August 31, 2008

Hurricane Week

UPDATE: Bumped to top
This is very nearly a worst case track.

 It looks like NOLA is going to be in the danger quadrant and winds will be blowing into New Orleans from Lake Ponchartrain. This is a far, more direct hit than the city got during Katrina and will put maximum stress on the levees. Weather Nerd has more.

A better idea of the windspeeds can be seen below click here for full size.
Information Dissemination has a post on the Navy side of the disaster preparations, note that the main difference between this and 2005 is that the current governor of Louisiana is competent and also unlikely to deny them entry and Mayor Nagin is not being an ass. Having learned his lesson, he has ordered a timely evacuation this time and seems to be implementing a real evacuation plan.

Regards the Hospital Ships, Mercy is still in Paupa New Guinea but Comforts last publicly acknowledged location was Baltimore.

60 MPH...96 KM/HR.





Excerpted...emphasis mine.

 This has every indication of being at least as bad as 2005.

If you want to help, either in person or by donation,  Rambling Rebuilder, who spent much of 2005/2006 doing relief and recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast sends these helpful links.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief...are acknowledged as the experts in Hurricane relief in the southeast.

Habitat for Humanity...helps out with the aftermath of these things.

Samaritans..don't get much attention, but Rambling Rebuilder says they were very heavily engaged and helpful in the area after the 2005 calamity.

These are the ones he saw that were most visible.
There is also a big list of relief NGO's on this page.

If by some bizarre chance you are reading this and are in the above indicated path....get off the damn computer and leave!


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August 29, 2008


It appears that Sarah Palin has got the left scared. They are getting desperate and stupid....but few so desperate and stupid as this Kossack diarist who is claiming that she faked the pregnancy of her youngest child.

60 odd days till the election...


UPDATE: HAH! I Love it! 
It's Sarah and John!
(New campaign motto: "Come with us if you want to live!")

UPDATE 2: Steven Den Beste posts on....Hell, just go look.

UPDATE 3: The Anchoress has put together everything one needs to know about Palin-noia.

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Dispatch From the Department of Dunderheads

While come of us have been wondering how the hell the Duck does it....Colleen Doran has turned over a rock and uncovered a roach with internet access!

Read the whole thing...
Read the comments...
...particularly the comment by the asshat who  thinks that  Ms. Doran having a good chuckle at the above linked cretins expense casts her integrity in doubt....and then proceeds to reinforce his sensitive progressive bonifides by calling this acomplished and talented artist "Hot Lips".

After you have done that, then check out the third update in the post below.

God I hate commies.......

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Tentative Happy Dance

Word is that McCain has picked Sarah Palin!

The 'Phibian wins the betting pool.

I didn't think he would do it but I am VERY happy that he did.
Palin is awesome, a highly principled individual who as a legislator resigned in protest of party graft in Alaska. She ran a dark horse, anti-establishment campaign rather cut off from party support and won the gubernatorial nomination by sheer competence and public appeal. She has been very reform oriented as Governor and quite successful at it.

Cdr Salamander has background here.

If this is not disinformation it is great news.

I'm off to school.

UPDATE: Happy Dance!
It was not disinformation. Sarah Palin is the Republican Vice Presidential  candidate.

I saw her acceptance speech at school. It was most impressive. From a perspective of principle, achievement and competence she is hard to beat. This was my dream Veep candidate. I really did not think he would do it. Palin is also one of the more Libertarian Governors out there (an unsurprising thing coming from a frontier state).

Galrhan has taken a short break from defense analysis to post some thoughts on the election in general and they do ring true....particularly this bit:

We have two very interesting tickets, but they both tell the same story. The United States of America is the greatest country in the world, and the lives of all four candidates combine to represent and reaffirm that reality.

More background on Palin here.

I would point out that Governor Palin's foreign policy experience, while admittedly quite sparse, is not actually zero. She worked with Canada to get the recently started natural gas pipeline approved. She has probably had some dealings with her Russian counterparts regards fisheries and attempts at cooperation in search and rescue matters. All governors have a certain amount of hands-on negotiation with foreign countries on trade, educational and occasionally environmental matters.  Significantly, what little foreign policy experience she has has been practical, rather than theoretical.

Obama would be very unwise to mock her lack of experience given his exceedingly thin resume. Oh wait.

Yet more on Governor Palin, this time from a libertarian perspective, here.


UPDATE2: Hah! Steven DenBeste points out a significant Palin characteristic that everyone else is missing, and the potential that this has in swaying an unappreciated demographic. He's closed comments to avoid those with biocular insecurity so feel free to comment here.

UPDATE3: Holy Carp!
Note: .Gifs are for celebratory purposes only: No endorsement of McCain/Palin by Mr.T, or the creators of Windows 95 and Hidamari Sketch should be inferred from this post.

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August 28, 2008


Because whatever differences one may have with Obama tonights nomination is indeed a great moment for this country.

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Reproduceable Violence

Pulpjunkie links to these two interesting Hanna Barbara Terrytoon pilots from the late 60s. Both were created by the late Iwao Takamoto.

(how does one FORGET about the Chasm of Doom?)

By far the more interesting of the two is Sally Sargent, the tale of a High school girl who moonlights as a government agent . According to the comments at You Tube, the show was to be the  flagship show for an adventure programming block.

While there were no horrible deaths ala' Johnny Quest in either episode, there was a great deal of violence and peril. Both shows, but particularly Sally Sargent, ran afoul of the public outcry against violence in kids shows which hit the US in the late 60s as a response to the social unrest of the time. In '68-'69 people were twitchy about pipe bombs. The silly supposition was that the violence was happening because kids were mindlessly repeating what they saw on the TV...and know...because Bill Ayers is just an evil bastard. 

This trend against any reproduceable violence only got worse as time went on and led to the generally insipid mess that was the US Animation scene from about 1969 until the late 80s. Particularly ironic given that Tatsuo Yoshida (the creator of Gatchaman Speed Racer and other shows that really started the anime industry) claimed both Marvel Comics and Johnny Quest among his inspirations.

Given the talent available at the time, one can only speculate where US TV animation would be today if standards and practices had not strangled it just as the Japanese animation industry was coming into its own.

UPDATE: Pulpjunkie corrects me in the comments. These were not Hanna-Barberra shows, but rather the last gasp of Terrytoons. More here.

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Well It IS That Time of Year

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Coast Guard in Georgia

The USCGC Dallas in Batumi Georgia prepares to offload relief supplies.

Photo from Strategy Page via Wonderduck.

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That's OK ....The Coast Guard Will Find You

The Navy is good at damage control and creating explosions...
....navigating... not so much it would seem...

080826-N-6031Q-001 PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 16, 2008 ) The amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) successfully completes its first of three shock trials events off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David R. Quillen/Released)

HT Galrahn
Original link here

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August 27, 2008

Science....the Music Video

Science at CERN explained

Via Colleen Doran who has  further thoughts and reminiscences here.

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A Few Thoughts From Around the 'Net on the Benevolent All Caring God Head Sun King

There is an ad being circulated by friends of McCain that has the Obama team rather miffed. They are asking their supporters to pressure advertisers and boycott the stations that run it. This is a perfectly legit tactic in a republic. However, Obama is also trying to get the Justice Department to take legal action against stations and the originators of the ad. Now while there is a certain poetic catharsis in seeing Mr.Campaign finance reform getting gigged in this way, it is still troubling, especially since Obama (who has forgone federal funding) is pushing the envelope on this even by the standards of McCain Feingold. Nor is this the only example of the DNC flexing its censorship muscles this week. I've long held that the modern left is far more likely than the right to silence those that disagree with them.

So here, via Instapundit... and utterly out of the ad the Obamatons don't want you to see.

Here is Obama's video opposed to his  Justice Department response.

As you can see, Obama's response is basically along the lines of "Ayers did his bad deeds a long time ago, I denounced them (when it became an issue) can't we just move on?"

If McCain were hanging out with Eric Rudolph...would they be saying that?
Is this an unequal comparison?
Ayers is not just a terrorist and a traitor, he started a terrorist organization, admired the Manson "family" bombed the capitol and the Pentagon and terrorized the citizens of the US.
Read about the bastard here.
Amongst his lesser crimes...

Ayers was an active participant in Weatherman's 1969 "Days of Rage" riots in Chicago, where nearly 300 members of the organization employed guerrilla-style tactics to viciously attack police officers and civilians alike, and to destroy massive amounts of property via vandalism and arson; their objective was to further spread their anti-war, anti-American message. Reminiscing on those riots, Ayers says pridefully: "We'd ... proven that it was possible -- we didn't all die, we were still there."

So much for the politics of hope.
Ayers is the lowest form of scum. Obama got his political start in Ayers living room, was mentored by him and has served with the murderous twit in various political and activist capacities. To denounce the actions of the guy,(when it became an issue),  when Ayers is most decidedly unrepentant and still work with him is a thin rebuttal indeed.

A larger, more disturbing point is raised here by Jonah Goldberg (via)
I am amazed, simply amazed, at the amazement of many liberals that Ayers and Dohrn should matter to anyone.
This goes to the heart of why the modern left is actively scary....and why they can't see that they are. They see nothing wrong with associating with a terrorist if the terrorist was a leftie...and they are so detached, ethically bankrupt and provincial that they cant see why this is an issue.

Now to be fair this fairly strong connection to Bill Ayers actually reinforces Obamas rather nebulous claim that he'll bring about the agent of "change".
Ayers again:
"Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, Kill your parents."

Yes its CHANGE!
The McCain ad on Ayers is perfectly legit in the questions it asks. It is up to Obama to answer them to the voters satisfaction.

Perhaps he will do that tonight...on the Obamacropolis.....

UPDATE: As I typed this Obama and the DNC have skipped the floor vote...which might have been, you know, close or something....and decided to just declare the Benevolent All Caring God Head Sun King to be the Lord Protector nominee.

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Dispatch from the Department of "Yikes!"

The Gulf of Mexico is HOT right now. This could be bad.

More at Weather Nerd.

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The Mighty Creators Mind Works in Mysterious Ways

Pixy demonstrates a musical stream of consciousness via a series of You Tubes.

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Jane, Arnie, Bill and Diesel..You All Suck

Spambots have me bracketed....

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August 24, 2008

Surface, Surface, Surface

Back in the US after a long flight back.

10.5 hour flight with seatbelt light on 8.5 hours of it. REALLY turbulent ride. Kudos to United for dealing with the foul weather with grace and professionalism.

The difference between arriving in Japan and the US is striking. The impression given is that the US does NOT want visitors. There was a 2.5 hour layover in San Fransisco However, due to customs and the fact that we all had to go through the airport screening again in SFO, I very nearly missed the connecting flight.
A big thanks to United  for holding the flight over a minute for me. (I had contacted the nearest United desk as soon as I cleared the tweezer police...and they informed the plane I was on my way). As I ran to the plane, the engines were already spun up. The purser was holding the door and asked "Are you Mister Talton?" I answered in the affirmative and she closed the door behind me.

There were no problems on the last 2 flights...A big thanks to United for not splattering me across the countryside.

I have over a hundred more pics from Kanazawa, Himeji castle and various random spots, but my computer time is limited as I'm starting school tomorrow and start work Thursday.

I'll try to get the rest of the Japan pics up by the end of the week. In the meantime, what posts are posted will be on the more usual topics

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August 21, 2008

Back in Tokyo : Banality Minus One

Kanazawa is awesome. It is a bit out of the way, but I highly recommend it.  Like Nagasaki, I would have stayed a day or two longer if possible. There are literally hundreds of temples and dozens of gardens. The castle is undergoing restoration but even in its damaged state is impressive. The most remarkable thing is the parts of the town that consists of buildings that are literally hundreds of years old, and yet are still active shops and homes. There are  very few non-Japanese tourists due to its not being on the bullet train line. More later with pics when I am on a computer that has the appropriate port to load said pictures.

I stepped into this cybercafe to avoid the pusher/stuffer brigade as the return train put me out into Tokyo rush hour. Aside from the fact that this row of computers has no flash drive ports open, I am typing from what is the most elegant cybercafe I've ever found. Besides the drinks they have free rice, curry (as available) and miso spotless showers. All for 12 bucks.

 I've been up for almost 56 hours now and I realize I just misspelled the word "few".

UPDATE: Yes...I am fully aware that there is a monkey on the loose in Shibuya...I'll bet there's a racoon loose in Brooklyn too.

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August 20, 2008

Quick Update

I return Saturday barring any calamities such as fires, earthquakes or floods.

RE calamaties: I've been sick, I got gigged on a rail ticket and I may have fractured my heel, though it is better today than at any time the last 3 days.

I have never seen so many bats in my life.

Niigata/ west coast plans foiled by flooding/rains.

Monkey Island plans foiled by rain/storms.

Weather has been wonky due to the near miss Typhoon.

I found a particularly surly looking cat....

...but mostly it's been non touristy sights between Tokyo and Youkuska....and the things tourists overlook.  

There are a lot of interesting and odd little things one finds when one walks for 4 hours through lower middle-class Tokyo neighborhoods.

Tonight I'm going to try to take the sleeper car to from Ueno to Kanazawa.

Pics very slow to upload in this crash-happy web-cafe machine, only have a few minutes left.

Everyone stay safe!

UPDATE: Rail pass doesnt work on sleeper cars....but I got on a sitter car and arrived in Kanazawa after 7 hr train Hotel vacancies. Today we learned to check for big sports events and peak tourist seasons in our destinations.

I am on a coin operated computer at the station (!) checking for touristy things....and I think I found a bath I'll at least be a clean tired & incoherent Ken.

Kanazawa is off the beaten bullet train stops here. However, this was one of the 3 most important cities during the Edo period. It is also one of the 2 big cities spared the bombings during WW2 as it was out of range of the B29s (Kyoto was spared by presidential decree and the insistance of the Navy). Thus the the Edo era stuff is still here...this should be a cool stop.

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August 16, 2008

Brickmuppet in Japan....The Obligatory Bathouse Episode

Partly because of tenuous finances, and partly because I'm rarely home during the 3PM-11PM business hours, I had not previously partaken of the bathouse only 74 steps around the corner from my apt. People spoke highly of the place and I'd never been to a bathouse before so I determined to do it at least once this trip.

Today I kept my roamings no farther afield than Ikebukero, and in the late afternoon I went to the bathouse.

I had NO idea what I was doing, but I figgured that bathing should not be all that difficult.

I walked into the lounge and the manager threw me a horrified look and demanded that I remove my socks. I proceded to oblige until the manager....realizing they WERE socks asked where my shoes were. I pointed to the lockers in the foyer plainly maked with the picture of a shoe. The look of anger evaporated and was replaced with one of surprise.....which worries me for some reason....

Anyway, I paid my 550 yen. No instructions, directional or otherwise were forthcoming but I did know enough Kanji to know the difference between "Mens" and "Womens". This is the second place I've seen those two Kanji on the whole trip.

There was an air conditioned lounge.....with all the secret and wonderful things that are in the boys side of the house that no female shall ever well as lockers, vibro-massage chairs and the entry into the bathouse proper. This consisted of a set of showers and 3 huge swimming pool sized jacuzzi baths, one of which was shapped like a volcano and had red lights strobing up from it.

That was the HOT bath.

The other two were the merely scalding and the just above freezing baths.

It was awesome...if scalding.

In the back was a sauna which I did not use.

One surprise (to me anyway) was that the men and women are in essentially the same high ceilinged room (vaulted ceiling topping out at 40+ feet) seperated by a wall only about 81/2 feet high. The women could be heard on the other side, chattering and presumably doing the Natto dance。This arraingement greatly facilitates the airflow of the place, but given that I'm just over 6 feet tall, had I been obnoxious and stupid, mischief could have been perpetrated. The various Japanese shows where this apparant design flaw is a plot point do not, it would seem strain credulity.

At any rate I got  to practice my Japanese quite a bit and feel cleaner than I have in.....about 16 days....

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August 15, 2008

Where Does Water Go?

Yesterday I began walking following the creek near the house with the flow rather than upstream. I happened across this, which would have been a welcome find 2 weeks ago, a Japanese consignment store.

Banal indeed, but his is a very useful thing to find, If you visit Japan for an extended period make a note of the name, they are a chain.

Lots of bargains... absurdly cheap stuff in there.

In a park along the creek I noted this restroom....which is significant only because it is the only time on this trip I have seen kanji used to denote Men's and Women's restrooms.

An interesting flood control system along the creek.

I talked to a fellow named Hoshi at some length here. He said that this drains into several nearby parks that become lakes during major storms. The parks with the baseball fields and tennis coursts are frequently in depressions, I imagine that their flooding during storms is considered an excellent tradeoff since their use during storms is likely limited.

Look! Neolithic childrens slide!

I shouldn't complain about where I'm staying, it keeps me dry at night, has running water and a refrigerator....

...but I can't help thinking that  living in this apartment here might be kewell....

In contrast to the cicadas we have in Virginia, the Japanese variety seem a bit smaller, though they are probably a bit louder.

They taste exactly the same though, with an identical amount of blargh*

Around 4, as stormclouds were gathering, I decided to head back. That was when I realized 2 things. I had been walking over 4 and a half hours, and water flows DOWNhill.

Today I did laundry, went to the grocery, cleaned the room and studied Kanji. I have 7 days left and just under a hundred bucks...not bad considering the curveballs. I can still go afield with the railpass and I'm going to make use of that Tuesday & Wednesday of next week. I want to head up to the Mt Fuji area.

If anyone has knowledge of the Kanji or precise kattakana used for the term "region free" please leave it in a comment.

 * as in " Hajimemashite, Watashi w~{bzzzTHUNK!}Blargh! ptooie!!-ptoooie!!"

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August 13, 2008

Right Way/Wrong Way

While I'm here in Japan on a low budget self inflicted tour package getting by on a wing and a prayer, Faith Howell has been in China as part of a well organized Old Dominion University venture.

They experienced no fires or other destructions of their living quarters...and she's a better photographer to boot....

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