Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Watching (and reading) a lot of Ranma 1/2 th' last week or so. The TV series ends fairly strongly, in an episodic, unfinished fashion, but that unfinished character suits an episodic series - a heck of a lot better than the way they (didn't) end Inuyasha, a shounen quest show if I ever saw one. I'm taking the OAVs slowly, as it's now high summer & walking season. Better to be out and about than cooped up inside with a TV & DVD player.

But I really liked Nodoka as a character, more than I thought I would from the descriptions I'd heard over the years. She's quite sweet & even-tempered, not at all the sort of fool who you'd expect would marry someone as monstrous and worthless as Genma Saotome. Only a walking catastrophe like Genma could take someone like that & turn her into an aspiring familicide. By the end of the TV series, I had come to hate Genma Saotome with the fire of a burning sun. The heck with harmless old Happosai, with his lechery, petty larceny and fire-bombs - Genma is the true villain of the story.

Everything wretched, or wrong, or mis-aligned in the world of the Tendo household was wrecked upon it by the will of Genma Saotome. That first trip to the Cursed Springs? Genma. Ranma's serial fiancees? Genma, again and again and again. Ranma's pugnacity, inarticulateness, and incapacity to effectively display emotion? Genma's insistence on raising him without a mother. I wouldn't at all be surprised if Soun & Genma's original apprenticeship to Happosai was somehow Genma's fault.

OK, OK, it's hard to blame the evils of the Kunou family on Genma. But I'm working on it. He *did* once affiance Ranma to Kodachi, so there's that...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Well, it looks like I'll be a homeowner come August. I was holding off until the inspections on account of last month's failed attempt, what with the foundations and the carpenter ants and the maintenance and the HEY LADY!


This one went much more smoothly. It's a split-level condominium in a modest little six-unit in the borough, on Crawford Lane at the top of the hill in the southwest ward. They're putting in a new roof on the units, and it sounds like they'll be working on that while I'll be moving in. There's some minor stuff to fix, but every place has its quirks. I'll be in the market for furniture, though. I don't have nearly enough stuff for a place this size, and a lot of what I do have ought to go right into the trash. You accumulate a lot of rubbish furniture unworthy of a decent home, renting as long as I have.

But hey, you know, I'm going to successfully shift from creditor to debtor status. With the dollar about to go over the falls, I figure it's the proper posture. Even if they surprise me & stave off the hyperinflation to come, I'll still have a decent place to hang my figurative hat.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Oh, crap. It's Cruise weekend. I guess I better leave my car up here at work.

It's going to be damned loud. If I'm lucky, it'll rain constantly... That'll keep the street noise down.

I see that they're talking about banning smoking in Tallyrand Park. In a *park*. In the *open*. Schmucks.
You can buy cheap washers and dryers from amazon.com, but the shipping charges will eat you alive. $192 each!
How did Mark Levin get such a big radio following? He's got a voice made for print.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Daemones Diogenissimus

Restless I was born
And searching even in the womb
Quickly my path worn
And back and forth and back and forth
Like a shuttlecock across the loom
To find that thing they call
“Understanding” or “knowledge” or “God”
But most often truth.

Diogenes they called me
And damned the light of my lamp
And avoided my footsteps
As I hove into view.

I was searching
For my first honest man
And after a time
For any honest man
Or woman, or god, or book,
Or mythical beast,
And still, the most mythical
Of them all
The honest man
Far more rare than
Two-headed amphibians
Or chimerical monstrous
Combinative horrors
Is that rare beast,
Whom I have yet to find
The honest man.

He was not among the Italian cult
Whoring their intellect in the
Geometric Temple.
He was not arguing
In the Athenian mob
He was not to be found
With the wise men
Masons and fishwives.
He was not driving slaves
Or helots or peasants
Nor a brother of the Spartan lords.
No, he was not found in any of those places.

But artists? Truth and wisdom,
If you exist,
I tell to you and the
Unhearing troubled heavens
If you exist to be troubled,
Troubled you are by the
Abominations of the artist.

Everywhere I went, I found them.
Daubing the fields in false and frivolous colors,
I found the painters plying their trade.
Flattering the rich and powerful,
I found the poets planning their praise
I found them again, called
Demogogues and sophists and tribunes
Bragging of their telling
Of truth to power,
Meaning that truth that is a means
And a way to power.
Again I found them, with instruments
Flattering women
And the love of women
And the love of the love of women
Or boys, or sheep, or whatever
Best paid for the lacquer on their lutes
And the fat on their bones.
Singing! Oh, the singing,
Lie upon lie upon lie
Flattering half-falsehoods at best
Utter tripe in the main
And such an unplumbed
Main it was
Stinking to the much-abused
Much-polluted heavens,
Rising along with the sacrifice-fires
Of the hypocrite priests
And the alchemist-cheats
And the vaporous oracles
With their vaguities so much worse
Than pure simple musical lies.

All the hours and days of my life
I walked by the light
Of my flickering lamp
And not one glimpse
Did I gain of my prey,
And not one word
Did I hear which led
Me anywhere but through
The same sodding muck
Of human delusion
And lying despair.

Thus did I come
To my dishonored grave
And within the tomb
They laid my
False foul flesh
For not even in myself
Did I find the honesty
Or understanding of truth.

From that putrid space
Burst what I have become
Restless still
And deathless with hunger.
The lamp burns
Now without oil to fuel
And through the darkened hours
I stalk my honest man.

Well should they fear
The liars and cheats
The light of my lamp
That splits the stillness of the night.

Even in darkness
With no-one to hear
Not one of the artists
Will tell me the truth
And those who knowing
The lies they sell
Those I destroy
For the sound of their demolition
For the sake of rage and despair.

Some trying to save
Their lying souls
Will offer long-winded stories
And beautiful songs
And marvels and wonders
And glorious prose
And some I will grant license
And some I will spare
In experimental hope that
Terror and awe
Might forge from artistry,
Fear and trembling
Some semblance of truth
Or a guide-post
But each essay and trial
Dare disappoint my hope
That subject I shall leave hanging
Strung up by the rope
I had lent him before.

Mitch Hagmaier
(Heavily edited & revised, 6/17/09)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I've just been in a mood recently. The weather's been dreary, or I've been under the weather, or both in conspiracy with each other have been at me at once, and the sum and total of current existence is the monocloud, looming, over a landscape of overpriced, ill-kept real-estate. In the financial news, the sucker's rally is in full roar, and summer's long static roar looks to be even longer and even louder than is its usual wont. It's very likely that I'll miss the interest rate sweet spot, as nothing's reaching out & grabbing me after last month's pricy mis-fire.

I can't help but think that on a purely utilitarian basis that I don't belong in an owned house, by myself. Houses are for families, not for unmotivated solitary men. I had thought about getting a cheap house in Phillipsburg, but the long miserable commute and the uninspiring nature of that hill-town just made all of my ambition curl up and die a shameful, slovenly death in a roadside ditch halfway down the Allegheny Front.

While I was walking a suburb of that town, I encountered an honest-to-God "Here, Hold My Beer" moment, in which a pair of hicks in black wife-beaters had clearly gotten tired of chopping down a thick tree by the side of an attached garage, having taken chips out of each side of the trunk without seriously cutting into the heartwood. They had wrapped a narrow little cable around the trunk about eight feet up from the roots, and attached it to a Jeep Grand Cherokee, and one of the wife-beaters was revving the Jeep, trying to pull the tree down by main force. They were probably lucky that the cable gave way before the root system, because I figured about even odds that it would have pulled down the garage wall along with the trunk if they had succeeded. Meanwhile, the narrow little cable snapped at a join, and went whipping about. I had kept my distance expecting this to happen, and luckily, none of the other onlookers got caught in the rebound. But geez, that really didn't strike me as the sort of neighborhood I needed to be a part of.