November 19th, 2011

#3060: November is a crummy month.

Well, it's only a few days until Thanksgiving. That's got to be worth something.

* * *

This is how stupid government is. Particularly the government of Europe.

In Europe, sellers of bottled water are not allowed to say that drinking water prevents dehydration.
Prof Brian Ratcliffe, spokesman for the Nutrition Society, said dehydration was usually caused by a clinical condition and that one could remain adequately hydrated without drinking water.
Oh? What do people drink, then? Ammonia? Red fuming nitric acid? Chlorine trifluoride?

"No; they can drink fruit juice, coffee, or tea--"

...I don't even need to say it. I was going to say it, and I realized that I don't need to. Congratulations! All of you are MUCH SMARTER THAN PROFESSOR BRIAN FUCKING RATCLIFFE AND THE ENTIRE EUROZONE GOVERNMENT!

* * *

"5 Ways To Know If You’re A Douche Bag Beer Snob".

"Löwenbräu (“It’s lurvenbroyh, not lowen-brow!”)"

...back in the 1980s--when I was taking German in high school and Löwenbräu beer was advertised with a jingle that ended, "Let it be Löwenbräu!" I tried correctly pronouncing the umlautted vowels while singing the tune. And you know what? That's how it came out: lurvenbroyh.

"Mötley Crüe" became "moertley cruueh"; and whenever I saw someone using spurious umlauts I'd do exactly the same thing, because even as a 15-year-old I knew how fuckin' stupid it all was to use umlauts in English.

* * *

Ah, the Occupati, source of humor.
"Will you share your iPad 2 with one of those shiftless hoboes down in bumtown?"

..."It's a personal possession. I'm more against private property, not personal property."
There you have it! Private property bad, personal property good! Okay?

* * *

Og e-mailed an invite to the Schererville funshow this morning, but I was too comatose and didn't get the message until it was much too late. Sounds like I didn't miss a damned thing.

I still want to hang with Og more often than I get to, but that's not his fault.

Anyway, today was "buy some ammo!" day, and of course I can't take part in it because I live in the Peoples' Demokratik Republik of Illinoistan, and I'm not allowed to own guns or buy bullets because I spent a couple weeks in the nuthatch. What I would like to do is to join a gun club and take all sorts of firearms to the range and shoot them at paper targets--but since I'm not allowed to own firearms or buy bullets, I can't.

*sigh*

* * *

Anime:

More new eps of Yawara!, finally. Ep 63 was disappointing; they really drew out the match with Fujiko for far too long. But I suppose part of my dissatisfaction with it comes from having waited several months to see it.

Ano Mata Hana WTF!!!--I watched the last two eps back-to-back because I didn't feel like waiting until tomorrow (or whenev) to see the last ep. The last ep is a tearjerker, of course, and it did not have enough of a denouement to make up for the heavy part. It left me feeling a bit unsatisfied; there should have been more.

Nichijou--after half the episodes, the style is beginning to wear thin. I don't have a lot of patience for when they go and insert all kinds of ART!!! into anime; it's one of the reasons I watched one ep of Hidamari Sketch Hoshimitsu and never went on with it.

ART!!!: Go watch the old SNL "Master Thespian" sketches. (If you can find them; I couldn't.) When I say "ART!!!" I mean it more or less the way John Lithgow and Jon Lovitz say "ACTING!!!" in those sketches. Overblown, full-of-themselves, max-ego--that's what I'm talking about.

In the case of HSH, I kept yelling at the TV, Just tell the freakin' story and QUIT WITH THE ARTY BULLSHIT!

In the case of Nichijou they use ART!!! to drag out sequences. Okay, the "girls trapped in the elevator" story--it went on far too long, and the fancy cinematics did not make it any more interesting. (The manga told the story straight, BTW.)

Whenever Yuuko shows shock or surprise or anything they go way the hell over the top showing it. What ends up happening: they take a funny situation and mercilessly crush all the humor out of it. The ART!!! utterly ruins the pacing, taking something that should be a one-two jab and turning it into an unfunny two-minute exercise in agony.

The series could be more entertaining if it weren't for the ART!!! I enjoy the sequences with the Professor and Nano; they're played straight without any ART!!! and they work very well. The entire series is probably around thirteen eps' worth of material, but they've stretched it into 26 with ART!!! and it just doesn't work.

On the plus side, they don't always do this, and on balance the series is entertaining. It does relegate Nichijou to "watch once" status, though.

* * *

Speaking of bad pacing: I'm still working on getting through Simak's Visitors, which I first started re-reading in late September.

There are two major problems I have with the story.

#1: The scenes set in Washington, D.C. are incredibly boring.

#2: The portrayal of the newspapermen is nauseating.

It's got a copyright date of 1978, and Simak himself was a journalist, so I guess the latter is to be expected. The horseshit about the reporters trying to tell fair and balanced stories that only reported the facts and didn't contain any opinion--Simak may have been like that himself but even in 1979 the media was anything but "fair and balanced and objective", and the portrayal of these journalists makes the story seem more dated than it actually is.

The former problem comes from the fact that the President and his advisors do nothing but talk about the Visitors. In fact, they don't even do that; they talk about talking about the Visitors. "What should we say? Oh, I don't know, maybe we should say this! Oh no, I'm not going to lie! But we have to tell the people SOMETHING!" So I've gotten to the point of skimming those sections, especially when they concentrate on the President's PR guy's wife's father (a Senator) bloviating in weird circles and making no fucking sense. I don't know WTF point Simak was trying to make in those scenes; and the other Presidential advisors are all caricatures.

...I first read this novel in my early teens and didn't think much of it then. Age has not improved it.

When Simak concentrates on the Visitors and telling the story from the viewpoint of Jerry what's-his-name, it's interesting stuff. But the interesting stuff is obscured by a morasse of dull polemics on noble journalists and stupid generals.

This is why it's been almost two months and I'm still working on finishing it. The end is in sight, though.