Monthly Archives: June 2010

I Hope This Story’s Not True.

But apparently it is.

The FBI gave that murderer, van der Sloot, $25,000 as part of a sting operation, and then lost him. That’s how he got to Peru to murder that other young woman.

If that plotline had come up on a TV show, I would have turned off the TV in disgust, because something like that would never really happen.


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Animation Movie Meme

Via The Kawaii Menace.

X what you’ve seen
O what you saw some but not all of
Bold what you particularly liked
Strike-through what you hated

[ X ] 101 Dalmatians (1961) The book was better.
[ O ] Alice in Wonderland (1951) Probably I’ve seen the whole thing, but don’t remember it. Man, Alice in Wonderland movies are all so creepy. No, thank you.
[ X ] Bambi (1942) The book was better. But man, what a brutal movie.
[ X ] Cinderella (1950)
[ X ] Dumbo (1941)
[ X ] Fantasia (1940)
[ X ] Lady and the Tramp (1955)
[ X ] Mary Poppins (1964) The book was better.
[ X ] Peter Pan (1953) Well, some of the book was better.
[ X ] Pinocchio (1940) The book was kinda creepy.
[ X ] Sleeping Beauty (1959)
[ X ] Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
[ X ] Song of the South (1946) I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this one, but my memory isn’t strong.

[O] The Aristocats (1970)
[X] The Black Cauldron (1985) The book was lots, lots better. The parts from the books were good.
[X] The Fox and the Hound (1981) Yes, it’s manipulative. So what?
[X] The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
[X] The Jungle Book (1967) The book was better, but I don’t care.
[X] The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
[ ] Oliver and Company (1986) Was this a Disney movie? Really? Are you sure?
[X] Pete’s Dragon (1977) Yes, it was manipulative and cruddy. It was also transcendent, in the good parts, on the big screen. And I like Helen Reddy, so y’all just shut up now.
[X] The Rescuers (1977) I liked it. Needed more cats and less humans, though.
[X] Robin Hood (1973) Awesome and fun. Also, a very daring use of a bawdy song’s melody in a kiddie flick. Never trust a folksinger….
[X] The Sword In The Stone (1963) The book was sometimes better and sometimes worse. Best known for giving Tolkien nightmares about a Hobbit/LOTR movie.

[X] Aladdin (1992)
[X] Beauty and the Beast (1991) I liked it a lot. But Robin McKinley’s book was better, and Disney never paid her any bucks….
[O] A Goofy Movie (1995)
[ ] Hercules (1997)
[ ] The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
[X] The Lion King (1994) I’ve seen this about a zillion times, but only because I worked in the kids’ department of a store that was selling this tape.
[X] The Little Mermaid (1989) Not really worried about literary purity on this one.
[O] Mulan (1998)
[X] Pocahontas (1995) I think I’ve wiped this one from my mind. I hope.
[X] The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
[X] Tarzan (1999) Not bad. The TV series was better and Burroughs-ier.

[O] Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
[ ] Bolt (2008)
[ ] Brother Bear (2003)
[ ] Chicken Little (2005)
[ ] Dinosaur (2000)
[X] The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) My goodness, do I love that TV series.
[ ] Fantasia 2000 (2000)
[ ] Home on the Range (2004)
[X] Lilo & Stitch (2002) I felt validated as a traditionally built woman, too. :)
[X] Meet the Robinsons (2007) Haven’t read the book.
[X] Treasure Planet (2002) I’m one of the two people on earth who liked it, I know.

[ ] A Bug’s Life (1998)
[O] Cars (2006)
[X] Finding Nemo (2003)
[X] The Incredibles (2004)
[X] Monsters Inc. (2001)
[ ] Ratatouille (2007)
[X] Toy Story (1995)
[X] Toy Story 2 (1999)
[X] Wall-E (2008)
[X] Up (2009)

[O] All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)
[X] An American Tail (1986)
[ ] An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)
[X] Anastasia (1997) Totally historically wrong, but I liked it. Somehow.
[ ] The Land Before Time (1988)
[ ] The Pebble and the Penguin (1995)
[ ] Rock-a-Doodle (1991)
[X] The Secret of NIMH (1982) Why didn’t they stick to the book????
[ ] Thumbelina (1994)
[X] Titan AE (2000)
[ ] A Troll in Central Park (1994)

[ ] The Adventures of Mark Twain (1986)
[X] Chicken Run (2000)
[ ] Coraline (2009)
[X] Corpse Bride (2005)
[O] James and the Giant Peach (1996)
[X] The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
[ ] The Puppetoon Movie (1987)
[X] Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

[ ] Antz (1998)
[ ] Happy Feet (2006)
[ ] Kung Fu Panda (2008)
[ ] Madagascar (2005)
[ ] Monster House (2006)
[X] Over the Hedge (2006)
[ ] The Polar Express (2004)
[X] Shrek (2001)
[X] Shrek 2 (2004)
[ ] Shrek The Third (2007)
[ ] Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)
[X] How to Train Your Dragon (2010) I liked it. So shoot me.

[ ] Arabian Knight
[ ] Back to Gaya
[X] The Last Unicorn (1982)
[ ] Light Years (1988)
[ ] The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
[ ] Persepolis (2007)
[ ] Planet 51 (2009)
[ ] Waltz With Bashir (2008)
[X] Watership Down (1978)
[ ] When the Wind Blows (1988)
[X] Yellow Submarine (1968)

[X] The Cat Returns (2002)
[ ] Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
[X] Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) Sigh. Why didn’t he stick to the book? But I knew he wouldn’t….
[X] Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
[X] Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)
[X] Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
[X] My Neighbors The Yamadas (1999)
[X] My Neighbor Totoro (1993)
[X] Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
[0] Only Yesterday (1991)
[X] Pom Poko (Tanuki War) (1994) My love for this one is incredibly deep.
[X] Porco Rosso (1992)
[X] Princess Mononoke (1999)
[X] Spirited Away (2002)
[X] Whisper of the Heart (1995)
[X] Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea (2009)
[X] Panda! Go Panda!
[ ] Tales from Earthsea
[ ] Horus, Prince of the Sun

[ ] Millennium Actress (2001)
[ ] Paprika (2006)
[ ] Perfect Blue (1999)
[ ] Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

[ ] She and Her Cat (1999)
[X] Voices of a Distant Star (2001)
[ ] The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004)
[O] 5 Centimeters per Second (2007)

[X] Akira (1989)
[ ] Appleseed (2004)
[X] Appleseed: Ex Machina (2007) -
[X] Arcadia of My Youth (U.S. Title – Vengeance of the Space Pirate) (1982)
[X] Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2003)
[X] The Dagger of Kamui (U.S. Title – Revenge of the Ninja Warrior) (1985)
[X] Dirty Pair: Project Eden (1987)
[ ] End of Evangelion (1997)
[ ] Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz (1998)
[X] Fist of the North Star (1986)
[X] Galaxy Express 999 (1979)
[X] Ghost in the Shell (1996)
[ ] The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)
[X] Lensman (1984) Not bad, if you don’t expect it to have Doc Smith connections.
[X] Macross: Do You Remember Love (U.S. Title – Clash of the Bionoids) (1984)
[ ] Metropolis (2001)
[ ] Neo-Tokyo (1986)
[ ] Ninja Scroll (1993)
[ ] Origin: Spirits Of The Past
[X] Patlabor the Movie (1989)
[ ] The Professional: Golgo 13 (1983)
[X] Project A-ko (1986)
[X] Robot Carnival (1987)
[ ] Robotech: The Shadow Chronicle (2006)
[ ] Silent Möbius (1991)
[ ] Space Adventure Cobra (1982)
[X] Steamboy (2004)
[ ] Sword of the Stranger (2007)
[ ] Unico and the Island of Magic (1983)
[ ] Urotsukidoji: The Movie (1987) Never will I see this of my own volition.
[X] Vampire Hunter D (1985)
[ ] Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust (2000)
[X] Wings of Honneamise: Royal Space Force (1987)

[ ] American Pop (1981)
[ ] The Animatrix (2003)
[ ] Beavis & Butthead Do America (1996)
[ ] Cool World (1992)
[ ] Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
[ ] Final Fantasy: Advent Children (2005)
[ ] Fire & Ice (1983)
[ ] Fritz the Cat (1972)
[X] Heavy Metal (1981) I saw it in college. Don’t feel obliged to see it, especially if you’re female.
[ ] Heavy Metal 2000 (2000)
[ ] Hey Good Lookin’ (1982)
[ ] Lady Death (2004)
[ ] A Scanner Darkly (2006)
[X] South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)
[ ] Street Fight (Coonskin) (1975)
[ ] Waking Life (2001)

[ ] Animal Farm (1954)
[ ] Animalympics (1980)
[ ] Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon The Movie (2007)
[X] Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
[X] The Brave Little Toaster (1988) Awwww.
[X] Bravestarr: The Movie (1988) This is actually a better TV series than you’d think.
[ ] Cats Don’t Dance (1997)
[ ] Care Bears: The Movie (1985)
[X] Charlotte’s Web (1973) The book was not better.
[ ] Fern Gully (1992)
[X] G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987)
[ ] Gobots: Battle of the Rock Lords (1986)
[X] He-Man & She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword (1985)
[X] The Hobbit (1977)
[X] The Iron Giant (1999)
[ ] Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)
[X] Lord of the Rings (1978)
[X] Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1992)
[ ] My Little Pony: The Movie (1986)
[X] Pink Floyd’s The Wall (1982)
[X] The Prince of Egypt (1998)
[X] Powerpuff Girls: The Movie (2002)
[X] Quest For Camelot (1999) Nothing at all like the book. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, ’cause it was one heckuva weird book.
[ ] Ringing Bell (1978)
[X] The Road to El Dorado (2000)
[ ] Rock & Rule (1983)
[X] Space Jam (1996)
[ ] Starchaser: The Legend of Orin (1985)
[ ] Superman: Doomsday (2007)
[ ] The Swan Princess (1994)
[ ] Transformers: The Movie (1986)
[X] Wizards (1977)
[X] Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
[ ] Wonder Woman (2009)
[ ] Balto (1995)
[X] Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) Too manipulative. If you’ve got horses, you’ve got drama already.

[ ] 9 (2009)
[ ] The Ant Bully (2006)
[X] Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
[ ] Bee Movie (2007)
[ ] Beowulf (2007)
[ ] The Chipmunk Adventure (1987)
[X] Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
[ ] Felix the Cat: The Movie (1988)
[ ] Flushed Away (2006)
[ ] Happily N’Ever After (2007)
[ ] Hoodwinked (2005)
[ ] Horton Hears a Who (2008)
[O] Ice Age (2002)
[O] Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)
[ ] Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)
[ ] Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001)
[ ] Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)
[ ] Open Season (2006)
[ ] Pokemon: The First Movie (1999)
[X] The Princess and the Frog (2009)
[ ] Robots
[ ] The Rugrats Movie (1998)
[ ] Shark Tale (2004)
[ ] Shrek Forever After (2010)
[ ] The Simpsons Movie (2007)
[ ] Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)
[ ] Space Chimps (2008)
[X] The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2004)
[ ] The Tale of Despereaux (2008)
[ ] Valiant (2005)
[ ] We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993)

[ ] Mind Game
[ ] The Secret of Kells
[ ] Shonen Sarutobi Sasuke (U.S. title “Magic Boy”) The first anime I ever saw.
[ ] Princess Arete
[ ] Urusai Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer
[ ] Cat Soup
[X] Summer Wars

Man, I am like the emo girl.


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More Practical Time Travel for Sailorette

(Well, Foxfier, really. But the old handle seems more appropriate to this purpose.)

The US Navy in 1915, at the National Film Preservation Foundation. Via Ace of Spades.

When you get to the part where they hoist the stores on board, watch for the guys swimming and diving off the ship.

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Translation: “Campi Flos et Lilium”

Translation of a medieval sequence written for the feast of St. Brigid of Kildare.

Campi flos et lilium,
Alta linguens* collium,
Petit ima vallium,
Collecturus lilia.

* Probably linquens, “leaving”. Otherwise it would mean “licking”.

Flower and lily of the field, *
Leaving the high hills, **
She begs from the lowest valleys
The lilies He will gather.***

* The Song of Songs’ “flower of the field and lily of the valley”, and Jesus’ “lilies of the field”.

** Brigid and its cognates all mean something like “high hill”

*** This whole poem seems concerned with Kildare nuns and monks, and those who consider the saint their spiritual mother. Lilies are symbols of chastity and specifically virginity.

Una inter varia
Rosa pigmentaria
Invenitur, balsama
Superans fragrantia.

Alone among the diverse
Perfumer’s scents, the rose
Is found, the fragrance
Better than balsam.*

* This references 4 Kings 20:13, “varia pigmenta”, as well as the praises of Mary as sung in a sequence by Adam of St. Victor called Salve, Mater Salvatoris, which contains the lines: “cella pigmentaria” and “et balsamum/Superas fragrantia”.

Haec est rosa, quam collegit
Rex caelorum et elegit,
Quam libido non confregit,
Sacra virgo Brigida.

Here is the Rose whom He gathered,
The King of Heaven, and chose;
Whom desire did not break apart:
The sacred virgin Brigid.

Castitate singularis
Aetas floret puellaris,
Morum normam, stellam maris,
Vita sequens rigida.

Singular in chastity,
Her maidenly lifetime blooms:
Like the Pattern of morals, the Star of the Sea,*
Following a rigid life.

* She modeled herself on the Virgin Mary.

Cuius caro illibata
Est virtute exornata
Et caelesti gratia,

Whose untouched flesh
Is adorned with virtue
And heavenly grace,

Quae cervicem venenosam
Anguis trivit et exosam
Habet in munditia.

Whom the neck of the venomous
And hateful serpent tread down,
And kept down in cleanness.*

*Another Marian/Christological simile.

Virgo casta et perita,
Secum ferre non oblita
Oleum in vasculo.

Chaste and expert virgin,
She did not forget to take with her
Oil in her little vessel.*

* From the parable of the ten wise and foolish virgins.

Et ad thronum introducta
Summi regis, non seducta,
Sponsi digna osculo.

And she is led in, to the Throne
Of the Highest King. She was not led astray;
She is worthy of the Bridegroom’s kiss.

Castitatis praefert palmam,
Terris vitam ducens almam,
Dei plena gratia.

She carries the palm of chastity,
Leading to a fostering life on earth
Full of grace of God.*

* Probably a reference to the legend that she miraculously nursed the Child Jesus, or to the role of Kildare as a “foster mother” to Ireland and to its monk and nun residents.

In hac valle faecis sita,
Caelo, terris inaudita,
Fecit mirabilia.

For those in this vale of dregs, *
Unheard on earth, in heaven
She did miracles.

* Well, normally it’s “valley of tears” or “of woe”. But here it’s dregs, or possibly feces.

Caeco visum, claudo gressum
Reddens, atque vi opressum
Salvans de miseria.

The blind to sight, the lame to walk
Returning them, and also those oppressed by force
Saving them from misery.

* Stuff that Jesus did, so His disciples can too.

Pulsa lepra iam leprosa
Munda carne fit formosa
Eius beneficio.

The leper touched while leprous
Becomes clean of flesh and shapely,
By her kindness.

Surdus audit, Christo credit
Infidelis, sanus redit
Pulso mentis vitio.

The deaf hear, the unbelieving
Believe in Christ, the healthy get back
Their minds, evil driven out.

Mutat virgo rerum formam,
Supra usum atque normam
Novas praestans species.

The virgin changes the form of things
Beyond the use and pattern
Of their kind, supplying something new.*

* Reference to her various miracles of changing X into Y, like water into beer, and of miraculous multiplication of food, drink, butter, et al.

Alteratur ac natura,
Quam non prima genitura
Dedit neque series.

May it be altered, and its nature,
When she, not the first begotten,
Was yielded, but not the rest.

* I don’t know what this is about. Possibly the way she lived, but the queen’s child who was born first died (only to be miraculously revived by the baby Brigid)?

Plura manu salutari
Fecit, quam nos quimus fari
Virgo sancta Brigida.

By her hand, more than enough salvation
She made, as we can tell:
The holy virgin Brigid.

In qua suum struxit templum
Ipsam nobis dans exemplum
Ille verus Idida.

In that temple she herself built,
Giving us herself as an example,
That true Idida.*

*Jedidah, mother of King Josiah the reformer.

Talis extans, o benigna,
Summi regis sponsa digna,
Assis tuis famulis,

O benign one, so outstanding,
Worthy spouse of the Highest King,
Be near your servants,

Qui te laudant venerantes,
Tua festa celebrantes,
Admiranda saeculis.

Who venerating you, praise you,
Celebrating your feast,
Admired one of the ages.

Nos, qui sumus in hac faece,
Reducamur tua prece
Ad supernam patriam,

We, who are in these dregs,
May your prayer restore
To the homeland above.

Ubi Christus, verbum patris,
Suae castae prece matris
Nobis donet gloriam.

Where Christ, Word of the Father,
By the chaste prayer of our mother
Grants glory.

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The Feast of Saintly Poets

June 9 is the feast day for saintly poets, apparently. Three of them passed to heaven on this auspicious day.

St. Ephrem of Syria, a Father of the Church, was known for his great hymns and for their beauty. He used them to counter catchy songs written by heretics. His sermons and letters also weren’t bad, but it was his hymns that are still sung today.

St. Columba of Iona is one of the patron saints of poets, and also can be considered a Father of the Church. Born a prince but choosing a vocation as a monk, he stealthily copied a psalmbook imported by his beloved master and started a war over the copyright. In shame at the deaths he’d caused, he left Ireland for bare Iona, founded its famous monastery, evangelized the Picts, and became one of the architects of Western civilization — not forgetting to write a few verses along the way.

Blessed Jose Anchieta, the Apostle of Brazil, was also the Father of Brazilian Literature. When held hostage for five months by the Tamoyo tribe, this Jesuit priest had nothing better to do in his spare time than to compose (and memorize — very Irish!) a 4,172 line poem praising the Virgin Mary. He also wrote dictionaries and grammars of tribal languages and wrote plays (very Jesuit!) in four languages for the native schoolkids — while not busy converting tribal people, of course.

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Warrior Princess/Anchorwoman?

Years ago, I posted about the Nairs of Kerala, people of a warrior caste who historically taught the women to fight, and who have their own martial arts traditions.

This morning, I woke up in the middle of the night, but was awake enough to notice that the anchorlady of ABC’s World News Now is a woman named Vinita Nair. As per the articles linked above, she is indeed a strikingly tall lady. I wonder if her family originally comes from Kerala?

Searching for her name reveals that she has a fairly large fanbase of guys, dating all the way back to her time as a reporter on Denver TV, and that’s she’s been anchoring this show since 2008. That’s pretty long. She got married back in 2009 to a guy named Osman Nuoz (sp?).

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Corpus Christi Procession at Emmanuel

Yup, it really was after the 5:15 PM Vigil Mass. Thanks to the heat, mugginess, and a bunch of thunderstorms being scheduled to roll through (and possibly the time change from Sunday afternoon to Saturday evening), attendance was lighter than in previous years. I figured that the beautiful street designs would be ruined, but I went anyway.

We did have a pretty good cloudburst in Dayton at 3:45 or so. But it turns out that using colored wood shavings instead of petals or sand gives your street decoration designs powers of anti-wind, anti-rain resistance. By the time Mass was over (it was fairly elaborate, and must have lasted at least an hour and a half), the sawdust wasn’t too soppy for the canopy bearers and Father to process through. It also cooled things down for a few hours, making the procession reasonably pleasant instead of unbearable.

The Corpus Christi Mass was very nice. Apparently the pastor of the parish was ill, so they grabbed the young priest from my parish, up the hill! He did a nice job and gave a good homily (despite some very determined babies). It really was elaborate. Besides deploying every server, some adult servers, priests and deacons, and the Knights of Malta, there was much incensing. (With a bizarre silent swinging thurible. I thought you wanted your thurible to clink gently, but I guess not.) There was a concert instrument piece before Mass, a good chunk of chant in Latin, some really gorgeous motets for the Offertory and Communion, and the sinking sun periodically glowed golden through the stained glass windows. I was very glad I’d gone.

The procession was also very nice. There’s something very profound about following Jesus as we walk down the street singing, and about kneeling in the street to acknowledge the Real Presence passing by. The First Communion kids were part of the procession (including the requisite petal-scattering flower girls!), and also shouted “SANCTUS SANCTUS SANCTUS!” at three designated spots. (I think that’s new.) Then we went back into church for the end of the Benediction, said the Divine Praises and sang the Te Deum in its usual translation… and went back outside, only to discover that the rain had returned. It kept off just long enough. :)

I’m often very distressed by feelings of cognitive dissonance, which one feels all the time in modern life. But there was something very right about that Mass and procession, something that lightened my heart and strengthened me.

Make that Someone.

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Belle Geste

A few of the Sisters of the Precious Blood took one of their own out to dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s to celebrate her “retirement”. But a nice lady in the next booth had no intention of letting them pay….

This is from a few months back, but I missed it then.

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Undercover Jesuit, Harper, Tennis Player??

Father Philip Evans, S.J., was apparently a man with lots of chutzpah and no nerves at all. :) He was one of the ten Jesuits based at the secret College of St. Francis Xavier in Monmouthshire (aka Cwm College). He was one of the younger Jesuits working in the area, and was only there for four years before he was caught, imprisoned, put on trial, and sentenced to death for being a priest. (It was all part of the Oates Plot hysteria — though none of them apparently knew anything about any plots, being somewhat busy with pastoral work.)

For some reason, his execution was delayed. (They had a hard time finding executioners to kill priests, in a lot of these Welsh towns.) The jailer allowed him to have a lot of leeway for recreation. (Prospective martyrs didn’t usually try to escape once caught, lest people think them afraid to die for Christ.)

So when the news came that the priest was to be executed the next day, the jailer had to go to the local tennis court to fetch him. Father heard him out, but when the jailer said he’d take him back immediately, he asked, “What haste is there? Let me first play out my game.” And the jailer let him. He also let him write a letter to his sister, who was a nun in Paris.

But apparently somebody else must not have had any sense of humor whatsoever, because they proceeded to bind the poor man’s legs with chains that were so tight it took them an hour to take them off the next day.

Nevertheless, when they came to get him from his cell for execution, they found him playing his harp, chains and all. After they got the chains off, he was hung, drawn and quartered at Gallows Field in Cardiff, on July 22, 1679.

(Something we won’t see on the Welsh Dr. Who….)

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Galaxy Express 999

As a free, legal anime viewing site, I’m all for supporting Crunchyroll. However, Sturgeon’s Law applies, and therefore 90% of everything is crud. Some of it is just stupid, some of it is morally bad, and some were just not executed well.

But in the non-crud 10%, they also have the original version of the 1978 series Galaxy Express 999.

It’s part of the same brain universe that spawned Star Blazers, aka Space Battleship Yamato; and it takes place sometime after the series which chronicled the adventures of the Earth rebel Captain Harlock and the space pirate Queen Esmeralda. So yes, it’s definitely part of the whole pulp/Gothic/Victorian revival of the 1970′s and 80′s. If you like steampunk, you’ll love this show.

In this series, spaceships shaped like trains traverse the galaxy, and nearly every unaltered human being on Earth longs for one of the expensive mechanical bodies of perfect beauty, that know no discomfort or pain. There’s a persistent rumor that the Galaxy Express 999 stops at a planet where such cyborg bodies are provided for free, so many of Earth’s poor try to save up money for a ticket.

One young boy manages to board the 999 and set off to get his robot body. Along the way, every stop of the train brings him adventure, danger, and strangely poetic life lessons. But though he loves his friends on the train, he slowly begins to realize that there’s something sinister going on, connected to this fairy tale train of glamour and romance. There are things in his past that he never knew, which make him a target. There are things in his future plans that may not turn out the way he was told….

The other interesting thing is that Tetsuro, the protagonist kid, gets up to a lot of things he Should Not Do. I mean, normally on a show for kids, a kid whose parents are cruelly wronged by a villain just has to bide his time. Tetsuro attempts to solve the problem by shooting everybody in the villain’s gang and burning the house down. However, this is certainly not an action which is free of consequences for him (though some of those consequences take awhile, as is the way of story arcs in long Japanese series). So it’s a curious blend of the normal laws of action/adventure shows and of shows written for kids that have a Moral to the Story.

So if you’re looking for a nice long show to watch this summer, you might try Galaxy Express 999. It’s a cautionary tale in some ways, but it also works as a vast strange science fiction epic. It really is Gothicky, though. I mean, in the first episode, the kid’s mother is shot by robot aristocrats who like to hunt humans. But then, Star Trek had a high body count also. Think of this as an sf/fantasy show for young adults and adults, that just happens to have a kid protagonist, and you’ll be about right.

Of course, I really loved Star Blazers as a nine year old, and probably would have been wild for this show or Harlock too. (Though it’s considerably darker than Star Blazers.) The haunting beauty of this show is something you shouldn’t miss.

Besides, there’s something very cooling in the summertime about looking at vast dark vistas of nothing but space and glowing stars…. :)

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Jeanne Robinson, RIP

Spider Robinson’s wife and co-author, the dancer and choreographer Jeanne Robinson, died on Sunday. She will be having a Zen Buddhist funeral. She was 62. Please pray for her, and for her husband and family.

She was a tough lady. She survived several bouts of cancer and serious illness, dating back to the Eighties even, if I recall correctly. Over the years, she and Spider had to ask for a lot of contributions to help pay her medical bills. This is still needed, alas.

If you enjoyed her work or want to send Spider a more practical condolence gift than flowers, Instapundit put up a link to the fundraising blog for her medical bills. There’s a Paypal button if you scroll down. (Or you could just buy their books, audiobooks, Spider’s CD, etc.)

She and Spider wrote a novel about dancing in zero-gee and the sort of choreography that could be done in lighter gravity. She always wanted to make a movie adaptation of it, but advances in filmmaking have made it more workable and fans began to demand it. This project will be going forward, according to her wishes. Here are some concept clips that they made on a zero-gravity airplane flight. This worthy art project is also still accepting donations.

(Btw, something I didn’t know till I looked at Spider’s Wikipedia page: he’s an ex-Catholic, and even discerned being a priest in a junior seminary (high school). Explains a few things in his books.)

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