Friday, October 29, 2010

Mad Men: For Adults Only

You know what I like about Mad Men? I like that during any given "episode" I won't be reminded of some stupid "modern phenomena" like drugs or alcoholism or the environment or sexism or homophobia or whatever.

What? They have that shit in Mad Men? Well yeah, I guess they do. I mis-spoke. What I like about Mad Men is that it doesn't beat me over the fucking head with the topic, and more importantly, it never proselytizes.

Mad Men may be the best-written TV show in history. We, the viewers have to decide who the "good" and the "bad" characters are. We ourselves must judge these people from this time in history. The writers are not going to lead us like children through the moral minefield of "right and wrong."

How refreshing it is to be treated like an adult by a TV show.

Why Don't You Lie?

Not everyone "gets" King Khan. I do. He rules.


Let the Games Begin!

For your pleasure...


Friday, October 22, 2010

On Free Speech

I wonder... If I went into one of my classes and told my students that, actually, Japanese people really creep me out, and in fact it was all I could do from throwing up every time I was in their presence... I wonder, if my university fired me, would that be a violation of my right to free speech?

I mean, don't I have the right both to express my ideas *and* to get paid for them?

[DISCLAIMER: I don't have many readers here, but the few who do drop by have exceptional reading skills. For the reading-challenged: If + past tense verb generally indicates a second conditional sentence, referring to an *unreal* situation in the present. Please take note and then shut the fuck up.]

On Ideas

Good ideas sometimes become bad ideas; bad ones, good. I can see a certain utility in beating them all to death.

What? You want examples? Heh, are you ever in the wrong place!

Manhole Cover #2

Manhole Cover #1

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mining for Gold

For the past few weeks I have diligently avoided reading/watching anything (beyond the bare "facts" of the headlines) concerned with recent events in Chile.

It's not that I wasn't interested and/or concerned. I was. I am.

I am interested in the facts of this story. I'm interested in the stories of the individuals who were trapped in that mine. I'm interested in the stories of people who know these guys. I'm interested in the events that led to them being trapped underground. I'm interested in the details of how exactly they were rescued. I'm interested in pretty much anything remotely connected to this story.

So, why didn't I watch on TV, read the papers, etc.? I'll tell you why.

I've had it up to here [makes generally recognized gesture] with media that wants both to manipulate my understanding of events and to dictate how I should feel about events.

Here's what I know: there was an accident, some guys got trapped underground for a couple of months, they were all eventually rescued. Beyond that basic data, I don't trust the media we currently have for anything else.

I honestly don't know what mineral the miners in Chile were digging for. I have no doubt what our media are mining. Hollywood won't be far behind them, and soon we'll all be sitting in theaters crying tears of joy in one big recreational group therapy session. Calling the movie "Trapped" will destroy irony forever. [Oh, wait, 9/11 did that, didn't it? Sorry.]


Speaking of "irony" (or at least comedy), I read a funny thing somewhere (maybe on Twitter): somebody suggested it would be a good gag if, when the first miners came out of the ground, everyone was costumed like Planet of the Apes. I laughed out loud when I read it. I mean, this was a joke made after a happy outcome. Why not laugh about it? But the same day, sitting around with some ex-pats, I re-told the gag. There were a couple of people who seemed genuinely appalled that I could crack a joke on such a joyous occasion...

Friday, October 08, 2010

Yeah Whatever

OK, so like, a year or two years ago, I'm not sure, Japan began fingerprinting and photographing all foreigners entering the country, pretty much just like the United States, if I understand the situation correctly. [Being a Canadian, I've always enjoyed a special relationship with Customs and Immigration in the U.S. No photographs and fingerprints for us. No way! It's the anal probe, or nothing. And that's just the way we like it!] Where was I...? Oh yeah, foreigners entering Japan and getting anally-probed, or something...

So anyway, it's a somewhat annoying process, and I have to admit that it's made even more annoying by the fact that foreign residents of Japan have to do this each and every time we re-enter the country. I'd have to admit further that the rationale behind this procedure--catching "terrorists," is such utter bullshit that it's no wonder some people feel a bit put out about the whole business. In fact, I think the Japanese government could have done itself a big favor by simply stating the real reason it wants to fingerprint and photograph all incoming foreigners (including visa holders and permanent residents): they want to catch illegal immigrants, visa over-stayers, illegal re-entry-ers, whatever. Personally, I don't mind having my credentials checked. And frankly, even with this new procedure, going through Customs and Immigration in Japan is a lot more pleasant an experience than even merely setting foot in any American airport. Now there's the fucking Gestapo.

Of course there's a certain ex-pat element in Japan (and probably other countries as well) that apparently has very little experience spending more than a few hours outside of their own family, friends, and neighborhood. You know, people who get all indignant when things in a foreign country are not exactly like whatever little shithole they were born in, and the people who live in a particular foreign country are not like the noble savages who served the white man so faithfully in all those old movies. The worst of these are assholes. The best of them, stupid. They both see anything, and I mean any fucking thing, that inconveniences them in the slightest as either a) a sign of the general "backwardness" of their surroundings, or b) a sure sign of the anti-foreign racism that runs rampant, rampant, I say, in this God-forsaken [oops, forgot about that one...] country...

They want to make "statements". Usually on other peoples' blogs. Not mine, thankfully. Just as an aside, however, I think if someone really wanted to make a political statement (as opposed to a stupid, irrational, mis-informed whine) about the fingerprinting and photographing of foreigners entering or re-entering Japan, he'd cut off his fucking fingers or something. I mean, come on, are you an activist or a whiner?

Anyway, perusing the web today I came across a couple of priceless comments regarding what I was talking about above. Names, etc. have been removed to protect the stupid.

--I Hate Japan So Much I Will Never Leave

A surprisingly common trope in these parts...

Heh. OK, fingerprinting foreigners is a) wrong, and b) dirty. I get the feeling this guy doesn't like leaving his house much. How the fuck he made it as far as Japan is a mystery. There's also a distinct possibility that he's here illegally (which is not something I really want to make light of, but if you're shooting off in the comment sections of blogs...).

--Fuck Japan, I'm going to Saudi Arabia

Sometimes you read shit that makes you open your mouth widely and look stupid:

"I have more freedoms [in Saudi Arabia] than I did in Japan." To each his own, I say, but sometimes you read something so breathtakingly stupid... This guy spent 11 years in Japan, and in 3 weeks decides he's "more free" in Saudi Arabia? So... I guess he can go to the church of his choice (or not), get a beer at the convenience store, talk to pretty girls on the street, complain about the political situation in Saudi Arabia, etc.? Probably not much.


I'm getting tired (tonight) of writing about this. You know, there's nothing wrong with saying you don't know about something. Seriously, ask Socrates. I fucking hate it when people write or comment stupidly about the sort of shit that I know about. I don't claim to be an "expert" on Japan (I'm definitely not), but I can usually tell shit from shinola. There's a lot of shit goin' round right now...

Rizan Revolution

"To Eternal Girls..." [Click pic, and then it click again, for big size]

And this is what the outside of a "host bar" looks like...


Friday, October 01, 2010

Tumbling Dice

In my admittedly less-than-humble opinion, the best Stones tune (and therefore the greatest tune ever--there's room for argument, of course, about which Stones tune is the greatest tune ever):

For me, this beats the shit out of any Beatles tune--and really, that's what The Beatles did: tunes. "Tumbling Dice" is a rock tune like nothing The Beatles ever did (or were capable of). The Stones were/are a band and, frankly, The Beatles were not.  Where are the great Beatles jams? There are none. None. Ringo was the best Beatle.

Charlie will forever be the best Stone.

I Used to Have a Girlfriend...

I used to have a girlfriend...

Heh. [Sorry dear!] Thought I'd savor that for a minute...

Back in my uni days, I used to have a girlfriend who drank and partied as much as I did. We had some pretty good times, but every once in a while we'd get into some massive arguments. These weren't petty arguments about "why were you looking at him/her," or anything. These were world-shaking philosophical arguments--you know, Beatles versus Stones kinda stuff.

In case you're reading this D______, I was right, you were wrong. Hell, from the look of things, you haven't even learned how to use a computer yet.

And so ends the lowest, pettiest post I've ever written...

An Article About Art That I Kinda Agree With (Even Though I Have Somewhat Different Tastes Than This Guy)

An interesting article to check out:

"Urban Intellectual Fodder":
There is a certain kind of art made here in America for a lofty but banal purpose: to enliven the contemporary educated mind.
It does not expand the borders of art or wreck the tyranny of the possible or enlarge our hungry little minds.
It is art born of attitude, not passion. It is art that postures but doesn't grip. It is art created by those who are more passionate about a career in art than about art itself.
Primarily, this is art that thinks about art. Art of the intellect, not the heart. Art done to bring us the smart, not the art.
The artists of Urban Intellectual Fodder act like art critics doing art -- they're better about their art than with it, better on their art than in it. Their art is done to show their smarts, and that's primarily what one gets from their art.
It may not occur to someone a bit younger than me, but there *are* reasons why I prefer The Stones to Arcade Fire, why I don't read current "literature" (as opposed to "genre" fiction), and why I'll wait for the DVD...