May 01, 2016

Cheesecake -- All rise!

Today's search term is "American flag bikini". Turns out that this mostly resulted in characters from Kancolle, Girls Und Panzer and, oddly enough, Touhou. There's a character in Touhou who is dressed like a jester except her costume is stars and stripes, so inevitably fan artists portrayed her in a stars-and-stripes bikini, not to mention other Touhou characters.

So, on with the show.

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I gather that this is BB-61 Iowa from Kancolle. Not too much of a surprise that an American capital ship would be portrayed as a big-breasted blonde.

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And apparently this is USS Archerfish and USS Albacore, American fleet submarines during the war. (I don't know which is which.)

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Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Cheesecake at 02:04 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 30, 2016

Just some random stuff

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I'd love to try this but I don't think I could maintain a straight face. (Shamelessly stolen from Ace of Spades.)

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And this is for Lewis Hamilton, who is having a world-record run of miserable luck this season in F1.

"Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times, it's enemy action." -- Auric Goldfinger

Watch your back, Lewis!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 04:44 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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April 29, 2016

Cheesecake: the power of Nature

Today's search term is "wind lift", the result of a fortuitous action of the elements on a cute girl wearing a skirt.

You know, as common as this is in anime, I've never seen it in real life, and I don't know anyone who claims to have seen it. There used to be a fun-house at the Oregon State Fairground but it burned down in the 1960's. But it had a place inside it where there were air-jets in the floor being run by an employee, and if a girl in a loose dress or skirt walked over it he'd blast air and lift it. Me, I was too young then (grade school) to really appreciate it. Discounting that, I've never seen this. I guess it's one of those things like accidental-compromising-position which are common in anime because of wish fulfilment even though they never happen IRL.

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Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Cheesecake at 11:13 AM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
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April 28, 2016

Beware the frumious panda-snatch!

A bomb threat isn't really funny no matter when or where it happens, but some are more bizarre than others.

In Baltimore there is (as I type this) a man wearing a panda suit who is threatening to blow up the building which contains the studios of the local Fox-TV affiliate.

So obviously he's a fruitcake, and it's unlikely he really has a bomb, but still the cops have to play it straight. Here's hoping no one gets shot before it's all over.

UPDATE: Apparently the worst is over. He got shot and has been taken to a hospital. There was a "device" and it's being investigated by the bomb squad.

UPDATE: His "bomb" was candy bars with wiring and a random circuit board. The flash drive he was trying to proffer turned out to contain tinfoil-hat info about astronomy.

He was shot several times by the police but hasn't died and isn't expected to.

Latest info is on this Twitter account, for the moment. At this point I would say this guy goes into the "lone nutcase" folder.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 11:34 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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April 27, 2016

Touhou Peanuts!

This page has a lot of odd stuff from what might be a group project to create cross-breed art and comics featuring Touhou characters in Peanuts art style. Be warned: all the Peanuts stuff is G-rated, but there are other things which are NSFW. One gallery, for instance, is full of tentacle rape art.

Anyway, this is a sample of the good stuff:

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(And the translations look to be Google Translate; understandable but a bit odd.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Entertainment at 08:41 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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April 26, 2016

Yeowch!!

AP:

Thunderstorms bearing hail as big as grapefruit and winds approaching hurricane strength lashed portions of the Great Plains on Tuesday, but arrived without the destructive tornadoes that many had worried about for days.

We get hail here sometimes but it's never like that! Ours is the size of peas or smaller. Hail the size of a grapefruit is a weapon of mass destruction; cars parked outside can be destroyed. Buildings will be damaged; holes in roofs, windows out. A person hit by one of those can be injured or even killed.

This is "head for the storm cellar" weather even if there aren't any tornadoes.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 10:42 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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Roger Zelazny

Roger Zelazny died about 20 years ago, and has frustrated me before and ever since, because he left so many things unfinished. Zelazny was the Writer's Block poster child.

This afternoon I purchased "Madwand" for my Kindle. It's the second volume of a trilogy, the first of which was called "Changeling". We'll never know what the third volume was going to be named, because he never wrote it.

And he never finished the second Amber series. It just kind of ends, not quite with a cliff-hanger but nearly so.

Zelazny was 58 when he died in 1995, and I'm sure he would rather have stayed alive and kept writing, but that's not how it worked out.

Jack Chalker is another of my favorite authors, who wrote a lot of multi-volume stories. He's dead now, too (he was morbidly obese) but when he began work on a multi-volume story, he had all the volumes planned out before he began writing the first one, and he cranked straight through until he had finished the last one -- and didn't work on anything else in the mean time. Sometimes he would come back and visit a canon later (like the fourth and fifth books of the Dancing Gods series) but you can easily ignore those and not miss anything.

But Zelazny danced around and worked on all sorts of things. He was badly afflicted by squirrel-brain.

And in the first Amber series, it's obvious he didn't really have the whole thing worked out in detail before he began. (In particular, he changed his mind about the source of the Black Road. There are two mutually exclusive explanations for it.)

One reason he didn't finish the second Amber series was that he got distracted by working on a computer game, during development of which he died.

One of the worst things an author can do to his audience is to not finish a story, leaving it hanging. And though Madwand is a reasonably self-contained story that hangs together pretty well, it's obvious the story is not over and I want to know what comes next. I've wanted to know for 35 years.

He wrote Changeling in 1980 and Madwand in 1981 and never came back to it in the remaining 14 years of his life. Grumble.

UPDATE: Two rants in a week. I must really be a cranky old man now.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Rants at 08:42 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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Cheesecake: High Fashion

Today's search term is "straw hat". (It doesn't get any more fashionable than that!)

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Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Cheesecake at 05:27 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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April 25, 2016

Bakuon!! ep 4 -- Fan service!

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Of course, I think it's a foregone conclusion that every episode of this series is going to have a healthy dose of fan service, but this particular episode probably takes that to an extreme. (It turns out this is the only mainstream manga done by the mangaka. Everything else was R-18 at least. So it's not too surprising that the girls look really good, especially Rin.)

A school vacation is coming up, and our girls decide they want to take a road trip. Destination turns out to be Hokkaido, because Rin went there with her father when she was little. The story started sweetly, as if a treasured memory, but it ended up really badly. So regardless, they're going to do it.

But nothing is easy when it comes to this group, and they end up late for the ferry and miss it. Raimu gets on; Hijiri and her butler try but fail and drown the latest Ducati, and order a replacement to be delivered by helicopter. The other three decide to ride to Aomori, 700 km away, to catch a different ferry. And on the way, Onsa and Rin end up racing and leave Hane behind. So the group is now scattered all over the country side.

Lots of spoilers below the fold, OK? Also NSFW.

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Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 04:07 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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April 23, 2016

Shakespeare

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That's a reproduction of the enscription on Shakespeare's grave stone.

400 years ago today, Shakespeare died. Widely considered the greatest playwright in the English language, his works are widely performed, widely studied, and widely read -- except not in most university English departments anymore which seem to be dedicated to eradicating any notion of worthiness of any Dead White Male™.

Revisionism is rampant when it comes to his works. This isn't anything new; in the 19th Century a man named Thomas Bowdler published a book called "The Family Shakspeare" (sic) which removed all the worst violence from Shakespeare's plays. (He then gave his name to the term "bowdlerize".)

But modern revisionists are mostly concerned with Race, Class, and Gender™. And there's one particular revision that has grated with me for 30 years. I'm going to take this opportunity to gripe about it.

"The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice" is now known usually as just Othello. And it has become accepted wisdom in theatrical circles that the part of Othello must be played by a Negro. Every effort is made to avoid mention of the fact that Shakespeare thought that Othello was a Moor.

See, the problem is that Moors were Caucasian, not Negro. The historical dividing line between Caucasians and Negros was the Sahara desert, not the Mediterranean. Revisionists (such as the radical "Afrocentrists") try to lay claim to northern Africa on behalf of Negros, despite the fact that the only Negros historically north of the Sahara were slaves.

That's because the majority of important African political, scientific, and cultural contributions to the world came from the part of Africa north of the Sahara.

I don't care who actually did it; I just care about the fact that our intellectual betters seem to feel it necessary to lie about it. Nearly everything like that came either from Egyptians, Greek conquerers, Roman conquerers, or Arab conquerers -- and all of those were Caucasian.

I don't think caucasians are in any way superior to any other race, not that it would help any for me to say that. Anyone inclined that way has instantly decided I'm a racist and probably piled a whole lot of other negative adjectives onto that description.

What I care about is being honest. Shakespeare thought that Othello was caucasian. The modern attitude seems to be "Who cares what he thought? He only wrote the play."

That doesn't mean I think Othello shouldn't be played by a Negro actor. You cast whoever you think can give the best performance. It means I think you might also cast a non-Negro if you think he would give the best performance, and you don't worry about political correctness.

UPDATE: Another one that I find really grating: "The most beautiful woman in history was African." I thought Helen of Troy was Greek. "NO, no, no... Cleopatra!"

I've heard that from people who didn't really know anything about Cleopatra other than she was a queen in Egypt when Julius Caesar conquered the place for the Romans. The problem is, Cleopatra was part of the Ptolemy dynasty.

The Ptolemy's were descended from a Greek general who was made governor of Egypt by Alexander after he conquered Egypt. Alexander then left to travel to the east, conquering every nation along his way, until he died in India. At which point all the governors he had left behind effectively became kings of their respective states, and so it was with the Ptolemy's.

The Ptolemy's and other Greeks who ruled Egypt during that period still considered themselves to be Greek, and they continued to rule Egypt for 300 years right up until Caesar showed up and the Romans took over.

So it's true that Cleopatra was African, in the sense that she was born in Africa and lived her whole life there, but that doesn't have anything whatever to do with the part of Africa south of the Sahara or the people who live there.

History is what happened. It shouldn't be rewritten to fit a modern ideology. We harm ourselves when we lie to ourselves about how we became what we are. We must face the truth, warts and all.

And we can start by not rototilling Shakespeare's grave.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Rants at 04:32 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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