Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ugh. Apparently the blogger comments system attracts blogspam in a way that Haloscan didn't. I turned on comment moderation, which is insane on such a low-traffic site. Oh, well.

I've been feeling kind of under the weather. I'm ready for that trip south - get both some sun and some warm air.
A couple of comments from Bill and Ben which were lost to my Haloscan screwup had to do with the Supreme Court striking down McCain/Feingold, and what I thought about it. I guess I'm tentatively encouraged by it, if only because the 2008 election cycle showed the current set of election laws as hollow mockeries which largely benefited lawyers and other rule jockeys, and bred contempt for the rule of electoral law in politics.

I saw this just a minute ago - a letter from a specialist offering an opinion on what it'll mean in the current election cycle. He basically predicts the death of the political parties "as we know them". I don't think anyone's really enthused about the current state of the two national parties - they've been captured by a toxic culture of mercenary consultants, who think in terms of tactics, and care not a whit for principles.

Any time a superstructure of excessive legal complexity is hacked away by a big Supreme Court case like this, it offers space for common-sense use of the opened space. Here's hoping that this is the result, and that it isn't immediately followed by some nasty new legalistic Great Game, that this new Commons isn't immediately enclosed by nimble-witted lawyer-specialists.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The *reason* I just blew up the blog was that I got a notice from Haloscan that the commenting service I was using is going to die, and why don't you sign up for our pay service? Well, the heck with that when Blogger has its own freebie commenting service, but I clearly hit the wrong button in trying to change over... Oh, well. Sorry about that Bill, Ben. Your comments from yesterday were eaten by an imp of the perverse.
Woah, there's a flashback - the latest backup I had on hand was October 2003. People I no longer read...
Ugh, I just blew up the blog. I guess I'll recover from what I have on hand....

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I've been looking at digisubs, as I said the other day. There's less cool new stuff out there than there used to be, obviously. Demand is cratering, why expect supply to maintain at previous levels? But anyways...

I didn't even get through a full episode of Ladies vs. Butlers, it was just tedious harem crap. Baka to Test to Shokaiju (translation: Tests, Idiots, and Summoned Beasts) is just stupid, like an inverted Special A crossed with Pokemon, cut with a lot of random idiot humor, except not nearly as interesting as all that makes it sound.

Kimi no Todoke seems kind of... superfluous to the manga. Yeah, it's a nice story, but it seems like it was mostly there on the page to start with. Same thing with the Skip Beat anime, although that show was weirdly truncated at just 25 episodes. At least with Skip Beat, the manga story is so rock-solid and snappy that I was willing to sit through it all again to get my Kyoko grudge fix.

Dance in the Vampire Bund had a mildly interesting first episode, but the second was just vile lolicon rubbish, and I won't be bothering with that again.

I was paging through some shows over the last year or more, too. Canaan's first episode was glossy, but confusing and felt kind of "ugly" - like Black Lagoon without the charm or willingness to admit the wickedness of its protagonists.

The first episode of Eden of the East was intriguing, but then I realized it had been licensed by FUNimation. I guess I'll order it whenever they get around to opening up pre-orders.

Cosmo Fighter Sunred is cheerful, pointless nonsense - like a less cynical Sealab 2021. You can't really take large amounts of it at a time, but since it's a quarter-hour show, you don't have to do so.

The show I've been having the most fun with? Cutey Honey Flash - the old cheesecake-and-violence Go Nagai standard re-done by the Sailor Moon crew, far as I can tell. Of course it never got finished by the fansub crew. Damn it all. ^_^
I used to call Obama "the mirrorball" before he was elected president, because it struck me as the best metaphor for his deliberate affect - a reflective sphere which returns to the viewer a funhouse distortion of whatever hopes or fears the viewer is projecting upon his surface, and an unknown darkened interior known only by whatever lies below the silvered surface.

This is, apparently, what you get once the man in the interior begins to show through. It's frightening in a non-partisan fashion, honestly. What happens if the president has a nervous breakdown? Will his aides wire him up like a puppet, rule through him like Mrs. Wilson after the stroke?

Maybe it isn't what it looks like. Maybe he really does want to be queen, a hand-waving figurehead content to leave governance to some de facto first minister. That's essentially what he tried to do with Reid and Pelosi. In the current analysis, this vision of Her Majesty Barrack I is by far the most preferable of options, like Elizabeth II putting up with Blair with a petulant moue of disgusted resignation. If he wasn't a secret radical, or a would-be tyrant, but merely a limited narcissist satisfied with empty trappings and decorum and adulation - that's survivable, I think. We can make it through the end of his term without any catastrophes if he collapses into an ineffective, inert heap of ceremonial display.

I think.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mike Pence isn't running for the Senate this year. The insinuation is that he's going to be running for the White House in 2012. If he is... I'm persuadable. He's one of the few truly respectable conservative voices in the House, and frankly, I've had enough of Senatorial presidential candidates. Somebody of substance from the House would be a refreshing change of pace.

The only concern I would have is that I'm not too up to speed on his socon quotient. Is he a creationist or does he have a habit of spouting off about gays or anything overly sketchy like that? It would be best if he wasn't carrying any wedge-issue dynamite...

On the other hand, people have already mooted Mitch Daniels out of Indiana, and two Indiana boys in the same running is going to dilute the support base a bit. It would be good if they didn't split the difference and let that ass Huckabee walk away with the prize.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What, now I'm supposed to be hiding something? I mean, besides the fact that I no longer own a razor?
I've been putzing around with digisubs since getting my DSL. Yeah, yeah - they're illegal, yeah I'm killing anime - I've been killing anime for the better part of a decade, I've heard it all. It's just that I was mooching off of others' venial sins instead of committing my own up to now. And I spend way, way, WAY more than I should on DVDs, much of it on stuff I only sort-of-liked when they were fansubbed, so ppfthptpt!

Along those lines, I actually sat down and watched the infamous "Endless Eight", which, indeed, was as close a simulacra of eternity as I care to waste my time watching. After a while, I realized that it probably didn't seem as tedious and pointless from the animator's point of view. After all, every show they've ever had to work on had some combination of some these "shounen stations of the cross" summer-vacation events, just not all crammed into the same half-hour episode, or even the same half-hour episode repeated eight times. To a certain extent, the "Endless Eight" episodes are a very inside-baseball meditation on the highly structured and mannerist excesses of post-moe Japanese animation, wherein they have to do their onsen episode, their obon matsuri episode, the "test of courage", etc, etc, etc. "Endless Eight" just verbalizes those etceteras, at Andy Kaufman length.

About the sixth of the Endless Eight, I stopped registering the details of the show, and went into a hypnotic fugue, where it all turned into colored flows of aesthetic impressions. I was ready for the eventual shaggy-dog ending when it came; I only groaned in annoyance afterwards. They *almost* got past without a big ol' helping of What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?
I've been watching my new Spice and Wolf DVD set, and I'm already thinking about what a shame that FUNimation (Funimation? FUnimation? I strongly dislike this fascination import companies have with eccentric capitalization ticks like that, you know?) hasn't licensed the second season. There's a good chance they won't, either - the show reminds me strongly of Kino's Journey, in its intellectualism, subdued earth-tone art, and journey-focused storytelling. If Kino's Journey sold more than a couple hundred copies in North America, I'd be very surprised - heck, I didn't even warm to it myself when I first watched it in digisubs. Anyways, Spice and Wolf. It's more anti-religion than I expected, but I suppose I shouldn't have - one of the two protagonists is a pagan wolf-god, she wouldn't be fond of the Church, would she? I've got the opening theme playing in my head right now, and I was singing a bit of the English-lyric ending theme while doing the dishes in the company kitchen this morning. Fun show, if you can get past the rather rapid-fire initial trading-scam involving the exploitation of a secretly planned coin devaluation by dueling merchant-conspiracies.

Spice and Wolf - it's free market moe.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oh, BTW, whenever someone starts complaining that this country is "ungovernable", take a closer look - most likely, what they mean is that they want to govern by diktat, or have confused governance with dominance. The nation was founded on a constitution designed to protect electoral minorities from the full weight of such oppressive attempts at "governance". Good to see the old scrap of paper still has some efficacy.
There's already some rumbling about Brown presidential prospects, and I have to admit, "I'm nobody's senator but yours" in last night's context was absolutely brilliant rhetoric. But he'll be no more qualified than Obama was for office come 2012, and less qualified than Palin.

It looks to me like we're entering a phase of politics which I suppose you could call "the revenge of Burke's little platoons", retail and insurgent politicians rising and stinging the would-be great and powerful, and then returning to the masses from which they came. There are no well-experienced Reagans, no patrician Roosevelts or well-groomed Kennedys in the wings to mount the white horse and lead the march. That will no doubt alarm those who need parades in their life, but then, without the man on a horse, we won't have to face that last parade led by a riderless horse with boots turned backwards in the stirrups, either.

Experts and powers and authorities, this was your call in the night. Hear it, and be humbled. You were made as we all were, sparked from the mud. You will be as we all will be, one with the mud again.
"Cry more, your tears are delicious". ^_^

OK, now that we've got that out of our systems, enough about the truck. Outside of the heat and giddiness of a david-v.-goliath election, it's going to come off silly. I talked to at least one independent while out drinking last night, and the truck business was embarrassing him - he used it to pull off the usual moderate "both sides are goofy/crazy/evil" shtick.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

While I'm feeling chatty, folks who looked askance at then-Senator Santorum's bizarre comments about the slippery slope that might lie beyond Lawrence v. Texas, might want to consider the amazing and horrible things that have come out of Martha Coakley's mouth in the course of her crusade against alleged child-molesters, and specifically in defense of her prosecutorial team's use of fantastical and impossible child testimony.

She's a witch-finder, folks. If it was the 1690s, she'd have been carrying around a copy of the Malleus Maleficarum and whittling her own "witch pricker".
Glenn's ruminating about the now-established precedent of the sitting president using the last two former presidents as fund-raising non-partisan figureheads for big relief efforts. I'd offer Herbert Hoover as a further precedent, except that was how he made his name *before* becoming Commerce Secretary and then president.

I don't know, I don't like this, and I *really* don't like how the UN gave Clinton status as "UN Special Envoy for Haiti" prior to the earthquake. Admittedly, Clinton doesn't seem to have made any effort to actually do anything in the role, but if he had...

The whole thing reeks of the Roman Republican constitutional practice of sending out ex-consuls after their year of service as "proconsuls" to govern provinces of the Republic's empire. It didn't end particularly well, if you remember your Roman history.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Please, folks. Don't hide your kids from the sun. Especially if you live in New England. I started taking a cheap multi-vitamin this week, mostly for the vitamin D, because I'm worried that my morning cereal milk isn't doing nearly enough on that front. But from what that article suggests, multi-vitamins are helpful but not sufficient.
Clay Bond, aka RightWingProf, died yesterday, after a brief but hard fight against a sudden onset of inoperable cancer. He was a good man who I never did manage to meet in person; we were always just missing each other at the State College McCain campaign office. I learned a lot from him, even if we never did agree on whether data was a plural or a collective noun.

The university has lost a great teacher, the county has lost a wise and active citizen, and the internet a vital voice distinguished by its clarity, sanity, and sincerity. The world is a smaller and poorer place for his departure from it.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Wow, I wasn't paying attention, but apparently the Massachusetts special election to replace Kennedy is in two weeks. Those of you who are registered to vote in Massachusetts, please consider going out in the cold and snow to vote for the Republican. The Democratic candidate is a check-box empty-pants-suit apparatchik; the Republican isn't exactly a movement intellectual, but he'd be a solid small-government vote in the Senate, and if there's anything we have a surfeit of in this quarter of the country, it's Government, heavy-handed and full of its own entitlement.

The political class in Washington needs a good scare. Electing a Republican in indigo-blue wouldn't-even-vote-for-Reagan Massachusetts would make 'em soil themselves. And even if you're a hard-left red-diapered yellow-dog Democrat, doesn't the prospect of rattling the cages of those Washington silver-spooners fill you with a certain unholy glee? It's a special election, he won't be in there for a full term, anyways. You can reset yourself to default for the usual generations-long dynast in 2012.

January 19th. Make a splash, Massachusetts! Those prima donnas in New Hampshire shouldn't get all the national political attention.
They're burning used books in Wales this winter because it's cheaper than coal.

I believe that's what's known in the journalism trade as "too good to check"

Friday, January 01, 2010

Here's a cogent, passionate, and lucid argument in favor of Copenhagen Consensus-style environmental action. That is, actions which have an effect today, not in the indefinite, distant, phatasmal future; actions which *directly* benefit the poor and disadvantaged; actions which work with gravity - in which a dollar buys at least a dollar's worth of benefit, if not more.

The common trait of current "alternative energy" schemes from the corporatist center and energy taxation plans from the anti-capitalist left is their economic malignity, wherein two dollars buys a dollar's benefit, or worse, a hundred dollars buys an IOU for a hundred dollars in a hundred years. Furthermore, the schemes of the corporatist center and the anti-capitalist left both privilige elites with superior information flows and access for rent-seeking activity, which reducing the absolute global availability of resources; that combination of elite empowerment and negative-sum wealth reductions is guaranteed to lead to impoverishment and pauperization of disadvantaged populations.
"...As the clever hopes expire of a low dishonest decade...
We must love one another or die."
Whelp, they're firing off their guns down the hill, it must be midnight. Happy New Year, everybody! Hope y'all have a better 2010 than the 2009 most of us had...