Monthly Archives: February 2018

Crazy Japan Times Mere Blather Invasion: Winter Olympics 2018 Day Eleven-or-so Edition

Japanese television and online streaming have been dominated by Yuzuru Hanyu’s gold medal. Luckily, there are a few other things happening, although the Japanese press doesn’t seem to care.

Yuzuru Hanyu: A-

Shoma Uno: A-

Yuzuru Hanyu’s performance: A

Seeing Yuzuru Hanyu’s performance 24 hours straight: F

Simulcast failing in final 30 seconds of Hanyu’s actual performance: F

Men’s Free Skate: B

Winnie the Pooh: A

Eeyore: A+

Flinging Pooh: A

Flinging poo: F

Going there: D-

Hitting the easy ones: F

Totally Not Russian Russian team’s frown at their scores: A for not pretending.

Jin Boyang’s genuine joy: A

Genuine joy: A+

Possibility of genuine joy: C-

Japan finishing 1 and 2: A

Brian Orsor finishing 1 and 3: A

Brian Orsor’s income the next few years: A+

Javier Fernandez: A

Running real-time Technical Score: B

Potential for butt-hurt: F

Potential for controversy in a corrupt competition: F

Canada versus Sweden in Curling: A

Sport with the best sounds: Curling.

Samples:
Whatter ya’ tryin’ fer?
Never touch it. Never touch it.
Never. Never. Never.
It’s straight. It’s straight.
HARD! HARD! HARD!

Isabel Atkin: A

Great Britain’s first skiing medal: A

Fact that it come from an American: A+

Fact that it’s bronze: C

Delayed Medal Ceremony: D- for I just won a gold medal; let me get drunk NOW.

US Slopestyle ski suits: Maroon and Gray: B-. Maroon and Blue: A

Worst team uniforms: Norway’s curling trousers: F for wearing ugly Christmas sweater as trousers.

Watching three sports streams at once: E for Elvis.

Bobsled superimposing other sled to show actual victory distance: A for Really? Two-hundredths of a second is THAT far?

NBC screwing up Woman’s Super-G call: F

Ester Ledecka: A

Her Super-G run: A+

NBC: D-

All NBC announcers: F

US media in general: F

That’s all for now. More as it is discovered/created.

Crazy Japan Times Mere Blather Invasion: Winter Olympics 2018 Middle-ish Day Edition

As we approach the halfway point of the 2018 Winter Olympics we are now dealing with an odd new controversy.

For reasons your humble editor doesn’t fully understand, Great Britain is a leader in Skeleton, or high-speed head-first ice tube sledding. It turns out this may have something to do with their ability to bend the rules on helmet and suit design.

Cheating: F

Bending the rules: B

Skeleton: A as it is the only ice tube sliding event your humble considers to be an actual sport.

Hurtling head first down an ice tube on an unsteerable bit of tubing and plastic: B

Great Britain: A-

Mikaela Shiffrin: A+

Collapsing in the snow: A for Adorable.

Giant Slalom: A

Slalom: B-

Super Giant Slalom: A-

Czech Republic’s migraine aura ski suits: F

Mexico’s Day of the Dead ski suits: A+

The fact that whenever a movie visits Mexico, or any place in Central or South America it is always during the Festival of the Dead: C- for cliche.

USA vs Slovenia in hockey: C for choke.

USA Vs Slovakia: A

Event that sounds dirty if you mispronounce it: Women’s Aerials

Women’s Aerials: B

Aerials in general: B

Yuzuru Hanyu: A-

Figure Skating: B-

Ski Jumping: B

Japan’s current performance in a sport it used to dominate: D-

Snowboard Cross: B-

Snowboarding: push still have never tried it.

That’s all for now. More as your humble editors learns it/makes it up.

Crazy Japan Times Mere Blather Invasion: Winter Olympics 2018 Gold Medal Edition

On this day in the Olympics, whatever day it is, politics continues to influence events, but more on that in a bit.

 

Not realizing this is the 20th anniversary of this bit of nonsense: D

Realizing it’s the 20th anniversary: F+

Competition your humble editor should hate but can’t stop watching: Curling

OAR vs Norway Curling Mixed Doubles bronze medal match : A-

Your team being called OAR: F

Winning to get bronze: C

Losing to get silver: F

Canada vs Switzerland Curling Mixed Doubles gold medal match: A

Calling the match when you’re way behind: A-

Keeping hope alive: A, except when it prolongs an ass-whoopin’, then F

Killing hope dead: F, except when it shortens an ass-whoopin’, then A

Gettin’ your ass whooped: F

Abandonin’ “G” in your writin’ as a mere affectation: F

Favorite Curling announcer exchange:
Announcer 1 (with English accent): “Beautifully played again.”
Announcer 2 (with Irish accent): “Delightful really.”

Accidentally watching NBC’s Olympics coverage: F

NBC’s Coverage: NA for lack of actual sports coverage.

Coming out bigly against your country’s leaders on the world stage in a country that discriminates in the exact way you’re complaining about: F

Backtracking even more bigly: F

 

Wanted attention: B-

Unwanted attention: F

Dragging politics into the Olympics: F

Believing the Olympics isn’t political: F

Basically repeating same comment as before: F, for lazy.

Slopestyle vs Halfpipe: Slopestyle by far.

Shaun White: A

Ayumu Hirano: A-

Shaun White with short hair: push

Chloe Kim: A

Jamie Anderson: A

Seventeen-year-old competitors claiming two medals: A

The Olympic medal designs: A.  Your humble editor likes that design and the detail on the edges

 

Crazy Japan Times Mere Blather Invasion: Winter Olympics 2018 Day Something Something

This report poses some odd problems for your humble editor: The actual Olympics has been fairly boring and what wasn’t boring involved politics and not sports. Although politics is what your humble editor has longed long to avoid, a couple minor exceptions have been made.

Also, one of the things your humble editor has written about before is how young reporters discover old stories that they think are new. In this case, your humble editor has noticed a great deal of attention being given to the “bulges” of men’s luge competitors. This controversy takes your humble editor back to the early days of this bit of nonsense and the first Olympics report card from Nagano in 1998: Look here and scroll down to  “Bulbous Naughty Bits”.

Rereading  yourself and realizing you’ve changed your own rules on Opening Ceremonies: F

Rereading yourself: D-

Realizing you MAY have improved: B+

 

A few more grades:

Eurosport network playing “I want it all, and I want it now” for an event dedicated to peace and sportsmanship: C-

Believing the notion that the Olympics is actually about peace and sportsmanship: D-

The return of the North Korean all-woman synchronized creepy cheerleading squad after 14 years: B-

What will happen to the cheerleaders if they talk about what they’ve seen once they get back to Commie Hellhole(tm): F

(Note: According to the AP, part of the previous group of cheerleaders blabbed about the non-Commie Hellhole(tm) nature of the non-Commie Hellhole(tm) world and suddenly disappeared from the world stage. Scroll down a bit here and there’s more information.)

Commie Hellholes(tm): F

The US media officially losing its collective crap over head of Commie Hellhole’s(tm) propaganda group: F

Difference between “smile,” “smirk,” and “side-eye”: C-

Excessive use of(tm): F

Being too lazy to use the actual character: F

US Snowboard Team’s boring outfits: C

Red Gerard’s gold medal: A

Red Gerard’s Slopestyle run: A+

Phrases that sound dirty but probably aren’t: slopestyle run

Snowboard term that should be a band name: “Goofy Foot Rider”

Mirai Nagasu landing the Triple Axel: A

Endless Japanese coverage of Mirai Nagasu landing the Triple Axel: D

Spell check hating Axel vs Axle: C-

Not finding anything dreadful to mock: D-

 

More to come as your humble editor finds time to know it.

Crazy Japan Times Mere Blather Invasion: Winter Olympics 2018 Reports

It’s an even numbered year and that means it’s time for your humble editor to emerge from hibernation and write a few comments and give a few grades.

But first, a few basic grades:

Winter Olympics: A
Summer Olympics: A-

Olympic Mascot Soohorang
This is a pass/fail category with the only requirement being “Is it better than Izzy the Atlanta 1996 Mascot?”
Verdict: Pass

White tigers: A for cool.

White Tiger (band): D

Glam Metal bands: D-

Shockingly Obscure ’80s band references: F

Opening Ceremony:
Automatic F as all opening ceremonies are glorified Super Bowl half-time shows. However, it was relatively short so F+

Justin Timberlake: D-

Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime show outfit: F for WTF? (Camo, vomit, and an orange bandana?)

Video Game cut-scene intros: B

Video Game cut-scenes involving kids: C-

English announcer phrase that sounded dirty but probably isn’t: “Sliding Center”.

Parade of Athletes:
This year’s Olympics parade of athletes poses an interesting problem in that 1) the Winter Olympics is happening in a place where it’s actually winter, and 2) it’s happening in a place where it’s actually cold. This has had a horrible impact on opening ceremony fashion as many teams were dressed for warmth not style.

Dressing Practically: A

Having to comment on practical dress: D

Athletes in Winter Olympics complaining that it’s cold: C-
(Normally this would be an F but given that the last Winter Olympics was based at a beach resort your humble editor has been forced to adjust things a bit.)

Lion King sequence: F

Lion King sequence including insects: A

The Lion King: B

The circle of life: A

The Circle of Life (song): C

Having The Circle of Life stuck in your head: F

Drum Sequence: B-

Light Show: B-

Fireworks Dance at end: B+

Fireworks: A

Asian love of fireworks: inexplicable. (Note: your humble editor suspects that someone told Kim Jong Un that nuclear weapons are just big fireworks and that’s why he’s in such a hurry to build big ones.)

Mocking nuclear holocaust when you’re only a couple dozen miles from a major target: A

Ghana: Outfits: B- Dancing: A (Note: a great many teams spent a lot of time dancing. Why?)

Ghana Chocolate: A

Disco dancers along athletes’ path: C- (but they were the warmest people in the stadium.

Disco music: C

Dancing to disco music: D

Dancing in general: D

Making your stadium the shape of a pentagon just to be different: A

Being the guy suck in the seat at one of the five corners: F

The Pentagon: C-

Nigeria: B+ Odd colors but loved the green head covers.

Netherlands: B- Great color but boring.

New Zealand: A for All Black. (They win the Ninja Chic Award.)

Denmark: A- for basic black and white.

Germany: B+ which, for Germany, is technically an A. The tan coat was a bit bland but they looked sharp rather than embarrassing.

Suddenly the world doesn’t make sense.

Latvia: A The touch of pattern on the hats and sleeves worked well.

Malaysia: C- for the odd tiger back.

Mexico: B for stealing the ninja look from New Zealand.

Malta: Flag Bearer: A; Uniform: B

USA: Jackets, boots, and hats: A
Fringe leather gloves. Fringe. Leather. Gloves. Leather gloves with fringe:
E for Elvis.

Bermuda: A+ Shorts in winter. (Then again, after Sochi, they were probably a bit confused.)

Belarus: B- Great pattern on scarf lost on red jacket.

Bolivia D for DayGlo green and red trousers.

The abundance of DayGlo green at this ceremony: F (This was almost as prevalent as basic black.)

Bulgaria: B For some reason the DayGlo actually worked.

San Marino: F for migraine aura pattern.

Serbia: F as they appeared to be wearing lobster bibs.

Lobster: A

Rock Lobster: B-

Bibs: C-

The B-52s: B

B-52: A if they’re on your side. F if not.

Sweden: A (from a distance) B- (up close)

Switzerland: A Liked the red on gray, even though many teams sported the same look.

Slovakia: A  The black and white fleeces were sharp.

Excessive use of “sharp”: D-

Slovenia: F Appeared to have been dipped in a vat of toxic green paint.

Iceland: A (Flag bearer only.)

Ireland: F The green and blue meant the Irish were competing for worst look.

Azerbaijan: A as the black trench coats were cool.

Trying to spell Azerbaijan: F

Googling Azerbaijan to confirm how to spell it: B

Albania: A but only for the double headed eagle scarves.

Great Britain: A   Liked the splash of red on blue.

The Olympic Athletes from Russia: B+

Marching under a different flag: F

Cheating on drug tests: F

Peeing in cups: D

Japan: C- Painfully bright red jackets with white boots. Hmmm.

Jamaica: A for uniform with dark green trousers: F for uniform with toxic green trousers.

Georgia: A+ Your humble editor’s favorite as they actually brought some color and style.

China: C for boring.

Czech Republic: A for the impromptu wave. B- the white on blue outfits.

Kazakhstan: F for the ugly blue gradient trench coats.

Canada: B for Boring But Better Gloves than USA.

Fringe Leather Gloves. Really?

Colombia: Hats A; ponchos C- for the trash bag chic.

Togo: F for Toxic green plus mustard. Probably the ugliest uniforms.

Toxic Green: D

The Toxic Avenger: B

Tonga: B

Pita Taufatofua: A Once again he wins the opening ceremony wearing only a grass skirt and body oil.

France: B Simple but stylish. Head band in lieu of hat: C

Finland: Men: A Women F or the Aqua plus vomit jackets.

Korea: Boring

United Korea: A

Korea united under capitalism: A

China imagining a united capitalist Korea: F

North Korea turning South Korea into a communist Shit hole: F

Sanctimony over alleged use of phrase “shit hole”: F

Speeches: F

Eating supper during speeches: A

Pumpkin Gratin: A

Anyone Singing “Imagine”: F for Kill it With Fire. (Imagine there’s no singer/ who sings that song again. / You may say I’m a dreamer / but it would be way awesome. / I hope some day it will be stopped / and the world will be awesome)

British announcer implying that singing the song was a bad idea: A-

Torch Lighting: B

Flaming Snake Thing: B+

Black Snake Firework: A (at age two); F (Any age above two.)

Kim Yeon-ah: A

That’s all for the opening ceremony.

More to follow as your humble editor finds time to watch actual sports.

 

Miscommunication, Confusion, and Shell Shock

The new guy was warned but thought he could handle it. When he came back he appeared to have been handled.

For at least this week, maybe more, we are a colleague down at the school where I work. Because of this we’ve had various substitute teachers rolling in and out of the office. The first was assigned, for his first class, one of the worst classes in junior high school first year. He came back looking worse for the wear but went away with some energy so the day wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Today there was a bit of confusion as many people rushed in to assist the newest substitute and give him different visions of what he should do. The results were a bit backward from what was expected by the lesson plan that no one seemed to notice. It’s not a fatal problem, but it does complicate speeches and the final exam.

For my part, I’ve been staying out of the mess. My voice would only succeed in complicating things further. I’ll help out with writing exams if necessary but the day to day stuff I leave to people who are much more competent than I am.

Things should start to settle down tomorrow when the first sub comes back. At least, that’s the hope.

Pens and Blades and Other Distractions

I had a few things planned but then I got a free pen and that led me to play with knives.

Because I took a survey, I scored a fee pen from a maker I’ve written about before. I inked it up and played with it a bit but won’t review it yet. (Initial Impressions: Where it’s good it’s very good, but where it’s bad it’s horrid. Also, one thing that looks horrid actually works pretty well.)

One of the problems with it was the aluminum cap didn’t work well with the delrin threads. Because of this I had to apply some silicone grease to make things move smoothly.

Oddly, this made me think I needed to do maintenance on a few knives.

I broke out three of my knives and with two all I did was clean them up and apply a bit of lube. The cheaper one I actually disassembled, cleaned, and lubed I then attempted to put it all back together. This all took longer than I expected as things neither came apart nor went back together smoothly or quickly. It all works now, but it’s cheap enough that it will eventually fall apart. I mostly bought it as something to take apart and tinker with.

Tomorrow I’ll have other things planned. I wonder what I’ll end up doing instead.

Not Another Apocalypse

I knew that what I was doing was probably a bad idea, but I did it anyway.

We got snow last night but it didn’t do much more than get things wet. I went out to meet a fellow pen addict and minutes before I left, as I was preparing to leave, it started raining. Even though there was a chance of snow, I wore sneakers and a lighter coat.

A few hours later it started to snow. It didn’t cause any train delays and I was able to get home with no problems. The walk from the station was more annoying than wet. The streets were still clear, although snow had begun to build up on lots and cars.

Near our apartment, there is a 30 yard long strip of sidewalk that apparently gets no sunlight this time of year and it still has snow from last week’s snowpocalypse. It also had a thin layer of freshly fallen snow that made the trip down the hill “interesting” at times.

In front of our apartment, a layer of snow reached several feet into the parking lot and the ended abruptly in a clear line as it reached the part of the lot that actually got sunlight.

Today it wasn’t that bad, which is good as I had to do some running. Now I’m hoping for no snow until after Valentine’s Day. (More on that in a future post.)