Author Archives: suburbanbanshee

Anime Stuff I’m Watching

Here’s some shows I may be following this anime season. They’re mostly on

Btw, I gather that Nadia: Secret of Blue Water is airing on Hulu. If you like steampunk on the ocean, this is a must-see from the late 80′s-early 90′s.

The File of Young Kindaichi Returns: Mystery! Adventure! Intrigue! Teenage detectives! What more can you want on Saturday morning?

Captain Earth: A boy is destined to drive a mecha and defend the Earth. Yawn. Except this time, the familiar story is being told in a stylish, mysterious way that promises a lot of new excitement. The characters seem very real and involving, and it’s beautifully drawn.

Chaika: The Coffin Princess: In the year 1604 in an alternate world, a short Russian girl princess/wizard wanders the world with her magical giant gun, strapped on her back in a coffin-shaped case. She finds help from brother and sister saboteurs-for-hire. The first ep features a terrifying fight with a crazy unicorn.

Mushi-shi (continuation of the original series) If you like Japanese folklore and a setting in a slightly alternate present, this is your show. The mushi-shi is a sort of monster (mushi) wrangler who deals with supernatural problems. In the first episode, we learn about how much mushi love good sake. (Unfortunately I’ve never seen the original series, but hope to fix that.)

Fairy Tail Season 2: The continuing adventure of an all-mage guild in a world full of mages with strange powers. This year, we’re apparently heading up towards another apocalyptic war with/of dragons, and the guildmembers raised by dragons are obviously a bit perturbed about this….

Baby Steps: The tennis adventures of a grind with no life, who’s never played sports or had hobbies… until now. Actually very good at showing the mindset of over-preparers, especially the way people assume they’re “just smart” when often their real quality is insane perseverance at learning what’s hard for them. Obviously there is something to be said for this quality in athletics.

Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutaro: The retro 1950′s/1960′s adventure of the strongest man in Japan — basically, John Henry as a slacker. He doesn’t even bother to graduate from school despite advanced years, works a bit on the side, and terrifies everybody he runs across while also helping an old man he likes. But his mother can’t support him and all his siblings forever. So he apparently finds a career as a sumo wrestler sometime after the first crazy episode, but will have to learn to take sumo seriously in order to win the love of his crush, the beautiful schoolteacher Minami. Features a gorgeous enka song duet for the opening themesong.

The World Is Still Beautiful: A teenage island princess with rain powers is to be married off to an Alexander-analog who’s conquered most of the world, in willing exchange for her tiny country’s continued sovereignty. But the princess was overly optimistic about her welcome and has sent her faithful retainers home, the Alexander-analog is barely pubescent, the emperor’s advisors want the princess dead, and the Sun Kingdom doesn’t really have much rain for the princess to have power over. However, she also has the gift of making friends, so maybe it will work out.

No Game, No Life: The adventures of a brother and sister team who never go to school, sleep as little as possible, and use games to hold off the problems of life. But they’re really good at games — so good that another world’s god comes to fetch them to his world where all status is controlled by playing games for stakes agreed by the players. Suddenly these nobody kids are on course to take over another world… and they have no desire to ever go home. A surprisingly dark show, for what’s admittedly wish-fulfillment fantasy.

Continuing from last season:

Yowamushi Pedal: The roadrace cycling adventures of a geek who’s always biked a lot for utilitarian reasons but didn’t think of it as a sport. Until now.

Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time — comedy shorts about a schoolgirl who sits at the desk next to a boy who does crazy stuff. Just barely plausible stuff. It will make you feel that you wasted your time in school by being so uncreative… and whether the show’s artists were up to stuff like this.

There’s probably more stuff. Basically, I tend to watch some shows in batches or marathons, and other shows one-by-one.

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Murder Ballads Down by the River

One of the most popular themes of the murder ballad (English, Scottish, American, folk, bluegrass, blues) is that of the man who takes the girl who loves him for a walk down by the river, and kills her. There are various circumstances and reasons, but the river is where you do it. Instant body disposal, you see.

The last couple weeks in Dayton, there’s been a case of the disappearance of a woman and her little boy that’s been in the news. Last week, her body was found down by the river, and yesterday, they released the information that she’d been shot in the head. Her boyfriend was a felon, and the police went to talk to him; he fled and then shot himself. There’s a second girlfriend around, who apparently helped drain the woman’s account of money. The little boy hasn’t been found, but is presumed dead. You have to wonder if they were holding her son hostage to make her keep her mouth shut and give them access to her bank account.

Down by the river, just a little walk.

I’m pretty sure that this woman was (very briefly) one of my coworkers last summer, before she got a better job and left, and I got another job and left. If this was the same person I’m thinking of, she seemed like a very levelheaded young woman, not the sort to get caught up with a criminal. But of course plenty of people leave their problems at home and don’t bring them to the job. Her bakery coworkers also thought highly of her, when they spoke to reporters while she was still missing. They knew something was wrong when she missed a shift, because she was always on time, ever since she got the job last summer.

They’re still looking for the body of little Zaden. Please pray for the success of the searchers, and for the souls of everybody caught up in this sad little ballad.

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Red Moon Tonight!

A golden or orange harvest moon is widely seen as beautiful, but apparently some people get freaked out by a red harvest moon. Shrug. The ancients were more familiar with the vagaries of the sky than we are; not every red moon is supposed to mean something bad.

Anyway, for all your conspiracy needs, here is the shocking interpretation of prophecy by St. Beatus of Liebana, following the ancient Fathers!

“The Sun shall be darkened and the Moon made blood-red, and stars shall fall from heaven.” (Mt. 24:29, Vetus Latina)

All this is the pretense of holiness, by those who will have been detected in their pretense by the saints. And when they are separated from [the saints], they are said to be “darkened” and to “fall.”

Clearly, “the Sun” and “the Moon” and “the stars” is the likeness of holiness — that is, hypocrisy and false religion. But one sees St. John placed them all in our heaven — that is, in the Church. For stars that are under heaven cannot see into the higher heaven where He called them in the beginning. This is done in the Church, in a way. In the last coming of the Antichrist, truly, the Moon that he says is “made blood,” the Church of the Saints, is shown to shed [her] blood for Christ. He says that “stars” fall — that is, the disturbed faithful.

In other words, same as any other day in the Church.

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Sungenis vs. Mulgrew and Krauss

Robert Sungenis, once a mild-mannered Catholic convert and apologist/traditionalist, is now a sorta-schismatic, geocentrist, anti-Semite, and Holocaust denier.* Also, if I recall correctly, he attempted to take off with Catholic Answers’ name and reputation, many years back. You would think this would be enough in the way of misbegotten hobbies for one man’s lifetime.

But noooooo.

Sungenis decided to produce a film about geocentrism. Instead of finding some celebrity willing to do this (you know there have to be some — Muslims, mostly), he decided to hire celebrities by fooling them about the kind of movie he was making.

So in a fit of geek-eat-geek, he picked Star Trek actress Kate Mulgrew and physicist Lawrence Krauss. That Michio Kaku guy also.

Well, Mark Shea posted about this months ago and David Palm has been documenting the project as things were announced, but now the rest of the world apparently knows. I guess Mulgrew’s agent didn’t get right on that like he should have, although I’m sure Sungenis paid promptly and thus seemed honest enough.

Don’t expect anything more now or soon from Shea, because his mom has been dying and now has passed away.

* On the bright side, Sungenis isn’t a sedevacantist. He’s apparently always getting into fights with the “there is no legitimate pope now” crowd. Of course, knowing people weirder than yourself can make you think you’re more moderate than you are.

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30 = Youth and Inexperience?

In her recent interview with Wired, Elizabeth Bear claims that eight years ago when she quit SFWA in a huff, she was young and inexperienced and therefore she should be forgiven.

Elizabeth Bear was born in 1971. Eight years ago, she would have been 35.

You’re not “young” at the age of 35. If you’re inexperienced and have no judgment at the age of 35, it’s not something that excuses you with a light laugh. It makes it worse. “Why, yes, I managed not to grow up and have any sense, even when I had become middle-aged!”

However, it’s also pretty clear that it’s not really any kind of apology for youthful stupidity. Back in the day, SFWA resisted pressure from her far left faction. Now it doesn’t, so it’s okay to join up.

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Little-Known Biblical Expressions We Use #1

“till it’s coming out of your nose.”

“I have heard you say, “Who will give us flesh to eat? it was well with us in Egypt.”

“So the Lord may give you flesh, and you may eat — not for one day, nor two, nor five, nor ten, no, nor for twenty, but even for a month of days, till it comes out at your nostrils, and becomes loathsome to you; because you have cast off the Lord, who is in the midst of you, and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we come out of Egypt?”” (Numbers 11:18-20)
In Latin, it’s “donec exeat per nares vestras.”

In Hebrew, it’s pretty much the same thing, except in Hebrew. Very exact translation.

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Spring Anime 2014!


For those of us who like mystery animes and mangas, the longrunning comic Kindaichi Hajime Jikenbo (The Casebook of Kindaichi Hajime) is a big favorite. It’s written by the same brilliant comics and anime writer who brought us Detective School Q (Tantei Gakuen Q) and then figured out that writing a fine wine comic would let him drink obscenely expensive bottles on the alcohol industry’s dime.

Kindaichi Hajime is a descendant of one of Japan’s most famous fictional detectives, the post-WWII sleuth Kindaichi Kosuke (usually found dressed in a shabby kimono and a Western hat, busily trying to be underestimated — and yes, he came before Columbo). The modern Kindaichi and his childhood friend roam around Japan finding grotesque murders and bizarre thievery wherever they go. Of course he’s always underestimated, because he’s just a high school kid. There’s been multiple volumes of manga in Japan, and about 20-some were translated into English. There’s also been a live-action show or two, and an anime I’ve never gotten to see.

So yes, you’re darned tootin’ that I’m going to be watching Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Returns (Kindaichi Jr.’s Casebook Returns).

I am also going to be watching Fairy Tail‘s continuation, because it is awesome and fun, and I’ll probably start watching the continuation of Mushishi because I’m a sucker for traditional Japanese monster legends. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei looks interesting, as it’s adapted from a light novel series about a world where kids go to special vocational schools to learn to be “magic technicians.” Captain Earth Knights of Sidonia, and Black Bullet all sound like decent sf fun, and The World Is Still Beautiful is a lighthearted fantasy romance, with a princess of the Rain Kingdom moving to the Sun Kingdom to marry its too-young, too-obnoxious king. Gokukoku no Brynhildr is by the same person who wrote Elfen Lied, but apparently doesn’t feature the carnage and such; so I may actually watch it. There are several other action/adventure shows that look okay, too, and a new spinoff of the popular Soul Eater. There’s even a sort of Friday the 13th TV series remake, with a girl ghost directing living detectives to find her murderers, by carrying out a global scavenger hunt to find her lost or hidden treasures.

Also, there’s going to be a rare sumo wrestling sports anime, Akarenbou Rikishi! Matsutarou. I’m so excited to learn more about the sport! It’s also supposed to be something of a comedy, as the genial slacker Matsutarou gets some fire in his belly to become a better wrestler and move up the ranks in the sumo stable. It’s accompanied by Baby Steps, adapted from a well-loved tennis manga; Ping Pong from the guy who made Tekkon Kinkreet; and Haikyuu, a volleyball anime.

There’s a fair number of shows I might watch, but which I probably won’t. Kamigami no Asobi is an unabashed dating game adaptation for girls. It sends an ordinary high school Shinto shrine maiden into a simulated high school for cute male gods with flowing hair, so that they can get more connected to humanity by learning to love said high school shrine maiden. Yeah. Talk about dating older guys, eh? There’s also a music school dating game adaptation for girls, so anybody who wants to watch anime about male violinists with long flowing hair, who fall gooily in love with the girl protagonist — yep, you’re in luck. OTOH, there’s nothing like the sheer chocolate-covered amusement of watching older guys with impossibly good looks all busily wooing the normal girl protagonist.

There’s something for everybody, this spring!

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Pope Given a Beatus Facsimile

The Archbishop of Santander, Spain presented Pope Francis with a facsimile edition of a Beatus during the archbishop’s ad limina audience with him. The visit lasted an hour and a half.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m home sick, but I’m still grateful to the Apostle of Ireland!


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Galbitang Is Magic.

The Korean equivalent of chicken soup is “galbitang,” or short rib beef soup. Little beef bones with a little meat still on them, daikon and/or radish, glass noodles, green onions, and a whole bunch of beef broth.

Seeing as I have a bad cold, I am in a position to tell you from yesterday that it is startlingly effective. Made me feel human, anyway.

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Possibly the Sweetest Star Wars Fanvid Ever.

“Happy (We Are from Tattooine),” by the Tunisian Star Wars club. :)


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Catch a Tartar

Putin has been claiming that the Ukrainian protesters are guilty of Nazism, mopery, dopery, and threatening to cozy up with the Chechen branch of Al-Qaeda. However, what really has been going on is that the Ukrainians have been letting Crimean Tatars shipped off to Tatarstan by Stalin come back home, to areas of Crimea resettled by Stalin with Russians.

So there’s probably a reason why Russia’s biggest oil refinery, the one in Tatarstan, caught fire yesterday.

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Korean Herbal Teas

If you go into an ethnic grocery anywhere, you are bound to find all kinds of weird and wonderful things. This being the 21st century, you might want to consider bringing some kind of computer search capabilities into the mix, so that you know what the heck you’re looking at. For all of Wikipedia’s other failings, it’s surprisingly solid on explaining the ingredients of food and drink. There are also a heckuva lot of food blogs and national pride sites out there, and sometimes the food company websites have pretty informative stuff available in English.

Obviously you should be cautious when eating food from companies or sources you don’t know. Finding an exciting new allergy, side effect,* or digestion disagreement is also a possibility. If you are pregnant, you definitely definitely don’t want to be experimenting with anonymous herbal teas, because some herbs can kill or hurt your baby, and you with her.

But in general, it’s good to try new foods. It gives your tastebuds a workout, and sometimes you find something you’ll be surprised you ever lived without.

If you go into a Korean store, you will find teas in several different formats. There are loose teas bagged up in boxes or kept in jars. There are powdered tea mixes in “sticks” (those long tube things that you rip open, pour out, and throw away). There are boxes of tea bags. And there are jars of liquid or jelly-like mixes that you spoon or pour into hot water. (These are usually made from fruits or peels preserved in honey or sugar-water.)

Often, the store’s inventory will vary with the season. Right now, it’s winter and still cold, so the Korean groceries around here feature a lot of ginseng and ginger tea, citrus teas, grain teas, and grain/nut teas. They are designed to warm you up, nourish you, and help you feel better if you catch something. In the summer, the selection is a bit different, as the teas lean toward things that are supposed to cool you down or help you lose weight. (Buyer beware.) There’s also a few mysterious boxes of Solomon’s seal tea and of Chinese/Korean herb tonics that are apparently pretty standard and harmless (although Solomon’s seal is one of those things you’re not supposed to take when pregnant without doctor’s advice, if you have blood pressure stuff going on). But phew do they look weird!

Heck, they even have pine needle tea. Yeah, it sounds stupid now, but if you were starving and really needed nutrients and greens, you’d be boiling pine needles too. OTOH, being nostalgic and drinking it on purpose seems excessive, though I bet it makes the house smell good and it’s supposed to be good for breathing problems. Some people swear by it, though, and it’s a fairly common herbal remedy around the world. I think it also is supposed to clear you out, so it’s not a casual drink. (But eating or drinking pine needles is VERY BAD for pregnant women or pregnant animals.)

I like ginger tea a lot. Combining it with lemon and honey is good, but you can also get it in Korean stores combined with rinds of the super-sour yuzu fruit (“yuja” to Koreans, “citron” on English-language labels). I got my mom some quince tea of this kind, and she enjoyed it.

However, my curiosity overcame me this time, and I bought a bunch of sticks of yulmucha, a powdered tea made from nuts and Chinese pearl barley (aka “adlay” or “Job’s tears” – not the kind they make into rosaries, but a relative). It’s supposed to have more protein than most grains. What is it like? It pretty much tastes like Cream o’ Wheat with nuts and sugar. I liked it, but it really did come across more as a liquid food than a drink. Maybe I’ll add milk next time.

Korean Tourism article on medicinal herbal teas. Follow the tabs to articles on every other kind of tea.

Korean tea article on Wikipedia. Leads to a lot of individual tea articles.

Places in Seoul to go drink herb teas. This guy’s a big fan of “omijacha,” five-flavor fruit tea made from the schizandra berry. He also points out that yup, a lot of Korean porridge* ingredients and garnishes are also used in Korean beverages. The line between meal and drink can be blurry!

Twenty Delicious Korean Drinks: A CNN travel article covering alcoholic and soft drinks as well as teas. Great pictures. Includes an explanation of corn vs corn silk tea. Describes the perils of soju.

Korean jujube fruit tea recipe with lots of pictures. I knew that jujubes were a fruit that grows on trees, but I didn’t know they were somewhat similar to dates in their taste. I have obviously been propagandized by the candy!

* Linden tea is harmless, relaxing, nostalgic, popular with old folks in Europe, and gives a very small percentage of people heart palpitations. This is why you look up possible side effects when eating or drinking herbal teas.

** Korean porridges include up to seven parts water to one part grain. Cooks were trying to stretch the food available. A grain tea stretches the food even farther, of course.

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Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition

AKA “the pen is mightier than the gun… sometimes….”

You may have seen the story about Ricky Wagoner, the Dayton RTA busdriver who was attacked by three men wearing dark hoodies and bandanas over their face, two apparently gangmembers and one trying to become one. The busdriver was out at 5 AM driving an electric trolley bus, and something went wrong with the trolley or the engine-thing. So he got out to adjust it, and the three guys came up to him, saying to each other that this was the “polar bear” (white person) the wannabe needed to kill so that he could join the gang.

Since this was at 5 AM, and no adult gangmember is up at that hour, one must assume that these were high school kids who had to get up for school. (Whether or not they actually go.)

Anyway, they came up to intimidate the busdriver, but he wasn’t having any. (This is no surprise; RTA drivers don’t take any guff, and usually aren’t given much. They know the kids, and they know their mothers and grandmothers.) But one of the guys had a .22 gun and shot the busdriver three times. A heart bullet was stopped by a copy of a modern-language Gospel translation called The Message, but he was wounded in the leg and chest.

The RTA busdriver fought back by hitting, wrestling, and stabbing at them with his pen, and one of the gangmembers stabbed him with a knife. But eventually the “gangmembers” ran off in a fluster, dropping the gun.

Which the RTA guy picked up and fired after them, to finish their comeuppance.

There’s surveillance video from the bus, of course.

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