“I am ready to enlist in the Kerry Army.”

— Gray Davis, encouraging Californians to vote for Bush

Reasons to keep an eye on JWZ’s LiveJournal, #12


Links like this one:

giant-sized baby thing

Best comment:

The bad news is that it transforms into a giant robot, and for some reason can only be piloted by teenage girls.

Anime shopping list


Random list of recent anime DVDs I plan to pick up when I see them in stores:

  • Kaleido Star, disc 4+ --- Easily one of the best series running now, I haven't found anything to dislike about it. Well-drawn, well-written, well-acted, funny, and sweet, with a broad appeal. No fanservice, per se, but I have to say that all the women are implausibly well-stacked for professional acrobats. That's not a complaint, you understand. Actually, I do have one small complaint: the liner notes are spoiler-happy, to the point that they give away on disc 1 things that still haven't come up by disc 3.
  • R.O.D The TV, disc 2+ --- This one's off to a good start, and while fans of the Read Or Die OVA series will wonder what happened to Yomiko Readman (the fact that her voice actress is about to release a nude photobook and DVD is pure coincidence), the new characters are quite engaging, and the animation retains the flavor of the original while fitting into a TV budget. Spoilers based on the fansubs reveal that the old cast does eventually turn up, but I have no complaints about the Paper Sisters and Nenene, especially since I recently found the original manga featuring the first meeting of Yomiko and a teenage Nenene.
  • Galaxy Angel, disc 4+ --- Unlike the translated manga, which has a plot, this episodes of this series are basically independent, and very fluffy. Continuity from episode to episode is almost nonexistent, and everything is played for broad humor. It's well-done fluff, however, and they've devoted a few episodes to fleshing out the characters, to the point that I've grown quite fond of Mint and Forte. I don't know how they've managed to crank out four seaons of this without running out of ideas, but reviews suggest they've done it. Maybe the manga and games fill in enough of the blanks to keep the characters interesting, because it doesn't sound like they ever get serious with the show.
  • Chrono Crusade, disc 1+ --- The heroine is a sexy teenage demon-hunter whose middle name is "collateral damage", her partner is a mostly-reformed demon, and together they take on some rather nasty critters in 1920s New York City. Oh, and she's a nun. I've been checking out screenshots and reviews of this one for some time, and the first volume of the translated manga came out recently as well. From everything I've seen so far, Sister Rosette is the true heir to the Dirty Pair legacy, unlike a certain other series I'm about to name...
  • Kiddy Grade, 6+ (maybe) --- I originally gave up on this series after the first disc, because it looked like they'd decided to remake the Dirty Pair with two rather annoying changes: the originals didn't have any loli appeal, and they just weren't powerful enough. People swore that it picked up around episode nine, but at only three episodes per disc, I didn't feel like spending months and money waiting for the good stuff. Well, I've now seen the rest of what's been released so far, and while it has gotten better, there's still a good chance that it will end up sucking. The fact that they completely change the character designs in the next disc doesn't help, since the redhead's looks were my primary hook (although I'd like it more if they'd have given her friend Ricki more screen time...).

Further out, I’m looking forward to Daphne in the Brilliant Blue, Yumeria, Maburaho, Tenjou Tenge, Full Metal Alchemist, and the next season of Happy Lesson. Maybe Onegai Twins and Mezzo DSA, but the episode reviews of the former and the screenshots of the latter reduce my interest. I’ve heard mixed reports on Scrapped Princess, but it looks like it might be worth buying the first disc.

Update: Way, way out there in the land of things that haven’t been licensed for US distribution yet, and that I’ve mostly just seen screenshots and reviews of (here, here, and occasionally here), there’s Re: Cutie Honey, Ninin ga Shinobuden, DearS, and Tristia of the Deep Blue Sea. Gainax’s big effort, This Ugly and Beautiful World, looks nice, but sounds rather dull.

“Hey, where did the pictures go?”


I took the munitions.com web site down for the night. We’re trying to diagnose an odd TCP error that keeps some people from seeing any of my sites, and the current suspect is the packet filter.

Of course, no packet filter means no bandwidth throttling, and no bandwidth throttling means that all those pictures of happy smiling Playboy models get downloaded a lot more. This gets expensive rather quickly…

Update: back now. Definitely something in either PF or my ruleset that’s interacting badly with Fedora’s latest update to TCP window scaling. The only thing I can think of is the scrub rule, so I’ve commented it out for now.

Vote Kerry: your inner child will thank you


Assault, resisting arrest, prank calls to 911, arson, and lobbing piss balloons at cops. Michael Moore and Jesse Jackson just melted right into this crowd of thoughtful adults peacefully exercising their right to interfere with someone else’s free speech.

Thanks for reminding everyone that the Left is filled with angry children who throw tantrums when the grown-ups don’t let them do whatever they want. Now if only they’d all take their balls and go home.

Hmm, that didn’t come out quite right…

Update: …and it continues. More arson, more violence, more anti-war activists attacking people who disagree with them, and, yes, all cops are once again pigs. Oink, oink.

Maybe they should have asked the firefighters to help out with the security. Their service on 9/11 seems to have rendered them relatively immune to the typical Leftist contempt for authority, and in a pinch they could really bring back the old days by turning the hoses on these clowns.

Update: As for how the mainstream media is covering this compared to the web, I’m reminded of this scene from MIB:

Agent K on believing what you read

“I’m going to dance at them”


John Perry Barlow on how to freak out Republicans attending the Convention:

Along with fifty or sixty others, I'm going to dance at them. Dividing ourselves into several platoons of guerrilla dancers disguised as ordinary pedestrians, we are going to roam the sidewalks in Republican rich zones, periodically erupting into wild and inexplicable explosions of dancing. We will sustain these for a few minutes before melting back into the crowd and heading off to strike someplace else. I believe this will throw them off their game just slightly, since most of them don't or won't dance and are unsettled by those who do.

Emphasis added. Can you be a little more clueless, Johnny?

Update: Al Franken’s even dimmer, not that this should have surprised anyone. He wants people to respond to Bush’s convention speech with, well, primal scream therapy, and he honestly seems to think that people like him are a clear majority:

On September 2nd, 2004, at approximately 10 pm, George W. Bush will appear on television screens nationwide. For some of our fellow citizens, this will be a moment of joy. But for most of us, it will be the low point of an incredibly exasperating week.

The more I see this sort of nonsense, the more I expect a landslide victory for Bush. Not that the Left will accept the results as legitimate, of course.

Thank goodness for gun control!


Just think, if it weren’t for their tough gun control laws, Canadian criminals would have access to dangerous weapons. Oh, wait:

Inside the van, police found 15 guns and as much as 135 kilograms of explosives. The firearms included automatic weapons, semi-automatic machine guns and handguns.

Extra credit to the ignorant or malicious reporter who wrote the absurd phrase “semi-automatic machine guns”.

Note that they don’t say why they think the van belonged to an organized crime group rather than, say, terrorists. It’s not like it was parked next to embassies or anything like that.

Oh, wait.

Vice advice on photography: only 80% nonsense


This is amusing for how it reveals the biases of (cough) “hip young media,” but outside of the context of submitting photos to them, it’s not worth much.

Wanted: Rick Brant’s egyptian cat


Many years ago, I got my hands on a few titles from the classic Rick Brant series of boy’s adventure novels. One that stands out in my memory (that I currently don’t have a copy of…) was The Egyptian Cat Mystery. The cat in question is a small stone statuette, the possession of which gets Our Heroes into the usual hot water.

Great fun, and as was typical for the Brant series, the science was both plausible and well-explained. I think it’s the only juvenile novel in existence that gives a decent explanation of how SETI works.

Anyway, a while back I decided that I wanted to have Rick’s cat sitting on my mantel, for the benefit of the six people in the world who might walk into my home and realize what it’s supposed to be. Every time I stay at the Luxor in Las Vegas, I check out the gift shops for an appropriate cat. It needs to be around six inches tall, plain (no gaudy gold paint, please!), and apparently constructed of smooth dark stone.

Imagine my joy when I spotted this in the bazaar last weekend:

Rick Brant egyptian cat

Imagine my crushing disappointment when I picked it up and discovered that it was chipped in several places, and was the only one they had. Sigh.

[oh, and this is the first photo I’ve posted from my Motorola V600 cellphone. Reduced to 50% and Leveled in Photoshop to fix the low contrast, I’d say this is fair representation of the image quality.]