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Friday, June 28, 2013

When you say "Eh" a lot, but you're not Canadian.

So, the Aardvark's hearing is going south with some speed. Not ambling south , stopping to smell the sweet clover and pet the possums, but sliding, as in the Robot Hell song from Futurama. Poor Fry.

I happened to be at Sam's Club, doing my economic duty to pump up the economy and poke Paula Deen in the eye (though I DID buy butter), and I saw an ad for a hearing aid (or a deaf aid as they say across the pond). ONLY 999.99!

ONLY! for a device that has been virtually unchanged for 50 years. (Yes, I know that some feedback filters and such have been added, but it's a mike, an amplifier, and a transducer for your output, all in a flesh-colored housing that fits over the ear.)

Just-Under-$1K. Why? It's the Evil Medical Industry!!

Wrong-o, Mary Lou. The collusion of Government and Insurance. When people paid cash for their health care, prices were lower. I remember my grandfather and his medical practice. He even kept a fully-stocked pharmacy in the back. Insurance cranked up the price "the market would bear" by spreading it out amongst all the policy holders. Hospitals and physicians raised rates to take advantage of the enormous pool of money in the insurance companies. Then Medicaid and Medicare reared their governmental heads. Between having to cover increased compliance costs, AND taking advantage of what the insurance companies were willing to pay, prices have mounted skyward. I will not deal with inflation, yet another issue aided by Fed. policies.

So bear with me if I cup my ear, or insist that you speak "at me" rather than to the air. I will not force any of you to pay for my hearing issues, unless it is just my being cranky about it all.

Where did I put that ear trumpet....

OH! Here is the Robot Hell song:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I cast a misty eye....

So, the Aardvark was perusing Lileks.com, looking at his diner postcards (I know, how can you dare consider keeping up with my fast-paced life! Blistering, it is.), and I was overcome with a dreadful case of the Wistfuls. I was seeing a bit of MY past. No, I had never been to a single one of those specific places, but I have certainly enjoyed their spiritual cousins. Pictured below is The Brandin' Iron Restaurant in Bennettsville, SC. I have eaten many a yummy meal there as a small child, and later as a young teen, I got my first Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine at their news stand. It was, as the name implies, a Western-style family restaurant, with Western appointments like steer horns, branding irons, and placemats with the branding codes. The upper image shows the restaurant. Fifties spacey-wacey glass and angles. It did not look like any of a thousand other restaurants. I miss this place. It was unique.

Bennettsville Motel/Brandin' Iron Restaurant South Carolina

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

May I see your ID?

The flailing continues. The Voting Rights Act decision has many hieing to their fainting couches. Texas immediately implementing Voter ID somehow presages the end of Civil Rights as we know it. One teeny thing escapes people.

On the federal level, voting is not a right. Never has been. There is no Constitutional right to vote in a federal election. Read and see.

Voter ID accomplishes one thing: it identifies who is eligible to vote. If you are a citizen of the US ( and meet a few criteria, like not being a felon, being of legal age, like that) you have the franchise. You may vote. If you are not a citizen, you may not vote. How simple. Race does not enter the equation. Skin color does not. Accent does not.

Are. You. A. Citizen?

This has been spun into a Dread Racist Thing by people who are aiming for a particular group to add to their rolls, on its face a discriminatory act. Projection dictates that they call anyone "racist" who oppose their ploy, which predominately targets non-citizen Latinos to swell their voting rolls. Sounds like profiling to me.

Voter ID determines whether you are a citizen. Red, yellow, brown, black or white, ARE YOU A CITIZEN, and thus eligible to legally vote?

(Clearly I am eligible to split infinitives.)

Why would you want someone to vote illegally?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


May I please suggest that if the US is a "racist nation", it is so predominantly "Up, and to the left." North of the Mason Dixon line, blue-collar racism is entrenched, and gee, Wally, it sure seems that the proggies are the ones endlessly prating about the color of one's skin. The Jacksons, Sharptons and other alleged "reverends" are generally first in line to flip that race card, generally for a profit. Democrat-instigated Jim Crow laws prevented freedmen from voting...Republican. Notable among fans of the "R" party was Frederick Douglass. (Of course, that was when the "R" actually meant summat.) Feel free to Google to prove this wrong.

Now the Supremes have said, in essence, "Enough is enough." The Southern states have been punished enough. There is no problem anymore. No poll taxes, universal franchise. And the reliable leftward drumbeat begins (though how one can beat a drum whilst flailing one's arms is beyond me). I suspect that accusations of plans for a Renewed South will be forthcoming, with plantations, and the head of the house fanning himself on the veranda, sipping a mint julep while smiling at the strains of spirituals wafting in the breeze. All the screens at the Monaco will be showing D.W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation", except for one theater for the widdle kiddles, and that will show Disney's "Song of the South."

What? You think I paint with too broad a brush? Go re-read some of the FB posts and news editorials. Frankly I think I am being quite moderate. The flavor of despair, and the concern that the Supremes have, in a single decision, set Civil Rights back fifty years, they are all there.

Why must you assume the worst? I see it as a clarion announcement of progress...in a good way. People generally get along, unless they are forced to, then tempers flare. I sussed out early on that the "N-word" (gracious, such an infantile term) was a dreadful thing to say, on par with "G.D". Self-evident truths. I also learned that being forced to "like" someone is a sham of the first order. A law or regulation might make me sit quietly on a bus with people Different From Myself, but it cannot make me love them. My heart must be changed.

I try my best to appraise a person by their character rather than lack of, or abundance of, melanin. I find the concepts of racism and bigotry to be abhorrent in the extreme. That the Son of God died for all races is a powerful argument against letting red, yellow, black or white be anything but window-dressing. To return to my thesis, I think that many, if not most, are NOT slavering to reverse the last fifty years. Unless one is bred into hate, whatever one's tint, Southerners are content to get along with folks, especially if they are get alongable. I've been betrayed by enough white folks to make me want to resign from the club. WHATEVER the color, there are lovely, lovely people, and their are consummate liars and jerks and frauds. Oh my.

I vote that we behave as though it's all better. Credits to Navy beans, it will be.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What is he talking about, again?


C.S.Lewis wrote in one of his volumes about the problem of "Christ and...", that is, the tendency to ignore the sufficiency of Jesus and his atonement, and then insisting that something else can/may be added to the mix to improve it, rather like sprinkling a touch of gunpowder onto a nuclear bomb. I have run into this personally when being invited to become a Mason. "It helps you to be a better Christian!"

Glad someone found a way to fix inadequacies in the grace of God! I'm sure the Almighty lost some sleep 'til they bailed 'im out on that one.

Occultists through the ages have found sundry schemes and scams to add nitro to the chugging engine of the Faith Once Delivered, generally Gnostic in nature (the apocryphal, pseudipigraphal bits of first century fanfic like the "Gospel of Thomas). Gnosticism revolves around the idea that to really be (fill in spiritual preference HERE____________), you need to access the Hidden Knowledge that Few Attain. Christian faith is not alone in this problem. Jewish Qabbalism is a magical mystery religion that purports to reveal the gnosis to its followers, what's really going on in the law and the prophets! The gematria, the mystic geometry of words in the Hebrew Scriptures, is a result of this thinking. Add a computer, and an End-Timey-Wimey Rapture bunny attitude, and you get the Bible Code. Hear what Wikipedia saith:

The Bible code (Hebrew: צפנים בתנ"ך‎), also known as the Torah code, is a purported set of secret messages encoded within the Hebrew text of the Torah. This hidden code has been described as a method by which specific letters from the text can be selected to reveal an otherwise obscured message. Although Bible codes have been postulated and studied for centuries, the subject has been popularized in modern times by Michael Drosnin's book The Bible Code and the movie The Omega Code.

Careful, your shopping list may be revealed for all to see in the pages of Torah, if you choose the right skips.

The Japanese fascination with the almost Christian, the Christian Other, is of interest to me. The Santa Claus on a Cross, itself apocryphal, sort of codifies the thing. Anime series like Anno's "Neon Genesis Evangelion" (probably my favorite series. Jay, pass the Tang!) reveal the Vita-mixed understanding Japanese popular culture has of Things Christian. Christ and is the order of the day. An eeee-vil cabal, Seele (say-lay) is wishing to immanentize the Eschaton, much as the irreligious Left was worried that Reagan wanted to do, between his finger on The Button and his support of Israel. They thought that by starting Nuclear War, Pres. Reagan would force Jesus' hand and bring about the Second Coming of Christ. Sweet Hal Lindsay on a stick! But there it was.

Seele wants to bring about a more Nirvana-esque end, where everyone melts into single consciousness, utilising the Qabbalistic Angels that almost destroyed the world years before.

This does not sound like any Chick Tract I've ever heard of.

"Evangelion" includes a roster of the named angel from Jewish mystical tradition, and the Christian symbolism, down to cross-shaped explosions, fills the series, but no Atonement, no Jesus, just Qabbalism with a coat of Christian imagery, and unpleasant people doing unpleasant things. But stylishly.

I have been watching "Cyber Team in Akihabara", and it too is rife with cultic pseudo-Christian themes and imagery. The 500-year-old Christian Rosenkreuz (the founder of the Rosicrucian order), disguised as a school principal, seeks to bring about conditions which shall ensure his immortality. The ensuing assemblage of robotic battle suits and mysticism is murkier than "Evangelion's" mix of Jungian psychology and Christian/Qabbala syncretism. And it has middle schoolers as the heroines, because apparently the Japanese believe that only middle school girls are capable of saving the world.


 I would wistfully suggest letting the Christian faith and teaching be allowed to be what it is, with healings, works of power, faith, hope, love, forgiveness and such, rather than the freaky-deaky cultic stuff that Japan finds to be so sexiful. I mean, Superbook and Flying House, right? Just not bashing you with a 25-pound King James, but letting the life be lived, contrasted with whatever the baddies are doing. And giant robots, 'cause they're cool!

Giant robots with crosses.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Facebook kvetching

People on Etsy and other such sites who contact me asking for a free shirt for you to review...
Yes, yes, you ARE doing it to get free stuff. I know this not through mystical 'Varky mind powers, but because I am a student of human nature. You want what I have, and offer me summat of miniscule worth in return. (Six followers, seriously?) We used to call that a "Zack trade".

And learn to spell: do not use ur texting skillz to make a business offer. U look less then professional, and it makes me disinclined to accept ur kind offer.

We did not encourage begging at Hallowe'en, either.

To put it plainly, Begging is rude; it is bad form. Not the "I haven't had a bite in days, bruvva, could you spare some change...?" type of quashing your pride just to keep your (or your family's) body and spirit together. I'm talking about Covetousness Writ Large, the "OOOH! I like what Aardvark or Adorable Foxie make. I'll beg *ahem* ASK for a sample and then make a YouTube video about it how keen it is!".

Yeah, this particular Social Phenomenon is really getting to me. It's like the cheeky kids at the con who walk up and ask "What do you have that you'll give me?" (Rummages through office box for A Piece Of My Mind....) I considered tracts, but that would be off-putting, ALMOST to the level of leaving a tract AS one's tip. Remember the "Trick Black Gum" advertised in comic books? RIOT! But no....

Please bear in mind I am NOT militating against helping someone in need. This is about people with resources who want My Stuff for nuttin' (well, what they offer amounts to zero). So yeah, quit the begging. It is mooching, and it is unsightly, a pox on the interwebs.

Stop it!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Wallah, wah-lah, wa-lah

A term which, when used, certifies the ignorance of the user.
The word you are scrabbling for is "voilà". It is Frenchie-French-French, and is "used to call attention, to express satisfaction or approval, or to suggest an appearance as if by magic" according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which is not Frenchie-French-French, and thus may be relied upon. It is similar to "viola" but is much less unpleasant.

In other news, the word is "Dalek" (DAH-lek). Not Darlek (DAR-lek) or Daylek (DEY-lek).

To paraphrase T.S.Eliot "How unpleasant to meet Mr. Aardvark...".

Monday, June 10, 2013

From my Facebook Status

As an adjunct to my bid to become "Most Hated Christian Blogger", I have to say that I cannot take seriously teaching from anyone who writes that minimizing one's taxes is somehow bad Christian stewardship, and moneygrubbing to boot, because one does not want to pay MORE to the government so that THEY may take care of the poor.

Neither our Founder, Jesus, nor his loudest mouth Paul pointed the bony finger of indignation to either disciples OR Caesar demanding more taxation so that Rome could at least provide more bread (though perhaps fewer circuses) for the poor. Boy, howdy, the Holy Spirit sure missed a trick there! No, Jesus and His gospel teaching make clear that caring for the poor is my responsibility, and yours. A cup of cold water given in Jesus' name refreshes the recipient, and gives glory to God. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and such shows practically the love of Christ in our obedience to His teaching, and our care for the needy. I do not have to pay a government official to handle the paperwork when I buy a homeless man a burger, or Widow Jones groceries for the week. Jesus' commands (!) do not require bureaucracy, they require our love and our obedience.

Here's an idea...re-read the Gospels again, as though you never read them before. Forget the pre-conceived notions. Forget the bad sermons, forget that Westboro Baptist exists. Forget all the things that everyone says to poison you against hearing How Love Works. Then try it.

It couldn't hoit.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Yeah, but could YOU sell Jammie Dodgers to a Dalek?

Photo by Laura Peterson

The Aardvark has returned from the Whoniverse. Miz Bonnie and her crack team of con-putter-onners have yet another triumph! Con Kasterborous, the Doctor Who convention just finished, was an utter success, with over 900 attendees (I expect this number to be corrected upward). The Dread Dormomoo her own self was in attendance with me, and we clothed a good percentage of that number!

Thanks to Bonnie, Lori, Judson, Stacey, and the cast of tens whose names fail me as I am just this side of coma. Thanks so much for all the effort and love you all have poured into the con for the fans of this wonderful series!

Caitlin Blackwood...what can this 'Vark do but ...SQUEEE! (But it is a manly squee, a Patrick Warburtonesque squee.)

Yeah, I know. I "SQUEEEd" like a schoolgirl.

What a sweet kid, and so taken by our area and people. Lady S, Wayne N., Kelly Yates and Michael "Bad" Wolff...a faboo lineup all around. Chez 'Vark shall wait with bated breath for the revelation of the amazing cast of CK2014. (I'm betting on Colin Baker's second cousin's niece!)

Thanks again, and blessings to you all!

Fade to black.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

To font developers who put their work up on font sites: Stop your hubris, and forget what they taught you in school. Put it up free with no strings, or else charge for it; none of this "free for personal use" foolishness. Give it away or sell it. Period. (Note: if you want to control your font, save it to a zip disk, and store it in your Mom's basement under your bed. Making money is not eeee-vil. Make some yourself, or stay out of peoples' way that are trying to.) 
  It is also just stupid. If you think that making money is wrong, or if it chaps you that someone else MIGHT make a little with your work, charge a few bucks for the font and give the money to your favorite charity. That'll teach us naughty designers.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The repentance, she BURNS!

Since my original theater viewing of the 2004 Thunderbirds movie, I have maintained an emotional distance (except for a gut-twisting disdain) for the film. My review was : "It is a good summer kids action flick. It is not a good Thunderbirds movie." Jonathan Frakes' directorial efforts were tainted by his not having watched the original, and I resented him for it. The effects work was good, but I missed Derek Meddings. CGI, really? Jeff Tracy goes on the missions? Where's the secrecy thing? A billionaire ex-astronaut leading the charge? That's a plot hole you can drive a Sidewinder through!


Yet, this bit of summer fluff kept calling me back. (I even had my number changed!) Every year about this time, I have re-watched it, a palm-tree-filled homage to the coming summer. I had never 'til yesterday watched the DVD extras. There is a Frakes commentary track, so out of curiosity, I turned it on, and now I must repent in dust and ashes. You can hear the love that Frakes had for the movie, the general respect for the franchise, the ridiculous effort put in on the project. Babyface Riker won me over. And Sir Ben Kingsley. And Lady P. and Parker. Anthony Edwards as "Brains" Hackenbacker was more than tolerable, and the inclusion of his (SURPRISE!) son Fermat was something af a treat. Bill Paxton's over-the-top "Right Stuff" portrayal of rocket jockey Jeff Tracy kinda grates, but he's the paterfamilias in a coming-of-age actioner, so what're you gonna do? The other Tracy brothers, Manny, Moe, Jack, and Algernon, could have been portrayed as well by men's department mannequins, and are as interchangeable, and are as memorable as second week culls from an "Idol" program.

Kingsley took the role as a respite from the emotionally taxing parts he had been playing. He wished to play, and is as quirky a "Hood" as you could wish. His hench-persons Mullion and Transom are as cardboard cutout as you could wish. Sophia Miles is winning as Lady Penelope (and a dish!), and Ron Cook is frankly a sorcerous embodiment of the original Parker marionette and character.

I appreciate Hans Zimmer's score, in which he respectfully reprises Barry Gray's original theme (especially in the fun opening credits), as well as making the movie music "new".

I am hugely busy, and I must awa' to print shirts, but I felt the need to express my contrition. It ain't a bad flick. The vehicle design updates make some sense, but did Thunderbird 2 have to look like the bilious offspring of the Enterprise-D?