Wind Power!

Japanese men in body sling swimsuits

Don’t be hypocrites! You have your own ugly men in body slings.

The Japanese do a lot of silly things. Some of them we just don’t understand. We know a lot of our readers like anime and manga (and some not so stable ones like the bizarre fetish-porn that  scares the shit out of us). Many of them like cosplay (OK, we actually think cosplay can be pretty cool – again, without the creepy stuff). The stereotype of crazy camera clicking tourists are true (prove us wrong). Almost everything in Japanese cinema and TV shows involves a lot of yelling and over-the-top antics. Their version of Mr. Rogers involves a train that turns into a massive robot when its horn toots, and Rogers-san screaming “Satsumaimo” indiscriminately and frequently throughout the show. He does wear sweaters but he also wears a schoolgirl skirt. But when it comes to innovation in technology, they’ve got some real stuff going on.

Jim Carrey and Sacha Baron Cohen are weirdos

Ah,but you are wrong (speaking as Americans). Jim Carrey is Canadian and Sacha Baron Cohen is English. We don’t claim them.

We have always been fascinated by wind power and wonder why it has struggled to find a substantial space at the energy production table.  Sure, sure, oil and coal try to crowd everyone out, but they can’t do so indefinitely and there are plenty of places where the investment is sustainable energy is already practical today.

Glenn Beck criticizes alternative energy pundits

Don’t have much wind power in your area? No problem, we’ll send you Glenn Beck. He actually expels a lot of hot air out both ends.

So, anyway, the Japanese are at it again. This idea has been in development for a few years, so we’re hoping it works as well as projected and that it comes to fruition soon. Aren’t they cool?! Imagine one of these off your coastline or in the fields behind your house.

Japanese concept of wind les turbines

Wind lens turbine grid off the coast of Japan

Anime girls love sustainable energy and they think you should too!

There are those that are opposed to wind turbines. Some bitch about birth deaths (which is a legitimate but highly over-rated concern that can be addressed by some basic problem solving) and unsightly views (c’mon, really?). Here are our takes on these issues:

  • Even if the numbers of wind turbines increased ten fold, they would still kill substantially fewer birds than your damn house cat and his buddy in the alley. Reign in your cats and support programs to take care of and reduce feral/homeless felines instead of shaking your fists at the skies. Bats and sea birds are other concerns but studies show that placements and types of wind turbines can significantly reduce the number of deaths. And don’t underestimate the power of species adaptation.
  • Seriously? Get over yourselves. Smog and polluted land or water are supposedly more attractive? It’s subjective we suppose, but there is an incredible elegance and artistically sublime power that we see when we look at wind turbines. Regardless, they certainly aren’t ugly to anyone but the tasteless. There, we said it.

As for another not-so-whacky idea, we’d love to see a program that captures wind power in urban areas. Most cities are net energy consumers by far. Wouldn’t it be nice to initiate full blown (ha!) programs like roof-top gardens, buildings skinned with solar collection panels, and …  wind turbines between buildings. Seriously, have you walked around the corner of a skyscraper and been virtually knocked to the ground? The buildings create incredible wind tunnels that could easily rotate turbine arms.

Spider-man falling from the skyThe only downsides to this plan that we can think of are (a) pigeons would die by truckload (which may not be a bad thing if one considers that there are so many of the birds that they could feed the homeless and office workers that like street vendor food, thereby also reducing reliance on resource consuming transport of foods from outside the cities), and (b) Spider-man would have to be much more careful.

What do you think? Wind power thumbs up? Wind power thumbs down?

Ralphie’s all growed up. Hiya Glenn Beck!

A Christmas StoryIn the glut of holiday-related movies that spew out of Hollywood every year, a few have managed to get into an elite canon of films that gets obligatory airtime each holiday season. Every year a couple dozen movies from yesteryear find their way around the dial (you see kids, back in Grandpa’s day, the television had a device mounted to it that required manual rotation to engage programming on other channels; the dial typically went from 2-13, which was overkill since there were only 5-6 stations, tops, that actually aired anything – yes, this is why Grandpa is now diddling himself sitting in the rest home with a remote that gives him access to over 120 channels of basic cable.  Anyway…).

It’s a perfect franchise, holiday movies. About 11 months have gone by since the last time a holiday reveler saw his or her or its preferred shows, so just enough time has passed to feel like it’s appropriate to watch them again. A lot of holiday movies just disappear into the fog of ages as most movies do, but every so often something clicks and a new classic is added to the pantheon of movies we will see repeated every year.

What sets movies like these apart isn’t necessarily that they are good films. In fact many are so damnably formulaic (and the formula is rotten) that one has to wonder how the heaven or hell it has any sort of appeal whatsoever). Elf is incredibly predictable (did we really think James Caan’s “Walter” would not give in to holiday cheer?), but it stimulates very well that illogically gushy part of us. Just the right amount of likable characters and humor or sentimentality, and, voila, another hit in the making. For our part, we hate The Santa Clause. But, we begrudgingly admit that the formula works. It’s sappy in an happy/silly kind of way so the kids love it and the parents without taste (too many to count) enjoy it with them. On the other hand, the abortion that was How The Grinch Stole Christmas! (2000 with Jim Carrey) is so confusing, offensive, and scary that no kid wants to touch it and unlike some more mature fare that at least parents can enjoy, it completely misses the mark. On the other hand, the book by Dr. Seuss and its 1966 made-for-TV adaptation are worthy of the long-lived love for them.

[Side note: Speaking of Christmas movies made for grown-ups, here are some of our favorites: Bad Santa, Die Hard, Scrooged, and A Christmas Carol (2009, this time with Carrey getting it right).]

A Christmas Story (1983) is one of those movies that had just the right mix of everything to get into the elite club. Taken as a movie on its own, perhaps it’s just cute and amusing, but tied to the holiday, it has such an endearing and enduring appeal. The characters are enjoyable, the premises are funny, the narration is a brilliant touch (and maybe precisely the right gimmick to make the movie so good), and there are so many clever tag lines that you’ll hear “You’ll shoot your eye out!” and “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine. Ovaltine? A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch!” Ah, it never gets old.

Anyway, to the point. The main protagonist, Ralphie, looks like Glenn Beck. That’s pretty much where this post was going.

A Christmas Story

See, what happened was, Ralphie eventually did shoot an eye out. The BB went into his brain, poisoning his mind. He grew up deranged and changed his name. Behold Glenn Beck.

Young Glenn Beck as Ralphie from A Christmas Story

I'd like a spot of paranoia and bipolarity with my Ovaltine please.