November 22, 2015
I just saw this:
If God wanted the Red Sox to win the World Series, He wouldn't have created the Yankees.
I think that applies to the Cubs, too.
November 15, 2015
Today French air assets dropped 20 bombs on Raqqa, a town in northern Syria which is the ISIS capital. The bombing targeted military and government installations and "they were all destroyed".
Which is fine, and congratulations to the French. The real question is "what comes next?" Back when Bill Clinton was president, a couple of our embassies in Africa were attacked by Al Qaeda, and he responded with individual bombing attacks -- one each. The results of those attacks may have been serious (though one of them hit an al Qaeda training camp that had been abandoned), but that half-hearted response is a lot of what convinced bin Laden that the US had no balls.
If tomorrow the French say, "Let that be a lesson" and return to quiescence, it's going to have the same result this time. So I want to see the French (how strange it is to be saying this) hit them again and again. This shouldn't be a single response, it should be the beginning of a sustained bombing campaign, and I mean a serious one. Today's bombing raid was made by 12 planes. That's a good start, but there needs to be a lot more than that. They need 40 or 50, each flying a mission every other day.
The worst thing they could do is what Obama has done: just enough bombing so that he can say he's doing it, without being so great as to have any practical significance.
(How odd it is to say this:) I hope Hollande has more balls than Obama.
12 years ago I spent a lot of time cursing at the French. Now it's an odd feeling to find myself placing my hopes in them.
UPDATE: However... though the situation is catastrophic, to some extent it's giving me a bit of schadenfreude.
Obama is the president that the Europeans all hoped for ten years ago. They despised Bush; they wanted an American president who was more European. And with Obama they got one. When he was elected the reaction in Europe was, "America has finally come to its senses."
Well, now they're complaining about it. America is too weak. America won't lead. America (or actually, Obama) won't fight.
America is now trying to free-ride, the way Europe always has. Obama wants to "lead from behind", which is a fancy way of saying "abdicate all responsibilities in the world". Obama wants someone else to do the fighting and take all the risks.
Europe, be careful what you wish for. You might get it.
November 14, 2015
A few days ago I wanted to add a suggestion for a product to a thread on ask.metafilter.com. So I hit google with a few keywords and found the thing at LL Bean. I linked to it, and done. (And as I think about it, the link I followed was one of those "sponsored search results.)
Now I keep getting ads for that thing at LL Bean on web sites all over the place. They're using Google for their ads, and Google has decided that I want to buy thousands of copies of this gizmo.
They aren't giving me "things which are similar", they're giving me the exact thing I linked to originally. It would be annoying if it weren't so funny.
It's actually pretty good. But who (I say who) had the idea for it? That person is extremely warped.
November 13, 2015
There have been multiple attacks in Paris. Two suicide bombers, and one man with a fully automatic rifle attacking a bar, are the early reports. It's possible it isn't over, and there may be other attacks.
Usually when this happens, even before the smoke clears, some high-ranked government official will say, "We don't know what happened but we're absolutely certain it has nothing to do with Terrorism or Islam. Absolutely no Islamic Terrorism here, folks. Don't worry! Be Happy!"
I wonder if that will happen this time. When suicide bombers are involved it's kind of hard to avoid the truth, but even when it's blatantly obvious what's going on those kinds of announcements still happen.
UPDATE: Fog of war and all that, but most reports now say at least 18 dead. The attackers (the ones who were shooting) were using AK-47's, the freedom fighter's weapon of choice.
UPDATE: At least one case of hostages.
UPDATE: Ding Ding Ding we have a winner!
Global security firm Flashpoint Intelligence said Friday that it had not seen any terror-related claims in the immediate aftermath of the string of violence. "We're definitely not seeing any claim from any group, we're not seeing any claim of response from any individuals," and there is very little chatter online, Laith Alkhouri, director of research and analysis for Middle East and North Africa for Flashpoint, said on MSNBC.
UPDATE: Some reports now are 60 dead, but we won't really know for sure until all the combat has ended and there's time to count the corpses.
However, this is the most impressive attack since Mumbai. Reportedly one of them has been captured. How much you want to be the French Police are not worrying about his civil rights or any "emerging international law" regarding forceful questioning? (Those rules only apply to the US, of course.)
I'm sure he's already having a very entertaining time.
UPDATE: It's now reported that the theater wasn't really a "hostage" situation. Rather it was "capturing lots of targets". The attackers murdered a lot of the poeple they captured and if the police hadn't stormed the place they probably would have killed them all. Some reports now are that upwards of a hundred of them were executed.
November 06, 2015
I have never been tempted to vandalize my body that way. (Of course, I've never vandalized anything else, either.)
But of course, one of the reasons each generation has strange fashions is in order to scandalize the prior generation, which is one of the reasons I had long hair when I was in my 20's. (Also, because it was strawberry blonde and looked really good.)
So in keeping with that principle, I'm always a bit scandalized when I see a tattoo on a pretty girl, like this one:
This one is particularly annoying because it doesn't mean anything. Bad enough that she's vandalizing herself, but she's doing it with nonsense. It's not proper Japanese, and I think it doesn't mean anything in Chinese either.
As best I can tell it's this:
Which isn't a proper word or sentence in Japanese.
无 is pronounced mu and means "nothing, naught".
使 is pronounced tsuka and it means "use" but it never appears in Japanese without a hiragana ending. (Such as 使い tsukai which means "user" among many other things.)
So if 无使 means anything at all, it would be "useless". Why would someone want that on their skin?
grumble dumb kids grumble
UPDATE: They say a sure sign that you're getting old is when you begin to obsess about the moral failings of the younger generation, and I passed that particular hurdle a long time ago.
UPDATE: I read the first kanji wrong. See comments.
October 30, 2015
You know, I keep reading J's horror stories about the crap that Amazon JP recommends for him, but I think they have got me wired.
I was just looking to see if they had the Mage figurine listed (they didn't), and there was a list of "DVD recommendations for you" on one of the pages.
The only real problem with it was that I already own a lot of it. First was Isshoni Bathing, and then several Aika and Rio Rainbow Gate disks, and Isshoni Sleeping.
Then there was a future release of Ani Tore EX on BD, and Seikoku no Dragonar, and some Ikki Tousen, and that was about three scrolls to the right. It wasn't until they started recommending yuri porn that they really were missing on my taste.
I don't understand why Aika R-16 was released on two disks; it was 3 episodes. Anyway, they were both in my list. (But I own a copy of the NA release.)
Also To Loveru Darkness, and Momo Kyun Sword, and OniAi (I wasn't interested in that one, but it's in the ballpark) and Queen's Blade, and is someone in Japan reading my mind?
It's actually pretty scary how good targeted advertising can get, especially since I've only bought a couple of things from Amazon JP. Apparently they're working along the lines of "People like you who bought Isshoni Sleeping also bought..."
By the way, this book has one hell of a cover.
UPDATE: I just checked my records and what I bought from them was the first two Rio Rainbow Gate BD's and all three BDs of Aika Zero. I own Isshoni Sleeping but I didn't get it from them.
So from that I guess they figured out that I like fanservice shows. Which I do.
A girl in Eastern Oregon has been diagnosed with Bubonic Plague (known historically as "The Black Death").
If you need me, I'll be hiding under my bed.
UPDATE: There isn't really any cause for concern. She got bit by a wild flea while hunting, and she's in Intensive Care undergoing treatment with antibiotics. They caught it in time and she'll probably be fine. Plague is a dreadful disease and she isn't going to have a fun time, but it isn't directly communicable.
But seeing this news report reminded me of the first FiresignTheater album.
"You've got... the Plague!"
October 24, 2015
There's a Fairy Tail MMORPG, it turns out. They say:
Welcome to unique game about legendary anime, "Fairy Tail", on EspritGames.com!
Fior Kingdom is a peaceful realm with 17 millions of habitats. It's a world of magic, great wizards and best friends. But competitions are waiting for you here as well!
Take part in amazing events of wonderful manga and anime "Fairy Tail"! Meet Lucy, Happy, Natsu and other famous characters and start your adventures among them!
Play with your friends and be sure - they will be with you together! After all, fans' army of Fairy tail around the world counts over 200 000 000 million people and it is still growing!
That's... a lot of people, you know that?
October 22, 2015
Several decades ago, Joe Haldeman wrote an SF novel called The Forever War about a interstellar war with an alien race fought without FTL drives. As a result, the ships spend a lot of time at relativistic velocities. The protagonist is part of the first military unit which makes a counter-attack against the aliens. The whole story represents 3 or 4 years of his life time, but since he spends so much time at relativistic speeds, something like a thousand years passes on Earth.
During that time things change, a lot. Every time he gets assigned to a new military unit in preparation for a new battle, he's dealing with people from the current Earth. So it's interesting to see what kinds of things happen.
In a sense it's a prediction, though Haldeman clearly wasn't thinking in those kinds of terms. But there were two things which I remember: First, there's a huge cultural change on Earth relating to sexual matters. To put it bluntly, homosexuality is considered normal, and heterosexuality is considered perversion, or a psychiatric disorder to be treated. The protagonist happens to be heterosexual but he soon learns to keep it to himself.
Second, by the end of the book the human race has developed a group mind. Everyone thinks exactly the same, and individuality is completely gone.
What made me think about this was this post at Instapundit. Because it occurred to me that the primary target of "Yes means Yes" laws seems to be heterosexual sex.
Activists have managed over the last 50 years to bring us from homosexuality being considered a perversion and a crime to being something which is legal and tolerated and even not considered particularly unusual.
But that doesn't seem to be enough. Some of the stuff I hear from out there in the real world makes it seem like those same activists want to go the rest of the way -- to not only make homosexuality be considered acceptable, but to make heterosexuality be considered unacceptable.
Consider that site which provided something like 50 choices when describing a person's sex (instead of the traditional two). The traditional two have been renamed as "cis-male" and "cis-female" and you just aren't cool unless you are at least "bi-curious".
It makes me wonder whether a person who declares themself to be strictly heterosexual is viewed as being old fashioned, and brainwashed by traditional culture. Every generation of young people revolts against the norms of the previous generation, and this (and tattooing) seem to be how this generation is doing it.
Of course, one problem with it is that if this attitude prevails, there won't be another generation to revolt against this one.
Anyway, as to group minds, that seems to be coming too. The symptom is "microaggression". On college campuses now any expression of a controversial idea or thought is punished. You will toe the line; you will never disagree with the prevailing attitudes. Colleges now seem to be in the business of political indoctrination.
This isn't intellectual freedom; it's intellectual slavery. And since most of the kids leave college now with crippling debt, it is actual slavery too.
All of this is beginning to frighten me. Am I really going to be considered a pervert just because I like looking at girls? Is this country actually going to become a bastion of enforced uniformity of opinion?
UPDATE: J comments.
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