Sunday, January 5. 2014 | Comments (0)
I've had a bunch of links building up for a while. I'll try to not lose them like I did last time.
Six Lies Most People Believe About U.S. Schools at The Federalist. 1) Rich, suburban schools are better than poor, inner-city or rural schools. 2) Poverty is the root cause of poor education 3) It's better to teach generic philosophies and ideals than specific skill-sets or fundamental knowledge 4) Teachers are well-prepared professionals 5) Education is non-partisan and amoral 6) Everyone should go to college. That's the short lists. Read the reasons and get links in the article.
Dark Roasted Blend's Abandoned Places and Urban Exploring archive.
A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series. That's the name of the book. I bought a copy of the revised edition. It doesn't have everything about Godzilla, but it has a bunch of stuff about the production and content of the movies that you'll only find in this book.
Fifty Shades of Marx by Sara Hoyt:
"Yesterday on Facebook, someone took exception to my saying that Marxist ideas are ascendant in the world. This shocked me so much I didn’t know how to react, and before I had time to explain – I was trying to finish the novel. No, it’s not done yet. Long story, but hey HVAC people this afternoon – people were in a big argument over whether or not we’re living in a police state.
The End of Days and the Rule of Gray by John C. Wright:
I had an interesting, and admittedly disturbing experience, which made me reflect upon the end of the world.
Five Myths about Ty Cobb. Thanks to the sensationalist (and largely, we now know falsified) biography of Cobb by journalist Al Stump, most people believe the Tigers legendary player was a violent, selfish and greedy, foul-mouthed extreme racist and murderer loved by no one. Those characterizations are mostly, if not entirely, untrue.
I linked this on Facebook. Matt Walsh discusses why the debate on abortion is comprised of two positions that are simply too far apart for compromise.
The WondLa books look fascinating. Will definitely be picking them up as soon as we're all settled in to the new year.
Wednesday, September 4. 2013 | Comments (0)
Donna Lewis was one of a sizable handful of female singers in the mid- to late-90's who hit the airwaves with one or two pop hits and quickly disappeared. That wouldn't be so unusual, except that it really was a veritable flood for a few years. This was arguably the precursor to the "Grrl Power" movement, as it seemed be largely triggered by the success of Melissa Etheridge and other perceived-alternative and independent musicians; a female-centric offshoot of grunge. Lewis stands out not only for the extreme catchyness of "I Love You Always Forever", but for her impressively produced debut album "Now In A Minute". A few of the songs falter due to noticeably resembling each other, a real shame that mars an otherwise outstanding sonic experience. However, the albums other great failure is that it serves as a great cure for insomnia.
America's 50 Countries - Article on National Review about the heterogenic nature of America.
Andrew Branca appeared on a California NPR broadcast a couple of months ago to serve as the token defender of George Zimmerman and Stand Your Ground laws. Havoc ensued when Branca pointed out that 33 states have Stand Your Ground laws like Florida's, and California's is actually the most liberal (in the classic sense).
What, exactly, ARE Jay-Z's 99 Problems? An artist on tumblr is working it out.
Brimstone over Iwo Jima.
"Without Love" is probably the best song on the disc. Sounds truly phenomenal cranked up loud. Amazing mix.
The "Not-as-dark-as-advertised" Ages. An idea that's been covered quite a bit the last few years. Hopefully, the classic idea of the "Dark" Ages will be gone in another decade.
World of Warcraft subscribers down to 7.7 million. I talked about this on Facebook a few weeks back. As many have pointed out, 7.7 million is still the largest subscriber base in America, and it's probably the largest user base as well. Guild Wars 2 is claiming 5 million users, although it's very difficult to compare "users" to "subscribers". However, considering how successful many free-to-play games have been, I still think if WoW trends below 5 million Blizzard starts converting the game to FTP. The next expansion will prove it either way, in my opinion.
Former NBA star Kenny Anderson comes to terms with sexual abuse when he was a child. Another long piece by SBNation. These long-form articles SBN has been doing are excellent reading.
A tear-jerking story about "Animal Crossing". Will make you hate yourself if you've ever thought anything bad about your mother.
For Texans, a short guide to many lost buildings at Fair Park in Dallas.
And, again, while fantastically produced and featuring Donna's excellent voice, this is one of the songs that will put you to sleep.
Something I need to add to my list of things that I say I'll do but never get around to is reviewing a few albums. I know everyone loves hearing the opinions of a music snob. Speaking of which...seriously, who reads Rolling Stone anymore? I didn't even know they were still published.
P.S. Still can't get to sleep? Try this one:
Thursday, July 25. 2013 | Comments (0)
I've been saving these up for a while. For the record, why I've not been very available lately: 1) It's that time of year again, and the weather has played hell with my attempts to A) Satisfy government regulations B) Grow a crop when we got rain about a month late C) And then it did it all again. Also, we're moving, so there's all that to deal with.
Hat-tip to Brickmuppet for linking this excellent video.
Xbox One "clearly inferior" to PS4: This is, umm, old news now. For the record, the technical specs aren't very far apart. You Sony folks remember arguing that the "technically inferior" PS2 and (arguably) PS3 "used their resources better" and so on? Seriously, though; hardware is at a point now that a 50% difference in specs would be hard to to actually "see" in any way, most of the time. (A lot of people made that argument with the PS3 and 360, which is fine, but they still need to explain why so many PS3 titles were s*****, de-rezzed and -rated performers compared to their 360 counterparts.) And before you pitch a fit on me, keep in mind that I own both a 360 and a PS3, and I prefer using the PS3. It is an objectively easier and better experience. XBox Live is a nightmare. But the 360 is still a better gaming machine.
Having said that, all of the OTHER problems with the XBox One make it a complete pile of garbage that I am not interested in owning.
Would you like to know about WD-40? Sure you would!
I hope this can finally be considered non-political, considering everything that's happened the past few years: 73 Climate Models vs. Observation of Reality: Guess which wins.
The Ghost Fleet of Chuuk Lagoon: World's largest ship graveyard.
And right about here is where I entered an address in the wrong place and lost the next two videos and 15 links I had entered, including a few with commentary. I remember what the videos were, but I've already deleted the links from the folder where I keep this stuff. I will now go play a video game to keep from screaming.
You remember the song "Kiss From A Rose"? Here's Angela Aki's version:
I had a link to an article about Jason Everman, the guy who was in Nirvana and Soundgarden before joining Special Forces in Afghanistan. I don't really like Nirvana, so here's a link to some classic Soundgarden:
I am so pissed off.
Friday, May 31. 2013 | Comments (3)
Today's video and music theme is Texas Rangers walk-up songs:
1st up, Lance Berkman uses "God's Gonna Cut You Down" by Johnny Cash.
A thing that won't trigger nostalgia: Blockbuster Video.
Top 25 Epoch-Making Anime
The Lord of the Rings Family Tree project. Ambitious, and still not the easiest thing to follow.
7 Pictures of Tom Cruise being tall.
Brad Johnson: The Price of an NFL career.
The much-hated A.J. Pierzynski uses "Bullets" by Creed, "Set It Off" by Audioslave, and included below because it's the most interesting, "AJ Scratch" by Kurtis Blow:
MLB's State-of-the-art Replay System
The Giant Rubber Duck in Hong Kong; coming soon to a major city near you.
Political: The Brickmuppet sums up all of the scandals of the current governmental administration that started breaking the past few weeks.
Political/Cultural: The Part of the World That Shoots Back
And finally (for now) Adrian Beltre's song is "Pa Que Retozen" by Tego Calderon:
A video I really wanted to find, or a recording even, is George Chandler's cover of Del Shannon's "Runaway". Chandler performed the cover for an episode of The Benny Hill Show, and apparently never recorded the song otherwise. Which is a shame, because it was probably the best version of the song ever performed. I have video from the show, but I am somewhat reticent to upload, as Benny Hill related videos seem to be taken down regularly.
My current video game project, since hitting the level cap in Scarlet Blade (it's been upped since, and a new area added) is to use the free trial of World of Warcraft to level every class with every race to level 20, and to make judgements thereon. So far I've leveled a Warrior for Human, Dwarf, Gnome and Night Elf, and I'm working on Draenei. I won't do Pandas until the end. One thing I can tell you is that the Draenei starting area hasn't been optimized for the free trial. At least one quest chain requires access to mail, which is blocked in the demo. The four original races have all been streamlined to make the level experience to 20 quick and rewarding. In fact, it's probably a little "too" quick, and it's clear (especially in areas that I had previously visited with older characters) that a lot of quests had been cut, even though their resources where sometimes still in the game. This is an improvement in some cases; e.g. a hunting quest chain in Loch Modan has been cut in half at least. Originally you had to "kill 8 xxxxxx's" for four different low-level animals, then four different medium level animals, then four different high-level animals, then a boss animal for each. Each group was located in a different area; the entire quest chain could have you running over the entire area (pre-mount if you're doing it at the appropriate level) and can take hours and hours of work (days for a casual player). However, in some cases Blizzard cut off a quest chain half-way through, leaving a story half-finished, or cut out a quest chain that uses unique resources. A good example is in the human starting area, which cut out the quest chain involving one of the kobold-infested mines, even though the kobolds and mine are still there. Most of the quest chain involving the human bandits is gone, leaving this group of bandits that everyone talks about, but that you never really do anything about. But more about all of this later.
Thursday, April 25. 2013 | Comments (0)
Yu Darvish strikes out Albert Pujols five times. (Sort of)...
Incidentally, the guy who created this has (allegedly) been given a contract with Fangraphs.
The fundamental problem with Tinkerbell
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon: Either you first heard of this recently, or you will hear about it again soon. No joke.
Pictures of abandoned power stations @ i09
Helicopter drone video of Niagara Falls
Top 25 anime character designers
Otaku musician busted for Junior-High sex (and for not looking anything like his artists' renderings)
Christianity in anime. I think there's an aweful lot that can be written about Puella Magi Madoka Magica. But I want to watch the series again with my wife first.
Share and enjoy: Sad Josh Hamilton
Last night the home plate umpire at the Angels/Rangers game took a foul-tip in the worst possible place, which brought up mentions of The Nutty Buddy.
Saturday, April 13. 2013 | Comments (0)
This is hard. So bear with me. Those of you that have followed my blog for a while probably know that my sister posted comments here occasionally. Mainly regarding posts about the Texas Rangers; we were both life-long fans along with my Dad. We would txt each other during games, and I know it's going to be another shock when I don't get an expected txt message when Yu Darvish strikes out someone on a nasty pitch or Pierzynski (who seemed to be an emerging favorite of hers) gets a good hit. I didn't listen to the end of the game yesterday, so tonight will be my first attempt to listen to a game without her. The shock is starting to wear off, which means that I'm just starting to ache on the inside. I have received a tremendous amount of love and support, and I'm sharing that with my parents, so thank you all. Very, very much.
Jeff Bezos recovers some rocket engines from the floor of the ocean. We once used those to send men to space.
The last great worldwide sailing expedition.
Rob Delaney explains March Madness. I would watch his version.
View from the top of the great pyramid.
A little-remembered monument used as a prop on a reality television show sparks outrage. (the monument is wreckage of a B-52 in Vietnam. What it represents is a lot more than "there was a war there")
And now from Japan:
Teacher punches thirteen-year-old girl in the face; administration promises discipline (short of firing, arrest, etc.)
Teacher hits pupil fifty-three times for eating sweets, receives 10% pay cut.
Japanese schoolgirls perform superhuman energy attacks (with a camera, and timing)
Zero no Tsukaima (Familiar of Zero) author dies. Noboru Yamaguchi had previously come close to death while struggling with cancer.
And now for something completely different: Girls of the Israeli Defense Force.
Thursday, April 11. 2013 | Comments (0)
Interesting theory, which I think has a lot of merit...
Sunday, March 17. 2013 | Comments (0)
Sarah Hoyt: Digging Under/Building Under
Viking "Sunstone" found in shipwreck.
"Hair Archaeologist" discovers how to recreate (realistically) the fabulous 'dos of antiquity.
Hat-tip to Anthony Cagle's Archaeoblog for some of the links.
I went and dug up some more AMVs after WonderDuck did an AMV post. First up, WonderDuck's own "Angel" based on Kanon.
Here's one I found. This video is short, but is waaaaay better than I expected it to be. Very tight editing with good timing. Surprisingly effective use of Nichijou.
The Alamo siege chronology.
The Mission San Antonio de Valero
The Last Days of Davy Crockett
Michael Lind's The Death of Davy Crockett
Tour of The Alamo. Doesn't work very well, but has some interesting information.
A video shared by WonderDuck, "Gratuitous Violets" featuring Revy from Black Lagoon and Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex:
Shinji's a bitch. (It's an old conversation, but this is the first time I've seen it in comic form.)
The third ClimateGate document dump has occurred. I bet you heard all about it on the news this week, didn't you?
In the spring, a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of love. To wit:
Readers of El Goonish Shive have been speculating for a long time that Elliot's relationship with Sarah was doomed, and it seems Dan Shive finally started the final ball rolling when Elliot was thrown into long-term proximity with Susan. Of course, Elliot didn't have a clue, until...
Jeph Jacques has stated that he doesn't plan Questionable Content in advance; he just rolls with what feels right. He seems to be rolling into finally having Marten enter another relationship. Specifically... This could be interesting. Claire is high-strung and craves affection for who she is, and just doesn't click with people. Whereas Marten is basically a wimpy, less-glib version of Matt LeBlanc. Jacques has made it clear that Claire has a crush on Marten, but Marten's feelings are more circumspect (he wants to love and please the entire world, of course.)
In Girl Genius, Princess Zeetha has her hat set on Mr. Higgs...
But on the other hand, Order of the Stick just had one of the saddest moments ever. However; well done Mr. Burlew. Excellent writing.
Speaking of excellent writing. Macross Frontier debuted five years ago. I haven't watched it. I'm scared. Other than Super Dimension Fortress Macross and Robotech I have seen Macross Plus and some of Macross 7. Plus was OK, but I didn't really like 7. However, in a fit of extreme nostalgia that occurred while I was sick earlier this week, I decided it was finally time to watch Frontier. So far, I've watched the three versions of the first episode, plus the second and third. I have some concerns, but some high hopes as well. Frontier is very much an homage to the original, but they've certainly messed with the characters a bit. I like the male lead, Alto; but I'm not too thrilled with the two female leads, which are, at this point, Lynn Minmei split into two characters. Older Minmei is "The Fairy of The Galaxy" Sheryl Nome, and Younger Minmei is high-school student and wanna-be singer Ranka Lee. There isn't enough separation. The other big problem is that they really have to rush the story (it's only 25 episodes). I will be talking more about Frontier, I'm sure. Oh, love the art. Love it.
Speaking of not-so-excellent writing, I'm trying out the new free-to-play MMO by Aeria Games, Scarlet Blade. This is the western regions release of Queen's Blade Online. If you're familiar with Queen's Blade, you know what that means.
Here's a short video with very little content. I'm still learning to play.
Sunday, March 3. 2013 | Comments (2)
Remember Michelle Jenneke, the Australian track star who won fame for bouncing up and down and shaking her butt before an Olympic race on international TV? It got her a gig with Sports Illustrated.
James Lileks: Everything you know about the 1920s is wrong.
Visual timeline of the One Ring.
Vernon responds: Letter to "The Breakfast Club" explaining why they failed their detention assignment. And have to come back next week.
Hat-tip to Kaedrin for the previous two links.
Sarah Hoyt tackles group identity, why racial and other divisions in America are a "first world problem", and how people self-seperate and seek support in truly difficult circumstances. When The Chips Are Down.
Imperial Incompetence: The Battle of Hoth
U.S. Judge overturns lower court's decision: Sea Shepherd are indeed "pirates".
Watt's Up With That looks at Global Cooling media of the 1970s. It looks...familiar.
The Soviet Union got the cream of the intelligentsia, Vietnam got the hottest actors and politicians...North Korea gets Dennis Rodman.
Rachel Maddow busted for Twitter spam trend manipulation. No comment from Twitter, but they have suspended all of the accounts.
The Sequestration in one chart. It's in the upper-right-hand-corner. Highlighted in RED and CIRCLED. And you still might not notice it.
Same song by ZONE:
Sunday, February 24. 2013 | Comments (0)
On February 24th, 1836 the Mexican Army surrounding the Alamo mission-fort outside of Bexar, Texas began an ongoing cannon siege. Although Travis and Bowie's "cannon shot response" to the demand for surrender the previous day allegedly killed between two and seven Mexicans, there is no account of any causalities on this first full day of battle. Late in the day, Colonel Travis wrote the following letter, which was carried to the town of Gonzales at least, and possibly further:
Commandancy of the Alamo
The original letter, which has been kept in the State Archives for the past 170 years, is on display at The Alamo this week only.
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