May 30, 2016

2,852,901

That's approximately how many U.S. servicemen have laid down their lives in battle since 1775. 



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My Credulity is Being Pinched



Sadly, I think they are talking ABOUT the plot, rather than anything occurring IN the plot.

High School Fleet is an absolutely amazing mess. 

Something has been nagging me about this for several episodes and I couldn't put my finger on it until now: This series has very good animation, an overarching plot and some very Japanese moments...but the generally PC feel of the world, the didactic resolutions to the various pinches the girls find themselves in, and spectacular catastrophes with body counts of zero all result in an overarching tone that actually reminds me of a Hanna Barberra adventure cartoon from the '70s or perhaps a Rankin Bass show from the '80s. 

There are some neat bits, the tactical use of tide-tables being a particularly good moment, and the overarching threat is a global one that the girls thus far have been able to stave off via their wits (and the Deus Ex Machina of having their corpsman in training be a prodigy). However High School Fleet continues to steer erratically through the strait separating naval otakuism from the great derp reef. So far the show has run aground on both shores multiple times. 

But enough forced metaphors, I cannot in good conscience recommend this show to my readers, though I will continue watching this train wreck because it amuses me for some reason (most likely a deep-seated character flaw on my part).

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May 29, 2016

That Moment When....

...you discover your place in the world.


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May 28, 2016

This, Gentle Readers....

...is why I say "no" to Vox Day.


I keep telling people this and keep getting blown off because "Vox is smart and hates the right people" or somesuch.

...and while this post languished in "draft" part two dropped

I urge you to read both in full.

Then tell me, is this what you want conservatism to become?

This is actually one of the most pernicious and vile problems with political correctness. When you define racism down, when you declare vast swaths of discourse off limits and smear everyone who expresses a political disagreement with the label of bigot, then you normalize people like this guy, and give them a way to ooze into our national discourse.

It doesn't help when some of his critics are SO vile that he can look good by comparison to them. It used to be that if someone was accused of being a racist and their retort was "Well, I'm against child rape! SO THERE!" that the public could point out that such a defense is not only a non-sequiter, but a straw man as pretty much everyone was in agreement that having sex with children is wrong. Alas now we have his vocal critics amongst the current Sci-Fi luminaries,  who can't quite denounce a NAMBLA advocate on one side and a whole bunch of people who have been victimized over the years for whom Vox Day (whose real name is Theodore Beale)  is a savior who is not only affirming the fact that they have been hurt, but is hated by, and reciprocates the animosity of those who caused them so much suffering. 

So yes. Some of the people that dislike us, and that Vox Day also dislikes are truly vile pieces of work. I would go so far as to call them monsters.That doesn't mean he should be allowed to define who we are or not be called out by us for espousing views unrelated to child abuse that we not only find abhorrent, but that the left has been slanderously ascribing to us for decades. 

Just as many on the left have missed the point that 1984 is a cautionary tale and not a how to manual, so do many of Vox Day's apologists not quite grok the lessons of Faust (or Elric for that matter). The alt-right (which is actually old school, Wilsonian progressivism) currently has an undeniable energy and is riding the backlash against political correctness quite skillfully. However, allying with them comes at too high a price, for these toxic remoras will either drown us by their weight of their odious views, or in the worst case, use us as a platform to spread and legitimize those beliefs. The results of that are not likely to be good, either politically, or morally. I for one won't have it on my conscience. 

When fighting monsters it is important to not become one yourself, for that rather defeats the purpose of the exercise. 

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An Ama Diver Perhaps?

I have no idea who this is.

I've inquired...



...but she's being rather koi.

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May 27, 2016

It Took Three Days

...but on May 27th, 1941 the Bismarck was found by the Battleships King George the 5th and Rodney, two cruisers and six destroyers. 



The ship was hit by around 400 shells and several torpedoes before sinking. 

Of her 2200 man crew, there were only 110 survivors. 

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May 26, 2016

This Seems...Ill Thought Out

One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes reacts to the latest information on  this "tunnel bus" or "straddle bus"currently being tested in China. 




OK...I find myself in general agreement with her.

This does not seem wise. I mean it really looks like many, many, accidents waiting to happen. In a broader sense it's a neat idea though, and as a streetcar (on rails) it might work very well indeed. 

There's more on this here, though not quite as much as there was before the translation.

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May 24, 2016

It's Been 75 years

Bismark and Prinz Eugen, having sunk HMS Hood, should have been able to finish off HMS Prince of Wales with little trouble, especially given that P.o.W.s main armament was malfunctioning. However, Captain Leach had handled his malfunctioning ship brilliantly and the British battleship's parting salvo was quite consequential. It Struck Bismarck below the waterline peeling away enough hull plating to cost the German ship about a knot in speed. Much more importantly, it ruptured and contaminated a fuel tank. For reasons not entirely clear the German ship had not topped off in Norway and the German admiral was suddenly quite aware of how far from home he was and how much of hios depleted fuel reserves he needed to burn to get there. 


Dispatching the Prinz Eugen to continue the raid, Admiral Lütjens began heading home. 

Meanwhile, in England, the national threat level was raised from "Muddling Through" to "Not Amused" .  The loss of Hood was a terrible shock and the Royal Navy mobilized every asset they had to find the Bismarck and send her to the bottom.

There wasn't much available however, The royal Navy was spread thin over the entire planet and the weather in the area of concern was deteriorating to the point that air reconnaissance was becoming impractical. Bismarck eluded the cruisers that had been shadowing her and it looked like there was nothing to stop the ship's return to Germany. Late on the 26th, there was a brief sighting by a reconnaissance aircraft, but it was then apparent that Bismarck was well out of range of any UK ships and home free...

Actually, there was one ship that could theoretically make a difference, but the Carrier Ark Royal was just at the extreme range of its torpedo planes and in any event, the ship was pitching like a cork in a terrible gale that would normally preclude flying at all.



Despite hellish weather, (hurricane force winds with green water coming over the deck!) three of Ark Royal's obsolete Swordfish torpedo planes managed to lumber into the air, and some time later flew through a hail of flack to each drop a single, relatively underpowered 450mm torpedo. Only the one dropped by the plane piloted by John Moffat struck the German warship, but the location made all the difference. The Bismarck's steering gear was wrecked.




The ship's crew tried to steer via screws but the ship's three screwed arrangement and the dreadful weather made this exceedingly difficult. 

Suddenly, Bismarck was not quite home free anymore. 

 

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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.

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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. Furthermore, the translator seems simply not aware of many nautical terms and of course there are (presumably) many (understandably) unfamiliar Japanese nautical terms adding to the general perplexity. 

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. 

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