Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thought for the day:

Truth is only stranger than fiction because narrative is inherently familiar. Narrative is a creature of fiction. Actual strangeness is essentially alienated. Understanding comes with interpretation - re-writing experiences into a coherency which can only approximate the actual, in the creation of a personal narrative, the incorporation of the alien into your fiction, your version of reality. In this sense, the familiar is antonymic to the strange, as fiction is to truth.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ugh. I just looked up the M3 money supply curve. That quantitative easing thing was bigger than I thought. Today, I feel punished for saving.

Hyperinflation, here we come!
An email, sent to my district's representative in the House:

Mr. Thompson, I did some campaigning for you during the election last fall, so believe me that I don't relish the need for this message. But I am deeply disappointed to find that you had a part in the recent passage of a bill of attainder against employees of the TARP beneficiaries. While no-one can be enthusiastic about the rights and privileges of overeducated, overpaid, arrogant finance professionals, especially ones employed by organizations enjoying the inappropriate benefits of government funds, that can't lead us into illicit, immoral, or uncivilized responses to provocation.

The recent bill is, in my layman's opinion, unconstitutional. Congress's constitutional warrant explicitly excludes the ability to pass bills of attainder, which I define as a class of legislation designed to confiscate the property of individuals as a punitive response to political actions. A bill designed to reclaim monies legitimately paid under legal contract via punitive taxation meets this definition by my lights, and I believe that I am not being irrational or excitable in making this characterization.

Furthermore, although post-facto taxation is not itself (so far as I know) unconstitutional, it is is immoral and unethical. The fashion in which this bill combines attainder and post-facto legislation with the expressed intent of an assault upon private contracts only makes the act the more inexcusable.

In a time of Democratic legislative dominance, the party of the opposition has an even greater obligation to defend both the spirit and the letter of the law. Such doors, once opened in the heat of the moment, cannot be so easily closed!

The constitution and the culture of the law which it under-pins must be our bulwark in times of crisis and emergency. Kindly stop knocking holes in our foundation!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

And this one is literally about wealth destruction - a theoretical solution to the below-zero interest rate in which the Treasury announces the de-tenderization [sp?] of a randomly statistical sampling of currency in circulation at a set period, to discourage cash holdings in a time of sub-zero return on investment.
...who commanded this? what God? what Angel!
To keep the gen'rous from experience till the ungenerous
Are unrestraind performers of the energies of nature;
Till pity is become a trade, and generosity a science,
That men get rich by

- William Blake, America, a Prophesy

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Just got some spam for St. Patrick's Day gifts. This is a holiday for giving presents now?

I thought it was a day for aspiring alcoholics to pretend to be Irish, wear green, and drink themselves cross-eyed.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Watchmen. In short? It's very much a Zach Snyder movie, despite what I'd heard beforehand. It's got interludes of brilliance, and is interesting even in its failures. I especially liked how they shifted Veidt's trendy lefty do-gooder conceits from the slightly artificial nuclear freeze one-worldism of Moore's now-archaic script to a contemporary 'watermelon' environmental extremism which expresses itself in what looked like the deliberate assassination of Lee Iaccoca. (This new trendy leftism will look as archaic and foolish in twenty years as Moore's original script does now, mark my words.) They even papered over the cartoonish bigotry of the New Frontiersman editor in the coda, who was gassing on about minorities in the comic book & was whinging about 'hippie communes' in the filmed version.

But I didn't much like the ending, which inverted the purpose of the big evil plot, and tore out the heart of the ending. The *point* of the comic book's resolution was a renunciation of superheroism in favor of Veidt's one-world progressive futurism. The filmed ending was a reversion to type, with the definite suggestion that the New Soviet Couple are cheerfully polishing new toys & new latex duds in the basement, getting ready to go out every night 'at 3 AM to do something stupid'. While I don't particularly *like* Moore's politics and ideas, it was his story.

The movie was too long for a theatre experience, and too short to invest the audience in the climactic disaster, which was reduced to a CGI annihilation of streetside ciphers, most of which they hadn't had time to introduce to us in an already-overstuffed narrative.

I liked 300 better.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

So, I continue to be pure poison for automobile companies. First, I killed Daewoo by buying my first new car, a 2000 Lanos, from those poor suckers. Then, I went and bought a Chevy Aveo-5 from GM in December 2007. Result? Dead company walking. I zombify car manufacturers with my cursed cheques.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I was out profiting from the anime industry's agonies this weekend. Best Buy has mostly given up on selling anime DVDs, and they're liquidating their anime sections in most of their stores, starting the first of March. I went over to the Patton Twp Best Buy & grabbed a pile of stuff I wouldn't normally bother with if it weren't at least 60% off MRSP. As usual, it turns out that at least some of the stuff I hadn't bothered with up to now was pretty dang nifty.

Case in point: Negima!?. I avoided the manga originally, because it seemed like anything other than original. A Ken Akamatsu harem comedy with a prepubescent harem lead and thirty-some utterly interchangable girls? It seemed like there'd be better "girlswarm" stories out there, so I passed. The word on the first anime adaptation of Negima, sold as Negima! in North America, was even worse - that the character designs were literally interchangeable, the story tedious, and the fanservice bizarrely nonexistent - for a harem comedy!

Apparently the Japanese license-holders noticed that the first try by Xebec was a dud, but decided that the Akamatsu brand was worth a second go with another studio, and they opted for Shaft. You hear a lot of trash-talking about Shaft, but they've got a creative team somewhere in the bowels of that operation which is just boiling over with hyperactive style. The closest thing I've seen to the new version, sold confusingly as Negima!? in North America, was the fansubs of Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei (aka "Goodbye, Mr. Despair"). It's got the same hyper stylism, although Negima!? tends more towards turbocharged 60s New Wave splitscreening than Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei's skeezy Japanese noir. It's also got the eruption of chalkboard message non sequiturs, which I always thought was the factor which would have made SZS unlicenseable, due to its rapid-fire pace and potential for frying subtitling crews; although Negima!?'s chalkboard non sequiturs are much less rapid-fire than SZS's, it still broke the subtitler a couple times in the first couple episodes.

But anyway, Shaft's Negima!?: excellent. Also, fun! The only real problem is that there are far, far too many characters, and I found I couldn't remember the names of more than a half-dozen or so. It's literally a girl-swarm, a mob of characters, introduced in a swirl which leaves you the impression that there are people out there, but far too many to take in at once. The gag in the opening credits is that the girls are all labelled by roster number - and only roster number, their little seat numbers cryptically floating along behind them in a surreal sepia-tone landscape constructed of stacked school-desks.