Saturday, August 09, 2008

Thoughts on the opening ceremonies

If anyone can do the mass spectacle needed for the Olympic Games opening ceremonies well, it's the Chinese. Any criticisms I would have of mass entertainment, and being a spectator of the visual and performing arts wouldn't apply only to Zhang Yi Mou's show--there are plenty of other events that would come under the same criticism (not excluding parts of World Youth Day). Still, one does get the impression from the Beijing Olympics that the imperial legacy is not dead, and neither is nationalism, as witnessed by the singing of the national anthem.

The children in the costumes of the various ethnic groups were cute, but how many children were actually of different ethnicities. Were they all local Han children from Beijing? Of course they were singing and saluting the flag during the national anthem as well.

I believe one of the songs had the line, "We kneel to the country"? Am I just reading into things? I don't think so. The NBC commentators, Bob Costas and Matt Lauer, talked about various parts of the show--one demonstration had a bunch of people doing taiji, while some children were in the middle singing. The significance? Taiji was supposed to be representative of the Chinese belief in the need for social harmony and harmony with nature. Only through harmony could the various problems facing China, especially the question of sustainable development and the damage to the environment, be solved. They also talked about the part showing China's Confucian heritage, and the need for virtue (among the rulers). Well, the CCP certainly needs some virtue at the moment, and if they do not admit publicly that a central authority cannot solve the problems facing China, they should at least do something about it quietly. I wish I had some photos of the actors during the Confucian part. The costumes were interesting, but I do not think they were 100% historically accurate for the Warring States period or the Han dynasty. (I'm actually not sure which period they were supposed to represent.)

How widespread is the corruption in the provinces?

Zhang Yi Mou, the director, did a very good job, and apparently answered some comment about the number of performers and how labor-intensive the ceremonies were: "We've got the people." The need for synchronization and precision was so great, and the performers did a very good job of executing. It wasn't that much of a surprise when we learned that the tablets (stones?) during the Confucian demo were being operated by people instead of machines. (The used to the stones to trace the character he, harmony. Having 1/5 of the world's population does give one a great talent pool to draw from. But it does make one consider what Aristotle said about the Eastern empires and their peoples in the Politics. I can't help but think of how authoritarianism and numbers might go hand-in-hand. Would it ever be possible for China to decentralize and become a federal system of various states? I don't think it's in the blood... for some reason there has always been a drive for a unified China, accomplished through war and consolidation.

If democracy is only an illusion in modern nation-states because of their size, how much more so would this be the case in China?

I wish I could have had a better view of the various performances symbolizing Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism. The dancers and the parade of Chinese history was fun to watch, even if the display of China's accomplishments might have been a bit too much.

As for the parade of nations--many of the countries, including the United States, had unisex uniforms. I believe the national committees are responsible for the selection of the design, but I also think that the uniforms also say something about those countries, and perhaps about the nature of the competition too.

Will a DVD of the opening ceremonies become available? I don't think there is a complete video of it online. Photo Gallery.
NBC website
The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

Edit. There are some clips of the opening ceremonies.

Did I mention that the modern Olympics is an instution of secular [atheistic] humanism? At least the ancient Greeks paid some sort of reverence to the "gods." Did Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin practice any religion?

From PIERRE DE COUBERTIN: A life dedicated to the revival of the Olympic Games --
Pierre de Coubertin also wanted to be seen as a pedagogue. All of his projects, including the Games, had the same aim in mind: to make men. His definition of Olympism had four principles that were far from a simple sports competition:

To be a religion i.e. to "adhere to an ideal of a higher life, to strive for perfection"; to represent an elite "whose origins are completely egalitarian" and at the same time "chivalry" with its moral qualities; to create a truce "a four-yearly festival of the springtime of mankind"; and to glorify beauty by the "involvement of the philosophic arts in the Games". It is clear that the concept of the Olympic Games is far from a simple sports competition.

Lot of Chinese cuties, including this one dancer; plus the cheerleaders/photo holders.

Then there were the Tang Dynasty dancers:

I missed this part:

The costumes look Korean... was this showcasing the different ethnic groups in China?

BEIJING - AUGUST 08: Tennis player Roger Federer of Switzerland carries his country's flag during the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at the National Stadium on August 8, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Bongarts/Getty)

BEIJING - AUGUST 08: Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Liu Qi, President of BOCOG walk into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at the National Stadium on August 8, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Getty)

Looking at titles of books...

What do Southrons think of Florence King's Southern Ladies & Gentlemen (Google Books)? There's also Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady.

Some other books from Amazon:
Tea & Etiquette (Revised): Taking Tea for Business and Pleasure (Capital Lifestyles)
The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette (find an earlier edition?)
Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On!: What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters that the Rest of Y'all Should Know Too
Lessons Learned on Bull Run Road
Southern by the Grace of God

Hm! Etiquette Guide to Japan: Know the Rules...that Make the Difference

Some more books on political theory...
The Limits of Pure Democracy by William Hurrell Mallock
Order and Legitimacy by Francis Graham Wilson (Google)
Political Philosophy and Cultural Renewal: Collected Essays by Francis Graham Wilson (Google Books)

Francis Graham Wilson was an admirer of [old] Spain... what would he think of Spain as it is now?

Looks like Transaction has a lot of their books available on Google for preview.

Macross Frontier, ep 17 and 18

Macross Frontier - 17 | Random Curiosity

Macross Frontier 17 - Goodbye Sister « Calamitous Intent
Yukan Blog! » Blog Archive » Macross Frontier - 17
Star Crossed Anime Blog :: Macross Frontier - 17
THAT Animeblog - Macross Frontier 17
Macross Frontier 17 | Sea Slugs! Anime Blog

It's not clear to me why the Frontier fleet does not have quantum pulse rifles or w/e the Antares squadron is equipped with (see the picture above). I suppose that sort of information is not being shared; perhaps the fleet doesn't even have the resources to produce such rifles. (Can it make reaction warheads? So many have been expended in the last few episodes. Where does the fleet find the raw material?)

Macross Frontier - 18 | Random Curiosity

A shot of Battle 25 in the new opening sequence. Battle 7 was also a NMC battleship. Battle 25 looks better in the way that everything in Macross Frontier looks better than Macross 7 (though the Macross 7 OAVs did improve in quality), but I don't really care for the NMC design--I prefer the original SDF-1. It's too bad they couldn't design something that would be a cross between human and Supervision Army designs.

Star Crossed Anime Blog :: Macross Frontier - 18

Some of the reused footage is starting to get annoying--does it really cost that much to create 5 seconds of animation? Some more of Sheryl's story was revealed in episode 18; I am waiting to learn more of what has been going on in the Macross universe since Macross 7. The fact that resource depletion is such a concern for the fleet is a nice touch--but would the original SDF-1 and Macross city have survived if the creators had adhered to that sort of 'realism' back then?

Looks like sooner or later Alto will have a confrontation with his father and maybe his adolescent angst will be resolved. But I doubt he'll get his hair cut before the end of the series. (Though many fans would prefer it.)

If Ozma is aware of Brera's identity, how familiar was he with the family before the destruction of the 117th Research Fleet?

Edit: More links--
Macross Frontier 18 | Sea Slugs! Anime Blog

Trailer: Full Battle Rattle

@ Apple

In California’s Mojave Desert, the US Army has built a “virtual Iraq” - a billion dollar urban warfare simulation - and populated it with hundreds of Iraqi role-players. FULL BATTLE RATTLE, a feature documentary, follows an Army Battalion through the simulation, as they attempt to quell an insurgency and prevent Medina Wasl, a mock Iraqi village, from slipping into civil war.

Welcome to Beijing MV

Thomas Woods interviews Thomas Dilorenzo

From Shock to the System with Thomas E. Woods:
07/29/2008 - Thomas J. DiLorenzo, author of The Real Lincoln and more (mp3)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Ever wonder what happened to the PTU sequel?

It was made for TV. Here is the review at LoveHKFilm.

The crew from PTU returns for Tactical Unit - The Code, the first of five PTU spinoff films that curiously do not bear the PTU name.The Code was directed by Law Wing-Cheong (Hooked on You, Two Become One), and boasts a competent script from Yip Tin-Shing (writer of too many Milkyway productions to mention). Simon Yam, Maggie Siu, and Lam Suet reprise their original roles, and are aided by Teddy Lin Chun as a senior officer, plus various unfamiliar and also familiar faces, many of whom belong to the Milkyway stable of bit players. The themes of The Code are also familiar, echoing the "cops look out for one another" creed explored so stylishly in Johnnie To's award-winning 2003 film.
Looks like all of the 5 sequels will be made for TV. Still, I suppose the end results will be better than what happened with the Final Option movies...

Film Review: Tactical Unit -- The Code
娛樂開CHAT:Janice Man

I was hoping to find evidence that she isn't a native, but it appears that she is from HK. An example of how the Cantonese language has been degraded. (Her pronunciation seems rather poor, and her tones are off for a couple of words.)


(Don't ask me why or how she picked that name. HKers can pick very strange English names. Although this one strikes me as being more vain than some others. Maybe it would be better if all names were Divinely given. Finding a name for one's self can be such an exercise in self-absorption. And how many parents choose a name for their child for shallow reasons?)

More interviews from appleactionnews.

Anita Yuen Needs To Be A Strict Mother
2 August 2008

She used to be one of my favorite actresses, but I lost a lot of respect for Anita Yuen when a lot of details regarding her relationship with Julian Cheung Chilam. Maybe she will raise her son not to "shack up with some honey" or have a child out of wedlock.

On the V sign and photo-taking

I have been annoyed by Chinese male celebrities showing the V sign. Now older actors, the stars of the 70s and 80s, are less likely to show the V sign, but I have seen some of them do that. (Andy Lau. Leon Lai. And also Hacken Lee-see below. I don't think I've caught Tony Leung doing it yet.) Japanese actors seem less likely to do it, but then again I do not follow Japanese entertainment news regularly. I think Korean actors above a certain age also avoid it. But the flash of the V is apparently becoming more common among Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese males, and seems to be catching on elsewhere, like in the United States (as distinguished from the V for peace sign popular in a certain kind of pop culture). I hesitate to use the word men, since I think those who continue to show it after the age of 12 should be considered boys. (The same is true of women, as well. Some would make allowances for women being girly and 'cute'. But I am not in that group. If an Asian woman avoids doing it, I have a higher opinion of her.)

Hacken Lee Sings Praises for 'New Beijing'

Hacken Lee will be turning 41 in December. I would be embarrassed to see a photo of myself with this or a similar pose. It does make one long for a time when photographs were not as common (the late 1800s!), and people took portrait taking seriously, even if they did things that we would consider odd. (Men sitting on each other's laps? We would be surprised or even shocked by the signs of affection and friendship that men were comfortable showing back then, and have been misrepresented by some as indicative of homosexuality. Though displays of camaraderie and closeness and affection are still common in photos taken by East Asians. And American women.)

After seeing Hacken Lee in the music video and reading his comments, I consider him a tool of the current Mainland regime. Of course he probably thinks he is being patriotic and showing Chinese pride. I just can't go along with that.

They may be functional adults--earning a living, renting or owning a flat, having a 'relationship' with a female, but there is something about the maturity level of celebrities and Chinese men in general that makes one think that something has gone wrong with Chinese culture. Ask me if I consider myself Chinese, and I may say no, if this is what being Chinese means.

More complaints about the V sign:
FOBSPOT: What is the Asian V-Sign?
The Lazy Asian: Asians flashing the Peace Sign
Flickr: Discussing Why do people in Japan pose like this?

Precisely -- V for victory over what?

Someone from Soompi is a fan of this photographer at FB. I have to say that I'm not a fan of excessive wedding-portrait-taking. I wonder if this is what annoys CB about having photos taken of him. Asian wedding photographers are especially popular among Asians--I've seen many attractive photo albums. But the growth of the wedding industry is worrisome. If I were negative... I'd say it's too bad people don't take divorce photos--not that I am wishing that these marriages fail, but celebrating love can go too far and such excess may be indicative of a flaw in one's understanding of what marriage is about. No? "We won't get divorced. That happens to other people." Meanwhile, the warning signs are there for any objective observer.

Youth may be an excuse for this sort of excess. But to paraphrase Sgt. Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon, "I'm too old for this."

Has anyone written on how photography has changed our conception of ourselves and how we view the past, present, and the future? Granted, photos are a useful aid to memory. But what other purposes do they serve in our culture?

(This coming from someone who does take a lot of photos of family and friends as mementos.)

Watcher should see 스페어

Twitch: Im Joon-Il Talks 스페어 (Spare)
I have seen 짝패 (The City of Violence), and appreciated that it was 'old-school' like Tony Jaa's movies, not relying on wire-work. Nonetheless, while it was a decent action movie, I was somewhat unsatisfied. But the same could be said about Donnie Yen's recent movies, so it's not the quality of the action. Perhaps it is just a general dissatisfaction with movies that do not have enough story. Or the brand of heroism that is being depicted. There is a place for simple good-vs-evil stories, where evil can be fought through the use of force. Despite what certain pacifists may think, there is nothing wrong with admiring that sort of courage in Christians, even if the highest form of courage is that which is needed to face martyrdom.

But just like superhero movies, action movies rarely inspire us to be courageous and to seek ways to serve our community. This is partly due to the limitations of film, and also because 'American' culture (except perhaps in the South) does not really celebrate such service, even if people pay lip service to those who serve. I do think our war in Iraq (and probably Afghanistan too) was a mistake. Do action or superhero movies make us consider the costs that our soldiers and their families have to take upon themselves? No. I have read that the gap between those involved with the military and the rest of the American public is growing. It will probably continue to grow. The opportunities (other than law enforcement) for Americans to acquire courage and serve as a warrior are otherwise limited. Our mass culture only serves to foster that gap. I am not saying that there should be more positive portrayals of the military on TV and in the movies. But movies can be such a debased source of vicarious living. Knowing that one is a sheep and acknowledging it is much better than being a sheep and pretending that one is a sheepdog. Even the barbarians may turn out to be wimps, unless the barbarian is a bully (in which case he is probably still a wimp since he'll back down in the face of strength) or a male disposed to violence.

Twitch has a review of the American DVD of The City of Violence.

Six Stills From John Hillcoat’s THE ROAD

What is it about apocalyptic movies that fascinate me? The death and destruction? But what aspect of it? Watching evils befall a people? Or waiting for some life-affirming message to come through? Many would probably not watch such a movie if it did not say something about the meaning of life, something like love is greater than death, or give a 'glimmer of hope' that no matter what happens, people can do something to transcend the suffering of evil.

Is this one of the roving bands of cannibals? I only skimmed through the novel, but I imagined their appearance to be a bit different. Not so... human. I think I've been influenced too much by horror movies.

Alas, such a movie is not likely to provoke Americans to consider the possibilities of collapse. (That the apocalypse is brought about by the use of nuclear weapons contributes to our feeling of complacency--after all, how likely is that to happen? And if it doesn't happen, how could things possibly get bad?)
Anthony Esolen, Slogging through the Anticulture

His Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization has been recently published.

Kevin Young, The Atomic Bombing of Japan

Tsuyoshi Hasegawa Re-Examines the Japanese Surrender
The Atomic Bombing of Japan


How bad are things in the 'real world'?

I was reading the comments to this post by Dr. Helen, Dating Advice for Men, and I was struck by the stories some of the men were writing. Has the war between the sexes really gotten that bad? Not knowing anyone here who is dating or being familiar with what my peers in age or younger are up to, I'm rather clueless. I tend to sympathize with women because I have seen how men can mistreat them, but rarely do I see or hear about the mistreatment of men by women. (With one notable exception, that of a relative whose SO cheated on him after they got married and was lying and manipulative. Fortunately she was caught in her lies in court--I don't know what would have happened otherwise.) If I weren't a Christian, and weren't looking for a Christian woman, would I be wrong to be as cautious about getting involved with women as some of these men recommend?

It does come down to a question of character, but after reading those comments, I have doubts and concerns as to whether one can really judge someone else's character adequately in order to make 'life-altering' decisions.

There aren't enough women like Dr. Laura and Dr. Helen speaking out in the MSM, that's for sure. And if things look hopeless, guys will just stop fighting and retreat, leaving people to suffer the consequences of their advocacy.

Another Kim So Hyun video

The Phantom of the Opera - Think of Me: Korean production

There were some complaints by people commenting that she was too cheery in this. I did think she was a bit too much like the stereotypical Disney heroine (especially as depicted in Enchanted), but that's because I don't like Disney. Heroines in musicals tend to have a very obvious expressions--the exaggeration is needed for the stage. (Whether her expressiveness was appropriate for this song or not... well, those who are fans of Phantom can debate it.)

Some videos of Bada

080502.mbc.sectionTv.musical awards-bada

BADA-2008.03.20 SBS-巴黎聖母院直播-Ave Maria

BADA-2008.01.17 巴黎聖母院 新聞採訪

BADA-2008.01.17 巴黎聖母院

2008.03.20_SBS NDPK Part.1_Bada_1/ 6
2008.03.20_SBS NDPK Part.1_Bada_2/ 6
2008.03.20_SBS NDPK Part.1_Bada_3/ 6
2008.03.20_SBS NDPK Part.1_Bada_4/ 6
2008.03.20_SBS NDPK Part.1_Bada_5/ 6
2008.03.20_SBS NDPK Part.1_Bada_6/ 6

2008.03.27_SBS NDPK Part.2_Bada_1/ 6
2008.03.27_SBS NDPK Part.2_Bada_2/ 6
2008.03.27_SBS NDPK Part.2_Bada_3/ 6
2008.03.27_SBS NDPK Part.2_Bada_4/ 6
2008.03.27_SBS NDPK Part.2_Bada_5/ 6
2008.03.27_SBS NDPK Part.2_Bada_6/ 6

I may like Bada, but I have to say that this musical (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I believe) doesn't appeal to me, and I don't think her voice matches it.

Hrm, does this link work? A Chinese fansite?

Another vid with Kim So Hyun:
phantom of the opera (korean cast)

(I think you can hear the lower limit of her voice range here.)

Korean Miss Saigon (I Still Believe)

Evita - Korean cast

Beauty and the Beast Korean cast

There is a reason why I dislike most musicals...

Angelainmusical has more.

Misc link: "Over the rainbow" sung by korean actress Jo Jeung-eun
One of niece #1's favorite songs at the moment.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Ralph Nader on the airlines

A partial response to the JetBlue's recent actions, Nader praises Southwest for not doing what other airlines have done: Gouged in the Skies: Gotcha Capitalism in the Airline Industry. While it may be better if airlines compensate for increasing fuel costs by raising fares instead of charging for items that were complimentary in the past, which action is more likely to cause customers to consider other airlines? On the other hand, if everyone is doing it (except Southwest, which does not travel everywhere in the United States), where is the incentive to do the former?

Austen Blog on Austen editions

AustenBlog: REVIEW: Jane Austen’s Novels, Oxford World’s Classics Edition
Ask AustenBlog: What Edition of Jane Austen’s Novels Should I Buy?

Jane Austen Moleskine Notebooks back in stock

Videos with Alice Waters

Charlie Rose Greenroom - Alice Waters

Edible Education, 2008

Edible Education (2 of 2), 2008

Yeah, she supports Obama. We can overlook that, can't we?

Alice Waters clip in "Ripe for Change"

Alice Water's Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, CA

Chez Pannise

More on Chef Waters.
Damian Thompson: Rome's plans for the Anglicans

Twitch: [SAGEUK WORLD] 전설의 고향 (Hometown of Legends) - Ep. 1 구미호 (Fox with Nine Tails)

official website for the 2003? Hometown of Legends: 전설의 고향

Official website for the current series? KBS2 수목드라마 전설의 고향

Macross 25th Anniversary

All That VF


Hey Sarge, do you remember V? I watched the original miniseries with the MD. It certainly kept my attention. Unfortunately, the storytelling became worse with the miniseries, which couldn't really maintain production values, either.

via AICN, Exclusive: A look The Script For V: THE MOVIE!

Trackingb says Gibson and Glover are interested in reprising their roles. No other details are given, except that 1) franchise producer Joel Silver has already been contacted by Black, and 2) the storyline would deal with an about-to-retire Riggs coaxing an already retired Murtaugh out for a "ride off into the sunset" case/adventure.

I'd rather see Mel Gibson do another Mad Max movie than a Lethal Weapon movie... just saying.

AR: Reviving the Household Economy, Part Two

John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report
Behind the collapse of the household economy in modern American society lie sweeping changes in social roles and the collective imagination. Can those forces be harnessed to deal with the challenges of a world in the wake of peak oil?


Postwar propaganda – “advertising” is too mild a word for the saturation campaigns that flooded the popular media in the late 1940s and early 1950s – presented middle class families with a glittering image of affluence in which convenient, up-to-date consumer products provided by the market would replace the dowdy routine of the domestic economy with a life of elegance and leisure. The reality behind the facade turned out to be much less palatable. Denied both the place in the market economy they had occupied during the war years, and the role in the household economy their mothers had held before that, millions of middle class women across America found themselves expected to lead a purely decorative and essentially purposeless existence.

Dr. Fleming writes this response:

Catholics who argue for mass immigration from Mexico are making two mistakes: first, in treating the Catholic Church as a kind of universalist ideology–something like Communism–and, second, in pretending that nothing else matters. Obviously, common faith is important and it would be better not to have religious diversity within a body politic. We do not, however, always live in the country we would like to and have to accept reality. Whatever our background, we must be artificial Englishmen, to some extent, if we are to be fully American, and being English we are then European and being European we draw our cultural inspiration from Greece, Rome, the Germanic and Celtic barbarians in our past, and from the Jewish traditions reinterpreted by the Church.

I think, on balance, that people from non-British backgrounds from one to three generations back might be better off if they preserved–or rather learned–their ancestral languages and cultures as a sort of reserve culture. American culture is now so thin and the WASP element so diluted and so self-hating, it is only healthy for a third-generation Greek or Italian or Pole to bone up on his heritage. The same goes for those who come from Middle Eastern and Asian cultures who, if they are Christian, can stay connected with the European tradition. As for non-Christian immigrants, I don’t think they should be encouraged, though, ultimately, it is none of my business. The problem with MacIntyre is that he could never entirely escape his leftism, which requires him to be fair and objective toward aliens. As for a common American core, I don’t think that is possible any longer. We have to recover, reinvent our civilization and pass it on. That can only be done in small communities. The entire world is against us.

"We have to recover, reinvent our civilization and pass it on." Elsewhere he advocates a return to the "classics," in their original languages. The New Scot should be in better shape than me. More thoughts from Dr. Fleming on liberal education here.

Kim So Hyun, "Think of Me"

I don't like ALW or Phantom of the Opera, but she really sings this quite well... perhaps even better than Sarah Brightman. (SB can try to sing opera, but I think she has been trained too much to sing in musicals? To this beginner, Miss Kim sounds like she has had some proper vocal training... ) I think E. Asia still maintains some standards when it comes to vocal performance in musicals--perhaps a carry-over of how seriously they take music education? Look at how many classical musicians and vocalists there are in China, Japan, and S. Korea.

Another anime brought back...

I mentioned a while ago that there was a new Space Battleship Yamato in the works... the trailer is out. (I don't think the CG looks good at all...)

Official website.

Space Battleship Yamato OP

Dr. Fleming on what can be done

Dr. Fleming writes in the comments:

A return to local control would be a necessary though not sufficient step toward recreating some form of decent republican life. On the other hand, much good would also be done if our elite class became a genuine aristocracy as opposed to merely a vulgar and self-destructive oligarchy.

The problem, it seems to me, has two major components: 1) an overcentralized system that drains the energy out of everyday life and small communities, and 2) a decadent, stupid, suicidal culture that his shared by lords and peasants alike. Our decadence makes any move toward decentralization very difficult if not impossible and the stranglehold of the system– both government and cultural institutions-makes a cultural/moral recovery difficult.

It seems to me that the only practical steps that can be taken at this point would consist of A) a national or even international movement of serious people, who B) organize themselves locally and regionally into cells, not for direct action against government but to revivify private life and cultural traditions. In a way, some of this goes on through larger religious groups and even with various strands and movements in “the arts”–music education, for example. But for what interests us or some of us on this site, we need the equivalent of a national or international network of local and laergely autonomous John Randolph Clubs, where people would meet to clarify issues, talk about books, and discuss how to apply the big ideas to small local issues. The point would not be activism or even education per se but the creation of small-scale little communities of decent civilized people. Any way, it is a thought I have been toying with the past few days. Perhaps I have seen Frank Capra’s Meet John Doe once too often.

How would this differ from Alasdair MacIntyre's "Benedict option"?

From MacIntyre's After Virtue:

A crucial turning point in that earlier history occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium. What they set themselves to achieve instead--often not recognizing fully what they were doing--was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness. If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point. What matters at this stage is the construction of local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us. And if the tradition of the virtues was able to survive the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without grounds for hope. This time however the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament. We are waiting not for Godot, but for another--doubtless very different--St. Benedict. (263)

New Gatchaman CG movie

I first saw Gatchaman when I was a child, when it was aired here under the name Battle of the Planets. For some reason all the good cartoons were shown in Arizona--Battle of the Planets, Speed Racer, Johnny Quest. I thought my cousins were pretty lucky. I watched plenty of TV at home, so I don't think I missed anything. (Though I remember one of them, not sure which one, was being shown on a local affiliate that was not in the area, or too early in the morning.) Well, at least I got to see Star Blazers and Robotech in California. Yes, I was very much a TV addict when I was young. Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers... I didn't care much for Electric Company. Lots of Scooby-Doo, and the other cartoons that American children grew up with. I also saw some episodes of shows that had been syndicated--Bionic Woman, The Rookies, SWAT, The Six-Million Dollar Man, Hart to Hart, Charlie's Angels... plus shows being aired for the first time, like Battlestar Galactica. I think I even saw a couple of episodes of Wonder Woman. And then there were the Planet of the Apes movies. (Unbelievable that I grew up in the latter half of the 70s. I don't remember much of the 70s at all, besides the clothing. The 70s in Calfiornia didn't really resemble the 70s I see reflected in TV and movies, but I was just a child, so I wasn't exposed to all of it. Maybe L.A. was closer to the 70s than the Bay Area, but I just remember the house we lived in and the stairs, not much else. Though my mother has stories of us riding the bus and me eating hot dogs.) With the 80s came the sitcoms, but there were plenty of other shows as well--Remington Steele, Scarecrow and Mrs. King. I could keep on going. Having grown up with the television, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that I have a rather strange sort of nostalgia for TV shows. No doubt someone could write a psychology paper on this phenomenon. (A transfer of affection from real people to fictional characters?) Just yesterday I saw that the DVD set for the last two seasons of Remington Steele was available and I was tempted to watch it, since I never got to see the series finale...

Anyway, my cousins and I all thought Princess was hot.

It appears that the studio producing the new Gatchaman movie is following the lead of Final Fantasy, Appleseed and some other recent movies and using computer animation. Twitch: Three New Screen Shots for Imagi’s GATCHAMAN.

What's happened to Tatsunoko?

wiki on Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and the OAV

Battle of the Planets (G-force)

Compare with the original Japanese opening:

Okay, this is rather sad:

Lin Chi-ling photos

Taiwan model Lin Chi-ling poses during a promotional event at a shopping mall in Hong Kong August 22, 2007. (Reuters)

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 19: (L-R) Hu Jun, director John Woo, Chi-ling Lin, Tony Leung and Zhao Wei attend the 'Red Cliff' photocall at the Carlton Hotel during the 61st International Cannes Film Festival on May 19 , 2008 in Cannes, France. (Getty)

Director John Woo (2nd L) poses with cast members (from L-R) Hu Jun, Lin Chi-ling, Tony Leung, Zhao Wei and. Chang Chen during a photocall for the film "Red Cliff" at the 61st Cannes FIlm Festival May 19, 2008. (Reuters)


Taiwanese actress and model Lin Chi-ling poses as she arrives to attend the screening of US director Steven Soderbergh's film 'Che' at the 61st Cannes International Film Festival on May 21, 2008 in Cannes, southern France. The May 14-25 festival winds up with the awards ceremony for the prestigious Palme d'Or, to be determined by a jury headed by Hollywood "bad boy" Sean Penn. AFP/GETTY


Director John Woo (3rd L) poses with cast members (from L-R) Chang Chen, Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Lin Chi-ling during a premiere for the film "Red Cliff" in Seoul June 25, 2008.

From left: Chinese actors Zhang Fengyi, Hu Jun, Hong Kong director John Woo and Taiwanese actress Lin Chi-Ling pose after a press conference of their new movie "Red Cliff " in Hong Kong Monday, June 30, 2008. AP/Vincent Yu

In this undated photo released by Meiyi Entertainment on Tuesday, July 8, 2008, Taiwanese actress Lin Chi-Ling appears in the production of the movie" Red Cliff " directed by Hong Kong director John Woo.

Taiwanese actress Lin Chi-ling poses for photographs during a press conference for her new film "Red Cliff" by famed Hong Kong director John Woo, in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, July 8, 2008. AP/ Wally Santana

From Left to Right, Japanese-Taiwanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro, Hong Kong director John Woo, Taiwanese actor Chang Chen, Taiwanese actress Lin Chi-ling, and Hong Kong actor Tony Leung pose for photographs during a press conference for their new film "Red Cliff" in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, July 8, 2008. AP/Wally Santana

Taiwan actress/model Lin Chi-ling attends a news conference for her new film "Red Cliff" in Taipei July 8, 2008. Reuters

Taiwanese actor Chang Chen, Hong Kong actor Tony Leung, Hong Kong director John Woo, his wife, Annie Woo Ngau Chun-lung, Taiwan-born actor Takeshi Kaneshiro and Taiwan actress/model Lin Chi-ling pose (R-L) for a group photo during a news conference for their new film "Red Cliff" in Taipei July 8, 2008.

(L to R) Taiwan actress/model Lin Chi-ling, Japanese-Taiwanese heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro, Hong Kong director John Woo, his wife Annie, Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Taiwan actor Chang Chen pose for photographs at the premiere of Woo's latest historical epic film "Red Cliff" in Hsintien, Taipei county, on July 8, 2008. The film is based on the Battle of Red Cliffs and events during the Three Kingdoms period in ancient China.

Hong Kong director John Woo, second from right, poses with Taiwanese actor Chang Chen, left, Taiwanese actress Lin Chi-Ling, second from left, and Chinese actor Zhang Fengyi during a press conference to promote their new movie "Red Cliff" in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, July 11, 2008.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Interview with 斎藤千和 and 中島愛?

m-serve styleVol.57 Ver1
m-serve style Vol.57 Ver2
m-serve style Vol.57 Ver3
m-serve style Vol.57 Ver4
AICN: Clippage From NBC’s BOURNEy New Christian Slater Series!! It’s No Surprise To Me It Is MY OWN WORST ENEMY!!
AICN: Cylon-Centric BATTLESTAR GALACTICA TV-Movie Prequel To Hit SciFi Subsequent To Series Finale!!

KK looking out for me

Hahaha! From KK:
OLOP Hispanic Community is selling tamales, tortas, tacos, quesadillas,
etc. all day next Sunday. Maybe you should go and see if you can find a
wife who can make yummy tamales.
The shrine's website.

Miss Korea 2008

Miss Korea 2008 Na Re, center, and runner-ups of the 52nd Miss Korea Pageant smile and wave to the audience at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts Wednesday evening. From left, second runner-up Lee Yu-na; second runner up and Miss Korea Natural F&P Seo Seol-hee; first runner-up Kim Min-jung; Na; first runner-up Choi Bo-in; second runner-up and Miss Korea-Jin Air Chang Yun-hee; and second runner up and Miss Korea-Hankook Ilbo Kim Hee-kyeong. / Korea Times photo by Choi Hung-soo

More about the 'contest' and the finalists. Official website. Slideshow.

Dr. Fleming has posted the parts of his essay that were missing from the first two parts: Poor Mexico, Poor America: Extracts Omitted

What he says may surprise some who think they have the paleos figured out on immigration, or believe them to be racists.

The future of American culture is the heart of the immigration question, and if the cultural question remains taboo, the doom of America is fixed, even if the means and the will were found to seal the border and repatriate large numbers of illegal Mexican immigrants. Economic analysis of immigration, important as it is, does not touch this most fundamental issue, which is the kind of country we are leaving our children and grandchildren. Economics is a blind science that cannot tell the difference between citizens and foreigners, friends and enemies. We are told, for example, that the soundest criterion for legal immigrants is their educational level and potential earnings. This may be, but if 400 million hardworking and intelligent Chinese immigrants were admitted, our economy would boom, but our grandchildren would be Chinese, not American. Chicano activists understand this reality, which is why they talk about Reconquista and dream of rebuilding the Aztec world of Aztlan. Professional critics of immigration policy who pretend this question does not exist are like the coward who hears burglars invading his home and pulls the covers up over his head.

America’s weakness and self-hatred were not forced upon the American people at the point of a bayonet. We accepted the propaganda and paid for the soft-core Marxists who shoved it down the throats of our schoolchildren. In the decades following World War II, American culture was transformed. Our historical and cultural roots were torn up, and, to the extent we have an historical imagination, it is of ourselves as the descendants of oppressors, exploiters, and murderers. Now in our weakness and self-contempt, we fear high Mexican birth rates, because Anglo-Americans refuse to have children, and we cannot stanch the hemorrhaging border for precisely the same reason that we insist on teaching our children to hate the people and habits that made their country. The fault, my dear American Brutuses, is not in the stars–nor in demographic forces or tectonic shifts of geopolitical power–but in ourselves that we are underlings.

The first step toward addressing and resolving the cultural problems presented by mass immigration is to quit denying their existence. The second is to give up the glib and futile language of assimilation and recognize the fact that immigrants will affect us as much as we affect them. The third is to recognize that the larger part of the problem is of our own devising: American mass culture, including the schools that purvey mass education, are breeding grounds for anti-American resentment and American self-hatred.

To halt and reverse this process, Americans must be willing to take several boldly conservative steps. Quite apart from whatever is done to control legal and illegal immigration, we have to transform the teaching of humanities, in elementary and high schools as much as in universities. The conservative defense of the “traditional” curriculum has been, up till now, predicated on liberal and leftist concepts like “freedom of expression” and “respect for diversity.” Western culture is not valued as something good in itself or as our precious heritage but only as the foundation for an “open society” that encourages toleration of opposing points of view. It is time to dispense with such fantasies, which have little to do with the flesh and blood people who created and defended the West, and to revive the older understanding, that the purpose of a nation’s educational system is to form the character and historical imagination of the nation’s citizens. In our case, this would mean that European and American history must be taught from a Western and American point of view; that, beginning in the lower grades, the classics of English and American literature are required reading, and that the Greek and Latin classics, which, along with the teaching of Latin, were the foundation of our civilization for over two thousand years, be given once again their honored place in the curriculum.
The celebration of American history and the revival of our civilization should not be made at the expense of the rich cultural heritage that Mexicans and other Latinos bring with them. Although many, if not most recent immigrants have been poorly educated, there is no reason why they and their children cannot be encouraged to learn real Spanish and to imbibe the literary and cultural traditions of Spain and Latin America. Study of their authentic history and culture would replace the narcissistic and inflammatory Chicano Studies programs that indoctrinate Latinos into a culture of victimology that can only retard their social and economic progress.

The theory of assimilation encouraged educationists to think they could impose a uniform culture on this vast continental empire of diverse regions and states. The result was the sterile ideology taught in civics classes and expounded every four years at the two parties’ national conventions. Instinctively, students turned away from the lies and embraced either the culture of revolution or the mass commercial culture of self-gratification. True diversity would mean a revival of regional and ethnic identities within the context of a broad Anglo-American paradigm. Just as individual states and counties are beginning to control illegal immigration, they might be allowed to develop their own variations on the European American civilization that is our heritage so long as the traditional core is strengthened. Yankees and Southerners alike respect Thomas Jefferson; Polish and Italian Americans love Shakespeare. We all, as American citizens, revere the rule of law and the British liberties preserved in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Elsewhere people focus on questions of economics and such. Dr. Fleming rightly looks at the question of culture. One might respond that it is enough that immigrants share the same moral norms. But is that enough to sustain a community? It may be necessary for concord, but does the human animal require more than that? Is it enough for norms to be transmitted through law, or do we need our heroes and stories, and the other tools of culture?
Crunchy Con: District Attorney Caleb Stegall!
Niece #1--*puts towel on her head* "I am a sister."
"Daddy will take me to the airport."
"I will go to Mass by myself."
"Look at baby chick. Baby chick in the name."

Edit: "She [Mama Mary] is wearing blue." "She is talking to God the Father."

Niece #2: "Maa! Maa!" "Maaam!"
NLM Interview with Dr. Alcuin Reid on Fr. Adrian Fortescue and the Upcoming New Edition of the Ceremonies

The current edition is published by St. Michael's Abbey Press. It is being sold at a discount, probably because of the new edition (which is actually available for pre-order at Amazon).

Burns & Oates special offers: Weinandy's Aquinas on Scripture is on sale. ("Please quote order source code CQ48 when placing an order.")

Related links:
Adrian Fortescue: Priest and Scholar (another version)
'The Wisdom of Adrian Fortescue' ed. Michael Davies
The Genius of Adrian Fortescue, Priest and Scholar

Christian Bale in British GQ

Full Scans of Christian on GQ August Issue
Christian Bale GQ Shoot by Vincent Peters

Lots of photos and scans at ChristianBaleFan.

WTA Tennis fashion show

Taki's favorite:

MONTREAL, QC - JULY 27: Ana Ivanovic of Serbia attends the WTA Tennis fashion show portion of the Rogers Cup Tennis Tournament at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel on July 27, 2008 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Getty)

MONTREAL, QC - JULY 27: Fashion designer Yves Jean Lacasse (L) and one of his models pose on the red carpet before the WTA Tennis fashion show part of the Rogers Cup Tennis Tournament at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel on July 27, 2008 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The fashions worn by the models were designed by Lacasse. (Getty)

MONTREAL, QC - JULY 27: Fashion designer Yves Jean Lacasse walks out after his show during the WTA Tennis fashion show part of the Rogers Cup Tennis Tournament at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel on July 27, 2008 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Getty)

MONTREAL, QC - JULY 27: Maria Sharapova of Russia attends the WTA Tennis fashion show part of the Rogers Cup Tennis Tournament at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel on July 27, 2008 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

WTA Tennis Fashion Show | Athletes and Models Hq Pictures
Ana Ivanovic at the WTA Tennis Fashion Show! « Rafael Román Martel
SuperiorPics Celebrity Forums: Maria Sharapova @ the WTA Tennis ...
WTA players at the Rogers Cup fashion show in Montreal | Rogers Cup