Archive for July, 2005

Soldiers of Christ II (Harpers.org)
If you rip up the Constitution, it’s no longer the United States of America, even if you keep the name.

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Soldiers of Christ I (Harpers.org) An interesting article on what’s going on just down the road from me. Tied back to the previous post, this makes for an interesting view of ‘progressive’.

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Driving home last night, I got behind a car with a ‘Liberalism causes Terrorism” bumper sticker. I admit I was a bit flabbergasted to this bit of inanity, but the car also had a “US Air Force Retired” decal so that explained a lot. I am surprised that anyone, even in Colorado Springs, considers George W. Bush a liberal, or, Cheney or Rumsfeld for that matter.

There are mujahaddin from all over the world going to Iraq to learn the skills of successful terrorism and to practice those skills against our troops. Would this terrorism school even be in session if we didn’t have a boatload of troops for them to practice on? I don’t think so.

Between the Bushites, the Taliban, and Osama bin Laden I think it is fair to say that “Conservatism causes Terrorism”, althought “causes” is a bit over the top. “Fosters” or “Enables” is more appropriate.

But the bumper sticker got me thinking again about exactly what “liberalism” or “a liberal” means. I think most pundits and people, today, with the Republicans in power, think a liberal is anyone who disagrees with them.

I did find an interesting feature in Google to answer my question. At the Google search line, enter define:liberalism and Google will bring back a number of definitions from a variety of web sources. The upshot is that “liberalism”, in political philosophy terms, is a belief in limited government, free markets and the supremecy of individual rights and freedoms. (Isn’t that the Republican Platform?)

Using the define:liberal search, we have results that cover the gamut from ‘favors progress’ to ‘advocates greater freedom’ to ‘denies some of the basic truths of Christianity’. Quite a wide range for these broad-minded people. Oh yeah, they also include the British Liberal Party, now part of the Liberal Democrats.

What I see as a dis-connect between the liberal philosophy and the liberal practice is that the philosophy calls for a limited government and the practice calls for an active centralized government to enable individuals to be less dependent on government. I can see where this would bring on a sort of psychosis to the body politic.

But, what does define:conservatism yield? Preserving the status quo and avoiding radical changes. Some support of tradition. About what I suspected. Then how do we characterize those people that want to radically change the status quo by regressing back two hundred years? That’s not really a conservative approach. In Colorado Springs, we seem to have a very vocal minority promoting that approach.

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Things are looking bleak for the home team. The All-Star break is next week and whoever is leading at the break gets a portion of the pot. Slowly, slowly…

Only 3 HR for the week, after 16 the week before! What a game.

League/RC/Pts HR R RBI AVG SB W S K ERA WHIP
LEAGUE AVG 7.9 35.1 32.3 0.260 3.6 3.6 1.7 32.8 4.00 1.23
ROCKY ONES 3 25 28 0.197 4 4 2 35 3.62 1.12
POINTS 7 9 8 6 9 9 3 7.5 8 5

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Week 13

UNNAMED BASEBALL LEAGUE STANDINGS 07.03.05
Team Name HR R RBI AVG SB W SV SO ERA WHIP TOTAL +/-
Budchuggers 9 10 10 9 2 7.5 7 7.5 9 9 80 4
Rocky Coloradans 7 9 8 6 9 9 3 7.5 8 5 71.5 -6.5
Dingleberries 10 5 6.5 1 8 1.5 10 1 10 10 63 0
Pork Pirates 6 7 6.5 4 1 10 4 9 7 6 60.5 0.5
Indians 4 6 3 3 7 5 6 6 6 7 53 1.5
GANYFs 1 4 5 10 3 7.5 9 5 3 4 51.5 -0.5
Shamu Whales 8 8 9 8 5 6 1 2 1 1 49 1
Boston Ballbusters 5 2.5 1 2 6 4 2 10 5 8 45.5 1.5
Homestead Grays 2 2.5 4 7 4 1.5 8 4 2 3 38 3
Rangers 3 1 2 5 10 3 5 3 4 2 38 -4.5

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This time I have set up the template in a spreadsheet and set up the row data elements in a row so it goes .tr..td..X../td..td.X../td..td..X../td…………./tr. and copied in the original table to the same spreadsheet. I then link each data element (.X.) of the html data back to the original table data element and then C&P the html parts from the spreadsheet into wordpress.

It seems to work. And next week I can just copy the original table into the same R/C and that will produce next week’s table. All I need to do is C&P. (The Total column is for the Season, the +/- column is point delta since Monday)

06.30.05
TeamName HR R RBI AVG SB W SV SO ERA WHIP TOTAL +/-
Budchuggers 7.5 10 10 9 2 7.5 7 8 8 9 78 2
Rocky Coloradans 7.5 9 8 8 9 9 3 7 9 5 74.5 -3.5
Dingleberries 10 5.5 6.5 1 8 1 10 1 10 10 63 0
Pork Pirates 6 7 6.5 5 1 10 4 10 7 6 62.5 2.5
Indians 4 5.5 4 3 7 5 6 6 6 7 53.5 2
GANYFs 1 2 5 10 3 7.5 9 5 5 4 51.5 -0.5
Shamu Whales 9 8 9 7 4 6 1 2 1 1 48 0
Boston Ballbusters 5 3 2 2 6 3.5 2 9 4 8 44.5 0.5
Homestead Grays 2 4 3 6 5 2 8 4 2 3 39 4
Rangers 3 1 1 4 10 3.5 5 3 3 2 35.5 -7

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Paranoia Agent
is the stories of many people who have reached the end of their tether and who then face Shonen Bat. Shonen Bat relieves them of their anxieties by whacking them up side the head with a baseball bat.

But wait, it isn’t just an anthology of people sinking deep into psychosis. There is a plot here, a thread that the detectives are trying to track down, without falling deep into psychosis themselves. And they almost succeed.

This is a 13 episode series and the first 10-11 episodes stand alone very well. The final two episodes start to tie them altogether.

I loved the intro music and animation. The outro was pretty good as well. As one of the commentators said, don’t try to read too much into them. Sometimes the animation is just there to set a mood and not explain the story.

One drawback to the overall story is that we don’t really get much of a chance to revisit some of Shonen Bat’s victims in later episodes. Some we do, but not all. It would be interesting to see how some of those individual stories ended up.

Internally I am quibbling about the rating on this series. 8 or 7? 8, or 7? I think I am going to go with 8 out of ten for the whole series. Most of the episodes would probably get a 7 out of ten, but the whole series does get successfully tied together at the end. It can be very hard to do that in an anime series.

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I vaguely remember seeing the Guyver movie many years ago. It’s one claim to fame was that it starred Mark Hamill. And even that was rather forgettable.

Back to anime: The Guyver is a bionic exoskeleton that gives its wearer superpowers. And the wearer will need those powers because an organization named Chronos has decided that humanity was created to evolve into super-soldiers (by some long-lost space-faring civilization) and they are going to accelerate that evolution by creating Zoanoids. Zoanoids first appear as ordinary humans on steroids, but when they get angry they transform into monstrous, mindless killing machines. (There appear to be a limited set of Zoanoid types, so the animators can reuse the cells from previous fights.)

Chronos also found/developed the Guyver suits. They had three of them but they were stolen. In the process of recovering them, one was found by a high school kid, Sho; one was broken; and the other was found by a mystery man. (Well, we all know who he was, but he is supposed to be mysterious) So, Sho is taken over by the Guyver suit and fights the Zoanoids while he learns what the suit can do. The Mystery man appears at times to help out. The MM seems to have a grudge against Chronos as well. And the two of them manage to destroy the Japanese branch office.

Chronos is a global organization, so there are other branches to destroy, if they want to.

And, of course, there is a background high-school story going on. And everyone seems to know that Sho is the Guyver, so Chronos can attack his friends, his school, and anyone else they want. Nothing like wanton, mindless violence to illuminate the meaning of life.

This one is pretty lame all around, so I will give it a 4 out of ten.

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Well, the Budchuggers have overtaken me in Runs and RBIs and tied me in HR. Slowly, I sink out of the top. -3.5 points. (Actually, both the Budchuggers and the Shamu passed me in RBI so I lost 2 points in that category.)

In addition my relief crew seems to have gone away. One is on compassionate leave and the other just joined the DL; just as a precaution, you understand. And Gary Sheffield has been suspended for a couple of games for throwing his helmet on the ground. Slowly, slowly, slowly…

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Ayumu Narumi is a loner, high-school freshman, living forever in the shadow of his older brother, who disappeared several years earlier leaving only the cryptic clue: “Blade Children”. Ayumu lives with his sister-in-law, a police detective who has never given up the hunt for her missing husband. Mysterious deaths start happening around Ayumu’s school, and they seem to involve the Blade Children.

Ayumu uses his top-notch reasoning abilities (of course, his brother was better) to solve these murders, but never seems to get closer to the Blade Children. But the Blade Children are coming after him.

Along the way Ayumu picks up his Dr. Watson, the nosy editor of the school paper, and together they do stuff. Ayumu, being the loner, not-friendly type, doesn’t really bother explaining anything to his Watson until the end of the show.

Ayumu is also a world-class pianist (of course, his brother was better) who has given up the piano because he just isn’t good enough. I don’t know if this will factor into the story later on or if it is just a point to show that Ayumu doesn’t believe in himself and as long as he doesn’t believe in himself he will always be a loser.

As a detective series, Spiral is of interest. They have some nifty locked-room type murders to solve and the first disk didn’t leave any blatant clues sitting around. And there was a fair amount of humor with the sister-in-law. I’m not sure what is going on with the Blade Children, at least they should keep Ayumu on his feet. It would be nice to find out why everyone who knows about the Blade Children wants to kill them. The ones that know always seems to die before they can tell Ayumu what it is all about.

Overall I will give this series a 7 out of 10.

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