atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#3033: That last post got long, so here's today's linkaround

I'm not kidding; I didn't expect to write a huge essay on my SF stories. Well, maybe I needed to.

* * *

Let's go first (okay, second) with the economic doom-and-gloom stuff today:

DOOM!

From there, five days later, the big plan to save the Euro has begun to falter.

Remember how, on Thursday morning of last week, the Dow spiked 250 points at open? Well, it opened at about 11,869 that morning. Right now it's 11,740-ish. On Thursday of last week I said:
The Dow spiked 250 points at opening on the news from Europe that Greece is "handled". Whee!

...I doubt it'll last long, as I said. A few days or maybe a couple weeks.
I should have gone with my original construction and said merely "A few days, perhaps." Then I'd look like a prescient and wise man!

I mean, right now we're 214 below open on Thursday. All the gains in the markets have been more than erased.

*

Home prices are still falling. A "triple dip" is probably not going to be the end of it, either.

*

Former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine proves that if you're a powerful Democrat, the law does not apply to you. One reason I cannot totally dismiss the Occupati (the "Occupy LOCATION$" people) stems from the fact that Wall Street is not being regulated. Our financial system is committing fraud on a breathtaking scale, and no one is facing the prospect of jail time or even indictment for it.

It's not just the stuff Denninger talks about there; it's the "robosigning" of mortgages and foreclosures, the rampant corruption at all levels of the banking industry, the sweetheart deals from government to Wall Street, the wholesale non-enforcement of regulations--our financial system is a complete mess, and it's been allowed to get that way for two reasons: first, because if these abuses were not allowed, the economy would tank so hard it would make the Great Depression look like a birthday party; and second, because Washington, D.C. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wall Street.

The bankers and the politicians need each other. If the law is enforced, the bankers will go to jail and the politicians will be thrown out of office. It helps that they all went to the same schools, of course (Ivy League, naturally) and that they share political views, but it's not just a matter of belonging to the same club; these people face losing their cozy lives and fat paychecks if the law is enforced.

So they all politely agree to sweep under the rug the violations, the corruption, and the dire consequences of both, and pretend everything is fine. (The press is run by people in the same club, and also stand to lose big if their friends do.) The problem is it is not fine, and the hoi polloi are not as stupid as these Ivy League people think they are.

A lot of the Occupati are socialists; but I think the strength of the movement is stemming from the fact that only their solutions are incorrect, not their accusations.

"Stop the looting and start prosecuting" is right. The people who are now in charge will not survive it, though, which is why it won't happen absent some major change.

* * *

Joe Biden is a moron. It must be nice never to have to worry about whether or not you'll have a job.

Let's face it: if Biden is fired from his present job (ie his boss loses the election next year) what is going to happen to his career? Well, if he does nothing else but simply goes into retirement--that is, ceases to ply his life-long trade as a sitting politician--he can make more money by giving a single speech than most Americans earn in a year; and that will end up being pocket cash for the man, as he's already set for life just because his career as a politician has enriched him beyond the dreams of about 90% of the country.

He can do what Bob Dole did: join a law firm. How much work do you think Bob Dole does? How rich is Bob Dole?

I'm not saying Biden is stupid for not foreseeing that Solyndra would go under (though anyone who thinks that "government subsidy" is a sustainable business model--in this economy--is pretty f-ing stupid) but that he's utterly ignorant of what real life is for people who aren't government employees.

Or maybe he just doesn't f-ing care. I don't know what goes on in Biden's mind--or even if he has one.

* * *

This is one of many reasons I oppose "high speed rail".
Faster than a speeding bullet train, the cost of the state’s massive high-speed rail project has zoomed to nearly $100 billion — triple the estimate given to voters and more than enough to run the entire state government for a year.

What’s more, bullet trains won’t be up and running until at least 2033, much later than the original estimate of 2020, although that depends on the state finding the remaining 90 percent of the funds needed to complete the plan.

The new figures come from a final business plan to be unveiled by the California High-Speed Rail Authority on Tuesday,...
2033 is 22 years from now.

Take a look at the timetable for the Intercontinental Transcontinental Railroad.

"The world's First Transcontinental Railroad was built between 1863 and 1869 to join the eastern and western halves of the United States."

Six years. From the time the land grants were authorized by The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 it's seven. Seven years.

...seven years without heavy construction equipment, having to forge a path through wilderness, where the rail line was the only road for miles--tens of miles--in any direction. They couldn't truck in a dozen bulldozers and earthmovers and start building stuff; they had to build as they went, across more than a thousand miles, and they did it in seven years.

Now? Politicians talk about running an economically unnecessary rail line between two cities that are already linked by air and highway--a few dozen miles apart--and can't manage to accomplish it in three times the time for a sum that's stupendously larger even when adjusted for inflation.

* * *

"Time For Citizens To Arm Themselves". You bet your ass, buddy. And not just to protect ourselves from street thugs; we need to think about protecting ourselves from the criminals in Washington, D.C.

* * *

Though Sailor V seemed a bit dismayed at the quality of the dub, last night I insisted on watching my crappy dub copy of 3x3 Eyes.

He came over here around 7:30 and we watched a passel of horror anime:
Laughing Target
Mermaid Forest
Mermaid's Scar
3x3 Eyes
The first three are all Rumiko Takahashi titles. The latter is based on a series by Yuzo Takada, who also gave us Cat Girl Nuku Nuku and Blue Seed.

3x3 is pretty old--the US release is copyrighted 1991--but they did an honest job on the dubbing, as good as they could manage on the budget they had. Pai's a little too cheerful all the time but it's not bad.

Not, for example, like the dub of Mermaid's Scar. Okay, when an actual eight-year-old kid is turning in the best performance in the dub, and he sounds something like the old Peanuts specials, something is wrong.

It reminds me, again, of the time I was at an anime con, at a room party where they were showing a parody fandub called Ranma 1/3. In this version, Ranma actually was a transvestite (not a guy who actually turns into a girl when splashed with cold water) and they did a whole bunch of other things with the story and characterization. (I'd love to have a copy of it; it's f-ing hilarious.)

...in the middle of this, then, one of the pros comes in, sees what's on, and asks, "Is this a Viz dub?" Everyone in the room laughed. Then he asked seriously, "No--is it a Viz dub?"

Some people working in someone's basement managed to turn in a product equal in quality to a professional studio. It's kind of like that scene in Iron Man where what's-his-face says, "Tony Stark built one of these in a cave out of scraps!" The people who did the parody fandub cared about the quality of their work; while I don't doubt that the people at Viz did too, something was seriously wrong with that place. The release of Mermaid's Scar predates most of Ranma and many of the same people worked on it, yet it sounds like shit where the Ranma actually sounded pretty good.

Anyway, the people who worked on 3x3 probably had about as much money for the whole series as the folks at Viz had for the single Mermaid's Scar OVA, yet the performances are much, much better, and there's no bad pronunciation or acting in it.

* * *

All of which got me to thinking about Viz's dub of Maison Ikkoku. There, again, we have massive pronunciation errors. Viz is (or was, anyway) a subsidiary of Shogakkokan, the Japanese publishing house that owned all the rights to the various titles it released here, yet most of the time the voice actors mispronounced names consistently.

Example: there's a character in MI named Kozue Nanao. If you listen to the Japanese version, when she introduces herself she says "Na-na-ow Ko-zey". The U in her name is almost entirely silent.

Pronunciation in English dub: "Na-now Ko-zoo-ey". Neither her family nor her given name is pronounced correctly.

Mermaid's Scar features a similar issue: "Yukie" ("yoo-key" with a very slight terminal "eh") becomes yoo-key-ayy, with both vowels held long enough that in Japanese it'd be spelled "Yuukiiee". Just saying "Yuki" would have been much closer than that.

Minor point, but it matters to me. It drives me to distraction each time I hear something like that.

...somehow Ranma avoided all this, for the most part. I don't know how.

* * *

As always, Mermaid Forest was damn cool. The OVA version (under the "Rumik World" series of tapes) kicks the ass of the version of that story from the TV series of the same name. The MF TV series covers most (if not all) of the manga, but the manga series took its name from that particular story that was made into this OVA sometime in the early '90s.

...they did it right, and they got Kenji Kawaii to do the music for it. The TV version pales in comparison.

* * *

Anyway, it's the first time I've watched the horror anime for a while. I think 2008 was the last time I did, but I can't remember for sure and I don't care enough about it to go check my blog posts. I'll leave that for later; I want to get a nap before I get up to go shooting with my lawyer friend this afternoon.
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