* * *
The other day I was looking at stuff on Amazon, and looked up the Haruhi Suzumiya books because I'd had occasion to read The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Turns out I have four books of eleven, though when I read the descriptions of some of them I conclude I must've read them somewhere else. I vaguely recall loading the books onto the Kindle and reading these stories, but that was in the long-long-ago before I was married.
Next up was to persuse my selection of Kimi ni Todoke and see where I was with that, and it looks like I have through volume nine--and I could have sworn I had more than that.
And Yotsuba&!--WTF is Azuma doing over there? Volume 12 came out when? Is that all we're getting? (It didn't look like it ended....)
Back to Haruhi--there is so much damned Haruhi-ism all over the place I no longer know how to cope. So we have the novels, right, and then we have The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya manga. Beyond that, Haruhi-chan, which is 4-panel format chibi Haruhi. The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan. The Misfortune of Kyon and Koizumi. And that's around all the freakin' merchandise (authorized and not).
PVC figures. Art books. OST's. Cosplay items, including wigs, and Haruhi's characteristic yellow ribbons. Wall scrolls, including--this was the worst--an unauthorized "inspired by" image of Haruhi with long hair, totally nude. I would like to see (from a safe distance) the guy who buys that and proudly displays it on his wall. WTF.
I mean, I like the Haruhi ouerve and all, but damn, there ought to be a limit to how much of a fanboy you can be about one series.
* * *
A favorite tactic used by homosexual activists is to go, for example, to a Christian bake shop to ask them to make a wedding cake for a gay wedding and sue if the owners refuse. They go to the Christians hoping that they will refuse, because the point of the exercise is not just to get a wedding cake, but to force Christians to make a wedding cake that violates Christian beliefs.
Well, there are two sides to that street. And the results are entirely unsurprising, because the aim is not tolerance and inclusion and freedom, but forcing those nasty Christians to violate the edicts of their bigoted sky-wizard. You, Christian, you must be willing to bake a cake for anyone for any reason, but we are not similarly obligated. We have the right to refuse to do business with you, but you do not have the right to refuse to do business with us.
...which is nothing but fascism, and yes, the hypocrisy is almost stereotypical, because that's how these folks operate. I'm glad to see people are striking back at this horseshit.
* * *
Karl Denninger talks about the November economic reports, and apparently the actual numbers are horriffic stinkeroos.
Manufacturing is down, inventories are down, workweeks are down--down down down. Yeah, not the up! up! UUUUUP! which was reported uncritically and trumpeted as a sign that everything is going great guns.
Making matters worse: oil is now trading below $60 a barrel, and there isn't a fracking operation in the world that can be profitable with oil at $55. It's going to hit North America the hardest, of course, because the shale oil is the only stuff we're currently being allowed to get at--the Obama administration has cut off further access to just about every other known deposit in the continental US--and this has already become evident as the issue rate for new well permits has plummeted.
OPEC hasn't changed its output; softening demand is what's driving the price of oil lower. By not reducing demand to match, they can drive their competitors out of business. It worked in the 1980s and domestic US production of crude oil virtually disappeared.
There is not, however, a concomitant increase in consumer spending with gasoline costing less. That's because the average American consumer doesn't really have enough money, and I suspect that paying less for gas merely decreases the rate at which people go into debt. (By about $47 a month, according to one figure I saw.)
We'll see how things go, of course. I am not terribly optimistic about the economy over the next six months. I've been pleased to see that my most dire predictions did not come to pass, but I fail to see how the jugglers can keep all the plates in the air ad infinitum. In any case my insistence on the fact that we're in a depression continues to be borne out by the facts, no matter how the feds or Wall Street try to cook the books to make things look better than they are, and it is probably going to get worse before it gets better.
It sucks, but what can you do?
* * *
I only have about ten days to think of a story for my now-almost-traditional Christmas post. Last year's story came to me out of the blue, and it was nice, and before that I used something I'd thought of years earlier but never actually set down on paper.
When I write a Christmas story I prefer it not to be one of those stories where misery and sadness are the prime feature. Last year's story ("Christmas Dinner") is about my limit, and at that the people were still living in a warm house and surviving well enough.
I've written some very bad ones, though. I wrote a story about a guy who planned a Christmas party that no one--not his family, nor his friends, no one--attended, leaving him all alone on Christmas Eve. It turned out well but damn--
The other one was about a guy working part-time in an antique and curio shop, and he meets this girl who's living in abject poverty and decides to spend his pizza fund (his personal savings, from working, used for luxuries while he's away at college) on making her life better--pays the property tax on the house, gets the electricity and gas turned back on, etcetera. I wrote this when I was 19, I think, so I didn't know about code enforcement and all the other nonsense that would have kicked this girl and her mother out of a house without electricity and heat. Oh well. It was almost a nice story, but for the fact that IT STARTED IN SHITLAND.
Christmas stories should not be depressing, damn it. There can be conflict, they can start out with some kind of problem, they can even have some sadness in them--but they should not be depressing. They ought to be happy.
I seem to write about this every year, now that I think of it.
...so I'm trying to come up with something, and so far I'm failing. I've got a few more days, and if I don't come up with anything, I guess we're all out of luck.
Sorry about that.