September 19, 2007
Ah hear tell that this rock from beyond the southern lights has fallen like a cannon shot upon some town in Pizarro's old tramping grounds.
But that don't be the worst of it.
The scurvy thing smells worse than a 4 day ole' glowin' mackerel in August....and it be makin' the locals sicker'n a bunch of choirboys in a skipjack in a hurricane.
Keep yer powder dry, cause if this yarn be trutheful, there may be zombies on the horizon!
A Tip o' me tricorner to the good ship Chizumatic!
The lovely lass be scrimshawed by some swabbie from around Cathay, named Masamune Shirow.
September 15, 2007
September 14, 2007
OK....all silliness aside, it is actually it is an interesting story....
Daily Pundit correctly points out that this is unusual only because of the politics of the erstwhile Dean.
While the lack of reciprocity in indignation is certainly annoying, I don't think it should trump principal.
This guy was shoddily treated and if some blockheaded righty did make noises about it the school was wrong to knuckle under.
This is outside of my usual interests and I'm only aware of it because I'm not exactly a lone voice in the wilderness on this. There are other members of the hopelessly naive union of right of center bloggers here, here and here.
September 13, 2007
Michelle Malkin has an extensive roundup on the recent desecration of the Vietnam Memorial.
The 'rightosphere' is understandably abuzz with outrage at this vile act but I think spinning people up over this is unwise.
First, as wretched and sick an act as this is, it is nothing new. "Leftie Vandals Disrespect Veterans" is a textbook dog bites man story.It's what they do... We have known this since they greeted the vets returning from SE Asia with Loogies rather than laurels
Second, this terrible act coincides with the defeatophilic crowds big protest in Washington DC on the 15th. There will be a fair number of counterprotestors including A Gathering of Eagles....a group that is officially coming to guard the memorial from such hippy douchebaggery as just occured.
...and there will be cameras.
Now few things could be more calculated to enrage good people than desecrating this memorial. They have defaced the names of husbands, sons, Fathers and comrades in arms. This almost cannot help but illicit a primal response.
This, I'd hazard a guess, is why they did it.
It is also why my fellow righties had best calm down.
Heretefore our counterprotestors have generally acted pretty damned well....certainly they have done little to validate the moonbats stereotypes and the moonbats IMHO have frequently come off looking far worse in comparison.
The moonbats NEED one or more of us to fufill their delusions of persecution on national television.
They NEED one of us to act out of rage and live down to their stereotypes....They get bonus points if one of them is punched by a veteran.
The moonbats as usual are acting like spoiled children in a room with a crayon and a wedding gown.
The fact that they know they are hurting people and take glee in it is no matter.
The cameras will be rolling, we had best be the adults.
(Well, my fellow righties had best suck it up and behave, I'm off the hook as I'll be guarding the coast this weekend.)
Update: Welcome Murdoc Online readers! Note that I'm not criticizing people for pointing this out (it's not like the traditional media is covering it) and Murdoc is surely not trying to start a riot. However, this is such a low blow we need to be extra careful lest we recieve a self-inflicted black eye.more...
September 11, 2007
Nothing to see here gentle readers, merely something for my Japanese class, so just ignore this post and keep scrolling.....more...
September 07, 2007
Casa Nova was undergoing minor renovations while we were there which accounts for the clutter (that and the photo being taken on Saturday when all the bikes were in.)
There was a very nice staff. The landlord was extremely helpful with directions and logistics. The staff dealt with a wasp situation with with great speed...and no mercy.
Casa Nova is the oldest of the Green Forest maisons and the only one not located on a JR train line....meaning our Rail Passes didn't work, but the hassle and expense (~3 bucks one way to Shinjuku) were minor. We were in Chofu, about a 20 minute walk from Tobitakyu station on the Keio Line. A 5 minute walk from the station is Ajinomoto Stadium, a big, fairly important soccer stadium. Bob has stayed in several Green Forest boarding houses and speaks highly of all of them.
I found out the first morning that the whole neighborhood comes with eco-friendly alarm clocks at no extra charge...grrrrr....
The area is mainly residential, but still quite urban, for instance the Toho and Kadokawa (Daiei) studios are a short drive from the place, there are 2 universities close by, numerous light industrial operations and....oh yes....farms.
I wonder if Japan HAS any zoning....certainly most US city councils or homeowners associations would have a...er... cow about this agricultural plot in the middle of a neighborhood.....and the poor rooster would be SO dead.
There are LOTS of these micro farms/mega gardens all over, generally about the size of a suburban yard in the Southeastern USA. One benefit of this is fresh produce from little stands that pop up when the crops come in....being there in August I availed myself of some scallions.
The whole town (and most towns) outside of the big city centers like Ginza and Shinjuku has a mildly dilapidated look to it. This is not really unpleasant, it doesn't actually look ratty, just casual and lived in, like parts of Hampton Roads did before "beautification" projects started running people out. This is not to suggest that Japan is a Libertarian Paradise...it most certainly is not...and in a big city like Tokyo lots of ordinances regards trash, noise, odors and such are necessary, but at least there seems to be little in the way of the sort of Ladybird Johnson Jackassery that has so gutted the personalities of many US locales....and that lack is a wholesome and good thing.
Roads here are small, (often alley sized) and the large number of privacy fences restrict visibility at intersections.....hence a logical solution
The tiny roads require tiny cars....
Check out my cap on the mirror for scale. These efficient little "Cushman" type trucks are extremely common over there but are not street legal in the US due to well intentioned but regrettable nannyism....(they are not terribly crashworthy)....but I digress...
Then there is this....
I have no idea.....but I suspect the Blair Witch is involved.
When you have a lot of bikes you need a place to park them...
This is the underground bike garage at the train station....note the ramp to the right, for walking the bikes up and down. Overhead crosswalks tend to have the same feature. The small but long steps this necessitates can be negotiated with some difficulty by wheelchairs and strollers, especially if a special sort of brake is fitted.
Right outside the laundromat, utility workers do preventive maintenance.
Note the gaggle of wires in these two pictures...this is fairly rare in US cities except in areas with a very high water table...due to lessons learned tragically. Why an area so prone to earthquakes and typhoons has such exposed lines is a mystery, though it may be to facilitate maintenance.....
...being a guy, I know just how much mischief I would have gotten into as a child if only I'd had such tempting electrified trapezes within arms reach of MY balcony....
Here is a random view down one of the nearby streets....
...the red sign is for a restaurant that produces the best gyoza I have ever had...but the culinary find of the trip was this little noodle joint....
Yes kids...its not just Ramen....
...It's Gorilla Ramen! Good, reasonably priced ramen with neato eclectic music. In addition to various Japanese bands, they had Daft Punk and Bad Religion...and others on their Muzak rotation. Of course if gorillas are involved its gotta be fun.
(Note.... gorilla ramen is not actually on the menu)
From Tobitakyu station on the side with the police box and Mc Donalds , go down the main drag, and turn left on Kyosho-Kaido Avenue (second stoplight) total walk about one kilometer.
One note....in most ramen shops and several curry shops I visited there is one choice for beverages....ice water.
Anyhoo...this was where we were staying at...
September 03, 2007
I mean really.....
September 02, 2007
I've been the unpleasant combination of jetlagged, sick, busy, and with no free cash since I got back from Japan.
Dial-up +megapixel camera= SUCK so pics will have to wait....in the meantime, as I throw in the towel on another day and crawl into bed after playing catch-up with what's been happening, here are some links from the last week or so that caught my eye today.
"Scientists have suspected for decades that exercise, particularly regular aerobic exercise, can affect the brain. But they could only speculate as to how. Now an expanding body of research shows that exercise can improve the performance of the brain by boosting memory and cognitive processing speed. Exercise can, in fact, create a stronger, faster brain."...
Also via the blogfather...a worried leftie actually thinks to take 10 paragraphs articulately asking Whither the anti-totalitarian left?...which the Brickmuppet can answer in one sentence.
We call them neo-cons now.
The always interesting EagleSpeak has a triple whammy of excellent posts, on the Goose Creek 2, the implications of NATO operations off East Africa, and a link to a thoughtful opinion on the Law of the Sea Treaty.
Colony Worlds posts on one of my favorite things, the prospect of settling what is likely to be the most habitable world in the solars system...no not Mars...Titan! There's a neat presentation on what Titainian music will sound like too! Darnell also relays a story about Space Devs idea for a lunar internet.
Anyone who loves comics needs to go to Allan Harvey's blog and scroll down at least once a week.
Well that's 4 of the unforgivable blog cliche's...
Lessee...if I link to that top10 list again that's 5....
oh......this'll do for 6.
Thanks to Wonderduck 4 the screencap.
...is not oil, nor diamonds nor gold.
It is your time.
My time is perpetually eaten by locusts, but, just in time for the new school year, Colleen Doran has finished a really good 4 part series of posts on time management.
These are reprints of an article she published some years ago and was linked to on my old blog. However, the post has been massively updated and expanded.
Part 1 is pretty straightforward with an update, part 2, adds about 2 pages of anecdotes regard reactions to part 1 before it actually begins....read those though...they are telling...#3, is the shortest but in many ways the most pertinant to many of us in college and 4, is geared most closely to artists.
Note that if there are any aspiring artists amongst my..er..legions of readers...her blog is a treasure trove of useful advice.
For any others who, like me, lead Walter Mitty lifestyles, it is interspersed with moments of high weirdness and drama...that for some might be....cautionary tales.
Via Danger Room comes this Ares post on an innovative sea-basing concept based on a trimaran hullform. The idea is to operate C-130 sized aircraft from a carrier on a regular basis! As pointed out in the article, the US Navy operated a C-130 off of USS Forestal in the 60s but wing clearance of the island was precarious and it pretty much required all other air ops to stop.
The trimaran would allow a much wider flight deck...even given the above deck hangars contemplated for the big planes. Another aspect of the hullform is that despite the larger deck dimensions, the ship would displace a little more than half what a Nimits class carrier does. A pdf of the powerpoint is here .
With a top speed of 35 knots, faster than a lot of surface warships, the ship makes a startling contrast to the fairly slow moving (but fricking GINORMOUS) modified oil rigs that have been mooted for the mobile offshore base concept over the past decade. (more on that here and here.)
The trimaran hullform is new but has been tested by the Brits and Aussies on various mid-sized commercial vessels...though nothing this big.
The propulsion seems to be a decision between commercial off the shelf diesels ( Sulzers) and a British designed nuclear plant.
Now, I like atomic power but the narrow beam of the individual hulls would seem to provide insufficient saftey separation from the sea unless a very innovative safe reactor design is chosen. Anyone with thoughts on this please comment.
According to the pdf, they are looking at having it being buildable at several US shipyards and are designing a structurally similar vessel for the merchant marine, initially with intercostal trailer transport in mind. Both these seem very wise, both to expand our currently declining shipyard base (or at least hold it steady) and have carriers be buildable at shipyards other than Newport News.
Building the ship to commercial specifications exites me less....there is a big difference in ruggedness and I have heard on navy related forums that HMS Ocean, which was built to commercial spescifications has had problems resulting from COTS design practices. I've not heard specifics though.
Certainly something needs to be done to bring down shipbuilding costs, however, steel...even HY 130, is a lot cheaper than electronics.
This option does however lend itself to economies in maintenance and yard time as well as (possibly) faster construction and repair (if most shipyard workers are familliar with the work).
Again, anyone with actual experience in this area please chime in.
September 01, 2007
I've been ill, jet lagged, and returning to both work and school.
Unfortunately, while I was out Stephen Den Beste completely jumped the shark.
Of course aside from the first 3 words in his post title, it is an article utterly devoid of merit...just some prattle about ground pressure and tensile strength and square cube law.
The sheer fallacy of the thesis is astounding given the ample evidence to the contrary....
That is not stupid.. THAT is kewel!(HT: Danny Choo)
I mean are YOU going to call this guy stupid? Stupid...no way...scary perhaps if you are an uninformed bystander, annoying if you are tasked with filling potholes, and grimly tragic if you are a sewer worker...but not stupid.
Using the photo evidence I would guess that Mr. Den Bestes' pessimistic ground pressure assessments were way off (which is surprising as I thought that was why Mazinger Z generally fought in the forests on the outskirts of town....but I digress).
Giant Robots have cool theme songs....not insipid ones....
...and the best ones lend themselves to heavy metal as well ....but to deal with the main thrust of Den Bestes thesis..... that Giant Mechs are STUPID....well, just using the first generation of giant superhero robots (and the dubiously legal miracle of you tube) I can refute that handily.
That is not stupid...that's the 36th COOLEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN!!!
And that doesn't even deal with later generations of mechs..Likely the best known in the states are Macross (thanks to Robotech) and Go-Lion, (the more popular of the two franchises brought over for Voltron).
Gundam, in all its iterations both poignant and utterly wretched, generally had cool mechs (and even turn A Gundam was saved by a good story). Of course some of the best mech shows are hardly remembered now....more is the pity.
Then there were the next generation of Mechs such as Evangelion....
Anyway....let's look at this from the other side...
What sort of shows does Mr. Den Beste like!?
Opinionated Brickmuppet flaming below fold....
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