit that?" I thought. Are those stores so far away that no one in the Cleveland area can find their way out to one? I'm spoiled from living in Cincinnati and even out the boonies where I lived I was twenty minutes away from three different super stores. That's not three Super Wal-Marts; that's three completely different chains*. Determined, I looked it up and a little bit more than a half an hour from my house is grocery paradise:


Most of the prices are mildly less expensive than what I'd pay closer to home, except for the produce. The produce is easily and consistently a half to a third (or even less) than the sale prices at Giant Eagle** (the remaining grocery chain in the Cleveland area). I'm of a mind that there would be riots in the street if the people in Cleveland knew to what extent they were being played for fools on this front, but that's probably just more wishful thinking***.

On a semi-related post over at Libertas, they had this comment:
Don’t you love Hollywood lecturing us about consumerism? I live out here. I see what those ugly homes have done to those lovely Hollywood Hills. I see the cars and suits and jewelry and this fascinating race I call the Plastic Surgeoned. I’ll bet Zwick and Leo [DiCaprio] got more stuff now than I’ll own my entire life. But of course, I got most of mine at Wal-Mart, not on Rodeo Drive, so that makes me the problem.
I'm going to do my best to be part of the 'problem' not part of the 'solution'.

*(Part of my reason for usually being cool to WalMart is that I preferred their competition in Cincinnati: Bigg's (a French concern) and Meijer (Michigan). Given no other choice though, I'll take them any day over the local thugrocers.)

**(Giant Eagle's ads now remind me Microsoft's advertising for their OS and Office lines. The fact that they try to make you feel good about getting taken makes you resent them all the more).

***(There's been plenty of talk about the evil monopoly and ZERO talk about improving the business climate in order to attract the needed competitors. I guess they're getting what they deserve).