May 24, 2016
75 Years Ago Today
Art by J.C. Schmitz-Westerholt,
On May 24th, 1941 the German Battleship Bismarck, accompanied by the cruiser Prinz Eugen were engaged by the British Battleships Hood and Prince of Wales which were, respectively, the largest and newest capital ships in the Royal Navy.
During the course of the action, Hood was hit several times and a serious fire was observed just aft of amidships. About 4 minutes after the battle had started an ammunition magazine cooked off, precipitating a tremendous explosion. Of 1418 crew aboard Hood that day. Only three survived.
HMS Prince of Wales was directly behind the flagship when it exploded , stopped dead in the water and raised its bow high into the air. Captain Leach turned towards the Germans to avoid colliding with the wreck. The battleship was so new and the British situation so dire that this action was, in a sense, her shakedown cruise. As a result, her complex quadruple turrets had not had all the bugs worked out yet, and she was for a time reduced to only her twin turret. Badly outgunned and outnumbered, the battleship came under withering and accurate fire from the two german ships, receiving many 15, 8 and 5.9 inch shell hits. However, the ship inflicted some damage on the Bismarck before laying smoke and successfully escaping. That damage would prove significant in the coming days.
When the news of this action reached England, it was not received well.
May 22, 2016
Though it Pinches my Patience, I Persevere
In my review of episode one of this show I mentioned that, while I was unsure about it, I thought it had considerable potential. Now, 5 episodes in...I find my position unchanged.
You see, High School Fleet, is one of the most bi-polar shows I've seen in years.
Watching this can be rough, since like the waves upon which it is set, it alternates between crests of utter win and troughs that bottom out and threaten to break the very keel of the plot.
Part of this is due to the fact that Crunchyroll's subtitle job on this looks to be a bit off, at least in the early episodes. The background regarding the world setting and even the year (is it set in the future or an alternate present /past?) is sufficiently self-contradicted that I think the confusion is actually a translation issue. Japanese nautical terms adding to the general perplexity.Furthermore, the translator seems simply not aware of many nautical terms and of course there are (presumably) many (understandably) unfamiliar
The show starts out as "Cute girls doing cute things...on warships" an obvious attempt to cash in on the Girls und Panzer phenomenon from a few years ago. However whereas that was essentially a sports anime with tank fighting being the sport, the tension in this series comes from rather higher stakes than loosing a sporting event. There is something quite sinister afoot and the girls unexpectedly find themselves fighting...for their lives. The show, however retains, most of the time the feel of an ensemble 'cute girls in high school' show with the training destroyer's departments serving the same function as school clubs or the individual tank crews in Girls und Panzer.
This leads to a highly schizophrenic alternation between "cute" and "thriller" that was beginning to give me a headache.
Just when I was about to pick up the towel and throw it in however....
Sena from Haganai showed up!
OK, canonically her name is Wilhelmina Braunschweig Ingenoh, but come ON! It's Sena without the butterfly pin. Sena Miss. Ingenoh was the student XO of a German school ship, the Graff Spee, which was built to look exactly like it's World War 2 antecedent right down to the plaque on the bridge.
Our heroine's encounter with the German school ship is not as congenial as they might have hoped, but through an unlikely set of circumstances Ingenoh ends up stuck on the Harekaze. This is fortuitous, as their newfound Teutonic shipmate apparently has a genetic affinity for submarines and talks the crew through a nicely portrayed ASW evolution using World War ONE techniques (all they have is a set of paravanes and a single depth charge).
Thanks to Frau Ingenoh's timely intervention our heroines survive long enough to learn a valuable lesson about conserving toilet paper...and to develop a mouse problem.
This show seems almost to be a satire of several different genres. It's a bizarre mess at times but is making me smile in spite of myself.
In any event, Sena's in it, so sacred honor dictates I should watch a few more episodes at least, if only to figure out what the HELL this completely gratuitous catgirl is doing here.
Admit it. You did not expect that sentence to end that way. The individual appears to not even a main character. All the students seem to be baseline human, but during an interrogation of one of our heroines, a naval investigative officer with all of three lines of dialog just happens to have unremarked upon cat ears poking out the top of her head. This comes out of the blue and if one blinked it would have been missed.
I think this show may just be trolling us...but I'm curious enough that I've got to watch more.
May 21, 2016
It's the 21st Century! WHERE IS MY....Oh!
Steven was recently disappointed to learn that the word "hoverboard" had been defined down by people who lack either vision or an understanding of the language.
Fortunately there are those working to rectify that.
In other, more meta news: I edited the recent post that was speculating about practical applications of scientifically facilitated hybrid vigor. This was mainly to provide proper citations. However, in the process, additional expository graphics pertinent to the subject matter were uncovered and added.
May 20, 2016
I Thought They Came From Eggs It's the weekend. After an absolutely hellish day at work I just got out of the shower, having washed off all the redbugs and turtle pee.
OK. Perhaps that last bit warrants elaboration.
I got off work an hour late and was walking up to the door when, upon dropping my keys, I bent over to get them and noted something whizz past my head and go "plop"on the porch.
I stood there for a moment slowly processing the fact that something was not right about the the thing that had gone "plop". After a moment, the thing that I did not quite recognize, (but instinctively knew did not belong) sprouted 4 legs and a head and began furtively testing the area.
A turtle had fallen from the sky...and landed on the rubber welcome mat.
It was a small mud turtle, not a box turtle or some other type of Testudine that would normally live in a suburban yard, so after determining that he seemed to be uninjured I picked him up and took him to the van, placed the terrified little thing on some paper towels and then drove to a nearby park with a pond. Along the way, the little beast became quite animated precipitating a chase that involved considerable contortions on my part. Eventually. after cunningly luring me under the rear seat, he darted out across the floor of the van with truly astonishing speed, and made a beeline for my bag of Fritos which he deftly entered and buried himself in, no doubt in a spiteful attempt to give me salmonella. Eventually I unfolded myself and got him out of the bag, whereupon he peed like a firehose...as turtles will.
One thing that has bewildered me since I was a child is how a small turtle can contain so much urine...I swear his bladder must be larger than his shell, which should not be possible, but I guess physics is different for sky turtles.
Anyway, I took the presumably now dehydrated shellback to the pond, which involved rather more mucking through pine straw and 8 inch deep mud than I had anticipated.
Now, after my shower I have an opportunity to reflect on the implications of these recent events...
Previously, I had thought that these creatures came from eggs, but it is now apparent that turtles are actually invaders from space, which, I suppose makes sense given that they are in the same zoological family as Gamera.
Of course it's tenuously possible that there is another explanation, perhaps one that involves a hawk, but it makes sense to err on the side of caution.
May 19, 2016
Burying the Lede at NPR The full implications of this story seem to have passed over the heads of the folks at NPR. In fact, they seem to be focusing mainly on potential pitfalls .
Here's one of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes to explain just how this sort of scientific inquiry may positively affect life in the 21st century.
Thank you...Catherine...That is not quite the example I was going to use but it's close enough and may still be of interest to some of our readers.
For everyone else, here's Ayumi Hamasaki quietly explaining one reason why we want this miracle of science to be funded.
Full Disclosure: "Science Babe" is not really named Catherine, but is, rather, a rendition of Touhou's Nittori Kawashiro by Nagumo.more...
May 17, 2016
"All Year" An ill-bred and uninformed individual, blinded to their own ignorance by the Dunning - Kruger Effect, might foolishly conclude that purchasing a product that is good "All Year" would indicate that said product is implied to be good for between 365 and 366 days, or, alternatively, is valid for the rest of the calendar year.
Of course, a person of sophistication and nuance such as, say, an academic, understands that these two words are not so provincially constrained in certain contexts...such as the Old Dominion University Parking Services Department. As I'm sure you are aware Gentle Reader, a person of letters is astute enough to appreciate that an "All Year" parking pass is, in fact, not actually valid during the summer semester for reasons so obvious as to render any inquiry into the matter a troubling indicator of low intellect, as well as a degenerate worldview centered around the retrograde and problematic notion that words mean things.
Of course, one might somehow arrive at the conclusion that this is just some contemptible means to bilk students out of 89 dollars on top of the 248 they paid for the "All Year" pass, but to be so rash as to express such ill-informed views would indicate that one engages in the sort of conspiratorial contemplations that good thinking, respectable people never, ever apply to those in academia,
So shut up.
(Not that I'm bitter or anything)
May 14, 2016
A Most Horrid Deed The other day, on the way to work, I noted that Merrifields Boulevard was blocked by a barricade of sorts. An uprooted street sign and a large box had been placed in the middle of each lane.
I was short on time to get to work and it was raining so I did not get out and pull them out of the street as I normally would have. Instead, I pulled over ,called 911, and told them about the idiot prank before proceeding to work.
I have had a week to ponder the repercussions of that decision.
I made the call at about 03:35. At 03:45 a young lady returning from work apparently swerved to avoid the obstruction (or hit it) and careened into the subdivision's greeting sign, demolishing it and killing herself in the process.
The police were still there after I returned home from work, and I offered a statement but had little of use to provide.
I imagine the barricade was kids being jerks, but whoever they were, they have blood on their hands.
Food: GLORIOUS Food (When Geography is Secondary) Saffron: Mediterranean Cuisine is, despite the the highly misleading geographical implications of its name, a small Afgani restaurant The owner, a recent immigrant from Afganistan has turned an old Country Kitchen into a sublimely apportioned eatery which is actually a bit intimidating due to the quality of its fixtures.
I, of course, am white trash, so high falootin' decorations mean nothing to me except in the unlikely event that I'm dating. Still, my curiosity regarding Afgani food outweighed the nagging fear that I was really underdressed. Fortunately a couple of hipsters arrived shortly after I did and dissuaded me of any such notions.
...but I digress...
Oh. Yes. The food.
Good grief that was good! It's like a fusion of Indian and Greek cuisine with added unicorns! Also, when they brought me the plate, I was afraid I'd mistakenly ordered a platter for two (that's not a salad fork).
That was just awesome.
Saffron: Mediterranean Cuisine is on Warwick Blvd. just west of Main Street in that eclectic cluster of businesses known as "The Village" in Newport News.
Food: GLORIOUS Food (And the Breakup of the Ramen Empire)
For almost 30 years, Kappo Nara was one of the best Japanese restaurants in Virginia, with a vast menu that included sushi, steaks and the particular take on seafood they have around Nagasaki. Sadly, it closed two years ago. However, it was resurrected last year as a chain of very nice Ramen Houses on the south side of the Roads. Those stores are mainly Ramen eateries now (though they do serve curry). While there have been lots of Japanese restaurants, there has never been an actual, genuine ramen shop here before, so these are a welcome addition to the southside's food scene, particularly as their dishes (er, bowls) are outstanding examples of the noodle chef's art.
Currently there are two of these awesome little establishments, one is near ODU on 21st street in Ghent (set back, behind the bank) and one is at 989 Kempsville road in Virginia Beach. Both are superb.
Meanwhile, back on the Peninsula, near where the old Kappo Nara once stood, One of the old shop's Chefs decided to not move to the southside and instead set up, with a partner of Thai extraction, an asian fusion restaurant.
To avoid any confusion he named this establishment Kappo Nara.
There is no sushi here, but there is a bunch of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, an exuberantly gay waiter and the food one might get at an actual Japanese steak house in Japan...including the Teppan Steak.
Those who who are from this area just had their ears perk up...
Yes. That steak. The one we thought was lost forever still lives! (Full disclosure: when you get it it's actually quite dead and sizzling in an inimitable sauce.)
Kappo Nara Asian Cuisine (which is not affiliated with Kappo Nara Ramen) is at the corner of Denbigh and Warwick in Newport News.
May 13, 2016
Debunking Friggatriskaidekaphobia Today I got off of work early, got an annoying Parallels update that has so vexed me this week to finally work right, discovered a superb Afgani restaurant and observed the first Monarch Butterfly I have seen in years.
Note too, that when we all wake up tomorrow, even though it will be Saturday the 14th, none of us will be able to wake up from this nightmare...
...which, it should be further noted, predates this unjustly maligned Gregorian quirk by more than a week.
Thus we have scientifically proven that Friday the Thirteenth is not especially bad.
So cheer up.
For the rest of the day.
May 08, 2016
Coral There should be coral, barnacles and sea squirts all over the submerged portions of Tokyo Tower and the surrounding edifices.
From episode 1 of High School Fleet, which is exceedingly odd. It's set in a future where the sea level has risen dramatically. The fact that society has adjusted quite well is a nice departure from the norm, and probably a more accurate prediction than most. Likewise their portrayal of the survivability of an LCS is quite astute but there are issues besides the growth rate of barnacles that do give one pause.
You see, our heroines are on a school ship that is built to broadly resemble a WW2 Japanese destroyer....
Despite the vessel's high pressure steam plant, Harekaze is highly automated and is crewed by a mere 36 high school students who are unsupervised except indirectly from an instructor's flagship.
The student CO, one Misake Akeno, is quite astonished at her assignment given that she just barely made it into the school academically.
The crew's first training cruise hits a snag, partly due to human error and partly due to the ship's finicky steam plant. While the crew does get these matters battened down, things nevertheless turn pear shaped quite suddenly, and not in a way anyone would expect.
I'm not sure what to think at this point. It looks like Girls Und Panzer with destroyers rather than tanks, but with a completely incongruous bit of...edginess.
Anyway, though it appears to be a collection of current anime fads this show has a certain potential.
May 05, 2016
Meanwhile, in Gensokyo...
...Rossini appears unexpectedly.
May 04, 2016
Ruminations Upon The Kobayashi Maru and Such While there is a considerable amount of elation in certain quarters today....
....rest assured that the inevitable disappointment of these bird brains is unlikely to provide sufficient schadenfreude to compensate for the woe their efforts will bring upon us all.
May 03, 2016
The Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire
And one of those will be our leader
For the state of our civics is dire.
May 02, 2016
Not Going Quierly Into That Dark Night A few brief political thoughts lurk below the fold. Here is a completely unrelated image.
Cyborg frankenfairy with 2-cycleSwiss army knife and epic zippers is by Katahira Masashi
See? It doesn't get any more unrelated than that.more...
April 30, 2016
Egzamz Awlmowst Ovur Fortunately none were or are spelling exams.
I have to wonder how these gatekeepers of knowledge did on their geography exams.
I have to give a presentation Tuesday and that's it for the semester.
The rest were all over by Monday. I should mention that I got a 100 on my Japanese exam, which, given my considerable trepidation regarding it was a most welcome surprise.
I'm only three classes from graduation, and to my unbridled joy have been given permission to take two of them during the summer as independent study courses. (They are normally at 8 AM, which means I would not ordinarily be able to take them due to work.)
I find that as tuition increases, I've been experiencing what has at times seemed like the half-life of college. As I have gone from full-time to part time to half time the rate of decay of the Kafkaesque annoyance known as University slowed and it really seemed at times like it would never end. Now, though, I'm almost there.
I've got a few weeks before summer school starts. I should, perhaps, take a weekend and go on a trip...
April 28, 2016
One of These Words Seems Out of Place Optically. Transparent. Wood.
But wait...there's more.
This actually isn't the first time we've seen wood turned into a transparent material, as nanofibrillated cellulose has been used to create items such as the substrate for wood-based computer chips. According to KTH, however, the new process should be particularly well-suited to large-scale applications and mass production.
...scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have started producing "wooden" semiconductor chips that could almost entirely biodegrade once left in a landfill. As an added bonus, the chips are also flexible, making them prime candidates for use in flexible electronics
"Also enforces obsolescence when they rot."
See? When words are used incorrectly, there is mischief affoot.
"PIXY!! My computer has termites!"
Yackety Sax: Renders Even The Most Murderous Buffoons Hard Pressed To Be Intimidating
Via Ace's sidebar
It looks like ISIS soldiers have body cams and this was recovered by the Peshmerga after what appears to have been a battle between technicals.
"Back-Blast! Back-Blast! Back-Blast!"
Commas and Such
This is an important programing note to the subset of our moviegoing readers that are weeks behind on their new release viewing.
At 04:09 this morning, we posted a Batman VS Superman review that, upon reflection, needed some further editing.
...does a character study of Batman in the midst of an ethical dilemma that has driven him to distraction and an appreciation of Alfred, the butler...who is portrayed so very right.
...was probably meant to be...
...does a character study of Batman in the midst of an ethical dilemma that has driven him to distraction, and provides an appreciation of Alfred, the butler...who is portrayed so very right.
Note that while a single comma and the word "provides" were technically all that was required to salvage the post from the slash bin, I ultimately decided to do a slightly more comprehensive tweak of the paragraph.
Apologies to those who were initially offended or who rushed off to see the film based on false pretenses.
All the World is A Lie
The Batman Versus Superman film has gotten execrable reviews, and, in any event, exams, term papers and various other adult responsibilities have precluded anything that took time or misallocated my already limited creativity reserves until this week.
My friend BOB!1! claimed to have enjoyed the film, but he had really liked Wing Commander too and so is an unreliable gauge of such matters. Nevertheless, with some trepidation, I accompanied him when he went to see it again this week.
A southern gentleman is expected to comport himself with a degree of stoicism and gentility that makes adequate description of what I sat through difficult to express.
Fortunately, this blog employs some imaginary cartoon debutantes who are not so constrained.more...
April 27, 2016
Monotonous Meta Monologue
Hello gentle readers.
We're trying to check out the blogs compatibility with Vivaldi, and double-checking a few things in our 5 other browsers. One annoying peculiarity is apparent right away
Additionally, some combination of keystrokes associated with the "BACK" key reverts the page to the previous page in the tab...thereby dumping the post.
Naturally, this is a break from format and therefore of limited appeal to our readers. Thus, sacred honor dictates that we post this picture...
Because few things over the last several weeks have been quite as refreshing as Blizzard's response to those who feel that the greatest problem in the world is Tracer's epic bodankey.
As to the upcoming game itself, I thin....
While I detect the foeted aroma of sarcasm in that outburst, in fairness, it should be noted that we do count amongst our loyal readers those who are not explicitly catered to by the first image.
To that end...
All nekoboys are 18 years of age or older. proof of age was on file in annex C of section 42 of the basement of the Ministry of Education Truancy Division Sector 8, Orion Arm Local Office Copies Division, Located orbiting Alpha Centauri B Planet 3 Moon 2 Quadrant 1, Sector 81, Spoo County, at the corner of 8th Street and Dogwood Avenue and was retained there until the nekoboys alluded to reached the age of majority at which point such records were burned pursuant to the child welfare act. That is our story, and we are sticking to it.
However, this can digress to an alarming degree since our diverse audience boasts a number with...unconventional interests.
...which would just not be keeping with our format and so that is why we generally subcontract such matters to 4-Chan.
Let's try a quotation now
...might not be so bad, with all the lazy bums we got panhandling relief nowadays, and living on my income tax and yours—not so worse to have a real Strong Man, like Hitler or Mussolini—like Napoleon or Bismarck in the good old days—and have ‘em really run the country and make it efficient and prosperous again. ‘Nother words, have a doctor who won’t take any back-chat, but really boss the patient and make him get well whether he likes it or not!”
― Michael R. Meyer, It Can't Happen Here
Ok...that covers most formatting tools and our ongoing nightmares..
Perhaps that's enough for now.
UPDATE: Does anyone note any oddness?
The banner images are working now. I suspect I have a broken banner in the rotation. I still cant figure out quite what selection of keys causes the page to jump back though.
April 25, 2016
In Telling Contrast to the Previous Post...
I cannot be an example to any of you. However, I can be a dreadful warning. So take heed.
I will NEVER escape the pernicious shadow of that online quiz...
I cannot be an example to any of you. However, I can be a dreadful warning. So take heed.
When you are using the school version of Microsoft Word for Mac, and it asks you, when you save your paper, if you wish to MERGE your changes into the original document, the correct answer is...
You see, if you say yes, it will, every time you fastidiously save your paper, quietly disappear all of your paper except for what is on your screen and whatever you first saved....which in my case was the title.
There was some anxiety around these parts recently.
Douglas Holmes Talton: November 19, 1924 - April 14 2016 Uncle Doug spent many his formative years in the crushing poverty that characterized Smithfield North Carolina during the depression era. in 1943 he enlisted in the Navy and received his baptism of fire as a landing craft coxwain at an obscure location known as Omaha Beach where, after the constructive total loss of his first command, he had an unlikely meeting with his brother John before chaos intervened and he found himself running ammunition to the troops with the landing parties from the battleship Texas. He subsequently served in the Pacific and was one of the first Americans to land in Japan after the surrender. He later was present at tests Able and Baker, where he suffered radiation poisoning. In the following years he served in China during the tumultuous retreat of the Nationalists to Formosa, saw combat in Korea, and as a cryptographer, served in stations as diverse as Japan, England, Italy, and the South Pacific test range where he was present at several Pacific nuclear tests.
Retiring in 1964, he served as an analyst for NATO and later in the Merchant Marine. Later still, he captained numerous passenger vessels and private yachts.
He was in remarkable health despite his years, but a bit over a week ago he went into the hospital for a simple gall bladder removal and never woke up from the operation. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
He definitely did his bit.
The things he, his brothers, and many of his day saw and did were nothing short of epic. The loss of their experience is a tragedy beyond words and their shoes are unlikely to be soon filled.
April 24, 2016
April 20, 2016
This was announced on April first,which allowed us to blissfully ignore the warning, However, it keeps getting talked about by Rooster Teeth and reportedly has a release date of sometime in May. There is supposed to be a clip released on April 27th, so we'll know in a week if this is just a ponderous leg-pull...or perhaps something even more cruel.
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