Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Maybe now Trump and the Birthers Will Go Away


Obama’s long form birth certificate has finally been released and you can download it here.

One of the red herrings that has had conspiracy theorists going nuts has been the lack of a full birth certificate being released.  Foolish dreams of President Biden and a public spectacle of a resigning president have just gone up in smoke. This whole issue has been ridiculous to me from the beginning, since a local newspaper had his birth recorded at the time.

Hopefully, Donald Trump’s ego and celebrity driven candidacy can go up in smoke as well.  He’s no conservative and a constant failure at business, which is precisely what we don’t need.  The only thing he’s been good at is promoting himself and trading in wives for younger models as they get older. That’s cold reality there, much like Obama being a natural born citizen.

Why did the White House wait so long to release it?  Mainly to avoid other records being released as the President made it clear to the media his family was off limits to them.  The suspicion that his grades weren’t great is a valid one given his performance in office so far. But it is his wife’s dealings and family’s dealings in Chicago corruption that are the real issue, in my opinion.  It also has been a great distraction from dealing with the real issues with his presidency and split independents from the Republican party.

In the meantime, the “birther” movement has made themselves look like idiots and that has been to the benefit of President Obama for some time.  With the latest polls showing an increase in people believing he isn’t a citizen and Trump unofficially launching a candidacy, something had to be done to reign it back in. 

By the 2008 election, we entered an era where people can’t tell what the differences between truth, lies, and speculation are. Now demagogues from all facets of the political spectrum are running rampant and things are becoming nuts as a result.  Time to stop being so emotional people!  Coldly focus on what needs to be done or there will be no hope of fixing anything.

What a sad joke our country is becoming.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

State of the Blog Statement

or a Redundant Post Title and Some Anime Recommendations

As I’m trying to improve my health and rearranging my priorities, I’ll be posting more reviews rather than politics.  There are many blogs on politics worth reading right now and I’m just static on an already crowded tuner.  So my writing here will be more for exercising my skills than attempting to change the world with my limited energy.  Looking at the long view, things are going to get pretty bleak for the world fairly soon and I have limits to how much complaining I can endure from myself.

So I’ll be reviewing all eleven episodes of the anime Fractale and eventually finishing the review of TRON: Legacy that I started in December. There is an off chance I might write some original fiction and put it up here, but nothing anytime soon.

While I’m not impressed by anime as a genre, I’ve done some exploring of it of late while being hammered by two bouts of bronchitis and have found some ones I deem of merit.  Fractale has already been mentioned.  Others of recent vintage are:

Shinryaku! Ika Musume aka Squid Girl – A humanoid girl with tentacles for hair decides to invade the surface in revenge for ocean pollution.  What follows is a very funny, silly and sweet comedy anime that is utterly charming.  Suitable for most ages; beware of squidding amounts of punning and the most annoying theme in history, degeso.  I can’t wait for season two.


The Japanese preview for Season 1

Kimi ni Todoke Seasons 1 & 2 – A letter perfect adaptation of the brilliant manga about the slow moving and heartfelt romance between an ostracized shy, scary looking girl and the most popular guy in her high school class.  While it sounds formulaic, the characters are fully realized and utterly believable which is a true rarity in anime. Sawako and Shouta are one of the best couples in any form of literature and the supporting cast are wonderful in their own right. There is no way I can heap enough superlatives upon Kimi ni Todoke.  The concentrated goodness in it is the perfect antidote for when the poisons of the world get you down. Suitable for 14 and up.


The opening theme for Yumekui Merry

Yumekui Merry aka Nightmare Merry – Magical girl falls on high school boy and adventures ensue.  I can’t stand this kind of thing and it has been done many times in the genre, but this series is different.  Discordant camera angles, surreal imagery, and a disturbing soundtrack make this a very stylish and attractive anime but it really shines with its likeable and stereotype defying characters. Merry herself is a marvelous character, a rare feminine tomboy instead of a tsundere (look it up).  She also is a lost and amnesiac dream demon trapped in the real world fighting her way to get back home.  The dream world segments are very reminiscent of Tim Burton films. Very talky and slow compared to most fighting animes. Suitable for older teens and up, not aimed at kids.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Long Hard Road

It has been a hard winter, in regards to weather and health.  So it is my hope that spring finally arriving will herald better times for me, at least in being more productive.  I’ve had to shift priorities to seeing to my health and trying to put my house in order since last year. So far, results have not been good in either case.  Having to face the fact that my health will probably decline, not just stagnate as I get older has been a sobering realization.

One of my major flaws is that I always put others first and don’t care very much about my well being.  A person can get away with that as long as they have resources of health, wealth, and a network of friends and family to rely on.   Since I’m at a deficit compared to normal people on all those things, my reserves are totally shot with no easy or fast replenishment possible.  In the past few years I’ve had to give up a lot of volunteer work because I’m simply unable to do it anymore.  In fact, all my activities have taken large hits.  So my task now is having to learn to be more selfish in order to survive and be able to do anything at all for others.

Galling doesn’t even begin to represent how this makes me feel. It isn’t easy to go against one’s nature, especially when the only comfort in life is found when helping others.

But life isn’t about the way you want things to be, rather it is about dealing with the way things are.  Like having to go to the dentist’s office today for another unpleasant cleaning…

…at least it isn’t root canal.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Fractale 11 Final Episode Thoughts

Or who is Phrynne?

Fractale was an interesting and underrated anime series that finished this past Thursday.  I’m not going to give a comprehensive review, but I am going to write about the final scene because I’ve seen a great many misinterpretations of it on the Net.  So if you don’t want spoilers on this complex and flawed series that fell short of being a masterpiece, don’t read this post!

Series home page on Hulu. Warning, not for kids. Older teens and adults only due to mature themes.

Final episode on Hulu.













The last scene is of Phrynne awakening after being in a coma for one year after merging with Nessa, the regressed mind of the original Phrynne who lived 1000 years before.  Her immediate dialogue, tone of voice, and expressions seem to indicate that the Phrynne we followed in the series is dead and her mind replaced with Nessa’s.  Clain’s reaction to her is the same as the viewer’s and while showing relief that he hasn’t lost both Phrynne and Nessa, there is a tinge of disappointment in his face and actions. When he addresses her as Nessa and she responds with something like an affirmative, the boy starts going down the stairs to fix breakfast. 

That’s where downloading the fansub to double check made a huge difference for me, as the clearer audio showed a distinct change in Phrynne’s tone as she urgently calls out to Clain to thank him -- then tells him she loves him too and had from the moment they met. That wasn’t Nessa speaking, folks, that was the poor tortured soul of the girl we met in the first episode finally feeling able to confess her heart to the boy she loved.

Clain’s reaction of dropping his MP3 player and rushing to embrace her was another big indication that he recognized the girl he loved wasn’t gone. The tears that he hadn’t been able to shed as he watched Phrynne sacrifice herself to restart the Fractale system flooded out as he embraced the surprised girl.  Watch how she slowly returns the embrace and a smile crosses her face.  Nessa would have been exuberant and childish in response, but this isn’t what happens.

It took a third viewing and a fansubtitled version for me to clear up what I feel was a bad translation by Funimation.  In it, Phrynne essentially calls Clain a baby in a softly affectionate barb, showing some of the prickliness of the difficult girl we had followed for eleven episodes.  In the streamed translation, it was translated more as an astonished reaction to his crying, but the voice actress’ tone doesn’t correspond. That did not help with such a complicated resolution! As the show ends, Clain is beginning to laugh between sobs as the camera pans over the the group photo while zooming on the two.

To me that clinches that Phrynne is still Phrynne with a heavy dash of Nessa now in her personality.  Instead of Nessa replacing her like she feared so greatly, Phrynne is instead completed by the ten year old’s mind.  All the wounds to her soul have been healed between the fusing with Nessa and the love she had found.  Clain hasn’t lost the love of his life after all and the promise that the three would be together forever was fulfilled.

In fact, all three wishes by the main characters were granted.  The first was Phrynne’s wish that Clain would regain his smile and smile forever. The second was Clain’s wish that he wouldn’t be lonely anymore.  The final one was Nessa’s wish that the three would live together forever.

In the end, Nessa was the catalyst that allowed both Phrynne and Clain to be healed and completed.  The possibility that the original sexually abused sixteen year old Phrynne is finally getting her chance at a life is there too, since Nessa was her regressed mind recorded a millennia ago. 

To my relief, this was a kind and good ending for Phrynne when it was looking like a tragic outcome was guaranteed.  She turned out to be the main character of the series as I had suspected from episode one.  The opening sequence and a translation of the main theme contained major clues to that as the theme is about a prickly and untrusting girl, a hedgehog. 

Unlike most people in online forums discussing the show, I’d picked up that Phrynne had been sexually abused from the very beginning.  Having been around women that had that happen to them, the telltales were obvious in the girl’s behavior and statements.  I found myself worrying over this fictional character a great deal, which is a credit to the makers of this series.  Maybe it was that or the anniversary of my mother’s death which that caused me to shed tears at the ending, but this flawed series will always be a favorite of mine.

While the series wandered a bit in the middle, I loved it, especially after that ending.  I wrote this on the fly, so I hope it is coherent enough for those who watched the series and if you haven’t… 

… Why did you just read this?