April 23, 2017
I'll Just Leave This Here...
You Just KNOW Your Day is About to Get Derailed When a magical girl teleports in and greets you thusly...
Thus does the story of Alice and Zoroku REALLY begin.
Meet Mr. Zoroku Kashimura, the white haired gentleman to the left, a mysterious old geezer who has a skill the local Yakuza is willing to pay handsomely for.
Despite this, he seems to have a very good reputation in the neighborhood, to the extent that a local clerk enlists him to help out an odd little girl in an elaborate dress who has been staring at bentos for two hours. She demonstrates quite alarming, unholy, non-newtonian skills before offering to grant him any wish in return for...an undisclosed favor. Of course our bad-ass protagonist lives in Japan and is old enough to understand that anything supernatural in that part of the world is to be avoided. So he leaves.
Did I mention that she could teleport?
At this point it should be noted that the mysterious girl has pursuers This fact becomes consequential to the story and proceeds to thoroughly mess up our protagonists day.
Not Pictured: Hijinks
You see, magical girls are trouble...and expensive to boot.
Nevertheless, Mr. Kahimura is bad ass enough to survive multiple magical girls tearing up the city. He finally decides to take in this "Alice" and put her to work for him, while he figures out what to do with her. To that end, he takes her to his sanctum, where we finally learn what Mr. Kashimura "Talent" is.
Alice and Zoroku is really bi-polar in tone. The first few minutes are fairly grim and gritty (though largely devoid of blood ) and the story itself seems to be a superhero thriller, but one that is mitigated by considerable wackieness. I'm not sure where this is going yet but it looks like this has the potential to be a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting show.
So.... You're supposed to be Princess Emillia, from Re:Zero, right?
I'm more interested in our protagonist's agent anyway.
What are we prattling on about?
Eromanga Sensei has a dumb as rocks premise, but it's extremely well done for what it is.
Our hero, Masamune Izume, is a light novel author...in high school, who, being recently orphaned, has to support his younger sister, Sagiri. Complicating this is the fact that, aside from the most fleeting glimpses, he's only seen her once, briefly, when she was adopted after HER parents died. You see, she's a hikikomori, presumably because there's been a lot of death in this tweener's short life.
Masamune has been particularly fortunate to land the services of a noted cheesecake illustrator on his latest novel series. He's never actually met the dude, but the artist helped to make his latest trilogy enough of a success that our hero is making a decent living...and loosing his anonymity, This is beginning to further complicate his already hectic life.
This being anime, things take a turn for the weird when series of conversations during and after a book signing and an obscure website set our hero on a path to discovering a shocking secret that will change his life forever!
This was a really solid first episode and except for one gratuitously tasteless gag at 14:29 this is really cute show, though I'm not sure how far they can go with this.
April 22, 2017
From episode 11 of Tanya the Evil which has graphic violence and black humor to go with its poor role models.
April 20, 2017
On Books and Their Covers The OP was initially not to my liking and the art is not my cup of tea, but there have been enough positive comments from those with reliable opinions that I actually sat through the opening and watched an episode of ACCA.
It is set in an alternate universe where certain fashions reminiscent of early Hugo Boss do not have the same implications they do here. The show has a decidedly retro look with the art being a throwback to some 80's girl's manga...with the protagonists removed.
A couple of background nobodies from Alexandrite ponder their newfound importance.
The production values are not high, and it seems to be a dry procedural...but I'm hooked.
This is really interesting!
April 19, 2017
Dispatches From Afar
My 77 year old parents continue their adventure.
The other day I got a staticky phone call from my mother informing me that "...the boat is heeling so far over that I'm standing against the floor and water is up to the pilot house windo... and your dad...YOUR DAD..."
Aaaand...that was it.
No further calls went through for several hours until my mother finally answered with "...wait...WHO IS THIS?" "No! I was on the other line! No, we're fine but I've got....THEY'RE COMING!" She then shouted my fathers name several times before the connection died.
My next contact with them was equally terse. "Can't talk now. We're in the emergency room."
I called my sister, who knew no more than I did but had gotten a cryptic and disturbing message on her answering machine.
Anyway, it turns out that they ran aground in the ICW, which, as part of our nations failing infrastructure, is no longer as deep in some places as the charts indicate. The tide was going out and by the time they called for a tow, they were stuck fast. When the contractor was pulling them out of the mud the boat heeled over almost on its beam ends and water rose to the pilot house windows.
When I finally got through to them they were racing a storm and a yacht into a small marina with one available slip and my mother was trying to pay dockage over the phone when I called. The yacht was attempting to zip into the slip ahead of them and they nearly collided...fortunately, the yacht did not think to call ahead and actually pay for the slip so the dockmaster resolved the matter in favor of my folks and the yacht had to ride out the storm at anchor, but not before many obcenities were tossed at my parents. (Canal rage is a terrible thing.)
My dad, who some of you may remember, went on this excursion with a broken foot, went to the hospital to get it checked, re-set and more antibiotics as it was still infected.
Since then, they've managed to render their engine air bound, which took them two days to resolve and as I type this they are completely without any electrical power to their pilot house (though they have running lights).
They seem to be enjoying themselves immensely.
Hey.....Is This Thing On?
Since last we met, I've developed considerable anger at Microsoft's Excel and Outlook.
Here is a picture of a different anger, this time in the Serengeti.
Art by Ueyama Michirou
April 15, 2017
Come for the Beatings, Stay For the Scorpions I really thought that this story HAD to be a joke.
"Well, snakes would be derivative."
April 13, 2017
Big Bomb is Big, but The Tautology is Not the Story The news today has been abuzz with reports that the U.S.A.F. dropped a GBU-43/b bomb on an I.S.I.S tunnel network in Afganistan. Much of the reporting has been breatlessly reporting on the fact that this bomb is REALLY BIG. Some reports have implied that this is like nothing ever used before and is as big as a small nuke.
The bomb in question is about the same sizer as a British Grand Slam bombs used in WW2.
This bomb has a much higher percentage of explosive to its total weight but its not anywhere near even the smallest nuke.
A Kiloton is the explosive equivalent to one kiloton (that is one thousand TONS) of TNT. This can be chamically simulated (minus flash and radiation) with....one thousand tons of TNT.
Which brings us to Operation Sailor Hat...
...in which the U.S. Navy wanted to test the effects of nuclear blasts on its ships without actually popping a nuke. They stacked up a pile of explosives big enough to simulate one half a kiloton of TNT, that is, one 30th the yield of the Hiroshima bomb. Naturally, this assembly consisted of a detonator and 500 TONS of TNT. Note the sailor in the lower right hand corner for scale (and the fire extinguisher...'cause they REALLY didn't want a fire there.)
Here's the GBU-43/b.
Much smaller than the bungalow sized bundle of boom above
It's also called MOAB (Massive Ordinance Air Burst) which is a somewhat tortured application of the G.I. Joe system of acronyms that enables it to be unofficially referred to as the Mother of All Bombs.
It is NOT in the same ballpark as even the smallest known nuke.
It is a very good weapon for delivering a huge concussive force to a mountain and collapsing tunnels, which is what it was used for here. The target seems to be a massive underground system of tunnels and caves that is part of a chain of such fortresses set up by the Taliban and AlQuaeda in Nangahar province stretching from the northeast to south of Jalalabad of which Tora Bora is the most well known. that complex was well equipped with hydroelectric generators, and other equipment one would associate with the Maginot Line rather than a terrorist cave.
Note though the buried lede in this story.
The operation in Nangahar not only warranted the use of a concussion weapon of this size, the weapon in question was targeted against an ISIS stronghold.
Not Taliban, not Al-Quaeda, but ISIS...in Afganistan. There have been several islamist groups around the world that have sworn aliegence to ISIS, and the their operations in Africa have been known for some time. The scale of the operation in Afganistan, very near the Pakistan border, on the heels of numerous terror attacks inside Pakistan should give everyone pause.
Pakistan is a nuclear power and its arsenal consists mainly of tactical nukes, that while small are multiple orders of magnitude more destructive than the very impressive firecracker we just dropped on a mountain fortress. They also have dubious security.
In the past five years there have been at least half a dozen attacks on the facilities that reportedly store Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. The Kamra Air Base near Islamabad has been attacked three times by terrorists belonging to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
This bomb strike, or more correctly the battle that it was part of, therefore, may well be consequential indeed. Not so much for what was dropped, but who it was aimed at.
Having ignored it until it got dangerous, it appears that we waited too long to cut the cancer that is ISIS out of Iraq....it seems to have metastasized most alarmingly.
April 12, 2017
Today's Episode of Newspeak For Beginners Was Brought to You by the Word "Reaccommodate" and the Number "69"
J.C. Carlton has thoughts on the saga of passenger#69 and United's new seating arrangements.
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