Archive for the 'news' Category

Hong Kong’s Most Disturbing CG Illustrations

Joan and I stumbled across this on some Hong Kong message boards and I couldn’t pass this up. Following up on the awesome CG reenactment by Hong Kong’s Apple Daily of the guy who tried to hump a metal park bench, we found a whole collection of similarly crude, lurid and unintentionally hilarious illustrations from Hong Kong’s trashiest tabloid. For more pics, click here.

And my favorites, Apple Daily‘s recreation of Morgan Freeman’s recent car wreck.

June is National Soul Food Month, Among Others…

June is…

Audiobook Month
Caribbean American Heritage Month
National Flag Month
National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month
Turkey Lover’s Month
National Dairy Month
National Iced Tea Month
National Papaya Month
National Candy Month
Gay Pride Month
National Hunger Awareness Month
National Seafood Month
National Soul Food Month

May is National Asparagus Month, Among Others

May is…

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Mental Health Month
New Zealand Music Month
Celebrate Older Adults Month
South Asian Heritage Month
Indian Heritage Month (observed in Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and most Caribbean island-nations)
Haitian Heritage Month
Jewish American Heritage Month
Allergy/Asthma Awareness Month
National Good Car Keeping Month
National Strawberry Month
National Chocolate Custard Month
Foot Health Month
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
National High Blood Pressure Month
National Hamburger Month
Arthritis Month
Better Sleep Month
Better Speech and Hearing Month
Correct Posture Month
National Salad Month
Older Americans Month
National Barbecue Month
National Bike Month
National Mine Month
National Egg Month
National Morrissey History Month
National Artisan Gelato Month
National Asparagus Month
National Salsa Month
National Share A Story Month
Fibromyalgia Awareness
Stroke Awareness Month
Fungal Infection Awareness Month

Behold Omitama

I learned that Ogawa-machi, Japan, the small bucolic town I lived in for two years in the mid-90s is no more. It was more of a collection of rice fields punctuated by the odd house and/or strip of vending machines. There was all of two convenience marts there when I moved there and three when I left. The whole place smelled like onions and, being poor and rural, was a hotbed for the uyoku. There was a strip of businesses down two intersecting streets — most of which were mom and pop stores that eyed me suspiciously on the rare times popped in. To be fair, there were two notable things about Ogawa: a natto museum, which illustrated the history and many varieties of natto in flashy multi-media displays (though sadly, the gift shop didn’t sell T-shirts); and Hyakuri air base, where on a few occasions I went to teach English.

So what happened to Ogawa? It was absorbed into a new franken-berg, combining adjacent towns, Minori-machi and Tamari-mura. Behold, Omitama City. If your Japanese is rusty, the English version can be seen here. Here’s a map of it in relation to the rest of Ibaraki prefecture.

Why the switch? It seems that they are converting Hyakuri from being a strictly military base into the rather unimaginatively titled Ibaraki Airport. The idea is that it will be Tokyo’s third string air hub after Narita and Haneda with domestic flights to places like Naha, Sapporo and Fukuoka. Whether this will work or not, who knows. But the sleepy backwater where I lived is going to quickly change.

Kumamoto — DARPA-tastic

At work today, I was merrily reading about the myriad of corporate interests plotting again Tyrone Sloproth in Gravity’s Rainbow, when I noticed that the single aging computer that’s connected to the web was free. After briefly checking my mail, I happened upon a startlingly bizarre news story that seemed like a continuation of Pynchon’s tome. Apparently John Poindexter at the Total Information Awareness agency (recently renamed the slightly less Orwellian Terror Information Awareness agency) has unveiled the Pentagon Terror Market Program. No, it’s not a correspondence course for the School of the Americas, it’s a surreal free-marketeer attempt to make (more) money off of mayhem in the Middle East. A quote:

Traders would buy and sell futures contracts ” just like energy traders do now in betting on the future price of oil. But the contracts in this case would be based on what might happen in the Middle East in terms of economics, civil and military affairs or specific events, such as terrorist attacks. Holders of a futures contract that came true would collect the proceeds of traders who put money into the market but predicted wrong.” (Quoted from an AP news story. The links has gone dead.)

Not only does this seem like something that’s in ridiculously bad taste, but it seems largely irrelevant to, y’know, finding and capturing terrorists. That is until the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency released a statement on Monday that justified the project in pseudo-mystical terms that Pynchon would surely adore.

“DARPA said markets could reveal Îdispersed and even hidden information. Futures markets have proven themselves to be good at predicting such things as elections results; they are often better than expert opinions.” (Quoted from same dead link)

I’m gathering that DARPA is also organizing a crack team of tarot card readers too. You can read the projects strangely laconic web site here.

In other news, Oshima and I went up to Yamaga to present my promo. Three or four middle-aged men grunted their approval and that was about that. Afterwards, Oshima and I ate at one of her favorite takoyaki joints.

Also, I saw on TV the other day that there is a new freshly scrubbed pop-starlet named You. One at imagine spontaneous Abbott and Costello routines popping during the most inappropriate occasions·

A: Hello, thanks for coming to the Strom Thurmond funeral service. May I ask your name?

You: I’m You.

A: No, you’re not. I’m me. You’re you.

You: Right. I’m You

A: No·. (usw.)

Burma, Bush, and Baby Heads

Yesterday, when I was driving on the 405, traffic started to mysterious slow down. An accident? No. Someone dumped a box full of doll heads onto the road, giving the highway a sort of surreal apocalypse-in-kiddyland sort of feel.

Though not widely reported in the US though widely documented by Amnesty, real life apocalypse is going on in Burma where death camp thugs are enslaving villagers and forcing then to build an oil pipeline on behalf of Unocal. When a few of the villagers managed to sue Unocal in US courts under the Alien Tort Claims Act, the Justice department not-surprisingly sides with the corporate as you can read
here. The crimes these corporate nazis are accused of are truly horrific:

“Jane Doe I, one of the plaintiffs in the case, testified that when her husband tried to escape the forced labor program, he was shot at by soldiers, and that, in retaliation for his attempted escape, she and her baby were thrown into a fire. Her child died and she was badly injured….Other villagers described the summary execution of people who refused to work, or who became too weak to work effectively.”

In somewhat more hopeful news, the stink of Bush’s lies (it’s not “hype”, it’s not “over-exaggeration” as most US media outlets are describing it as, they are lies) is becoming to great to cover over with Ari Fleischer’s usual misinformation or bald-faced stonewalling. World opinion and even Republican senators are starting to question the veracity of the Bush administrations cocksure statements that Saddam was an imminent threat. Paul Krugman, as usual, has a interesting taking on this whole thing which can be read here. If the accusations of falsehood, bare out to be true this means that justification for the war is almost nil. They wanted a war and they bullied the world into letting them have their war. The meaning of this is staggering and much as it is frightening. George W. Bush killed thousands of Iraqi and dozens of American and British troops to bolster his political standing. I sincerely hope that this gets exposed and reported as the war crime it is.

And in other news, a representative of the Nebraska state legislator threatened to declare war (dead link, sadly) on Iowa for lost gambling revenue.

March 2023

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