fiber monday

Sep. 24th, 2017 10:13 pm
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[personal profile] thistleingrey
* A different kind of fiber: I've become a volunteer book-mender again. Reason's teacher says that she's never had one in nearly twenty years of teaching. Happy to serve (I offered it) as long as we keep a reasonable cadence....

(I've stitched a simple pamphlet-style binding with linen twine in place of one book's pair of staples, then put a layer of book-tape over it because first-graders aren't much better than preschoolers about picking at bits that stick out. Twine is fiber!)

* I've skated into that ridiculous chunk of pi shawls wherein every round is nearly 600 stitches and the chart segment accounts for half the stitch count of the whole damned shawl. At least I'm past several individually unpleasant rounds; the current patch has an easy-to-follow repeat. Though that makes it boring (a simple 26-st repeat completed 20 times per round, in a set of four rounds, itself repeated six times), at least I'm unlikely to mess it up. It'll change again.

* My mother's cardigan won't be finished by my target date, largely because it has so much k,p,k,p as to create a field of somnolence around its making. I've informed Reason that I will show it to my mother unfinished on the target date, then complete it by winter solstice. Reason remains concerned that my mother won't want it and I'll undo it, but I'd just lengthen the sleeves and keep it in that case....

I would have thought lawful

Sep. 24th, 2017 11:59 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I Am A: Chaotic Good Human Paladin/Sorcerer (4th/3rd Level)

Ability Scores:







Chaotic Good A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit. However, chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment when it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Paladins take their adventures seriously, and even a mundane mission is, in the heart of the paladin, a personal test an opportunity to demonstrate bravery, to learn tactics, and to find ways to do good. Divine power protects these warriors of virtue, warding off harm, protecting from disease, healing, and guarding against fear. The paladin can also direct this power to help others, healing wounds or curing diseases, and also use it to destroy evil. Experienced paladins can smite evil foes and turn away undead. A paladin's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast. Many of the paladin's special abilities also benefit from a high Charisma score.

Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Chasing Tails

Sep. 25th, 2017 01:38 am
[syndicated profile] distracted_feed

Posted by Timothy Burke

I appreciate the need to feel optimism, to think this is all coming to an end soon, a good end secured by the remorseless force of law or by the rising of a core of American decency or by radical resistance. I rocket in circles, passing that same point of optimism in my own thoughts every circuit. But I pass other points, too.

One is a point of profound despair. That Trump and all that comes with him is not a momentary slip out of history but instead as much a culmination of the worst of American and global history over the last two centuries, the vengeful sequel to the seeming accomplishments of the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s. This is why I get irritated with radical potshots at pessimistic writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates. To be unwilling to credit the possibility that there *is* no politics that can make permanent some kind of justice and change is to give way to a left-wing version of the Green Lantern Theory of Politics, that it’s only about will, that all we need to do is clap our hands and say that we do believe in progress, we do. Now maybe it’s not so. Maybe this is just a bad moment, or one more barricade to climb, one more movement to organize. But you can’t refuse to face the worst thoughts. They are hauntingly possible.

And one other point in the whirling spiral of my own thoughts is less about where this is going and how it will all turn out in the end. All I feel on opening up the news or social media is just humiliation, pure and simple. I’ve said before that Trump is a kind of desecration of everything I’ve valued and everything I do at work and in life. I don’t feel disagreement with him, which is what I would have said about almost any conservative (or liberal or leftist) with whom I have disagreed up to this moment. It’s not merely that it is pointless to imagine a “debate” with what Trump says. What he says is not even an idea or belief with which I must reckon and answer. It’s just a rude violence, a kind of pissing on the face of the country. That he speaks for my country, my people, my culture, that he dares to claim that he’s representing a country whose history he soils with every filthy tweet, is something I abominate in my deepest heart.

When my own mental circuit comes round another quarter of its rotation, I know again that there’s an America out there that stands behind him–easily or uneasily, proudly or with inner shame, I don’t know–and I know I need to find my way to understanding them and living with them and thinking about what might make for peace between us all. But somewhere on the way, I’m going to need at least some of them to recognize what they did to all of us in 2016. They didn’t elect a leader of a nation. They elected vengeance and cruelty, they elected bullying and cowardice. They broke faith with democracy and justice and fairness. They stopped believing they had any responsibility to anyone and anything besides personal gratification. They stopped doing the work of citizens and neighbors. I don’t care what you think has been done to you, or what you fear. I don’t care what you think you’re losing or have lost. In any human vision of moral life, in all of them, to answer insult or loss thus is to commit evil. The burden on us, whenever–if ever–this comes to an end, will be not to respond in kind. And yet, if power passes around again, all I know is I want an end to this accursed cycle, whatever it takes.

In Memoriam: Kit Reed

Sep. 25th, 2017 12:27 am
[syndicated profile] sfwa_feed

Posted by Editor

Kit Reed (b.1932) died on September 24, several months after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  Reed published the story “The Wait” in 1958 and was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best New Author of 1958, a forerunner of the John W. Campbell, Jr. Award.  She published short fiction mostly in F&SF in her early years, but eventually branched out to other magazines.  Her first novel was mainstream, and in 1969, she published Armed Camps, her first genre novel.

Beginning with Mister Da V and Other Stories in 1967, Reed published ten collections of her short fiction, most recently the massive The Story Until Now: A Great Big Book of Stories in 2013.  Three of her works, “Bride of Bigfoot,” Weird Women, Wired Women, and Little Sisters of the Apocalypse were shortlisted for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.  Her novel Where was nominated for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and she won the Alex Award from the ALA for Thinner Than Thou.

Reed has published horror novels and detective novels under the pseudonyms Shelley Hyde and Kit Craig. She published her final novel, Mormama in May of this year.

Kit was one of the champions of our community: writer, teacher, and mentor. She will be deeply missed.

Kit’s son, Mack Reed, has posted an additional remembrance on Facebook.


Day Trip!

Sep. 24th, 2017 05:37 pm
lovelyangel: (Homura Soft)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Flatware Dragonfly
Flatware Dragonfly
Corvallis Fall Festival

Maybe this is a new annual thing for us! Jenni and I repeated our 2016 Autumn Day Tip with a followup visit to the Corvallis Fall Festival. But as always with Jenni and me, it’s not so much the destination as the extended time that she and I get to chat. We could have done that anywhere. Still, participating in a special event just adds more fun.

At 10:00 am Jenni arrived at my house while I was putting my things in the car – so we were immediately ready to jump in and take off. It was a breezy, conversation-filled drive to Corvallis. My parking fairy opened convenient street parking just two blocks south of Central Park. It was 11:30 am.

As per plan, we walked over to Block 15. As if to celebrate our return, the waitress coincidentally seated us at the same table we had last year, tucked away in a corner upstairs. We were delighted.

Block 15’s Oregon Country Beef Burger was so good last year that I eagerly reordered the meal. I couldn’t decide on fries or the beef barley soup – so I got both. I ended up taking most of the fries home for an evening meal. As before, everything was delicious.

Lunch at Block 15
Lunch at Block 15
iPhone 6 Photo

I think it was about 1 pm when we finished lunch and began our return walk through downtown Corvallis. (I didn’t take any notes this year, so I can only guess on times.) We returned to the Starbucks at SW 4th & Madison, where Jenni got a drink; she also got cash from an ATM. From there we walked back to my car to drop off my takehome container of fries – and also my Icebreaker vest. The weather forecast was 60°F with a high of 66°F under partly sunny skies – but Accuweather and buddies lied. Bright sun. Not a cloud in the sky. I was dressed too warmly. During the week I’d been fighting the onset of a cold and had been uncharacteristically chilled, so I dressed conservatively. I should have worn short sleeves.

We walked up to the festival and did all the loops. The festival advertises 160 vendors, so it takes a couple of hours to get through the whole thing.

The festival has a nice variety of artisans and craftsfolk. Lots of impressive jewelry. Interesting photography (but nothing I’d put in my own house). Unique fabrics and clothing. Other facinating scupltures, paintings, and mixed media works. Jenni and I had a wonderful time absorbing the mix – as well as talking with the artists. Jenni bought some gifts for her friends, but I was much less noble.

Early on we happened upon one of my favorite ceramic studios, STILLFire Pottery. This year they had a number of bowls in sizes I wanted, so it was difficult to show restraint. I limited myself to three bowls – a convenient soup bowl and a small snack bowl in my normal blue/white style… and another shallow bowl similar to the dark one I bought last year. I love these bowls! I think my favorite is the soup bowl.

STILLFire Pottery Bowls

Sometime between 3:30 and 4:00 pm we headed back to the car. It was an easy jaunt from SW 7th St (where I had parked) over to SW 9th St. Unlike last year, there was no home football game this year, so we had no problems at all with traffic. I took SW 9th to 99W, and we again took the scenic route from Corvallis to Independence to Salem to Woodburn.

And like last year, we stopped at Woodburn Premium Outlet Stores and did some shopping. Neither of us make it down to Woodburn often. The day continued to be sunny and warm – just around 70°F – so walking was extremely pleasant.

When we were finished shopping, I took us home. We were back by 6:40 pm. We had talked non-stop the entire day, and I could have gone on for hours. I was energized. But we did have a lot of things to get done for ourselves over the weekend and had to stop sometime. My rare days with Jenni bring me great joy, and I savor the memories – and am still smiling a day later.

Finished with the bag!

Sep. 29th, 2017 08:09 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Carefully cut out the superman logo. Carefully started sewing. Realized I'd carelessly put it wrong side up (that is, the side with the ink). Ripped out the stitches, flipped it - d'oh! Silly me, I should've flipped it when I drew it!

Well, it's done now. Thankfully, I expected errors and bought a lot of extra felt.

The funny thing is that all his classmates, their families just drew on the bags with Sharpies. His mom asked me to do it due to lack of time, but I can't draw! I even had somebody else do the stencils for me! So now it looks like I put in way more effort than anybody else (despite the fact that I can see all the errors glaring out at me), but really, I just can't draw. Cutting and sewing is a LOT easier for me.

The Good Place

Sep. 24th, 2017 04:57 pm
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[personal profile] sartorias
I've been watching this really clever sitcom while doing the exercise bike. Sadly, I only have a couple of episodes to go for the first season. Why couldn't it be longer?

It is so rare that I like a sitcom, but this one is smart and funny, and the actors terrific.
[syndicated profile] oxforddnb_feed

Today's biography from the Oxford DNB:
Glasier, Katharine St John Bruce [née Katharine St John Conway] (1867-1950), socialist and politician

September 24: Last full day in Japan

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:04 am
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[personal profile] blatherskite
Today was a day for winding down and easing our way back into post-vacation life. As a result, we planned to take it easy and just do a few things, while still putting in our daily miles. After all, we're going to be spending 16 hours on airplanes tomorrow and we've consumed a lot of delicious calories during the past couple weeks..

Given the trouble we'd had finding places that were open for breakfast and that also provided Japanese-style breakfast rather than imitation Western food, we decided to try out the hotel's buffet. It proved to be a really good choice: the hot table included broiled fish, chicken scrambled in egg, sweetened omelettes, French fries, a stir fry of mushrooms and tofu, plus a tureen of miso soup. For the cold table, there were three types of sweet pickles, nori (seaweed), seaweed salad, and two types of fruit salad. Also some white bread products that we both ignored. Last but not least, all the coffee one could want.

Suitably stuffed, we headed upstairs for an e-mail check, then headed out on our day. First stop was at the Shitamachi Museum, at the end of Ueno park nearest the train station. Outside the museum, two young women were playing modern music, ranging from folksy to rocky, on a traditional Japanese three-stringed instrument, the s(h)amisen. We stayed to watch them for several songs, and they were good. The instrument seems to be played like a cross between a slide guitar and a fret-less banjo. One one finger of her uppermost hand, the one near the neck of the instrument, the musician uses a ring on one finger to slide up and down the strings to control their length and both the note and how it quavers, while her other fingers pluck the strings. Down at the body end of the instrument, she also plucked strings. But rather than using a pick or a tough fingernail, she uses something that looked rather like a hairbrush, presumably with a pick on its underside. (Just looked it up: it's called a "plectrum".) Interesting fusion of old and new!

The museum provides an excellent reconstruction of the state of Tokyo at the turn of the last century, for the periods spanning the decades before and after the 1923 earthquake and subsequent fire that killed more than 100 thousand people and destroyed large parts of Tokyo. (The fires were worse than they otherwise might have been because the quake struck at lunch, when most people had kindled fires to cook their lunch.) We were met by a charming volunteer, who took us through the reconstruction, telling us many details of daily life of the time. (Including useful things you never hear about in most tours or histories, such as the toilet and kitchen locations, and the fact that the people of the time had developed a handy hand wash station outside the toilet: a bucket filled with water and suspended at head height, with a hole in the bottom stoppered by a small stick. Poke the stick upward, and water flows down from the bucket so you can wash your hands. Pull it down when you're done to close the hole and retain the remaining water.

The only real drawback of the museum is that our guide had to remain on the first floor to help other English visitors, and most of the upstairs exhibit space, which showed Tokyo's reconstruction during the next half century, was not translated.

From the museum, we wandered over to the lake that takes up a substantial portion of the southwestern end of Ueno Park. It's filled with lotus plants, which rise out of the water to nearly head height, and stretch several hundred feet to the far side of the lake, where there's a pleasant pagoda. At the southern end, there's enough open water for small fish, a few larger fish, and a fleet of turtles. We watched them for a while, as they've clearly learned to hang out in hope of handouts. There were at least two species of turtle, include the red-eared turtle familiar to most North Americans as a childhood pet. Some of these guys had been around quite a while; they were nearly a foot across.

For lunch, we went to a brewpub that made or sold a variety of Tokyo craft beers. Unfortunately, they were out of the imperial stout and "real ale" that we'd been hoping to try, but their YoHo Ale and summer orange ale (a typical red) were both good, and went well with a savoury bowl of soba noodles and chunks of roast duck.

From there, we headed over to the Ameyoko shopping arcade right next to Ueno station (indeed, it runs under the tracks in places), both to graze on anything that looked interesting and just see all the weird stuff people sold. Plus, people watching, as it was Sunday, and everyone plus their cousins was out for a stroll.. The Japanese don't seem to be big on eating out for breakfast, but are big on lunch and dinner in restaurants, particularly when combined with shopping, so the arcade was packed with people. There's an amazing amount of stuff for sale, from high-end clothing to cheap tat, not to mention a bewildering variety of food—ranging from the expected sweet shops and stalls selling skewers of fresh-cut fruit to fish markets. Interestingly, several shawarma restaurants, which were also selling hand-churned Turkish ice cream. We sampled some dry fruits, shared a green tea ice cream, and shared a chewy fish-shaped cookie (taiyaki) covered in caramelized sugar, possibly with some maple in it.

We lasted until about 3 before the noise and fuss wore us out, and headed back to the hotel to put our feet up and recuperate before dinner. After a bit of research, we found a tempura place about 20 minutes from the hotel that looked promising. We've been using Google Maps on Shoshanna's phone to navigate when a location wasn't perfectly clear, and though it got us to the okonomi place the previous night, it led us a bit astray tonight. We did eventually find tempura place, but the restaurant reviews neglected to mention that it only sold shrimp and prawn tempura—not at all my thing. But they did have a few other dishes, of which I selected a bowl of sweet pickles (cabbage, cucumber, turnip, daikon, and onion) and a big plate of eggplant sautéed in a thick black sauce similar to, but better than, hoisin sauce. Since they offered a new beer we hadn't seen before, we tried it: Asaha Extra Dry Black. Not my favourite black beer, but a nice change from the lagers et al. that we've been having most of the time.

We wandered home through a busy shopping area, still packed with people at 8 PM, though less crowded than earlier, with brief stops to explore a local supermarket, restock our dwindling chocolate supply, and get an ice cream for dessert.

Tomorrow is our last day in Japan, and we really only have the morning. We'll wander over to a local crafts museum, possibly check out a shopping area that specializes in cooking supplies, and maybe wander through Ueno park. Probably have one last meal before shouldering our packs and heading to the airport for our flight home. Stay tuned!


Sep. 24th, 2017 01:57 pm
lovelyangel: (Chibi Haruhi)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Edelweiss CD/DVD
Edelweiss CD/DVD

On Saturday I received an order from CDJapan – the Edelweiss CD/DVD performed by 17-year-old singer Asaka. “Edelweiss” is the ED song for Centaur no Nayami. I’ve already added the song to several playlists and have updated one of the music CDs in Ava. The B-song is “Unfulfilled Butterfly,” which isn’t a bad song, but I’m not interested in adding it to any playlists.

The case included a small booklet with photos and lyrics to the two songs on the CD. Because the CD included both the Japanese and English versions of “Edelweiss,” both sets of lyrics are included.

The DVD (region 2) had the “Edelweiss” music video and a 10-minute short on the making of the video. The video was rather low budget, low tech – and it had the quirkyness of those sorts of productions. Both videos were fun to watch, though.

Once in a while I get a surprise treat on these orders. I did not pre-order this CD, and when I ordered, CDJapan said the First Press bonus – one of five different photos – was no longer available. But my case included a first press photo. Cool!

The full song has been posted to YouTube: Centaur no Nayami Ending Full - “Edelweiss”

A leaf

Sep. 24th, 2017 04:57 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Taken from a couple of angles over about a minute.

Read more... )

I am taking care of someone's cats

Sep. 24th, 2017 04:45 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
As one does, I keep a log of my visits.

The cats expressed their appreciation for my record-keeping.

Read more... )


Sep. 24th, 2017 09:39 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

As our flight was not until after lunch, this morning after we'd packed and put our luggage in store we went to the Hipolit House: more historical domestic interiors, plus exhibition on the actress Antonina Hoffman and on theatre/acting more generally in C19th. Rather interesting.

Of the journey, not a great deal to be said except for the enormous distances walked within airports.

Anyway, ome agen.

Anime Summer Week 12

Sep. 24th, 2017 12:53 pm
lovelyangel: (Kagamin Pleased)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Kana Iijima
Kana Iijima
Tsurezure Children, Episode 12 (Season Finale)

Here are the shows from this season that I watched last week…

Tenshi no 3P! (Angel’s 3Piece): Episode 11
Another awful episode… but I guess I’ll see this through to the finish line. At least there might be (cutesy) songs next week.

Yōkai Apāto no Yūga na Nichijō (Elegant Yokai Apartment Life): Episode 12
Another poorly paced episode. Lots of talking separated by crude action. The ending to the arc was just meh. Akine capturing all the demons without notifying Yūshi in advance was simply dumb and random. Miura’s second attack in the Art Room didn’t make any sense because Tashiro should have been the target, not Yūshi. This entire arc was a muddled mess, and I’ll be happy when this series is over.

Isekai Shokudō (Restaurant to Another World): Episode 12 (Season Finale)
This was a pleasant and interesting episode, with Artorius trying to prevent Alexander from meeting with his granddaughter, Adelheid, although they later crossed paths anyway. And it was nice seeing other characters we’ve known from previous stories. The surprise was finding out that Tenshu (“Master”) is the grandson of one of the four Legendary Warriors. This series has been so episodic that it’s no wonder there was anything special done to mark the end of a season.

New Game!!: Episode 11
Much better than last week! Drama involving Tsubame and Nene was a reasonable story with good resolution and signs of improved bonding. Umiko has become a more appealing character this season, also. I suspect the drama around Kou is overblown (more misunderstandings, I’m guessing).

Tsurezure Children: Episode 12 (Season Finale)
The soccer tournament at sports day was unexpected and funny. Then the last half of the episode focused on two couples – Kana x Chiaki and Chizuru x Takurō. Both couples went through scenes that made my heart ache… but I was so delighted when there were dramatic turnarounds at the end. Tears of joy! This was a superb ending note for the first season of an ongoing series. I really, really want a season 2!

Mahoujin Guru Guru: Episode 12
For some reason the story seemed more focused and interesting this week. Plus there was a grand reunion of characters. I liked this episode.

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations: Episode 25
The new arc begins… field trip to Kirigakure. We all know that this is trouble – but what else can you do to make drama in “peacetime?” This episode was mostly setup for the upcoming conflict.

Yōkoso Jitsuryoku Shijō Shugi no Kyōshitsu e (Classroom of the Elite): Episode 11
I’m glad the story didn’t get bogged down in last week’s conflict and instead introduced additional problems. And at the end we were granted a piece of the puzzle, but I can’t tell who is behind that. Class A? Looks like it’s time for Kiyotaka to save the day.

Gamers!: Episode 11
Well… I thought our two couples might have a chance to get things back on track at the RPG amusement park… but then Konoha messed everything up by forcing Chiaki into the mix. What a mess. (My favorite comment at Crunchyroll: “freaking Konoha... I wish Orochimaru could have destroyed you when he had the chance…”) The animation went off-model a few times also. The problem with the series is that the ratio of wins to misunderstandings is low, and the forever cycle of misunderstandings is starting to get tiring. It appears that the season will end next week with stuff still up in the air – because the light novels are all about perpetuating misunderstandings. I’m losing enthusiasm.

Konbini Kareshi (Convenience Store Boy Friends): Episode 12
Another horribly paced and directed episode… dragging out the Mashima-Mishiki story… not helped much by Mishiki being unconscious though most of the episode. (And, hey, if someone is unconsicous in a hospital bed for days or weeks – and then wakes up – shouldn’t the first thing you do is get a doctor or nurse?) The only really surprising thing was the twist with the twin sister… but that just means there’s more to untangle once Mishiki is back on her feet. This series has ended up being terrible. One more week (month, storywise), and we can put this snail out of its misery.

Boku no Hero Academia: Episode 37
The final battle in the final exams… and given that it invoved three of the most powerful characters at the school, the spectacular explosiveness of the battle was not surprising. The trick to the battle was whether or not Katsuki and Izuku could work together. This battle was a captivating end to the final exams.

Centaur no Nayami (a.k.a. A Centaur’s Life): Episode 12 (Season Finale)
No creepy government oversight this week… just two normal (for this show, anyway) high school stories – an RPG story and an arm-wrestling contest. Both stories were amusing, playing on the character traits of the students. The writers didn’t even try to give this episode the feel of a season ending. That’s probably reasonable given that this is an ongoing slice-of-life series with no overall story.

Knight’s & Magic: Episode 13 (Season Finale)
Appropriately, the Big Battle took place in the season finale. Our team won, of course, and the action was as over-the-top as was expected. In the best of fanfic tradition, the Ikaruka was able to best the overpowered Vyver. I liked that Kid was able to be the one to save the Queen Eleonore – stationed only as a plot device, I think. Not surprisingly, the major villains all survived to fight another day, as the Light Novel series is still in progress. Looks like the foundation is set for Kid x Eleonore and Ernesti x Addy. I’m good with that. Overall… a ludicrous series that was fun.

Manami Mitama
Manami Mitama
Centaur no Nayami, Episode 12 (Season Finale)

Ended Previously
Hina Logi – from Luck and Logic

Sentai is Always Listless

Sep. 24th, 2017 12:43 pm
lovelyangel: (Miyako Asleep)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge, Episode 4

Finally! January 30, 2018. Sentai Filmworks is finally going to release Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge (Tanaka-kun is Always Listless) on home video. The price difference between the Standard Blu-ray release ($52.49) and the Premium Blu-ray release ($97.49) I think is excessive, given the listless extras that Sentai is providing. (Sentai is not very good at premium boxes.) Even though I love the series, I’ll probably just get the standard release.

By the time the series is available on home video, 19 months will have elapsed since the end of the season. Feels longer.

Trump's Shocking Recklessness

Sep. 24th, 2017 01:59 pm
[syndicated profile] jamesfallows_feed

Posted by James Fallows

During last year’s presidential campaign, I conducted a running feature called the “Trump Time Capsule.” Its purpose was to chronicle the things Donald Trump said or did that were entirely outside the range of previous presidents or major-party nominees. This, in turn, was meant to lay down a record of what was known about this man, as the electorate decided whether to elevate him to presidential power.

By the time the campaign ended, the series had reached installment #152. Who Donald Trump was, and is, was absolutely clear by election day: ignorant, biased, narcissistic, dishonest. As Ta-Nehisi Coates argues in our current issue, everyone who voted for him did so with ample evidence about the kind of person they considered the “better” choice, or even as a minimally acceptable choice for president. Almost nothing Trump has done since taking office should come as a surprise.

But numerous things Trump has done are objectively shocking, in the sense of further violating the norms of the office and the historic standards the previous 44 incumbents have observed. (Among the things the Trump era has taught us: the difference in nuance between shock and surprise. Donald Trump in office has delivered a nonstop series of shocks, no one of which can really be considered a surprise.)

The past 36 hours have brought two dramatic and destructive illustrations, in which Trump has recklessly done great damage in areas where even the most flawed of his predecessors felt some constraint. They are his unmistakably race-baiting attacks on athletes as widely popular as Steph Curry and LeBron James, and as controversial as Colin Kaepernick, who have in common the fact of being black; and his unmistakably war-mongering latest set of tweeted insult-threats against North Korea and its leader.

* * *

Race Baiting

Since everyone from the sports pages to the political pages is pointing out what’s wrong with Trump’s “get that son of a bitch off the field!” comments in Alabama, obviously aimed at Kaepernick, and his follow-up Twitter war with Steph Curry, let me focus on what is unusual about it.

Other presidents have faced exactly this challenge: that of successful African-American athletes using the leverage of their sporting prominence to make political points. In some cases, the athletes have been much more directly critical of a sitting president than Colin Kaepernick has been of Donald Trump. (Remember that Kaepernick began his kneeling-protests back in the summer of 2016, when he was calling attention to police violence against African Americans and when Donald Trump was still an implausible long-shot to become president.) But no previous president responded in the ugly and divisive way Trump has chosen.

Conveniently, the most prominent modern examples include presidents not otherwise thought to be models of restraint or of bringing the country together: Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Consider the parallels between temptations facing them, and what Trump has done:

  • In 1966, Muhammad Ali—gold-medal winner for the United States in boxing at the 1960 Olympics, 24-year-old reigning heavyweight title holder, reportedly the most famous American in the world—formally refused induction for the draft, because of his opposition to the Vietnam war. A year later Ali was convicted of draft evasion and sentenced to five years in prison. By 1971 the Supreme Court had overturned his conviction, though Ali had irretrievably lost five years of his fighting prime. Twenty five years later, by the time of the 1996 Olympics, Ali was revered enough to be the lighter of the Olympic torch for the Atlanta games. Ten years after that, in 2006, none other than George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

    But when Ali took his stand, he did so in direct opposition to and criticism of the president who hoped that the “Great Society,” and not the nascent war in Vietnam, would be his legacy: Lyndon Johnson. Ali memorably said, in explaining his draft refusal, “I ain't got nothing against no Viet Cong … no Viet Cong never called me nigger.”

    And what did Lyndon Johnson say about this? In public, nothing. “Nothing,” that is, that I was aware of as a teenager at the time or in research since then. It would have been unworthy of a president to answer criticism in this way. Even for the notoriously thin-skinned LBJ.

  • In 1968, American track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos won the gold and bronze medals (respectively) in the 200-meter race at the Olympics in Mexico City. When the awards ceremony came, they performed the original version of what now would be considered a Kaepernick protest. As The Star-Spangled Banner played they bowed their heads; they raised their black-gloved fists in what was then known as a “Black Power” protest salute; and they displayed on their USA team jackets a prominent badge from an anti-racist organization. The silver medalist, Peter Norman of Australia, did not raise his fist but displayed the badge and later made clear his support for the protest.

    This was on an international stage, rather than aimed at the mainly-U.S. audience of Kaepernick’s NFL protests; it was much more assertive than simply “taking a knee”; and it came during a year that is surpassed only by those of the Civil War in its trauma and turmoil for the United States. This was during the bloodiest fighting of the entire Vietnam war; it was six months after the assassination of Martin Luther King and four months after the assassination of Robert Kennedy; it was after a summer in which dozens of American cities had widespread riots; and it was three weeks before Richard Nixon’s election as president.

    Within the Olympic “family,” the protest made huge waves. The very conservative head of the International Olympic Committee, Avery Brundage, was outraged and stripped Smith and Carlos of their medals. Much of white America piled on to criticize the two athletes. “If I win, I am American, not a black American,” Smith said later. “But if I did something bad, then they would say I am a Negro. We are black and we are proud of being black. Black America will understand what we did tonight.” Nearly 50 years later, their protest is memorialized and honored in the African American History Museum on the National Mall.

    The serving president, Lyndon Johnson, was a direct object of Smith’s and Carlos’s criticism. The soon-to-be president, Richard Nixon, was running on a law-and-order campaign in which he could easily have used the protest as evidence of why “real” Americans had to put the country’s house back in order.

    What did Johnson say about Smith and Carlos? In public, nothing (as best I remember from that time, and have been able to find since then). What did Nixon say on the stump in those fervid last days of the campaign? Nothing (as best I have found).

  • In 1969, the All-Star outfielder Curt Flood, who was black and an outspoken proponent of the era’s civil-right causes, was traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies. Flood did not want to go—and he refused the deal. As Alan Barra explained in an Atlantic account, even though Flood lost his case in the Supreme Court (and suffered irreparable damage in his baseball career) he eventually forced a change in the owner-player power balance not only in baseball but in much of professional sports.

    Significantly, Flood cast his resistance in racial-justice terms. “I do not regard myself as a piece of property to be bought or sold,” he said in a letter to the baseball commissioner, arguing why he considered baseball’s “reserve clause” unjust. The owners were white; the players affected were disproportionately black—and Flood, like Ali, Smith, and Carlos before him, directed attention to these racial dynamics.

    Richard Nixon was president at the time. He was besieged by critics and protests, over his Vietnam policies and the racial implications of his “law and order” emphasis. Nixon also fancied himself an avid sports fan.

    What did he say about Curt Flood? As best I knew then and have found since, what he said in public was, nothing.

    Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon are usually taken as cautionary examples of mis-using the powers of the presidency, rather than of appropriate restraint. The new Ken Burns/Lynn Novick PBS documentary series on Vietnam documents in shocking detail the way each of them lied in public, to further enmire the United States into combat in Vietnam.

    But even the two of them understood something Donald Trump didn’t. A president doesn’t go out of his way to inflame America’s longest-standing injustice and wound, the legacy of its centuries of slavery. That is what Trump has recklessly done.

* * *

2. War mongering. What Trump tweeted last night about North Korea is shocking, even for him:

Donald Trump, via Twitter.

Every American president since Harry Truman has had at his command the power to kill countless millions of people in a nuclear exchange. Every one of those presidents except Donald Trump has borne this knowledge as a matter of the utmost gravity. Living with this responsibility is one reason presidents look 20 years older when they leave office than when they arrived.

For a man who could decide to use nuclear weapons to speak about them in a cavalier and bullying tone is obscene. For professional wrestling, fine; for matters of worldwide life and death, no.

To do so in threatening a dimly-understood foreign regime whose legitimacy is based on facing down bigger foreign enemies—this is reckless on a scale with no precedent I can think of in modern presidential posturing. (John F. Kennedy made a bad mistake in approving the Bay of Pigs invasion, but he soon rued that as the naivete of a new president. Lyndon Johnson made a disastrous mistake in step-by-step deepening America’s commitment to Vietnam, but he did not boast about it, Trump-style. George W. Bush made a catastrophic mistake in deciding to invade Iraq—but it was recklessness of a different nature than courting a nuclear showdown via Twitter.) If you’re in doubt about the folly of Trump’s dares to Kim Jong Un, please read Mark Bowden’s comprehensive story in The Atlantic, or Evan Osnos’s account of a recent visit to North Korea in The New Yorker.

Many of Trump’s tweets have been outrageous and insulting. This one crosses the threshold into being actually dangerous.

* * *

During the campaign, I argued that the greatest responsibility for Trump’s rise lay not with the man himself—he is who he is, he can’t help it—but with those Republicans who know what he is, and continue to look the other way. Their responsibility for the carnage of this era increases by the day, and has grown by quite a lot this weekend.

radiantfracture: (alan bates)
[personal profile] radiantfracture
The St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church not only has a beautiful interior, very like the hull of an overturned ship; it has the best bookshop in town, Churchmouse Books. The shop is a side room filled with gently used volumes released (certainly not discarded) by a congregation of serious readers. All books are obtainable by donation. The other weekend they had an open house and larger book sale, with books laid out all along each pew -- it felt sacred and profane all at once -- whence I fished out this small remarkable creature.

Cover )
Title Page (bit blurry, sorry, it tried to escape) )

It appears to be a teleplay by novelist Elizabeth Bowen about Anthony Trollope: Anthony Trollope: A New Judgement (OUP, 1946). As you can see, it's a beautiful little booklet, maybe A6 size, with a marbled cover, presented more like a monograph than a script.

AbeBooks adds this: "A play broadcast by the BBC in 1945." Hmm, BBC.

Adding "BBC" to the search produces The Wireless Past: Anglo-Irish Writers and the BBC, 1931-1968 via Google Books:

This warning against nostalgia and advocacy of the 'now' appears most clearly in Bowen’s final radio feature, "Anthony Trollope: A New Judgement", which was broadcast two days before VE day in May 1945. In this broadcast, Bowen continues the ghost-novelist conceit of her other radio features while also communicating more explicit messages about the relationship between print culture and nostalgia. The later broadcast was evidently popular—Oxford University Press published the script as a pamphlet in 1946. (100)

It strikes me that while this book may have been of the "now" in 1946, it has become an object of almost irresistible print culture nostalgia. Someone surely was thinking of that, even at the time. The deckle edge. The marbling. And printed right after the war, too, when paper might still have been scarce.

...actually, Wireless goes on to discuss the shortage -- apparently these broadcasts were "oriented towards publics that could not access books" (103). I'm not, via skimming, entirely clear why Bowen is anti-nostalgia, but then, she seems like someone who would be.

Any readers of Bowen? I've only read The Death of the Heart for a graduate course on the modernist novel.

There's no indication on the pamphlet itself that it is a screenplay or was ever broadcast or has anything to do with the BBC -- at first thumb-through, I thought it was a monograph in avant-garde format. Which I guess it is, or rather the record thereof.



Sep. 24th, 2017 11:03 am
weofodthignen: selfportrait with Rune the cat (Default)
[personal profile] weofodthignen
On Tuesday I was about to retrieve our trash can from the kerb and was commanded to leave it there for pickup. It was taken away, has presumably now been shredded even though we only got it about 5 years ago, and eventually, late on Thursday (which was a long time to wait with a sick dog and two sick humans all producing hazardous waste), they delivered a new one with a yellow-lidded compartment for food waste taking up a third of the space. It has been hard to get our trash in the remaining space, and I'm concerned the foam pieces in which the weekly food delivery comes will stick in there; we can't recycle foam and there is no way to break them up, so I've been laying them flat on top and loading so that the other trash pushes them out, but they won't fit flat in the new cart. And I don't plan on using the food waste section. I don't eat meat, and we already compost fallen fruit that we don't eat (they don't accept it in the garden waste bin for some reason), vegetable peelings and spoiled veggies, and the housemate's teabags as well as smaller yard waste. And I understand it's to be strained to remove plastic bag bits and then fed to pigs - with no effort to remove pork waste - and the pigs will be kept just for that purpose, as four-legged consumers of people's mixed, partly decomposed food waste laced with plastic, bones, and probably pesticides. Poor pigs. And what a costly to-do. They are already running ads on some bus shelters reminding people to eat what they buy. Really pushing that message would have been so much cheaper, less wasteful, and more respectful of the pigs. I feel like doing an animal rights raid and liberating the pigs.

And I'm not going to use the little free container intended to sit on the kitchen counter collecting food scraps, thank you very much city council. A whiffy bag of proto-compost is enough. Which reminds me, I need to feed the compost monster.


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Arthur D. Hlavaty

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