Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series.
I’ve never watched Yu-Gi-Oh before, but if you’ve ever seen DragonBall-Z and you’re passingly familiar with Pokemon then you’ll pick right up on what the show is about. The Abridged Series is a homemade (?) parody of the absurdities of Yu-Gi-Oh and all those others childrens’ game-promoting anime shows. There seem to be 11 episodes in the Abridged Series so far, each roughly four minutes long. They remind me a lot of Shamus’ comics in the sort of self-referential humor they employ. Great fun, I was laughing out loud at every episode.
Halo Wars: A real-time strategy game in the Halo universe. I’m not a huge Halo fan but I do think it is one of the best console shooters out there. I have to wonder what sort of liberties they’re taking with the background of the Halo setting, though. According to everything I’ve read about the game universe, the Covenant aliens completely overwhelm the Humans militarily. It’s also a bad sign that it’s not being developed by Bungie.
I don’t recall where I originally found this article by John Derbyshire. It concerns the religiously-motivated enslavement of Christians by Muslims on the Barbary Coast from roughly 1500 to 1800 AD.
The effect on the European coastal populations was dramatic. Entire areas were depopulated. The author even sketches out an argument that the culture of baroque Italy was determined in part by a turning inward from the terrors of coastal life — from the “fear of the horizon” that afflicted all the regions subject to slave raiding. He tells us (he is professor of Italian Social History at Ohio State University, by the way) that to this day there is an idiom in Sicilian dialect to express the general idea of being caught by surprise: pigliato dai turchi — “taken by the Turks.” The distress of those left behind, deprived of a husband of father, is painful to read about.
The blog 2Blowhards is one of my regular reads, and I occasionally peruse the blogs in the Blowhards’ sidebar. One of the ones that I checked on a semi-regular basis was Sixteen Volts, a blog by Ilkka Kokkarinen, apparently a professor at a university in Canada. So, through the magic of the internet, I was reading a blog by Dennis Dale. I don’t recall how I ended up there, but I ran across this sermon by Dale, on engagement with the world. Then, once I had finished the sermon, I reloaded the page and noticed this post on “Suppressed Voltage.” Apparently, Sixteen Volts was shut down by the Political Correctness police, and Ilkka’s blog now only displays a message that has been fabricated by the brownshirts and posted under his name:
A reader asked me not to delete this blog so that some spammer wouldn’t grab it. So I will leave this post as the tombstone for this ugly little blog that brought out the vilest in me and has now left me in deep shame for the rest of my life. Always remember this, kids: you may not really be as witty and edgy as you think you are; the Internet amplifies everything, especially your most ridiculous stupidity, so don’t go writing callous things even during those days that you happen to feel depressed and like shit and you need that feeling of not caring; limits usually exist for a good reason; your imaginary enemies are not the same as the real breathing people; groups are not monolithic so that all their members equal the one you hate the most and who may or may not return the favour; and finally, remember that regardless of their labels, all people are individuals with feelings, fears and hopes that you really, really should always respect.
Steve Sailer has an excellent writeup here.
Via Aaron Haspel I find this little gem. A few months ago I downloaded, via iTunes, a series of poetry readings held at Yale or Princeton or some-or-other place. Sadly, I just can’t bear to sit through them, so tedious and dreary they are, and so horrid the poetry. Good to know that I am not the only one who finds the literary social cult to be the anathema to good. A money quote from Aaron on his Ideal Reader, Conrad Roth: “we both regard “poetry-lovers” as the very people from whom poetry urgently needs to be rescued.”
Typical internet-stumbling also caused me to run across this little rant by Andrea Harris on the Oprah-fication of literature. Inspired by this Udolpho rant, the one thing in particular that strikes me about Harris’ rant is the eerily accurate characterization:
And paired with this evil liquid substance is the older, yet no less poisonous, potion that is traditional female morbidity. Too many women of my acquaintance (young and old) are addicted to those creepy medical shows that seem to only feature children with deforming diseases or people who have been in horrifying disfiguring accidents. … The morbid nightmares that too many women are attracted to all have the smell of hospitals and the grave about them.
Curious, yet seems to be true. I think I prefer the realm of the living.