Photo Friday: 18-10-19 Cartoon Characters

I remember seeing Mahha GoGoGo on TV when I was young. It fascinated me that the characters had round eyes. The stories were silly and innocuous.

The English title was Speed Racer. The Japanese title Mahha GoGoGo comes from Mach Vehicle 5 Go is my guess. The characters first name is Go so it might be part of the title too. The “M” on the helmet is for Mifune Motors. Speed Racer’s Japanese name is Mifune Go.


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TOTD 2018-10-18: Amazing Apps

I was a late adapter to a cell phone. I thought I didn’t need it. I could use one of the ubiquitous pay phones that were everywhere in Japan. Well, the pay phones are now an endangered species and I would feel naked without my cell phone. I call it a cell phone but it really is a small computer with a phone function. What amazes me is the wonderful apps you can download to make your life easier.

I will share two apps with you. One app I have used for years and a new one that came with iOS 12 on the iPhone. The first one is 駅Locky (Eki-Locky). Eki means station and Locky is added so it sounds like “clock” in Japanese. What this app does is gives me a countdown timer for when my train leaves the station. This is far better than just giving me the time when the train leaves. Looking down at a timer that says I have 5 minutes left gives me the information that I need. I can either run to the station or relax and take the next train. If I swipe left the application shows a countdown timer for the next train so it is easy peasy.

The new app is Measure by Apple. This little app uses the camera in the phone to measure an object. Instead of a tape measure I can point the phone at a starting point then an ending point to see how long the object is. Pretty neat, right? It also has a level so one can see if the picture on the wall is crooked or not.

How about you? What app is amazing to you?


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Standards II (revisited)

OK, the last post about standards drifted way off topic, or so it seemed to some. I tried to get a screen grab of an interview with the owner as seen on FOX News. Since I could not get a direct link to the clip, I grabbed it and reduced it in size to post. Unfortunately the video clip is still too large, even after I reduced the resolution by 50%, so here is the audio from the clip. The video just included stock footage that many have seen before. The point is that he took the effort to exceed standards, deeper pilings, special windows and accepting the fact that the first floor would be swept away.


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The Khashoggi case demands context

I found this interesting:

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-ugly-terror-truth-about-jamal.html?m=1

In high school, Jamal Khashoggi had a good friend. His name was Osama bin Laden.

“We were hoping to establish an Islamic state anywhere,” Khashoggi reminisced about their time together in the Muslim Brotherhood. “We believed that the first one would lead to another, and that would have a domino effect which could reverse the history of mankind.”

Hmm. Maybe this man was not, in fact, a fearless champion of free speech. Maybe there is more going on. Maybe sometimes, the United States is allied with nations who also are bad actors. Maybe things are more complex than the media want to make themout to be.

Closing quote:

Before the media and the politicians who listen to it drag the United States into a conflict with Saudi Arabia over a Muslim Brotherhood activist based on the word of an enemy country still holding Americans hostage, we deserve the context.

And we deserve the truth.

The media wants the Saudis to answer questions about Jamal Khashoggi. But maybe the media should be forced to answer why the Washington Post was working with a Muslim Brotherhood propagandist?

The real mystery isn’t Khashoggi’s disappearance. It’s why Republicans aren’t asking those questions.

The media’s relationship with Khashoggi is far more damning than anything the Saudis might have done to him. And the media should be held accountable for its relationship with Osama bin Laden’s old friend.

Nothing is every simple as the headlines want them to be.


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No bear yet…

Boy am I eating crow….

From Oct 16, first at 1245 AM, second at 331 AM and finally at 808 AM.

I’m not sure how big the rack on the buck was, maybe a 7-pointer.

My wife is gloating over my invisible bear…

Like 10+

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Doubting Thomas

This post will be about Brett Kavanaugh with an aside to Justice Thomas. Recently I saw Pres. Trump defending Kavanaugh and saying that the hearings were a disgrace. This is so important because if there is silence only the opposition is heard. There is a cloud over Justice Kavanaugh head that needs to be dispelled. Trump at least is trying to do that. I don’t remember any strong defending of Clarence Thomas, do you?

One can safely say that George H W Bush was no Donald Trump. He was known for his loyalty but from what I recall he was not much of a public defender of his people. He never ridiculed Ted Kennedy for his hit job on Thomas. A good man was disgraced and because of the silence of Pres. Bush the Elder people still doubt Thomas.

Fighting back has to be done well. If it is done poorly one loses a second time. There can also be a Streisand Effect that is people blow a small problem up to a big problem. The thing is you can’t win if the other side only gets out their message. I have the feeling the GOPe are more of the Neville Chamberlain types. They would rather be seen as peacemakers than to actually do something effective. They fight intra-party battles better than against the opposition. It is an appeasement strategy because to actually do something would make them look bad. And heaven forbid they should do something positive and win. They are above that.

There are the defeatist like Fred Cole are for impractical things. Which really makes life pleasant for the them. They can always gripe about how their wisdom is never followed. I doubt these types would ever defend a part of the conservative coalition who lacked their purity of vision.

I am not proposing a scorch earth denigration of the opposition but it should be robust and effective. They should not be allowed to just walk into “Czechoslovakia”.


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Boy with “Snopek”

Now here is something you don’t see every day.  Or do you?

This is “Chłopiec niosący snop” – “Boy Carrying a Sheaf.”

snop is a sheaf, of wheat or barley originally, in Europe.  At harvest, the peasants glebae adscripti walked along in a line, each with a scythe, cutting the stalks and binding them into sheaves. If they were smaller ones they would be stacked three or four together, upright, so that the rain would mostly drain off.

Below are stooks of barley sheaves in Somerset, England. (Thanks, Bdk, for the upload to Wiki.)

After a few good drying days they would be brought into the barn. In the quaint and far-off times, this was done by taking the biggest snop each child could carry, and sticking it on his head.

Aleksander Gierymski painted “Chłopiec niosący snop” in 1893 in a Polish village called Bronowic. Looks like a good dry day, doesn’t it? By the shadow I would say it is late morning, which it would have to be for the dew to have burned off. The field is otherwise empty as much as we can see, so maybe they have been doing this for a few days, planning their harvest festival all the while.

Leszek Lubicki maintains a fascinating blog, Obrazowo rzecz ujmując,(“Figuratively Speaking”) for his discussions of Polish paintings of late C19 and early C20.  Lubicki includes in what I call his Snopek post, his essay on this one painting of Gierymski, a photo of the painting as displayed at the National Museum in Wrocław.

I hope they all got their harvest in on time. Around here we have gotten our corn into the silos for another year without any human injuries due to accidents.  Those do occur from time to time, as people work long hours with powerful machines.

Americans continue this activity for decorative purposes, and use American cornstalks, as they would.  These sheaves turn up this time of year in the oddest places:

It is good to have things snug before fall hits. I just learned a new jingle about that:

Na Edwarda
jesień twarda.

“From St. Edward’s Day [October 13th]
the fall is hard.”

After working it out with both hands, I construe that at the mid northern lattitudes, about 120 days after the summer solstice, the atmosphere has cooled down enough to notice, especially when the wind picks up. Why does it happen so suddenly?

As Mr. Bennet says in Pride and Prejudice, “I leave that for you to determine.”  Stay snug.


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Gosnell

The film Gosnell:The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer was released about a week ago. It was produced by documentarians Phelim McAleer, Ann McElhinney, and Magdalena Segieda, though this film is not a documentary. This is not a film I would normally see but made an exception in this case because I (slightly) know the filmmakers. They had invited me to the L.A. premier last week but I could not attend. Surprisingly, the film is being shown in several theaters in my area, which is where I finally saw it – surprising because it was independently released and the producers faced a lot of hostility from Hollywood.

The film is about Kermit Gosnell, a physician who operated an abortion clinic in Philadelphia for several decades. He was convicted on murder in the first degree of three infants, manslaughter of an adult patient, and numerous other felonies. Aside from these major offenses, he operated his clinic in a grossly unsanitary manner and used unqualified individuals as medical personnel. The story was given national prominence through the persistent efforts of our own Mollie Hemingway. The film takes the artistic license of replacing nationally known and serious journalist Mollie with a local and unknown (presumably fictional) blogger Molly Mullaney.

In a recent interview on the Ricochet flagship podcast, Mollie said she cried though much of the film. I had a somewhat different response: disgust, anger, and a frequent desire to avert my eyes. It’s not that many graphic images are shown; the film is rated PG-13. The writers were so adept at enhancing the images with words that one’s imagination did the rest. This film is well made, with excellent actors and high production values: a significant step up from their previous work. Andrew Klavan also has a writing credit.

I hesitate to recommend the film because of the nature of the subject matter. It’s not for everyone. If you’re into this sort of thing, it is a compelling movie that you will think about long after leaving the theater.


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Book Review: Red War

“Red War” by Kyle MillsThis is the fourth novel in the Mitch Rapp saga written by Kyle Mills, who took over the franchise after the death of Vince Flynn, its creator. On the cover, Vince Flynn still gets top billing (he is now the “brand”, not the author), but Kyle Mills demonstrates here that he’s a worthy successor who is taking Rapp and the series in new directions.

In the previous novel, Enemy of the State, Rapp went totally off the radar, resigning from the CIA, recruiting a band of blackguards, many former adversaries, to mount an operation aimed at a nominal U.S. ally. This time, the circumstances are very different. Rapp is back at the CIA, working with his original team headed by Scott Coleman, who has now more or less recovered from the severe injuries he sustained in the earlier novel Order to Kill, with Claudia Gould, now sharing a house with Rapp, running logistics for their missions.

Vladimir Krupin, President/autocrat of Russia, is ailing. Having climbed to the top of the pyramid in that deeply corrupt country, he now fears his body is failing him, with bouts of incapacitating headaches, blurred vision, and disorientation coming more and more frequently. He and his physician have carefully kept the condition secret, as any hint of weakness at the top would likely invite one or more of his rivals to make a move to unseat him. Worse, under the screwed-down lid of the Russian pressure cooker, popular dissatisfaction with the dismal economy, lack of freedom, and dearth of opportunity is growing, with popular demonstrations reaching Red Square.

The CIA knows nothing of Krupin’s illness, but has been observing what seems to be increasingly erratic behaviour. In the past, Krupin has been ambitious and willing to commit outrages, but has always drawn his plans carefully and acted deliberately, but now he seemed to be doing things almost at random, sometimes against his own interests. Russian hackers launch an attack that takes down a large part of the power grid in Costa Rica. A Russian strike team launches an assault on Krupin’s retired assassin and Rapp’s former nemesis and recent ally, Grisha Azarov. Military maneuvers in the Ukraine seem to foreshadow open confrontation should that country move toward NATO membership.

Krupin, well aware of the fate of dictators who lose their grip on power, and knowing that nothing rallies support behind a leader like a bold move on the international stage, devises a grand plan to re-assert Russian greatness, right a wrong inflicted by the West, and drive a stake into the heart of NATO. Rapp and Azarov, continuing their uneasy alliance, driven by entirely different motives, undertake a desperate mission in the very belly of the bear to avert what could all too easily end in World War III.

There are a number of goofs, which I can’t discuss without risk of spoilers, so I’ll take them behind the curtain.

This is a well-crafted thriller which broadens the scope of the Rapp saga into Tom Clancy territory. Things happen, which will leave the world in a different place after they occur. It blends Rapp and Azarov’s barely restrained loose cannon operations with high-level diplomacy and intrigue, plus an interesting strategic approach to pledges of defence which the will and resources of those who made them may not be equal to the challenge when the balloon goes up and the tanks start to roll. And Grisha Azarov’s devotion to his girlfriend is truly visceral.

Mills, Kyle. Red War. New York: Atria Books, 2018. ISBN 978-1-5011-9059-9.

Here is an Author Stories interview (audio only) with the author about the novel and process of crafting a thriller.


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The Warren Commission

Sen. Elizabeth Warren released some DNA findings to prove Indian ancestry. Trump has punched backed. What I find fascinating is not the substance but the ripples of this public debate. Whether someone likes Trump or not he is the master of forcing opponents to look silly fighting back. “Why aren’t I 50 points ahead” Hillary and “His hands are small” Rubio are a few examples. I don’t see how this will end well for Warren.

Thoughts?


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