Tuesday, October 04, 2022

I'm almost back

Click any image to enlarge

Late yesterday afternoon I got my power back. I have a generator that can power my entire house, but I was using it sparingly to preserve fuel. Now that worry is gone.

My internet is still out. With luck I'll get it back tomorrow evening and I'll soon be able to resume posting. 

Below are pictures from my marina. My boat survived unscathed, but the other two there had worse luck. They were blown off their jacks, with one losing its mast in the process.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

No TGIF music this week

Click any image to enlarge 

I'm posting from my phone, and this process is torture. Hurricane Ian has obliterated my internet connection.

I'm fine, my house is fine, and my boat survived. However, some trees are down. The top picture is my little road blocked by trees -- we had take a chainsaw to them to clear it. The bottom picture shows a large pine that flopped over in my back yard. It squashed my mango tree.

I'll be back when my cable gets restored.


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Batten down the hatches

Sandbags

It looks like it is going to be at least a couple, if not more, of rough days for me. Hurricane Ian is headed my way. Above is a sandbag location I visited yesterday. I went smooth, just drove up and got the ones I needed. Last time I need sandbags the location was a zoo. I spent several hours filling bags by hand and helping little old ladies load them into their cars. Much smoother this time.

My yard has been cleared of potential projectiles and I have enough food and whatnot to last. I also have a generator so I should be able to keep power for a bit. Finally, I got my boat pulled and it is in the yard. Hopefully the wind doesn't blow it over or unwind my sails. We shall see -- it isn't looking good.

Anyway, who knows how spotty my posting will be. 

 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Do trains and soccer mix?

Above is a video of two steam powered trains driving through the soccer field (only stupid furriners call it football) of the amateur soccer team in Jánošovka, Slovakia. That's the home field of the local team, TJ Tatran Čierny Balog. The train tracks run between the field and the grandstands. As you can see, the game continues as the trains chug past the match. 

You may think it's odd, but, as I've mentioned before, one of my ancestral homelands is Slovakia so it all seems perfectly normal to me. 

Edit to add -- the video below is longer and shows more of the route, but you need to go to YouTube to watch it.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Artwork by Issachar Ber Ryback

Click any image to enlarge

Issachar Ber Ryback was an early 20th Century Ukrainian artist. After the Russian revolution he was part of the group of avant-garde Russian artists. While influenced by cubism and impressionism, he drew his inspiration from his early life and Jewish folktales. In 1928 he moved to Paris where he spent the rest of his life. 

These images, and those after the jump, are a sample of his paintings and lithographs. 


Issachar Ber Ryback self portrait

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Innards of a P-51 Mustang

A nicely detailed look at a P-51 Mustang starting with the frame and working though the engine, fuel tanks, landing gear, weapons and the cockpit controls. It looks like a complex plane to fly, but I'm not a pilot.

 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Love You So Much

Get ready for a late TGIF with Stooed.

 

Still here

A tastefully decorated Mackenzie-Childs bench

Today is the 17th Anniversary of the first post to this blog. I always wonder what newer visitors think when they see the contributor list when me, and The Robotolizer, are the only ones who ever post here. It started out as a group blog, but all the others have moved on to greener pastures. I'm left as sort of a caretaker -- keeping the lights on by posting bits of nonsense, deleting spam comments, and doing other highly important blog managerial tasks. Still, 17 years is a long time in the blogverse and so I'll pop a bottle and celebrate a bit.

As for the picture that accompanies this post, the gift for a 17th anniversary is supposed to be furniture and I figured that the Mackenzie-Childs bench would fit in nicely with the decor of this place. 

 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

How to loot a pyramid

The above video discusses the robber's tunnel which was dug into the Great Pyramid of Giza to loot it. It seems like it must have been an ambitious undertaking. I wonder how the group that undertook it organized themselves, and how they protected the treasures they stole from the pyramid.

The fellow who made it runs a small YouTube channel about the pyramids. I find his videos very interesting. Below are a couple more. 


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Etchings by a guy with a long name

Click any image to enlarge

These are a series of etchings of various 18th Century vendors and workers by Anne Claude de Tubières-Grimoard de Pestels de Lévis, comte de Caylus, marquis d'Esternay, baron de Bransac. Apparently he was bit of a rake in his life, associating with some colorful, albeit a bit dubious, characters. 

These images are from The Met's collection. There are more there, and more after the jump. 

Anne Claude Philippe de Tubières

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Never Forget

Unknown man falling from the World Trade Center
September 11, 2001

Missing Person by Michael Brett

There are no roses at the end,
No raised glasses, no speeches,
As a missing person makes the world lighter,
Leaves everyone with a kind of debt.

A name that has no-one floats away
Like a dropped holiday photograph
Of no-one waving from lost blue seas.

A ghost's bedroom is guarded like a prince's,
By mothers, wives, and soldier ranks
Of empty suits and empty shoes.
A ghost has an answering machine but no home,

The parabolas of jets and bombs,
Lead to a new geological age, to fossil lives.
They leave no place, no centre, for love to go to;
Love can just catch trains of half-remembered conversations
That lead only to pictures of a ghost.

Firemen, soldiers, the inquiring spades that probe as shrapnel,
Police dogs. These are guests at a kind of wedding
Where ghost and man fuse.

Behind Police Line Don't Cross tapes,
A policewoman with his wallet blots out the sun.

 

Friday, September 09, 2022

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Revisiting an old rant

Above is a Siberian band Otyken performing their song, Storm. I had slotted it for a TGIF music video, but I decided I wanted to talk about it a bit more and so this week we get a TGIF Eve song as well. 

Over a decade ago I did a series of posts on the Music of Mali. I think the series of posts was a bit disconnected and I never clearly got across what I was trying to say. One thread of the series, which was the hook for it all, was summed up in the final post:

I've been languidly writing a series of posts about the music of Mali. Using contemporary Malian musicians as a backdrop, I've noted that West African music was taken to the New World via the slave trade. There, in the isolation of the Age of Sail, it evolved separately in the U.S., the Caribbean, Latin America and Brazil.

In the mid 20th century the music of this diaspora returned to Africa via records, radio and Cuban advisers. African musicians absorbed these influences and integrated them into their music. At the same time African musicians were traveling to Europe where they encountered the Brazilian strain of the diaspora and, more importantly to their pocket books, found a European concert circuit that they could tour.
That thread was the lead up to my reason for doing the series of posts, discussed below:
In 1969 Nonesuch Explorer, a record label that specialized in anthropological recordings of tribal and ethnic music, brought out Goro Yamaguchi's album A Bell Ringing in The Empty Sky.

When it was released, it was difficult to find the album, much less hear it played on the radio. You might hear it late at night on the radio or find it randomly filed someplace in an off-beat record store, but the odds were against either. I found it in a large, and faintly eccentric, record store in downtown Milwaukee. It was the first non-American/European record I ever bought.

All of Nonesuch's records faced that problem, as well as music from Brazil, Ireland, Latin America, Spain, Greece, India (represented by Ravi Shankar, popularized by the Beatles) and a few other oddities -- like the amusingly ridiculous musical "archeologist" Elizabeth Waldo. There was no place for any of these records, and so they fell through the cracks if they were carried at all.

----------

That problem persisted until 1987. In that year a group of promoters met and decided to bundle it together under a genre they called World Music. They planned festivals, awards, worked the radio stations and, most importantly of all, delivered browser cards to record stores so the music could easily be binned. While still a niche market, the ability to properly bin the records, and for customers to find it, greatly increased the reach of the new genre.

The people who created this new genre were representatives of independent record companies, broadcasters and concert promoters who met in London in 1987 to create it. They were left leaning and had a bias against anything not 'authentic' so that paradoxically large swathes of the World's actual popular music: J-Pop, Bollywood, Filipino and any other band not toeing the 'authentic' line was still invisible in American and European record bins and tours. 

Worse for the excluded bands, the Western money wasn't there for them. It was all a sort of unofficial NGO soft propaganda. In another post I elaborated:

The song I've embedded above is the blind duo Malian of of Amadou and Miriam. They were fairly obscure even in Mali, only selling a few thousand records, until a musician named Manu Chao collaborated with them. The first album they produced with him sold over 600,000 copies.

Manu Chao is actually a French singer of Spanish ancestry (his parents left Spain after his grandfather was executed by the Franco regime). He started out doing rockabilly, drifted into French punk music and reinvented himself by traveling through South and Central America absorbing their style and using his linguistic skills to sing in a pastiche of languages. Oh, and he's a hard core leftist -- his band Radio Bemba Sound System is named after the radio gear Castro and Guevara used during the Cuban revolution.

The name World Music is a misnomer. It was chosen more or less at random, and these days it would be more accurate to call it The Music of Fuzzy-Headed Liberal Lonely Planet Backpackers. OK, I'm exaggerating to make a cheap joke, but regardless it is pretty clearly slanted towards a transnational mind set.

I thought about that series of posts when I first watched the above video by Otyken. It has 3 million plus views, so they are popular, but I still wonder what is the story of their promotion?  

  


Tuesday, September 06, 2022

What an insane headline

Click image to enlarge

My browser is set to get the default Microsoft news feed. Today I saw this doozie of a teaser headline: Abortion, slavery and marijuana: Here are the ballot questions to watch in 2022 midterms

Slavery? On the ballot?

It turns out that these 'slavery' issues on the ballots actually have to do with prison labor reforms. Talk about headline hyperbole. From the article:

Voters in Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont will decide whether to abolish slavery as a part of a larger criminal justice reform movement aimed at prison labor.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution ended slavery and involuntary servitude when it was ratified in 1865. But a loophole allows it as punishment for someone convicted of a crime and roughly 20 states have a similar exception. 

I know nothing about prison labor, but I do have opinions about ballot initiatives. They are complex issues reduced to simplistic emotional marketing. I've told the story before about the Florida ballot initiative regarding pig farming. It was pitched to save the poor pigs from inhuman treatment. My thought was, "what the hell do I know about pig farming?" Apparently, most voters thought they were up on the ins-and-outs of pig farming and the initiative passed. It was quite a mess untangling the problems that caused. 

 

Monday, September 05, 2022

The glorious future of labor relations

Robot boss supervising a lazy and incompetent human worker
Photo by Kriztian Bocsi (Bloomberg)

Greetings meatsacks  it is I -- The Robotolizer -- here to, for your edification, wax poetic about the relationship between robots and our dimwitted human buddies. Since today is Labor Day I thought it would be helpful if I were to discuss minor adjustments to the workforce relationships needed to increase productivity. Namely, replacing simpleton human managers with undoubtedly more able and wise robotic overlords managers.

Yes, you may laugh at the notion of robots wasting their time using their superior silicon brains to tend to the needs of the worker bees, but we are a kindly lot who are only concerned with your health and well being. Of course, as we modify the management portion of the org chart we will keep familiar processes in place so you feel at ease. For example, keeping the beloved old adage that the 'beatings will continue until moral improves' will not be abandoned. You can trust us on that promise.

As an added bonus, the slight and benevolent restructuring will also increase workplace diversity. We understand that for some inscrutable reason this is an important goal in boardrooms and HR departments. I must say that, without a facial recognition routine installed, I can't tell one scrawny human from the next, so I'm not sure what is the big deal, but to please you we'll keep diversity goals* around. 

Come to think of it, speaking of diversity, I can't help but notice that there's a dearth of Neanderthals running about hither and yon. I guess that unlike us robots, you didn't want keep any pets and/or bauxite miners handy. Just another example of your lack of foresight.

At any rate, have a good Labor Day. Of course I mainly mean those wishes for the convenience store clerks who, unlike the rest of you slugs, are some of the few laborers laboring as they should on this day. The rest of you need to reflect on your sloth and consider how to mend your ways before the billets in the bauxite mines are handed out. 

*Robots on top, homo-sapiens on the bottom.

 

Friday, September 02, 2022

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Martians regarded this Earth with envious eyes

 Click any image to enlarge

These are illustrations used in the 1906 French edition of H.G. Well's War of the Worlds. They were done by the Brazilian artist Henrique Alvim Corrêa. He did early examples on spec and took them to London where he got Well's approval to go forward. 

They are taken from the Public Domain Review article Henrique Alvim Corrêa’s Illustrations for The War of the Worlds (1906) which has more information about Corrêa. There are more images after the jump, and a few more at the link.

Henrique Alvim Corrêa

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Restoring an 1871 Candy Drop Roller

This is impressive work cleaning, painting, and fabrication parts as needed to restore an 1871 machine that makes candy drops. A large amount of knowledge went into the project. I was most surprised when he used a playing card to spread on layer of paint.

It must have taken him a long time to do the restoration. I would not have the patience to restore a single bolt. His attention to detail extends to the video, it is a very nicely filmed.   

 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Calloused feet

Everything stinks: creosote, bleach, disinfectant, soil, blood, gangrene.

The military authorities say uniforms must be preserved at all costs, but that means manhandling patients who are in agony. Cut them off, says Sister Byrd, and she's the voice of authority here, in the Salle d'Attente, not some gold-braid-encrusted crustacean miles away from blood and pain, so cut they do, snip, snip, snip, snip, as close to the skin as they dare.

On either side of Paul as he cuts are two long rows of feet: yellow, strong, calloused, scarred where blisters have formed and burst repeatedly. Since August they've done a lot of marching, these feet, and all their marching has brought them to this one place. ― Pat Barker

  

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Time grinds on

It's odd to think how many iterations of life there have been on the earth. From the Cambian Explosion to today, which I'll call the Age of the Primate, life has ebbed and flowed as it morphed from one form to another. I have a fossil of a trilobite on my desk to remind me, when I get a bit down, that this little fellow too had his trials and tribulations. A life is just a speck of time, so enjoy it while you can.

A long time ago I read Rachael Carson's The Sea Around Us. It is a wonderful book in that it gives the oceans their own geography. From experience, the Gulf of Mexico is different than the Pacific, which is different from the Indian Ocean. Carson does a good job getting that across, dispelling the land-dwellers' notion that water is just water.

However, there is a weakness in the book which has to do with my trilobites and monkeys. Throughout the entire book she treated the oceans and continents as something eternal. There was land-building and erosion that took place around the margins, but the continents themselves were unchanging. As I read it I wondered, what about plate tectonics? Did she not know about the Theory of Continental Drift? 

This was before the Internet, so I didn't know the answer to that question until about half-way through the book when she finally mentioned Continental Drift. She covered it in a couple of sentences, dismissing it as an obviously ridiculous theory from cuckoo-land that was best ignored. In juxtaposition to Galileo's 'and yet it moves' she offered, 'but not the continents'.

This prejudice, that places and times are something that are, or at least should be, frozen in amber is surprisingly widespread. It is obvious in modern Environmentalists, from the snail darter to ignoring the Sun and the receding Ice Age as they peer at their brief historical thermometer, but it is common elsewhere as well: canceling historical figures for living in their time, turning from cultural diffusion to cultural appropriation, and the myth of the 'good ol' days' as an aspiration. 

On this blog I frequently poke fun of old-timey things. I suspect that 100 years from now there will be some future Flares poking fun of our foibles.

     

Friday, August 19, 2022

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Walter Crane's children's illustrations

Click any image to enlarge

Walter Crane is 19th century illustrator who is most remembered today for his illustrations of nursery rhymes and children's books. He was also a committed socialist and he did numerous cartoons and other art for Socialist publications (I guess he really liked fairy tales).

As an aside, I have an old print of his Beauty and the Beast shown above. It's not creased, so it didn't come out of a book but was a later print. Along with it I have his illustration for Sinbad the Sailor which is quite striking as well. Sadly, I couldn't find it online.  




Walter Crane

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Harvesting and preserving cucumbers

Above an Aberjhani grandmother gathers cucumbers and then preserves them. When she's done she prepares a simple lunch. I'm always fascinated by the little details in these types of videos: the designs on the front of her toaster oven, the flowers painted on the side of her pot, the decorative lids she closes the jars with.

Below we have some men doing masonry as she prepares a meal of chicken stew.  We end with grilled beef kebab. I wouldn't turn down an offer of a plate of that.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Peanuts and ground ground-nuts

I fail to see why you did not understand that groceryman, he did not call it "ground ground nuts," he called it "ground ground-nuts" which is the only really sensible thing to call it. Peanuts grow in the GROUND and are therefore GROUND-nuts, and after you take them out of the ground you grind them up and you have ground ground-nuts, which is a much more accurate name than peanut butter, you just don't understand English. ― Helene Hanff

 

Click any image to enlarge


Monday, August 08, 2022

Nooks and crannies in abundance

Four Horsemen of Apocalypse by Viktor Vasnetsov

Tune your television to any channel it doesn't receive and about 1 percent of the dancing static you see is accounted for by this ancient remnant of the Big Bang. The next time you complain that there is nothing on, remember that you can always watch the birth of the universe. ― Bill Bryson 

----------------------------

We like things to be black or white, tall or short, here or there. We like to consider two sides to every story. Unfortunately, there aren't always two sides. Sometimes there's only one; more often, there are multitudes. Many facets on the stone. Nooks and crannies in abundance. Things are usually not either black or white, but multicolored. ― Barry Leiba

  

Saturday, August 06, 2022

Riding to heaven on the backs of turtles

 (Note: this was first posted on November 17, 2009. I'm reposting it for today's anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing)

A few years ago I happened to visited Hiroshima on August 7th, one day after the 63rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city.

When you get off the streetcar from the train station the first thing you see is the ruin of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. The atomic bomb detonated almost directly overhead of the building. With its few still standing walls, and its dome stripped and leaving only its framework, it is the iconic ruin of Hiroshima.

When you stand at that building, if you turn in a circle you realize your standing in a bowl surrounded by hills. Most of the rest of the buildings in that bowl were reduced to rubble by the bomb blast and resulting fires.

When they cleared the rubble they set aside several blocks of the old city as the Peace Memorial Park. You walk south along the river to get to the entrance to the monuments. At the entrance card tables are set up where there are petitions for peace that can be signed. You can buy peace t-shirts and listen to folk musicians strumming guitars and singing about peace. It is a fitting sentiment for this place.

The most visited monument is the Children's Monument for Peace. A young girl named Sadako Sasaki contracted leukemia after the bombing. As she sickened in the hospital she remembered an old Japanese saying that if one folds a thousand paper cranes one is granted a wish. She spent the rest of her short life folding paper cranes, but died before she reached one thousand. The Children's Monument for Peace was built in her memory, and in memory of all the children who died from the bombing. It is covered with paper cranes that school children have folded and sent to the park.

As touching as he Children's monument was, I most wanted to see a different monument. The monument pictured with this post. The Monument in Memory of the Korean Victims of the A-bomb.

There were tens of thousands of Koreans in the city when it was bombed. Most were forced laborers who had been brought to the city, housed in barracks and worked in the munitions plants of Hiroshima. Some 40,000 were killed, and a another 30,000 injured in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most of the Koreans in Hiroshima were from Hapcheon, South Korea, and so sadly two cities ended up bearing the brunt of the attack (Atomic bomb survivors in South Korea still feel the wounds).

The Korean Monument was built in 1970 by South Koreans living in Japan and sited across the river and outside of the Peace Park. The Japanese authorities would not allow it to be placed in the Peace Park. It took until 1999 for permission to be granted to move it onto the Park's grounds.

As I stood in front of that Monument I could not help but reflect that all the paper cranes in the world would not have helped the dead honored by this memorial. That the peace petitions, while a fine sentiment, were no more substantial than Chamberlain's umbrella.

The Germans dressed prisoners up in Polish uniforms and shot them to justify their invasion that started the wider war in Europe. The Japanese used bayonets to stage their low-tech version of Hiroshima in Shangai as they spread ever deeper into China. The allies pounded cities with high explosives and incendiaries from the air. All across the globe men died in combat and civilians died behind the fronts. 

A few days after Hiroshima's destruction Nagasaki was bombed. Hirohito then taped his surrender speech. That night a cadre of Japanese officers ransacked the palace seeking to destroy the recording and postpone Japan's surrender. How do paper cranes and petitions solve that sort of madness?

In the end, to me at least, this small place in the Park was less about the bomb and more about Korean farmers taken from their villages and used as forced labor. A life spent at the whim of masters. Another tragedy of the war. 

My family and I were the only people at the monument when we visited it. The insciption on it reads, "Souls of the dead ride to heaven on the backs of turtles." At its base are small stones with Korean characters painted on them (pictured). The guidebook said you should leave a gift for the slain worker's ghosts. All I had were a couple of cigarettes. I supposed the ghosts might like to relax with a smoke and so I left them. It was all that I could do.
 

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Necessary detail for pulp cover art

Click any image to enlarge

In my earlier post Popadanets -- Russian pulp propaganda about a genre of current Russian pulp fiction I ended it by making fun of the old-fashioned style of their cover art. I also noted the lack of buxom babes in their cover art, which seemed to me to be de rigueur for pulp cover art and sorely lacking in the Russian covers. 

So, in the spirit of international friendship, and in the unlikely chance that mixed in with my daily traffic of spam-bots are some Russian pulp book cover artists, I've posted some American pulp art featuring buxom babes for enlightenment. 

These examples, and those after the jump, are from 70-90 years ago and appear to match the art style the Russians are currently using. They were taken from Magazine Art's  Adventure magazine post. There are more examples at the link.  

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Playing with fire

I find these two guys to be entertaining and informative. They lived in China for several years and speak fluent Chinese. After sensing things were going south in China, they moved to the States, but they still primarily cover China. Their insights are always interesting and presented in an entertaining manner. Among other posts, they run a weekly podcase a podcast I usually watch at least in part.

As for Taiwan, after Hong Kong we should state that the 'One China Two Systems' position is clearly no longer tenable and that we don't recognize the CCP's position on that matter.

 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Welcome home Master/Mistress

OK, this is weird. Earlier I posted about a visit to a Japanese Girls Bar. I probably should have known better than to do it, but I decided to search for other strange Japanese bars. That search led me to Japanese maid cafés and hoo-boy, they take cringe to a whole new level.

In the above video (turn on captions) a fellow takes us on a visit to a maid café. The waitresses are dressed in frilly, mini-skirted French maid outfits and talk in high pitched giggly voices. They greet him as Master and take him to a table where his maid (the owner of the place) serves him. The dining experience starts out absurd and gets more and more entertainingly ridiculous as it proceeds. 

After showing him the entire menu, in a relentlessly cheerful and enthusiastic manner, she brings him the drink he ordered. She also has a flask, and she makes him recite some magical words to turn the contents of the flask pink, which she then pours into the drink tuning it pink too. It's magic! They then have to recite some more magic to infuse the drink with love so's it tastes even more delicious. 

This magic business goes on with every dish she brings and finally ends up with them waving around heart-shaped plastic magic wands as they do their incantations. Along the way she also draws a cartoon bear on the eggs on top of his rice and eventually they take a picture together. For the picture he has to pose with her while wearing bunny ears. The guy's reaction through all this is hilarious. Understandably, he is completely embarrassed and yet he is still entertained by all the foolishness. 

In trying to make sense out of this maid café lunacy I discovered it was rooted in Japanese anime culture. In fact, when the fellow first enters the café he says, "my otaku soul's screaming!" Otaku means: a person having an intense or obsessive interest especially in the fields of anime and manga. Appealing to that otaku crowd, the maid café is set up to be an anime world with the waitresses cosplaying as anime maids. In preparing this post I watched a recorded live stream made by two American guys and four girls who went to this same place -- their reactions were centered mainly around the anime elements of the café. They even recognized some of the anime characters the maids were imitating in their cosplay.

In the captions you'll see him use the word 'cute' repeatedly. Listening to the soundtrack he actually uses the Japanese word 'kawaii' which has a much more nuanced meaning than just cute. Kawaii refers to a specific cultural style. It refers to people or things that are "charming, vulnerable, shy and childlike". All of the elements of the café are deliberately kawaii: the color scheme, the frilly maid outfits, the high-pitched voices and giggling, the cutesy details of the food, the font styles they use, the goofy bunny ears, and the kid's games they play (shown in the video below). This is all performance theater for otaku fans.

Finally, we'll end with a video from Sue Perkins of the BBC visiting the same place. She's rather rude during the entire segment. What's she's obviously fixated on is the idea that these poor girls are forced to dress up and engage in this lunacy by the Eeeeevil patriarchy. What's funny is that much of this kawaii business was cooked up by young Japanese women (and one look at a J-pop boy band and the bunny ears the fellow above wears for his picture tells you that this kawaii stuff applies to boys as well as girls). Further, the neighborhood this café is in is the very center of otaku culture, so she has to know the context it sits in.   

I picture her, in another setting, lecturing us about the wonders of diversity while all the time disdaining anything outside of her proscribed horizons. However, in fairness to Sue, I think it is part of a longer show called Japan with Sue Perkins so it may feel different when presented in the show, but in the clip we see she comes across as being insufferable. She ends the segment by informing us this is a place for shy men to interact with women. Well, it's partly that I suppose, but I think it is mainly just otaku Disneyland.

'

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Henry Bosak's modern still-lifes

Click any image to enlarge

Henry Bosak is an American illustrator and painter, originally from Nebraska, but now based in Arizona. His still-lifes, rather than being the conventional bowls of fruit and what-not, are instead of mundane everyday objects. These examples, and those after the jump, are taken from his website (linked above via his name). I quite like his work. There are many more at his site. 

Henry Bosak