November 14th, 2010

#2397: Which religion is actually the strong one?

Via the Anchoress there's this post titled "Homily for November 14, 2010: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time."

Ms. Scalia blockquotes this chunk of text:
Exactly two weeks ago, late on a Sunday afternoon, a young woman named Raghada al-Wafi ran to her local church, with some wonderful news to share with the priest who had married her: she was going to have a baby. She asked the priest for a blessing.

He was happy to give it.

It ended up being one of the last acts of his life.

Moments later, the priest, Raghada and her unborn child were slaughtered. They were among the Catholic faithful killed by terrorists at a Baghdad cathedral – Our Lady of Salvation — on October 31st.

[...]

One week after the attack at Our Lady of Salvation, the people who worship there went back. But it wasn’t like before. And it wasn’t like just walking into this church today. They had to walk past police barricades and military trucks. They had to pass a security checkpoint and be frisked for weapons. But, incredibly, they went back. They had to. They walked into a sanctuary pock-marked by bullet holes, with bloodstains on the ceiling, bloody palm prints on the walls. They removed the pews. And they set out candles in the shape of a giant cross.

One of the parishioners put it so simply, and so beautifully. He said that he returned because the week before he hadn’t finished his prayers. I need to finish them, he said. A woman with a bandage around her knee told a reporter "We forgive them. We’re not afraid. They gave us blood and we give them forgiveness."
The emphasis is hers.

Muslims went into a Catholic church and shot up the place.

The Christians of that church forgive them.

Which religion is stronger? Which is more powerful?

You judge.

* * *

While you're at it, put another tick mark in the "violence and horror from the 'religion of peace'" column.

* * *

How often has this happened in US history? We're hearing rumors that Obama is actually not going to run for re-election in 2012; and some of those rumors seem credible. Some of them indicate that the Democrat leadership is telling Obama not to plan on being President past 2012; others imply that there's simply going to be a hell of a primary fight over the nomination.

Eh? "What about when Obama talked about being a one-term President?" That was pure BS; Obama was simply angling to have people beg him to run again. "Oh, no, you have to run again! Whatever would we do without you?" Ego fodder for the ego-in-chief.

But only the die-hard Democrat will agree that Obama has been a good President by any measure. Even in terms of advancing the left's agenda he's been a near-total failure. His base is up in arms over his refusal to promote "gay rights" and his uncritical continuation of Bush-era policies, all of which violated several campaign promises. Why do you think the GOP won so many seats in Congress? Part of it is that the Democrat voters stayed home. (The guys stuffing the ballot boxes had to work overtime, I hear, to make up for it.)

Obama's economic policies are straight out of the same playbook the Democrat party has used since 1930, and they have worked as well as they've always worked--which is to say "not at all"--and unlike during the Clinton years, this time the economy is not robust enough to power through the slump and the tax increases.

The big liberal feather in Obama's cap--ObamaCare--is a godawful monstrosity which itself is contributing to the continued economic malaise, just because it sucks so much money out of the economy. I've said it before: it represents the single largest tax increase ever, and if you think I'm wrong or delusional I've got some prime land in Florida I'd love to sell you. Businesses are wary of hiring because they don't know what ObamaCare is going to require of them; they only know that more employees will mean paying more money, not how much--and they won't know until the bureaucracy is in place. That doesn't begin to happen until 2013. The law is a mess, and it's full of contradictions, and no one can predict how the contradictions will be resolved before the bureaucracy which will administer the provisions is in place--and that bureaucracy's edicts will be law.

Obama himself--the "great orator" is helpless without a teleprompter. He's got no spine. He has no leadership ability. He's incapable of making a decision quickly; if Canada invaded Minnesota tomorrow, it'd take Obama a month to decide what to do about it; and then his administration's main role in the crisis would be to ensure that the military response to Canada's invasion was following OSHA and EPA regulations.

Small wonder the Democrats are thinking about replacing his sorry ass. But--

If the Democrat Party decides to give Obama the hidey-ho, what are the blacks going to do? Does anyone in the Democrat leadership really think they can get away with picking someone else to be their next Presidential nominee?

I can see Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and all the other race pimps fanning out and saying, "It's okay! It's fine! Obama wants this! We're all in this together!" But will the blacks listen when their guy is being shoved to the back of the bus before being tossed overboard?

This would seem to suggest they can get away with it. But who the hell is Clyburn? He's certainly not a prominent national figure, for all that he's a Democrat bigwig. Obama is the President. The Democrats are not going to be able to hide this under the rug, not easily. Their friends in the press will help as best they can, but will that make a difference? Or will there be huge inner city riots in the wake of the Democrat National Convention in 2012?

Without major rehabilitation, either way, the Democrats lose. They want to keep Obama from running in 2012 because they're confident he can't win, a la Carter in 1980. But by the same token, if they replace Obama, they'll lose a good chunk of the black vote and probably still lose.

So expect Democrats to demagogue the "amnesty" issue over the next two years, because they need someone to vote for them; there aren't enough muslims in the US and hispanics will have to do, even though they rate somewhere below Jews in the victimocratic hierarchy of the Democrat Party. Quite literally "hispandering for the win!"

* * *

Also over at Ace: How do you know when a liberal is lying?" Watch the lips.

* * *

Mark Twain's autobiography--well, the first part--is coming out soon, 100 years after his death. That's neat.

* * *

Yesterday I played WoW for the first time in several days. Remmyton was partway to level 51, and before I was finished I got past level 52. I slammed all the quests in Searing Gorge, which is how I managed that little feat.

My main criterion for Remmyton's equipment is that it must increase agility, which is the hunter's prime stat. Agility improves hitting and damage with ranged weapons--exactly as one would expect from an RPG!--and that's why I've still got leather boots; I haven't found a pair of mail boots which have a better agility bonus. I need mail all over to get the "mail specialization" bonus, though.

* * *

Friday afternoon, my books arrived; and so I've been reading Lovely Complex and enjoying the hell out of it.

In fact, I'm going to go read more. Later.

#2398: I stayed up all night reading.

*sigh*

The Lovely Complex manga is better than the anime. The only points where it isn't are things I love. Example: in the anime, when the gang meets up for hatsumoude (New Year's Day shrine visit) and Risa sees Otani, the director handled it in a hilarious fashion. Risa greets Otani; the view pans left to show Otani, who greets her in return; and there's this explosion of white feathers from the right side of the screen. It's hilarious; but you can't possibly do that in manga.

The scene in the restaurant where Nobu-chan tells Risa, "Show him your breasts!" (she is speaking metaphorically, not literally) looks a lot like the hilarious cut from the first OP:



...except that Nobu-chan is not actually hefting her own breasts. She does have that same expression on her face, though, and the rest of the scene looks just like that.

Volume 6 of the LC manga has gotten us to the "Maity" story arc. True to form, Viz screwed it up. They translate his nickname as "Mighty", which--of course--totally ruins the cheer Risa comes up with. ("M! A! I! T! Y! LOVE! MAITY!")

There are no less than 17 volumes of this; no clue if there are more than that. Volume 6 has gotten us comfortably about halfway through the anime series, though. The anime cut some things out of the story, but mostly it was little stuff, not big stuff.

...so for sure I'll be getting a lot more of the LC manga. Dang.

* * *

And once I'd finished LC, of course I picked up The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya and read the entire goddamned book at one sitting. (Well...in my defense, they are called light novels, and for a reason....)

It was the best story in the series yet. It's really good. It's another time-travel story, one that builds on the events of "Bamboo Rhapsody" while also telling an entirely new story.

Reading the story, there was a moment when I exploded, "Shit!" because I read something that invalidated something in my fanfic. Heh. Fortunately, it was a pretty minor thing and fixing it won't be much trouble; I won't have to re-plot anything.

To me, that confirms that my fanfic adheres pretty closely to the canon for the series--the thing I got wrong was something that had not been addressed until this book; I made a guess about a binary situation and guessed wrong. Nothing else that I pulled out of my ideas about the Haruhi universe was ruined by the new (to me) story, so that's a "win" IMHO.

So I've finally gotten to read the entire story of Disappearance of... and now I can't wait to see the movie, because I think it's going to be good.

* * *

Incidentally, reading the L-C manga makes me feel like a bloody amateur.

Okay, I am an amateur. An amateur who can boast of taking exactly one art class in his life. Whereas the artist behind L-C, Aya Nakahara, is not only a real professional manga artist, but an award-winning professional manga artist with several successful series behind her and whose work is animated to boot. Okay, her manga is going to be better than mine is.

In fact, "better" doesn't cover it. Okay, if the surface of the sun represents zero and my level of ability is somewhere near the orbit of Venus, any pro manga artist is somewhere around Neptune, and someone in Nakahara's class is in the freakin' Oort Cloud. You can't measure "better" on that scale because my level of ability is too close to "zero".

Yes, I can draw images that look like things. Yes, I can even make them tell a story. No, I'm not even remotely close to professional. I could be; without being too self-aggrandizing I am confident I have the talent; I already know how to tell stories and all of the problems with my artwork are technical in nature, due only to lack of training. It would take several years of art school to manage, but I could be a professional comic artist.

...and do what, exactly, with it?

The American comics industry works nothing like the one in Japan. (No way could I get in there, not without spending years learning to speak, read, and write Japanese with perfect fluency. Ain't gonna happen.) For one thing, the American comic industry is much more of a niche market than that of Japan; for another, it's pretty much dominated by the two names which are synonymous with comics in the US: DC and Marvel. There are smaller publishing houses but they work exactly the same way the biggies do.

Otherwise, you're doing four-panel strips for the newspaper. You can tell stories that way, but there is still the enormous obstacle to surmount: space on the funny pages is limited, and only the most popular strips even get tried. The sad truth is that for every success story there are hundreds--thousands--of rejects or failures, and the odds do not favor someone who wants to tell a dramatic story about a girl on the verge of adulthood who has to pull up her roots and move to the other end of nowhere and rebuild her entire life.

Regardless of format, there is simply no market for the kind of stories I want to draw. Not in Japan (where I'd have to have someone translate the work into Japanese, even assuming anyone there liked the artwork) and not in the US, where such comics occupy a microscopic crevice of a niche market. I'd be a fool to try to make a career of it.

So I have to accept that my manga is always going to be--to put it charitably--less than professional. For the most part, I'm fine with that; I draw my manga for me, anyway, not for anyone else. It bothers me a bit that my pages all have about the same format, but then I think, "WTF, I like the way this flows," and it gives me plenty of room to draw what I want to draw.

Still, reading something like L-C rubs my nose in just how little I actually know about drawing manga. I suppose I should learn from the example; but I don't want to be copying anyone's style, either. So, what the hell.

* * *

Argh, when I'm tired, I get all philosophical and crap. I'm going to bed.

#2399: Next up: a 5-day waiting period.

SO I've been dealing with a sinus infection for a week or three. My brother stopped in Saturday afternoon, so I took that opportunity to ask him for an RX for Amoxicillin. I was too wiped out to do anything but sleep after he left, and sadly the local Walgreen's is no longer a 24-hour store, so I had to wait until I'd gotten some sleep today to pick up the RX.

Now, since the symptoms of this crap got really bad, I've been taking leftover pills from the generic Allegra D RX I was given several months ago to deal with the symptoms of the ear canal infection I had then. But I was running low on those, and refilling that crap would cost freaking $75, so I decided that the concomitant congestion and such could just as easily be dealt with using over-the-counter Claritin; and I'd just buy generic Sudafed for the decongestant part. Win-win: I get a cheap antihistamine which I know doesn't make me drowsy (I used it in the late 1990s) and the decongestant is optional.

I had to give the cashier my driver's license so she could run a background check. For Sudafed.

I know, I know--goddamned meth cookers use the stuff to make methamphetamine, and government is doing what it can to keep those assholes from getting easy access to the reagents needed for their craft. But a background check?

I'm buying pills you know, not a freaking grenade launcher!

Ironically, before I knew she needed my license to run the background check, I said ruefully, "I remember when you could get generic Sudafed in 100-pill bottles, and you didn't need to pass a background check." Jesus. And I had to use the credit card terminal to tap a check box that I agreed with 5,000 words of legalese (mostly stuff about the dire consequences of presenting false documentation) (to buy Sudafed!) and then sign.

You know, I intend to buy a Ruger Mk II as soon as I can; I wonder how that experience will compare? I know there'll be a waiting period; how long will it be before there's a waiting period for Sudafed?