Sep. 11th, 2013 08:04 am
chomiji: Kyoshirou from Samurai Deeper Kyo, weeping.  Caption: Nor all your tears wash out a word of it o (Kyoushirou-tears)

"My City of Ruins," Bruce Springsteen, from The Rising.

The entire album is really a 9/11 tribute:

Acoustic piano version of "You're Missing," recorded in rehearsal in 2002.

From the same album, "Mary's Place" - the sorrow is now tempered with hope: From that black hole on the horizon, I hear your voice calling to me ... turn it up, turn it up, turn it up, turn it up! (From the 2002 Barcelona concert.)

chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Default)

I was talking about this organization the other day: The Institute of Heraldry, which is part of the U.S. Army but also designs insigniae, coats of arms, etc. for other branches of the military, and [livejournal.com profile] smillaraaq asked for the link because of some research she wanted to do with it.

I'm a bit of a heraldry geek. The Mr. and I were both heralds in the SCA back in the day - that's how we met, actually. This site is great because it goes into exquisite detail on the significance of every element on the arms and insigniae. If you want to look at that sort of thing, this is probably the place to start.

chomiji: Akari, the shaman from SDK ... more to her than you might imagine  (Akari - autumn colors)

On January 13, 1982, a plane crashed into the [14th Street Bridge in Washington, DC], killing all but four passengers and one flight attendant of the 79 people aboard the aircraft. Four motorists on the bridge also died in the accident. Pilot error and poor weather conditions were blamed ...

Rescue crews and ambulances struggled through traffic to reach the scene on that snowy afternoon. The federal government had released its employees early, and roads were jammed. Then came word about 30 minutes later that a crowded Orange Line train had slammed into a concrete pillar near the Smithsonian station.

The first fatal accident in the history of Metro would injure 25 passengers and kill three others.

- The Washington Post

I was about 18 months into my first full-time professional job that day, as a copy editor at the American Geophysical Union just north of Dupont Circle. AGU released its employees when the government did. My colleague Carole and I, who both lived in Arlington, Virginia, started home on the Metro. We could not make the transfer to the Orange line. Rumors flew around the crowded station platforms, and then the news about the plane crash started to get mixed into it. We bailed out of the crowded Metro station and walked to a nearby McDonalds for hot chocolate, and there the news started to come together. You must remember that almost no one had cellphones in 1982 and, even if they had, there were no online news services worth talking about. I think we may have eventually walked to Foggy Bottom, and picked up a train home from there.

chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Yuki-promises)

... from an article I was writing for Asian Pacific Heritage Month:

chomiji: An artists' palette with paints of many human skin colors. Caption: Create a world without racism (IBARW - palette)

The setting is Italy in World War II. Four Buffalo Soldiers — members of the 92nd Division, which had African-American soldiers and white commanders — get cut off from their unit and find themselves trapped in a small, mostly ruined village that has already survived one devastating German attack in reprisal for suspected partisan activities. Smart, responsible Lt. Stamps, conniving, charming ex-street preacher Bishop, moony, trilingual Puerto Rican Hector, and the simple gentle giant Train, who has taken a badly injured Italian boy under his wing, spend several days in the village, wondering how to follow their orders to capture a German for questioning, waiting for their army to come and get them before the Germans do, and learning a lot about the villagers and themselves. When partisans show up with a German prisoner, things start to happen, fast and furious and ugly.

Link for more

This is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in this period of history. You should note that there are some grisly episodes of violence - it's a war story - but McBride has a journalist's detachment about these incidents and doesn't wallow in them, which helps.

chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (IBARW - Spork out!)

One of the things that is striking about most English-language story-telling endeavors - whether we're talking written fiction, comics, television, or movies - is how uniformly Caucasian the casts of characters are. And if people of color appear, they're in stereotyped roles: the Native American tracker, or the black housekeeper. If the setting is historical, the justification is "that's the way it was then." For IBARW, here's a little online research about the Old West of the United States, and why it's actually more historically accurate to have people of African, Native American, Hispanic, and other types of descent among a cast of cowboys, gunslingers, general store owners, and other classic Western archetypes during the late 19th and very early 20th centuries.

Click for Cowboys of Color and more ...  )
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (gojyo - hot kappa)

So if a Gojyo-type character were to end up in Edo-era Japan, would he be able to support himself by gambling? This stray thought brought me to this article from the Japan Times Online:

By the middle of the Heian Period (794-1185), gambling had become rampant among the inhabitants of the capital, Heiankyo (present-day Kyoto). People wagered enthusiastically on practically anything: cock fights, horse races, cricket fights and fanciful competitions that made use of flowers, pictures or folding fans.

Around this time professional gamblers, known as bakuto, first appeared. Historical accounts gave details of brawls, killings and robberies involving gamblers, which led to increasingly strict measures to repress their activities. Between 1225 and 1284, the authorities issued no fewer than nine edicts prohibiting gambling.

During the Edo Period (1603-1867), members of the ruling samurai class were discouraged from gambling ... .

What's less clear is what he'd be playing - not cards, which came in with the Portugese, later. From the discussion later in the article, the likeliest thing would be a dice games of various sorts. Hmm ... .

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