Saturday, 31 August 2013

Make Miku Dance

JohnSu has created a simple (and cute!) Miku dancing program in Flash, that lets you control the little character's basic body movement – sway – by mouse movement. There are several backgrounds you can pick, lip-sync – it doesn't have any sound itself, so that needs to be run separately – you can set key binding for the other controls, and it's all simple, happy fun.

Here's a short video to show what can be done with Halfne Miku Studio, as he has called the program. I do like the giant leeks turned inward to form a kind of arch effect.

UPDATE: There are now dozens of examples of this program's use here. This one (below) is still the original demo, though...

Happy Birthday Miku!

This is the official video from last year's fifth birthday for Miku, performed by the other five Crypton Vocaloids – one for each year, perhaps?

The song (music and words) was by Mitchie-M, and I think the video bears repetition today, one year on...

Miku and the Class of Sixteen

Here Miku dances with a class of 16 young ladies, one for each year of her pseudo-biological life. The songs are Hello Planet and (Teach Me) Magical Lyrics.

I think it is very well done, with excellent motion and all the characters (Lat style, including Miku) having been individually animated, so it looks much more natural than when they all move precisely together.

The technical quality is that second-level type we have seen before, rather than the very best there is, but it works well enough, with a reasonably good lighting effect. It's not the only performance by this group, but I think it works better than the others I have found so far...

Miku is Viva Happy at turning six

Yes, this is the day that our wonderful Miku has been out in the world for six years.

Here is MitchieM's song Viva Happy to celebrate this special occasion, featuring no fewer than eleven Miku models. See if you can work out which ones they are...

Friday, 30 August 2013

Weekly Political Digest – 30 August 2013

Issues big and small, international, national and local, abound this week...

Syria is the Kobayashi Maru

Star Trek movie fans will be well aware of the Kobabyashi Maru simulation used on training exercises at Starfleet, and introduced in the second Trek movie The Wrath of Khan. It has been referenced several times since, in later Trek productions of one kind or another. It was a no-win scenario and was a test of character only – unless one cheated and re-programmed the simulator to make it able to be solved, as one James Tiberius Kirk apparently did...

There is no doubt that the biggest news this week has been over the Parliamentary recall to debate the possibility of UK involvement in a military action against the Syrian Assad régime following their use of chemical weapons against their own people, including children. Specifically, air strikes were being considered, in principle at this stage, in a two-vote arrangement the second of which would have come later.

These are always difficult decisions to take, and this one – perhaps more so than others, perhaps just the same but this time we're handling it more democratically – has been just like the Kobayashi Maru. There is no 'right' answer, as I have today tweeted, yet each side of the argument to go in or not believes it alone is right.

Unless a way could be found to forensically (to use the in-vogue term) remove Assad and those he commands who commit these acts, we could not even be a form of 'international police'. Whether or not we should intervene in another country's affairs, especially bearing in mind what has tended to happen in previous cases, is another question.

I have some sympathy for the decision-makers, because it is a very close call in practice: not because the issues are small, but because even a big pull in one direction is countered by a different by equally large pull in the opposite direction. It really is like that. I am not surprised, therefore, that even our own Medway Members of Parliament were split on the vote, with two of them voting one way and the third walking through the other voting lobby.

Back to the 'Maru': as a test of character, it certainly brought out the strength of PM David Cameron's character, though not backed up properly by the Number Ten machine and Conservative Parliamentary Whips' Office, which have rightly come in for strong criticism. Cam made his case, made concessions to the leader of the opposition, and put the question before the House of Commons.

As Dan Hodges (among others) covers in his 'blog post today, Ed[ward] Miliband behaved abominably, as did members of his party who revelled at the defeat of the Government's motion as a political success, as that was (as always) all that really mattered to them.

It comes as little surprise that Dan Hodges has, at last, resigned from the Labour party – who are no doubt rejoicing over that as well. As is so often the case, there is a lot of good, solid stuff in the Hodges piece and I recommend spend five minutes or so reading it all the way through.

Of course, it is equally unsurprising that local (and no doubt others whom I do not follow) sycophantic Labourites are fawning over Miliband's 'victory' and finding yet more ways to lick his boots. They show themselves up by so doing, as the Hodges piece clearly demonstrates – and I can if required provide links to others in the know who have confirmed what he has said, such as Toby Young, here, and (update) the Mail here. There are others... If there were the need for a new reason to feel disgust at Labour and their supporters, here it is in spades.

Unusually, Fraser Nelson is, I think, very much overstating the severity and significance of this defeat for Cameron, which he has done a few times before, though not to this extent. Never again can his stated support be taken as genuine. There are matters that need to be sorted out, especially now the hard lesson has (I hope) been learned that Mili-E is not to be trusted and his assurances can count for nothing.

In the final analysis, the defeat last night might see our standing within at least some sections of the international community weakened for a while, and it could harm the (admittedly largely fictitious) 'special relationship' we supposedly have with the USA; but in the longer term I have a feeling that history will soon enough show that, on balance, it was the better outcome, though not by a large margin.

This extract from an important document on the feasibility of an operation such as that being proposed makes for sobering reading, though, and I dread to think how much it might have cost us in resources as well as the most important resource of all – our Armed Forces' lives – if we had committed to the air strikes and whatever might lie beyond.

Meanwhile, other countries will no doubt make their own decisions about whether to intervene in Syria, and in what way. This little island, despite its significance on the world stage, is but one relatively small nation among hundreds on Planet Earth. Yesterday's debate and vote showed also that we are one of the more democratic, with Parliament trumping the Executive where necessary...which is exactly as it should be.

The Militax

Staying with Mili-E for a few minutes: Michael Gove is on form as usual in exposing the Labour leader's latest wheeze to get you and me to fund his party from the public purse. This is standard practice for the Left anywhere in the world, near enough, and probably always has been, so it's hardly a surprise.

The best weapon against this very bad idea, though, is as always exposure to the public gaze – and this is exactly what Michael Gove is doing at the linked article. It covers a fair amount of ground, and is well worth a read, which will probably take eight to ten minutes (it looks longer, but a few medium to large size photographs give a misleading first impression of its length).

Meanwhile, ongoing money-laundering exploiting any route that is open to them, Lefties in positions of authority and Unions continue to come to notice, such as this one regarding some £64,000 passing from Tower Hamlets to what is a UNITE Union establishment that includes union recruitment facilities and, apparently, considerable pressure to join.

I leave it to readers here to follow the link and read the post by Ted Jeory, and the comments beneath, the latter taking a mix of sides, though I spot the methodology of those trying to suggest that 'it's all okay', so perhaps it's advisable to stay especially alert when reading those.

Abbott on the Landscape

This telling-it-like-it-is piece by Stephen Pollard in The Express hits lots of nails on the head regarding the ghastly Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington. The headline concerns Labour's real intentions regarding immigration, none of which comes as a surprise to me (and probably not to many others by now, either) but he also catalogues a fair amount of other useful information by which we might gain an insight into this character.

Interestingly, when Ms Abbott was a regular on the BBC's This Week, the contributors to the LiveChat sessions had her well sussed, even then, so there really is nothing surprising to any of us who were regulars on the LiveChat. For everyone else, read and learn...

On the related topic of foreigners claiming UK benefits, the Mail reports that the numbers of these have increased by over forty percent during the past five years (a Labour government legacy, still not fully tackled in the coalition situation) to some 400,000 and costing billions of Pounds every year.

Again, it's not unexpected by those of us who have been conscious of what was happening during the Labour years and how much of it was effectively semi-permanently locked into our nation, so reversing the trend was deliberately made almost impossible by Blair, Brown and Co.

You might remember that, not long before the Coalition was formed, statements came trickling out about how things had been rigged (for want of a better word) by Labour in a number of areas – so it has been public knowledge for a long time.

Of course, knowing about something is not the same as being able to deal with it, and this one will, I suspect, take several years to remedy...and probably can't be done without a Conservative overall majority in the House of Commons.

Not So (Sha)nice...

The holographic receptionist at Brent Council that I mentioned a little earlier this month is, unsurprisingly, coming in for some stick. Even The Guardian has a mostly negative report on her – though, perhaps predictably, their biggest gripe appears to be the loss of a public sector job because Shanice supplants such a human employee. They also point up Shanice's "lack of compassion".

Ah, well: you can't win them all, as the saying goes...

Medway Matters

BBC News Kent has reported on a claim that our local council's free periodical Medway Matters is 'biased toward the Conservatives'. This is a bit strange for a publication that, for all its faults (and it has them) has remained essentially the same for something like a decade, and I have not noticed any slant suddenly appearing, so why wasn't this ever brought up before?

In practice, it continues to cover quite a wide range of topics, mostly without any politicians being mentioned, quoted or pictured at all, apart from the regular ward-by-ward contact page inside the back cover.

The truth is that, when there is a political involvement in anything included in the magazine, it almost universally means Cabinet members, or perhaps the mayor or deputy mayor. These are all Conservatives, but only a minority of them (under a third, in fact).

Now, I have made so secret of my dislike of the Cabinet system that was inflicted upon us by the then Labour government in 2001, and which Eric Pickles has now allowed councils to scrap if they so choose. it is the continuation of that inappropriate and non-democratic institution that is the real cause of this separation between the 'élite few' and all the other elected members. It has nothing to do with the opposition, several of whose members were featured in the magazine a few years ago in page-long specials on each.

Indeed, it has been a de-politicisation of Medway Matters that has meant that series of features has never been revisited, and I am pleased about that. It seems to conform with the long-standard governmental guidance on how such publications should be edited and presented.

Of course, in Labour-run councils the boot is on the other foot; yet I am not aware that Conservative oppositions have ever made such complaints in those councils. I am ready to be corrected on this if I have missed something; but I shall be just as critical of any such as I am of Medway Labour.

All that is now needed is to get rid of the Cabinet-and-Scrutiny structure and give everyone elected to the Council back their equal voting status, as per Eric Pickles' wise-headed provision. That would also bring the elected Council closer to its electorate.

Labour, though, seek only party political coverage as usual, so again have missed the real target in pursuit of self-interest. After all, they want coverage for their members in the magazine, titling it back to more political coverage than now. That is their true motive, and it is so transparent. I'm not taken in, and nor should anyone else be.

Truth Goes The Gallo-way

Finally for this week, here's a short video that seems to show Respect's Georhe Galloway first making a truly outrageous claim on the Iranian television channel with which he is associated, and then denying it in the House of Commons, courtesy of Trending Central.. It looks very much like a GOTCHA..

Waiting for the Lift

These two – Londo and G'Kar – are on opposite sides in more ways than one in this short Babylon 5 scene, but they are more alike than either of them realises or could ever admit if they did realise.

Although this is a funny scene, it also symbolises (via the fellow in the middle here) how, later in the story arc, the humans would end up caught in the middle of the conflict between these two races, despite initially trying to keep out of it. As is so often the case in B5, there are two (sometimes more) aspects to a scene or apparent B-storyline, and this can apply even in what are considered to be the non-arc 'filler' episodes...

Miku in Yokohama Bay

As we enter Miku Hatsune's sixth anniversary from date of release, with good things to come during the day, let's look back at last year's big (in more senses than one!) event in Yokohama Bay. That was the short concert featuring a giant Miku projected across the bay into continuous sprays of water, giving a true three-dimensional view.

This version of the video of that event, this time with English subtitling, shows that 3-D aspect from different angles from time to time; and it must have been a truly awesome spectacle from the audience's viewpoint, wherever one was positioned.

The only (fairly minor) drawback is the slight faintness of the image within the water sprays; though the lavish use of numerous effects easily makes up for that...

Thursday, 29 August 2013


Captain Sheridan was not amused by the 'Ba-Bear-lon' toy when he realised whom it was intended to represent. Where it ended up was not exactly expected...

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Let's Have Fun A Little (I Am Yours)

(Updated and corrected) That's what was given as the apparent title of neutrino's latest song, again sung by GUMI, coming hard on the heels of the much more profound song for which I wrote the lyrics and featured here just last week. The actual title is Watashi no Anata ('I Am Yours'), the composer tells me in the comments.

This is altogether a much lighter and more mainstream number, and is in Japanese, so here is a link to the English words. I wasn't involved in this one at all: I come in only when it's in English – though I could have been used to proofread the English lyrics, as there are a few minor 'sillies' in there...but it's fairly obvious what was meant!

Shut Up, G'Kar!

Here is another humorous short Londo/G'Kar extract from Babylon 5, this time from the much-maligned season 5, when G'Kar becomes Londo's bodyguard despite the millennia of hatred between their two species and worlds...

The Domino Effect

This, performed at a military parade in Belarus, is quite spectacular. I spotted the video a while ago, and kept the link safe for a suitable occasion to post it here. That day has come...

Project DIVA F arrives!

Well, in North America anyway, as of a few hours ago. This PlayStation-3 game will appear on PlayStation Network Europe a week from now, on 4 September 2013. Here is the official announcement from SEGA.

Here's an under-3 minute trailer. Do note the warning at the atart – though you'd have to be able to understand Japanese to need to worry yourself about most of it...

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Carrying Your Shelter

This is another of those 'two men in a room' scenes in which Babylon 5 specialised, and which were so profound. G'Kar is brilliant in this 3-minute clip at sussing out Londo and why he is as he is, and the late Andreas Katsulas shows once again why he won 'best actor' awards back then when he was still with us, perfectly matched with the equally excellent (but less fully recognised) talent of Peter Jusasik...

Beneath Vir's Placid Exterior...

...lies a passionate Centauri, as this Drazi trader finds out. Vir was sometimes an easily underestimated character, but there was a lot more to him that might have been imagined by many, of which this was an early example. I was always pleased that I took his name as my Internet Relay Chat (IRC) 'nick'[name] when I was semi-regularly on that facility, some years ago...

Why Zathras talks to dirt (and walls, and ceiling...)

Whar can I possibly add by way of explanation to this Babylon 5 classic scene?

Monday, 26 August 2013

An Arresting Performance

This is a one-minute part of the widely-reported Police dance-off at this year's Notting Hill Carnival. I'm sure this kind of thing isn't officially sanctioned, but it seems to do no harm and does not (as some will no doubt attempt to portray it) demean the position of police officer or the force.

It's not bad at all, especially when one bears in mind all the heavy kit and caboodle that they have to wear and carry...

Everybody Jam!

Teto sings the old 'Scatman' song by John Larkin and Antonio Nunzio Catania in this short video by Catman-P (ahem!). The English subtitles remind us of the story of how Louis Armstrong (Satchmo) brought the blues to Scatman John and how a new music genre was born.

With Miku Uta Utane (also known as Defoko) on trumpet and a gathering of other well-known characters joining in, this is a bright and upbeat little number. I am grateful for my error regarding the trumpet-player being pointed out:  it was difficult with the non-coloured image for my limited eyesight to get that right unaided...

Miku is Cutie Cute Kitty Cat

This short song by MJQ-P (of whom I hadn't heard before) is very silly, but you can't help but smile at it!  There is no animation, just an image of Mamama's 'Api-Miku' with cat ears – nekomimi – and the (all English) words as subtitles.

It's a good way to start the week, and should lighten the load for anyone going back to work after the weekend, especially those working today (Bank Holiday Monday). MEOW!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Danceroid – Twinkle Twinkle

This is just so cute, by two members of the excellent Danceroid group. Here we have the (shorter) very popular Kozue Aikawa, who seems to have a big fan-base but who went solo about a year ago, and the lovely Ikura, who is just so feminine that I feel a dance-off between her and SeeU might well be in order: it's hard to work out which is the more feminine dancer. 'Adorable' seems so inadequate a word to describe Ikura!

Ikura is also the only remaining original member of the group, and is therefore quite naturally Danceroid's leader. Her 24th birthday will be in four days from now, so this seems a good time to post this here.

The song is Twinkle Twinkle, performed by Miku (played here by Ikura) and Luka (Kozue). By the way, I think their 'microphones' might really be hairbrushes...

Friday, 23 August 2013

Weekly Political Digest – 23 August 2013

It has been another busy week, even though we are in the summer holiday period which traditionally tends to be quiet on the political front. Not this year, though. Even Hopi Sen has realised this; and if you have the time to read a lengthy piece on Labour's current difficulties then follow this link, and I recommend that you also check out the more insightful comments below it...

Snowden, Miranda and Greenwald

The biggest news this week was almost certainly the detention of David Miranda for carrying what is described as 'potentially sensitive information' from one of Edward Snowden's contacts to journalist colleague and domestic 'partner' Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian – which publication had paid for Miranda's flight, by the way.

In what has turned out to be a more complex scenario, with several twists and turns along the way, even those who initially had their doubts and concerns about that long detention (the legal maximum of nine hours without charge, as the information could not be decrypted in order to verify its nature within that time period) have changed their tune. This from Louise Mensch is particularly useful as it goes into very careful (if somewhat repetitive) detail; and Dan Hodges has faced up to the Guardianistas who seem to have taken a rather bizarre approach to what transpired.

My own thoughts are that there is still too much we don't really know, and no doubt much that we'll never have in the public domain; but the security of the nation is paramount. Provided it is a genuine case, as this strongly appears to have been, and not just an excuse to apply draconian measures inappropriately as some had liked to imagine, then dealing with the data and any known copies of it, in the way that has been described (including destroying computer hard drives at The Guardian's offices) is obviously entirely justified. Imagine what could have happened otherwise.

Of course, there are no doubt other copies still out there somewhere, and it is quite possible that one way or another some inimical force or other will one day find out from one such copy whatever is needed to severely harm our nation. Perhaps (as has been strongly hinted by Glenn Greenwald himself) this will be facilitated by The Guardian.

I wonder if that will make its readers happy. After all, they are mostly Lefties, and as we know, Lefties support those who seek to destroy our nation and its culture from within, whether via the Fabian route or the more revolutionary Marxist (e.g. Frankfurt School) route.

I Kid You Not

One of the topics I have touched upon over the years has been early indoctrination. As the Jesuit Fathers knew, and from whom came the saying about this very subject, those first few years in particular are the time an organisation with its own agenda can imprint its views more or less permanently. It is why I have always been wary of early years intervention by the State or any of its agencies, despite the 'sales pitch' and the convenience of changing domestic patterns in Britain during recent decades

The following few years should not be neglected by those with such an outlook, especially when they are no longer pulling the strings of national government and the next batch of children might no longer be so compliant. This to me seems to be why the UNITE Union (interesting that it is the McCluskey outfit!) has created what might be called a 'child activism and propaganda' website, as Guido briefly describes. He rightly calls it 'creepy'...

This is an ominous development; and the first thing any parent should do is block it from access by their child's computer (the so-called Parental Controls) but how the mentioned videos can be prevented from being shown, or Union representatives going into schools, is less easy.

Parents will need to watch this very carefully, watching for signs that it is happening at their child's school and lobbying school governors to do what they can to stop it happening in the first place. Governor's don't have the power to control the curriculum or the nuts and bolts of teaching, and rightly – that's the Head Teacher and his/her management team's job – but the governors will have a good idea of that team's and the Head's outlook and methodologies. The more laterally thinking (and right minded) ones will no doubt find a way to deal with any such move.

Looking Back to May 2010

This from Mike Smithson is very telling, and really puts the final nail in the coffin of the idea that David Cameron could have gone for a Conservative minority government. Although one might think that, as the party with the greatest number of MPs back in May 2010 they could have just gone ahead, the telling line is that James (a..k.a. Gordon) Brown was under no obligation to go to the Palace.

Whether or not that should remain constitutionally or be changed to prevent minority incumbencies to cling to power in the face of a democratic defeat for them is an interesting debate that perhaps should be had anew; but the result was that, as explained at the above link, at the time there was no realistic way that Cameron could form a minority government. Personally, I'd have preferred it as well, but it was never going to happen.

On the other hand, as Iain Martin points out, Cameron and Co should be going flat out for an overall majority in 2015, not planning for another coalition. That was then, this is now and looking forward not back.

Shale of the Century

This century sees the advent of shale gas mining in this country, and we should all be glad of it as it will help to keep the lights on in the aftermath of a long period without a proper energy policy. It's more complex than that, of course, but shale gas will be a real boon to us here in Britain. Not that this stops the Lefties protesting and indeed shouting about it, trying to undermine it all on some manufactured and/or exaggerated pretext.

Yorkie at The Commentator does a fairly thorough job of taking the lid off the Left's game, including the later news that Green MP Caroline Lucas has managed to get herself arrested at a so-called 'anti-fracking' protest (almost certainly deliberate, with the primary aim of getting herself some publicity).

It is well worth going through what is a fairly short piece, especially noting the use of the totalitarians' favourite techniques such as declaring that only their own views count and accusing any government that takes note of other views as being 'anti-democratic', 'not listening', or some such. This again demonstrates the inherent dishonesty off Lefty outfits, and they are all like that and probably always have been. Lying, manipulative, totalitarian by nature: all of 'em!

Well, if they don't like what's happening to our country (not really theirs is it?) then perhaps they might be happier living in a Socialist/Communist country instead. They are no benefit to Britain, so they might as well get out. That would also help with the burgeoning overcrowding in this small island, and by getting rid of the dross the overall quality will rise too.

On The House

Okay, houses and housing in general. There are, as one might expect, a whole range of claims and counter-claims being made about Britain's housing situation, from the numbers being built year by year to the controversial new Help to Buy equity loan scheme.

It looks like the latter is starting to achieve its headline outcome, which is a positive sign, at least if taken in isolation. The effect on house prices over time is likely to be less helpful to the buying public; but of course the scheme could be modified or even withdrawn at a later date, before that has had a chance to bite too hard. I don't know this will play out, but am aware of legitimate concerns about the scheme, so it one to watch quite closely over the months and (perhaps, if it lasts that long) years ahead.

Meanwhile, the numbers of residences being built remains a thorny question; and FullFact has had a go at looking into this. Their main angle is on the claim that planning consent has been granted for some 400,000 residences that have yet to be built. I am cautious about their treatment, including the somewhat selective graph that shows only the period of the Coalition Government so has no broader context.

I know from my own time on the local Council – when we were also very much aware of what was happening in other places as well as our own – just how much of a house-building slump there had been before the change of national government. The dip for a few months more recently, while significant, looks worse than it really is, and which that longer-term context should (if the data are accurate) have shown.

We knew back in those years what was happening nationally as well as locally – though we here in medway have tended to buck this trend somewhat and have more building going on and achieved than many other places, including elsewhere in Kent.

Indeed, we even have more so-called 'affordable homes' than neighbouring/nearby Local Authority areas whose specifications call for a higher percentage of such homes. For example, our ten percent has resulted in many more such places actually coming into being than others' 25%, where little has actually been provided. Delivery is much more important than posturing...

Back to FullFact: the actual numbers each year are quite impressive, especially in the present climate. The question of whether there even ought to be a need for all these extra homes on the small and increasingly crowded island is a separate (though obviously related) issue; but although the demand ought to slow over the next decade, for now it needs to be satisfied.

Obviously developers weren't going to build when that very climate meant that few could afford to buy them, however 'affordable' some of them (subsidised by the other properties and from the public purse) were in practice. This is why the whole previous decade's figures are so important in setting context, as it becomes easy to spot when things turned downward and what must have driven that. Anyway, with a little intelligence one can glean enough from that analysis to realise what is actually going on, and it is quite good.

Labour On Back Foot

Labour's ongoing policy woes (largely through a lack of any real policies) are being added to by the loss of dominance on key issues such the economy and even in areas thought 'safe' for them, such as the National Health Service (NHS).

Regarding the latter, Simon Heffer has, in a return to a more sensible outlook than he has tended to exhibit in the last few years, does a thorough job of showing how, as he puts it, Labour has lost the moral high ground on the NHS. It is a good piece, and I have little quibble with any of it – which is the first time I have been able to say that about a Heffer contribution in a long time.

I have been sitting on this one for a few weeks, awaiting the fallout from the Keogh report, and it looks as though nothing has materially changed in the weeks from then until now. The article looks lengthy, but it isn't: there are several large photographs embedded within in. The opening few paragraphs tell most of the story in a nutshell, including a list of just some of the issues that are of concern to us all, as users of the NHS and paying for it in our taxes. Especially for anyone wearing the proverbial rose-tinted spectacles when it comes to the NHS, I urge you to read the whole piece, which will probably take around twelve minutes.

When it comes to the economy, Labour still have no credible or consistent stance, and are continuing to struggle to find one. They have essentially silent on the whole issue for several weeks now; and their gloom-and-doom merchants have received a further blow with this week's slow-but-positive economic indicators, which are turning out to be better than was previously forecase.

It's still small beer, but this careful policy has resulted in a general upward trens during the coalition years, which is an understandable way to proceed. Personally, and as I have written before, it has been my belief that it could have a notch or two higher for the past year or so without significantly risking a catastrophe – but I don't have all the inside information, so perhaps the Chancellor has been right in his approach all along.

Even if not a hundred percent optimum, it has certainly been close to that ideal, as most independent organisations in the field have acknowledged, most or all of the the time. Even the credit down-rating (unavoidable in the global situation, especially as we are essentially a trading nation) was fractional, and so much less than in many other countries that one might have thought were stronger than us.

Airport Bias?

This is an interesting development regarding the Rochester Airport plans. A local resident here has formally complained to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) over the leaflet about the plans that has been distributed locally, and which he claims is misleading and biased in favour of the airport. Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the leaflet myself; but I'd probably prefer not to comment while the complaint was being looked into by the ASA.

For myself, I can state that we on the airport Consultative Committee put a lot of thought into the ideas that culminated (somewhat belatedly) in the formal proposal. As I have already explained on this 'blog in recent weeks, the paved runway enables earlier take-off so that the craft will have climbed much further than at present by the time it passes over the nearest residential areas.

My estimate is for a ten-fold reduction in sound at ground level, not an increase. That simple Applied Mathematics, routine A-Level stuff: I know, as I studied for that qualification myself...

As for the new generation of mini-jets: they are actually quieter than propeller-type craft, as other small airports can attest, so there's no worry there. I suspect warped agendas are at work here, as is so often the case, and the 'hyper alarmism' that was mentioned in at least one of the linked articles from earlier in this post as being a standard tool of the Left, who are behind this as they have been all along.

I certainly have confidence, as perhaps the community's best advocate and representative in Medway for many years; and again there are similar situations elsewhere in the country, including in much more 'sensitive' locations than ours that – despite initial (uninformed) concerns – turned out to be cases of "What was all the fuss about?"

Fairoaks Airport in Surrey is perhaps the ultimate example of that phenomenon; and who opposing the Rochester Airport plans feels able to challenge that now well-established parallel development in leafy Surrey of all places? Money -> mouth...

Close to Home

Here in the county of Kent, as elsewhere in Britain, councils often have to resort to court proceedings to ensure the payment of due Council Tax. This inevitably results in cases where bailiffs have to go in. Note that all this is caused by people's actions in not paying their dues. These are very often (though of course not always, by any means) those living a fairly grand lifestyle, often subsidised from the public purse.

Anyone who has been in the debt-collecting business (and I know a couple) will tell you what they discover when calling at debtors' homes. One typical case was of someone owing thousands of Pounds to a bank, who 'had no money' and was paying the debt back at a rate that would take decades to fully repay, yet during the early stages of that (weekly) collection period, suddenly there was an expensive new car replacing the older one that had been there previously. Was it a visitor? No: it remained there as the only vehicle at that address.

Anyway, reported in our local newspaper is the number of instances of teach council where bailiffs came into the picture. Although I don't think Medway was even included in the survey, they probably aren't in the top few so I doubt would have been mentioned in any case.

This is an awkward one for opposition politicians on the councils, mostly Labour and a few Lib Dems and perhaps the odd Independent, as they are so vociferous about Council Tax collection rates and the amounts of total arrears. They can hardly start taking the side of the 'poor resident', especially when they know that there are some of us who have whole strings of anecdotes in similar vein to the example I cited above that show that many of them are not (literally) 'poor' at all.

Not that this has kept them quiet when it comes to what they still erroneously term 'the bedroom tax' and supposedly 'evictions' of those caught in having their benefit hand-ours corrected to where they should have been all along. This is the usual Labour bandwaggon-jumping, as it has been from the outset, and as usual for them an attempt to sweep under the carpet their own earlier piloting of exactly the same policy some twelve . Here's the evidence of that...


Galaco in my Fluffoughts

Along with the standard SeeU, Galaco performs Leave In Summer, You're In My Fluffoughts as a duet. There are no English words provided, but I thought it was important to remind everyone that Galaco is set to be 'deactivated' at the end of October – just ten weeks or so away.

I think it is very sad; but in the meantime we can enjoy performances such as this, and such things will not vanish as they at least are not dependent upon her continued on-line presence and support. There are a few technical glitches in the video, which is a shame (it might be the 'bones' in the skirt, or it might be something else that is at fault) but it's still good, once one allows for that.

It is also sad to note that, even sooner, it appears that the South Korean support community for vocaloids, the excellent CreCrew, is planning on shutting down its website. This could leave SeeU (and her male counterpart, USee a.k.a. SeeWoo) without sufficient support to keep going indefinitely.

This is all very worrying; but for now let's just enjoy the performance. Note SeeU's alpaca depicted on the rear wall of the stage: if your reactions are quick enough you can get a good view of the two of them in-shot together by pausing the video at 46 seconds in...

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Call To Arms

This is the generally excellent A Call To Arms, the pilot for the Babylon 5 spin-off series Crusade. The only really significant fault was the music: I always understood the desire for a change of style from the original series, but Evan Chen was definitely the wrong choice, and it just doesm't work.

Apart from that, this is a very good 90-minute (i.e. movie-length) pilot episode and features especially enjoyable performances from Jerry Doyle and Tony Todd...

Londo and Garibaldi

I have said before that Babylon 5 often had its best in the two-men-in-a-room scenario. It didn't have to be a closed, private room and could actually be a lift, or as here, a bar. On the occasion it was Delenn with G'Kar, in season 3, it didn't even have to be two men specifically, although it usually was.

This is such a scene, and has the masterful Peter Jurasik as Londo with Mr Garibaldi – whom I featured in my last clip, but this is several years earlier than that. It is just so much fun, and starts with the line and action that I sometimes use at social dining events when someone sitting next to me has a glass of water. For anyone who thought I might have made it up, here is the original...

How To Run A Company

At least, it's Mr Garibaldi's method – and it occurs to me that we might have a better corporate climate and better success overall, along with smoother running, if at least some of our notable employers were to adopt a similar approach.

Here, in just eighty seconds, "the Big G" outlines his approach when he takes over Edgars Industries, in an excerpt from season 5 of Babylon 5...

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Admin Note

Sorry about the log-in request for a few hours today. It appeared when posted the Lost Tales item, and even occurred when I was showing just that post alone, so it seemed to be a mysterious adjunct to the video.This was odd as there is no unusual code in that post.

Anyway, after some thinking time, I realised that it must have been a coincidence, and that something else was to blame. I went through my blogroll and found – and removed – the offending entry, so the problem no longer exists here.

It is a clumsy way for this to be handled at 'the other end' when one hasn't even tried to access the actual site that has now gone: it should just show a blank entry in the blogroll. I periodically weed out dead links anyway, so there really is no need for the (former) hosting company to do what this one did. It happens very rarely, so obviously isn't necessary as I am always finding 'blogs that have gone, but they don't generate errors here...

Babylon 5 – The Lost Tales

When this came out, some six years ago, it received very mixed reactions. I have just been through it, and found both stories to have been handled very well indeed. I am impressed with this!

Okay, so the first story makes that cardinal error of equating space with heaven – heaven isn't in this universe! – and there are a few other matters that are mere quibbles, but even with the minimal cast (everyone else was away, conveniently) it still worked well.

Both stories are good (if one suspends disbelief about the space=heaven line and how God would actually set things up in preparation for mankind's venture into deep space) but the second is better. Both, but again the latter in particular, are good reminders of the sheer quality of Tracy Scoggins, whose background in the profession might lead one to an erroneous and foregone conclusion.

The lady really is much better than her earlier performing antics tend to suggest, indicating that humanity can rise above its animalistic roots and become something much better. That in itself is a valuable lesson to learn – and it isn't something I say very often. I'd be honoured to meet Tracy Scoggins nowadays, whereas there was a time when (if I had known about her at that time) I'd have found a way to avoid doing so.

It's also great to see Teryl Rothery in this. I have missed her since her character was killed off in Stargate SG-1 a few years ago.

So, these two Lost Tales turn out to be a lot better than some have judged during these past few years, or so I consider them to be. Am I wrong? Possibly, but others will have to judge. Reserve a quiet hour to go through this: I think you'll come out the other end feeling that it was a worthwhile exercise...

Monday, 19 August 2013

Virtual Receptionist

The Telegraph reports that Brent Council in north London is installing a 'virtual receptionist' named Shanice at their £90 million Civic Centre (ninety million?). They are incorrectly calling her a hologram, though I expect it is a 3-dimensional model like the Vocaloid characters.

Actually, thinking about this, if they had waited a couple more weeks they could have had Miku (English) instead, giving visitors to the council the bonus of a song-and-dance routine in answer to their enquiries.That sounds better, to me at least, than the very limited range of enquiries the new projected (literally!) receptionist will be capable of handling.

There is a touch screen for choosing a topic, so they could have had, for example when the 'housing' spot is touched, Miku performing to some House music. If it's about roads and traffic, then something from a road movie could fit. Want to pay your council tax or another council bill? How about Abba's 'Money Money Money'? Now that would bring in the people, and add hugely to the council's satisfaction ratings for front-desk customer service...

On My Way to Nowhere – the Video

Here it is, with the lyrics included, just made available for public viewing and being notified and listed. I am so very pleased with this song, which truly is a masterpiece, especially when you know the background to what it relates.

The basic concept of the video is simple but effective, and I'd probably never have thought of this exact approach myself. Even if you've already heard the song, do give it this second go...

Breakfast Prank

This two-minute clip is from the first series of Babylon 5, in which time the station's commander and security chief play a prank on the second-in-command.

The late Michael O'Hare was very good in this, and the team of three was really starting to work well together by this time in the series.

I've always enjoyed this little item, and it was one of many humorous pieces of writing in the five-season series...

Love and Joy by the Hiiragi Twins

It's not just vocaloid models that can be used in programs such as MikuMikuDance (MMD), as this charming dance by the much simpler models of the Hiiragi twins from Lucky Star illustrates.

I think it's nice, even though adorable but air-headed Tsukasa finds it a bit heavy going toward the end; but big sis Kagami is there for her when needed. There is no sound for the characters' voices, so don't think something is wrong before the song starts: leave your sound settings alone to avoid deafening yourself a moment later(!)

Where and What on Earth?

There are any number of videos on YouTube (and no doubt on other video hosting platforms) using the facility within Google Earth to make a movie of a succession of locations and the transit from each to the next. Many of these feature a string of unusual or strange artifacts on the surface.

A lot of them are easily explained, whereas some no doubt have an alien connection of one kind or another. It's mixed. Some are narrated, others stand alone, sometimes with a music track or two.

This one (in three parts) by Rob Rock has been particularly well done, I think, and even the background music (from Godzilla) works very well. There are several within Britain, interestingly!

It all lasts just 20 minutes combined; and a list of the places and their coordinates is provided in the About section on the first video's YouTube page, accessible from here via the YouTube button on the first player once it has been activated. The second and third parts have the coordinates for its visited places captioned within them.

Of all the videos of this genre that I have been checking out in recent weeks, this is the best I have yet found to showcase here for discerning visitors...

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Shine, Bright Morning Light

This is Fake Wings by the outstanding Yuki Kajiura, composed for the anime series .hack/sign, and usually heard when we see Subaru back in Carmina Gadelica. It's one of those tracks that, once heard, will never be forgotten, especially the vocals with their simple but evocative lyrics.

Here it is presented simply, with just an image of the Fiction album cover, wherein the song is featured. Someone really ought to do a compilation of Subaru scenes (minus sound) to this as a backing track. It ought to be brilliant...

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Sunday Slot – 18 August 2013

I found this from Chief Rabbi Jonathon Sacks a couple of months ago, and have held back from including a link and reference to it until some of my other Sunday Slots were in place and readers had been given a chance to digest them.

It is important to read through the whole article, as it covers the ground from a range of viewpoints and directly quoting several notables in the process. It all hangs together, dealing with the subject of religion in society, rather than individual faith per se.

The conclusion, borne out by history both ancient and modern, is that a society falls apart when it loses its religion (as R.E.M. might have put it) – specifically, the Judeo-Christian kind of ethic.

As the man intimates, we are already seeing some of the effects of this happening in British society in parallel with the shift away from (mainly, in this nation) Christianity. While there is far from a hundred percent obvious correlation between the specifics that the Chief Rabbi cites (e.g. the various scandals in recent years) and that religious shift, it can no doubt be demonstrated by insiders that the connection is a lot closer than it appears on the surface, as we see in the public gaze.

There is also the devil working in the background to encourage all of this, and almost certainly manipulating a lot of people and, through them, events to make sure that our society does collapse – which is one of his primary aims. In this Satan is aided by atheists, Islamic and other fundamentalists, the political left, and probably a range of others as well.

It really is necessary to understand that there is a war going on in the world, non-stop, between the forces of good and evil. Cliché it might seem to be, but that's how it is. The obvious military-like planning, propaganda, subversion, attrition and all the other (mostly invisible) aspects of war are all going on constantly, and the considerable majority of people seem to be blissfully unaware of it and are thus ripe for the picking.

They more-or-less sleepwalk into doing the devil's work, whether they realise it or not. Note that this includes all Lefties, regardless of whether they are deluding themselves into believing otherwise. In the church, this represents one aspect of subverting Christianity – just as, say, Common Purpose 'graduates' are placed where they are to subvert and degrade the performance of whichever organisation they have infiltrated.

Same method, same cause, same originator.

Knowing all of this (as I and many others do) is why I have to take such a robust stance, as it is the only way to 'fight the good fight' (with all my might).. Those who seek to persuade me and my readers otherwise are, quite obviously, serving a different deity from the one I try to serve, in their case the Great Deceiver.

While on the surface they can be doing good works (hopefully) their thinking is skewed if that can even for a minute believe that an ideology that universally, world-wide, is based entirely on deception, theft, oppression, casual murder (and encompasses virtually all the mass murder the world has known for at least the last hundred years), State-veneration (Communism and especially Fascism) and the destruction of Judeo-Christian worship, among other obviously ungodly ideologies of the Left.

Don't be taken in by all their 'helping the poor' and similar nonsense: they depend on keeping as many people as possible poor, so they become dependent upon the State for handouts and similar. The idea olf 'helping the poor' is just the (increasingly transparent over time) sales pitch, which then becomes the self-justification for and by those who were fooled and are now effectively trapped. Some of them do have the wits to realise they were conned, but not many...

In much the same way, don't be fooled by atheists into taking this great nation further down the road to collapse and, ultimately, barbarism and savagery. Other places who have already trodden that frighteningly inhuman path should act as a permanent warning to the rest of us.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Weekly Political Digest – 16 August 2013

Although I started compiling this on the stated date, other matters have unavoidably intervened, so it wasn't completed until Saturday evening...

Ed and Shoulders

It has been a terrible time for Labour party leader Ed[ward] Miliband, who is now back with us. As commentators all over have been saying, his shadow cabinet members haven't exactly been helpful and forthcoming during his absence, and now some of them – along with a few backbenchers – are metaphorically bumping him with their shoulders (it's the best visual metaphor I thought would fit what is going on).

Most notably, shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has 'warned' the party leader regarding their policies or lack thereof. The move has been seen by at least shrewd observer as having possibly been motivated by a sense of self-preservation by Burnham, fearing demotion out of the shadow cabinet in the much-rumoured upcoming third reshuffle under Mili-E.

There have been others, faithfully documented as they happened in Guido's Miliband category of posts. This also includes Ed-M's egging at an outdoor public appearance (resulting in a whole host of jokes, and the creation of the delightful term Omniscrambles), while elsewhere his personal popularity rating received another blow when it was revealed that it looks as though more than six in ten people just don't like him. Here's Ipsos MORI's pie chart, courtesy of Mike Smithson, showing how this figure is made up.

Finally on Ed[ward], the Spectator's James Forsyth confirms the reason I mentioned a week or two ago for the Labour leader's silence during these past several weeks, that he was concentrating on getting ready for the party conference. James tends to be correct on matters such as these (and many others) so perhaps we need to give the benighted one a bit of leeway on this occasion...

Bryant's Immigration Shambles

Labour's Chris Bryant, the shadow immigration secretary, made such a disastrous job of an interview earlier this week, in which he was tackled on the content of a speech that incorrectly criticised two major UK employers (Next and Tesco), that he has probably jeopardised his position, and I'd expect him to be either demoted or moved sideways to another  subject area in the above-mentioned reshuffle, if it does indeed happen.

The interview on BBC-4's Today programme can be heard here, along with comment from the Speccie's David Blackburn. Matthew Holehouse at the Telegraph has highlighted the key differences between the original and hurriedly re-written Bryant speech; further comment of note is at ConHome.

The revised version of the speech can be read here; and it's still not exactly a good one in the areas where it has been 'corrected'.

Here's FullFact's point-by-point analysis of the Bryant speech. Although, reading through it thoroughly, one can't help get the feeling of a particular slant here and there – which is not uncommon at this site – but there's some useful information in this fact-check nonetheless. So, read with caution, but do check it out if you are interested in the detail it presents.


That is how Len McCluskey's Twitter account is designated. Note that it is 'Unite for Len', not 'Len for Unite'. This looks like a Freudian slip that tells us which of them is the servant and whose is the real agenda that the union is intended (expected?) to pursue...

Rail Fare Rises

The latest developments on this perennial (almost weekly, in fact!) topic is that here in Chatham local Labour folk have been doing what I and others were doing just a few years ago: handing out leaflets to commuters. The difference is that, back then, rail fares had been shooting up hugely under the Labour government of the time (around ten percent in each of two consecutive years, in fact: I have the precise figures on file) and the general rule was for a so-called 'RPI + 3%' rise here in the south-east.

Labour are now protesting that it has been brought down to RPI + 1%, as former Gillingham MP and one-time transport minister Paul Clark acknowledges in this fairly short radio interview. Although he tries hard, he does stumble here and there, and it is quite to see where the truth is getting blurred.. At least he admits that a future Labour government would 'probably' keep the RPI + 1 formula that has been introduced by the Coalition Government.

He certainly has trouble with the question of railway funding and makes the usual mistake of equating money in to results out. He also refers at one point to the level of 'subsidy' – not the total amounts being invested.  As always with Labour, if it isn't coming from the public purse, it doesn't count...

I am also not aware of any increase or reduction in the figures regarding accidents and fatalities, nor even such delays as those caused by signal failures – and I am decades-long enthusiast, user and observer of our railways, especially here and the up and (to a lesser extent) down routes. Listening attentively, one picks up on one of the standard Labour lines "totally unacceptable", said no fewer than three times by Mr Clark in these few minutes.

Overall, there's a lot of 'spin', but it's quite easy to see through much, most or (by the really perceptive) all of it, and it certainly disagrees with the leaflets that Labour have been handing out to commuters this week...

The Future

These weekly digests have been very popular (well, relative to other posts here, both now and when I was a full-on political blogger), so it looks like the format is here to stay. I shall keep it under review, though, rather than assume this is 'the answer' for all time.

With that, I think this is enough for the week: it doesn't always have to cover a lot of topics, although sometimes that is necessary or at least desirable. This week I have left out some less useful material on nurses, A-levels (despite the results having come out this past week) and some material that could fit just as sensibly into this week's Sunday Slot – so those last ones I am keeping bookmarked until then..

Friday, 16 August 2013

On My Way to Nowhere

This is the new song by neutrinoP for which I provided the words, to his specification. Anyone who has read his recounting of what it is like during those coma-induced visits to 'the other place' every so many weeks, will recognise all that I put into these special words. It has been a great privilege for me to have been thus involved in this truly exceptional project.

This is On My Way to Nowhere, performed by GUMI (in English) as both lead singer and  backing group, and I think it is something of a masterpiece. I know it was very complex to produce, and had expected it to have taken several days more to put together. This is a remarkable achievement!

Although there is no video as yet (there will be, probably soon) here is the SoundCloud version of the song. I hope it conveys something of that experience, so we can all appreciate at least a part of what the poor fellow goes through so regularly.

UPDATE: His original story is here, from which I wrote the lyrics (from memory: I did not need to refer to it), which I wasn't going to link to here, but neutrino himself has just made that link, so I now know it is all right to do so.

Even apart from all that, I think it stands on its own as a powerful song on its own merits.

Note that, as always with SoundCloud widgets, it sometimes needs a page reload to appear and is otherwise just a blank space(!) It's a significant bug that really should have been solved by now...

Here are the lyrics...

Tiny, I am nothing, in the vast universe
I feel that I am real, but it still feels worse
I think I once was more, but now this is my all
Struggling to be more, once again to be big and tall.
I just need some more
More energy
It’s wonderful
It comes to me, but so slowly
My journey begins
I gain strength as I go
Sights and sounds start to come
And color returns to my world

Now I feel greater, more like I really am
This other place, though, it’s really just a sham
I seem to be going nowhere, but I’ve passed this way before
I have to keep going, to find that special door
I just need some more
More energy
It’s wonderful
It comes to me, but so slowly
My journey begins
Gaining strength as I go
The sights and sounds still come
And color now floods my world

Coming near (I can feel it now)
Almost here (any moment now)
There they are, in the walls and room
And beyond: the window to my room

I just can’t move
I need a friend
Hand on my shoulder
Helps me over
A hundred others
Smile upon me
They all know that
This is my way home, it’s the key

There I am, lying on the bed
So still and silent, I might have been dead
Now the KICK, sends me spinning round
And then I land hard – but what’s that sound?
It’s me, I am screaming with the pain!
The agony of coming back again
It’s home, I’m home! But my arms are so numb...
To remind me of that other continuum...

Thursday, 15 August 2013

I Have A Dream

In this case, it's Lucky Star's Kagami who has the dream – and a weird one it is too. This video is in Japanese with English subtitles, as I couldn't find an English dubbed copy of it. I did try!

Now, I have a soft spot for Miss Angry Eyes, as I think of her; and this Cinderella-like story is an excellent vehicle for Kagami's very specific character, including some reluctant cosplaying as a number of characters from Mikuru (from the Haruhi Suzumiya series) to Miku, complete with leek. It has Konata as a Yuki Nagato lookalike (from The Sigh Of...) doing the 'Fairy Godmother' magic. Well, at least until the star falls off the end of her wand...

With a moving house, and a Haruhi-like 'reset incantation' (think: The Disappearance Of...), and poor Kagami ending up having to say – even shout – something acutely embarrassing (or so I have read is what that is), it's yet another of those surprisingly original and humour-packed segments from the show, crammed into a mere seven minutes...

Oops! Missed the Target

I have just had an invitation to 'Like' the Facebook page of 'my' potential UKIP MEP. The only problem is that he is aiming to be a candidate, but not for the south-east, rather for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, as his Twitter page makes clearer than his Facebook one.

Oh dear! If they are going to use the social networking sites as a support/membership recruitment route, they need to have the basic intelligence to target only those who are relevant to any particular candidate. This scatter-gun approach makes them look incompetent and, frankly, idiotic...

Chatham Mural in the Making

Here's a four-minute video by Creatabot (a local outfit) of the creation of the Chatham Community Mural I mentioned a few days ago, and a great panaoramic shot of the finished production...

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Strobe Nights

I am posting this Miku song from the 2010 Tokyo concert because (a) it starts off mentioning a shooting star, and we have just had a meteor shower in our atmosphere; (b) it has just been English subtitled; and (c) I've never featured the song before.

It's a bit so-so as a song, I feel, but deserves this one outing for the above reasons. Miku is as delightful as usual, waving to each part of the audience along the way...

A New Career?

Well, I don't know; but this song lyric-writing business, though intermittent (as such activities tend to be), is becoming quite significant in my life.

I have now been involved with the co-writing of lyrics for three songs – two jointly with the songs' author, and just yesterday I did the whole job. I was guided where the single instrument backing track I was using for guidance perhaps had me a little uncertain, and I added extra material or needed a few more syllables in one case: I didn't have a clue about the melody line.

It was actually quite a challenge, especially as I was in effect telling someone else's (the song's composer) real life story of something that happens to him regularly. There were guidance notes (one medium-length paragraph) but I already knew the story well. I didn't even need to check it, I know it so well and so vividly.

I felt that I was the catalyst for putting it all into good English, but (hopefully) still artistic, and I treated the task (that came out of nowhere, without warning, as usual!) as a great responsibility. I repeatedly played the backing track in parts, until I was reasonably confident that I knew how many beats/syllables each line needed, which other notes did not need words, and some sense of how it was going to be structured and fit together in the final production.

When I wasn't sure I asked the composer – but he had to go out for a while when something unexpected happened (typical of real life!) so I battled on and had a more-or-less finished product by the time he returned.

In fact, there was so much that I felt needed to be included that I had an extra eight-line verse – but he liked it so much that he is thinking of adding the necessary additional material to the backing and melody to accommodate these lines. Otherwise, the verse will be kept on file for later use, he said.

When it is finished, I shall of course embed it here, so you can judge for yourself. ADDENDUM: this could be a couple of weeks away, as it is a very complex piece to put together. I wish I could assist, but from now on with this one, I have to take a back seat and just wait...

Beyond this project, with which I am well pleased, I can see this becoming a new part-time career for me!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

ERROR by Ritsu Namine

From the NicoNico Cho Party earlier this year, here's the subtitled version of ERROR. I think it's a very good performance by this unusual (male 'cross-dressing') Vocaloid, and packs quite a lot into just over two minutes...

Votes by Blackmail

Imagine this scenario: let's assume it is fictitious, as surely it couldn't happen in real life, could it?

A political group on a local council has a leadership challenge, and a vote is called within that political group, i.e. the members of that party (or other) grouping on that council alone. The vote is conducted during one of the regular meetings of that group of elected members.

Now, say that this was to be a sham 'secret ballot', as the group's Whip would be collecting the votes individually, checking each one to find out which way each member had voted. Say, furthermore, that when coming around the meeting to hand out the ballot papers the Whip whispered in each member's ear the following:
  • To backbench members: "I have been instructed to tell you that if you don't vote for our current leader you will not be promoted to chairman, vice-chairman or cabinet member."
  • To holders of such positions: "I have been instructed to tell you that if you don't vote for our current leader you will lose your position as chairman / vice-chairman / cabinet member."
Personally, I'd interpret that as blackmail, and my opinion of the current leader would take a nose-dive. I am aware of this happening, at least twice, but am not prepared to say where or when. I mention it mainly to let my readers know just how low some people will stoop to ensure their personal status is maintained.. This is what is meant by 'self-serving', and anyone found to have done this should be tried for corruption and – if found guilty – removed from office and banned from public office for life.

Hopefully there'd also be a mandatory jail sentence.

Perhaps if we were to get the trash out of our politics, public confidence might then begin to be restored, which must surely be a healthy outcome. While such corruption remains, though, that can probably never be achieved.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Love Logic

A Mayu day wouldn't be complete without Daniwell's oh-so-cute Love Logic, so I make no apologies for re-posting it today!

Comments at the YouTube page range from (in précised summary form) 'Mayu is cute' via 'the song is cute' to 'Usano Mimi couldn't be any cuter'. I think we get the message...

Your Love Will Surely Skyrocket

Sung by GUMI, but mimed and enacted by Mayu in a really nice video, this is Your Love Will Surely Skyrocket.

This is the only Mayu video I am showcasing today that includes the infamous axe, which thankfully ends up being thrown away rather quickly...

More Mayu

This is called Tsukema Tsukeru, and no I don't know what it means(!) Again I present this as a musical and visual feast, so the lack of English words isn't so important on this occasion, though you can read them here. It seems to be about big, beautiful eyes and false eyelashes.

It's not quite up to the visual quality of the two earlier videos, but is certainly good enough...

Monday is Mayu Day

I have decided to post a few (probably three or four in total) Mayu videos, to brighten up the start of the week – which, weather-wise, is somewhat dull here.

This is Paradise: no English words, but it's a good production, again with the delightful Saboten model of Mayu, along with some nice effects, and is quite jolly...

Double Lariat – by Mayu

Now, strictly speaking, Double Lariat is firmly and properly Luka's song and no-one else's; but this is a very nice effort using Mayu – though the low notes are slightly odd.

Anyway, I thought it worked better than I was expecting when I stumbled across this. It also has the lovely Saboten model of Mayu, so is worth showcasing here for that reason alone(!)

It is set on what I'd consider a non-typical stage for a song of this nature, but well suited to Mayu; and for a change Usano Mimi ("Bunny Ears") gets to join in the action as well...

Dog Plays 'Catch' Alone

This clever pooch – in Kobe, Japan – has found a way to play 'catch the ball' even without his owner's participation (the owner was presumably recording this).

It's quite a clever technqiue, really, and amusing in its own way (Hat-tip to Raheem Kassam for spotting this)...

Better Than Crossing a Busy Road

This rather appealing video has Petite Miku and Chibi Miku trying to cross a busy road, but it's too dangerous. They soon find something better, safer, and more appropriate to their talents to do, and quicly discover that it resonates with those in the street around them.

You cannot help but smile at this, even though it's in Japanese with no subtitles: you don't really need words...

Weird Tweet of the Day – 11 August 2013

First there was this, as re-tweeted by Medway Council Labour group leader Councillor Vince Maple, of the original by council comrade Cllr Tristan Osborne...
"Big campaign team for @LabourSureStart @KentLabour today"
So far, so good – though the linked photograph (the second link in the original tweet: the first doesn't work) of the 'big campaign team' for Kent Labour (not just the parliamentary seat) comprised just seven people. Let's be generous and assume the photographer was an eighth participant.

They didn't say where they were, but I identified the location as the shopping parade in Larkfield, so – slightly cheekily, I suppose – I tweeted this, not to them though, so I clearly wasn't trying to tease or rattle them...
"I see that Medway & Aylesford Labour's "big campaign team" of seven (plus cameraman?) is in Larkfield today. Should be peaceful round my way"
It was peaceful, by the way, though local Labour don't generally wate their time in the Close where I live, as they have little support here (I've been checking regularly ever since I moved here).

Then, some time later in the day, Chatham and Aylesford Labour – the association for the parliamentary seat that includes Larkfield – tweeted this almost impenetrable tweet...
"Constituency campaign team: we don't need to 'merge' with safe Tory seats to get the numbers."
Ah, so they are no longer 'Kent Labour' but just the constituency. The only way one can read this is that it is a change of tack to camouflage the lack of an effective campaign force. Not that I'd expect any part of Labour to 'merge with safe Tory seats' anyway...

When I think back to the numerous occasions on which I was out with either the Conservative association for the same constituency, or for the one next door for that matter (my former home moved from one to the other with boundary changes in 2003), the normal turnout was between twenty and thirty – not always, but much more often than not. There might be the odd one or two from outside the association, but they were more likely to be possible new recruits to the party than 'outsiders'.

We did not consider those numbers to be particularly 'big', though they were pleasing. This would apply ahead of or during general elections, local elections, and council by-elections. I witnessed much of it personally, including in a by-election in Cllr Osborne's own ward, for example one such group meeting up in Luton Recreation Ground.

I have posted another tweet, again not to any of the (at least five) Twitter accounts run by local Labour, this time simply to comment that I 'seem to have touched a nerve'; and shall keep this post in draft for a day or so to give them a chance to response if they so choose.

UPDATE: They didn't come back at me, even after more than a day, I suspect because this time they have even less they can say than their half-hearted and somewhat desperate first attempt, so I am now publishing this post.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Sunday Slot – 11 August 2013

At last, a video from someone who 'gets it', uploaded earlier this week. Such are rare, I have found...

Although his style might be less than perfectly clear in places – and I know from experience how difficult narrating a complete video in one go tends to be – the Vigilant Christian (as he styles himself) covers well enough the vitally important topic that I have been banging away at for years: that the New World Order (NWO) that the likes of Obama and Blair/Brown have been pushing is in reality Satanic, however cleverly disguised.

Although this particular video concentrates on the main message, so does not cover specifically how the world's political Left are mostly or (more likely) all mixed up in the NWO programme, the references to the likes of the Illuminati help to set the scene. It is all of a piece.

More significantly, and as I have been realising for years, all that is happening now and what it truly means was revealed to us in the Holy Bible two thousand years ago. This isn't a case of conveniently interpreting what is happening today in a way to make it look as though it was prophesied: it really was, and that is becoming ever more obvious with the passage of time.

It is the Obama aspect that is probably the most telling, and that is hardly surprising; but just about anywhere you look you can easily recognise Satan's agenda, as the Vigilant Christian describes it so well, being promoted and enforced throughout an increasing proportion of the world.

I have mentioned previously the aim by the NWO proponents of getting us to fight each other to create chaos, to give the powers-that-be the excuse to introduce martial law and establish their New World Order out of that (engineered) chaos – and that too is covered in this video.

It is all as I have previously described; and one would be surely have to be dim-witted to either miss it entirely or to be fooled even now into going along with the programme that has been planned for us.

Yet it is being done so thoroughly that, for many (perhaps most), it will be difficult to 'think above' what is being presented in the right way. From what I so often read in various places, it is more likely that the opposite will happen and the bulk of the population will instead move further in the wrong direction, having been completely taken in and also increasingly desperate for the promised 'order from the chaos'.

Watch this quarter-of-an-hour video and see where you then stand...

Saturday, 10 August 2013

7 Color Jump

This features the very cute LAT model of SeeU – the standard basic design, with all the hair – in one of those oh-so-light songs. This one includes a lot of jumping!

It's a fairly new video, having been uploaded just over a month ago, and well worth a couple of minutes of anyone's time, just to bring a smile to one's face, even without (yet) the English words...

Chatham Mural

This short video clip from Medway Council celebrates the official 'opening' of what has been coming together in public view for several days: the Chatham Community Mural, painted by a number of residents of the Chatham area. The clip comes in a little late, barely catching Councillor Jane Chitty and her words, but you can get the flavour of the moment from these ninety seconds.

I shall be going to the High Street to take a look at it myself a little later this afternoon...

The Devalued Prime Minister

It has been a while, so it seems timely to remind ourselves of what Daniel Hannan MEP said to James (a.k.a. Gordon) Brown in the European Parliament back in March 2009.

I picked today as, once again, Labour's plans for our country's economy have been evaluated into a bill of some £2,960 for every working household in Britain, this figure coming into the public awareness this very morning.

It is interesting to read of Labour's accusation of "same old Tories" – who have changed considerably, as they tend to do periodically – and the opposite claim of "same old Labour" – who once again prove that they haven't moved on. In fact, they are sliding backwards towards the 1970s not only with debt, but also with Union dominance over them.

All of this comes into sharp relief as we listen to Dan H and recognise so much of what he says in what is happening within Labour even now...

A, You're Adorable

This old and quite original Perry Como receives a new twist with the two youngest Vocaloids: 9-year-old Yuki Kaai and 13-year-old Oliver, here playing it as a big brother/younger sister duo.

It's really quite cute, and the song (perhaps best known to later generations via the Morecambe and Wise take on it, some years back) warrants a fresh airing...

Friday, 9 August 2013

Weekly Political Digest – 9 August 2013

It has been another surprisingly busy (for the summer holiday season) week, so this week's digest might be quite long. I'll do what I can to keep it manageable...

Chuka Your Money At Him

That's what Guido found that the Emiritus Chairman (whatever that is) of the Gala-Coral gambling/bingo group had been doing for Labour's Chuka Umunna, who has recently rounded on that industry in regard to his own parliamentary constituency.

Despite Chuka's claim that it was only a 'personal donation', Guido's update at the same link shows that this does not hold water. Two-faced indeed...

Mudie Waters

The undercurrent of Labour's widespread discontent.with its present leadership continues to pop up into the public arena every now and then, the most recent being that from George Mudie MP, as reported in (among other places) the Financial Times' blog section. The primary complaint is what I mentioned a little earlier, which is Labour's shadow cabinet's almost complete silence in recent weeks.

This really is not good at this crucial time, less than two years before a General Election. My own thought (and there have been others who have reached much the same conclusion) is that they are concentrating on preparing for their party conference in a few weeks from now. That is fine for the party faithful and their supporters in the Unions and think tanks, but whatever it is will be unlikely to be more than preaching to the choir, as the saying goes.

Even with BBC television coverage, party conferences rarely make much of an impact on the wider public's thinking or voting, and the Labour event tends to be the most stilted and least interesting. Even when there is a spark of something a little different, such as Rory Weal a couple of years ago, it then turns out that he is from a wealthy and comfortable family with no genuine deprivation – completely negating the thrust of his speech to conference.

I think George Mudie and the others who have said the same are right. My suspicion is that Miliband and Co are very much fenced in by what their paymasters in the big Unions are prepared to let them say and do at this time, and where their time and energies should (in their eyes) be spent. This will not end well for Labour...

Zero Credibility

While we are looking at Labour's antics (and there is just so much from which to choose) and Guido's revelations, here's how they have found they were forced to deal with their 'zero-hours contracts' statements. Basically, they have had to back away from their original stance and try to find a way to suggest that such contracts were okay under Labour, but (magically) not now that the government has changed.

There is no back-story to support this, and it is clear that it has just now been invented in the face of unexpected publicity regarding the disclosure that they operated zer-hours contracts themselves, as did (and do today) several of their close associates.

This has been one of the worst forms of political hypocrisy, and their struggle to get themselves out of the hole they have dug for themselves has reduced their credibility still further. That certainly can't now be much above zero, can it?

For another example of Labour's zero credibility, do read Matthew Hancock's piece on their new 'living standards' line as also discussed by James Forsyth: they are both quite revealing, each in its way...

Forward Guidance

This idea of 'forward guidance' is being welcomed by the Chancellor and at least one (probably two) cross-party Select Committees. It looks to be a good practice, and will help to keep all the parts of government involved with the public purse more-or-less directly to pull in the same broad direction with a strong feel for the short and medium term at least.

The biggest outcome from the current exercise has been the intention to keep the base interest rate at 0·5% while unemployment is above 7% (it is currently around 8%, so not too far off). This is expected to be able to change in about three years from now, perhaps a month or two beyond.

Although this is not good news for savers (although they can always invest in overseas currencies or whatever) it is perhaps right that the base rate should be below economic and population growth rates to avoid making each of us nominally poorer. This is a bit of a subtle argument, so should not be accorded the same weight as the unemployment figure which is an important factor that we can all understand and (mostly?) agree.

Anyway, here is the correspondence between the Bank of England governor (whose letter is here as a PDF file) and George Osborne (whose response is here, also in PDF format), They are not overlong, and should take little more than five minutes to read.

Diversity or Bland Uniformity?

A controversy (that isn't really) has been triggered by the Twitter comments a local (i.e. Medway) Conservative councillor commenting on the story of a local car wash offering discounts to female customers. The local newspaper has the story.

Besides the fact that this is a purely commercial decision, along much the same lines as pensioners' haircuts at reduced prices (to which Cllr Chris Irvine himself referred) and many other instances of 'discrimination', the complaints from the professionally-outraged Lefties (invariably that's what they turn out to be) are they usual one-of-two-faces they have lined up in their repertoire of complaints/outrages.

Y'see, on the one hand they demand 'fairness' and 'equality', and on the other support and promote 'diversity', including different rules and attitudes regarding their preferred groups. One simple example in recent times has been the completely opposite approaches they (and the rules their party – Labour – put in place) between Muslims wearing the burka or hijab, as contrasted with a Christian wearing a crucifix. There are many other examples of discrimination when it suits them.

If the original complaint, about the car wash, is upheld, then I think this means we shall have to look at other age-based pricing such a child fares on 'buses and railways. A child still takes up a seat, so why should their fares be lower than the rest of us pay?

I wonder what the likes of, say, Mumsnet would have to say about that?