Friday, October 24, 2008

I knew Japanese baseball was different...

...but I had NO idea how different!

Okay, that clip might be a bit misleading. While I was in Tokyo I had to opportunity to attend a Yomirui Giants (aka. Tokyo Giants) game where they played the Hanshin Tigers. My friend is a life-long Tigers fan and thus we sat in the Hanshin section. It was an awesome experience and I HIGHLY recommend you attending a game if you are ever in Japan and have the opportunity. The Hanshin fans make Red Sox fans look down right sedate:

I have to say as much fun as the Hanshin fans can be, the best part of the game has to be the beer vendors. Much like at any sporting even here in the States there are people who are tasked with wandering the stands selling refreshments. Unlike ANY sporting event I have attended here, the vendors selling beer were all women:

Very attractive young women. With mini-kegs of beer on their back so EVERY beer is a draught beer. Japan, why are you so awesome?

And just to ruin things for you, here is you humble host enjoying the game:

As always you can click on the images to kaiju-size them.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Word of the Week - Precondition


1. Something that must come before or is necessary to a subsequent result; condition: a precondition for a promotion.
2. to subject (a person or thing) to a special treatment in preparation for a subsequent experience, process, test, etc.: to precondition a surface to receive paint.

From Unabridged (v 1.1)
I bring this up because of this exchange (which takes place beginning at about 5:14 of the embedded video below): (Well since I can't get the damned embedding thing to work you will just have to check out the video here at Sorry about that.)

Williams: Gov. Palin yesterday you tied this notion of an early test to the new president with this notion of preconditions that you both have been hammering the Obama campaign on. First of all what, in your mind, is a precondition?

Palin: You have to have some diplomatic strategy going in to a meeting with someone like Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-Il one of these dictators that would seek to destroy America or her allies. It is so naive and so dangerous for a presidential candidate to just proclaim that they would be willing to sit down with a leader like Ahmadinejad and just talk about the problems, the issues that are facing them. So that's some ill-preparedness right there.

What Palin* is refering to is Obama's oft repeated willingness to meet with leaders with whom the U.S. is at odds without preconditions to the meeting. This first came up during the Democratic primary races, specifically at the YouTube/CNN debate on July 23rd, 2007 where Stephen Sorta asked:

In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since. In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

Obama responded:

I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous. Now, Ronald Reagan and
Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire. And the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward.

I would like to think that it is clear to any rational human being that Obama, should he become President, would not meet with these people without having any sort of diplomatic strategy. The mere suggestion of that is so, pardon my French, fucking silly that it boggles the mind that someone would even suggest it. Of course any meetings with the leaders would be only one part of a larger diplomatic initiative. What Obama meant is that he wants to get away from the tactic we have been employing in the Bush years of flat-out refusing to talk to people until they give in to our demands, something Iran is going to now attempt. At that point what is the point of even talking with them? We have gotten what we want and they have given up everything. It is a wonderful negotiating tactic when it works and one I engage in on occasion, however when it does not work one of two things happens. Either there are no negotiations or the party which made the demand and then backed off begins at a disadvantage, having already essentially lost one round.

It would bother me that the Republican ticket still tries to make hay out of this whenever they are given the opportunity, and I am fully aware that Brian Williams opened this door for Palin and there is a world of difference between that and bringing it up during campaign stops, however in this case Palin again demonstrated her, to use her phrase, ill-preparedness for assuming the office for which she is, according to a shrinking number of Republicans, qualified.

It also makes me smile that one could, were one of the mind, to turn this around and point out, as McCain has attempted to do with Obama, perhaps Palin does not know the difference between strategy and tactics. The short version being that preconditions, or lack thereof, is a tactic used in a diplomatic strategy.

* I am still trying to get to a Plain/pale in comparison joke but it is not working out well.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Star(t) Trekkin'

Over the last few weeks the Paramount publicity machine has been indicating that the veil of secrecy surrounding the JJ Abrams helmed re-boot/imaging/wtf-ever-we're-not-calling-it-this-week of Star Trek was going to begin to slip a little. All this is being done in order to build up to the release of the first full trailer for the movie which is going to be attached to the new Bond flick hitting theaters November 7th. (This news has moved the Bond flick from the "maybe I'll make it to the theater to see this movie" to "I guess I'll go either Saturday or Sunday." I am also hoping there will be a Rain Fall trailer attached to the movie but I suspect that is still going to be a Japan-only thing for a while.) The first major step in peeling back the veil was a release of several pictures to several different websites including UGO, AICN and The second step was a cover story in the issue of Entertainment Weekly which should be hitting the stands today.

I think we all know what is really going to happen as this veil is pulled back for the fans.

That's right.

Let's get ready to RAMPAGE!

Okay, maybe there was too much build up here because I really just want to cut to the chase. I thought it would take a little time for a fan to go for the most obscure canon complaint possible. Boy howdy was I wrong. It took less than a day for someone to go FTW on this one; and I quote, "I just realized, doesn’t Captain Kirk have hazel eyes? Did they decide he didn’t look good with contacts on."

I was hoping to have a little fun with this but seriously? Four comments in and we're already talking about the color of Kirk's eyes? Oh Trek fandom how I underestimated your powers. I promise it will never happen again.

Also, for the record, I am TOTALLY looking forward to this movie and am firmly planted in the, "Let's wait and see how it is before we get the torches and pitchforks," camp.