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Reminders, and other signs

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — the camps, theirs and ours, and nuking Mecca, with a pinch of Lynch ]

Here are the reminders..

SPEC DQ reminders


These DoubleQuotes arose in the context of comments by Georgetown Syria specialist Marc Lynch, better known on the web as the blogger Abu Aardvark, on a recent On the Media podcast:

The kinds of ideas that you are seeing espoused by presidential candidates right now are the sorts of things that you would have seen on obscure right-wing blogs twelve years ago, and now they’re being taken seriously on the op-ed pages. The idea that you would have a religious test for Syrian refugees to let Christians but not Muslims in, or that you would create a national registry to track Muslims, or to shut down mosques – I mean, these are radical fringe ideas, and yet they’ve insinuated themselves into the mainstream.


Here’s the evolution of an idea, from 2005 to the present. You’ll note that the rhetoric has gained intensity (the qualification “if they nuke us” has been dropped), but in this case the earlier source (Fox) was more mainstream, and the current one (WND) way deeper into the fringe..

SPEC DQ nuke mecca



  • Raw Story, Trump crosses the Nazi line: Maybe Muslims should wear special ID badges
  • Raw Story, Rhode Island Republican wants Syrian refugees held in ‘centralized’ camps

  • Fox News, Tancredo: If They Nuke Us, Bomb Mecca
  • World NetDaily, Bomb Mecca off the face of the earth

  • On the Media, Lessons Unlearned
  • Sunday surprise: nunchucks and katana

    Sunday, November 15th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — weaponry in advertising and robotics — just some light weekend viewing ]

    You may have seen these already — they go nicely together, I think, though I might be hard pressed to say why.



    Further reading:

  • The Bruce Lee Ping Pong Video. Cool, But Not Real
  • Samurai Robot Challenges Human Sword Master
  • Sunday surprise: mathematical religion

    Sunday, November 8th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — divine geometry in Japan ]

    The sacred nature of number should not surprise us, though it often does. Here is the Neoplatonist Proclus, as quoted in Dantzig, Number: the Language of Science, p.78:

    It is told that those who first brought out the irrationals from concealment into the open perished in shipwreck, to a man. For the unutterable and the formless must needs be concealed. And those who uncovered and touched this image of life were instantly destroyed and shall remain forever exposed to the play of the eternal waves.


    Here are two offerings from a Buddhist shrine in Japan:

    Japanese Buddhist Offering 19.50


    Japanese Buddhist Offering 19.47


    I found them in this delightful account of the Soroban or Japanese abacus:

    The section on mathematical offerings begins around the 19.40 mark and goes to 20.18 — but the whole video is worth your attention.

    Raijin Fury

    Sunday, June 7th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — for Ibn Siqilli, Gilles Poitras and JM Berger, three friends with eyes on graphical culture, and Thomas Hegghammer, who knows the importance of such matters ]

    Raijin 602 2


    logo 602



  • Tawaraya Sotatsu, Fujin-raijin-zu
  • Squidnova, Dr Strangelove
  • No governmental patch, Stellar Raijin
  • — nor should we forget “the dragon on smoke”:

  • Hokusai, The dragon on smoke escaping from Mt Fuji
  • **


    Sunday surprise: sending the body to a watery grave

    Monday, February 16th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — I suppose this could be seen as my version of “kids these days just have no clue..” ]

    Since I mistakenly posted this week’s intended Sunday surprise, Afterlife this side of everlasting, on Saturday, I’m continuing my depthful exploration of the burial practices of warlords, gangsters and the like with this post.

    SPEC DQ Kagemusha Magic City

    When the daimyo Takeda Shingen dies in Kurosawa‘s great movie, Kagemusha, his followers are obliged to keep his death a secret for three years, to ensure clan Takeda’s continuing security. Their daimyo has, however, also instructed them that he wishes to be buried in full armor in Lake Suwa, and his corpse is therefore placed in a large urn covered in rich cloth, and taken out by boat into the mist that hovers over the lake (upper image, above).. the boat then returning to shore minus its precious cargo. The explanation is given that a offering of sake has been made to the god of the lake, and the kagemusha or daimyo’s double continues the pretence that his lord is still alive…

    In the TV series Magic City, by contrast, the body of a minor gangster is first cut in pieces, then stuffed in an empty and rusty oil barrel which is welded shut, then dumped unceremoniously at sea (lower image); the oil drum is then shot repeatedly so it will sink, and left to do so — no offering to the gods, no requiem, and no luck, as the corpse and its barrel later turn up inauspiciously somewhere along Miami Beach.


    If we are to endure mobsters and warlords, need I say how much I would prefer them to work within the classical Japanese esthetic?

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