Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Archive for March, 2015

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On Hiatus again …

On Hiatus again …

HanPopcicle

Due to time/workload constraints I have to take another two-week break from blogging. I will still try to check messages and delete spam, but I will not be posting anything new for a while.  April 15th and all that.  Ah-Ha! … but before you breathe that sign of relief… know that I may still be viewing and providing opinion on YOUR posts however. There may be some creative “re-blogging”

Idol wa Unyanya no Ken PV | AKB48 Daily

CUTE!  CUTE!!  CUTE!!!

Please see the photos and article on AKB48 Daily blog.

Idol wa Unyanya no Ken PV | AKB48 Daily.

KIMONOS ON MONDAY: Geisha on a scooter

Geisha on a scooter:

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A Geisha gets around Kyoto on a scooter!

Sorry for a only short post this week. Still, I would like to share this wonderful photo from Flickr user Futoigokiburi. Credit goes to them.

Which do you prefer, the color or the black and white?

Now I need to scoot.

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I know someone who is going to be slurping up the noodles tonight!

Happy Birthday  奥 華子  !

Oku Hanako, born March 20, 1978.

nice sweater noodles

I just wanted to be the first in my time zone to wish The Little Great One* a very Happy Birthday tomorrow!  I bet Ms. Oku-san will be celebrating with some good food.  We know that she is fond of Ramen noodles.

The date will also be the Equinox, so you can STAND EGGS UP as well!

The gentle flowers will sense the days are getting longer …

noodles

(For more Oku noodle bowl photos, see my post “The Lady Loves Her Nooodles” linked here.)

Oh, where to begin … She is a great artist, but she is little known outside of Japan … or my own mind.

how oku makes me feel

How Hanako Oku songs make me feel

Although she sings in Japanese — a language I do not understand — she still touches my soul with her songs. You know the story …

Hanako Oku is also a very gentle, kind hearted person. I think that anyone who views her webpage linked here would see that she is not your typical rock star. I’m not sure that even “pop star” is a very good descriptor for what she is.  I like to view her blog, even if I can’t understand any of it without Google Translate.  I like all the photos she shares with her fans on social media. Warm.

Oh, what I would give to be there tonight … er…tomorrow … Japan is 12 hours ahead of me … is it already then there … now I’m not sure …

I would buy the whole band a round of  Sapporos if I were there!

I bow respectfully to you Oku-san!

———————————————————————

* I know, I’m the only one who ever uses that title! 

PS: You can preview her NEW SINGLE on the music163  webpage linked here:

Not liking Major League Baseball’s proposed new rules.

baseball tobacco landscape

Major League Baseball is considering several new rule changes in order to “speed up the game”. These are currently being experimented with during Spring Training this year.

These are the proposed new rules … and some varying fan perspectives on them:

1. Hitters must keep at least one foot inside the batter’s box at all times, barring exceptions like foul balls, wild pitches, or if the umpire grants him time out.

“This one is actually funny. Have you seen these guys forget — then try to stretch one foot to the box? Does MLB have any idea how gay this looks? Don’t turn ballplayers into a moonwalking Michael Jacksons. Also, how about when a player really needs to make those deep, deep scratches down in the groin area — including inside the cup? I say let him walk another three feet away from the plate for a little privacy.”

2. Pitchers must throw a pitch within 20 seconds of receiving the ball. Clocks posted in each dugout will count down the 20 seconds.

“This is not much time at all to visualize the next pitch. Furthermore, pitchers will scarcely be able to question their own existential meaningless. The notion of the futility of our existence in a god-less university can hardly be grappled with in a twenty second time period. “Am I throwing the ball, or is the ball throwing me?” Philosophical musings on the mound will be severely curtailed under this new rule!”

3. There will be a maximum break between innings of 2:05, with a clock keeping track. Hitters must be in the batter’s box by 1:45. If the hitter’s not ready, the umpire can call a strike. If the pitcher doesn’t throw a pitch by 2:05, the umpire can call a ball.

“Does not allow enough time for players like CC Sabathia, Prince Fielder, etc. to attend — let alone load up — at the inter-inning buffet.”

4. Teams will have a maximum of 2:30 to change pitchers, with the clock starting as soon as the reliever enters the playing field.

“What if the visiting bullpen is in the middle of verbal and physical confrontation with the home fans? Not enough time to be properly heckled.  This is not nearly enough time for fans to accumulate enough stadium debris to pummel upon the incoming reliever!”

5. Teams are limited to a maximum of three mound visits per game, not including pitching changes. This applies to trips to the mound by managers, coaches, and catchers.

“I think that this rule will deeply undermine the sanctity of Pitcher-Catcher relationships. Sure, they may still maintain the physicality of their relationship – but what about the deep emotional bonding? Can the tender feelings between pitcher and catcher be fully explored in this amount of time?  These intimate relationships need time to develop, otherwise Pitcher and Catcher will begin to feel that they are only “going through the motions”.  Yes, physically they may be good together – but are they really, truly communicating on a deep emotional level?”

6. Pitchers no longer have to deliver four balls for an intentional walk. The manager can simply signal to the umpire.

“This will anger the Baseball Gods! How many times has a wild pitch occurred in this situation which advanced the runners! Then there was the famous episode where a team pretended to intentionally walk a batter when the ball count to become 3-1, then proceeded to throw two strikes for the out.  Really, this rule may also lead to too much “micro-managing” from the dugout.”

 … I can think of some other changes I would want to make.

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My advice: MLB, please do not approve these travesties of the game.

I say, bring back something like the old “Nickel Beer Night” they used to have at Cleveland Stadium if fans want to experience a shorter, but more exciting evening.

KIMONOS ON MONDAY: Kimono costume wardrobe worn in the 1980 TV series “Shogun”

Blackthorne: “Is this the Japans?”

Shogun scene mariko and blackthorne

Kimono costume wardrobe in the 1980 TV series “Shogun”:

I watched the “Shogun” TV miniseries when it first aired way back in 1980. I watched it again last year. Now that I have a much greater interest in kimonos and Japanese culture, I enjoyed it a lot more.

The show was a ground breaking series. Much as European countries knew little about “The Japans” in the 16th century, most Americans knew little about Japanese culture in 1980. (Yes, count me too.) I can recall back then when the “urination scene” and the “beheading scene” caused a lot of reaction.* The great thing about re-watching it on Netflix DVD was that there are many “making of” special features and interviews included.  One of the irritating things is that there are no subtitles or closed captions. Like Richard Chamberlain‘s “Blackthorne” character, the viewer has to keep asking “What did he say”?  The sets, the artwork and the costumes were great.  It was a treat to watch the great Toshiro Mifune as Shogun Toranaga. At one point in the interviews, the director said that millions of American men fell in love with the “Mariko” character. (Yes, count me too.) The actress Yoko Shimada was cast at the last minute, when the original actress left for a singing career. She was  fascinating to watch.

*I encourage you to watch-it-again-for-the-first-time!

Here is a snippet from the gentle musical soundtrack (from there, YouTube links to more).

Starlight: It took 34 years for me to re-view this wonderful TV miniseries! 

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Pokémon Nicknames: Vulpix and Ninetales

Vulpix and Ninetales

womenwhochangedamerica-lucille-ball

Vulpix (in Japanese: ロコン “Rokon”) is a Fire-type Pokémon. Vulpix evolves into the Fire-type Ninetales (in Japanese: キュウコン  “Kyukon”) when exposed to a Fire Stone.

vulpix to ninetales

I named a Vulpix “Lucy” after Lucille Ball, the television actress famous for the “I Love Lucy” TV series.  Lucy was the matriarch of zany comedy. This lady knew funny! The late actress was famous for her red hair (not her natural color).  I think that the red curly hair on Vulpix looks like classic Lucy.  You have to wonder if Vulpix would have fared any better on a chocolate factory assembly line.

lucy chocolates factory giphy

Like Lucy herself, that little Vulpix is also known for getting into hilarious predicaments!

vulpix christmas giphy

I named a male Vulpix Fiero after the sporty Pontiac so common in the 1980s. Oh, so common.  You kids cannot believe how many of these faux Ferrari there were back then. (Ferrari is also a great ame for Vulpix/Ninetails!!!) Everyone was buying them.  You asked someone what kind of car they were considering buying, they would always say “I’m thinking of getting a Fiero”!!!

Despite this ad, there was actually little room in a Fiero for "Hauling Oats"!

Despite this ad, there was actually little room in a Fiero for “Hauling Oats”!

They were actually a neat design. Most American cars in the 1980s were standard “box on wheels”. It is surprising that General Motors released this plucky little mid-engine sports car. (Reminds me of Vulpix!) Of course they were fun, until the mid-engine just underneath the passenger compartment would catch fire, and so many had to be recalled, but I digress once again ….

Ninetales of course, is based on the “Fox Spirit” in Japanese/East Asian mythology.

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Ninetales is more of a “strawberry blonde” than a redhead however.  I still think that Lucy, or other fire name will still work when it evolves.

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You could name them Fuego for a little Spanish fast fire flare.  Vixen is good for females. Kitsune (from Japanese mythology) is great for Ninetales. Fawkes (sounds like “fox”) might be good – after Guy Fawkes  the fire-bombing revolutionary so many rich, spoiled college students admire.  Just name your Vulpix/Ninetales after a fun and firey redhead who you know!

I am going to stick with Lucy.

What is the name for your little redhead?  Please Comment!

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NMB48’s new single “Punkish” does not need the “ish”!

scene-from-punkish-pv

Anarchy in the Namba District!!!

The new NMB48 single has a pretty good punk guitar sound! Take it from someone who actually lived during the original late 1970s early 1980s punk movement. The girls do justice to the genre.

Of course, I love any Sayaka Yamamoto performance.  Sayanee is not a noob. She has been playing guitar in live performances for several tours now.  She’s not just another pretty butt – this lady is multi-talented. I am so happy to see her in punk. So nostalgic. “Pretty-in-Punk” as we said in the 1980s. Of course she would have kicked my ass even back then.

NMB New Wave! You also get to see the other band members play instruments too. Miyuki Watanabe also plays guitar!

punkish clip

I can just imagine me instructing Milky-chan on how to play the guitar. I would sit behind her … I would be putting my arms over her arms from behind — not quite a hug – but almost. Still, I can smell her hair.  She giggles. Then I take her hand, place it on the neck staff, manipulate her hand over the frets. She asks sweetly if she is doing it right.  Of course, Milky-chan I say … of course …

Oh … right .. ahem… the music video.  The full version is not on Youtube yet, but here is the full version on Jpopsuki (link here).

http://www.jpopsuki.tv/video/NMB48—Punky/1bc9b210e58dd1f1c9719a86ba6eb73b

Sorry for the long Jpopsuki load times. I would not be caught dead on Facebook, but here are some Facebook links for the song – both video and live performances.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=861315160596017

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=703068736478726&permPage=1

YouTube only has the official preview right now.

Please enjoy!

Starlight: Only a month to receive the FULL video on my world, where Punk rockers have arthritis and need hearing aids!

A hack to use the classic editor in WordPress.com

Although I am not a “hacker” I would like to share this recent post by my friend and fellow WordPress blogger “The Penguin”.

I am also concerned that WordPress has been changing its interface to a less usable form. I hate the new Stats page, and I never use it. Apparently you cannot use the “classic” text editor anymore, as Mr. Penguin-san explains here.

One of the distressing things about getting older is that change occurs. In fact the rate of change seems to be increasing with the passage of time. So often these changes are not improvements however. Things are just different, not BETTER.

… and by the way … Where are my car keys? …

… and how do you work this damn thing? … why does it have to be so damn complicated? …

… and What? What is those … MONKEYS? Turn that junk off.

… can’t I get just a HALF a cup of coffee?

… you kids get off my lawn …

… where’s my car keys?

Kids: If you ever find yourself referring to someone as a “whippersnapper” you know you are in trouble. You kids may not have to worry about that so much yet … yet you may want to use this method in order to use the old editor. I sure wish I could : (

… where’s my car keys?

`The Penguin' says...

As of yesterday, the “Edit in classic mode” button for editing WordPress.com posts has disappeared without notice, and worse yet, they have no intention on bringing it back.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to edit using the classic interface. If you’re on WordPress.com and prefer to use the classic interface like I do, you’re in luck. I just wrote a user script to force a redirect to the classic interface.

To use the script, you’ll need an add-on for your browser that will run user scripts. Greasy Fork has a list of these add-ons; just install one for your browser if you don’t already have one. Once you have the add-on, click “Install” below:

[Install]

Alternatively, you can go to the script’s Greasy Fork page and install it from there.
The script’s source is on GitHub.

What is a user script?

A…

View original post 748 more words

“To the Devil, drink a toast…”

pirate_flag_wallpaper

Yes, it was also difficult for me to get past that lyric …

Hopefully, I can find redemption by the end of my post. This week I would like to share some swashbuckling excitement from another chapter of “Denny-Lived-Through-It-Music-History!”

Emerson Lake and Palmer were one of the greatest “Progressive Rock” groups of the 1970s.  The song “Pirates” has always been one of my favorites.  The track is from their album “Works Vol.1”. This critically-acclaimed record was actually a significant departure from their previous hard rock/synthesizer work.  They used a full orchestra for some songs, and much of the double-album had a “classical music” sound and feel to it.

I think that the song holds up well.  In fact, the music is often “pirated” in many TV shows and movie soundtracks.  “HEY! – that music is from Pirates”  … It never surprises me to hear excerpts from it. I hope that Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer and Peter Sinfield receive royalties.

Who’ll make his mark / The captain cried
To the devil drink a toast / We’ll glut the hold
With cups of gold / And we’ll feed the sea with ghosts
I see your hunger for a fortune / Could be better
Served beneath my flag / If you’ve the stomach
For a broadside / Come aboard my pretty boys …

The brilliant lyrics are by Peter Sinfield, British poet, and occasional songwriting partner with Greg Lake. These full lyrics (linked here in a new window) are good at describing what pirates were actually like in history.

Six days off the Cuban coast, / When a sail ahead they spied
“A galleon of the treasure fleet” / The mizzen lookout cried
Closer to the wind my boys / The mad eyed captain roared,
For every man that’s alive tonight / Will be hauling gold aboard …

“Spare us” the galleon begged / But mercy’s face had fled
Blood ran from the screaming souls / The cutlass harvested
Driven to the quarter deck / The last survivor fell
She’s ours my boys / The captain grinned
And no one left to tell …

So brilliant. Such imagery and colorful language! You can really feel the sea air, the tense fighting, the heaving ship, the merciless killing

The captain rose from a silk divan / With a pistol in his fist
And shot the lock from an iron box / And a blood red ruby kissed
I give you jewelry of turquoise / A crucifix of solid gold
One hundred thousand silver pieces / It is just as I foretold
You, you see there before you / Everything you’ve ever dreamed

If you only know what you see in Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” you might think that pirates were harmless flakes or fruits (e.g. Johnny Depp).  Of course real pirates drunk toasts to the Devil … they were leaving their Christian life behind.

Anchored in an indigo moonlit bay / Gold eyed ’round fires
The sea thieves lay / Morning, white shells
And a pipe of clay / As the wind filled their footprints
They were far, far away …

The first video features famous scenes from pirate movies, and mixed in with live performances of ELP during the “Works Volume #1” tour. The one below plays and shows only the lyrics.  Such great DRIVING music!

I always thought that this song was great music for a road trip and  highway driving! … but you are not driving right now, are you, my pretty boys? I can remember seeing ELP live on the Works tour during the summer of 1977. Oh it was a great experience. The legal drinking age in my state was 18 back then, so there was plenty of rum (actually 3.2 beer) on the trip. My friend had a black 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass (Like the pirate sword, get it?). He tied a black pirate flag to the antenna so it snapped in the breeze (“closer to the wind my boys” ) as we drove westward on USA 80.

oldscutlasssupreme1976black

I was very much looking forward to seeing ELP perform their great new album live with a full orchestra … however the group ran out of money to pay the orchestra just two dates prior to the show I saw. They had to drop the orchestra and performed as a three piece again.

I like how the music video had scenes from the orchestral performances. Darn it.  It was still a great show. We had tickets right on the floor of the arena, only a few rows back from the stage. I was surrounded by drunkards, thieves, thugs and assorted scoundrels – but I didn’t care – and you would have thought that I was a bit of a scoundrel back then anyway.

elp live 1977 dvd

It was one of the best rock concerts I ever attended.  ELP was still at their peak in those days, and the group played all their great AOR favorites.  It was an evening of great adventure. “Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash” indeed.

However, If you would like to see a good pirate movie without any of all that, and with a more Christian theme, then I suggest:

You may like these "Pirate Fruits" (no not Johnny Depp)

You may like these “Pirate Fruits” (no not Johnny Depp)

ELP received mixed reviews from the serious music critics. Some liked them because the group incorporated classical music elements. ELP recorded Aaron Copeland’s “Hoedown” and “Fanfare for the Common Man” as well as Mussorgsky’s “Great Gates of Kiev” and “Pictures at an Exhibition”, amongst others.

The group is mainly known for their one AM radio hit “Lucky Man”. Some critics panned them because they were so bombastic! So pompous — so full of sound and fury — but YOU COULD NOT DANCE TO IT! The group could switch from gentle Greg Lake love songs – “Still You Turn Me On”, etc, to Kieth Emerson’s long piano concertos, to synthesized percussion noise masquerading as classical music (Alberto Ginastera’s Concerto for Piano “Tocatta” )

Basically, whether or not you would like ELP comes down to one question: DO YOU LIKE GARGOYLES?

Whoop whoop weeeep woop woop ... bumm bumm bumm wooop weeep

Whoop whoop weeeep woop woop … bumm bumm bumm wooop weeep

No, the songs were not about gargoyles.  However, if you think that the gargoyles on gothic cathedrals are beautiful or at least interesting, then you may like ELP. I always thought that ELP were the musical equivalent of gargoyles.  Tarkus, for example.

Starlight: Has it been 38 light years?

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